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SAT. UPDATE: UFC 187 preview, Mid-South Coliseum event, BOSJ, and more

by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.com

TV/show notes for tonight:

The major event of the day is, of course, UFC 187 from Las Vegas, Nevada, which Dave will provide live coverage of from press row:

Main card on PPV at 10:00 p.m. ET:
Anthony Johnson (205) vs. Daniel Cormier (205) for the vacant light heavyweight title
Chris Weidman (185) vs. Vitor Belfort (184) for Weidman’s middleweight title
Donald Cerrone (156) vs. John Makdessi (155.5)
Travis Browne (236.5) vs. Andrei Arlovski (241)
Joseph Benavidez (125.5) vs. John Moraga (126)

Prelims on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET:
John Dodson (125.5) vs. Zach Makovsky (126)
Dong Hyun Kim (170.5) vs. Josh Burkman (170.5)
Uriah Hall (186) vs. Rafael Natal (185.5)
Rose Namajunas (116) vs. Nina Ansaroff (120)
 
Prelims on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET:
Mike Pyle (171) vs. Colby Covington (170.5)
Islam Makhachev (155.5) vs. Leo Kuntz (155.5)
Justin Scoggins (126) vs. Josh Sampo (126)
 
This is a really excellent card, even with the removal of Jon Jones from the main event and Khabib Nurmagomedov from the Cerrone fight bring it down from the heights it could have reached. Every single main card fight and three of the four televised prelims have ranked fighters and plenty of divsional relevance, and most of the fights, if not all, sound entertaining on paper. It's also, for whatever reason, a flyweight showcase, with two matches of top ten 125 pounders as well as Scoggins-Sampo being a solid matchup of exciting prospects.
 
The big hook coming out of the weigh-ins last night is Chris Weidman (who's usually incredibly polite and reserved at these types of events) jawing with Vitor Belfort during the staredown and then explaining during his interview with Joe Rogan that he was calling out Belfort for "still cheating" and taking steroids. On out of competition testing that's been released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Belfort, who theoretically should have low testosterone levels since he needed testosterone replacement therapy, had noticeably higher levels than Weidman.
 
That said, the tests in question were urine tests and not blood tests (which are the most reliable for total testosterone levels), so not knowing what time of day the samples were collected (among other variables), it's not quite as cut and try as what Weidman is saying, though it's absolutely suspicious that Belfort doesn't have low levels.
 
As noted yesterday, Dish Network and the UFC have come to an agreement, so Dish customers will have access to the PPV tonight. Make sure to check out Josh Nason's preview of the main card with the Observer panel picks. Feedback on the show (as well as NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable) with best match/worst match and if you rate the show thumbs up/down/in the middle should be sent to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

Two of the biggest/best drawing indies in the United States have shows tonight, as Northeast Wrestling is running Bethany, CT with Matt Taven vs. Donovan Dijiak and PWS is running their home base of Rahway, NJ with Colt Cabana, Brian Myers, Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, Eddie Kingston, Ashley Massaro, and more.

We're looking for results/reports from any show you may happen to go to this weekend, but especially the WWE house shows tonight (Worcester and Utica) and tomorrow (White Plains and Binghamton). Send those to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

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The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a detailed look at the history of popular music being used in pro wrestling, including:

* Who actually did the first pro wrestling music video?

* The role of popular songs gtting major acts over.

* What made the use of music in ECW so special.

* How "real" songs make wrestlers stand out in a sea of in-house productions.

And much more. Plus, as always, we have  all of the usual reviews and international news.

Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it's available from the AmericanCanadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle. 

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The new issue of the Wrestling Observer is among the most talked about of the year, with a detailed lead story on the plight of every key non-WWE promotion, as well as details of TNA's future with Destination America, ROH viewership and more, a detailed look at how MMA is going to be changing with far more serious repercussions for drug test failures and the story behind the changes, a look at Elimination Chamber, a rundown of Payback, a detailed update NXT with coverage of its Northeast tour, and of the ROH/New Japan tour.  We also look at the Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar show and the death of Corey Hill.
 
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--Dixie Carter talks to Steve Austin, fact vs. fiction
 
--TNA loses anther time slot
 
--A look at this coming week's UFC show
 
--Lots of UFC card changes and why
 
--UFC debuts in South Korea in the fall
 
--Who are the biggest stars from there
 
--Will UFC's books be made public due to lawsuit
 
--UFC expected to sign WSOF champion
 
--A look at all the activities in July in conjunction with UFC in Las Vegas and Fight Week
 
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--A look at Bellator's last show and next show
 
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Saturday Daily Update

-- As Dave noted last night, Dana White announced on AXS TV's Inside MMA that Bas Rutten will be going into the UFC Hall of Fame this year as the pioneer era fighter inductee. To add to what Dave said, depending on how much you count Pancrase as MMA, Rutten was arguably the first relatively well rounded MMA fighter, starting as a Dutch style kickboxer and picking up catch wrestling submissions quickly. He was also one hell of a gifted rookie pro wrestler in the handful of matches he had. He was put in with great workers like Osamu Nishimura (Part 1, Part 2), Koji Kanemoto, Yuji Nagata (Part 1, Part 2), and Carl Malenko, but he always looked like he fit in.

-- The Roundhouse Revival event to push for the preservation of the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis is ongoing as I write this, and lasts until 6:00 p.m. local time. The city is pushing the demolition of the building to make way for a multi-purpose athletics center (similar to what happened to Maple Leaf Gardens) and obviously there are a lot of people who want to stop that. The Memphis Business Journal has the full schedule of events at the end of their article, long-time home of Memphis wrestling WMC TV did a brief story on the event, and local newspaper of record the Memphis Commercial Appeal has a fairly detaild article

-- NJPW results from Saitama: ReDragon defeated Mascara Dorada & Jay White,Tomoaki Honma, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV defeated Captain New Japan, David Finlay & Sho Tanaka, Gedo defeated Yohei Komatsu in BOSJ block A, Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Barbaro Cavernario in BOSJ block A, Kazuchika Okada & Barreta defeated Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall, Nick Jackson defeated KUSHIDA in BOSJ block B, and Hirooki Goto, Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuyori Shibata defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI.

Rocky Romero vs. Alex Shelley didn't take place as scheduled due to an ankle injury suffered by Shelley at yesterday's show when Finlay fell on him awkwardly. It's not clear yet if he's pulled from the torunament and will be forefeiting his matches or if he just needed a night off and they'll catch up.

-- Tammy Sytch told TMZ that she's now starting to lead towards taking Vivid's six figure offer for her to do porn, with one big holdup being that they want her video set in a wrestling ring and she feels it's played out. 

-- UFC announced that Eddie Wineland will be returning from his year-plus layoff to fight Brian Caraway at UFC on Fox: Dillashaw vs. Barao II in Chicago in July.

-- Deadspin has an article from Patrick Wyman about Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic/accused war criminal, and his connections to MMA, including paying Chris Weidman, Fabricio Werdum, and Frank Mir to hang out with him. Worth taking some time to read this even if you're not a MMA fan. 

-- This article from the Danville Commercial News in Danville, Illinois reads like something Bryan would write in Flying Mare. It's about fans lining up to buy tickets when they went on sale for the WWE house show in the city in July. One fan, who drove an hour and camped all night to buy small market 2015 WWE house show tickets at the box office, was quoted as saying “I like John Cena. I like Dolph Ziggler, too.” Seriously though, that's awesome.

-- Iain Kidd did a good breakdown of the Belfort and Weidman drug tst results at Bloody Elbow.

-- Mike Fagan examines the UFC Code of Conduct at MMASucka in light of the previously suspended Anthony Johnson main eventing tonight's UFC 187 PPV.

-- Myself and Dylan Hales joined Kris Zellner on the latest episode of his Exile on Badstreet podcast for part one of our look at Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988.