MM-Eh: Kang-Belcher on for UFC 93, TKO Cancelled, Junie's Canadian Connection

By Andy Cotterill Nov 11, 2008
When Denis Kang revealed last week that he had finally gotten his long-standing wish for a UFC contract, the Vancouver, British Columbia resident said he would be ready to fight as early as January. It seems the UFC has taken him at his word, as sources have told Sherdog.com that Kang (31-10-1) will be fighting Alan Belcher (13-5) on Jan. 17 at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland.

Kang would not confirm that the Belcher fight was official when contacted, but he did say that the Biloxi, Miss., native would be a good first choice for an opponent.

“I think I match up well with anybody, but with him because he has a nice, aggressive muay Thai style it would make for a good back and forth battle,” said Kang from his training camp in Montreal with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

Kang, 31, has recently bounced back from high-profile losses in Japan’s K-1 Hero’s promotion with back-to-back victories in the last three months. They included a speedy knockout of Jae Young Kim in Spirit MC on Aug. 31 and a 48-second TKO of Marvin Eastman at Raw Combat on Oct. 25.

Belcher (13-5) rebounded from his April loss to Jason Day at UFC 83 in Montreal with a split decision over Team Quest fighter Ed Herman at UFC Fight Night 15 in September. Belcher is 4-3 in the Octagon, but has been noted for his exciting performances.

“He’s primarily a stand-up guy who also has a good wrestling game as I saw against Ed Herman,” said Kang. “He’s a guy that you have to be prepared for everything with.”

Dec. 5 TKO cancelled

Has Canada’s most successful promotion come to the end of its road?

When former president Stephane Patry announced his pending resignation from the Quebec-based TKO promotion on Oct. 31, the thought seemed plausible, but the immediate question became if TKO 36, scheduled for Dec. 5 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, would go on with the show.

The answer is no. Daniele Gagnon, assistant to the director of the Quebec Boxing Commission, confirmed to Sherdog.com on Monday that the Dec. 5 event has been cancelled.

Attempts by Sherdog.com to both identify and contact TKO’s current or new ownership have been unsuccessful.

Former owner Gerry Bonneau told Sherdog.com on Oct. 31 that he’d sold his interest in TKO several months ago, and like Patry, could not name the promotion’s new leadership.

“As of right now I don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Patry said in October. “My resignation is effective on Nov. 15 and I’m sure by then there’s going to be some announcement made by whoever will handle TKO.”

Commission rep Gagnon would not reveal the name of the TKO owner either. However, she said the owner told the commission that TKO would no longer be holding any MMA events.

Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Shawn Tompkins has taken
Junie Browning under his wing.
Tompkins takes “Junie” under wing for TUF 8 finale

Shawn Tompkins is living a dream life –- just ask him. Formerly the head of the London, Ontario based Team Tompkins Muay Thai and Submissions Club, Tompkins has been the head coach of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas for over a year now, and he’s loving every minute of it.

“I’m really happy where I’m at right now in Las Vegas,” says the 34-year-old Tompkins. “I miss the people back in Canada but I’m going to be heading back there anyways December 6-7 for a seminar weekend in London, Ontario with Babalu and Sean Sherk.”

For a time Tompkins had been traveling between London and Las Vegas to run both clubs, but when that became too overwhelming, he and several of his athletes devised a plan.

On Sept. 1, the Adrenaline Training Centre opened its doors under the ownership of Sam Stout, Mark Hominick, and Chris Horodecki, and they plan to continue in London where Tompkins left off.

While the Team Tompkins facility in London may no longer exist, the team certainly does. In addition to Stout, Hominick, and Horodecki -- who have been with the revered trainer from the start -- there are a fortunate few more that have gotten Tompkins’ attention.

“I’m the head trainer at Xtreme Couture, but then I have my group of guys that I specifically train and take care of,” says Tompkins. “Guys such as Jay Hieron, Alex Schoenauer, John Alessio, Mac Danzig -- I consider those guys Team Tompkins representatives when they fight.”

One unexpected newcomer who might soon join their ranks is Junie Browning, the hell-raiser from the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV.

“I was contacted by his management team, Denaro Sports Marketing, and they asked me if I was interested in taking him under my wing,” says Tompkins. “I so much as moved him into my house here in Las Vegas, so I keep a real close eye on him.”

So has Browning, who has been the source of most of the drama on the series thus far, been difficult to work with?

“I can tell you my experiences with him have been nothing but excellent,” reports Tompkins. “The kid is eager to learn and he’s been very well behaved -- I know that’s been the biggest question on people’s minds. He’s staying sober until his fight and I think that’s a big part of it. You know he’s young -- he’s 23 years old and it’s tough when all the cameras are on you, but I think that at 23 we all made mistakes in our lives.”

Tompkins seems hopeful of Browning’s transformation from hellion to bona fide lightweight contender.

“I think the key thing is that he’s got a desire to make himself a better person and I’ll tell you man, I’m excited about working with him. I’ve worked with him for a week and a half and he’s eager to learn and is a great student.”

Tompkins said that he is preparing Browning for “The Ultimate Fighter 8” Live Finale on Dec. 13 in Las Vegas. Of course, Tompkins couldn’t confirm if Browning was a finalist or just on the card.

Hollett-Newton nears for MFC 19

When the Maximum Fighting Championship signed UFC veteran David Heath (9-4) to their organization earlier this year, all signs pointed to a bout between Heath and the MFC light heavyweight titleholder Roger Hollett. But like many best-laid plans, that one changed when Heath lost to Emanuel Newton (10-3-1) at MFC 18 last month, giving Newton the shot against Hollett at MFC 19 on Dec. 5 at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, Alberta.

Hollett admitted to being surprised at the outcome, and said he didn’t know much about Newton up until that point.

“I don’t think David did either,” said Hollett. “I think everybody was expecting the me and Heath match up, but Emanuel ended up pulling off a dominating victory so it’s gonna be me and him.”

In September, Hollett (8-1) returned to the cage after a near yearlong layoff from a severe knee injury he sustained against Lew Polley in his only career loss. In his first bout back, Hollett earned a crushing victory over Marcus Hicks at ECC 8 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Fighting Newton poses different challenges than Heath would have, but Hollett already has his strategy in mind.

“It’ll be the same plan, I’ll be trying to keep it on the feet and see where it goes,” he said. “He seems to be a good wrestler who likes to dominate the ground but I’ll be training my submissions and getting up and I’ll be ready for whatever he has to offer.”

Hollett, who has taken five of his eight victories with his fists and is known for his destructive punching power, can make a misleading impression when it comes to his ground strength. However, he recently earned his Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt from coaches Peter Martell and Kevin Taylor, both black belts under Renzo Gracie.

Canadian Calendar

Nov. 14: KOTC - Maharaja Banquet Hall - Edmonton, Alberta
Nov. 14: RITC 32 - Lethbridge Exhibition Park, South Pavilion - Lethbridge, Alberta
Nov. 14: UMC - Turvey Centre - Regina, Saskatchewan
Nov. 21: Pure Fighting Championship - Agricentre - Red Deer, Alberta
Nov. 22: Elite 1 "One Man Standing" - Moncton Coliseum – Moncton, New Brunswick
Nov. 22: Prove Yourself - Académie Ness Martial – Montreal, Quebec
Nov. 28: KOTC - Calgary, Alberta (Pending Commission approval)
Nov. 28: Colloseo Championship Fighting 3 "Undisputed" - Edmonton Events Centre - Edmonton, Alberta
Nov. 29: Phoenix Fight Promotions 5 – Dartmouth Sportsplex - Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dec. 5: MFC 19 "Long Time Coming" – River Cree Resort and Casino - Edmonton, Alberta
Dec. 5: TFC 5 - Shaw Conference Centre - Edmonton, Alberta
Feb. 20: MFC 20 - River Cree Resort and Casino - Edmonton, Alberta
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