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The Weekly Rundown

(Marquardt seems impressed with Maia’s breakdancing skills.)

This week in mixed martial arts was filled with incredible fights, big match-ups and high numbers. If you just landed back on Earth from the Satellite of Love, Fightlinker is here to keep you informed.

Nogueira outpoints Couture in classic war
Legendary Heavyweights Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira met in the main event of UFC 102. The three rounds of back-and-forth action answered questions that lingered for both fighters, including those about Nogueira’s longevity and Couture’s age being a hindrance. The former UFC champion survived near-knockouts and a close submission between landing crisp combinations and superb ground and pound on the former PRIDE champion. In the end, all three judges scored the bout for Nogueira. It’s worth noting that 260 pound Sylvia, 250 pound Herring and 255 pound Mir all dropped Minotauro, while the 220 pound Randy couldn’t.

Fedor vs. Rogers set for fall
Strikeforce officially announced the debut opponent for the newly signed Russian last week. Undefeated prospect Brett Rogers is next in line to try his hand at dethroning the reigning consensus #1 ranked Heavyweight in the world. No date or venue was set, but Rogers has stated a late October/early November target for the San Jose based promotion’s efforts.

WEC 43 date, venue changed
World Extreme Cagefighting’s Ohio card – originally slated for September 2nd – has been moved to San Antonio, Texas on October 14th. The main event is an interim Lightweight championship bout between former challenger Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Ben Henderson. The WEC’s official statement claimed the moves were made to allow Henderson to recover from an undisclosed injury. Rumors swirled about the true reasons for the changes, including slow ticket sales in Youngstown and a possible severing of VS’s relationship with DirecTV the day before the card was to take place.

DREAM 11 bouts confirmed
In what could be a last gasp for the promotion, DREAM announced an extremely strong lineup for its show on October 6th (check local listings). A rubber match between Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen for the Lightweight championship headlines a card with JZ Calvan, Kid Yamamoto, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and the next rounds of the Featherweight and Super-Hulk tournaments. As is always the case with events in Japan, beware of “card subject to change”.

Reported Zuffa sponsorship figures false
The much maligned $100,000 “sponsorship tax” that was mentioned in the weeks leading up to UFC 100 has been disproved by MMA Payout: is now learning that a semi-annual tax or fee of $100,000 isn’t exactly accurate. The negotiations were deemed “fair,” which is to suggest that the MMA community may know far less than it thought in regards to this UFC business policy (isn’t that always the case?). We’ll have more on this matter soon.

The disputes between Zuffa and sponsors like Dethrone seem to have been greatly exaggerated by the media. The most curious aspect of the story is Zuffa’s seemingly uninterested approach to the stories. In fact, there was no actual refuting done on their part. The only logical explanation is that they felt doing so wasn’t a priority; legitimate numbers on contracts meant more than ones reported.

UFC 102
– Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Randy Coture via Unanimous Decision
– Thiago Silva def. Keith Jardine via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
– Nate Marquardt def. Demian Maia via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
– Brandon Vera def. Kryzsztof Soszynski via Unanimous Decision
– Jake Rosholt def. Chris Leben via Submission (Arm Triangle) Round 3
– Aaron Simpson def. Ed Herman via technical knockout (injury) in round two
– Gabriel Gonzaga def. Chris Tuchscherer via technical knockout (strikes) in round one
– Mike Russow def. Justin McCully via unanimous decision
– Todd Duffee def. Tim Hague via knockout in round one (Seven seconds!)
– Mark Munoz def. Nick Catone via split decision
– Evan Dunham def. Marcus Aurelio via split decision
– Fight of the Night: Nogueira & Couture
– Submission of the Night: Jake Rosholt
– Knockout of the Night: Nate Marquardt
(Source: MMA Junkie)

M-1 Global: Breakthrough
– Mo Lawal def. Mark Kerr via KO at 0:25 of round one
– Jessie Gibbs def. Rob Broughton via unanimous decision
– Daisuke Nakamura def. Ferrid Kheder via unanimous decision
(Source: MMA Mania)

– Bernard Ackah def. Ryushi Yanagisawa via TKO (Head Kick and Punches) at 0:07 of round 1
– Masakazu Imanari def. Tomohiko Hori via Unanimous Decision
– Takafumi Otsuka def. Dokonjonosuke Mishima via Unanimous Decision
– Ryo Chonan def. Jutaro Nakao via Unanimous Decision
(Source: Sherdog)

– Good
MMA has grown exponentially in the past ten months
There has been a substantial increase in pay per view buyrates, starting with UFC 91 last November:

UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar – 900,000
UFC 92: Ultimate 2008 – 1,000,000
UFC 93: 350,000 buys (euro record)
UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 – 800,000
UFC 96: Jackson vs Jardine – 375,000
UFC 97: Liddell vs Shogun – 650,000
UFC 98: Evans vs Machida – 635,000
UFC 99: Franklin vs. Silva – 350,000+ (new euro record)
UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir II – 1,720,000
UFC 101: Penn vs. Florian – 1,100,000

It’s unknown whether or not the numbers will become the homeostasis, but it’s undoubtedly showing an increasing interest in the sport.

Fedor/Mousasi grappling
Gegard Mousasi and former PRIDE Heavyweight champion Fedor met in another patented M-1 grappling exhibition at Friday’s “Breakthrough” event. Although it wasn’t an MMA fight, it was as close as you could get to each man staying active against good competition. Considering the three year period where the Russian was fighting Middleweights and Light-Heavyweights, kickboxers, giants and the morbidly obese, a grappling match isn’t that bad.

Carano not done fighting
After losing a TKO in the most high-profile women’s match in MMA history, some fans questioned whether or not the Gina Carano would continue to compete. It looks like that’s not the case after the 27 year old posted on Myspace to reassure that she’ll be back in the ring. For all of the technical inadequacies she possesses, she is still the most known female fighter in the world thanks to high-rated victories on the CBS network. Her visibility means she could still bring attention to the growing division of women’s MMA.

– Bad
Varner and Cerrone keep up war of words
WEC Lightweight champion Jamie Varner and former challenger Donald Cerrone have continued their sparring verbally outside of the cage in anticipation of their eventual rematch. Cerrone, upset with the continued verbal barbs thrown by the champion, attempted to pick a fight with Varner in a nightclub. What does that matter? It shows that Cowboy is more occupied with his hatred of Varner than his interim title fight with Ben Henderson. The Arizona native’s naturally antagonistic personality means he can throw Cerrone off of his game, and possibly out of a rematch, with little effort. Show the sport some respect – at least only to keep its detractors from getting more ammunition.

Miletich in talks for UFC return
This is actually pretty ugly on two fronts: 1) it shows the UFC is ruthless and pulling all the stops against Strikeforce and 2) Pat’s body is in bad shape. Yeah, go ahead and sign Phil Baroni to mess with the competition, but don’t use spite as a reason to feed a 40 year old that can’t turn his head to the murderer’s row of Welterweight.

Fickett needs help
Drew Fickett lost by knockout once again this weekend. The result now leaves him with a 2-8 record in his last ten bouts – six of them by (T)KO within 5 and a half minutes. Fickett’s decline into his personal demons has been well documented in the last eighteen months, but the horrific facial injuries he sustained this weekend should be the final straw. The man needs an intervention to save him from himself. Get Drew out of fighting at the very least so people don’t exploit his personal demons in order to say they beat a UFC veteran. It’s a really sad story.

– Ugly
Herring hates fighting
Former PRIDE Heavyweight title challenger Heath Herring trashed his trainers and expressed serious frustration in an interview this week.

It’s not that I’m not really happy with the UFC…I think that last fight just took a lot out of me….it just left a bad taste in my mouth. And not necessarily with the UFC. Just with the training … you know, some of my trainers and things like that.

I’m not sure if Heath is still a part of Las Vegas Combat Club, but lashing out against your own coaches means there’s some serious trouble brewing.

Anderson Silva against giant Heavyweights?
The UFC Middleweight champion made clear his intentions to fight at Heavyweight last week. His manager Ed Soares recently said “I think Anderson Silva will be competitive against just about anybody.” when names like Lesnar and Carwin were brought up. Anderson is a former 167 pound fighter; guys who cut to make 265 are titans. That’s too big of a gap for things to be safe, and there’s not even a guarantee an athletic commission would allow him to move up so high because of it.

Kerr “embarrassed” of himself
Subject of the infamous HBO documentary “The Smashing Machine”, Mark Kerr has had his ups and downs placed under a microscope. He is aware of that, and told HD Net Fights’ Michael Schiavello that he has not been pleased with himself:

“I know people think I am a joke. I don’t blame them. It has been hard for me to sit and look at myself in the mirror. I mean I wouldn’t be a fan of me the way I have fought in recent times. I would never expect a fan to want my autograph any more…Disgusting…I was disgusting and I’m embarrassed with how bad I was.”

– Thiago Silva’s dime piece with a ring
– “Al, can we have sex?” “Eh, no Peg – I’ve got Jiu Jitsu” “>*reaches over, flushes toilet*
– Karo vs. Hazelett set for UFC 106

What was Matt Hamil’s self-bestowed nickname on The Ultimate Fighter 3?

Kazushi Sakuraba > GSP
Kazushi Sakuraba > Quinton Jackson > Mike Pyle > Gustavo Machado > Marcelo Brito > Gleison Tibau > Thiago Alves > Matt Hughes > Georges St-Pierre