Saturday MMA Blog: Soto, Reyes Advance in Bellator Tournament

May 9, 2009

Lytle-Burns Official for TUF 9 Finale
By Brian Knapp (bknapp@sherdog.com)
Saturday, 6:55 p.m. ET: Rugged welterweight veteran Chris Lytle will meet Kevin Burns at “The Ultimate Fighter 9” Finale on June 20 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Zuffa officials made the bout official this week.

One of the sport’s more durable competitors, Lytle (26-17-5) has alternated between wins and losses in each of his last five fights. The 34-year-old Indianapolis native last appeared at UFC 93 in January, when he dropped a split decision to Marcus Davis. Lytle, who has dabbled in professional boxing, has been finished only twice in 48 career bouts and holds victories against 2006 Pride welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki, reigning Maximum Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Pat Healy and “The Ultimate Fighter 7” product Matt Brown. An accomplished grappler, he has delivered 17 of his 26 wins by submission.

Burns (7-2), meanwhile, has not appeared since his brutal knockout loss to Anthony Johnson at “The Ultimate Fighter 8” Finale in December. The 29-year-old former Victory Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder burst on the scene in June, when he submitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Roan Carneiro at UFC 85. Burns has yet to go the distance in nine career bouts.

A lightweight showdown pairing Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida will headline “The Ultimate Fighter 9” Finale. In another anticipated bout, former UFC lightweight title challenger Joe Stevenson will square off with Nate Diaz.


Soto, Reyes Advance in Bellator Tournament
By Brian Knapp (bknapp@sherdog.com)
Photo Courtesy: Bellator

Soto and Reyes Advanced.
Saturday, 1:45 a.m. ET: Joe Soto marched right past the favored Wilson Reis and into the Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight tournament final, and for the second time in as many weeks, the young ESPN-backed promotion generated a highlight-reel finish.

A Palace Fighting Championship veteran, the still unbeaten Soto frustrated Reis en route to a unanimous decision in the featured bout at BFC 6 on Friday at the Central Pavilion Arena in Robstown, Texas. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Soto.

Soto (6-0) had Reis on his heels throughout the match and dictated the action with superior stand-up and wrestling skills. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and former EliteXC bantamweight champion, Reis (7-1) never brought the fight to the ground, where his world-class submission skills might have come into play. Soto’s takedown defense was impeccable, and he slowly built his lead with strikes.

Forced to go the distance for the first time as a professional, Soto will face Yahir Reyes in the tournament final next month.

Continue Reading » Soto, Reyes Advance in Bellator Tournament


Hackleman vs. White -- Round 2
By Lotfi Sariahmed (Lotfi@sherdog.com)
Saturday, 1:00 a.m. ET: John Hackleman defended his stance that longtime student Chuck Liddell should have the right to call it quits on his own terms during an interview on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Friday.

Liddell, a former UFC light heavyweight champion and arguably the sport’s most recognized fighter, lost via technical knockout in the first round to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97. It was Liddell’s fourth loss in five bouts, and prompted UFC President Dana White to call for the vaunted fighter’s retirement.

Hackleman and White came to verbal blows in an article penned by Sherdog.com’s Mike Harris. Hackleman, who has trained Liddell to great heights over 17 years, took offense to White’s unbending order for Liddell to hang up the gloves. Hackleman believes that decision should be Liddell’s alone.

“I never encouraged Chuck to fight. I said, ‘Don’t listen to Dana White ranting about you retiring and not being able to fight anywhere else in the world,’” Hackleman told “Beatdown” on Friday.

Continue Reading » Hackleman vs. White -- Round 2


Fickett’s Tattoo Chronicles
By Danny Acosta (dacosta@sherdog.com)
Saturday, 12:45 a.m. ET: It only takes one weigh-in photo to figure out Drew Fickett is kind of an oddball. His Strikeforce-EliteXC post-fight challenge to Jake Shields, during which he shouted “Knight Rider” -- as he typically does -- and claimed one fighter would fall off the face of the earth via rear-naked choke, did not help his case in the eyes most straight-laced professionals.

For all those amused by his affinity for flexing and banana hammock weigh-ins, here’s another story to add to the Fickett file.

“There was four of us that got [‘Hecho en Mexico’ tattoos],” training partner Efrain Escudero told Sherdog.com

Fickett always wanted to get tattoos with his Southwest MMA brethren. After he raked in a nice chunk of change during his UFC tenure, he went straight for the Samuel O’Reilly special and brought his friends along for the ride. He called Escudero, who drove from Yuma, Ariz., to Phoenix to meet Fickett and claim a free tattoo.

When Escudero arrived, Fickett was waiting.

“Here’s what you’re gonna get,” said Fickett, as he lifted up his shirt and exposed a Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico) tattoo. Call it an intense love for his Mexican-born teammate, Escudero, appreciation of his surroundings in the Southwest or a sweet tribute to his Mexican wife, but the American-born Fickett is a citizen of the world.

Escudero was stunned.

“‘Oh God,’” he said, “‘he got it!’”


Lashley Poised to Scale Mountains
By Mike Fridley (mike@sherdog.com)
Photo courtesy: Affliction

Lashley will take on Sapp.
Saturday, 12:00 a.m. ET: WrestlingZone.com’s Nick Paglino wrote an interesting piece on the duality of Bobby Lashley.

Lashley is a name making waves in both the world of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, and for the first time, those waves are being made simultaneously. A former champion of World Wrestling Entertainment, 32-year-old Bobby Lashley, when faced with the decision to return to pro wrestling or continue his MMA career, has boldly decided to do both.

Continue Reading » Lashley Poised to Scale Mountains

Check the blog all day for more entries.





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