How Serious Should the MW Division Be Taking Kyle Noke?

By Colton Whittemore

Heading into The Ultimate Fighter Season 11, Australia’s Kyle Noke was one of the favorites to make it all the way and win the tournament.

Unfortunately for him, Kris McCray, the eventual runner-up, forced him out of the tournament in the quarterfinals.

So instead of making his UFC debut at the TUF 11 Finale poised to fight Court McGee for the six-figure contract, Noke instead made his debut against Josh Bryant, winning by TKO in the second round.

Next came a fight with Rob Kimmons at UFC 122.

Noke defeated Kimmons by rear-naked choke, and by the time of his main-card debut against Chris Camozzi at UFC 127 last night, the buzz surrounding him was deafening.

After defeating his opponent handily in only 1:35 of the first round, Kyle Noke has elevated his status from journeyman to prospect.

His talent is undeniable, he’s in his prime, and he trains out of the best camp in MMA, Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting.

 

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Trevor Wittman Responds to Dana White’s Criticism

By Mitch Ciccarelli

Following a unanimous-decision loss to the love child of William Hung and Liu Kang (from Mortal Kombat), Yushin Okami, at UFC 122 this past November, Nate Marquardt and his cornermen received some heavy criticism from UFC President Dana White.

White called Marquardt a “choke artist” and accused his corner of telling the former King of Pancrase that he was winning the fight rather than telling the middleweight contender to “go for broke” in the third round of a bout that may not have been scored in his favor.

Trevor Wittman, the owner and operator of Grudge Training Center in Colorado and one of MMA’s premier striking coaches, was in Marquardt’s corner for that fight.

A lot of what White said was directed towards him, and while one would assume that Wittman would feel insulted, he actually applauds White for speaking his mind in the way that he did.

“The thing is I think it’s great. For [Dana White] to push for more exciting fights, I think, is the best thing he can say. He’s out there pushing his brand, he’s a promoter, he’s promoting fights so for him to say something like that is great,” Wittman said.

“Now do I think he talks a little bit emotional? I think so, and I do [that] too, I’m passionate about what I do. I’m not mad at him at all for saying what he said, it wakes me and Greg [Jackson] up a little bit and gets our fire going and makes us more passionate to show you what kind of trainers we are and what type of team we have.”

 

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Dana White Says He Thought BJ Penn Beat Jon Fitch

By John Heinis

UFC President Dana White wasted little time in voicing his opinion about UFC 127’s main event.  White told ESPN.com “I didn’t think it was a draw”, disagreeing with the final decision of the fight.

“Personally, I scored the first two rounds for Penn and had him winning the fight. There’s no doubt B.J. got pounded in the third round, but that wasn’t a 10-8 round.”

White is notorious for having a problem with guys who can’t finish fights, and few fighters have the propensity to grind out decisions like Jon Fitch does.  Fitch has had his past nine fights go to the scorecards, not finishing a fight since 2007, when he made Roan Carneiro tap out from a rear naked choke.

In 23 professional victories, Fitch has won 13 by decision.

White, who said that Fitch would get a welterweight title shot after his victory against Thiago Alves in August of 2010, quickly changed his tune once Jake Shields signed with the UFC.  Is a draw against BJ Penn reason enough for Fitch to get another crack at the title?

Well, the short answer is no, as far as Dana White is concerned.

“Fitch is one of these guys that goes, ‘Oh, I want my respect,'” White said. “He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds — and he’s crying for a title shot?”

 

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Spike TV to air UFC 129 prelims, could feature Diaz vs. MacDonald and Foster vs. Pierson

By MMATorch

In news that comes as no surprise, Spike TV will broadcast an hour long Prelims Live special for UFC 129 in Toronto this April. The organization announced that the broadcast was coming during Saturday’s UFC 127 event.

According to a report from MMAJunkie.com, the leading bouts to take the two spots on the broadcast are the welterweight bouts in Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald and Brian Foster vs. Sean Pierson. Additionally, it’s expected that some bouts will likely air on Facebook.com prior to the Spike TV broadcast.

UFC 129 is already a record setting event for the organization, with reported gate of $11 million for the 55,000 seat sold-out event at the Rogers Centre. The card is headlined by the Welterweight Championship bout between Georges St. Pierre and Jake Shields, and takes place on April 30.

 

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Gomi Wins! Starting Off 2011 In A Good Way

By N.O.B

Takanori Gomi won the 2011 ADCC Asia Trials in the 77kg division on the 27th in Japan. He faced “Former Super High School Student” Tetsuya Yamada in the second round and won via points. It seems like he racked up the points with his strong wrestling.

Tetsu Hadairo won the tough 66kg division (defeated Kohei Yasumi in final), Korean Doo Kwang Jeon won the 88kg division, Yoshihiro “KISS” Nakao student Animal Anzai won the 99kg division, and the beast Hideki “Shrek” Sekine won the +99kg division.

 

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GSP, Loiseau open up lives in Striking Truth

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Georges St-Pierre and David (The Crow) Loiseau opened up their lives for parts of four years for the documentary “The Striking Truth.”

Director Steven J. Wong says that alone shows the two mixed martial arts fighters really are champions.

“I’m very proud of these guys,” said Wong, whose film had its Canadian premiere Friday night. “It’s very easy to say ‘Sure, Steve, film wherever you want. You’ve got full access.’ When time comes and you’re holding the championship belt, it’s easy. It’s easy to say ‘Hey, point the camera at me.’

“But in those hard times — and there are some hard times for both Georges and David in this movie — during those hard times the real man steps up and doesn’t shut the camera down.”

The film documents St-Pierre winning, losing and reclaiming the UFC welterweight title. And it shows the struggle of Loiseau, his close friend and fellow Montrealer, in trying to turn his fighting career around.

Both fighters said having a friend like Wong manning the camera made the filming process from 2006 to 2010 seem natural.

“Sometimes I just forgot that he was there,” said St-Pierre, who opens up in the movie about his family and is seen disconsolate in his hotel room after losing his 170-pound title. “Sometimes he was filming some shot that I didn’t even know that he had. When I saw the movie, I was like ‘Wow. I didn’t know he had those shots.”‘

 

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Rising MMA talent Ryan Bader from Reno hits toughest test

By Jim Krajewski

He recently suffered the first loss of his mixed martial arts career, but Ryan Bader still has his sights set on winning a title. Bader, who lost to Jon Jones earlier this month via second-round tap out, is not sure when he will fight next. He would like to fight three times a year.

“Training for a fight requires two-plus months of preparation and it takes a lot out of you. Your body needs some time off after that, not necessarily from the fight, but from the training camp,” he wrote from Australia, where he was promoting but not participating in an Ultimate Fighting Championship fight. “My goal is to be champion.”

Even with the loss, Bader (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), still is ranked No. 7 in the latest UFC light heavyweight rankings by profighting-fans.com. Curt Heinrichs compiled the rankings, and says the 27-year-old from Reno has knockout power and will be a force in his weight class.

“Bader took a step backwards in the division when he lost to Jon Jones, but he is still young and improving every time he steps into the octagon,” Heinrichs wrote.

He doesn’t have any fights in his immediate future, but Bader, who wrestled for Arizona State in college, is staying busy. He is preparing to open a combination MMA and fitness gym in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 25,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open March 19.

“People can come train to be a fighter, just take a Jiu Jitsu class, run on the treadmill, lift weights, and anything and everything in between,” Bader said.

 

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