MM-Eh! News and Notes from Canada

By Andy Cotterill Oct 15, 2007
This coming weekend is a huge one for Canadians Jason MacDonald (Pictures) and Kalib Starnes (Pictures), as both look to continue their winning ways at UFC 77 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Although Starnes' fight against Alan Belcher (Pictures) is on the main card, the curiously placed undercard bout between MacDonald and Yushin Okami (Pictures) might hold the most significance in the grand scheme of things. In fact, UFC President Dana White mentioned during a pre-event conference call that the MacDonald-Okami winner could be in line for an immediate title shot.

Okami already holds wins over Starnes and Belcher. Combined with the UFC middleweight division's dearth of top-level competitors, a title bout for MacDonald or Okami is certainly plausible.

MacDonald said he has a game plan in place to defeat his Japanese opponent, noting that he believes Okami likes to start slowly.

"I like to go out there and set the pace and push my style of fighting on you," he told Sherdog.com. "That's what I intend to do against Yushin Okami (Pictures). I intend to go out there and put pressure on him and take him out of his comfort zone, and I am looking to submit him or finish him off before that third round ever comes around."

Hardcore Championship Fighting ‘Title Wave'

Calgary, Alberta, plays host to HCF's largest card to date this Friday, when the promotion shows off one of its recent big name acquisitions in Aleksander Emelianenko (Pictures).

Emelianenko will face veteran Dan Bobish (Pictures), who was brought in as a replacement several weeks ago after Wesley Correira (Pictures) could not be contacted for some time. Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) is expected to be in his younger brother's corner.

The following HCF event will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Nov. 24, featuring the debut of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures). Although Vancouver recently banned MMA, the athletic commission had already sanctioned the show, and it will be allowed to take place.

Also on the card:
Gegard Mousasi (Pictures) vs. Damir Mirenic
Ariel Sexton vs. Thomas Schulte (Pictures)
Sarah Kaufman vs. Ginele Marquez (Pictures)
Marcus Vinicios vs. Sean Salmon (Pictures)
Toby Johnson vs. Garett Davis
Gerald Lovato vs. Len Tam
Myles Merola vs. Juan Barrantes
Tim Smith (Pictures) vs. Mike Rowbotham

Tompkins Update

Popular trainer Shawn Tompkins (Pictures) filled MM-Eh! in on what's happening inside Randy Couture (Pictures)'s Las Vegas-based Xtreme Couture gym. Couture is filming "The Scorpion King" in South Africa, where last week he sent the fax heard round the world.

Xtreme Couture always has numerous top-tier fighters training. Tompkins had just finished a session with Karo Parisyan (Pictures), who at the time had just discovered that his scheduled opponent for UFC 78, Hector Lombard (Pictures), wouldn't be able to enter the United States due to visa issues.

When asked if Parisyan had been disappointed, Tompkins said, "Absolutely. That fight's been on his mind for quite a few weeks now, so when he found out that that wasn't going to happen, it was disappointing. Karo is one of those fighters -- it really doesn't matter to him who he fights, he'll fight anybody."

Also on trainer's plate is getting protégé Chris Horodecki (Pictures) prepared for his IFL Grand Prix rematch with Bart Palaszewski (Pictures). Tompkins revealed that a move to Las Vegas may be in Horodecki's future.

Tompkins then added that he's been starting to see a definite benefit to fighters' cross training. His Canadian fighters Mark Hominick (Pictures) and Sam Stout (Pictures) have seen a drastic increase in their ground skills, Tompkins said, which comes from training with guys like Gray Maynard (Pictures) and Tyson Griffin (Pictures) -- two solid wrestlers who in return have improved their striking.

As for the two talented Canadian lightweights' futures, Tompkins said that they're waiting to hear an opponent and a date for Stout, but they're hoping that he'll return to the UFC before the end of the year.

"Hominick's looking at probably TKO in December and then WEC in February," Tompkins said, "and maybe a possible chance at the end of this month of him going back to Japan in Shoot Boxing. They really loved him out there."

Tompkins also commented on his recent departure from his duty as head coach of the IFL's Los Angeles Anacondas.

"It was a very demanding schedule in the IFL, but I'll have to admit that I really do miss the people that were involved in it," he said. "Kurt Otto and Gareb [Shamus] treated me with a lot of respect, and they treated me great. I was one of the only coaches that wasn't a legendary fighter, so yeah, while I miss the IFL, my body doesn't."
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