Sports

MMA News: Dominick Cruz, BJ Penn, Danny Castillo, Thiago Alves, Yoshihiro Akiyama and More

| by Sports Nickel

After it was announced that UFC Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz, had torn his ACL and was out of his fight with Urijah Faber at UFC 148, many thought Faber would also be pulled from the event. But Faber himself shot that notion down, and even proposed a Interim Title bout with another deserving fighter since Cruz will be out some time. In a video post, Faber said, “I’m thinking an Interim title. Once this surgery goes through he’ll be out another nine months. I’m hoping for a top contender.

"Renan Barao in my opinion is next up, Michael McDonald after that and Ivan Menjivar after that.” UFC President Dana White echoed those sentiments on Fuel TV’s UFC Tonight, confirming that Faber will indeed remain on the UFC 148 card, and yes, he’ll be fighting for an Interim Bantamweight Championship. However, no opponent has yet been determined. “I’m looking for the right opponent – the guy who deserves this shot at Urijah Faber.”

Well, Dana, I think Faber pretty much spelled it out who is in line. I couldn’t agree more with who he suggested, so get on it. Barao, for sure, should be the guy. He’s already fighting on the card as it is. Just move him over. But, as we all know, it doesn’t always happen like that, and the fight that would “sell” more would be Faber vs. McDonald because McDonald just destroyed Miguel Torres.

BJ Penn told MMAFighting.com that he was indeed offered a fight with Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, Gilbert Melendez, but the fight didn’t make sense to him. “[White] offered a fight against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. We sat down and we thought about it for a little while. We talked back and forth. It was kind of one of those things where I guess at the end of the day we thought about it a thousand different ways and we were like ‘Is that downgrading yourself fighting in Strikeforce? If you win the Strikeforce title are people going to say you did it because you couldn’t win the UFC title?’ At the end of the day, it just didn’t make sense to us.”

Yeah, no way this fight was every happening under the Strikeforce name. Every fighter would see that as a demotion. And to be quite honest, it is. Perception is reality and like Penn states, it would seem like a demotion and he had nothing to gain by fighting Melendez over there. Hopefully the UFC absorbs Strikeforce after this contract with Showtime is up so we can actually see Melendez against UFC opponents.

In an interview with MMAJunkie.com Radio, Danny Castillo said that the boos that took place during his fight with John Cholish at the UFC on Fox 4 card didn’t really bother him, but that the fans need to educated themselves.

“In the past, that would have bothered me, but when you’re in there, there’s only two guys in the cage. The outside doesn’t really matter. I was trying to finish the fight. It’s just for some reason, I couldn’t put it together, and it wasn’t as exciting as some of the New Jersey fans expected…Sometimes I wish the general fan would educate themselves about the sport instead of just booing. Having my fights on TV has brought my respect to other sports. When I’m watching baseball, you hear the boos. It’s tough to do that at an elite level, but let alone in front of a thousand people. I think most people don’t understand that.”

Castillo isn’t an overaly exciting fighter by any means, but the fans in New Jersey were a bit ridiculous with their boos. They were booing nearly every fight, even when fighters were striking with each other. Castillo’s fight was probably the “most boring” of the card, but the crowd was booing everything.

The planned welterweight bout between Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama is off with Akiyama suffering an injury in training camp, but Alves will remain on the card with arguably a tougher replacement. The UFC’s Brazilian twitter account stated that Siyar Bahadurzada will step in to face Alves at UFC 149 on the July 21 in Calgary.

This is going to be a great fight to watch. Bahadurzada smashed Paulo Thiago going backwards. He has some nice power in those fists, but he’s fighting a great striker in Alves, who won’t come charging in defenseless. Anything can happen in this fight, and I can’t wait for it.

MMAWeekly.com is reporting that two heavyweight matchups are being added to the UFC on Fox 4 card this August; Oli Thompson vs. Philip De Fries and Matt Mitrione vs. Rob Broughton.

These fights should be competitive. They might not be huge names yet, but there’s potential in each of them. Hopefully they’ll showcase that on the next Fox card.