'The Snake' on Collision Course with 'Feijao'

By Tim Leidecker Sep 24, 2008
French Muay Thai specialist Cyrille "The Snake" Diabate and fast-rising Brazilian Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante could face one another for vacant EliteXC light heavyweight title on Nov. 8, according to various sources within Brazil and France. Negotiations are purportedly under way.

Cavalcante (7-1) has posted three consecutive victories since he entered the EliteXC cage in February. He last competed in July when he stopped Travis Galbraith on strikes at EliteXC “Unfinished Business.” A veteran of the International Fight League, his only career defeat came in a disqualification loss to Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz.

Diabate (12-6-1), meanwhile, debuted on American soil in August, as he earned a unanimous decision against Jaime Fletcher on the ShoXC “Elite Challenger Series.” The 6-foot-6 35-year-old has won six of his past seven bouts, losing only to 2005 Pride middleweight grand prix champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in that span.

Bielkheden eyes showdown with ‘Joker’

Swedish standout David Bielkheden believes preparation for his bout with Frenchman Jess Liaudin at UFC 89 on Oct. 18 in Birmingham, England, is on schedule.

“Everything is going well,” Bielkheden said. “I’m on my way home from Brazil now after spending four weeks of intense training at Brazilian Top Team.”

Bielkheden’s Octagon debut was a forgettable one, as the 29-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt submitted to strikes from top welterweight contender Diego Sanchez at UFC 82 in March. The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Bielkheden (12-6). One challenge facing the former welterweight in his sophomore UFC appearance is handling the weight cut to lightweight.

“My diet is going well and, until now, everything is perfect,” he said. “I will be the biggest and strongest 155-pounder of all and the most handsome guy in the business.”

Bielkheden plans to bring in one of his BTT teammates, former UFC titleholder and Pride Fighting Championships veteran Murilo Bustamante, to complete his training for UFC 89. Bustamante’s presence alone shows he has not taken Liaudin (12-10) lightly. Bielkheden and Liaudin met previously in a grappling competition, and the Swede emerged victorious.

“Murilo Bustamante will come to Sweden soon to help me with the last preparation,” Bielkheden said. “He will also be in my corner.”

Khalidov takes his act stateside

Chechen ace Mamed Khalidov will make a second attempt at his North American debut when he meets Jason Guida on the ShoXC “Elite Challenger Series” card Oct. 10 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. Khalidov was originally slated to face UFC veteran Floyd Sword on Sept. 20 in Albuquerque, N.M., but those plans changed when the event was canceled.

Unbeaten in his last 12 fights, Khalidov (14-3-1) battled Daniel Tabera to a draw at KSW “Extra” earlier this month in Poland. It was just the third time in 18 career bouts he had gone the distance. A well-rounded threat, Khalidov has secured 12 of his 14 wins by KO, TKO or submission.

Ironically, Guida -- the 30-year-old brother of UFC lightweight contender Clay Guida -- has competed inside Khalidov’s home promotion, KSW. Three years ago, the Mokena, Ill., native entered the KSW 4 light heavyweight tournament, losing fights to local hero Jacek Buczko and Croatian kickboxer Damir Mirenic by decision.

Guida (17-17) holds submission victories against UFC veterans Marvin Eastman and Ron Faircloth. He was dismissed from season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series after he failed to make weight for a preliminary fight. Guida has not competed since he submitted to a Mike Russow guillotine choke at the Adrenaline MMA premiere in June.

Siver returns to Germany

Defeated in three of his four UFC fights, lightweight Dennis Siver has returned to the fighting circuit in Germany. Though the UFC has yet to terminate his contract, Siver needs to prove himself outside of the North American promotion before he returns to the Octagon. Siver lasted just 36 seconds against the troubled Melvin Guillard at UFC 86 in July.

The German promotion Tempel leaped at the opportunity to land one of the country’s few mixed martial arts standouts. Siver (11-6) will meet Austrian kickboxer Phillip Schranz in the co-main event at the promotion’s Mix Fight Gala VII show on Oct. 25. A fighter similar to Siver in size, build and style, the heavily tattooed Schranz will enter the match with far less MMA experience. Based out of the Fox Gym in Vienna, Schranz has won four of his first five fights.

The 15-fight card will feature bouts with K-1 and MMA rules. One of the showcase fights will pair Murat Göktepe -- the younger brother of Tempel Fight School owner and former German kickboxing champion Sefer Göktepe -- and Kemal Sivil, a fighter turned trainer who has not competed since 2002.

Jim Page/Sherdog.com

Could Italian heavyweight Ivan Serati
help the UFC's cause in Italy?
UFC coming to Italy?

The signing last week of Italian Ivan Serati led to speculation regarding whether or not UFC parent company Zuffa LLC is planning a foray into the heavyweight’s homeland.

Running a UFC show in Italy will be difficult, if not impossible, as using a cage for mixed martial arts competition is forbidden by Italian law. The media and its view of the sport remains an issue, too. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who directly or indirectly controls more than three quarters of the media inside the country, has professed his opposition to individual sports. Supporting a sport viewed as barbaric in many parts of the country could also pose political problems for Berlusconi.

Should Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta -- whose ancestors hail from Sicily in southern Italy -- succeed in changing Berlusconi’s perception, the UFC would almost certainly target Rome or Milan for its debut on Italian soil.

Bedorf storms through Fight Club tournament

Two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu European champion and Abu Dhabi veteran Karol Bedorf took another step towards MMA stardom on Sept. 21.

The 25-year-old Szczecin Top Team product stormed through an eight-man open-weight tournament at a Fight Club show in Magdeburg, Germany. Bedorf (3-1) won both fights in under four minutes combined. The two quick victories -- which came at the expense of Bashkim Gashi and Alexander Schmidt -- helped the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Pole pocket $2,880 in prize money.

While his ground game has always ranked among the best in Europe, Bedorf’s striking appears to have improved by leaps and bounds. He peppered Gashi and Schmidt with strikes, both standing and on the ground.

For more mixed martial arts news coverage in German, visit Ground & Pound at www.groundandpound.de.
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>