On Sat., April 9, Gilbert Melendez (#3 Lightweight) will defend his Strikeforce Lightweight Championship against Tatsuya Kawajiri (#10), a man he defeated at PRIDE Shockwave 2006.

Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley takes place in San Diego, Calif. and airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. on Sat., April 9. Go here to view the complete card.


Late last week, Bellator announced that “Judo” Jim Wallhead will be the sixth participant in its upcoming season four welterweight tournament.

“Wallhead was a fighter we wanted to be part of Bellator for some time, but because of the volcanic ash in Europe, his arrival in the Bellator cage got delayed for a few months,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “After his fight with Ryan Thomas, it was clear he was worth the wait.”

Wallhead is a member of Team Rough House and trains alongside UFC fighters Dan Hardy (#21 Welterweight), Andre Winner (#89 Lightweight), Ross Pearson (#39 Lightweight), Nick Osipczak (#141 Welterweight) and Strikeforce welterweight contender Paul Daley (#13 Welterweight). The Brit is a 15-fight veteran of the Cage Warriors promotion and his arrival on the international stage is long over due.

“I feel pumped getting ready to enter a tournament as stacked as this one,” Wallhead said. “There are some great fighters in the mix and its wide open for everyone to make a name for themselves. It would be a dream come true to be the last man standing out of these eight talented fighters. What an achievement.”

Wallhead joins former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good (#38), Dan Hornbuckle (#57), Brent Weedman (#84), Chris Lozano, and former Olympic judoka Rick Hawn as they compete for $100,000 and a shot at Askren. Both Lozano and Hawn will enter our rankings after their first tournament fight.

The promotion’s inaugural Light-Heavyweight Tournament is the only other officially-announced component of Bellator’s upcoming fourth season, which will air on MTV2. In the coming weeks, Bellator will announce its season four tournament participants. To date, the other announced fighters for season four are Joe Riggs, Daniel Gracie and Ron Sparks.

The promotion currently boasts champions in all men’s divisions but Flyweight and Light Heavyweight. Those champions are Zach Makovsky (#11 Bantamweight), Joe Warren (#2 Featherweight), Eddie Alvarez (#11 Lightweight), Ben Askren (#16 Welterweight), Hector Lombard (#6 Middleweight), Cole Konrad (#24 Heavyweight), and Zoila Frausto, who will likely be at the top of the heap when FIGHT! unveils its Women’s Flyweight Rankings.


As a kid, Frank Mir was a Dungeons and Dragons nerd and fantasy book freak with no friends. Then he got big, and people started showing him respect. But even to this day, Mir still has his share of haters. In part two of this FIGHT! Life series, Frank takes us back to his days as a social outcast, and has a few words for the message board warriors who keep talking smack.

Produced and directed by Matthew Ross. Camera: Rick Lee, Marc Rizzo, Randy Ward. Edited by Ryan Jackson-Healy and Ashley Cahill. Music by Jacques Brautbar.


In the final clip in this FIGHT! Life series, “Big” John McCarthy – the most experienced and popular referee in the history of the UFC – sounds off on what’s wrong with how MMA fights are scored, what makes a good referee, how weight-cutting is dangerous for a fighter’s health, and why the experience of getting punched in the head should be required for all pro judges and referees.

Produced and directed by Matthew Ross. Camera: Rick Lee. Assistant Camera: Diego Helguero and Anthony Williams. Edit: Ashley Cahill and Ryan Jackson-Healy. Music: Jacques Brautbar.


FIGHT! photog Paul Thatcher caught up with former Ultimate Fighting Championship title holder Forrest Griffin before a workout at Xtreme Couture. Griffin is preparing to face Tito Ortiz for the second time at UFC 106 and says that Ortiz’s name recognition makes it easier to field questions while at Starbucks and Albertson’s.


If your goal is to become a professional fighter, it certainly doesnt hurt to spent much of your childhood in your family’s Karate dojo. And that’s exactly what happened to Frank Mir. In Part 3 of this FIGHT! Life series, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion explains how martial arts isn’t simply a sport its a state of mind.

Produced and directed by Matthew Ross. Camera: Rick Lee, Marc Rizzo, Randy Ward. Edited by Ryan Jackson-Healy and Ashley Cahill. Music by Jacques Brautbar.


AMP Energy is inviting fans to a live chat with superstar fighters Urijah Faber (#3 Bantamweight) and Chad Mendes (#7 Featherweight) hosted by Pro MMA Radio host Larry Pepe on AMP Energy’s USTREAM channel on Tues., Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.

Faber and Mendes will field questions from fans about WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis at Arena in Glendale, Ariz., a site selected by fans during the AMP Energy Hometown Takedown promotion. Henderson vs. Pettis is the WEC’s last card before the promotion merges with the UFC in 2011.


When Gilbert Melendez enrolled at San Francisco State, he couldn’t decide what he wanted to do more: wrestle or party. Then he met Jake Shields, who became both a partner in crime and his mentor in mixed martial arts.

In Part 2 of this FIGHT! Life series, Melendez takes us through his humble beginnings, and even offers some ideas about what he’ll do when the time comes to hang up the gloves.

Produced and directed by Matthew Ross. Camera: Marc Rizzo and Randy Ward. Edited by Ryan Jackson-Healy and Ashley Cahill. Music by Jacques Brautbar.

Go here to see more FIGHT! videos!


(Vasquez attacks Alberto Crane. Props to Full Contact Fighter.)

WEC featherweight Javier Vazquez is mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

“I’m tired of losing, especially the way I’ve been losing. Its not like I’ve been getting blown out. I could just as easily be 2-0 and a title contender right now,” says the 12-year mixed martial arts veteran, who dropped back-to-back split decisions to L.C. Davis and Deividas Taurosevicius since arriving in the WEC last August.

Vasquez meets Jens Pulver this Saturday at WEC 47 from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Ohio. “Showtime” cut his teeth in the sport’s dark days, back when Pulver was the first UFC Lightweight Champion, and Vasquez “woulda fought him all day long.” After winning the Most Inspirational Performance award from Sports Illustrated for battling through a torn ACL in a King of the Cage victory over Alberto Crane in 2003, Vasquez decided to hang up his gloves.

The sport evolved as the Carlson Gracie Team black belt focused on teaching in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. In doing so, he gained confidence he could still compete with the best, all while enjoying pay days that finally justified the toll of training, he returned to fighting in 2007. He fought twice that year and didn’t take another match until 2009.

“I’m just tired of telling people I can do it. I’m just going to do it and that’s it. I’m just irritated and pissed off,” says Vazquez. “A lot of people were telling me, yeah I’m a huge underdog. Good. I’m glad people think that. Because the people that think that don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.

“They really don’t know who the hell I am. Its just funny how just because somebody is more known than another guy that they automatically, ‘Oh, he’s gonna win, he’s gonna lose.’ It’s just hilarious to me. And the guys who’ve trained with me know I have just a good a chance as anybody to beat the best guys out there.”

Fighting in what could be the biggest WEC show to date and on the main card for the first time against an old competitor with a big star, Vazquez left his camp for the first time to ensure victory. He trained under the guidance of Erik Paulson and his CSW team. He hired a strength and conditioning coach for the first time, which he felt kept him from finishing fighters in the past.

“I’m gonna win and this will probably be the end of Jens Pulver. Whether people like it or not, I can give a rats crap. This is my time and I’m gonna do it,” says Vazquez. “And nothing anybody tells me is going to detract me from it. That’s it. That’s the bottom line. I’m pissed off at the way the cards have been dealt.

“I’m sick and tired of judges who don’t know what the hell they’re watching. I’m not going to let it go to a decision. You’re going to be impressed. I think everyone’s going to be impressed. They’re gonna walk away and be like, ‘Holy shit, he’s for real.’”


Last night was one for the underdogs as Mike Russow dropped Todd Duffee, Jason Brilz lost a tough decision that many thought he won, and John Hathaway ruined Diego’s return to 170.

FIGHT! Results

Rashad Evans def. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Michael Bisping def. Dan Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Mike Russow def. Todd Duffee via knockout (punch) at 2:35 of Round 3.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Jason Brilz (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
John Hathaway def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Dong Hyun Kim def. Amir Sadollah via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Efrain Escudero def. Dan Lauzon via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27).
Melvin Guillard def. Waylon Lowe via TKO (strikes) at 3:28 of Round 1.
Cyrille Diabate def. Luiz Cane via TKO (punches) at 2:13 of Round 1.
Aaron Riley def. Joe Brammer via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Ryan Jensen def. Jesse Forbes via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:06 of Round 1.

FIGHT! Bonuses

The UFC handed out bonuses in the amount of $65,000 following Saturday’s event. The recipients were Antonio Rogerio Nogeuira and Jason Brilz (Fight of the Night), Mike Russow (Knockout of the Night), and Ryan Jensen (Submission of the Night).


UFC President Dana White announced attendance of 15,081 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a live gate of $3.895 million.

(Rampage probably did a different kind of howling after dropping a decision to his nemesis, Rashad Evans.)

FIGHT! Rankings

Rashad Evans earned his second title shot and moved from #4 to #2 in our Light Heavyweight Rankings with his win over Rampage Jackson, who drops from #6 to #7. In another light heavyweight fight with title challenger implications, Antonio Rogerio Nogueria escaped with a split decision victory but slips from #3 to #8, while Jason Brilz jumps from #24 to #15 with an effort that many felt was deserving of the win. Unranked Cyrille Diabate made noise at 205 in his UFC debut, finishing Luiz Cane, who drops from #16 to #28.

Michael Bisping climbs back toward relevance at 185 with his win over Dan Miller, moving from #41 to #25 in our Middleweight Rankings. Miller drops from #31 to #47. In the night’s only other bout contested at 185 pounds, Ryan Jensen moves from #79 to #62 with his submission of Jesse Forbes, who slips from #90 to #92.

Mike Russow put the brakes on the Todd Duffee hype train with his third-round knockout, moving from #25 to #13 in our Heavyweight Rankings. Todd Duffee will enter our rankings after his third qualifying fight.

John Hathaway jumps into the top 10 in our Welterweight Rankings, moving from #23 to #10, with his masterful win over Diego Sanchez. “Nightmare” re-enters our Welterweight Rankings at #26. In other action at 170, Dong Hyun Kim moves from #22 to #12 after his decision win over Amir Sadollah, who drops from #25 to #43.

UFC 114 boasted a trio of lightweight fights, with most of the action taking place south of our top 50. Melvin Guillard moves from #49 to #36 with his TKO of unranked UFC rook Waylon Lowe. Efrain Escudero moves from #52 to #48 with his victory over Dan Lauzon, who slips from #72 to #77, and Aaron Riley moves from #80 to #61 with his win over unranked Joe Brammer.

(Bisping cracks Miller.)

FIGHT! Picks

Our picks were brutal, especially when you figure that one of our hits (Nogueira) should have been a miss. Everyone has bad nights, and we’re still 51-27 on the year.

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans
FIGHT! Pick: Jackson Resulting Outcome:  INCORRECT

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Jason Brillz
FIGHT! Pick: NogueriaResulting Outcome:  CORRECT

Michael Bisping vs. Dan Miller
FIGHT! Pick: Miller Resulting Outcome:  INCORRECT

Todd Duffee vs. Mike Russow
FIGHT! Pick: Duffee Resulting Outcome:  INCORRECT

Diego Sanchez vs. John Hathaway
FIGHT! Pick: Sanchez Resulting Outcome:  INCORRECT

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Amir Sadollah
FIGHT! Pick: KimResulting Outcome:  CORRECT