MMA news is unique in that there is always, and I repeat, always some sort of newsworthy tidbit of information or rumor breaking daily. While the vast majority do not warrant a long-winded post, these items are interesting none the less. So in an effort to keep tabs on the constantly moving world of MMA I have decided to unleash a weekly feature entitled, The Takedown where we give a brief rundown of the news and notes breaking here in this beloved little fight game of ours.
So, without further ado I present to you The Takedown:
Inarguably, the biggest news to hit the MMA world in the past couple of days had to be the announcement last Monday that ZUFFA, the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce, will begin to offer accident insurance to its over 300 contract fighters. While this is not health insurance, fighters will be on their own if they catch a cold, etc., it does cover the often costly expense of treating an injury suffered in training. On a deeper level, this move by ZUFFA quiets the argument for those who have been lobbying for a fighters union. Clearly, the UFC and most other promotions, would not welcome a unionized group of fighters given that it would weaken the power they hold over them. With ZUFFA now covering training injuries, most fighters would have little reason to stir up the hornets’ nest.
The ageless Vladimir Matyushenko will tackle upstart light heavyweight prospect Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 133 on August 6. Matyushenko scored a 20 second TKO victory over Jason Brilz last month.
There is a strong rumor that Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante will return to action next month on the undercard of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum taking place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 18. It looks like Justin Wilcox may be Cavalcante’s opponent on the card. Wilcox has been beast-like in wins under the Strikeforce Challengers banner and has won his last five fights in entertaining value. Cavalcante is looking to resurrect a career that has been plagued by injury.
Speaking of the June 18 Strikeforce card, it appears that undefeated heavyweight prospect Daniel Cormier will now face tenacious submission specialist Jeff Monson on the promotion’s undercard. Cormier was initially scheduled to face fellow prospect Shane Del Rosario on June 18 before Del Rosario was forced to withdraw from the card due to injuries suffered in a terrible auto accident.
After a few days of back and forth speculation the UFC has officially announced that MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria will face Brendan Schaub at UFC 134, otherwise known as UFC Rio. The August 27 event will take place in Rio De Janeiro and mark the UFC’s triumphant return to one of the countries that gave birth to the sport. Due to the enormity of the event, and the fact that it was taking place in his native Brazil, Nogueria had been opening campaigning for a spot on the card. Nogueria, who has not fought since losing to Cain Velasquez last February, will join a card already stacked with top-tier Brazilian talent including Anderson Silva, Edson Barboza, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Out in Japan, the May 29 Dream “Fight for Japan” fight card will now feature an intriguing bout between Shinya Aoki and Antonio McKee. The “Fight for Japan” card will also feature the quarterfinal and semifinal matched for the Dream Bantamweight Grand Prix.