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UFC President Dana White Says Brock Lesnar’s Recovery ‘Has Been Incredible’

Source: MMA Weekly

Brock Lesnar is on the mend and recouping from his latest bout with diverticulitis in true Brock Lesnarfashion… on his

Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar

own, on a farm, with no contact to the outside world.

“I talked to his manager. You want to hear how fast this guy is recovering?” UFC president Dana White offered up on Thursday.

“He’s up on his farm in Canada. He has a big farm in Canada and he’s basically up there farming. He’s completely disconnected himself from the world, no phones, no nothing. He’s not talking to anybody.”

Lesnar is on the mend following surgery in late May to help him deal with a second bout of diverticulitis. The resurgence of the intestinal disorder kept him out of the main event of UFC 131 in Vancouver, where he was to have fought Junior dos Santos for the number one contender spot in the UFC heavyweight division.

“They removed about 12 inches of his colon, repaired it, he feels great. He said he’s a little sore, but the operation was a huge success,” White had said the day after Lesnar’s procedure.

His recent troubles are a follow-up to the problems that plagued him in 2009, when Lesnar first discovered he had the illness and had to pull out of a fight with Shane Carwin.

Both times his illness has flared up, the questions rained down about Lesnar’s future as a fighter. He obviously bounced back the first time, defeating Shane Carwin before losing the UFC heavyweight belt to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121.

He has stated emphatically that this second battle with the disease won’t knock him out of the Octagon either. It may slow him down, but he plans to be back in early 2012.

“We’re hoping he can be back by the first of the year,” White stated following the surgery.

“His recovery has been incredible.”

Carwin vs Dos Santos headline UFC 131 in Vancouver

Source:   TSN

Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos are used to imposing their will in the cage. Quickly.

The two have combined for 22 first-round stoppages (12 for Carwin and 10 for Dos Santos) in their 26 fights.

Carwin’s hands are like a sledgehammer. Even slimmed down, the six-foot-two engineer is built like a fridge and hits like a Hummer.

His first 12 pro fights lasted a grand total of 16 minutes 10 seconds.

The sleek six-foot-four Dos Santos is an Exocet missile — fast, accurate and decisive.

So expect fireworks when 500 pounds of Grade A mixed martial art heavyweight meet Saturday night in the main event of UFC 131 at Rogers Arena. The winner gets a shot at champion Cain Velasquez.

“Don’t leave the TV,” warned Carwin (12-1).

“It’s not going to be by decision, for sure,” echoed Brazil’s Dos Santos (12-1).

The two fighters are at the top of the charts for significant strikes landed per minute in the UFC. Carwin is No. 1 at 7.65 while Dos Santos is No. 3 at 7.18, according to FightMetric.

Still both men have had to look in the mirror after their last fights.

Carwin essentially punched himself out in the first round against then champion Brock Lesnar last July at UFC 116, recording an astounding 40-3 edge in significant strikes in the first five minutes. His exhausted body shut down in the second and Carwin was submitted two minutes 19 seconds into the second round.

Dos Santos dominated Roy (Big Country) Nelson last August at UFC 117 but could not put the roly-poly fighter away. He ended up winning by decision, holding a 130-40 edge in significant strikes over the fight.

“Roy Nelson has a hard chin,” Dos Santos said. “But I learned a lot there too. I was too anxious to knock him out. … The knockout is the result of good technique in the fight.”

Said manager Ed Soares: “He’s known for his precision, accuracy and his technique. He just got a little over-anxious to finish the fight.”

Dos Santos believes he is “way faster” and way better” as a striker than Carwin, whose boxing skills he rates as “pretty good.”

The Brazilian is almost a 2-1 favourite, according to the oddsmaker at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

Both men have been idle of late.

Dos Santos was busy as coach of Season 13 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Carwin underwent neck surgery.

Carwin had been slated to face Norwegian newcomer John-Olav Eneimo on this card, only to be promoted to the main event when Lesnar had to withdraw because of a recurrence of diverticulitis.

Since the surgery, Carwin has rejigged his diet and dropped 20 pounds in a bid to avoid the cardio crash that near paralyzed him in the second round against Lesnar. He expects to weight 255 to 260 pounds come Saturday night.

Against Lesnar, Carwin had a 39-3 edge in significant strikes in a tense first round that saw the champion hanging on by a thread.

Despite the outcome, coach Trevor Wittman liked what he saw. He says Carwin demonstrated, at least for a while, a more relaxed, fluid approach to putting his punches together.

“In the gym, I see loose, I see smooth, I see motion. … So when it comes to a technical aspect, he’s there. But being able to put it out there underneath the lights, I’ve only got to see a touch.

“Experience is the key.”

Experience like the Lesnar loss, which Wittman notes was the first time Carwin had ever ventured outside the first round.

“What makes champions great is guys who overcome things and overcome obstacles,” said Wittman. “You’re definitely going to see a different Shane.”

Wittman rates Dos Santos as “the best heavyweight — outside of Shane Carwin” and says his camp was ecstatic when offered a chance to face him.

“We want to fight the best,” he said.

Some might say be careful what you wish for. The 240-pound Dos Santos is dangerous.

“He’s a heavyweight that moves like a lightweight,” said jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia, a middleweight who trains with Dos Santos. “That’s his difference. . . . I think he will be the champion one day.”

Said Nelson: “I think JDS has probably the best striking that I’ve ever seen in the heavyweight division.”

Even Wittman is enamoured with Dos Santos’ hands.

“Dos Santos hits the chin on a consistent basis — and with the right punches,” he said appreciatively. “Not jabs, not straight rights but hooks and uppercuts. Those are finishing shots, those are shots that put you out. And Dos Santos is the best at that.

“He lands them, he puts them where they’re supposed to. That’s the cool thing about it, that’s what makes me a fan, he knows what he’s doing.”

Dos Santos has suggested all week that Carwin, once he tastes his speed and power, will look to take the fight to the ground.

Carwin is a former Division 2 national champion wrestler who fell in love with striking and has rarely had to resort to his other skills.

“I prefer to fight standup so I will try to stay standing with him. But if he takes me down and holds me there, then I will show my jiu-jitsu for the fans,” said Dos Santos, who has a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and trains with the vaunted Nogueira brothers.

Dos Santos is hard to move. He has fought off 89 per cent of takedown attempts against him in the UFC. Carwin’s takedown accuracy, in contrast, is just 25 per cent.

Both men are good stories away from the cage.

A former star NCAA Division II wrestler and footballer, the 36-year-old Carwin played in the 1998 Senior Bowl, attended the NFL combine in Indianapolis, and was once touted as a fifth-round draft pick in the NFL until a back injury cooled the interest. The linebacker still merited a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rather than playing arena football for the New England Seawolves, he returned to school and won the Division II national wrestling title in 1999 in Fargo, N.D.

When not fighting, Carwin is an engineer for North Weld County Water in Colorado where he helps develop hydraulic models and infrastructure review of new subdivisions and growth. His resume includes degrees from Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison and the Colorado School of Mines.

The 27-year-old Dos Santos didn’t start training jiu-jitsu until some six years ago. A waiter in Brazil, he went to the gym to get in shape “because I was a little bit fat,” he said with a smile.

Soares is convinced that Dos Santos is such a good athlete, he would be in the NFL if he had been born in America.

“Out of all of our athletes that we have, he’s the most athletic one,” said Soares, whose Black House stable features the Nogueiras and middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

“He could have played any professional sport he would have put his mind to,” said Soares.

“Not a jockey,” offered one reporter.

“The horse, maybe,” Soares said with a smile.


Prefight Conference

Dana White fine with “playing second fiddle” in Vancouver

Source: TSN

Hockey rules in Canada. Dana White says he gets it.

The normally brash UFC president played the gracious visitor Thursday, saying he doesn’t mind taking a backseat to the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver.

Game 5 of the Canucks-Bruins series is set for Friday at Rogers Arena. UFC 131 goes the next night at the same venue.

Ticket reseller StubHub had tickets starting at US$83 for UFC 131, as of early Thursday evening. The lowest price for Game 5 was $885.

The UFC says capacity for its show is around 14,000 to 15,000 and expects to have between 13,000 and 14,000 people Saturday.

UFC 115, Vancouver’s first show last June, sold out in just 30 minutes in a pre-sale, two days before tickets were slated to go on sale to the general public. It was a UFC record at the time.

“We didn’t blow it out here like we did last time but I’m very happy with the gate,” White said. “It’s going to be a successful show for us.”

Showing a rare diplomatic side, White said he saw the hockey and mixed martial arts mashup as “a good weekend for sports” rather than competition.

The UFC has held shows in Montreal when the Canadiens were in the playoffs — White even wore a Habs jersey during a question-and-answer session at the Bell Centre — but the hockey hype has been ratcheted up a few notches with the Stanley Cup at stake.

While White makes his home in Las Vegas, his roots are from Boston — something he didn’t shy away from at Thursday’s news conference which was open to the public at Vancouver’s downtown Robson Square.

“It’s good to be back, everybody,” White said before triggering some boos by adding: “It’s a little weird being from Boston being here today.”

White arrived in town on Wednesday night and tweeted “What’s up Vancouver” right after the Game 4 blowout in Boston.

“I didn’t get some very good responses,” he said with a laugh. “People weren’t too happy here yesterday.

“Listen, I’ve got a big mouth and I talk a lot of smack sometimes, (but) I’m not messing with this whole hockey thing. It’s like religion to you guys up here.”

Veteran fighter Kenny Florian, a Boston native who is friends with Shawn Thornton and several other Bruins, tried but failed to walk a diplomatic line.

“I’m not going to sit here and say ‘Go Bruins’ but ‘Go Bruins,”‘ he said, drawing more boos.

Said White: “There were more fights last night (in Game 4) than there probably will be on Saturday (at UFC 131). It was one of the craziest games I’ve ever seen and I only saw the highlights.”

Asked if he was going to go to Friday’s game, White replied: “I don’t know, I’m thinking about it. I don’t want to get killed over there.”

White told reporters later that he understands hockey and Canada.

“Let me tell you what, I don’t ever fool myself on what the No. 1 sport in Canada is, believe me,” White said. “Canada’s been very good to us, it’s been amazing. … I’ve no problem playing second fiddle to their hockey team playing here for the championship. I get it.”

“It’s good to be second fiddle,” he added. “I’ve been 90th fiddle from where I come from. Real mainstream media still doesn’t even cover us the way they cover other sports in the United States. The way Canada handles the UFC, you will hear no bitching from me, believe me. It’s been fantastic here, it always is every time we come up here. We love it.”

White acknowledged he is no puckhead.

“I’m not a big hockey fan. I like hockey and I respect it. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about hockey . . . I can’t stand soccer. I hate soccer, man. I hate it.

“I think the guys that play hockey are so talented. Especially when you’re getting your head taken off. OK, they’re on skates with a crooked stick and they’ve got to shoot it into a goal where the guy standing in front of it is just as big as the goal itself. And anybody can take your head off at any moment.

“It’s a crazy sport.” he said with a laugh. “But I’m a fight guy, that’s it.”

He may not get hockey, but he understand its role north of the border.

“It’s the only thing anybody cares about. It’s part of this culture. They’ve treated us so well up here I feel like we’re the No. 2 sport behind hockey. And when they’ve got their championship going on, I absolutely respect that 100 per cent.”


Diaz gives up Strikeforce title to take on St.Pierre

Source: TSN

Nick Diaz will give up his Strikeforce title to challenge UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in October, says UFC president Dana White.

The two are slated to face off at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

White said a fight will be held to decide who gets the vacant Strikeforce belt.

While parent company Zuffa owns the UFC and Strikeforce, the latter’s TV contract with Showtime in the U.S. has complicated the movement of fighters.

“People were screaming for it and clamouring for it,” White said of the GSP-Diaz fight. “We went and talked to Showtime and Showtime was cool with it.”

White said he is able to access Strikeforce talent but wants to respect the deal with Showtime. Plus he does not want to cannibalize Strikeforce.

“We’re trying to figure this thing out. We have a deal with Showtime and we’re going to honour that deal with Showtime. And Showtime has worked with us really good … We’ll see what happens. Hopefully we can make this thing work.”

St-Pierre (22-2) is coming off a decision win over Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto. The 30-year-old from Montreal has defended his 170-pound title six times since winning it back from Matt Serra at UFC 83 in April 2008.

Like St-Pierre, Diaz (14-6) has not lost since 2007. The 27-year-old stopped Paul (Semtex) Daley in the first round last time out in Strikeforce.

Diaz fought in the UFC from 2003 to 2006 but wore out his welcome, thanks to incidents like a post-fight brawl with Joe Riggs in hospital.

“I think he has a completely different attitude than he used to have in the UFC,” said White.

Diaz’s younger brother Nate also fights in the UFC.

The UFC president said Nick Diaz now has a UFC contract, but could go back to Strikeforce on the same terms if he lost to GSP.

He said he hopes to find ways to bridge the two promotions.

“We want to make this work for them and us,” said White. “The big question with Strikeforce is can we make this thing work on Showtime so that we don’t get murdered and lose a bunch of money.”

In Hockey-Crazed Vancouver, UFC 131 Not Exactly a Hot Ticket

Source: MMA Fighting

By Ben Fowlkes

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – In retrospect, the timing could have been better. Or maybe it just couldn’t have been worse.UFC 131marks the second time in as many years that the world’s biggest MMA organization has visited this city, and unfortunately for the UFC, all eyes are not exactly on the Octagon this weekend.With the Vancouver Canucks tied in a 2-2 Stanley Cup finals series against Boston – and Game 5 headed here on Friday night – Saturday’s UFC event seems to be almost an afterthought for most of the city’s sports fans.

“It’s tough. The UFC couldn’t have come to Vancouver on a tougher day, or at a tougher time,” says Shawn Tompkins, a Canadian-born MMA trainer now living in Las Vegas.

One of his best lightweights, Sam Stout, is fighting on Saturday’s card, but he knows that getting people’s attention with anything other than hockey this weekend is no easy sell.

“The fact that it’s their hometown team in the Stanley Cup finals? The Stanley Cup, in Canada, is everything,” Tompkins adds.If you don’t believe him, just take a quick walk around downtown Vancouver. On the afternoon of Wednesday’s Game 4, Canucks flags hang from windows everywhere you look, and fans are already sporting their temporary Canucks tattoos on their faces hours before game time.And once the puck drops at 5 p.m. local time, you can forget about talking to anyone here about any sport other than hockey.

Take the four fans decked out in Canucks jerseys, waving a Canucks flag and screaming indiscriminately at passing cars on the corner of Hornby and Smithe, for instance. Clearly, these are people who love pro sports – or at least one pro sport. But are they even aware that there’s a fight in their town this weekend?

“Who cares about that?” one of them shouts at me when I ask. “Where’s your jersey?!”

But to his friend, this sounds familiar.

“Oh yeah, what’s his name, Carwin?” he ventures.

That’s right, I tell him. Shane Carwin. One half of Saturday night’s heavyweight main event. He’s heard of him?

“Not really. My boss mentioned it on Facebook.”

Inside Earl’s restaurant and bar downtown, where a standing-room crowd has gathered to watch the game, the sentiment is the same.

26-year-old Vancouver resident Jamil Sunverji remembers hearing about the fight, but he never considered going, he says. Not with a game in Vancouver on Friday night, and then another on Monday.

“You don’t want to waste a night out on that,” he says, adding that once he heard the fight card had lost Brock Lesnar from the main event, that’s when his interest really waned.

“I pretty much only watch [Georges St. Pierre] and Brock Lesnar,” he adds.

Sean Sanbanjin, 30, mostly shares this attitude.

“People here only care about hockey,” he says, though he isn’t exactly wowed by the turnout or fan enthusiasm tonight.

“I’m from Montreal. There, it’d be way crazier, way more people in a place like this. And the girls would be hotter, too.”

The lack of interest is reflected in online ticket sales on sites like StubHub.com, where UFC 131 tickets were going for as little as $38 on Thursday morning. According to a report in the Vancouver Sun, that figure is expected to fall even farther as fight night approaches. It makes for a great deal for bargain-seeking sports fans, and somehow, several of the people I talk to in Earl’s during Game 4 know only one thing about the fights, and it’s that tickets are suddenly cheap.

“All I heard is that tickets are going for below face value,” offers one man, who says he still won’t buy them because he’d probably just end up spending twice that in beer and food at the venue.

Not that anyone seems to be thinking about their bar tab at the moment, however.

As the Boston Bruins go up by two goals, then three and then four, the once jovial mood in Earl’s sours. The vuvuzelas stop blowing, and the drinking goes from fun to angry, with shots replacing beers. Still, few people are headed for the door midway through the third period.

“It’s hockey,” says Sunverji. “You can score three or four goals in a couple of minutes.”

The Canucks don’t, however. They score none, and late in the game the only excitement comes when the game turns more violent than usual. Players drop their gloves and sticks and take their frustrations out on one another, and the crowd here – which ironically has professed little interest in the type of professional fighting that doesn’t happen on ice skates – suddenly comes to life.

The enthusiasm is short-lived, and the bar begins emptying out as soon as the game ends. The series comes returns here on Friday night for a pivotal game five. Good luck trying to interest that crowd in coming back the next night for several hours worth of fights.

But then, there’s not much the UFC can do about it now. It’s bad luck, and bad timing, but all it can do is make the best of it.

Tompkins knows all about it, since he and Stout will be hosting an anti-bullying awareness event at the Vancouver Players Chophouse on Friday night, trying to use a mixed crowd of MMA personalities and NHL players to draw attention to their cause. If they can generate interest on the day of the game, he reasons, the UFC will make do with whatever local attention it can get.

“It’s a tough time for them to come, but I’m sure the UFC will persevere,” he says. “We’ve got some great Canadian fighters on the card. At the end of the day, UFC fans are UFC fans, whatever else is going on.”

UFC 126 Results

Another highlight reel knockout for Anderson Silva. After giving Belfort a split second to relax The Spider landed a high kick on Vitor`s chin, sending him to the mat. That makes this Silva`s 13th straight UFC win and having defended his title in eight straight fights, having not lost since 2006, a UFC record.

The fight unfolded in typical Silva fashion. The champ is a classic counter-striker. If the opponent doesn’t engage early, Silva starts to pummel him. Belfort (19-9, 8-5 UFC) had a little success early when he caught a Silva head kick and pushed him to the ground with two minutes left in the round. Silva popped right back up. Belfort began to let his hands go, but was missing badly on most attempts. When it reset in the middle of the cage, Belfort relaxed at the wrong moment and got nailed by that front kick.

Apparently action star Steven Seagal helped train Silva to land the kick. “Steven Seagal helped me perfect that kick. That was a kick we were working on before I stepped in,” Silva said through a translator at the post-fight press conference. “This was a kick that I trained a lot.”

What makes this more exciting is the fact this this win, accompanied by a Georges St.Pierre win over Jake Shields in Toronto, would pave the way for the Silva – GSP superfight people have been clammering about for as long as I`ve watched MMA, seeing as both competitors have cleaned out their respective divisions.. St.Pierre would have to put on weight to move up out of the Welterweight division into the Middleweight. GSP has made it clear, if he beats Jake Shields he will take the fight, so all that leaves is where the venue would be located. The UFC is going to Brazil in august, so Alva would likely prefer to fight in his home country. Meanwhile Canada, GSP`s home, continually sells out venues and is constantly refered to by Dana White as the `MMA Mecca of the world right now`. Unfortunatly this fight is just a theory right now, but come April 30th at UFC 129 in Toronto the future will become clearer for Anderson Silva, Georges St.Pierre, and the thousands of people who desperately want to see the superfight of the top two pound for pound fighters in the world.

Other Fights were:

  • Bantamweight bout: United States Miguel Torres vs. United States Antonio Banuelos
Torres defeated Banuelos via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, 30–27).
  • Welterweight bout: United States Jake Ellenberger vs. Brazil Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Ellenberger defeated Rocha via split decision (27–30, 29–28, 29–28).
  • Light Heavyweight bout: United States Jon Jones vs. United States Ryan Bader
Jones defeated Bader via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:20 of round 2.
  • Light Heavyweight bout: United States Forrest Griffin vs. United States Rich Franklin
Griffin defeated Franklin via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28).
Fighters were awarded $75,000 bonuses. 

  • Fight of the Night: United States Donald Cerrone vs. England Paul Kelly
  • Knockout of the Night: Brazil Anderson Silva
  • Submission of the Night: United States Jon Jones

UFC 126 is about to be underway

UFC 126 is on tonight and its going to be a good one. Pictured above is a photo from the weigh-in between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, two Brazilians preparing to fight for the Middleweight belt.  After Silva weighed in he quickly walked over to Belfort, put on a mask and got right into his face. Belfort, unwilling to back down, pushed back and the jawing began.

Belfort said Silva was reacting to a comment he made this week. Belfort suggested that Silva puts on a facade in public and in the cage.

“I just know one thing, when you say silly things, when you do silly things, it’s because you’re worried and you’re trying to wear a mask,” Belfort said during Thursday’s media workouts. “The way I fight, and the way I am, I have respect. I just need to wear one mask, myself.”

Belfort said he wasn’t falling for Silva’s mind games.

“His actions speak louder than his words. I think he respects me. I just think he wears the mask, trying to intimidate me,” Belfort said of Silva’s attempt to spook him. “He can see it in my eyes. I’m on fire. I’m not getting intimidated by anyone.”

Silva, as usual wouldn’t admit what he said when was trash-talking. He simply indicated that he wasn’t happy with Belfort’s talking.

Also fighting in the Main Card