by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Well boys and girls, after a relatively slow July and August, MMA picks back up in a major way in September. With 3 UFC events taking place during the month, plus EliteXC’s debut in Hawaii, K-1 in Japan, Strikeforce at the Playboy Mansion, Cage Rage in England, the IFL team finals, and the WEC kicking things off, it’s going to be a very busy month for fighters and fight fans. Here are a few more stories to keep the pot stirring over the next few weeks.
DENIS KANG LIKELY TO FIGHT IN K-1
The MMA free agent market may be getting a little bit slimmer in the coming days as top ten ranked middleweight, Denis Kang, is expected to land a deal with K-1 Heroes and a possible showdown with Kazushi Sakuraba at the September 17th show in Japan. Nothing is official yet, but it’s likely that a deal will be reached any day and fans can expect to see Kang in K-1 for a multi-fight deal.
The UFC didn’t seem to be a contender for Kang’s services, which is pretty surprising considering Anderson Silva may have a lack of top competition if he’s able to get by Rich Franklin in October. Paulo Filho is in the WEC, Dan Henderson has made it clear he wants to fight at light heavyweight and Matt Lindland still has two fights left on his Bodog deal.
Kang should make an immediate impact on K-1’s middleweight division if this deal gets done and he is sure to make a big splash if he fights Sakuraba, a fight he would very likely win.
KARO PARISYAN LIKELY TO RETURN IN NOVEMBER
UFC welterweight contender Karo Parisyan has been quiet since his win in May over Josh Burkman, but he will most likely fight on the upcoming UFC taking place in New Jersey on November 17th.
One name that has been mentioned amongst possible opponents is Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, who would be making his return to the UFC at 170lbs. A few other names have been mentioned including Hector Lombard.
Karo is in a tough position right now. With champion Matt Serra tied up until December waiting for a fight with Matt Hughes and the next contender probably being the winner of the upcoming bout between Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck, he will almost certainly have 2 or 3 fights before a title shot is even mentioned.
The division also has another big bout coming up with Diego Sanchez taking on Jon Fitch at UFC 76.
CHUCK LIDDELL: YOU GOT GOT!
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell continues to climb the celebrity status ladder, this time with an appearance on the ultimate paparazzi and gossip site, TMZ.com. Liddell was a guest of “Entourage” star Kevin Dillon, who turned 42 years old last week.
Liddell appeared on the 3rd season of the show portraying himself and has mentioned that “Entourage” is his favorite show on television. Dillon plays “Johnny Drama” on the HBO series and played the nemesis to Liddell on the show featuring a fake hidden camera show called “Gotcha!”
Of course the message boards lit up immediately, overreacting to Liddell’s appearance at the Vegas birthday party, saying that he is partying too much and not preparing for his upcoming bout with Keith Jardine. Slow down people… Chuck is allowed to have a social life and that can involve parties. It’s a shocker, but it’s true.
If Chuck is able to defeat Keith Jardine, I wonder if he’ll scream “Victory!” when it’s all done? “Entourage” fans out there will get that one.
WANDERLEI SILVA TO DEBUT DECEMBER 29TH
Dana White says it’s one of the biggest achievements of his career to sign former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva to a UFC contract. Silva, however, has a few more months to prepare, as he won’t make his return to the Octagon until December.
Everyone has already assumed that Silva would finally fight Chuck Liddell in a fight that has literally been talked about for almost 5 years. And that would seem to be the best choice in what should be a stacked show for the UFC already, featuring a welterweight title grudge match between Matt Serra and Matt Hughes.
In a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio, Randy Couture mentioned the fight to us on the air as the likely fight for Silva’s debut. The Brazilian trained with the heavyweight champion and his camp in Las Vegas recently.
Silva is a veteran of the sport and if everything shakes out the way the UFC hopes, a fight with Liddell is the big main event they’ve been waiting for. Keith Jardine beating Liddell on September 22nd could throw a huge monkey wrench into the works though and nobody should write him off because he has good hands and the fight will likely stay standing throughout.
I don’t believe Silva needs or should have a “tune-up” fight. He’s a championship level fighter and is ranked in the top ten. He should fight other top ten level opponents or what’s the point of signing him?
FEDOR IS STILL A FREE AGENT
Will he ever sign? I’m starting to lose hope and wondering when we’ll get the chance to see the best fighter of our time in the ring or cage again.
Rumors have circulated that Fedor was close to signing a deal with K-1 to which his manager quickly rebuffed. And UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said they expect him to come and compete in the Octagon late in 2007 or early 2008.
The truth of the matter is this… no one knows what’s going on with Fedor for sure except for him and his management team.
The UFC seems like the most logical choice because it is home to the top fighters in the heavyweight division including a dream match-up with Randy Couture if he’s still champion when Fedor shows up.
The only real competition that Fedor might face if he signs somewhere else is the hope that the same organization would go out and sign Josh Barnett, who has yet to sign anywhere as well. If he could get past Barnett, he would be out of top ten opponents in a hurry while the UFC is currently stocked full of heavyweight talent.