It’s been a while since everyone’s favorite Canadian mixed martial artist has stepped inside the Octagon. However, since his hiatus after UFC 167, the interest of when or if we would ever see Georges St. Pierre return to action has never died down.
The 35-year-old former UFC Welterweight Champion told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour today that he is indeed ready to return to fighting. While this has been something always in the back of the minds of MMA fans everywhere, St. Pierre has never ruled out the possibility of returning while at the same time never confirming it either. Today, the pound-for-pound great gave his most definitive response yet to the question of returning as he said it hinges on negotiations with the UFC.
“I put myself in a training camp and I sparred and everything, and I did it successfully. Now I know for a fact that I could go back and fight if my management and the UFC get to an agreement.”
If St. Pierre returns, who would he fight? The welterweight landscape has changed drastically since UFC 167 when he emerged victorious over Johny Hendricks via Split Decision. The aforementioned Hendricks fell in his most recent outing to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, who just defeated St. Pierre’s Tristar counterpart, Rory MacDonald in Ottawa. UFC 201 hosts the next welterweight title fight between champ Robbie Lawler and challenger Tyron Woodley, with Stephen Thompson waiting to take on the winner of that fight. For St. Pierre, who never lost his title in the Octagon, announcing he wishes to return to action, could throw a wrench in the welterweight gears, that is, if he only wants to fight at 170 pounds.
“I always said I would come back for something big, something that gives me the chills, you know what I mean? Something that makes me excited.”
Apparently, St. Pierre would be excited for a fight with Micahel Bisping who is challenging St. Pierre’s record for 19 wins, the most wins in UFC history. This is a matchup that has been rumored since Bisping became the UFC Middleweight Champion and has mentioned St. Pierre as a possibility in recent interviews, saying he would be glad to send the former champion back to a movie set. St. Pierre told Helwani that he would have no problem with fighting at lightweight, welterweight, or even middleweight, with a shot at the title against Bisping being the most intriguing matchup.
“He’s the bigger name right now. He’s the guy who has the spotlight right now. The world doesn’t turn around me, there’s a lot of guys hunting him, but if its the fight that the UFC and the fans want, if it creates a buzz and the money is there, because we’re in a business, I’m down for it.”
When St. Pierre stepped away from the Octagon, he took a twelve-fight winning streak with him, while leaving the UFC Welterweight Championship behind. With the issues that caused his sudden departure from the sport seemingly behind him, St. Pierre seems he is ready to return to the Octagon for a fight that the fans want if he can come to terms in negotiations with the UFC.
“I still feel I’m at my best right now and the clock is running. I’m not getting any younger. I’m in the peak of my career, and if there is another shot, another go, another run, I better do it and do it quick.”
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UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans
The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.
For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by Tapology.com). A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.
Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.
Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.
CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash.
Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July
With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event.
It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.
The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.
Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.
The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.
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