UFC 128 sees the comeback of UFC Lightheavyweight Champion, Mauricio Shogun Rua, as he takes on ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans. Shogun talks pre fight on his expectations of the bout.
We’d all like to see abit of this again….
An interview with #1 contender to the UFC Light Heavyweight Belt, ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans speaks on his fight with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, the possibility of an interim title shot for Lyoto Machida and the Shogun Rua situation.
Rashad claims there is no need for an interim title bout. maybe he’s just trying to avoid a repeat of the scenario he found himself in last time versus Lyoto….
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson has extended an apology to UFC fans for what he calls a “boring fight” between himself and Rashad Evans. The bout headlined UFC 114 and looks likely to have set PPV records, but Jackson was unhappy with how it panned out – and not just because he lost a decision.
“I apologise for the fight not so much because I lost but because of how it went down. I always like to put on exciting fights for the fans but Rashad came out to use that ‘Greg Jackson’ plan: be boring and squeak out a victory. So that bothers me more than the loss.”
Jackson says he struggled with Evans’ takedown-based gameplan and that fear of the takedown made him wary of letting his hands go. But when he did land a potentially fight-finishing punch and had Evans staggered he inexplicably allowed him to recover instead of going in for the kill – why?
“The reason why is because I thought he wanted me to rush in so he could take me down again. That’s the worst time to rush in and take somebody out. So the whole time I was walking on eggshells and trying to keep him from taking me down because Rashad is an awesome wrestler and I was having trouble getting up off the floor. So I figured if I rushed in he was gonna take me down,” Jackson recalls.
“I remember one other thing he was doing – he was punching me in my knee! It was weird because I had suffered a real bad knee injury in camp but we kept it secret, we didn’t say anything about it and we didn’t even tell the UFC.
“I told my doctor and that was it, he helped me out but I was going to back out of the fight. The only reason I didn’t back out was the fight had been so hyped and I didn’t want to disappoint the fans. Why was he punching me in the knee though? That’s kind of weird – did he find out about the injury? I don’t know. Its weird.”
Having finished with the Evans fight and the endless questions he had to answer before it (“I’m so glad that part is over”), Jackson is now out touring the US in support of The A-Team movie, his first major acting role.
The movie opened last weekend and has been warmly received by the MMA community. Even UFC president Dana White, initially furious that Jackson backed out of UFC 107 to take the BA Baracus role, has congratulated the former light-heavyweight champion on his performance.
Thanks to FightersOnly
Main event. Chuck Liddell (21-7-0) vs Rich Franklin (27-5-0, 1NC)
The main event was supposed to be between Chuck and Tito Ortiz but due to a neck injury Tito was unable to finish his stint as a coach on the Ultimate Fighter and so stepped in Rich Franklin.
Rich will be a much tougher fight than Tito as Rich is a much more well rounded fighter and has much better striking than Tito. Rich will be looking to utilize his arsenal of body kicks and leg kicks to slow Chuck down and takeaway his knockout power. Keith Jardine was able to control the range and slow Chuck on his way to earning a split decision victory over “The Iceman”. Rich will be looking to constantly circle to the right away from Chuck’s devastating right hand and look to counter punch Chuck.
Chuck claims that he his in the best shape of his life and that the main difference with this training camp is that by the time he actually started his training camp, he was already in shape from coaching the Ultimate Fighter. Chuck in recent years has neglected his wrestling base and simply used it as takedown defence, forcing opponents to strike with him. Well look for Chuck to finally mix it up and mix his striking with some wrestling. This will make Chuck much more unpredictable and with the recent success of Rashad Evans, Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck, it is clear that a strong wrestling background is paramount in controlling where the fight goes.
V: Liddell via KO Rd 2.
R: Liddell via TKO Rd 2.
Co-main Event: Mirko Cro Cop (26-7-0. 1NC) vs Pat Barry (5-1-0)
Who doesn’t like to see two world-class strikers go toe to toe? This bout screams knockout of the night and will surely deliver.
Mirko has not been the same fighter ever since his devastating knockout loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70. Mirko will be looking for his trademark right kick to the body, straight left and his famous left head kick. If the Mirko of Pride finally makes his appearance in the octagon then we are in for a KO victory for Mirko. However, those days seem to have been kicked out by Gabriel Gonzaga.
Pat Barry is a young, fresh and hungry fighter. Pat has an enormous amount of respect for his long time idol Mirko but understands the common saying of ” You have to beat a legend to be a legend.” Pat is no slouch in the striking department and also competed in K-1 like Mirko but never fought each other. Pat Barry won his first 3 MMA bouts having only thrown a combined total of an astonishing 6 kicks. Pat will look to use his speed advantage over an aging Mirko and mix his straight punches with his devastating kicks.
V: Barry via KO Rd 2.
R: Barry via KO Rd 1.
Paulo Thiago (13-1-0) vs Martin Kampmann ( 16-3-0)
A interesting macth-up which puts two top welterweights together with the winner edging closer towards a title shot.
Paulo Thiago is coming of a submission victory over Mike Swick at UFC 109 where he put “Quick” Swick to sleep in the 2nd round. Paulo has a solid chin, solid boxing and holds a black belt in BJJ. Paulo will look to keep the fight standing and use his boxing to test Kampanns suspect jaw. Martin Kampmann has two previous tko losses, with his most recent coming at the hands of banished UFC fighter Paul “Semtex” Daley. Paulo would certainly see this as an advantage but Kampann has got a few tricks of his own. A KO victory could be on the cards for Paulo Thiago if he can catch Martin in the stand up battle.
Martin is coming off a 1st round submission victory over Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann at UFC 108. Other than Paul Daley, Martin has only lost to Nate Marquadt and that was way back at UFC 88 whilst Kampann was still competing in the middleweight division. Martin’s physique is much better suited for the welterweight division and will try to control the pace of the fight. If Martin’s chin can hold out, he can use disciplined striking to outpoint Paulo on the way to a unanimous decision.
V: Thiago via KO Rd 2.
R: Thiago via TKO Rd 2.
Ben Rothwell (30-7-0) vs Gilbert Yvel (36-14-1, 1NC.)
With both fighters coming off TKO losses in their UFC debuts, this fight is pivotal in securing a future in the UFC.
The gameplan for both fighters in this fight will be to stand toe to toe. Rothwell is a beast and is known for his granite chin and always comes forward. Yvel on the other hand is a well known striker but perhaps better known for his other antics which include knocking out a referee in a previous bout. Rothwell has the ability to take the fight to the ground and holds an advantage on the ground over Yvel.
Rothwell may look to strike and if things are going well then stick with it but if he starts to taste the power that Yvel has, I am sure Ben will not hesitate to take the fight to the ground and work some ground and pound on Gilbert. Gilbert on the other hand is confident in his striking and Knockout power so will be looking to keep the fight standing if Rothwell chooses to take the fight to the ground.
V: Rothwell via TKO Rd 3.
R: Yvel via TKO Rd 2.
Carlos Condit (24-5-0) vs Rory Macdonald (10-0-0)
Carlos will be looking to cool down this hot prospect Rory Macdonald. Macdonald has not gone the distance before and has finished 60% of his fights via submission. Condit who has rejoined Greg Jackson’s camp has the experience advantage and is a well rounded fighter. Carlos is fantastic off his back but will prefer to keep the fight standing or put Rory on his back.
Condit is coming back from a serious freak accident when cleaning his garage that led to staph infection. This meant Condit pulled out of his bout with Paul Daley. Condit is looking to bring the form he showed in the WEC to the UFC but with the competition being much tougher now, going back to New Mexico at Jackson’s gym could be a blessing in disguise.
Macdonald is the hungrier fighter and is touted as the next “GSP”. Coming off a submission victory in his UFC debut over Mike Guymon, Rory looked good in his bout overcoming adversity when he was dropped before gaining his submission victory. Look for Rory to outwork Carlos and if things do not go his way in the striking department, Rory will be able to take Carlos down and look to control him.
V: Condit via TKO Rd 2.
R: Macdonald via Unanimous Decision.
Newly minted UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s first title defense likely will be delayed due to a recent knee surgery.
Rua, who knocked out Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 to earn the 205-pound title, was expected to meet Rashad Evans later this year.
With Rua’s window of recovery, UFC president Dana White is unsure when the Brazilian champ will fight again.
“He just got out of the hospital; it was a successful surgery,” White said. “He had the surgery in Los Angeles, and he’s going to be doing all his therapy in Vegas.
“So he’ll be in Vegas for the next five weeks.”
White said Rua’s injury occurred during the fight with Machida, though a report from ESPN’s “MMA Live” the night of the May 8 event stated Rua’s knee was already injured.
“He got hurt in the fight,” White asserted.
The UFC president does not know which knee Rua injured.
The Brazilian superstar previously has struggled with knee injuries. He faced Forrest Griffin with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his octagon debut at UFC 76 and afterward underwent surgery to repair the damage. Less than six months later, he withdrew from a scheduled fight with Chuck Liddell at UFC 85 with the same injury and underwent another surgery.
Episode 3 of UFC Primetime in the buildup to UFC 114: Rampage vs Evans on MMAFriedRice.com