"Ace" Eyes Queen City Title Shot

By Mike Fridley Aug 9, 2007
While the dog days of summer have officially set in on the mixed martial arts scene across the U.S., the combat sports forecast looks promising as a flood of approaching fights sweeps in to cool the drought-stricken cable boxes of fans from So Cal to New England.

UFC to test middleweight King in the Queen City

While it's still more than two months away, plenty of information is coming forth for the UFC's return to the Buckeye State, which is slated for the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Oct. 20.

Set to rematch UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, former 185-pound ace Rich Franklin (Pictures) is preparing to launch his training camp in Cincinnati-suburb West Chester on Aug. 27, with a cast of training partners that includes octagon veterans Marcus Davis, Dustin Hazelett (Pictures), Jorge Gurgel (Pictures) and Joe Riggs (Pictures).

Speaking of Gurgel, the BJJ black belt on Wednesday informed Sherdog.com that he has accepted an offer to face Alaskan wrestler Douglas Evans, who after giving Roger Huerta (Pictures) fits in the first round of his UFC debut, succumbed to strikes in the second frame.

"I'm looking forward to fighting in front of the Cincinnati people, my hometown crowd," said Gurgel, who has been limited to non-contact drills since breaking his jaw in a hard-fought victory against Diego Saraiva (Pictures) at UFC 73. "This is something I've been dreaming about for a long time."

Gurgel will have his jaw unwired in the coming weeks, and plans on being cleared in time for Team Extreme's camp in the last week of August.

Also shaping up for the card, Eric Schafer (Pictures) announced on his MySpace page that he will face Stephan Bonnar (Pictures).

"On paper I feel that it will be similar to the Bisping fight," wrote Schafer on his blog. "His striking will be better, but my wrestling and BJJ are better."

Along with a rumored rematch between Tito Ortiz (Pictures) and Rashad Evans (Pictures), the event could pit Marvin Eastman (Pictures) against Demian Maia (Pictures) and Josh Burkman (Pictures) versus a yet-to-be-decided opponent.

St. Pierre excited for UFC 74

Coming off a shocking defeat at the hands of Matt Serra (Pictures) at UFC 69, Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) is looking to get back on track as he prepares for Josh Koscheck (Pictures) at Greg Jackson's camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"Training is going well. I'm 100 percent physically and mentally. No issues whatsoever," St. Pierre told Sherdog.com's Jeff Sherwood in a recent interview. "I do what I love to do and I can't wait to get back."

"Ken-Flo" confident against Din Thomas (Pictures)

After a staph infection forced Spencer Fisher (Pictures) off Sept. 19's UFC Fight Night, lightweight contender Kenny Florian (Pictures) has agreed to step in to replace the Iowan in a duel with American Top Team's Din Thomas (Pictures).

"He's very experienced, very well rounded," Florian said of Thomas Wednesday afternoon on Beatdown Radio with TJ De Santis and Josh Gross.

"I think it's going to be an extremely technical fight. It's going to be a very tough fight," stated Florian, of Westwood, Mass. "I'm looking to be aggressive as always. I'm going to look to finish him on the feet or on the ground."

UFC Fight Night 11 Fight Card:
Kenny Florian (Pictures) vs. Din Thomas (Pictures)
Mike Swick (Pictures) vs. Jonathan Goulet (Pictures)
Chris Leben (Pictures) vs. Terry Martin (Pictures)
Nathan Diaz (Pictures) vs. Junior Assuncao (Pictures)
Joe Veres vs. Gray Maynard (Pictures)
Edilberto de Oliveira (Pictures) vs. Luke Cummo
Leonard Garcia vs. Cole Miller (Pictures)
Kuniyoshi Hironaka (Pictures) vs. Thiago Alves (Pictures)
Pete Sell (Pictures) vs. Nathan Quarry (Pictures)

WEC September card grows

Perhaps avoiding a showdown with the NFL on Sunday nights, Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting moves out of its usual Sunday timeslot, holding their next live Versus-broadcasted event free of hardcore television competition on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

WEC lightweight champion Rob McCullough (Pictures) will put his belt on the line against Richard Crunkilton (Pictures), while Jens Pulver (Pictures) returns from his disappointing loss to B.J. Penn (Pictures) back in June to face promising upstart Cub Swanson (Pictures).

Bantamweight ace Chase Beebe (Pictures) will attempt to retain his crown against an opponent who is yet to be named.

K-1 returns to desert with "Mighty Mo," Sefo

K-1's return to Las Vegas this weekend as the Bellagio Hotel hosts a competitive eight-man tournament and super-fights featuring MMA veterans "Mighty Mo" Siala Siliga (Pictures), Chalid Arrab (Pictures), Ray Sefo (Pictures) and German striker Stefan Leko (Pictures).

The last man standing in the tournament will advance to Sept. 29's "Final 16" in Seoul, South Korea, joining Hong-Man Choi, Semmy Schilt (Pictures), Peter Aerts (Pictures), Glaube Feitosa, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome LeBanner (Pictures), Ruslan Karaev, Badr Hari, Paul Slowinski and the aforementioned Leko, Arrab and Siliga.

Aleksandr Pichkunov vs. Tsuyoshi Nakasako
Scott Lighty vs. Rick Cheek (Pictures)
Patrick Berry vs. Rikard Nordstrand
Zabit Samedov vs. Esh Chadar

Reserve Fight:
Ariel Mastov vs. Doug Viney

Super Fights:
Siala Siliga (Pictures) vs. Chalid Arrab (Pictures)
Ray Sefo (Pictures) vs. Bjorn Bregy
Stefan Leko (Pictures) vs. Petr Vondracek

Heavyweights Monson, Kerr set for Global FC debut

Global Fighting Championships is gearing up for its Uncasville, Conn. show on Aug. 17 at the Mohegan Sun. Headlining the card, Jeff Monson (Pictures) and Chris Guillen (Pictures) will decide the GFC heavyweight ace in a scheduled five-round bout.

Also on the bill, Mark Kerr (Pictures) will look to claim his first victory in nearly seven years when he confronts the equally struggling Sean O'Haire (Pictures).

GFC Fight Card:
Jeff Monson (Pictures) vs. Chris Guillen (Pictures)
Edwin Dewees (Pictures) vs. Mavrick Harvey (Pictures)
Mark Kerr (Pictures) vs. Sean O'Haire (Pictures)
Eric Esch (Pictures) vs. Ruben Villareal (Pictures)
Chaz Ackles vs. Elias Rivera
Andre Nevski vs. Greg Muci
Darryl MarcAurele vs. Frank Latina
Nuri Shakir (Pictures) vs. Travis Lerchen

Professional Shooto in California

Shooto returns to the States on Aug. 18 with a 10-bout fight card, to be held at the No Limits Events center in Orange County.

Those expecting to read about a watered down version of the Japanese import will be surprised to see 2005 Shooto rookie champion Tenkei Fujimiya (Pictures) versus Bao Quach (Pictures), as well as Akiyo Nishiura (Pictures) versus Joe Camacho (Pictures) and a duel between Kenichiro Togashi (Pictures) and Brian Cobb (Pictures).

More information on the lineup is expected in the coming days.

Drop Mike Fridley a line via [email protected]
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