“Now is time for Dance Of Joy!”
Once again proving that the MMA rumor mill is often full of shit, we’ve got some updates for you. Which also makes me question a bit whether I should bother writing this until everything’s for-reals. Ah screw it, what else am I gonna do at work? Join me in shameless dog-fuckery after the jump:
There’s still no update on the status of Thiago Silva’s pee… it’s so delicious and nuanced that the NSAC is giving it a good long taste, and likely won’t be done savoring it for another couple weeks.
Despite the stories flying around last week that Rashad Evans was being tapped to replace Silva and renew his rivalry with Rampage Jackson, it looks like that’s not the case. Rashad says he wanted that fight, but the UFC decided against it “for whatever reason.” I’m no mind-reader, but I’m guessing that reason was the possibility that Rashad would beat Rampage again, Jon Jones would beat Shogun, and the UFC gets stuck with a champ and #1 contender that won’t fight each other.
So instead they’re going to feed Rampage a much more beatable opponent, namely Matt Hamill. Hamill was set to get smashed by face undefeated Phil Davis at UFC 129, but that match is no longer shown on the official event page on UFC.com, so that’s a good sign that it’s off (then again, Rampage/Silva is still on the UFC 130 page, so maybe not). Hamill’s current 5-fight win streak includes the DQ “win” over Jon Jones, and two close decisions in a row against Keith Jardine and Tito Ortiz, so I can understand why he’d think Rampage is probably a better match for him than a beast like Davis. As for Rampage, he was initially pretty “meh” at the idea of fighting ol’ Soft-Head, but when he heard Hamill was specifically asking for him, that’s apparently all it took to piss him off enough to accept Matt’s call-out.
No word yet on what’s being done with Phil Davis, but hopefully they can find someone else to step in and keep him on the UFC 129 card.
Also on last week’s grapevine were reports that Sengoku middleweight champ Jorge Santiago was jumping ship and most likely landing in Strikeforce. Scott Coker must have been nursing a broken heart on Valentine’s Day, cause The Baldfather bragged to ESPN on Friday that Jorge hooked up with him instead, and is expected to make his Octagon return at UFC 130. “They” are now saying his foe that night will be Brian “Sgt Slaughter” Stann.
Hang on a tick, wasn’t Stann supposed to be fighting Wanderlei Silva on that card? Indeed he was, but Silva was never keen on it, and was reportedly afraid of being hated for fighting the war hero. I’m not sure why he’d think so, since none of Stann’s opponents have been villified like that before, not to mention the huge amount of fan-love that Silva has always basked in… maybe that was just an excuse, who knows.
Anyway, Wanderlei’s next date is now unclear, although he recently challenged Vitor Belfort in an interview with Tatame. You just might have seen a couple replays of their 1998 fight in Brazil, where Vitor shat all over Wandy’s UFC debut with an epic blitzkrieg knockout. Vitor’s totally down with that rematch, and while it seems that’d be a no-brainer for the “UFC: Rio” event in August, Vitor says he’d rather not wait six months to get back on the horse, and wants another fight first. It would probably be better for Silva to have a tune-up before then himself, as that would be 18 months since he last fought.
Speaking of Sengoku, the exodus continues… heavyweight Dave “Pee Wee” Herman (the dude in the black shorts above) has also hopped the fence to the UFC, and will take on Wolfslair product Rob Broughton (15-5-1) at UFC 131. At 6′-5″ and 240 non-fatass pounds, and sporting an impressive 20-2 record with 19 finishes (and one of those losses was a DQ for illegally kneeing Socouldyou), Pee Wee is expected to be a solid addition of natural-heavyweight beef to the UFC stable. Here’s hoping this makes it even harder for fat 205’ers to compete with the big boys.
UPDATES: Both the Rampage/Silva and Wandy/Stann fights are now gone from the official UFC 130 page. Take that for what you will.
MMA Junkie claims Phil Davis is staying on the UFC 129 card after all, and will now take on Jason Brilz. Brilz hasn’t fought since getting robbed of a decision win against Little Nog last May.