Archive | November, 2007

Five Ounces of Pain: Q&A with WEC’s Urijah Faber

28 Nov

by Sam Caplan Special to CBSSports.com (2007-11-28)

Last week World Extreme Cagefighting officially announced plans to hold its final card of 2007 on Dec. 12 in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The promotion will be thanking its loyal fans by holding three title matches on the card with Doug Marshall defending the light heavyweight title against Ariel Gandulla; Paulo Filho expected to defend the middleweight title against Chael Sonnen; and the company’s signature star Urijah Faber defending his featherweight title against Jeff Curran.
The card, to be televised on the Versus network, will also feature the WEC debut of former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, who will be returning to 145 pounds and facing up and comer Cub Swanson.
CBSSports.com was able to catch up with Faber during a recent trip to Philadelphia and get his thoughts on Curran, Pulver, Kid Yamamoto, and other hot button topics pertaining to his career.
CBSSports.com: Since fighting on Versus have more people been recognizing you in public?
Urijah Faber: Yeah, a ton! Especially around events that are MMA-related — it’s like everyone. In the general public? Yeah, when I go to the grocery store or the airport.
Q: Is it weird to suddenly get all that recognition?
UF: I was on (the documentary) Warrior Nation, which went out to a large audience on MSNBC and it started there and it just rolled into the WEC. So it’s been pretty consistent. It’s cool because I’ve been in the game and have been one of the bigger names in the 145-pound weight class for a long time and it’s just now starting to get mainstream attention. So yeah, it’s cool; it’s neat.
Q: Does the increased notoriety ever become a distraction?
UF: No, because my life hasn’t changed. I go to the gym and I go home and travel for promotional stuff. A million people can know who you are but if you’re in your own little world then it doesn’t really matter anyway. So no, it doesn’t bother me and doesn’t change anything.
Q: Nick Diaz has been critical recently of fighters who want to live the glamorous side of the fight game without paying their dues in the gym. With the increased popularity of MMA on a mainstream level, do you find yourself encountering more fighters who are trying to break in for the wrong reasons?
UF: Yeah, and basically what it comes down to is that there are a lot of poser guys out there and that’s just the way it is. What is happening, which is good about MMA, is a lot of the general public is getting involved hands-on. A lot of the guys who talk the big game normally aren’t (getting involved with MMA) and some of these business guys that are just everyday people are actually pretty well-trained if they’re getting into the right gyms. You never really know but more often than not the guys that are yapping at the gums about being an MMA fighter probably aren’t the real deal.
Q: You’re scheduled to defend the WEC featherweight title against Jeff Curran on Dec. 12 on Versus. How does Curran rate against your recent opponents?
UF: I think he’s probably a little more well-rounded; definitely more experienced and he’s fought on higher levels so I don’t think that he’s necessarily a step above them, but credentials-wise, he’s definitely more established. You saw it against (Stephen Ledbetter); Ledbetter could be a guy that they put up against me and if I would have finished him in the first round everyone would have said “Oh, well, he’s a nobody.” These guys are tough guys. These guys are taking it serious. They are tough fighters and they are doing the right things for training so I don’t think he’s (Curran) any different other than he has more experience.
Q: Jens Pulver will be fighting on the same card in his first WEC bout. In some ways, he was a pioneer for the lighter weight classes on the big stage. When you first got into MMA was he someone you looked up to?
UF: Yeah, definitely. I was a big Jens Pulver fan and a big MMA fan in general. But even when I was in high school watching those guys I didn’t think that they were untouchable. I considered myself, and part of is just my personality, as someone that could fight them in the future. But Jens has been a great addition to the fight world, especially for the lighter weights. He’s been a great showcase for the lightweights and he’s done a lot of great things. I’m really happy that he’s continuing to do things and I think he has a purpose for what he’s doing. Not only does he believe he can win and do things that are good for his career but he understands the bigger side of things and I respect him for that.
Q: If you had to handicap his match with Cub Swanson, how do you see that going down? Who would you consider the favorite?
UF: I think people underestimate Jens’ grappling because he went through that stint where he was trying to be a crowd pleaser and go standup with everyone because he thought that was what everyone wanted. And I think people have kind of forgotten that he wrestled at Boise State, which is a Division I college and it was a powerhouse in the Pac-10 during my time. He was a little before my time but he comes from a good pedigree in wrestling and if he really decides he wants to he’ll be fine on the ground, if he puts his time in. It’s hard to say with this fight because Cub Swanson has got momentum in his favor but Jens, if he decides he wants it, might have an edge.
Q: Do you think if Pulver wins that match that he could be the next challenger for you, if you’re able to get past Jeff Curran?
UF: I believe so. I think that is the next fight for us. And I think that would be a good one for me and a good one for the WEC and the featherweight division because he does have a good name. Not only is he a former UFC champion but he was on The Ultimate Fighter show, which is huge for notoriety. It would be a great fight for me and a great win for me if I got the opportunity.
Q: If you had to come up with a top five ranking at 145 lbs., who would be in it?
UF: You know, I don’t know a lot of the guys in Japan that they got in the rankings right now. I know (Shinya) Aoki, Jeff (Curran) and Kid Yamamoto should be up there. He’s (Yamamoto) done some incredible things (and has) some flashy knockouts; he’s got good power and high-caliber wrestling. He’s an incredible athlete. I think he and I are probably two at the top list and the list just goes down from there.
There’s a bunch of guys from Japan I don’t even know — (Antonio) Carvalho has also been getting a lot of pub — but I feel like it’s just a little bit overrated over there because they’ve had such a long history with the lightweights. But I’ve fought guys from Japan and have fought guys that have been in the same circuits and I think it’s just a matter of time before I’m hands down considered the number one performer at 145 pounds.
Q: Speaking of Yamamoto, the last time I interviewed you, you expressed an interest in fighting him. Have you gone to Zuffa to ask them to help facilitate a match with Kid Yamamoto?
UF: Yeah, I have. And actually, I’m under contract to the WEC, but I was contacted by K-1 and offered the fight last September. Somebody said something and I put them in touch with my manager and we’re not even allowed to talk about it with them because I’m under contract. It wasn’t going to happen but he knows who I am and I think that’s a big fight for both of us.
Q: Do you think there’s any chance that the WEC would try and make an inter-promotion match?
UF: Zuffa is trying to obtain the best talent in the world (and) I don’t think they will let it happen unless they have him under their umbrella. But I know that they are going to try and make it happen if they can. That’s a big fight. As the featherweights gain more momentum and my notoriety goes up and the weight class in general gets more recognized … people know who Kid Yamamoto is. He’s a superstar in Japan and that’s what they’re trying to create with me in the WEC here in America. I think it’s just a matter of time.
Q: A strong case can be made that you’re the No. 1 featherweight in the world right now and you’ve been unstoppable in the WEC. Is there a desire for you to try and take things to the next level, and if so, is there anything specific you have in mind?
UF: Yeah, I do. I was a 133-pounder in college for five years, that’s really my competition weight. If I didn’t have the championship at 145 pounds then I might go down to 135 pounds. I could also have fights at 155. So in my future I hope to get some belts at different weights, up and down. I don’t know if there’s been someone in MMA who has had belts in three separate classes. That’s something I definitely know I can do.
Sam Caplan is the lead writer/editor for ProElite.com as well as the publisher of his own blog, FiveOuncesOfPain.com and a contributing writer for the magazine FIGHT! You can contact him via e-mail at: SCaplan8@comcast.net.

Interim Lighweight Title Staged In France

28 Nov

by wbcmuaythai.com (2007-11-28)

The WBC MUAYTHAI will stage the Lightweight Interim World Championship in Paris, France, on 29 November 2007.
Promoter Sammy Khebchi of Sport Even 1 said there was great excitement for the world’s prestigious WBC brand coming to France for the first time on a first class professional Muaythai event to be staged in Paris stade Courbetin.
The two contenders (135 pounds max) for the WBC interim title are the French superstar Kamel Jamel and the top ranked Lumpini Stadium professional fighter Kongpipob Petchyindee.
Jemel has been the French Muaythai champion 11 times and European champion five times. He has beaten top Thai fighters Rambo and Pornsak but lost to Somlak Kamsing.
On the same card the WBC Super Middleweight Champion Yodsaengklai Fairtex will fight a non-title contest against the French superstar Farid. The last time these two fighters were matched they fought to a draw.

Fairtex’s James Cook MMA Debut

26 Nov

by FTX (2007-11-26)

On Nov. 10th, James Cook joined the ranks of the few Muay Thai fighters willing to use their skills in MMA competition. Cook fought in The Freestyle Combat Challenge 18-Man 155 lbs tournament in Kenosha, WI.He won a unanimous decision over John Chasse (6-2) a Div II wrestler and track star out of Madison WI.Cook was set to fight in the next round of the tournament, but he broke his hand in the 2nd round of the fight.Cook’s take-down defense and clean Muay Thai technique such as spinning elbows and knees kept the fight exciting and resulted in his being offered a superfight at the culmination of the tournament in Tokyo, Japan in 2008.

Quick results from Art Of War 9

25 Nov

by MMAWeekly.com (2007-11-25)

Zhang Tie Quan kept his undefeated professional record unblemished, quickly defeating Erik Kalseth in Saturday’s main event at Art of War 9.
MAIN EVENT

Zhang Tie Quan def. Erik Kalseth by Submission (Armbar) at 0:41, R1
MAIN CARD

Ole Baguio Laursen def. Liu Guang Yao by Submission (Choke) at 5:27, R1

Ba Te Er def. Jose Sans Bonache by TKO at 5:56, R1

Wang Guan def. Zidov Domenik by KO at 0:13, R1
Dai Shuang Hai def. Tadsapol Sinan by Submission (Armbar) at 6:01, R1

He Peng def. Sanun Somthong by Submission (Armbar) at 2:08, R1

Yang Jian Ping def. Nemat Bobomuhamedov by KO at 3:20, R1
UNDERCARD

Liu Jing Wen def. Jin Wu Shuai by Submission (Choke) at 1:51, R1

Wang Lei def. Yang Da Hu by Submission (Armbar) at 1:45, R1

Yang Liang and Zhang Ya Fei fought to a DRAW

Yan Meng Meng and Wan Fei Long fought to a DRAW

Xu Lei and Yu Long Fei fought to a DRAW

WBC Convention Highlights New Muay Thai Benchmarks

21 Nov

by wbcmuaythai.com (2007-11-21)

The WBC Muaythai joined delegates representing 164 countries at the yearly convention of the World Boxing Council held this year in Manila.
The General Assembly was told that Muaythai – under the WBC brand – had reached new benchmarks in 2007 and that the image of WBC MUAYTHAI reflected the stand-up martial arts excellence and exceptional ring combat skills of Thailand’s fighting heritage.
WBC President Dr Jose Sulaiman said he had been impressed with the high quality of Muaythai demonstrated at the premier championships held in Las Angeles last September, staged by promoter Dennis Warner and televised on Pay Per View TV and broadcast live to Thailand.
Warner said he was planning more WBC MUAYTHAI events in the USA in 2008. Plans were also underway for a “Muaythai thriller in Manila” for the Philippines freedom day weekend in June 2008.
WBC MUAYTHAI Chairman General Kovid Bhakdibumi told a large contingent of delegates representing Muaythai organizations worldwide that the WBC MUAYTHAI was an “inclusive and not exclusive” organization that wanted the fighting art of Muaythai to reach the highest levels on the world stage.
“The WBC MUAYTHAI has a mission to give all Muaythai boxers around the world the opportunity of competing with the best with the ultimate goal of being rewarded with the famous WBC green belt.”
Secretary General Patrick Cusick told the General Assembly in his annual report that the WBC’s involvement with Muaythai meant that the safety standards of the WBC ensured that WBC Muaythai was among the safest ring sports.
“There are many similarities between boxing and Muaythai,” Cusick told WBC delegates. ”Under the WBC MUAYTHAI there is now an established ranking system, standard rules and regulations, qualified ring officials and safety standards worldwide for those who participate in professional Muaythai. The WBC MUAYTHAI supports the objective of one world with one Muaythai rules and regulations.”
The WBC will receive a safety report on the move to introduce a WBC MUAYTHAI Female division. As well, the WBC will continue talks with the Japanese Boxing Commission to introduce WBC MUAYTHAI to introduce professional WBC Muaythai into Japan.
The WBC MUAYTHAI also agreed to join with the Oriental Professional Boxing Union to promote the WBC MUAYTHAI brand throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

FISTS OF FURY

21 Nov

by AOW (2007-11-21)

Dear Art of War Friends and Fans,
Get ready for a night of action as the 9th installment of AOW comes back to Beijing! Let’s examine the fight card.
In the Main Event, Brazilian Jujitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing expert, Erik Kalseth from Sweden will be making his Art of War debut against “The Wolf of the Plains” and undefeated Art of War veteran, Zhang Tie Quan, from China. Kalseth has been training hard at Legacy Gym in Thailand under the watchful eye of Danish Muay Thai superstar, Ole Baguio Laursen. Kalseth is optimistic about his fight against Zhang Tie Quan and is looking to hand the Chinese fighter his first MMA loss. Zhang Tie Quan remains undeterred and reminds his fans that he has been training hard and that he will once again emerge victorious.
Returning to this AOW fight card is Aotegen Bateer of China, who is a 2x China national Sanda champion. His opponent is Jose “Pitu” Sans of Spain, a veteran mixed martial artist and Muay Thai fighter who recently made an appearance on the martial arts reality show, Contender Asia. Both fighters look well-matched as both have racked up 1 victory in the MMA ring. Will Bateer give his fans a spectacular repeat of his last appearance in AOW7? Or will the tough Spaniard stop him in his tracks? Both are looking to launch their careers in the MMA world and a victory at AOW9 will certainly send them off in the right direction.
Making his first appearance in the Art of War ring will be K-1 superstar, Ole Baguio Laursen. His opponent is Art of War 7 veteran, Liu Guang Yao. Liu Guang Yao is coming off a draw in his last bout and is out for blood. He will be looking to finish his Danish opponent via KO this time around. Laursen is famous in the Muay Thai circuit for his devastating kicks and elbows and has faced such greats as Buakaw Por Pramuk and Andy Sowers. Laursen has also fought Japanese MMA superstars, Caol Uno and Genki Sudo. Always explosive and entertaining, Laursen has been perfecting his ground fighting skills and predicts a victory over Liu Guang Yao via submission!
Also on the fightcard is Croatian, Zidov Dominik of Contender Asia fame. His opponent will be Wang Guan of China. Zidov, nicknamed the “Devil” for his fierce tattoos and aggressive fighting style, is looking to prove that his appearance on Contender Asia was not just a fluke. Dominik is the 2006 All Swiss Sanda champion and the current All Swiss Muay Thai champion. Wang Guan is unfazed by his opponent’s credentials. Despite his youth, Wang Guan displays maturity inside the ring well beyond his 22 years. Calm and collected during his fights, Wang Guan is a calculating fighter with knock out power in both hands. He is a skilled opponent both standing and on the ground. This will be a war!!!
After a tough fought DRAW in AOW8, Dai Shuang Hai returns to the ring to face Muay Thai superstar, Tadsapol “Iron Leg” Sinan of Thailand. Tadsapol is a veteran Muay Thai fighter with over 120 Muay Thai fights and 80 victories to his credit. He is ranked #6 at Lumpini Stadium, the most prestigious Muay Thai arena in the world. He has been working extensively on his ground fighting skills and is looking forward to showcasing those skills to his Chinese opponent. Dai Shuang Hai is a Chinese Sanda veteran and holds an undefeated record of 6-0-1 in Art of War. Dai Shuang Hai is coming off a disappointing draw in AOW8 against Indonesian fighter, Fransino Tirta, who pushed Dai Shuang Hai to his limits in their last engagement. This time around, Dai Shuang Hai is looking to go back to his winning ways and wants to finish his opponent decisively in the ring.
Chinese fighter, He Peng “The Prince,” will be facing off against tough newcomer, Sanun Somthong of Thailand. He Peng now has KO victories over 3 title holders in Mark Sangiao, Lennox Chance, and Filippo Cinti. He Peng possesses tremendous knock out power and will capitalize on his physical attributes to overpower his Thai opponent. Somthong is a veteran of over 60 professional Muay Thai matches and has been perfecting his ground fighting skills over this past year. Known for his speed and devastating combinations, he will be comfortable standing up or on the ground. This will be an exciting and fast paced fight and the outcome could go either way – KO or submission!
Nemat Bobomuhamedov of Uzbekistan, who displayed spectacular striking skills in AOW8 will return to face Chinese fan favorite, Yang Jian Ping. Bobomuhamedov was an awesome force to be reckoned with, and totally destroyed his opponent in the last AOW event. This time, he will be facing tough Chinese fighter, Yang Jian Ping, who disposed of Japanese jiu-jitsu expert, Setsuma Takeda in AOW6. Yang Jian Ping is very strong and fast and will be looking to take the fight to Bobomuhamedov. Bobomuhamedov will have to call upon his extensive sambo and judo skills as Yang Jian Ping is known for his great takedown skills. Will Bobomuhamedov be able to pull out a submission victory or will he opt for a KO? Will Yang Jian Ping have the skills to handle such an aggressive and fearsome opponent? Nobody can predict what will happen in this fight, but it is sure to be exciting and action-packed.
The undercard will feature 5 additional action-packed bouts featuring AOW veterans, Liu Jing Wen, Yang Liang, Wang Lei, Xu Lei, and Yang Meng Meng.
Don’t miss a night of fights at the Art of War FC 10, Fists of Fury, on November 24, 2007.
MAIN EVENT

Zhang Tie Quan (China) versus Erik Kalseth (Sweden)
MAIN CARD

Liu Guang Yao (China) versus Ole Baguio Laursen (Denmark)

Aotegen Bateer (China) versus Jose Pitu Sans (Spain)

Wang Guan (China) versus Zidov Dominik (Croatia)

Dai Shuang Hai (China) versus Tadsapol Sinan (Thailand)

He Peng (China) versus Sanun Somthong (Thailand)

Yang Jian Ping (China) versus Nemat Bobomuhamedov (Uzbekistan)

UNDER CARD

Liu Jing Wen versus TBA

Wang Lei versus Yang Da Hu

Yang Liang versus Zhang Ya Fei

Yan Meng Meng versus Wan Fei Long

Xu Lei versus Yu Long Fei

* fight card subject to change

Melendez VS. Thomson Finally a Reality

19 Nov

by MMAWeekly.com (2007-11-19)

Strikeforce, during Friday night’s “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives” event in San Jose, Calif., announced that lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will defend his belt against top contender Josh Thomson .
The bout is scheduled to take place on March 29, most likely in a return trip to the HP Pavilion, the same location where Friday’s four-man tournament was held.
Melendez, currently ranked as the No. 3 lightweight in the world by MMAWeekly.com, puts his undefeated string of 13 professional wins on the line against Thomson.
Melendez emerged onto the world stage with an impressive victory on New Year’s Eve 2006 over Tatsuya Kawajiri, currently ranked No. 4 in the world by MMAWeekly.com. He won his belt with a victory over Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Clay Guida nearly a year-and-a-half ago.
Thomson, 14-2 as a professional, is riding a six-fight winning streak that started at the same event where Melendez won the belt. That streak includes impressive victories over Duane “Bang” Ludwig and a tough Nick Gonzalez, but Melendez will be his toughest test to date.

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