Friday, April 2, 2010

INTERVIEW: LUKE STEWART Talks Strikeforce, His Recent Controversial Split Decision Loss to Andre Galvao, and More



Strikeforce fighter and San Francisco native Luke Stewart is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Andre Galvao at STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 7 in Fresno, California. Stewart has the distinction of having fought exclusively for Strikeforce for the entirety of his pro MMA career. Stewart made his MMA debut at STRIKEFORCE: REVENGE in June 2006, and went on to win his first 5 fights in a row, including a big TKO win over former UFC fighter Jason Von Flue, before dropping a decision to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's BFF, and TUF 10 assistant coach, Tiki Ghosn in 2008. After a rebound win, and a TKO loss to veteran fighter Joe "Diesel" Riggs, Stewart took a 16-month hiatus from the sport.

Luke Stewart returned to the cage at STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 7 on March 26, 2010. Stewart fought three full rounds with one of the best jiu jitsu fighters in all of MMA, Andre Galvao. In the end, Galvao was awarded the split decision victory, despite the belief of both Strikeforce analysts, Stephen "The Fight Professor" Quadros and veteran fighter Pat Miletich, that Stewart should have been declared the winner. Despite the loss on his record, Stewart's impressive performance against Galvao made his return to MMA a success. Madman Brian Palmer recently spoke with Luke Stewart about the Galvao loss, his thoughts on being a Strikeforce fighter, the possibility of fighting in Japan, and more.

BRIAN PALMER: Where do we purchase the “I am a cage fighter so what?” T-shirts?
LUKE STEWART: (Laughs) Well, they’re not in production yet, but when they are, I’ll let you know. As for now, they’re just printed in my friend’s garage.
I think the market’s out there!
(Laughs) Get with my buddy Jeff Steel, he's an up-and-coming artist in the Bay area.
Alright, so let’s start off by how long have you been training and where?
I've been training for 11 years with Ralph Gracie here in San Francisco. I trained a little bit before that, but I’d say I’ve been training altogether for about 13 years, but been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since '98.
What motivates you to fight?
I love fighting and I love the competition, and you know I need it in my life, and I don't know why. I took a break and took a year and a half off. It really made me realize how much I miss fighting, getting in there, the preparation, the challenge, and challenging myself. Everything about it I love doing, it’s not something that I do for the money, or it’s not that I have to do it, I do it because I love it. I have a job that treats me well outside of fighting. I’m not one of those guys that has to do it to make a living. I just do it because I enjoy fighting, training and having something to prepare for and just pushing myself further every time.
Did you feel any rust coming into this fight from the time off since your past fight?
Umm...it’s hard to say, you know? I definitely felt a little nerves. The weight cut was a little bit harder than it usually is. A few things like that – I think when you’re in a rhythm and you’re fighting all the time, those little things aren't as much of a big deal for you, so little things like that can add up in that way, but when I was fighting, I didn't feel any ring rust. I felt good. I felt like maybe I could have been in a little bit better shape for the fight, but I mean I trained hard for it. I trained 8 weeks, and maybe coming off the layoff affected me a little, but not too much.
You've been fighting in Strikeforce your whole career, do you have any plans in place to cross promote or possibly fight in DREAM?
Yeah, actually I've always wanted to fight in Japan. I was supposed to be in that welterweight tournament [DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix 2009] and it didn't work out. Now I have an open contract (with Strikeforce), so it is a possibility. In the future, I’d like to fight (in Japan). I'd like to try out the 10-minute rounds, and I think it would be good for my style. I think the Japanese fans are awesome and I love going out there. I went out there in ‘05 and had a blast and I can’t wait to go back.
We’ll get into the (Andre) Galvao fight. How do you feel with that outcome? Most every analyst had you winning that fight. Do you have any quarrels over that?
Yeah, well maybe the judges weren't paying attention until the end of the fight and they saw Galvao raise his hand. (laughs) And they realized, oh maybe he won! (laughs) I don't know? That’s the only thing I can think of. But, uh yeah, I was pretty confused about the scoring, especially the 30-27 his favor and the 30-27 my favor, and then the one judge 29-28 right down the middle. It just seemed like it was all over the board. I felt like I did enough to win, but it was a close fight and I can’t complain too much. I didn't put him away, so I didn't want to be the guy that says, "Oh, I should have won that split decision," (but) I am definitely annoyed that it went in his favor. So I think there is something going on with the judges and they need to educate themselves a little more with jiu jitsu. I just feel like a takedown shouldn't score higher than a reversal or a sweep, cause to me it’s all in the same playing field. Especially when there’s no damage done to the other opponent. That should be a factor, you know? You get all these old boxing judges in there and all they know about is boxing, and all they know is takedowns, and it seems like once the fight gets to the ground, they stop paying attention. I don't know, something funny is going on with that.
Well, even with the loss, you made a good impression and you made some fans! How do you feel about that?
Yeah, it seems like people are responding well to the fight, and that’s awesome. I’ve had tons of people emailing me and calling me, coming up to me and telling me they thought I should have won, and that’s really cool and that’s really more important than winning. It’s what I fight for. I love going out there and putting on a good show, and at the end of the day it’s not about win or lose, it’s just that I went out there and people enjoyed watching it. That’s what really is important to me.
Any plans for a rematch?
I think a rematch would be cool. I don't know if Strikeforce would want to do that. I just got to wait and see what Scott Coker wants to do, but I’d say, “Yes, give us a rematch and put us on a CBS card!” It seems like people enjoyed the fight, so let’s put it on, I’d be down!
So what's next for Luke Stewart after coming off a tough loss? Are you gonna get back into the gym, or take a little time off?
I've already got back into the gym. I have a couple of injuries I’m trying to heal that I sustained training for this fight, so I got to kind of lay off a little. I have friends that are getting ready to fight, like my buddy Nik Theotikos, who is fighting April 24th, and I got Jake and Gil, who are getting ready to fight. So I’m gonna train with them and try and help them out like they helped me out. I’d like to try and fight like maybe May, June or July, it just depends on what gets thrown my way, but I definitely want to get back in there soon.
So you have an open contract with Strikeforce?
I have a contract with them and it is open, so I’m able to fight in other promotions. It all depends on if it’s conflicting with Strikeforce. My manager, Nima Safapour, is looking for other opportunities for me, but I love fighting for Strikeforce, and they have a lot of shows coming up, so I’m sure that there’s something for me right around the corner.
Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
Yeah, I want to thank all my training partners, all the guys at Ralph Gracie, Fight & Fitness, my trainers Neungsiam, Tark, Kurt, Nik Theotikos, my manager Nima Safapour, my sponsors and my girlfriend Lisa for taking such good care of me, and all of the people that are checking out my fights and giving me support.
Thanks for your time Luke, any last words?
I want to give a shout out to my shop Seventh Son Tattoo and all the guys at Seventh Son Tattoo.
Where can people find info about Seventh Son Tattoo?
Go to the website seventhsontattoo.com or go to my website lukestewart.tv, it’s like a blog format, and I try to update it as much as I can, so go check it out!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

UFC 112: INVINCIBLE - 4/10/10 Fight Card

 

UFC 112: INVINCIBLE -- April 10, 2010

Location: Concert Arena in Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Broadcast: PPV

MAIN CARD

{Middleweight Championship}
Anderson Silva (25-4) vs. Demian Maia (12-1)

{Lightweight Championship}
B.J. Penn (15-5) vs. Frankie Edgar (11-1)

Renzo Gracie (13-6) vs. Matt Hughes (43-7)

Rafael Dos Anjos (13-4) vs. Terry Etim (14-2)

Kendall Grove (11-6) vs. Mark Munoz (7-1)

PRELIMINARY CARD

Phil Davis (5-0) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (9-0)

Nick Osipczak (5-0) vs. Rick Story (9-3)

Brad Blackburn (15-10) vs. DaMarques Johnson (10-7)

Paul Kelly (9-2) vs. Matt Veach (11-1)

Mostapha Al Turk (6-5) vs. Jon Madsen (3-0)





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UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21 RESULTS: Complete Rundown and Madman Awards - 3/31/10


UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21: FLORIAN VS GOMI was held Wednesday March 31, 2010 at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The main card aired live on Spike TV. Two Ultimate Fighter winners, Roy Nelson and Ross Pearson, were in action, and 6 out of 8 of the main card fighters were participants on various seasons of TUF. The season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 11: Team Liddell vs Team Ortiz followed on Spike TV.

In the main event, Kenny "KenFlo" Florian established himself as a solid number two lightweight fighter in the UFC, behind B.J. Penn, with his dismantling of Takanori "The Fireball Kid" Gomi. It was pushed hard by the UFC that Gomi was the last PRIDE Lightweight Champion, but the reality is -- Gomi last defended that belt over 3 years ago, and he's since lost whatever magic it was he had back in the day in PRIDE. It's apples and oranges at this point. The last hope was that Gomi had become lazy over the past couple of years due to being uninspired. After losing two in a row, Gomi didn't look all that good winning two in a row. The Gomi that fought Florian isn't the Gomi of old. It's the new, lesser version, and it showed as Florian jabbed the frak out of Gomi's face, working over the Japanese fighter like a mathematician. Florian is well on his way to becoming a guru. He's smart as a whip, and has grown into an incredible athlete over his years in the UFC pursuing the UFC Lightweight Championship. Reality check, however -- it's still a hard-sell that Florian could compete with B.J. Penn. Florian is like the Jon Fitch of the lightweight division.

In the co-main event, Roy "Big Country" Nelson looked more like a "small country" against the super tall Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve. Despite the size disadvantage, Nelson has plenty of knocking-motherf-ckers-out experience, and he did just that. Nelson took no time at all to pop Struve in the mouth and rub his big belly Kamala-style to the delight of the crowd. Nelson served notice to the heavyweight division with a significant statement against a strong opponent. Nelson is ready to be co-main eventing PPVs now. He can sell a fight, and his unusual big-belly to great-success combo gives him a gimmick that the mainstream media can latch onto. I really believe Nelson is going to become one of the biggest stars in the UFC over the next couple of years.

Since Jorge "El Conquistador" Rivera suffered the greatest tragedy of losing a child, he has since been reborn as a fighter. I picked Nate "Rock" Quarry to win this fight in the Madman Roundtable, but when I saw Rivera and Quarry in the Octagon, I wanted to change my pick. Rivera just looked like he was about to win, even before the fight started. Since his career resurgence, the shield of confidence Rivera wears, along with his aggressive style, has turned him into a significant player in the middleweight division.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MOVIE TRAILER: Randy Couture Stars in THE EXPENDABLES with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke


THE EXPENDABLES, written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, is set for release on August 10, 2010. The film centers around a team of mercenaries on a mission to South America to overthrow a brutal dictator. Randy Couture plays a character named Toll Road.

The film also features Sylvester Stallone in a starring role along with a veritable who's who of action stars -- Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Danny Trejo and Mickey Rourke, with cameos by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Seems Stallone has set out to make the magnum opus of action films.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21 MADMAN ROUNDTABLE - Staff Predictions, Discussion and Madness Levels for Every Fight

Welcome to the Madman Roundtable for UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21: FLORIAN VS GOMI, to be held at the Bojangles Coliseum on Wednesday March 31, 2010. For each major MMA event, we'll feature a roundtable discussion of the fights, including Madness Levels and Predictions for each and every fight on the card.

This roundtable features madmen Randy Rowles, Jerry Cattelene, Josh King, and Johnny Nguyen.

Madness Levels are in parenthesis. They indicate the level of excitement a staff member has for a fight based on a scale of 1 to 10. The numbers in brackets beside the fighters' names indicate how many staff members picked the respective fighters to win.
____________________________________________

Format:

FIGHTER A [number of predictions to win] vs. FIGHTER B [same]

STAFF MEMBER - (Madness Level on scale of 1-10) Discussion. Prediction

*Madman Consensus Winner in Italics
____________________________________________

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21: FLORIAN VS GOMI

CHARLIE BRENNEMAN [1] vs. JASON HIGH [3]

RANDY ROWLES – (7 out of 10) Jason High is one of my favorite people in the sport of fighting. This one might top my most madness for an opening bout. Super psyched to hear the results of this one. Jason High by Unanimous Decision

JERRY CATTELANE – (3) High has seen some better competition although Brenneman's record is pretty good. Jason High by Round 3 Submission

JOSH KING – (7) Jason High with better wrestling for the Decision

JOHNNY NGUYEN – (3) I’m gonna go with Charlie Brenneman by Decision
____________________________________________

GERALD HARRIS [3] vs. MARIO MIRANDA [1]

ROWLES – (6) Gerald Harris, yet another of my favorites, is going to have his hands full with Mario Miranda, an undefeated Brazilian fighter. I just can't go against Harris. He loses, I lose. Gerald Harris by Unanimous Decision

CATTELANE – (3) Big step up for Miranda as he makes his UFC debut. Harris has stayed busy since an 0-2 IFL record. Busy fighter vs. UFC rookie. Me likey Gerald Harris by 3rd Round TKO

KING – (6) I'll go with the minor upset and Mario Miranda, a little birdy told me he is underrated.

NGUYEN – (2) Gerald Harris by 2nd Round TKO
____________________________________________

LUCIO LINHARES [0] vs. YUSHIN OKAMI [4]

ROWLES – (5) An important fight for both guys. Two losses in a row could be a good excuse for the UFC to dump Okami, who's been relegated to preliminary bouts to avoid any potential snoozefests from plaguing the airwaves. Okami makes veteran money, but has about zero drawing power despite his impressive 7-2 UFC record. Linhares will likely be released with a loss. Yushin Okami by Unanimous Decision

CATTELANE – (1) Meh. This might be the go-outside-for-a-smoke fight. Yushin Okami by Decision

KING – (5) Yushin Okami in a snoozer Decision

NGUYEN – (4) I just think Yushin is a better fighter than Lucio. Yushin Okami by Decision
____________________________________________

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

PAYDAY - Strikeforce Challengers 7 Fighter Salaries - Purse Amounts and Bonus Earnings for 3/26/10 Fresno Event


The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has released the following purse amounts for STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 7, held Friday March 26, 2010 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, as reported to them by the Strikeforce. Winning fighters in RED. Lavar Johnson was the top earner for this event.

The salaries do not include any individual fighter endorsement earnings for this event, nor do they include any undisclosed bonuses. Fighters pay out of pocket for licensing fees, taxes and related expenses. Fighters spend months training in preparation for these fights, so they are being paid for work already completed in the gym as well as their performance.

Lavar Johnson made $16,000 ($8K base salary + $8K win bonus) for 8:29 TKO win.

Lolohea Mahe made $3,000 for 8:29 TKO loss.

Ron "Abongo" Humphrey made $7,000 ($3.5K + $3.5K) for 1:44 submission win.

George Bush III made $5,000 for 1:44 submission loss.

Andre Galvao made $10,000 (no win bonus) for 15:00 split decision win.

Luke Stewart made $5,000 for 15:00 split decision loss.

Miesha Tate made $5,000 ($3K + $2K) for 9:09 submission win.

Zoila Frausto made $3,000 for 9:09 submission loss.

Justin Wilcox made $12,000 ($6K + $6K) for 15:00 unanimous decision win.

Shamar Bailey made $4,000 for 15:00 unanimous decision loss.

Daniel Cormier made $500 for 1:19 KO win.

John Devine made $2,500 for 1:19 KO loss.

TOP 5 OVERALL EARNERS

 1. Lavar Johnson ($16K)
 2. Justin Wilcox ($12K)
 3. Andre Galvao ($10K)
 4. Abongo Humphrey ($7K)
 5. George Bush III ($5K)
 5. Luke Stewart ($5K)
 5. Miesha Tate ($5K)

TOP 5 BASE SALARIES

 1. Andre Galvao ($10K)
 2. Lavar Johnson ($8K)
 3. Justin Wilcox ($6K)
 4. George Bush III ($5K)
 4. Luke Stewart ($5K)

BOTTOM 3 OVERALL EARNERS

 1. Daniel Cormier ($0.5K)
 2. John Devine ($2.5K)
 3. Zoila Frausto ($3K)
 3. Lolohea Mahe ($3K)

COST BY FIGHT

Lavar Johnson vs. Lolohea Mahe ($19,000)

Abongo Humphrey vs. George Bush III ($12,000)

Andre Galvao vs. Luke Stewart ($15,000)

Miesha Tate vs. Zoila Frausto ($8,000)

Justin Wilcox vs. Shamar Bailey ($16,000)

Daniel Cormier vs. John Devine ($3,000)

TOTAL DISCLOSED PAYROLL: $73,000

STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 7 drew 4,963 attendees for a live gate of $109,222.

Based on these numbers, the average ticket price was $22.01.

Monday, March 29, 2010

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21: FLORIAN VS GOMI -- 3/31/10 Fight Card for Spike TV Event


UFC FIGHT NIGHT 21: FLORIAN VS GOMI -- March 31, 2010

Location: Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina

Broadcast: Spike TV

MAIN CARD

Kenny Florian (12-4) vs. Takanori Gomi (31-5)

Roy Nelson (14-4) vs. Stefan Struve (19-3)

Nate Quarry (12-3) vs. Jorge Rivera (17-7)

Ross Pearson (10-3) vs. Dennis Siver (15-6)

PRELIMINARY BOUTS

Rafaello "Tractor" Oliveira (10-2) vs. Andre Winner (10-3)

Ronys Torres (14-2) vs. Jacob Volkmann (9-2)

Rob Emerson (9-8) vs. Nik Lentz (17-3)

Caol Uno (25-12) vs. Gleison Tibau (20-6)

Lucio Linhares (13-5) vs. Yushin Okami (23-5)

Gerald Harris (14-2) vs. Mario Miranda (11-0)

Charlie Brenneman (10-1) vs. Jason High (9-2)





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Sunday, March 28, 2010

UFC 111 RESULTS: Complete Recap with Madman Awards - 3/27/10

UFC 111: ST-PIERRE VS HARDY was held Saturday March 27, 2010 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The card featured two title fights, with Georges "Rush" St. Pierre successfully defending his UFC Welterweight Championship against Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy, and Shane Carwin brutalizing Frank Mir for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship, a de facto number one contender belt. Shane Carwin will now be fighting Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 on Independence Day weekend to unify the titles.


Despite all the hype and build-up of Dan Hardy, there turned out to be a major flaw in his game that Georges St. Pierre exploited at will during their 5-round encounter. Hardy was unable to stop St. Pierre's takedowns, and instead of risking playing into Hardy's strength in the stand-up game, St. Pierre continually took Hardy to the ground and worked for submissions. Hardy showed the grit and determination of a true warrior, surviving gruesome-looking armbar and kimura attempts from St. Pierre. In the end, Hardy's lack of capable takedown defense cost him any chance of winning the fight.


In the co-main event, Shane Carwin extended his undefeated streak to a dozen in a row with his 12th straight first round knockout. Frank Mir's obsession with revenge on UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar will have to play out in his head now, as Carwin will be the one fighting Lesnar next at UFC 116.


Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino continued his ascent in the UFC lightweight division, rattling off his fourth straight Octagon win with a second round rear-naked choke submission over Fabricio "Morango" Camoes. In the first round, with Camoes on Pellegrino's back looking for a choke, Pellegrino defended by dropping Camoes headfirst onto the mat. This brutal head-to-mat encounter seemed to take Camoes out of the fight, making it just a matter of time until Pellegrino could find a way to secure the finish.


VIDEO: UFC 112 Preview for Anderson Silva vs Demian Maia, BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar and Matt Hughes vs Renzo Gracie



UFC 112: INVINCIBLE will be held Saturday April 10, 2010 at the Concert Arena in Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The event will air live on PPV starting at 1:00 pm EST and will replay in the normal 10:00 pm EST timeslot.

UFC 112 will feature two title fights, with Anderson "The Spider" Silva defending his UFC Middleweight Championship against Demian Maia, and B.J. "The Prodigy" Penn defending his UFC Lightweight Championship against Frankie "The Answer" Edgar. Also, MMA legends Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie will square off with Gracie looking for revenge for Hughes' beatdown of Royce Gracie at UFC 60.

COMPLETE UFC 112 FIGHT CARD