Penn Confirms MMA Showdown with Ludwig for May 22nd K-1
By Loretta Hunt
Making a strong launch into the growing mixed martial arts market, it appears as if top-ranked kickboxing promotion, K-1, has scored a coup of sorts in booking one of America’s most sought after lightweight fighters for its May 22nd card. Although the match-up will take place at 170 pounds, it’s been unofficially announced that Duane Ludwig will be BJ Penn’s first K-1 opponent as part of a non-exclusive two-fight contract he recently signed with the promotion. Just a few hours ago, FCF spoke with the current UFC welterweight champion in his native Hawaii to confirm the match-up and although the bout agreement has yet to be signed, a sober Penn relayed, "It’s gonna happen." Penn said he got word of the proposed bout last night.
The news comes during a murky time for Penn regarding his relationship with the UFC promotion. "I don’t really know what’s going on," Penn vaguely comments when asked where he stands with America’s top MMA promotion at this moment, but will divulge that he and his representation did go back into talks with Zuffa Sports Entertainment, the owners of the UFC, following an exclusive interview he did with FCF on May 18th. In that interview, Penn expressed Zuffa’s resistance in allowing him to fulfill a lucrative deal with K-1 while still remaining a part of the UFC stable, even though Penn claims he had a verbal agreement with UFC president Dana White that he would renounce the welterweight title to move back down to the lightweight division to fight for a reinstated title there and be granted the flexibility to pursue other fights in the interim. Penn also stated in the interview that the term on his UFC contract had expired, and these current negotiations were an attempt to hash out an appropriate pay scale for a new three fight deal that came with his championship victory. Resisting comment on just what transpired at these meetings, Penn would only add this cryptic statement: "I don’t know how they can strip the title without looking bad."
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Rumble On The Rock 5 Weigh-Ins
Held May 6, 2004 at Dave and Busters
By Mike Onzuka
The Rumble On The Rock returns to Oahu to throw another big production event on the most populated island in the Hawaiian chain. The much-anticipated return of Wesley "Cabbage" Correira to Hawaii is on despite what the Internet rumors may have said. Due to the technical knockout of Cabbage by Andrei Arlovski in UFC 47, the Nevada State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended Cabbage’s eligibility to fight. There’s speculation on how long that suspension is and whether this effectively banned Cabbage from fighting on this card. Due to some legal action pending, the intricate details have to be left unsaid, but the main thing is that John Marsh will finally get his hands on Cabbage and hopefully throw more than a water bottle at the tough Hawaiian. Marsh looked to be in very good shape coming in at 240.5 pounds like Cabbage looked big as life 277.5 pounds. This grudge match should keep the fans drooling until these fighters get it on.
Olympic Silver Medalist and UFC’s number one ranked fighter at 185 lbs, Matt "The Law" Lindland, makes his Hawaii fighting debut against the Freak, Tony Fryklund from Team Extreme. There has been a war of words between these two on the Internet and I, for one, love to read Lindland’s rebuttals. I just hope his opponents keep insulting him so that I can continue to get an entertaining laugh from this educated and almost poetic fighter. Both fighters made weight and the Freak was ripped as usual. Former UFC Welterweight Champ and trainer extraordinaire Pat Miletich accompanied Fryklund.
Due to a car crash about two weeks ago, Ross "Da Boss" Ebanez had to remove himself from the card which leaves the very experienced Steve Berger holding the bag as he tries to get his career back on track since he has lost three of his last four. Berger tells me that he has a fight lined up at TKO in Canada in about two weeks.
The "I can’t get no satisfaction and a spot into the UFC" fighter Ron "The Machine Gun" Jhun will stay active as he faces Lindland teammate and well-touted Ryan Schultz. Jhun needs this win to continue to be on UFC match maker Joe Silva’s speed dial. Jhun initially came in a pound heavy, but quickly made the 170 pound limit.
One of the most interesting fights on paper is the Justin Mercado/Harris Sarmiento fight. 808 Fight Factory’s Sarmiento has been on a tear and is a very active fighter having one the Super Brawl 155 lb eliminator tournament and numerous kickboxing matches while Grappling Unlimited’s Mercado is a golden gloves quality boxer with a solid sprawl and brawl style. Heavy hands should fly and both fighters usually are very aggressive which makes this fight the one to watch.
Everyone made their weights and finally after a few changes in the card, the fights are set. I will commentate with former UFC lead interviewer Ryan Bennett for this event and with all the strikers on the card, the local crowd should be in for a night of action.
Rumble On The Rock 5 Fight Card
Royden Demotta (BJ Penn’s MMAA) 174.5 lbs. vs. Vance Pu
Justin Mercado (Grappling Unlimited) 153 lbs. vs. Harris Sarmiento (808 Fight Factory) 154.5 lbs.
Kaynan Kaku (BJ Penn’s MMAA) 153.5 lbs. vs. Santino Defranco (Arizona Combat Sports) 155.0 lbs.
Mike Rogers (Team Vaghi) 205 lbs. vs. Jason Lambert (North County Fight Club) 208.5 lbs.
Joe "Diesel" Riggs (Arizona Combat Sports) 185.0 lbs. vs. Kendall Grooves (Maui Full Contact) 183.5 lbs.
Danny Steele 159 lbs. vs. Melvin Murray 150 lbs.
Ronald Jhun (808 Fight Factory) 170 lbs. vs. Ryan Schultz (Team Quest) 163 lbs.
Matt Lindland (Team Quest) 184.0 lbs. vs. Tony Fryklund (Team Extreme) 180.5 lbs.