Usually when the calendar turns from May to June there are few things that expected to happen. The weather is going to get warmer, grills will be fired up and kids will be on summer break. And, of course, the world of mixed martial arts kicks into high gear.
The last week of May this year was a busy one. Fights were being made and events were taking place. Some of Northern California MMA news of the week might have gotten lost in the shuffle of the Bay Bridge Series and the Sharks playoff run, but that is why Inside Fight Sports is here to keep you updated.
Several fighters from Northern California were in the news this past week. From winning fights to signing fights, it has been a busy week. San Jose's American Kickboxing Academy was incredibly busy as they had three fighters in action over the Memorial Day weekend and another this past Friday.
Team AKA split their four bouts as Mike "MAK" Kyle and Cain Velasquez were successful in their bouts. Kyle defeated Travis Wiuff at Championship Fighting Alliance 11 via knockout just 21 seconds into the first round. It was Kyle's first victory since a 2011 unanimous decision win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima in Strikforce. It was the second meeting between Kyle and Wiuff, the first ended in a no contest. The win for Kyle was a needed victory and it showed that the AKA Heavyweight still had something to offer the MMA community.
The weekend got off to a good start for AKA, but it was last Saturday's UFC 160 that many of their fans looked forward to. Lightweight Gray Maynard was looking to get back in the title picture, but needed to get past T.J. Grant to earn another shot at the championship. However, Grant had other ideas. For the second time in his career Maynard was knocked out. Grant landed a solid combination to drop the former title contender to earn himself a shot at Benson Henderson. It was a down moment, but AKA Heavyweight Cain Velasquez was slated to defend his title and he did so in an impressive manner.
Velasquez faced off against Antonio Silva, an opponent he had previously defeated, and he made quick work of the "Bigfoot". This time it took 81 seconds for Velasquez to put an end to Silva's night and leave the octagon as champion yet again. His win coupled with Junior dos Santos's victory over Mark Hunt set up the third bout between JDS and Cain. The bout was announced, but was not necessarily agreed upon. The fighters split the first two bouts, so it'll only be right that they meet a third time. Not to mention, the talent level of the heavyweight division drops after Cain and JDS.
The weekend might have been a success for AKA, but the month did not end on a high note.
Phil Baroni, a.k.a the "New York Bad A**", traveled to Manila to take on Nobutatsu Suzuki at ONE FC 9: Rise to Power. The match started in Baroni's favor as the former PRIDE and UFC welterweight got off to a quick start. He had the upper hand for the opening moments of the first round, but soon it became evident that Suzuki was the superior fighter. Suzuki got the AKA welterweight against the cage and unloaded. A vicious KO was the end of the bout, but Baroni's pain just began. As he fell, it looked as if Baroni fractured his ankle. Moments after the night concluded, news broke that Baroni had in fact suffered a broken ankle.
Not all the news in Northern California MMA involved in-ring action, in fact some amazing fights were announced as well. One such fight was Team Alpha Male's Chad Mendes taking on Clay Guida in featherweight action. The two will face off at UFC 164 and another win could put Mendes next in line for a title shot. That wasn't even the biggest out of ring news this week.
Stockton's Nick Diaz has hinted towards starting his own promotion and this past week we learned more about how serious he truly is. It was announced that Diaz will debut his own MMA promotion called WAR. It will take place on June 22nd at the Stockton Arena and be held under the unified rules of MMA. The card will be headlined by a bout between former UFC Welterweight Daniel "Ninja" Roberts and Justin "The Raw Deal" Baseman. Both are from Northern California. Diaz has hinted that his promotion would be a place for local talent to grow and showcase their talent. This first card promises to be just that.
The past week in Northern California has been filled with news, fights and interesting events. Many see this region as a hotbed for MMA talent and as weeks go by and news continues to be made, it always seems as if a Nor Cal fighter is in the mix. As it all continues to happen, Inside Fight Sports (@FightSportsCSN) will have you covered.
Nitesh Dutt is a Production Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt.