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Daily Update: MMA big weekend preview, Balls Mahoney's death

Glover vs. Rashad

MMA Weekend Preview

There's a lot of MMA happening this weekend in addition to the UFC on FOX show.

Friday morning in North America, ONE Championships from the Philippines has an iPPV with Ben Askren defending the welterweight title against Russian Nikolay Aleksakhin.

Later that night, former UFC Fighter Kalib Starnes headlines a GFL.TV show from Alberta, Canada in an XFFC heavyweight title match against Tim Hague. Another former UFC fighter Jesse Ronson challenges Matt McGrath for the XFFC welterweight title in the co-main.

The AXS TV show for Friday night is RFA 37 from Sioux Falls, SD and features two title fights. A pair of unbeaten light heavyweights square off for the vacant RFA title as Rafael Vianna will fight Devin Clark. The other title fight is for the vacant bantamweight title as Leandro Higo takes on Joey Miolla. Ex-UFC fighter and TUF nations vet David Michaud debuts for the promotion in a prelim fight against Chris Hugh.

Moving to Saturday, UFC Fight Pass has Brace 39 from Australia. The show, as always, features mostly Australian fighters with no name value whatsoever in North America. The main event is a lightweight fight with Theo Christakos (4-1) up against Canadian Kevin Manderson (19-15-1). He's the only non-Australian on the card.

The biggest non-UFC show of the weekend is Bellator's debut in Italy. The show will air on Spike TV on tape delay at 10 pm eastern, so right around the time the UFC on FOX show is ending. Patricky Friere faces the debuting Kevin Souza, formerly of UFC, in the main event. An interesting undercard bout is two women's flyweights making their promotional debuts as Russian Anastasia Yankova (2-0) is up against American Angela Pink. We will have post-fight coverage up on the site Saturday night after the show is complete.

Sunday night is Rizin 1 from Nagoya, Japan. Wanderlei Silva and Sakuraba are on opposite teams in a tag team grappling match in one of the featured bouts. Kazuyuki Fujita takes on Jiri Prochazka in the show's main event. Also on the show is Gabi Garcia, fresh off her KO win in December over Lei D'Tapa and the debuting Daron Cruickshank. The show is not being broadcast in North America.

[Paul "Ace" Fontaine]


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Figure Four Weekly 4/11/2016: Rene Dupree files lawsuit against WWE for Network royalties, then dismisses lawsuit - All the inside information you would ever want to know about how NOT to sue WWE. 

Wrestling Observer Newsletter

READ IT HERE: April 11, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: A look at a historic Wrestlemania weekend, NXT Takeover 

There has never been anything in the history of pro wrestling quite like this past weekend.

Never have more fans attended more events, nor has more talent been in the same place than in Dallas.

The difference in one year was amazing. Last year, in the San Jose area, WrestleMania came to town, people came from all over the world, and events were held throughout the city in conjunction with the weekend. There was an awareness that WrestleMania was in town, but it was more a tourist event and in the city itself, the interest was nothing compared to a major sports event. There were only about 15,000 tickets sold within a 100 mile radius of Santa Clara for last year’s show, but it still broke the company’s gate and merchandise records and most of the events put on by other companies did well.


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If you wanted to know just how big Giant Baba was to people who grew up in the 60s and 70s, the latest back issue will explain.
Check out the latest Online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: February 15, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Reaction to the death of Giant Baba, 2 wrestlers have heart scares, plus tons more  A look at the surprising public reaction to the death of Giant Baba, 2 wrestlers have heart attack scares, plus tons of news and notes.


The death of Jonathan Rechner, aka Balls Mahoney came out of nowhere as Rechner had celebrated his 44th birthday the day prior. An odd coincidence: his death comes on the heels of the recent passing of his former ECW tag team partner Axl Rotten, also at age 44. The cause of death is unknown at this time, but we will have more on this story as it is made available.

Ken Anderson remembers Mahoney, Anderson's planned Money In The Bank run, and more.

UFC canceled the TUF open “casting call” scheduled for 4/25, but didn’t give any reason. They added “more information about the next season of the show will be made available in the weeks to come”. This was going to be the season where they find a title challenger for the flyweight belt, so perhaps things have changed?

Our Dave Meltzer was on this week’s The Ross Report with Jim Ross. Next week features ROH COO’s Joe Koff.

WWE & Professional Wrestling

  • Variety looks at John Cena’s American Grit show.
  • Speaking of Cena, you can meet him, Sheamus and the Bellas at Wizard World Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Cena will attend on Sunday, June 5, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The Bellas will also be on site on Sunday, from 12:30-4 p.m. and Sheamus will appear on Friday, June 3, from 4-7 p.m.
  • You never know who you’ll see on the evening news. How about Scott Steiner discussing a murder he witnessed in Acworth, Georgia?
  • Reminder that Smackdown in Canada tonight will be airing one hour earlier at 7 p.m. due to NHL playoffs. This will be the case next week as well.
  • Joel Gertner also talks about his past with Mahoney on this podcast.
  • The Dudley Boyz DVD came out yesterday, compete with folding out flaps on the case that make it into a table. We have a review up on the front page.
  • ROH TV this week features the TV title match between Roddy Strong and Tomohiro Ishii. Here’s a peek. Our Chris Aiken will have a recap up later this week.

UFC & Mixed Martial Arts

  • Joao Carvlaho's death is bringing out the anti-MMA crowd. Here’s a Guardian op-ed on the subject which has references to “cage pornography” and “legal killing”.
  • UFC’s Cody Garbrandt is ready to have words with former teammate TJ Dillashaw and his May main event tilt vs. Thomas Almeida.

Today in professional wrestling history: Samoa Joe wins TNA World Title; Terry Funk wins ECW World Title