April 20, 2011
Rua likes the Dragon over Jones
By NEIL SPRINGER, QWI Agency
Despite getting dismantled by Jon (Bones) Jones at UFC 128 in March, Mauricio (Shogun) Rua feels he’s learned enough about the newly crowned UFC light-heavyweight champion to pinpoint the man to bring him down.
Enter The Dragon.
In an interview with Sherdog, Rua explained why Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida has the tools to get the job done.
“He has every chance to beat Jones,” Rua said. “His counterattack style is very strong and tough to beat. I think his style could match perfectly with Jones’ style. I’d bet on him if I had to.”
Jones has looked unstoppable so far, but Machida does offer a unique challenge to anyone in the light-heavyweight division.
His quick footwork and evasive striking game make him difficult to track, plus his counter-striking is sharp. Combine that with Machida’s top-notch takedown defence and strong ground game and Rua could be on to something.
Embattled UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen will get a chance to tackle his final hurdle when he appears before the Nevada State Athletic Commission sometime in mid-May in Las Vegas.
Sonnen will have to answer for comments he made regarding Keith Kizer to the California State Athletic Commission after his UFC 117 post-fight drug test showed elevated levels of testosterone.
Sonnen claimed he spoke with Kizer prior to his UFC 109 bout with Nate (The Great) Marquardt about receiving an exemption for testosterone replacement therapy. After Kizer denied such a conversation ever took place, Sonnen clarified it was his manager who spoke to the NSAC head and he chose the wrong words when speaking with the CSAC.
Sonnen appeared in front of the NSAC in March. At the time, Kizer told him he didn’t buy the explanation.
Though Sonnen has his work cut out for him, if all goes well he could be granted a fighter’s licence and a second’s (cornerman’s) licence. A second’s licence would make it possible for him to coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
FITCH IN TORONTO
UFC welterweight Jon Fitch could be out of action for six months recovering from shoulder surgery.
Fitch made the announcement via his Twitter page.
“Looks like I will be getting shoulder surgery next week,” Fitch said. “Not the news I was looking for.
“This is the longest I’ve gone without training.”
Fitch was forced to pull out of a rematch with B.J. (The Prodigy) Penn at UFC 132 on July 2. The two went to a draw in the main event of UFC 127 in February.
The hunt for Fitch’s replacement ended when Penn also suffered a shoulder injury and had to back out of the card.
Fitch is currently scheduled to take part in an interactive fan event in Toronto prior to UFC 129 next week. A UFC spokesperson confirmed he has not dropped out of the appearance.
UFC president Dana White wants to kill the rumours — Royce Gracie will not be fighting at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro.
White confirmed the news to MMA Fighting.
Speculation ran rampant the MMA pioneer would return to the octagon when his profile was added to the list of fighters on the UFC website. Gracie also cancelled a series of seminars in the U.K. and recently told Brazilian news site Esporte.UOL.com that negotiations with the UFC were ongoing.
The situation even took a turn for the ridiculous when retired fighters and former Gracie opponents Art (One Glove) Jimmerson and Dan (The Beast) Severn began calling out the MMA legend for one last fight.
The face of the early UFC, Gracie hasn’t competed in MMA since his dull-as-doornails, unanimous-decision win over Kazushi (The Gracie Hunter) Sakuraba in 2007.
He hasn’t appeared in the UFC since his one-sided TKO loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 60 on May 27, 2006.
UFC FAN EXPO
On top of the UFC Fan Expo, a number of other events in Toronto are open to the public ahead of UFC 129.
Fans can attend the pre-fight press conference on April 27 at the Direct Energy Centre at 1 p.m. Doors open to the public at noon.
UFC president Dana White, director of Canadian operations Tom Wright, welterweight champion Georges (Rush) St. Pierre, Jake Shields, featherweight titleholder Jose (Scarface) Aldo, Mark (The Machine) Hominick, Randy (The Natural) Couture and Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida will all be in attendance.
On April 28, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be a free interactive event at Yonge-Dundas Square with appearances by Ryan (Darth) Bader, Jon Fitch, bantamweight champion Dominick (The Dominator) Cruz and octagon girl Chandella Powell.
Fans can catch the first ever public appearance of all seven UFC champions as well as the UFC 129 weigh-ins at Ricoh Coliseum on April 29 starting at 3:15 p.m. Doors open at 2 p.m.