--Some notes for tonight. The weigh-ins were cause for concern in two fights. Obviously, Quinton Jackson coming in six pounds heavy and soft, and admitting an injury (although not saying what it was) may be cause for concern if the fight with Ryan Bader gets into the second round. Bader himself sometimes fades and this to me was Jackson's fight to lose as his stand-up is much better. But if you don't have conditioning, you'd better get it done. Jake Shields looked terribly skinny, like he did against Martin Kampmann (a fight he won but didn't look good in doing so). Yoshihiro Akiyama is a question mark at 170 pounds, having fought at 185-193 his entire career. But he didn't look drawn making weight. Keep in mind there is less time for rehydration because there is six to seven hours less time between weigh-ins and fight time than usual because the show is starting at 8:30 a.m. Japanese time.
Akiyama and Yamamoto should be the two biggest stars to the live crowd, and both may need a win to stay in UFC. Jackson and Hunt also have followings from Pride and K-1, and Gomi was a native star. Fukuda was a pro wrestler who started in Riki Choshu's old promotion hence the "Riki" ring name. Okami's nickname "Thunder" is from Jushin Liger, but it was Joe Silva, a big Jushin Liger fan, who came up with it. Akiyama was hated when he left Japan for being a notorious cheater, but it's been a lot of years and people may have forgotten it. I've heard two schools of thought on how he will be received, both the returning star, or as the hated guy. I'm betting returning star.
--We'll be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio covering UFC 144 as well as the latest pro wrestling news and taking e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
--Ric Flair turns 63 today.
--John Cena worked last night in Los Angeles on the Raw show but isn't working the shows in Ontario, CA tonight or Salem, OR tomorrow because he's the guest starter at the Daytona 500 race. Cena, Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar are all guest celebrities at the race.
--People were raving about Chris Jericho's promo at the Los Angeles show last night where he spoke in Spanish to what was a heavily Hispanic audience. Jericho lived several years in Mexico. A fan threw toilet paper at him and he worked the toilet paper into the promo. Eve Torres also did a promo. The description to me was that she had a lot of heat, but not as much as they expected and a lot of the fans didn't know she was a heel until they played the video to the live crowd from Raw. She's had a presence living in Los Angeles for years, going to college there and dancing for the Clippers.
--Justin Tuck of the New York Giants called Frankie Edgar to wish him good luck in tonight's fight. Edgar noted that Tuck told him the entire Giants team was rooting for him.
--The Biography Channel did a piece on Helio Gracie that has English subtitles (it was originally a Brazilian piece) at http://www.youtube.com/watch/feature=player_embedded&v=jo6sG1UqQAs#!
--Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is predicted to be No. 3 for the weekend in its third week out and gross $12.5 million.
--Mick Foley is in the U.K. doing a series of comedy dates and did this interview for Sky News Radio at http://tinyurl.com/7yo125y
--Regarding the Forbes Magazine note on the Iron Sheik's twitter account, it should be noted that the account is a fake. Iron Sheik does not have a twitter account. Sheik in fact can't read or write English and here is a recent video of him saying he doesn't have a Facebook or Twitter at http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhee
--Who do you expect to take this fight
Cheick Kongo 75.3%
Mark Hunt 24.7%
--And this one
Anthony Pettis 62.0%
Joe Lauzon 38.0%
--Poll on MMA Uncensored's debut episode
65.9% of those responding didn't see the show.
--Poll on Impact
50.5% of those responding didn't see the show
--Rey Mysterio is in Detroit this weekend at Autorama inside the Cobo Center. He also did this interview at http://www.wdfn.com/pages/wrestling.html
--Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto have a press conference on Thursday to announce their fight at the Canelo Alvarez vs. Shane Mosley fight (who will also be there) on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. It is open to the public. The two bouts take place on 5/5, the same night as the next UFC event on FOX.
--Rampage Jackson cuts a promo on Rich Franklin for knocking him for missing weight at http://youtu.be/xxuVCImnCMY Ariel Helwani also talks to Ryan Bader about the subject at http://youtu.be/BI_u1S859W4
--Somebody should hire Jerry Millen as a comedy character in wrestling where he would straight face deny the obvious. He could go out there with his frosted hair and leather pants and be the greatest dweeb in history getting all kinds of natural heat. He could be an all-time great heel manager.
--Reader Joel Kolsrud gave some pro wrestling background to Boston Celtics announcer Sean Grande. Grande was on the staff of the Wrestling Forum newsletter in the 80s that was put out by Jon Gallagher.
--The Score Fighting Championships added three matches to a 3/16 show in Hamilton, ONT at the Hamilton Place Theater with featherweights Will Romero of Brampton against Jeff Harrison of Ottawa; lightweights Alex Ricci of Woodbridge against Iraj Hadin of London, and Adam Assenza of Burlington against John Roche of Toronto. The show is headlined by John Alessio against Ryan Healy.
--A clarification regarding something that was written here a few days ago. There is an In Your Face Wrestling show on 5/18 in Amsterdam, NY at America's Best Value Inn, the same hotel banquet room that the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame is using the next night for their 2012 induction ceremonies, the two events are not associated other than that coincidence and that the promotion booked the room because people will be in town. But the Hall of Fame has nothing to do with the show.
--Fit Finlay will be appearing tomorrow in Sittingbourne, England for IPW U.K. for their No Escape 2012 show. (thanks to Anthony Sullivan)
--Headlocked writer/creator Mike Kingston appears today and tomorrow at the Image Comic Expo at the Oakland Convention Center in Booth 54.
--Former pro boxer Randy Neumann was on Neil Cavuto's FNN show Friday trying to explain why boxing has lost so much popularity: "This is America. We're the entitlement generation. Guys don't want to fight anymore. The MMA is a lot easier because they only fight five rounds and they get over very quickly so you don't really have to condition yourself. And they've taken a lot of the action." Okay. (thanks to Jeff Gagliardo)
--SMASHLAHOMA Pro Wrestling tonight in Miami, OK at the Miami Civic Center Gym features former Mid South Wrestling headliners Hacksaw Butch Reed and Bobby Eaton. There is a story on Reed, who played Junior College football in Miami, OK at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at http://www.miamiok.com/sports/article_9d8d15b6-5eae-1131-b079-0019bb2963f4.html
--Empire Pro Wrestling from Thursday night in Atlanta before 175 fans: Hayden Young & Chip Day b De La Vega & Vandal, Jay Fury DCOR Iceberg, Brian Blaze & Geter b Dany Only & Phantom, Fred Hehi d Corey Hollis, Jagged Edge b Tommy Daniels, Mason b Aesha, Vordell Walker & Kyle Matthews b Jon & Trey Williams, Shane Marx b Pandora. Davey Richards appears on the 3/23 show in Avondale Estates. (thanks to Larry Goodman)
--USWO from last night in Nashville before 91 fans: Bully Douglas b Nick Iggy, L.T. Falk b Josh Crow, Mike Revick & Josh Prada b Saint & Shawn Hoodrich, Hot Rod Biggs b Jason Xavier, Chrisjen Hayme b Shane Smalls, Damien Payne b Mike Jablonski, Jocephus b Drew Haskins (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)
--WSU has its 5th anniversary show on 3/3 in Deer Park, NY at the Sportatorium as an iPPV with a Hall of Fame ceremony plus Mercedes Martinez vs. Jessicka Hovok as the main event. Scheduled to be inducted into their women's wrestling Hall of Fame are Cindy Rogers, Jana, Dixie Carter and Georgiann Makropolous. Makropolous was a fan, newsletter writer, fan club president and really a good friend to almost everyone in wrestling from the 60s until her death.
--Premier Championship Wrestling from Thursday night in Winnipeg: Adam Knight b Prince Fuego and Marty Labossier in a gauntlet match, Billy Blaze b Trent Nash, Chris Marxwell b Jay Walker, Mike Hammer b Chris Marxwell, Scott Justice b Jackie Lee, Leo London & James Beaver & Adam Knight b Kenny Omega & Chris Stevens & Antonio Scorpio Jr. Next show is the 10th anniversary show on 3/15 at the Marquee Lounge in Winnipeg with Honky Tonk Man and Kenny Omega. Honky Tonk Man headlined the promotion's first ever show on March 3, 2002 in Winnipeg. (thanks to Andrew Shallcross)
--A top five knockouts of 2011 in the Score Fighting Series at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61kalfOnv9U