Update: Late breaking tonight, Brock Lesnar's next fight has become official. He'll be taking on Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Ca. Velasquez was a two-time All American wrestler when he was at Arizona State and he was a JoCo champion at Iowa Central Community College. He's 8-0 and coming off a victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria at UFC 110 in February.
Just wanted to drop a quick note for people to get their weekend MMA fix while we all are still basking in the glory of Brock Lesnar's big win last weekend.
Travis "The Hurricane" Reddinger (14-2), the #1 ranked 135 pound fighter according the Minnesota MMA News page's ratings, has been tapped to take on Ulysses Gomez (6-1) in the first round of the upcoming Bellator 135 pound tournament . It is expected that the fight would take place on 9/2 according to MNMMAnews.com. Both fighters are on four fight win streaks. Reddinger trains locally at the Minnesota Fight Factory, while Gomez trains with Marc Laimon in Las Vegas at Cobra Kai.
Former Ultimate Fighter contestant and Hopkins native Zak Jensen has agreed to face former UFC vet Tim Hauge this Saturday for a fight in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He agreed to the fight on less than a week's notice. The fight can be seen at aggressionmma.com.
Finally if you are in the Buffalo area, CFX has a show there Saturday night featuring a couple of good fights, Nate Schut vs. Bruce Johnson and Kent Nathe vs. Billy Jochum. Tickets are $35 for reserved seating and $25 for G.A. Former UFC and WEC vet Brock Larson will also be in attendance.
7:45 p.m.: The live blog is underway! You can also follow along on twitter tonight @StribMMA with Myron Medcalf updating there throughout the night.
Also, we've got two great stories on Lesnar up right now, my story, which you can find right here and one by Myron P. Medcalf which can be found here.
7:57 p.m.: We are moments away from the start of the prelims show on Spike TV. They will be starting with Seth Petruzelli (205) vs. Ricardo Romero (205). Petruzelli is famous for being the guy who in a way, caused Elite XC, the first UFC competitor that was the first company to have a show on network TV, to be put out of business. A few years back he was a last minute replacement for Ken Shamrock in a fight against Kimbo Slice on CBS. Petruzelli knocked out Slice and two days later when celebrating went on a morning radio show in Miami and said that he had been offered money by the promoters to keep the fight standing.
EXC, which was heavily in debt, was in the middle of negotiations to try and sell the company to CBS and Showtime, but the controversy from the implications that they had tried to "fix" the fight, caused Showtime to withdraw from the negotiations, and EXC was forced to claim bankruptcy and close down.
8:09 p.m.: Another interesting note is that this fight was not originally meant to air on Spike. Originally the Kendall Grove - Goran Reljic fight was to be on free TV, but a few weeks ago Grove did an interview on Tapout radio where he was critical of SPIKE, saying that they only care about personalities on reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, and not about how good a fighter the people on the show are. SPIKE then asked UFC to remove him from the free TV portion of the show because of the comments and this fight was put on it isn't place.'
8:15 p.m.: Petruzelli controls the first round, landing strikes early in the round, but gassing out about half way through. Romero controls the middle of the round but Petruzelli gets control again at the of the round and throws so double axe handle type blow. Second round sees Romero shoot for a takedown but miss, Petruzelli take his back attempting an armbar but Romero escaped and ends up moving from the guard to a crucifix position, and then he grabbed an armlock and extends it, seriously hurting Petruzelli.
8:32 North Dakota native Chris Tuchscherer is coming to the cage right now. Chris was a two-time all-american wrestler at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. He trains with Lesnar at Brock's camp in Alexandria. This is his third UFC fight. He lost his debut against Gabriel Gonzaga after never fully recovering from on of the most brutal low blows in MMA history, when Gonzaga kicked him in the junk like he was kicking a field goal. He defeated Tim Hague in his second fight last February by majority decision (two judges scored it for Chris, one scored it a draw).
Tonight he taks on Brendan Schaub, who was the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter season 10, losing to Roy Nelson in the finals. Schaub trains with Lesnar's opponent, Shane Carwin in Denver, making this a grudge match.
8:40 p.m.: This fight didn't last long. Right at the one minute mark, Schaub floored Tuchscherer with a right hand and then jumped on him and threw a flurry of punches until Herb Dean stepped in and stopped it. 1:07 is the official time.
8:48 p.m.: Spike is showing a fight from earlier in the night right now since the two live fights went quickly. We are seeing David Branch vs Gerald Harris. Harris controls the first two rounds with his wrestling. The third round saw Branch try and pull guard with a body scissors and Harris slam Branch, landing a forearm to the throat on the way down, knocking out Branch immediately and ending the fight.
9:00 pm: Here we go! We are live on PPV~!
9:10 George Sotiropolous vs. Kurt Pellegrino is up first. The Minnesota connection to this fight is that Sotiropolous lost to Elgin native Tommy Speer in the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter season six. Speer went on to lose to Mac Danzig in the finals and was released from UFC following a lost to Anthony Johnson five months later.
9:24 pm: Two rounds are in the books. The first round so both men trading punches on their feet and each knocking the other down once. Pellegrino ended the round with a single leg takedown but Sotiropolous neutralized him with his guard and waited out the end of the round. The second round quickly went to the mat with Sotiropolous dominating the entire round with his grappling. 20-18 on my card after two rounds
Third round saw both men run out of energy and have a pretty even round with Sotiropolous probably ahead most of the round. With a few seconds left, Pellegrino lands a huge knee as Sotiropolous puts his head down, sending Sotiropolous to the mat. Goldy and Rogan speculate that it might steal the round for Pellegrino.
Two judges score the fight 30-27 while one scores it 29-28, all for your winner George Sotiropolous.
9:40 p.m.: Yahoo Sport!'s Dave Meltzer reports that win or lose, Brock Lesnar has a private plane chartered to leave Las Vegas as soon as the press conference is over.
9:42 p.m.: Stephan Bonnar vs Krzystof Soszynski is next. This is a rematch of a fight from UFC 110 earlier this year. That fight saw Bonnar get cut open on an accidental head butt. Unfortunately the referee did not see the foul, and after the fight was stopped because of the cut, the fight was awarded to Soszynksi, even though it should have been a no contest or a win for Bonnar. Interesting that UFC ignored what happened in the fight in their pre-fight video package.
9:54 pm: Bonnar has multiple cuts his face at the end of round one. Bonnar got a takedown earlier in the round and had Soszynski against the cage one point and was teeing off on him, but I can tell you from experience that the one guy looking all bloody and the other having no cuts can weigh on a judge. Probably give it to Bonnar 10-9
Bonnar comes out swinging in round two and is getting the better of it, though Soszynski lands a more effective shot at the end of the exchange. Bonnar ties him up with his wrestling and they grapple against the cage, with Bonnar controlling Soszynski. Bonnar tries to take his back but Soszynski turns around. Bonnar throws a great muyi thai knee that sends Soszynski to the mat, and Bonnar keeps throwing punches until Dean stops it.
These two will have to have a rubber match.
Keep checking in with Myron on our twitter feed @StribMMA. He's been very active tonight and has a great perspective.
10:05 PM: Chris "Lights Out" Lytle vs Matt Brown is next.
Lytle is 7-9 in the Octagon steel, but he has won the most amount of money in bonus pay from UFC. He's collected $310,000 in additional money, including 4 fight of the night bonuses, two submission of the night bonuses and a knockout of the night bonus. This is a rematch of a fight they had outside of the UFC right before Brown entered The Ultimate Fighter, which saw Lytle win. Lytle returned to the UFC after being the runner-up in the comeback season of The Ultimate Fighter, losing a split decision to Matt Serra in the finals.
10:16 PM: What an awesome fight. Brown caught Lytle in a D'arce choke in round one and Lytle and Lytle was turning purple in front of everyone. He eventually escaped and survived the round. Round two saw Lytle win the striking battle and then when Brown put his had down, Lytle tried to clamp on a guillotine choke. They went to the ground where Lytle put on a clinic, moving from half-guard to full mount to a leg triangle from the mount where Brown was completely trapped. Lytle grabbed the arm and clamped on an armbar and Brown had to verbally submit since his arms were tied up and he couldn't escape. Chris Lytle wins at 2:02 of round two.
10:20 Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Chris Leben is next. Leben just fought two weeks ago on The Ultimate Fighter finale special on Spike. He is a last minute replacement for Wanderlei Silva who was forced to pull out of the fight a couple of weeks ago due to broken ribs suffered in training. Akiyama is a world class judo practitioner and a former gold medal winner in the Asian Games for Japan. He hasn't fought in a year though has he's been waiting to fight Silva since he won at UFC 100 last summer.
10:35 PM: Akiyama completely dominates the first round with his superior athletic ability. He controlled every aspect of the fight and put on a showcase with his wrestling. Doesn't appear to be taking the fight to seriously though, which could cause him to get caught.
Round 2: Leben comes out swinging, and throws a high kick that lands butt Leben falls to his butt. Leben's corner is telling him Akiyama is tired and to push the fight. This is insane. These two are standing in the middle trading punches. Leben looks out of it but just keeps coming forward with punches. Akiyama executes a fantastic judo throw taking Leben down. Back on their feet they trade more blows. This is off the hook.
Round 3: Holy cow~! These guys just keep going at it. Akiyama ends up on top in the guard and both guys are just trading blow after blow. They are throwing for two straight minutes, with Leben getting the better of it but Akiyama having the dominate position. With just 30 seconds left, Leben traps Akyiama in a triangle and starts throwing punches, then he adjusts the choke and Akiyama is forced to tap. This is probably upset of the year.
Main event time!
Word is that Bud Light has sponsored Shane Carwin tonight against Brock Lesnar because of Lesnar's comments at UFC 100, saying he was going to drink Coors Light and not Bud Light because Bud Light wouldn't pay him.
Round 1: Brock is in trouble early. Carwin nails him with a punch that send Lesnar to the canvas and Carwin pounces on him. Carwin is jut unloading on Lesnar and Lesnar is not doing anything but turtling. Lesnar receives a gift from the ref who didn't stop the fight despite the fact that Lesnar did nothing. Lesnar is cut. A totally dominating performance by Carwin, 10-8 round. Carwin is gassed though.
Round 2: Carwin is dead on his feet and Lesnar gets a no-effort double leg take down into the half-guard. Lesnar moves to the mount effortless less and now he's got an arm triangle, though Carwin is ok. Moments later Lesnar adjusts it a bit and Carwin's air gets cut off and he's forced to tap out. Brock Lesnar gets his first ever submission victory and after an amazing comeback.
Lesnar tells Rogan the fight wasn't about him, but about his family, his doctors and his training partners. "I am blessed by God," Lesnar says.
An amazing night of fights capped off by one of the biggest comebacks I've ever seen. Brock got a gift in that first round, though in a heavyweight title fight they are going to let the fight go longer than you see in a normal fight. He was in danger of seeing that fight stopped at any moment though. To come back and win the second round, and by submission no less, is just phenomenal. Lesnar becomes the undisputed heavyweight champion again (not that it was ever really disputed, I don't think anyone took Carwin's interim title seriously). He also stakes his claim as the #1 heavyweight fighter in the world after last week's loss by Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce.
Cain Velasquez is next for Lesnar sometime later in the year. The winner of that fight will most likely face the winner of a Junior Dos Santos-Roy Nelson fight. Lots of great heavyweight battles on the horizon for UFC.
Thanks for sticking with us all night long. Myron P. Medcalf will have a story tonight on Lesnar's win. I may write something up if something interesting comes out at the press conference.
“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. ... We can make him better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” -- Theme from the Six Million Dollar Man
UFC’s version of the Six Million Dollar Man, Brock Lesnar, returns to the Octagon after a year-long hiatus this Saturday night on pay per view, and according to Lesnar, he’s better than ever.
“This is kinda my second coming. It has brought a lot of life into me and into my camp,” Lesnar told reporters in a conference call last week. “I feel like I’m a cat with 9 lives and I’ve got 8 of them left.”
The long-awaited match-up between UFC heavyweight champion Lesnar and interim champion Shane Carwin had to be delayed while Lesnar battled a near-fatal case of diverticulitis
“This illness, it kills a lot of people. At the time, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to fight again,” Lesnar said. “When I decided I could continued to fight, I said you know what, I gotta make some changes, I wanna be a better fighter, that was the main reason I had to make the changes.”
“I’ve brought in a new strength coach and a new boxing coach. I took a new approach on it, as far as training. It has been very refreshing. It has been a great thing.”
When these two behemoths collide on Saturday night, it will be one of the “biggest” battles in UFC, with both fighters tipping the scale at the maximum 265 pounds allowed in the heavyweight division.
“When two great big heavyweights that are athletic get in there, these are the great fights, these are the ones you remember,” Lesnar said.
Lesnar is used to grappling with guys his own size though. His camp in Alexandria consists of fighters like former NCAA champion and fellow Golden Gopher Cole Konrad and two-time Division II All-American Chris Tuchscherer, who wrestled at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. Former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture even stopped by recently to help prepare Lesnar for this fight.
“My camp is full of big guys. I’ve been surrounded by greatness. I believe, that is what you have to do. You have to be surrounded by people who will push you,” Lesnar said.
As far as ring rust, Lesnar said he doesn’t think it will be a factor. “I’ve had about 40 tune up fights in the last eight weeks (in camp),” jokes Lesnar.
The second biggest question for Lesnar this weekend will be his chin, as Carwin will be the first guy he’s ever faced with true knockout power.
Carwin has knocked out three of his last four opponents in the UFC cage and five of his 12 wins have ended by KO.
The 35-year-old Carwin also has the potential to match Lesnar’s wrestling ability. He is a former Division II wrestling champion at Western State College in Colorado, where he also played linebacker for four years.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my career. I approach every fight the same way. I am trying to not approach it any differently,” Carwin told reporters.
As far as his game plan for the fight, Carwin has been telling people all week he’s looking to knock Lesnar out. “I want to get in there and I want to fight, I don’t want to eek out any decisions,” Carwin said.
Carwin also trains with a premiere set of fighters at Trevor Wittman’s branch of the Jackson Submission Fighting schools. He trains with UFC vets like Nate Marquardt, Keith Jardine and former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
“I have a lot of areas I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface I think I can be a better fighter,” Carwin said.
As far as the “new” more friendly Lesnar that has been seen the last few weeks, “I’m still the ornery SOB. I’ve always been. Nothing's changed for me,” Lesnar said with a laugh. “There is no animosity between me and Shane. He’s just an opponent and obstacle I have to overcome.”
Lesnar also told reporters that despite fans' criticism of his time in pro wrestling, it helped prepare him for the pressure of being in the Octagon.
“If it wasn’t for the WWE and the visibility I got from them, they gave me a lot of visibility and that is what I bring to the UFC. Without the WWE, I wouldn’t be as prepared as I am not as far as dealing with the press and dealing with the popularity.”
One other difference between the two fighters is the discrepancy in what they will be paid for the fight on Saturday night. The $4 million man might be a little more realistic of a name for Lesnar, because that is the estimated amount Lesnar took home for his fight last year against Frank Mir and what he could take home again after Saturday night. On paper, he’s scheduled to be paid $400,000, but he’ll also get an undisclosed cut of every PPV he fights on. Carwin, on the other hand, will make just $40,000 for the fight and another $40,000 if he wins.
“I wont lie and say I (don’t) wish I was getting a piece of this PPV. Of course I want that, so does every other fighter on the card that is not,” Carwin wrote on his website last month. “I love to fight but I would love to fight for millions of dollars. ... But, I am not fighting for the money. If I was, I would have checked out of this sport LONG ago.”
Just a reminder, I'll be live blogging UFC 116 tomorrow night starting about 8 p.m. Central time, right here at Startribune.com. You can check back here on my blog or navigate to the front page and follow the link there. We'll also have Twitter updates throughout the night, which you can follow @StribMMA