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MMA Round Up: James Toney to the UFC Saturday Night

By Scott Heritage

This week in MMA, Tank Abbott made plans for yet another return to the cage, the hype surrounding James Toney and Randy Couture reached fever pitch, Fedor Emelianenko mulled future opponents and the StrikeForce canned oxygen incident was resolved.

Firstly boxer turned MMA fighter James Toney has been stepping up his trash talking ahead of his bout against former two weight UFC champion Randy Couture, and has even piqued the interest of the boxing world once more as well. Whether or not the actual fight turns out to be worth watching is beside the point at this stage as the event is guaranteed to sell well on the novelty value of Toney taking on Couture alone.

Not that James Toney is thought of as particularly exciting to watch most of the time, which is highlighted by his failure to appear on any pay per views over the last few years.

What makes the fight interesting is more the fact that Toney is the first high level boxer to cross over who isn’t entirely washed up yet. Certainly his best days are a few years and thirty pounds behind him, but he is still capable enough in the ring to overcome decent competition.

If Toney wins, then the hype surrounding him will only grow, and his next fight, which would probably then be against someone he has very little chance of beating, would be a big seller.

Throwing him in against the likes of Jon Jones or Phil Davis, both of whom are blue chip prospects and both of whom are big for the light heavyweight division, would establish either as major stars with the right buildup. Of course, he would have to overcome long odds in defeating Randy Couture before any of that.

Slightly forgotten in the light of Toney’s appearance is the lightweight title bout between former champion BJ Penn and the man who beat him last time out, and current champion, Frankie Edgar. Where Toney and Couture might have the hype behind them, Penn and Edgar actually have the makings of a great fight, and it will be this one people talk long after it has happened. Last time out Edgar landed more and used his movement to frustrate Penn, this time out many are picking Penn to use his wrestling more and keep Edgar pinned down if he can’t catch him regularly on the feet.

Fedor Emelianenko’s next fight will take place in December according to his management, either on a Dream New Years Eve show or in his native Russia, presumably under the M-1 banner. Although a final opponent has yet to be named, more or less there are four opponents in the Russian’s cross heirs, namely Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva and Sergei Khiratonov, who incidentally recently signed with StrikeForce.

Fedor himself mentioned Overeem in a recent interview, while his management sound as if they would prefer Silva or Sergei, so it’s still up in the air at the moment, and getting much information out of Fedor or his team is never easy. Chances are though that he will fight at the New Years Eve show in Japan, more money and a bigger audience and anything his team could put on in his home country, and he probably has a bigger following there as well.

Following the upset laden StikeForce Houston event last weekend, KJ Noons and King Mo Lawal have been cleared of any wrong doing after they both used canned oxygen prior to their fights. Initially believed to be illegal by many sources, the Texas athletic commission later clarified that canned oxygen is in fact legal in the state, and that neither fighter did anything wrong by using it.

It is however banned in several other states, mainly because alongside the oxygen there could be other chemicals present in the can which would provide the athlete with an unfair advantage. It was also banned by the world anti doping agency for a time, although has since been legalized again for most sports.

Tank Abbott is apparently on the comeback path once more, and this time is looking to put together a rematch with Scott Ferrozzo who he lost to all the way back at UFC 11. For those of you not familiar with the bout, Ferrozzo was a 5,11, 350lb fighter nicknamed the pit-bull, who basically outlasted Abbott and won a clear decision over him before losing to a young Vitor Belfort at UFC 12. He retired soon after this with a record of 4-2, his other loss being to Jerry Bohlander.

Whether the fight will come off or not is far from certain, although certainly Tank has fought just about every other brawler and veteran who would make for a good fight against him.

Ferrozzo has now apparently dropped about 40lbs since his last fight, while Tank’s cardio and own weight have both gone downhill. If Ferrozzo can still take a punch as well as he used to, don’t be surprised if he beats an ever more limited and one dimensional Tank if the fight happens.

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