For many fighters there comes a time when they must face that so-called "last chance." Patrick Cote (Pictures) must feel that way all the time.
For the better part of two years, the Quebec middleweight has seen his stock rise and fall with virtually every fight, starting after back-to-back knockouts of Steve Vigneault (Pictures) and Bill Mahood (Pictures) that earned him a three-fight deal with the UFC.
For Cote, his first appearance on the big stage was in essence a baptism by fire, when in Oct. 2004 he fought the "bad boy" from Huntington Beach.
"After my fight against (Tito) Ortiz I realized I was too small to fight at 205 at the international level," Cote recalled. "Middleweight is the best weight to fight for me. Right now I'm just thinking that all of the bad luck that I was supposed to have in my career at 185 already has passed and only the best things can happen to me in the future."
That so-called luck Cote alluded to includes a shocking submission loss to Joe Doerksen (Pictures), a fight which saw Cote dominate his Canadian compatriot only to get caught late in the final round; a hotly contested split decision loss to "Ultimate Fighter" alum Chris Leben (Pictures) paved the way for Cote's exit from the UFC; and a successful run on the "Comeback" edition of TUF ended abruptly when Travis Lutter (Pictures) ended "The Predator's" quest for a second title shot in the UFC.
In spite of losing in the finale, Cote was given another opportunity to shine facing off with fellow TUF cast member Scott Smith, and of despite walking away with the "W" Cote, again, found himself on the outside looking in.
A TKO title bout with Lethbridge, Alberta's Jason Day was yet another one of these do-or-die moments for Cote -- and Day as well. With both fighters on the proverbial UFC bubble, an impressive win was the only surefire way back to the show, and Cote did it in style with a first round stoppage.
Now, nearly three months later, The Predator finds himself back on a UFC card in another key fight in his still blossoming career.
"I had a really strong training camp," Cote told Sherdog.com. "I went to Boston to Sityodtong. I had really good Muay Thai training there with a tall guy, six-four, six-five -- a lot easier than Kendall. I'm ready for his reach. I'm ready for his height. My wrestling and my ground game are ready too. This is the best training camp I have ever had in my life."
So what can the fans in attendance and watching around the world on pay-per-view expect?
"I will start the fight very aggressive, and he'll start off that way too," predicted Cote. "I think that it will be a hell fight -- you know, we are going to open the show so we want to put on a good show for the fans."
Cote didn't hesitate in pointing out where he believes Grove's weakness lies.
"I think he has a suspect chin," said the TKO middleweight champ. "I saw his fights against (Hector) Ramirez and (Joe) Riggs. The thing is I have to be careful about his reach, so like I said I did the perfect training camp for this type of fighter. I can see myself knocking him out … the thing is, I don't think he'll be able to put me on my back. I really think I will stop him before the bell to end the second round.
"He [Kendall] said in an interview that he wanted to stay on the feet and bang with me and if he's in trouble he will take me down. I really think he will try to take me down because I am really confident about my skills on my feet right now. If he tries to take me down I think he would be surprised … I've improved a lot on my wrestling right now, I'm really comfortable everywhere the fight will be."
As for any immediate plans for a defense of his newly acquire TKO middleweight title, Cote was upfront.
"All of my energy and my focus is to have a nice career in the UFC," he said. "The thing is, this is my full time job so you have to go where the money is. It's real nice to fight here in Montreal in front of my crowd, my fans and my hometown, but the UFC is the biggest organization in the world and if you are there, you want to stay there for as long as possible. I want to defend my title in TKO but right now my first priority is to do well in the UFC right now."
MFC Lucky 13: Valimaki-Hollett
For Canadian mixed martial arts fans, all eyes will be focused on the River Cree Resort and Casino this Friday for MFC's latest card, as Victor Valimaki (Pictures) and Roger Hollett finally face off for the Maximum Fighting Championship light heavyweight title.
The card also features two undefeated prospects as Ryan Forde takes on Randy Valette, while Ryan McGillivray makes his lightweight debut against Albuquerque, New Mexico's Donald Sanchez.
Kang to K-1?
With a number of organizations apparently in the running for his services, British Columbia's Denis Kang (Pictures) is expected to sign on the dotted line with K-1 HERO'S and it is likely his first fight will be against Japanese legend and perennial fan favorite Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures), reported Portal do Vale Tudo.
Kang hasn't seen action since a decision win over Junggyou Choi at Spirit MC in March in which he suffered a broke a bone in his right hand, and his proposed fight with Sakuraba would take place Sept. 17 in Yokohama, Japan.
Pat Smith, Fritz Paul (Pictures) return at UGC 19
Ultimate Generation Combat will depart the cozy confines of the Medley in Montreal for the much larger Pierre Charbonneau Center November 10 for UGC 19: TKO Night, which is scheduled to feature the return of APEX middleweight champion Fritz "The Animal" Paul as well as UGC Heavyweight champion and UFC veteran Pat Smith (yes, the Pat Smith) for his first title defense.
Paul last saw action back in October of 2006 when he captured the vacant APEX middleweight title with a gutsy decision win over Nabil Khatib.
KOTC "Brawl at the Mall" results
There was some new hardware handed out in Edmonton last Friday as King of the Cage Canada looked to fill the vacant heavyweight title. Tim Hague walked away with the championship stopping highly regarded grappler Adriano Bernardo with strikes in the second round.
Vancouver's Ben Greer made a successful trip up to lightweight, catching Thierry Quenneville (Pictures) with a rear-naked choke in round two.
Tim Hague def. Adriano Bernardo TKO 3:49 R2
Ben Greer def. Thierry Quenneville (Pictures) submission (rear-naked choke) 4:29 R2
Dan Shenk def. Daryl Bonar submission (guillotine) 3:03 R1
Nick Hinchliffe def. Christian Smith KO 1:19 R1
Karl Erikson def. Jerry Winslow TKO 1:28 R1
Victor Buchmann def. Sheldon Westcott split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28) 3R
Ryan Chiappe def. Jase Nibourg TKO 0:30 R1
Jason Volpe def. Dustin Dickeson submission rear-naked choke) 2:22 R1
Mike Muise def. Richard Menard DQ (illegal knee) 3:20 R1
Cory Knapp def. Chris Conlin submission (Kimura) 1:48 R1
Chris Ladouceur def. Lee Berger KO 0:11 R1
Bernie St. Pierre def. Craig Arcand submission (rear-naked choke) 1:15 R1