So many times, the Roundup is more about stories peripheral to the sport of mixed martial arts: who said what, who got dropped from someone’s roster, whatever Chael Sonnen most recently said to make Anderson Silva want to impale him with his elbows. However, this one is almost all about the fights themselves. That’s right, the Roundup is chock-full with matchups, whether they are officially confirmed or…not so much. Either way, read on to get a look at what fights you’ll be watching in upcoming months, as well as other entertaining nuggets, too.
Scott Coker Says “Psssssssh” to Fedor-Werdum 2
Scott Coker is growing on me. Part of this is because he doesn’t engage in public flame wars with fans (or YouTube tirades directed at journalists), and part is because he’s finally sticking up for himself a little bit. In the past, Coker has turned the other cheek when UFC president Dana White has tried to bait him into a war of words, and has had to tiptoe around the “crazy Russians” themselves that make up Fedor Emelianenko’s management team.
Then, something happened. Fabricio Werdum tapped Fedor in sixty-nine seconds. Suddenly, Coker was a new man. He stopped paying for late pizza deliveries, went to White’s house just to knock on the door and then flip him off, and told Fedor’s management team that the immediate rematch with Werdum that they wanted wasn’t gonna happen.
Well, he did one of those things, anyway.
Taking the words right out of my mouth, Coker was reported by Sherdog.com as having said, “To me, it’s only been a month. We saw the Werdum fight already.” He went on to list Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva or Sergei Kharitonov as possible opponents for Fedor’s last fight on his current contract. When asked what he would do if Fedor’s notoriously-stubborn management team tried to play hardball, Coker was uncharacteristically assertive, saying, “I just don’t think they’ll have a choice.”
This is a great move for Strikeforce. If I was them, I wouldn’t put him in there with Overeem either…that is, unless it was a title match and Fedor was locked up in the event that he won the title. That way, if Fedor fights Silva or Kharitonov, then splits to fight somewhere else, Strikeforce still has an untarnished champion and Werdum, who already beat Fedor. There’s no reason for Strikeforce to let Fedor avenge his loss to Werdum or beat their champion in a non-title match if he’s just going to bolt when his contract’s up, anyway.
Rampage Likely to Face Machida Next
According to MMAWeekly.com, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s next fight will be no easy test, as he will face former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Though there is no reported date for the bout, it would obviously take place in the fall, with most believing that November’s event in Germany would be the most likely choice. For his part, Rampage just about confirmed the rumor on his Twitter, saying that he was going to be fighting someone whose name he couldn’t spell. That doesn’t exactly limit the possible options, but let’s just go ahead and believe the Machida rumor for now.
I don’t think this is a particularly good matchup for Rampage, though Machida having been knocked out by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua adds a certain amount of intrigue, since Rampage has heavy hands and all. Still, it would be a great fight to see, and would help to shorten the line for a title shot in 2011.
Mir-Nogueira 2 Tops List of Upcoming UFC Fights
UFC 119 is looking to be awesome. UFC 120? Not so much. The UFC officially announced a rematch between Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, which will headline UFC 119 on September 25th. Meanwhile, Nogueira’s brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, will take on Ryan Bader in what should be an outstanding fight, as well. Finally, Chris Lytle will get to avenge the controversial decision loss to Matt Serra that kept him from getting a title shot at Georges St. Pierre when those two hook it up again that night.
UFC 120, however, is looking Ultimate Fight Night-tastic. Michael Bisping will headline the London-based event on October 16th against Yoshihiro Akiyama, who has not been as impressive as fans would have hoped in his first two UFC bouts. Meanwhile, Dan Hardy will make his first appearance since getting dominated by St. Pierre as he takes on Carlos Condit in what should be a good fight, if also one that isn’t really worthy of being the co-main event on a UFC card. John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle is the only other offically announced fight on the card, though Cheick Kongo and Spencer Fisher are among the high-profile fighters rumored to be taking part in other fights that night. Hey, it’s going to be on Spike TV though, so I shouldn’t complain! In fact, just go ahead and forget that I did.
Finally, UFC 121 will take place just one week after UFC 120, and the card finally has another officially announced fight to join the title bout between Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez. In the newly-announced bout, Paulo Thiago will fight Diego Sanchez in another fight to help sort out the middle of the ultra-competitive welterweight division.
–Randy Couture is fighting James Toney in the surefire winner of 2010’s “WTF Award for Head-Scratching Matchmaking” in just over a month, but that hasn’t kept him from commenting on some other fights that interest him in the light heavyweight division. The UFC Hall of Famer told SBNation.com that he would love to fight both Anderson Silva (at 205 lbs., of course) and Lyoto Machida. Shortly after, I told no one in particular that I would be interested in watching either one of those hypothetical fights, as well.
–Josh Koscheck may have pulled a no-no, announcing on his Twitter that his fight with Georges St. Pierre will take place on December 11th. Actually, he said that he will become the welterweight champion on that particular day, but I reserve the right to edit comments for excessive craziness. Actually, forget that. I haven’t been editing any of Chael Sonnen’s pre-fight smack talk, after all.
–In WEC news, Jamie Varner confirmed on his official website that he will be facing Donald Cerrone for the second time at WEC 51, which will be going down on September 30th. This will be a rematch of their controversial 2009 bout, where Varner took an illegal knee to the head in the fifth round, which took the fight to the scorecards early and earned Varner a split decision win.
–If you’re not into any of the above fights, perhaps Houston Alexander vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou is more your speed? That barn-burner will take place at Shark Fights 13 (no, I haven’t heard of it, either), which takes place on September 11th. And…are you ready for this? It’s not even the main event! THAT designation rests with the highly-anticipated bout between recent UFC castoff Keith Jardine and Trevor Prangley. Prangley is apparently the Shark Fights champion, but won’t be putting his strap on the line against Jardine. Booooooooooooooo!!!
Tags: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Chris Lytle, Dana White, Diego Sanchez, Donald Cerrone, Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko, Frank Mir, Georges St. Pierre, Houston Alexander, James Toney, Jamie Varner, Josh Koscheck, Keith Jardine, Lyoto Machida, Matt Serra, Michael Bisping, Paulo Thiago, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Randy Couture, Ryan Bader, Scott Coker, Shark Fights, Strikeforce, UFC, UFC 119, UFC 120, UFC 121, WEC, WEC 51, Yoshihiro Akiyama