By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The migration of Strikeforce heavyweights to the UFC continues, as MMAWeekly.com reports that Chad Griggs has signed a contract with the UFC, and will make his debut sometime in early 2012.
Griggs made his Strikeforce debut in a bout against former pro wrestler Bobby Lashley. Lashley was expected to win that fight, but Griggs had other plans, and the fight was stopped after the end of the second round after Griggs landed a series of hard elbows to the side of Lashley’s head.
He followed that performance with two straight first-round stoppages, knocking out Gian Villante and forcing Valentijn Overeem to submit to strikes this February. His overall record now sits at 11-1 into his UFC debut sometime early next year.
A pair of preliminary contests has been added to January’s “Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine” event, as Nah-Shon Burrell meets James Terry in a welterweight bout and Trevor Smith faces Gian Villante in light heavyweight action.
Strikeforce officials recently announced the two new bouts.
Featuring a middleweight title fight between champion Luke Rockhold and UFC vet Keith Jardine “Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine” takes place Jan. 7 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Lots of UFC-related news has been making headlines recently. Below is a nice little recap of it all, in case you missed anything.
* Former Strikeforce heavyweight Chad Griggs is headed to the UFC. Sources close to “The Grave Digger” confirmed a MMAWeekly.com report that Griggs will make his promotional debut as heavyweight in 2012. His first opponent is expected to be announced shortly.
Griggs (11-1) seemingly nudged his way back into the MMA landscape after he beat Bobby Lashley in Aug. 2010 following a 16-month layoff from the sport. The 33-year-old firefighter went on to upset Gian Villante in February and then beat Valentijn Overeem in a little over two minutes in June.
Griggs’ signing comes on the heels of ex-Strikeforce fighters Fabricio Werdum and Lavar Johnson agreeing to terms with the UFC. Expect more Strikeforce heavyweights to come over to the UFC in 2012 after last week’s announcement that the Strikeforce heavyweight division would cease to exist following the conclusion of the heavyweight grand prix.
* The UFC officially announced its return to Montreal for UFC 145 on March 24. The event will take place, as always, at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens. The UFC also confirmed that Rory MacDonald will meet Che Mills on the card, as was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
* You can now watch UFC content on your Xbox via Xbox Live. Here’s a video demo.
* Undefeated heavyweights Stipe Miocic (7-0) and Phil De Fries (8-0) have agreed to meet at UFC on FUEL on Feb. 15 in Omaha, Neb, the organization announced on Wednesday. Also confirmed for the card was a bantamweight tilt between Ivan Menjivar and TUF 14′s John Albert.
* And speaking of FUEL TV, below is a promo for the 24-hour marathon of UFC content that will air on Jan. 1 on the cable network.
Dennis Hallman won tonight, but he felt a little guilty about doing so.
Hallman ran roughshod over John Makdessi from the opening seconds. The submission specialist got his hands on Makdessi and worked solely for a takedown. Once he got it, Makdessi was finished. Hallman scored a rear-naked choke victory at 2:58 of the first round.
This was Hallman’s first attempt to fight down at 155 pounds in a long time. He’d been fighting recently at 170 and 185. He even took a 195-pound fight in 2009. At 35 years old, making lightweight was tough. He missed badly on Friday coming in at 158.5. For that reason, even after dominating Makdessi, Hallman couldn’t brag about his easy victory.
“I’m going to stay at 155. I wanted to make this point, this fight is kind of a wash. Put a little asterisk next to the win because I missed weight,” Hallman told UFC analyst Joe Rogan.
The size difference was evident in the clinch and once it hit the ground, the smaller Makdessi was helpess defending the power and technique of Hallman. This was the 33rd submission victory for Hallman. To reach 33 victories period is impressive, but 33 by one method is incredible. Hallman, who debuted in the UFC way back in 2000, is now 51-14-2. He is 4-4 with the promotion, but has recently 3-of-4 UFC fights.
Jabouin survives two dangerous submission attempts to take decision
Yves Jabouin and Walel Watson exchanged dynamic striking games with nothing huge landed, so after 15 minutes of fighting it was difficult to call a winner. In a razor thing fight, one judge made the big difference scoring it 30-27 for Jabouin. The Canadian eked out a split decision victory, 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27 to post his first official UFC victory in the UFC 140 opener on ION television.
“They keep giving me those tall guys,” Jabouin said of the 5-foot-11 Watson. “It’s really hard to get inside. Basically it’s a puzzle you have to figure out.”
Spinning backfists, front and side kicks and solid conventional striking were flashed by both fighters throughout the fight. Watson did threaten with two dangerous submission situations, so it was surprising to see one judge call it 30-27.Read More