Sherdog.com’s Tim Leidecker was in Dublin, Ireland, over the weekend and has the news on Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt talking with the UFC. Also featured: UFC 93 fallout and German power brokers in the Irish capital to discuss this summer’s UFC 99 in Deutschland, which included talks of Cro Cop’s return to the Octagon.
Overeem, Schilt in talks with Zuffa
Golden Glory manager Bas Boon and his fighters Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt were on hand in Dublin to discuss a possible jump from K-1/Dream to the UFC. After his stellar performances in 2008, Overeem in particular would be a welcome addition to a heavyweight division that could improve. The “Demolition Man” still has two fights left on his contract with Dream; he will either have to complete the contract or Zuffa will have to negotiate with Dream parent company Fighting & Entertainment Group if it wants to acquire the services of the 6-foot-5 kickboxer earlier.
Both Schilt and Overeem would obviously have the biggest value when used in continental European shows like the one coming up in Germany in June. With less than five months to go, Zuffa may have to either pay a transfer fee for the rights to both fighters or possibly exchange some talent that the Japanese may be interested in like Yoshiro Maeda, Rani Yahya and Yoshiyuki Yoshida. Schilt has fallen out of favor with FEG anyway, so it’s likely that the company would let him leave under the right circumstances.
Postfight press conference fallout
Besides the big news from Dana White that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua had “earned” a shot at Chuck Liddell at UFC 97 in Montreal with his hard-fought win over a more durable than expected Mark Coleman, the postfight press conference produced some other interesting details:
• 21-year-old Englishman John Hathaway, who made quick work of overtaxed local hero Tom Egan on the undercard, may have a short-dated return to the Octagon at UFC 95 in London in five weeks, according to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
• Very impressed with the electricity and excitement of the Irish crowd, UFC UK President Marshall Zelaznik hinted that Dublin might become a regular home for the promotion in the future. He jokingly said they would like to come to Ireland every March for St. Patrick’s Day.
• Brazilian middleweight Rousimar Palhares, who put 100-plus fight veteran Jeremy Horn through a three-round grappling clinic, broke his right hand midway through the opening period. Palhares had to leave the press conference early and was taken to the hospital for X-rays.
• Dennis Siver was overjoyed with his first win in the UFC in more than 16 months as well as with the resulting knockout bonus he received. The 30-year-old ethnic German from Russia has been working full time as a car mechanic besides fighting. During his 10-week training camp, he was rarely at home, he told Sherdog.com. The powerful kickboxer expects his next fight to be near his home, however, at the Cologne event in June.
• Martin Kampmann has his sights set on becoming the No. 1 welterweight in Europe. “Who do I have to beat to achieve that?” the likeable Dane asked. Currently ranked first in the official European rankings is Englishman Dan Hardy, and Hardy’s teammate Paul Daley is also occupying one of the top spots. “The Hitman” versus either one of those Brits would certainly guarantee fireworks in the cage later this year.
• David Bielkheden, who was cornering Palhares for his fight, expects to return at UFC 97 in Montreal against “a member of American Top Team,” possibly Cole Miller. The “Brazilian Swede” was originally looking to have camp at ATT in the future, but now that he’s taking on one of their fighters, that will have to wait. The BJJ black belt will certainly have a fun time making weight again: He was walking at around 187 pounds in Dublin.
• Andre Dida, who was one of the cornermen for Mauricio Rua, will return in April to be part of the K-1 Max tournament. Shogun’s brother Murilo “Ninja” Rua could not say anything definite where and when he will fight next due to the complicated situation surrounding EliteXC.