Couture confident to take down Gonzaga at UFC 74
Randy Couture feels like he's in his prime and is confident about taking down Gabruel Gonzaga at UFC 74, writes Mike Fridley.
At the age of 44, UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture shares elite company with the likes of George Blanda, Nolan Ryan, Archie Moore and George Foreman -- athletes whose careers peaked more than a decade after their peers' sporting aspirations had all but evaporated.Years have past since mixed martial arts pundits placed "The Natural" in the twilight of his career. So just how long does Couture feel he can continue to lace up the gloves?
Undefeated heavyweight prospect Brandon Vera will make his long awaited return to the octagon after a managerial dispute sidelined the San Diego native for nearly 11 months.
Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin
Tim Sylvia vs. Brandon Vera
Jason MacDonald vs. Yushin Okami
Jorge Gurgel vs. Alvin Robinson
Marvin Eastman vs. Demian Maia
Stephan Bonnar vs. Eric Schafer
Stockton Calif.'s Nick Diaz returns to action on EliteXC's "Uprising" card Sept. 15 in Honolulu against B.J. Penn affiliated fighter Mike Aina. Three weeks after submitting PRIDE 161-pound champion Takanori Gomi in Las Vegas, Diaz's license was suspended for six months (retroactive to the date of the fight) after a Nevada State Athletic Commission administered post-fight urinalysis showed an extremely high reading of Delta-9-THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Diaz was slated to take part in a grappling-only match against Shinji Sasaki on Aug. 18 in Orange County, Calif. but California State Athletic Commission officials stopped the bout, stating the contest falls under suspension guidelines. Headlining the Sept. 15 Showtime-televised bill will be a middleweight showdown between EliteXC champion Murilo Rua and ICON Sport ace Robbie Lawler. Additional duels include Joey Villasenor versus Riki Fukuda, Jake Shields against Renato Verissimo, and Tonya Evinger will take on Gina Carano in a female draw.
Columbus, Ohio-based Gracie Fighting Championships will travel 4,500 miles to the Pacific for its "Gracie Proving Ground II" event, slated for the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu on Oct. 6, Sherdog.com has learned. The follow-up to November's freshman GPG card will feature contests with rules similar to the heyday of PRIDE, with soccer kicks, stomps and knees to the head allowed on the ground. Rhalan Gracie -- a nephew to Royce and Rickson -- will headline the card along side Icon Sport veteran Keoni Bryant. In his lone professional MMA contest, Gracie went the distance in a hard-fought split decision defeat to UFC welterweight Dustin Hazelett in March 2006. Also signed to compete are Kaleo Kwan, Duke Saragosa, Brandon Wolff, Kimo Wolfel and Fabio Prada.
UFC veterans Travis Wiuff and Chris Price will square off in Richard Steele's International Fighting Organization on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas. Wiuff, who was once considered a rising star in the sport, has struggled since besting Fabiano Capoani in February 2006, going .500 in his last 10 engagements. Price, a former marine who served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, has pieced together three straight victories since coming up short against Ed Herman and Kendall Grove on Spike TV's "Fight Night" series. Titled "Fireworks in the Cage II," the bill also features big show vets Justin Levens and Tony Fryklund. Mike Fridley covers mixed martial arts for Sherdog.com.