Ufc 42 Weigh-ins
UFC 42 Weigh-ins
By Loretta Hunt
Miami, Florida — Along the banks of the beautiful Biscayne Bay, the UFC held it’s official weigh-ins today for UFC 42: Sudden Impact, to be held tomorrow night at the American Airlines Arena. The weather couldn’t be better for an outdoor affair, partly sunny with a slight breeze coming off the water. Hosted by Joe Rogan, MMA’s guardian angel and popular "Fear Factor" host on the hit NBC show, the pre-show event ran smoothly and quickly. The big news for tomorrow night will be Mike Goldberg’s absence from the commentator’s booth for the first time in years. Goldberg will be lending his services elsewhere for the Minnesota Wild ice hockey team, who have made it to play-off status. The "NY BadAss" himself, Phil Baroni, will fill the vacant role alongside Rogan. "This should be fun," Baroni calmly commented regarding the change of pace. King of The Cage announcer and Abu Dhabi finalist Eddie Bravo will also be backstage for some behind-the-scenes coverage. As for the weights today:
Welterweight champion Matt Hughes was the first to be called to the stage with his challenger Sean Sherk not far behind. 5’6’" Sherk weighed in first at 168 pounds. Hughes was an even 170, and as calm and poised as ever for an athlete about to enter his 4th title defense. 22-0-1 Sherk looked solid as well, raising hopes that tomorrow night’s main event will be a war.
Striking machines Robbie Lawler and Pete Spratt were the next pair to step onto the scales. Both came in at 170 pounds on the dot. The "Ruthless" one will be making his fourth UFC appearance against Spratt, a Golden Gloves champ and formidable kickboxer looking to get back into the welterweight picture after a quick loss to Carlos Newton at UFC 40. Lawler’s aggressive fighting style versus a hungry Spratt — a knockout could very well be in the cards.
For the sole heavyweight bout of the evening, Renzo Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Sean Alvarez weighed in at 229 pounds. He’ll probably be looking to get opponent Wesley "Cabbage" Correira to the ground fast which won’t be an easy task. Cabbage, coming in at a fitter-looking 265 pounds, is a slugger through and through.
6-1 Evan Tanner is back after a brief break from the promotion (he last fought at UFC 38). Looking especially cut (he credits this to scaling back on his weightlifting), the quiet light-heavyweight weighed in at 199 pounds. Newcomer Rich Franklin of Meattruck Inc. weighed in at 204 pounds. With Tanner the heavy favorite going into the second televised fight tomorrow night, Franklin will need to keep this one on its feet or face the wrath of patented forearm strike from above.
Lightweight dynamo Genki Sudo is back a second time after making a triumphant splash at UFC 38 in London, England. He added a bit of spunk to the pretty mild proceedings with his flamboyant style and general ease. The Japanese showman came in at 155 pounds. Action should be fast and furious, as Sudo squares off against an 155-pound Duane "Bang" Ludwig. Ludwig is a world-class kickboxer who just knocked out one of the best the lightweight class has to offer in Jens Pulver.
On the middleweight forefront, England’s Mark Weir will face Canadian newcomer David "The Crow" Loiseau. Weir, a well-rounded stylist, weighed-in at 183 pounds and Loiseau was a pound heavier. Loiseau, the UCC World Middleweight Champion, is a promising prospect among MMA insiders who have watched him successfully dominate the Canadian scene for the last two years.
For the swing match tomorrow night, KOTC vet Romie Aram will take on the seasoned Dave Strasser. Both came in at 170 pounds. Strasser is 22-3-4 for pro fights–his debut with the big show has been a long time coming. Aram is 6-0 in professional play. Both are well versed standing and on the ground.
Lightweights Rich "Cleat" Crunkilton and Hermes Franca were the final fighters to weigh-in. Crunkilton weighed in at 154 pounds, while American Top Team’s Franca was the sole competitor to not make weight at 156 pounds. Franca was given two hours to cut half a pound, which he did, in ample time. Crunkilton could be the next big thing for the lightweight class for he seems as comfortable on his feet as he does on the ground. Franca, a BJJ black belt, cannot be counted out though–he’s won with his striking before as well.
Miami Sound Bites
By Loretta Hunt
The scale has been tucked away in the closet. The weights have all been tallied. Bellies are full and spirits are high for a good showing. A few words from those entering the Octagon tomorrow night…
One Win Away
By Loretta Hunt
UFC welterweight contender Sean Sherk has had much to be happy about in the past two years. Not only has his aspirations of being a fighter become a firm reality, his solid performance with the UFC in his last three outings has brought the talented wrestler one win away from earning a title. Outside of the Octagon, Sherk thrives as well. He lives tranquilly with his fiancee in his native "Land of a 1,000 Lakes," (Minnesota to us foreigners) with not much to worry about besides the routine snow storms (blizzards to us foreigners) that fall there during the winter. He plans to get married by next summer and despite a broken TIVO system that has currently stopped recording his favorite shows, things are looking rosy for this reserved, down-to-earth fighter.
Of course, there is always a flip side to paradise. For starters, his upcoming title shot will be his sole televised pay-per-view bout to date (all three of his prior appearances have been in the preliminaries), making it literally "first impression" time for thousands of fans. "If I’m not doing well in the fight for some reason," Sherk comments, "that’s all they’re going to see. Nobody’s seen all of the fights I’ve won, so it adds pressure to put on a great show and give fans something to remember me by."
If that added stress were not enough, Sherk’s coach and mentor of seven years, Greg Nelson has had to bow out of training his star pupil for the last year to take on a deadly adversary of his own. "He’s making some really good progress now, " comments Sherk on Nelson’s bout with cancer, "but he’s had a lot of ups and downs for the last year pretty hard core." Currently receiving treatment at the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Nelson will be unable to attend Sherk’s opportunity to wrest the belt from champion Matt Hughes’s hands this Friday at UFC 42: Sudden Impact, a fact that has notably resonated with the 29-year old fighter. "It’s affected me a lot. That’s my leader. I take a lot of direction from him and he’s always got something real smart to say. He’s influenced me a lot, so not having him there has hurt me."
The show has gone on though for the subdued competitor, who started wrestling at the age of seven and has amassed a respectable professional record of 22-0-1 over the last three years. Training out of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, Sherk has taken his humble beginnings as a high school wrestler that placed every year at states ("That’s just small stuff compared to all these other guys," he says) to impressive heights. Without the benefit of wrestling in college (he never attended), Sherk made a name for himself on the local MMA circuit with shows like Dangerzone and the Midwest MMA Championships. A stint with Ultimate Wrestling Minnesota led to an opportunity to fight in the Extreme Challenge Trials, a regular breeding ground for young up-and-comers eyed closely by fight promoter and manager Monte Cox. Under Cox’s lead, Sherk’s career quickly progressed to his UFC 30 debut (after only twelve pro fights), where an aggressively dismantled Team Punishment opponent Tiki Ghosn in the second round. Following fights in both King Of The Cage and Pancrase (where Sherk suffered his only career draw to Kiuma Kunioki), Sherk’s second UFC appearance was a dominant display of "ground and pound" power against Japanese submission artist Jutaro Nakao. In his most recent UFC fight in Connecticut, Sherk was quickly able to stop opponent Benji Radach in his tracks in the first round, when a cut opened on "the Razor’s" head caused a doctor’s stoppage.
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