Photo by Esther Lin via AllElbows.com
MMAmania.com will have all the latest updates for today's World Series of Fighting II conference call which features former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and upcoming opponent Anthony Johnson as well as bantamweights Tyson Nam and Marlon Moraes. Get all the details below.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) will hold a special media conference call today (March 19, 2013) to promote World Series of Fighting II: "Arlovski vs Johnson", which is set to take place this weekend (March 23) in Atlantic City.
Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion, defending the title twice before being dethroned. After a bit of career turmoil outside the UFC, he has gone unbeaten in his last five fights including a first round smashing of Devin Cole in the main event of the inaugural World Series of Fighting show last November.
Johnson was a powerful standout in the UFC's welterweight division but was plagued by weight issues due to the fact that he cut more than any other 170-pounder on the roster. He was released after a failed move up to middleweight and eventually wound up at light heavyweight. In his 205 pound debut in WSOF, he flattened D.J. Linderman and then called out Arlovski in the post-fight fallout.
Both Nam and Moraes burst onto the scene with huge wins recently. Nam upset Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas via first round knockout last summer and after a brief legal battle, signed with WSOF. Moraes took on former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres at the first WSOF event and scored a decision victory which earned him the right to take on Nam this weekend.
Brian Hemminger here. The call is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
2:05 p.m. - We're getting started
Anthony Johnson: It's an honor to be in this situation that I'm in right now. Thanks to Ray and Andrei for this opportunity for everybody.
Tyson Nam: It's gonna be an awesome show on Saturday.
Marlon Moraes: I want to thank all the fans of World Series of Fighting and Tyson Nam for the opportunity. I look forward to seeing you guys on Saturday. Me and Tyson are going to put on a great show for you guys.
Jim: We're working out the details as we speak on Univision. Since time is of the essence, how many fights it will be is being worked out. I would like to think we'll have that information for you later in the week.
Tyson Nam: Through the legal dispute with Bellator having matching rights and everything, World Series came along and outmatched all the other offers. I'm really glad they outmatched because they're a new production with great leadership with Ray and Ali and they're signing a lot of talented fighters. I think World Series of Fighting is going to be a big show.
Anthony Johnson: My man Ray Sefo and Ali asked me to take another fight at heavyweight. This is probably my only fight at heavyweight right now. 205 is still where I want to be. We'll see. Hopefully this is going ot be a good show. Maybe if this fight is good, they'll want to see a rematch and we'll do it again.
Anthony Johnson: I'm 235 right now and I don't expect to be bigger than that.
Anthony Johnson: The vibe is still great. What the media has to say is the last thing on our mind. We just train and do what we're taught to do. Overall, we're like "screw the media."
Ray Sefo: At the moment, we'd like to have six events by the end of the year but we'll see how that goes after the next couple events. We have this weekend and then June. We'll have more confirmation on that by the end of this show in the next couple of weeks.
Ray Sefo: At some point that's gonna happen but my biggest thing is we don't have enough women talent available to start a division. Invicta signed a lot of women and they have a great women's division and UFC has women fights now. At some point that'll happen for us. We're going to keep gaining talent and build a division.
Ray Sefo: Yes, Tyrone Spong will be back. I spoke to him about a month ago in Vegas and he was hoping he was fighting on this card but there were plans for him fighting in the Glory event. We look to have him back in June.
Andrei Arlovski: I'm not sure I'd be at the top of the heavyweight division, but this is an important fight for me because Anthony is a great wrestler and a great striker and this will be a good match for the both of us.
Ray Sefo: Our goal is to put on exciting fights, make sure we challenge ourselves. We're not here to challenge UFC. We're here to challenge ourselves and make sure the next show is as good as the last one if not better. Our goal is to keep putting on exciting fights for the fans and fights that make sense for our guys as well. This is only our second event so we're taking it one step at a time and moving slowly.
Anthony Johnson: Everything is still there. The speed and power is still there. I'm still an athlete. I don't feel like I'm sacrificing anything. Andrei is a bit bigger than me and heavier than me. That's it. I train with everybody. I train with all my guys. There's no specific person I train with when it comes to fight. I train with Alistair, Mitrione, Rashad, I even train with the guys that fight at 125. I train with Thiago Silva, even his wife. She has a great ground game. I want to get a look from everybody. I train with the Blackzilians, not one specific person to train with.
Marlon Moraes: We're both stand-up guys. We like to strike. It's going to be a really exciting fight and I'm ready for the war. I know he's ready. The fans cannot lose this fight.
Ray Sefo: We'll present certain opportunities and fights to Anthony and if it's ideal to him, we'll make it happen. It's not my decision. I think Anthony and Andrei Arlovski is going to be an exciting fight.
Ray Sefo: Most likely, either the third or the fourth event for sure we'll have title fights.
Marlon Moraes: Frankie Edgar is one of my training partners. I'm always learning with guys like that and always trying to improve with my next fight and will try to improve with my next fight.
Andrei Arlovski: Greg Jackson gave me hope after four losses, my last two losses in the Grand Prix. Some people told me I lost it but he told me to come to Albuquerque and gave me hope. It might be a different story if I don't go there but right now we have great sparring partners and great coaches and I'm happy. I still have several years left. I'm good.
Andrei Arlovski: I had a chance to do jiu-jitsu with Frank Mir, work with Jon Jones, Travis Browne. Everybody likes to push the fight and I have to be on my guard at all times. Those guys are tough, they're serious and they prepared me for my fight against Anthony.
Marlon Moraes: My dream is to be the champ of World Series of Fighting. I'm focused, I'm ready and really happy with World Series of Fighting. We'll decide after the fight.
Anthony Johnson: Somebody tweeted something about seven and 15 trying to say something about what our record. There's this thing called loyalty and another called stupidity. It was somebody talking stupid and I went along with it. It wasn't nothing personal to me.
Andrei Arlovski: I just know he's tough and he'll give me a test for three rounds. He doesn't need to cut any weight and he just focused on hard work at the gym. We'll see. He wants to beat me and I want to beat him even more. I train hard and he trains hard. We all have one goal. We're gonna see who's gonna be the better man this fight. I respect him and it's just another step to reach my goal.
Anthony Johnson: Tyrone Spong is the total package when it comes to stand-up. It doesn't get any better than that.
Anthony Johnson: I'm never concerned with anything when it comes to fighting.
Ray Sefo: I had the honor to meet Ramon Dekkers in Japan and Holland. May he rest in peace. My son is actually named after him.
Tyson Nam: I don't take any fighter lightly, especially with the way Marlon put on a show last November against Miguel. It's been a while since the Eduardo fight but that time in between up until this Saturday gave me time to hone my techniques and gain new skills this Saturday.
Marlon Moraes: I have three fights but I'm hoping to have 10, 20 or 40 fights with World Series of Fighting. I love it here.
Ray Sefo: Whatever high profile fighter that's available and makes sense for us and them, we'll make it happen. We'll continue creating our own champions and our young talents. For example, on the main card Justin Gaethje is a great undefeated prospect.
Ray Sefo: We'll wait and see. If the timing is right, we'll make it happen (in regards to Ray fighting in WSOF).
Anthony Johnson: As soon as I get the phone call about a fight, I'm already mentally ready to fight. I didn't really have to get prepared. As soon as I know I'm fighting, I'm there.
Andrei Arlovski: I work with Greg Jackson on techniques and tactics, Winkeljohn on kickboxing. I know I still have a lot of work to do in wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, but I want to get better. That's why I'm the first person to the gym and the last person leaving the gym. It's gonna show on March 23 against Anthony if I did everything right for the last two years.
Ray Sefo: What gets me the most is if you've never been in the cage or experienced what it's like, if you've never experienced what these guys go through and the sacrifices they put in to be ready for the 23rd, you shouldn't be disrespecting these guys. I get if you want to criticize something. It's one thing to give an opinion, it's another to disrespect and it really burns a fire underneath me when people who have never been in the cage disrespect the fighters. Go to a gym a couple times a week and you'll understand what these guys go through.
Ray Sefo: At the end of the day, what people need to understand is 1, Anthony isn't getting younger, 2 Anthony's a big guy, 3, Anthony can decide what he wants to do and 4, Anthony is his own man. Who are we to say what he fights out. If he comes out and looks good like he did in his last fight at 205, who are we to say what he fights at?
Anthony Johnson: In my opinion, what Dana said was his own opinion. It didn't bother me. Like Ray said, it's a legitimate fight. I don't think it was meant in a harmful way towards me or Arlovski. I don't know why he said welterweight when I haven't fought welterweight in well over a year. I'm fighting at 205 and at heavyweight for this fight. This is totally different. People change. Let's not even talk about 170. Let's talk about 205 and heavy.
Anthony Johnson: I'm 10 times the person that fought Vitor. At no point am I worrying about pressure or anything anyone has to say.
Anthony Johnson: The more I fight, the more I get paid. Bring it.
Andrei Arlovski: I want to fight more often. It's good for me to fight four or five times a year. I want to be busy and make some money.
Anthony Johnson: It never crossed my mind at all, ever. Tyrone is like my brother. I don't see the point of taking a fight with him or against him when we train with each other every single day. That fight would get us nowhere.