This week we check on the fate of several Canadians who fought during a busy three days of mixed martial arts action. Also, we look ahead to Rumble in the Cage's next card in Lethbridge, and offer some UFC related news.
Cote, Goulet, and Kaufman victories highlight TKO 29
Going into his match at TKO 29 on Friday Patrick Cote (Pictures) knew that he needed a strong showing to prove to the vigilant eyes of the UFC that he deserved to be invited back into their fold.
After his decision victory over Scott Smith at UFC 67, Zuffa told him he needed a definitive win outside the Octagon before he'd be brought back. You have to think he must have felt at least a little slighted considering that Smith is already scheduled for UFC 72, despite being on the losing end of the affair.
A strong performance is exactly what he gave.
Cote trapped Jason Day on the ground and unmercifully pounded away on the tough Albertan until the referee was forced to stop the fight with a minute remaining in the first round. The win must feel great for Cote, for not only did he get the win he needed, but he also earned the TKO middleweight belt.
Cote exclaimed afterwards that he was very surprised at how strong Day was in the clinch, which isn't that surprising seeing as this was Day's first foray into the middleweight world, dropping down from the usual 205-pound mark of light heavyweight. As reported in last week's MM-Eh!, 185 is where Day reckons he'll be staying for the time being.
Day has been a very busy fighter -- this was his eighth fight in a year, and he tallied 10 in 2006 alone. Since rededicating himself to fighting in December of 2005, his record stands at 10-2, with his two losses coming against UFC veterans Victor Valimaki (Pictures) and Cote.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Goulet (Pictures) didn't let the move up a weight class from welterweight to middleweight deter him from coming out guns blazing against Travis Axworthy (Pictures). This fight was over in only eight seconds after both Goulet and Axworthy exchanged kicks in the middle of the cage. Goulet found Axworthy's chin, effectively switching the PEI fighter into unconsciousness.
One gets the impression that Goulet is accelerating his timetable for success based on his weight class change, as well as his scheduled appearance in KOTC Canada's Halifax card on July 14. This will be Goulet's first foray to an organization other than TKO or the UFC in four years.
In Goulet, Axworthy was offered an opponent with a world of high-level experience, and yet he stepped up and took his chance. Unfortunately for him the fight was over too quickly to get the chance to showcase his tenacity and skill, but an experience like this one is invaluable to a new fighter's development, and he'll be a better fighter in the end because of it.
TKO's first ever female fight saw Sarah Kaufman and Valerie Letourneau (Pictures) prove to the appreciative crowd in Montreal that women can definitely have a fight every bit as skilled and brutal as their male counterparts.
Although Letourneau displayed flashes of brilliance, Kaufman proved that her superior striking with great combinations was more than a match. Kaufman improved her record to 5-0 with this TKO win.
Anacondas don't choke
Going into competition last weekend against the Seattle Tiger Sharks, Shawn Tompkins (Pictures) and his Los Angeles Anacondas knew they had a lot on the line. Not only did L.A. rank first in the International Fight League team standings, but winning this meet would also guarantee them a spot in the postseason.
The near sellout crowd of 6,977 at the Everett Events Center just outside Seattle was the largest crowd ever to see an MMA or boxing event in Washington state history, and they certainly didn't walk away disappointed.
In a fight that legendary Dutch fighter and all around rake Bas Rutten (Pictures) and Stephen Quadros called the best fight so far of 2007, London, Ontario's Chris Horodecki (Pictures) extended his unbeaten streak to 10, as he out-struck Shad Lierley (Pictures) for a unanimous decision.
With this win "The Polish Hammer" cemented his place as one of the IFL's most talented and marketable fighters. He told Sherdog.com in a previous interview that he loves the IFL format and how they treat the fighters, and he hopes to remain with them.
Unfortunately for his Anaconda teammate Krzysztof Soszynski (Pictures), the heavyweight ended up on the opposite side of a decision, this one split, as Reese Andy (Pictures) was able to eke out the closest of wins.
As a team, the Anacondas left Everett victorious and earned a berth in the IFL playoffs August 2 at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Krzysztof will put on his promoter's hat for the next installment of Ultimate Cage Wars in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Scheduled for June 23, UCW "Natural Invasion" will feature a special guest appearance by current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture (Pictures).
WEC 28, Alessio and Hominick
The two Canadians on Sunday's WEC card in Las Vegas, which was broadcast live on TSN across Canada via the Versus channel in the U.S, met with mixed results.
British Columbia's John Alessio (Pictures) went into his rematch with Alex Serdyukov (Pictures) with a point to make. Alessio claimed that Serdyukov had been running off at the mouth just a bit too much since losing to him last August, and wanted a decisive win over the Russian to prove that his first victory was no fluke.
If a decisive win is one where you choke your opponent with a guillotine a minute into the fight, then that's exactly what Alessio got.
After the win Alessio stated that he wanted another crack at WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit (Pictures), to whom he lost in March. Alessio may have to wait however, as Condit is still out with a shoulder injury and Brock Larson (Pictures) may have made a case for a title shot with his dominant performance, defeating Kevin Knabjan (Pictures) in only 27 seconds.
Also, Canadian Mark Hominick (Pictures) didn't fare nearly as well, succumbing to a very tight rear-naked choke by Rani Yahya (Pictures). Right from the opening bell, Yahya advanced on Hominick in a very unorthodox manner, almost running straight at him for takedown attempts with absolutely no setup whatsoever.
Hominick did very well to sprawl and defend to start, but Yahya's attack was relentless. He was eventually able to take the taller man down, but not before Hominick nailed him good to the head, prompting Yahya to exclaim afterwards that from that hit onwards he didn't remember the rest of the fight.
Hominick had hoped that a win over Yahya would have put him in line for a title shot against WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber (Pictures) this summer, but this looks doubtful now.
Rumble in the Cage 24
Whomever it was that made this weekend's fight between Canadian Martial Arts Centre's Dan Chambers (Pictures) and BTT Canada's Nabil Khatib (Pictures), they deserve a raise.
Co-promoted by Lee Mein (Pictures) and Jason Day, RITC consistently puts on quality, smaller cards in Lethbridge, Alberta, and most fighters so far have been drawn from the local community.
By bringing in Scott Arnold at RITC 21 and now Khatib, Mein and Day seem to be expanding their scope to include quality fighters from other parts of the country.
This main event is the classic striker versus grappler match. Although both fighters take pride in being able to do both, the reality is that Chambers likely has the heavier hands, while Khatib has the edge on the floor. Whichever fighter successfully imposes his game plan will win this bout. Great match.
Also on this card are Neil Berry (Pictures), Travis Briere, Cody Petrovic, and Kevin Smith.
Bocek confirmed to UFC
Mark Bocek, Canada's most successful submission grappler, told MM-Eh! in the past that the sole reason he got into Brazilian jiu-jitsu was to aid his long-term goal of reaching the UFC.
His dream will very soon come to fruition as the UFC has placed the 4-0 fighter from Mississauga, Ontario, onto their July 7 pay-per-view fight card in Sacramento, Calif.
For several weeks now it had been rumored that Bocek was going to the UFC. His adversary will be Frank Edgar (Pictures), whose last fight saw him out-point Tyson Griffin (Pictures) in a great tussle.
UFC 71 medical report
According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, middleweight Ivan Salaverry (Pictures), who was stopped by Terry Martin (Pictures) in the opening round two Saturday's ago, suffered an injury to his right shoulder. He must remain out of action until Nov. 23, unless cleared by an orthopedic doctor.
Also, we learned two things about Kalib Starnes (Pictures). First, he sustained a left cheek laceration in his decision win over Chris Leben (Pictures). Second, we learned that his middle name is Axel.