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Thursday, Aug 04, 2005

Countdown To Ufn Live:weigh-ins Reunite Tuf Brethren

Countdown to UFN Live:
Weigh-Ins Reunite TUF Brethren

By Loretta Hunt

Ultimate Fight Night weigh-ins kicked-off this afternoon from The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and while nothing seemed out of the ordinary onstage with all sixteen fighters making their designated numbers, behind-the-scenes was where developments were really shaping up.

An army of Spike TV employees have seemed to triple the workforce racing about to make UFN, telecasting the first-ever live UFC event on basic cable starting 9pm ET.
Indeed, the success of The Ultimate Fighter hit reality TV show has convinced the cable station that they’re onto the next big thing. Expect to see a big TUF push in the following weeks leading up to season two’s August 22nd premiere. FCF has also learned another reality show that floats around the MMA world in the works as well. (More information on that to follow.)

In the meantime, hungry fans can enjoy UFN, which is a reunion of sorts for TUF’s first season cast — half of the card tomorrow night consists of the popular cast.

Among them TUF alumni Alexis Karalexis and Kenny Florian weighed in at 170 and 171 pounds respectively. The fellow Boston natives became friends on and after the show had wrapped. Now, these two natural welterweights will fight each other for the right to stick around.

American Kickboxing Academy’s Mike Swick hit the scales at 186 today, and opponent Gideon Ray, a 4-week replacement for an injured Keith Rockel, weighed in a comparatively lighter 181 pounds. More active in the welterweight division, the buzz is Ray’s infectious personality has been making an impression on UFC brass. Let’s see if his hands will be able to back that up when he squares off against striker Swick tomorrow night.

Drew Fickett vs. Josh Neer
Fickett vs. Neer

The first of tomorrow night’s preliminary bouts, Miletich Martial Arts protègè Josh Neer weighed-in at 169 pounds. Opponent and UFC returnee Drew Fickett was one pound heavier. An intense competitor, Neer rebuffed Fickett’s attempt to shake hands after their staredown, eliciting a reaction from the audience.

Josh Koscheck vs. Pete Spratt
Koscheck vs. Spratt

The first fight scheduled to hit the airwaves tomorrow night, Texan kickboxer Pete Spratt came in at 170 pounds on the dot. Opponent and All-American wrestler Josh Koscheck was 170.5 pounds, and has been delegated the favorite by both Internet and casino gambling outlets tomorrow despite Spratt’s heavier experience. Koscheck’s shredded appearance (he fought his four pro fight victories at welterweight before his TUF middleweight debut) was even noted by Spratt, who seemed to mockingly pay tribute to an Koscheck’s washboard in their staredown.

Pete Sell Nate Quarry
Sell Quarry

Next up the scales, East Coaster Pete Sell surprisingly got the loudest ovation from the Vegas crowd. He and somber Team Quest adversary Nate Quarry both came in at 186 pounds, one digit over their allotted weights, regularly waived by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Stephan Bonnar Sam Hoger
Bonnar Hoger

Sam "Sticky Fingers" Hoger, as opponent Stephan Bonnar has dubbed in, made his way to the stage capped by a UFC beanie. Hoger weighed in at 205 pounds; Bonnar came in at 206 pounds.

Patrick Cote Chris Leben
Cote Leben

Team Quest prankster Chris Leben tipped the scales at 185.5 pounds, while Canadian Patrick Cote looked a fit 185 pounds. Both strikers, this bout could produce some fast-paced slugging.

Nathan Marquardt Ivan Salaverry
Marquardt Salaverry

In the main event, Japan’s Pancrase champion Nate Marquardt made it in at 184 pounds. Relatively unknown in the States, Colorado native Marquardt was just as easy-going and relaxed as opponent Ivan Salaverry, who also came in at 184 pounds. Both well-rounded in every aspect of the game, their bout should prove a competitive and technical bout for the new fans watching from home.

Going with the Flo:
Florian On Redemption’s Heels

By Loretta Hunt

Kenny Florian - Photo courtesy of Zuffa/UFC

"That last fight was the most disappointing thing that’s ever happened to me in my life," Kenny Florian bluntly conveys. After twelve weeks on a hit reality TV show, there the Boston native was in his fifth career fight in front of 2.3 million fans, and things just couldn’t have gone worse. Heavy favorite Diego Sanchez had the experience, he had the size, and after two minutes and forty-nine seconds of dominating ground and pound on an overwhelmed Florian he had a 3-year, six-figure UFC contract.

To add sting to Florian’s cuts and bruises, light-heavyweights Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin fought to the bitter end a few minutes later at the Spike TV live-televised The Ultimate Fighter Finale, and although Griffin was given the nod and all the spoils that came with it, Bonnar was awarded a UFC contract on the spot as well for his efforts.

Four months later, Florian will get a shot at both personal and public redemption when he meets fellow TUF alumni Alex Karalexis Saturday evening in Las Vegas for Ultimate Fight Night, the UFC’s first-ever full-on live fight event shown on cable television. For Florian, it’s one more shot to show fans he’s got something to offer at the top level of American MMA during one of its biggest nights of exposure. Florian, for one, feels he has a lot to prove.

"It’s something that got me down," the 28-year-old shares of his recent performance in the cage. "My performance against Leben was nothing to be proud of. I didn’t show my skills, and against Diego, it happened once again. It was very frustrating. Obviously, fighting up a weight class or two was a big difference but I can’t use that as an excuse for me because I never got to show anything that I really do in the cage."

Florian’s "Cinderella story" was one not mentioned much on the hit series. UFC president Dana White had flown out to the East Coast to scout out Florian’s opponent for the show, but after watching Florian in action, decided to take him on instead.

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From Zuffa/UFC:

UFC 54 Banner Ad

Light Heavyweight Belt On The Line In Much-Anticipated Grudge Match; Couture Looks To Bounce Back Against Van Arsdale; Other exciting matches

LAS VEGAS, NV — Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell will look to avenge the first loss of his career and defend his UFC® light heavyweight crown in the process when he takes on challenger Jeremy Horn at UFC 54: Boiling Point this August 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Also on the card is a huge matchup between Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture and Mike Van Arsdale. World class fighters Frank Trigg, Georges "Rush" St-Pierre and "The Nightmare" Diego Sanchez also battle on this card, which will be available LIVE on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $34.95.

Liddell (16-3-0) is fresh off his big win over previous light heavyweight champ Couture at UFC 52, but he’ll have one thing on his mind when facing Horn: revenge. That’s because Liddell’s first career loss (March 5, 1999, at UFC 19) came when Horn, a longtime veteran of mixed martial arts with a record of 85-13-5, executed a first-round arm triangle choke on the future champion. So UFC 54 provides a chance for Liddell to wipe the slate clean against his old nemesis. But Horn’s well-rounded skills and versatility will present a tough challenge for the champ in what should be a match for the ages.

Couture (13-7-0)–the only man to win UFC titles in two separate weight classes — is looking to climb his way back into title contention in the light heavyweight division. ‘The Natural’ is one of the most popular figures fighting in the UFC today. He’ll have his hands full with Van Arsdale (8-1-0), a world-class wrestler and athlete who hasn’t lost in almost seven years

Two of the best welterweights in the world collide as Trigg (12-3-0) and St-Pierre (9-1-0) go head to head to determine who will advance in the rankings. Trigg has angered the normally reserved St-Pierre with his prefight comments and St-Pierre promises to make him pay.

Ultimate Fighter winner Sanchez (14 – 0) makes his UFC pay per view debut against dangerous striker Brian "Mandingo" Gassaway (18-9-3). Sanchez is undefeated but will have his hands full with the very experienced Gassaway.

Tickets priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, for the all-star, eight-fight card go on sale at 10 a.m. PT, Monday, June 6, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office, all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com, www.mgmgrand.com and by telephone at 800-929-1111 or 702-891-7777. Ticket purchases are subject to transaction fees. Card subject to change.

From the event’s promoter:

‘Other’ Franklin to End Amateur Career at ICE 16

Greg Franklin - Photo courtesy of the promoter
Greg Franklin

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Greg Franklin dabbled in professional MMA a few years ago, but is ready to attempt to follow in the footsteps of his famous brother.

On Saturday, Aug. 13, Greg Franklin will finish his amateur career by facing Detroit’s Terry Davinney in the light heavyweight main event of ICE 16 at Metropolis Nightclub. The 15-bout event begins at 8:30 p.m. with doors opening an hour earlier.

Greg’s amateur mark stands at 5-1 and he is 2-1 in ICE competition, while Davinney is 2-1 overall and 2-0 for ICE.

Of course, brother Rich Franklin is the UFC middleweight champion and recently completed a role as one of the two captains on the Spike-TV reality show "Ultimate Fighter." Rich will be on hand to serve as the cornerman for his brother.

Tickets for the event start at $25 in advance and can be purchased by calling Kerry Schall at 513 290-3259 or at SACAN Martial Arts, 513 759-4488.

From the event’s promoter:

Gladiator Challenge Comes to Oregon

Saturday, August 13th, world class cage fighting comes to scenic Old Camp Casino with Gladiator Challenge. Gladiator Challenge makes its debut in Oregon in Burns, Oregon. This fight card features 15 closed fist, full contact, no holds barred matches, including three exciting main event bouts.

In the main event, Pride veteran Charles ‘Krazy Horse’ Bennett takes on Oregon’s own John ‘Quick Guns’ Gunderson. Krazy Horse brings his unpredictable style of big slams and devastating knockout power to the cage to test local Team Desert Dogs premier fighter Gunderson. Gunderson is a veteran with wins over top contenders in smaller shows, who wants to demonstrate his skills in front of a wider audience against world class talent.

Also on the card, Kyacey ‘Ice Cold’ Uscola faces Washington native Paul Purcell. Uscola, of Primal Tribe Fighting, a top light-heavyweight contender, fights for the first time at middleweight, hoping to get a shot at the title at this new weight. Purcell, a veteran from Victory Athletics, moves up from welterweight to put a roadblock in Uscola’s path.

Finally, Team Desert Dogs fighter Justin ‘the Hawk’ Hawes matches up with Pat Healy in what promises to be a fight to the finish between two seasoned veterans.

Come see Gladiator Challenge, simply the best in mixed martial arts, in its debut in Oregon at Old Camp Casino on August 13th. Doors open at 1:30pm, fights start at 3:00pm. For tickets, call 1-888-343-7568.

From the event’s promoter:

RITC 73 – This Saturday Night!!!
Super Sternal Notch (live guest band)

Glendale Arena
Saturday, Aug 6, 2005
Doors Open: 6 PM, Fight Time: 7:30 PM

Tickets now available at Glendale Arena (623-772-3800) and through TicketMaster (480-784-4444). Advanced ticket prices: $20 general admission, $30 floor reserved, $50 floor reserved, $75 ringside (rows 4-7), $100 VIP (rows 1-3). Tickets $5 higher if purchased on fight day. Show your military, student or senior (over 55) ID and receive a $5 discount on each ticket purchased. Parking is free but there is a $5 additional charge for the Glendale Arena facility fee. The third edition of RITC – Glendale Arena is shaping up to be a spectacular night of fighting action. A strong team of Ricardo Pires trained fighters from Las Vegas (Schoenauer, Sursa, Wood) will be invading Glendale Arena on Aug 6th to take on some top Arizona fighters. The rest of the card is equally spectacular with strong match ups from top to bottom.

The special guest band for RITC 73 will be SUPER STERNAL NOTCH live on stage.

Fight Card:

Hans Marrero (205) vs Alex Schoenauer (205)
Kyle Brees (160) vs Victor Estrada (160)
Marc Sursa (220) vs Zack Staugkton (235)
Danny Wren (175) vs Adam Roland (175)

Nike Knight (135) vs Robert Davis (140)
Jeremiah Shivers (175) vs Paul Arroyo (180)
John Wood (185) vs John Lansing (185)
Brian Bourgeois (265) vs Herb Garcia (300)
Ryan Potter (195) vs TBA

Richie Reyes (160) vs Brandon Kress (160)
Dominik Cruz (150) vs Josh Donahue (150)
Jamie Schmitt (175) vs Bob Calnin (175)
Greg Palomo (175) vs Derek Kram (175)

Fight card subject to change.

Visit this web site for specific driving directions from throughout the valley:

Glendale Arena
9400 W Maryland Ave
Glendale, AZ 85305

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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