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BJJ Clash:
"Minotauro" Likely Faces Werdum in PRIDE OWGP’s Second Round
By Eduardo Alonso

In the middle of a series of intriguing PRIDE related events that has been gathering MMA fans’ attention throughout the world, many are forgetting about the second round of PRIDE’s Open-Weight Grand Prix, scheduled for July 1st, in Tokyo, Japan, and news concerning this upcoming show are developing at full force. In what will be a clash of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experts, Brazilian Top Team superstar Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira will very likely face Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic’s jiu-jitsu trainer Fabricio Werdum in a second round match-ups.

In a press conference scheduled for this Thursday in Japan, DSE, the company that runs PRIDE, is likely to officially announce this bout, as well as address other issues concerning the show’s current TV deal situation in Japan. Recent news from Japan is the promotion has lost its contract with FUJI, its major carrier.

Regardless, the second round promises exciting action with a clash of two jiu-jitsu stylists with ever improving boxing skills, as well the rumored bout that may be announced as well between the "Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva and Japanese wrestler Kazuyuki Fujita. That leaves a big question mark in the pairing of the remaining competitors in the Grand Prix: Filipovic, Hidehiko Yoshida, Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt.

The Northern Touch:
News and Notes from Canadian MMA

By Kelsey Mowatt

Elite Fighting Championship Gets Green Light, but Vancouver Wavering on MMA

Elite FC Promoter Rob Harris informed FCF this week that the Vancouver Athletic Commission (VAC) will allow the organization to hold another event this year, even though city staff has instructed the city council’s legal department to conduct a "risk assessment" of mixed martial arts. The review will take yet another look at the safety record of the sport, and whether or not MMA is deemed legal under Canada’s criminal code.

Despite the fact that Vancouver has now held several, legally sanctioned MMA events in recent years without incident, including Elite’s most recent March show which drew 1,500 fans, the VAC was instructed in May by the City Managers to restrict granting any further MMA promotional licenses pending the outcome of the review. Minutes of a May 4 VAC meeting reveal that the Commission was eager to avoid "the possibility of Elite group taking action," due to the fact that the Commission has already approved dates and locations for Elite’s events in July and September. As a result, the promotion will still be allowed to move ahead.

"The Athletic Commission has said that they have given us a promoter’s license for the year and that we will be allowed to continue," Harris says in regards to his Elite FC. "They are not really sure how long the risk assessment will take, but they will sanction our shows until further notice."

Elite FC and King of the Cage Canada had hoped to hold an event with several Championship fights on July 15 at the PNE Agrodome, which was to be taped for a later broadcast on The Sports Network. When the City announced the risk assessment last month, the two promotions were unsure on whether or not they should continue.

"We had a July date as well as the September one," Harris says," but obviously the July date has kind of been put into limbo. We weren’t sure what was going to happen, so the preparations for the July date just haven’t been made. Now with the Commission telling us we can still go ahead, we feel that we have the VAC on our side, and until they [the City Council] come up with a decision, business has to move forward. The Commission telling us to go ahead definitely gives us confidence, so we’ll have to look ahead to the September show."

The VAC and its chairman Roy Nosella have built a strong working relationship with Vancouver’s MMA promotions over the last few years, and have consistently supported their decision to sanction the sport on public record. In fact, the legislation that the VAC enacted to allow for MMA events was so admired by city officials in Vernon, BC, that the city had planned to review and adopt the VAC guidelines for MMA. No timeline from Vancouver’s city staff has been announced for the pending risk assessment.

In the meantime, Harris and is business partner Mike Hammoud will look towards the Squamish Nation’s Reserve in North Vancouver to hold another National Fighting Challenge. The Reservation, which has a separate governing body, has previously hosted five NFC events and over 20 North American Challenges, including, most recently, a NAC card on July 3.

"We have some big plans for the next NFC that I can’t get into," says Harris. "It will be held on July 15 and is fully sanctioned by the ISCF (International Sport Combat Federation), with blood work, full medicals, everything that is required by the Athletic Commission. It’s a different kind of event; we serve a nice dinner with the fights and it’s always a full house."

From the event’s promoter:

Belfort, Overeem Arrive In San Jose For Strikeforce Showdown

San Jose, CA — Superstars Vitor Belfort and Alistair Overeem officially touched down in San Jose, California yesterday with their respective camps, for their highly anticipated rematch at Strikeforce "Revenge," the 10-bout mixed martial arts mega-card that will take place at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday.

After experiencing a 10 hour delay at their point of departure in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Team Belfort arrived in Los Angeles at 2 PM yesterday and caught their connecting flight to San Jose.

Team Overeem, which includes Alistair’s brother and fellow Pride Fighting Championship star, Valentijn, arrived in San Jose early yesterday. Overeem later headed over to the nearby American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) for a training session.

Belfort is scheduled to train with his crew at AKA later today.

During their first encounter at Pride’s "Total Elimination 2005" event a year ago, Belfort and Overeem battled for nine and a half minutes (Note: Pride Fighting Championship schedules the first round of its bouts for 10 minutes) before Overeem secured a guillotine choke on Belfort and forced the Brazilian fighter to tap out.

Another rematch on Friday’s card will see World San Shou kickboxing champion Cung Le face "Mr. Unbreakable" Brian Warren. Le, whose start marks his second career appearance under mixed martial arts rules, defeated Warren by way of unanimous decision in a bout contested under San Shou rules in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 30, 2004.

Strikeforce’s "Revenge" card will also be highlighted by a matchup between undefeated 22-year-old Tyson Griffin and K-1 and UFC veteran, Duane "Bang" Ludwig, as well as a meeting between light heavyweights Bobby Southworth and James Irvin. Southworth introduced himself to the masses during Spike TV’s premiere season of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series two years ago.

Strikeforce 155 pound champion, Clay Guida, will set out to defend his crown for the first time since he captured the vacant title by persevering over four-time UFC fight winner and Bay Area favorite, Josh "The Punk" Thomson. Thomson will also return to battle and attempt to steer his career back on track.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar, Daniel Puder, will make his third career mixed martial arts appearance during the event.

Tickets for Strikeforce "Revenge" are on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) outlets and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com).

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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