Saturday, March 30, 2013
Title implications, Guillard's dilemma, more
By Josh Gross
Dennis Siver could become the next contender to the 145-pound title with a win against Cub Swanson.
This year’s UFC over Independence Day weekend in Las Vegas is, as they tend to be, loaded.
If the lineup holds, a tremendous middleweight championship fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman should get an energy-building lead-in with three important featherweight contests, and a clash at 185 between Mark Munoz and Tim Boetsch.
UFC officials on Thursday announced the addition of two compelling and important fights at 145 to go with an equally important and compelling clash between Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas.
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Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar makes his second appearance at 145 against slick Brazilian Charles Oliveira. And Dennis Siver reboots a contest with Cub Swanson, which was originally scheduled for Feb. until Siver pulled out of the bout with an injury. Swanson, instead, handled Dustin Poirier to win a unanimous decision in London.
The next featherweight contender will certainly emerge after July 6, which means about a month of waiting to see what happens between champion Jose Aldo and lightweight convert Anthony Pettis in Rio de Janeiro.
Who gets the call? That’s difficult.
We can rule out the winner between Edgar-Oliveira. “The Answer” has lost three in a row, albeit title fights to Aldo and Benson Henderson twice. And Oliveira is returning from a first-round knockout to Swanson.
So that leaves four.
Siver’s unbeaten since moving to 145 two fights ago, out-pointing Diego Nunes and Nam Phan. A win over Swanson would send a sincere message about his intentions.
Riding high, Swanson has won four straight against George Roop, Ross Pearson, Oliveira and Poirier. Adding Siver to that list would be impressive.
Jung’s taken three straight against Leonard Garcia, Mark Hominick and Dustin Poirier. Putting Lamas in that cast sends a clear signal the fan favorite “Korean Zombie” is ready for a title shot.
Lamas, meanwhile, steps in on a four-fight win streak, toppling Matt Grice, Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch. A fifth over Jung makes him the top contender in my book.
The inconsistent lightweight announced on Twitter this week that he was leaving Florida-based Blackzilians to return to Greg Jackson's camp in New Mexico. But there's a snag. The Jackson crew was unaware of Guillard's pending return since two months ago, MMAjunkie.com reported this week, gym leaders voted that they didn't want him around after he angered them with comments after moving to Blackzilians in 2009. Add to that the report that Guillard, 29, faces two assault charges from separate incidents in Albuquerque in 2010.
Unwelcome: Melvin Guillard won't be allowed back to Greg Jackson's facilities.
"Melvin said he felt it was time for him to go back to Jackson's," ASM founder Glenn Robinson told SI.com "We only want what's best for Melvin, so I spoke to the coaches, and they agreed it was a good chance for him to make a change that he probably needed. We support the decision."
Absent safe harbor in New Mexico, it's unclear where Guillard (30-12-2) will receive the training he needs. He's lost four of five fights in the UFC, and was finished in three of them by Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon.
Je ne parle pas Francais
In the wake of the weigh-in mess in Montreal, Association of Boxing Commission president Tim Lueckenhoff told ESPN.com he asked the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, also known as the Quebec Boxing Commission, for a copy of their rules to "verify if .9 [pounds] is allowed over the contract weight."
Lueckenhoff, who serves as the head of the Missouri Office of Athletics, received a copy of Quebec's rules, but he still couldn't find an answer.
"They sent me their rules in French, which did not help much," Lueckenhoff said Friday. After following up, the commission claimed "their rule was not specifically clear on whether .9 could be allowed or not."
"I'm certain in the future," he said, "they will have a legal opinion on the allowance of .9 on title fights."
Incidentally, in Missouri, fighters in title bouts aren't allowed to weigh-in above their contract weight, as they aren’t virtually everywhere else.
Prior to receiving Quebec's rules, Lueckenhoff said he told the commission to also provide them to the media if able. Otherwise, release the details of what happened leading up to the weigh-in for UFC 158 between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, "and if a mistake was made, admit it. Make sure it does not happen again, and move on."
A spokesperson for the Quebec Boxing Commission did not reply to ESPN.com when asked about Lueckenhoff's comments.
WSOF waiting on title fights
Don't expect to see any "world title" fights from the World Series of Fighting in the near future. I always shrug my shoulders and make face when promoters, big and small, use the phrase. There aren't any "world titles" in MMA, only promotional belts, though if you happen to be in the UFC most fans and media won't see a difference. But in Bellator and anywhere else, no, it's not a world title no matter how many times you say it is.
"A title fight has to mean something to the promotion," Ali Abdel-Aziz told MMAFighting.com on Wednesday. The promotion's senior executive vice president and matchmaker, who like RFA president Ed Soares is also a manager of fighters, including Frankie Edgar, said WSOF "will make sure that when they get title shots they will have earned it."
Don't misunderstand, title fights will come. They'll surely be billed as "world titles" just the same as everyone else. But it's smart to delay, wait for fighters to emerge from the fray, for prospects to mature before going there. So kudos to WSOF, just two shows into its venture, for realizing that throwing belts on the line isn't the smartest way to go at the moment.