Strikeforce Heavyweights Descend Upon New York to Lay Claim to No. 1

By Mike Chiappetta

NEW YORK — For some fans, it’s easy to look past Strikeforce. They don’t run as many events as the UFC, they don’t have a bombastic frontman, and they haven’t been around as long. But it was hard to ignore what they were doing on Tuesday afternoon, when eight burly men demanded and received the attention of a city that usually can’t be bothered.

The field of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament came to town, with a free fan experience at Manhattan’s famed Roseland Ballroom that drew around 2,000 fans. The message was simple: With the brutal tournament format generating a battle of attrition, the promotion and its fighters believe that the man who emerges as the last man standing out of the original eight will be able to make the claim as the world’s best heavyweight.

While the championship is not in play, in some ways, the stakes are higher than any single piece of hardware.

“I love tournaments,” said Alistair Overeem, the man who holds the belt for now. “Tournaments decide who’s No. 1. This tournament will decide who the No. 1 heavyweight in MMA is, no doubt.”

Overeem and the rest of the entrants invaded the Big Apple yesterday to kick off fight week just a few days prior to the opening round on Saturday night at the Izod Center in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey. On that night, Fedor Emelianenko will face Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Andrei Arlovski will face Sergei Kharitonov in first round bouts. The other first rounders will take place in April.

Note: Click photos to enlarge.

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Dana White Says Georges St-Pierre Is The No. 1 Superstar In the Sport

By Damon Martin

If you’ve ever wondered who the top star in the UFC is just ask Dana White. The UFC President believes it’s none other that UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who will headline the upcoming UFC 129 show in Toronto in late April.

The charismatic champion has stormed to the top of the welterweight rankings while also becoming a leading spokesman for brands like Under Armour and Gatorade.

St-Pierre has also been voted “Canadian Athlete of the Year” three years in a row, but despite his legendary status in his home country, White says they didn’t need him to have a successful show in Toronto, but it’s a very nice bonus.

“I don’t know if you remember leading up to this fight, I was saying we don’t need to go into Toronto with Georges St-Pierre headlining. Obviously, if you have Georges St-Pierre headlining it doesn’t suck, but it worked out that way and here he is,” White commented.

“Look at the UFC, and one of the great things about the UFC is how many stars we do have. How many guys headline pay-per-views? We went up into Montreal with 2 Brazilians headlining the card. We’ve been in L.A. with Brazilians headlining the card, we’ve been to England with B.J. Penn headlining a card before, people love everybody in the UFC.”


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Wanderlei Silva: “I can’t wait to return to the fights”

By Eduardo Ferreira

Former Pride middleweight champion, Wanderlei Silva return to training after a knee surgery and is anxious to return to the octagon. In exclusive interview to TATAME TV, “The Axe Murderer” hasn’t confirmed the fight against Brian Stann, but joked about the challenges fighters like Leben, Sonnen, Belcher and Marquardt made while he was out. “I’d like to say that you have to stop asking to fight me because I think I’m busy for about two years, 2011 and 2012 are full. Whoever wants to face me will have to wait until 2013”, Silva said, talking about Shogun Rua’s next fight, revealing that his protégé Vitor Vianna will fight ormer UFC champion Kevin Randleman, and more:

How are things in Las Vegas?
It’s great. The guys are really great, I’d like to congratulate him, the event had a good organization, there are some of my students competing today, and I could only come to the sparring training of my team today, I’m doing all movements and I’m working hard to see if I return soon. I’m anxious and waiting for things to happen and I can’t wait to return to the fights.

Are you 100% good?
My surgery was done a long time and I’m recovered, I’m doing a good strengthen work, working my stretching too, I’m doing everything so I can develop all my moves on a safety way so I don’t get injured again. It really isn’t nice having to go through a surgery each fight I do (laughs). I’m always returning, it’s always like that. All this thing of recovering and doing things all over again strengthen my way of fighting, I have an unusual way of fighting and I’m realizing it now. These 20 years of fight I have on my back are reflecting now, I’m doing a full repairman and I’ll comeback better.

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Jake Shields reveals he’s bringing in Chael Sonnen and Ben Askren to help him prepare for St. Pierre

By Michael Pepper

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Jake Shields has today revealed that he’s bringing in former UFC middleweight title contender, Chael Sonnen and Bellator stand-out, Ben Askren to help him prepare for Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129 in April.

The UFC welterweight number one contender revealed the news to The Fight Show earlier today who in turn posted it via their Twitter page.

Shields is coming off a less than impressive split decision win over Martin Kampmann late last year on his octagon debut. Prior to that he’d looked good at 185 pounds, dominating the legendary Dan Henderson on route to a five round unanimous decision win.


Fedor Emelianenko Considered Retirement Before Loss to Werdum

By Ray Hui

Fedor Emelianenko‘s MMA career could continue for about a year longer, or maybe more, the Strikeforce/M-1 Global heavyweight says, uncertain of his future.

“To tell the truth, I certainly, was — I am thinking about retiring but that’s not because of the loss,” Fedor told Ariel Helwani Monday on‘s The MMA Hour. “I used to think about it before [the loss to Fabricio Werdum].”

Fedor (32-2 with one no contest) made his professional MMA debut in May 2000, but it wasn’t until last June when he suffered his first definitive loss, a triangle choke submission.

Fedor, who also placed in Sambo and judo championships in Russia several years before making the jump to MMA, factors age and accumulated injuries as reasons for hanging up his gloves. He turns 35 this September.

“This is just because of my age,” Fedor continued, through a translator. “Because of my age, because for the heavyweight sportsman my age is considered a very big one. So sometimes I’m thinking about maybe finishing my sports career because also my former injuries started reminding me about themselves. But I hope that I still will have some time to fight.”

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White: UFC 129’s going to “whole other level”

By Steven Marrocco

UFC president Dana White is acutely aware that he’s straying into uncharted territory.

When UFC 129 hits Rogers Centre in Toronto, it will be the biggest venue the promotion ever has occupied for a live event.

Approximately 42,000 seats will be up for grabs – almost double the number available for three of the UFC’s biggest gatebusters, which were all held in Canada.

The country is, as White often gushes, a second home for the promotion, and the demand appears to be there for a stadium event. But the sheer size of Rogers Centre will force him to confront an issue he thus has far tried to avoid: the fan who pays 50 bucks for a nosebleed to watch a pair of dancing ants.

White said today that he has a plan to combat the problem, though he is keeping details a secret for now.

“Nobody was more worried about that than me – believe me,” he said at a press conference held today in Toronto in support of UFC 129, which is headlined by a welterweight title fight between champ and box-office goldmine Georges St-Pierre and challenger Jake Shields. “I’ve said for years that I don’t know about doing stadiums. What I think has helped the UFC get as big as it has is the live-event experience. And the last guy on earth that wants to ruin that for anybody is me.”

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If you missed the press conference. You can watch it in our video vault.

Georges St. Pierre dismissed talk of Silva fight for now, Shields happy to be in the underdog role

By Michael Pepper

UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre has immediately dismissed the notion that he’s locked in to face middleweight champion, Anderson Silva in a super fight later on this year, explaining he has to get past Jake Shields first who is more than a worthy opponent.

Speaking at today’s press conference in Toronto, St. Pierre said:

“I don’t even think about this right now. I never thought about it. I always live in the present moment, and my biggest problem is Jake Shields. It would be foolish for me to look past Jake Shields. He poses the biggest threat to my title. He’s a very well rounded fighter, and the UFC brought him in, and I’m glad they did because he’s the No. 1 guy for the welterweight title. As a champion, I’m a proud champion, and I want to fight the best guys. I’m going to fight Jake Shields, and I’m happy to do so.”

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Jake Shields also spoke about the situation regarding St. Pierre and Silva, as well as adding he’s happy to be playing the underdog against the Canadian, much like he has in the past.

“They’ve both been so dominant in the UFC the last few years, people are talking about it, but I think it’s a big mistake to overlook me cause I plan on coming out there and spoiling that fight. I love this role. I love getting looked past, same as Dan Henderson. Everybody’s talking about Henderson, the next champ, Strikeforce was trying to throw me out on a loss, but I definitely had different plans. Everyone’s talking about GSP this, and GSP that, which I do think he’s a phenomenal fighter and deserves all this, but I plan on going out there and dethroning his title run.”

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