(This is our weekly Throwback Thursday article. Yes, today is Friday. We called it Froback Friday this week. The dress is black and blue. Nick Diaz said so.)
This Week in MMA History
Throwback Thursday is a weekly article written about the events and news that have happened in the world of MMA during this week. The twist, we’ll be going back in time to show you the events that already happened and are forever stitched into our minds. This week we take a look at February 23 to March 1.
UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk
Taking place at the Vegas away from Vegas, UFC 30 saw two title fights headline the card. Before those, the preliminary card saw Sean Sherk and Phil Baroni get victories. In the second bout of the main card, future Heavyweight champions Pedro Rizzo and Josh Barnett fought it to the battle. Rizzo knocked out Barnett in the second round, and got a shot at Heavyweight champion Randy Couture.
In the co-main event, Jens Pulver and Caol Uno fought for the ‘Bantamweight’ title of the UFC. Pulver got the Unanimous Decision after five tough rounds, and became the champion. The name of the weight class was changed to Lightweight (155 lbs weight limit) and we didn’t see the Bantamweight (135 lbs limit) class until the UFC/WEC merger in 2011.
In the main-event, Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz knocked out his opponent Evan Tanner just 30 seconds into the match. He would defend his title three more times before losing it to Randy Couture at UFC 44. Tanner would go 9-5 in his remaining fights until his death in 2008.
UFC 41: Onslaught
Just over 2 years after UFC 30, in the same city, the UFC put on another two title-fight card.
The card would see a Heavyweight title-fight between Tim Sylvia and Ricco Rodriguez and a Lightweight title-fight between BJ Penn and Caol Uno. Before the two title fights, we saw victories from Yves Edwards, Din Thomas, Vladimir Matyushenko. Frank Mir beat Tank Abbott in his return to the UFC almost five years after his last fight.
In the first title fight, BJ Penn and Caol Uno fought to a majority draw in the final bout of a Lightweight tournament. The judges scored the card 48-47 Uno, 48-46 Penn, and 48-48. The division would go on hiatus after that and not come back until UFC 64. In the Heavyweight title bout, Tim Sylvia beat Ricco Rodriguez by KO for the vacant tile. Sylvia would be champion and in title fights for the next 5 years.
UFC 82: Pride of a Champion
The UFC dropped in to Columbus, Ohio for a Middleweight super-fight. The main event was to unify the the UFC Middleweight championship and Pride Welterweight Champioship. The UFC champion Anderson Silva faced the Pride Champion Dan Henderson.
The preliminary card would see five good fights. In the first fight, Jorge Grugel won a UD over John Halverson. Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, and Andrei Arlovski all got finished to end the prelims. In the main card, Yuskin Okami would KO Evan Tanner 3 minutes into the second round and Chris Leben picked up $60,000 by his first round KO of Alessio Sakara.
The main event between two champion came through. The first round went back and forth between the two, and the fight was looking as if it would live up to its high expectations. The second round would start the same way, but soon change. The UFC champion Silva would take the back of ‘Hendo’ and submit the Pride champion just before the round ended. That submission earned Silva a Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night Bonuses
UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch
In 2011, the UFC put on a show in Sydney, Australia to the tune of 18,000 people. The main event was a Welterweight bout between former champion BJ Penn and former title-challenger Jon Fitch. The fight was meant to be a title-eliminator, but neither got a title shot after. It saw 260,000 pay-per-view buys, which was low for the time.
The card saw future stars Mark Hunt, Alexander Gustaffson, Kyle Noke, and Dennis Siver grab victories. In the co-main event, Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera took to the Octagon. In just the second round, Bisping nabbed the TKO victory just 114 seconds into the round. The main-event saw the two title-contenders fight to a majority draw, as two judges saw the fight as a draw, and one gave it to Jon Fitch. The fight would not result in the next title-challenger.
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson
The UFC’s first return to Japan since UFC 29 came with many of the countries former stars from Pride. The headliner was a Lightweight title fight between champion Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson. The card had a seven fight main card, which aired on PPV and got 375,000 buys.
Before the main event, former Japanes stars such as Takanori Gomi, Hatsu Hioki and Mark Hunt picked up wins. Others guys like Yushin Okami and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson took losses. Future Lightweight champion, and former WEC champion, Anthony Pettis picked up a Knockout of the Night with a headkick to Joe Lauzon.
In the main event, longtime champion Frankie Edgar faced former WEC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson for all the marbles. Edgar was facing a different man other than BJ Penn and Gray Maynard for the first time in almost two years. The fight would go into the championship rounds after three hard fought rounds. Eventually, the challenger would bring the belt back with him to Phoenix and held it through his next four fights. The next man to take it from him was the last man to beat him before that in Anthony Pettis.
UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche
Anyone remember Dana White saying he would never let a women in the UFC? Well that all changed when he found Ronda Rousey. After the UFC signed Strikeforce, it also took on its Women’s Bantamweight division and its champion Ronda Rousey. The champ would get the chance to be the first women to fight in the UFC, and would do so by headlining a card. The fight took place in Anaheim, California near where Rousey trains. She would face former Marine Liz Carmouche who would try and ruin the Rousey party.
Before we would see the women, the rest of card would see good fights to start off. Brendan Schaub would pick up a victory over Lavar Johnson to end the prelims. To start off the main card, future champion Robbie Lawler would KO Josh Koscheck cold in the first round. Former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber continued his impressive streak of non-title fight wins with a first round RNC of Ivan Menjivar. In the co-main event, Lyoto Machida took the UD over Dan Henderson.
Then came the main event. Carmouche looked good early, taking punches and giving them right back. She would take the champs back mid-way through the round, and try to sink in the RNC. When she couldn’t get the arm under her chin, she looked for a neck crank. Just before it looked too late, Rousey shook her opponent off and ended up on top. This is where she worked her judo magic and got to her famous armbar position from the top. She would finish Carmouche with just 11 seconds left in the round to defend her belt for the first time.
The Ultimate Fighter China Finale: Kim vs. Hathaway
The UFC put on its first version of The Ultimate Fighter in China. The season would see fighters in the Featherweight and Welterweight divisions. The Featherweight final would be cancelled for this event due to an injury to Yang Jianping. The main event would be Asian superstar Dong Hyun-Kim and John Hathaway.’
The card had very little hype to it, but did see nice KO’s by Wang Anying over Albert Cheng and Matt Mitrione over Shawn Jordan. The Welterweight final would see Zhang Lipeng defeat Wang Sai by Split-Decision to take the contract. The main event one of the best KO’s of the year as Kim hit Hathaway with a beautiful elbow to the head.
WEC 39: Brown vs. Garcia
The originally scheduled title fight between Carlos Condit and Brock Larson was cancelled due to an injury. It was then announced that the Welterweight division would dissolved into the UFC. The main event changed to Mike Brown and Leonard Garcia for the Featherweight title.
In the prelims, Johny Hendricks got a UD over Alex Serdyukov and Danny Castillo an SD over Phil Cardella. Future WEC and UFC champion Jose Aldo would pick up a TKO win over Chris Mickle. He would get the title shot two fights later and never leave it again. In the main event, champion Mike Brown put an arm-triagle choke on Garcia and made him tape before two minutes of the first round.
Pride 19: Bad Blood
The year is 2002, the date is February 24th and the location is Saitama, Japan. The event in Pride 19, and it was awesome. Rodrigo Gracie submitted Daijiro Matsui by Guillotine, and Carlos Newton put an armbar on Jose Landi. Things get pretty interesting after that, as Big Nog put a triangle on Enson Inoue. The main event was a Middleweight title fight between legend Wanderlei Silva and Kiyoshi Tamura. Silva would knock him out in the second round, and keep his title. 4
Pride 31: Dreamers
In one of its last events, Pride put on a super event. ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Fabricio Werdum got the decision wins. Then a much smaller Alistair Overeem got the TKO win by knees over Sergei Kharitonov. Big Nog picked up the submission win, and Mark Coleman the TKO over Shogun. In the main event, Mark Hunt got the KO win in the Mark Hunt fashion over Yosuke Nishijima.
Pride 33: The Second Coming
The title says it all, as Pride put on one of its biggest shows. Frank Trigg beat Kazuo Miskai by decision in the Middleweight division. Hayto Sakurai put the KO on Mac Danzig just 23 seconds into the fight. ‘Shogun’ Rua and Alistair Overeem did not last long as Rua KO’d Overeem three and a half minutes into the fight. In one of the best fights of all time, Nick Diaz put a gogoplata on legend Takanori Gomi. The victory was later changed to a NC when Diaz tested positive for Marijuana. The main event saw champ Wanderlei Silva get KO’d by Dan Henderson to become the first two-division title holder in Pride history.
In the first event of season 8 for Bellator, we would see the Lightweight tournament. In the semi-final, David Rickels beat Jason Fischer by decision and Saad Awad beat ‘Ill’ Will Brooks, future champion, by TKO just 43 seconds into the fight. For the Light Heavyweight title, champion Christian M’ Pumbu lost his title by decision to Attila Veigh. Before the main card, Holly Holm picked up another TKO victory when she beat Katie Merrill.
In the first event for Season 10, we saw Light Heavyweight and Featherweight tournaments. The quarterfinal for the Featherweights would see Daniel Weichel, Will Martinez, Desmond Green, and Matt Bessette get victories. The only finish by those guys was Weichel getting the RNC over Scott Cleve. In the Light Heavyweight semi-finals, ‘King’ Muhammed Lawal got the UD to move onto the final. In the other semi-final, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson got the KO over former champion Christian M’Pumbu.
Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi
In this Strikeforce event, the Women’s Bantamweight championship was on the line. Before we would get there, we would see finishes by Jesse Tobar, Tristan Arenal, and Wayne Phillips. Future Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold got the TKO over Paul Bradley. In the main event, Sarah Kaufman beat Takayo Hashi by five round decision to take the belt. She would beat Roxanne Modafferi to defend it in her next fight, but lose it to Marloes Coenen. She would get another shot at the title when she faced Ronda Rousey. She would lose by classic armbar.
Future: UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano, Bellator 134: The British Invasion
Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut
MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.
Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.
‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”
Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?
I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.
Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?
Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.
Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?
Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.
There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.
Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?
I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.
Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?
The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.
Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?
Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.
You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.
Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald
Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.
Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.
What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”
Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.
Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.
A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.
James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury
Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.
After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.
Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.
Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”
His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.
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