Live Blog: UFC 120 Conference Call

Want live updates from today’s UFC 120 media conference call? We’re here to help.

Heavy.com will be participating in today’s “UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama” media conference call. The call features headliners Michael Bisping and Yoshihiro Akiyama as well as co-headliners Dan Hardy and Carlos Condit discussing their upcoming bouts at UFC 120, which takes place Saturday, October 16 at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Today’s conference call is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT. We’ll bring you the highlights on this page, so keep refreshing for the latest comments from all four fighters.

– We’re currently on hold and listening to some kind of classical arrangement with lots of moving parts. It’s better than the last conference call, at least. Pretty sure that was all-Kenny G, all the time.

– While we’re waiting for this thing to begin, why don’t you go check out Spencer Kyte’s Punch Drunk Preview for the Strikeforce card this weekend? Or find out what happened on last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter, if you haven’t already. Better yet, go watch Brock Lesnar shoot guns and make redneck fruit salad. You’ll thank us later.

– Janet is our conference operator this morning and she welcomes us to the conference call. Thank you, Janet.

Marshall Zelaznik says that this is the highest-grossing show in European UFC history.

– Bisping says he lives in a small town with the same friends and family he’s grown up with, so nothing has changed for him in terms of fame. He’s still able to train and maintain his lifestyle.

– Akiyama says his main strength over Bisping are his takedowns.

– Akiyama felt like he had the advantage striking or grappling over Chris Leben, but there were things holding him back from fighting to his full potential during that fight. Of COURSE. Akiyama says that he didn’t have enough time to prepare for his opponent, so he wasn’t able to come up with a strategy specifically for Leben.

– Working with Greg Jackson allowed Akiyama to learn the intricate skills that make up good takedowns. He also worked his striking for MMA and how to better pace himself for a three round fight. Bisping counters by saying that he couldn’t care less who Akiyama trains with because he’s focused solely on himself. He says he’s improved in all areas and that, regardless of who Akiyama is training with, he feels like he’s going to be too much for Akiyama. He says it’s foolish to look at their respective bouts with Leben and try to take anything away from them because they are both different fighters than they were when they faced Leben.

– Akiyama says he has no interest in exchanging verbal insults with Bisping and he has nothing to say about him. And yes, he does plan on making his usual Bocelli entrance. Good.

– Bisping says his undefeated record in his home country probably won’t play a part in the fight, but that it always feels good to have the fans behind you and his home country seems to be the only place in the world where that happens for him. He doesn’t want to lose in front of his fans, but he ultimately has to get in the cage on his own and make it happen. Says he was able to get the job done in front of a hostile Las Vegas crowd during his last fight.

– Akiayama feels like he’s acclimated to the fighting style of the Octagon now. His win and his loss have been very good for making adjustments to his fighting style. He says he was 80% affected by the change in opponents from Wanderlei Silva to Leben in his last fight, but that he fought with the full 20% he had left in him.

– Bisping has talked in the past about wanting to be a world champion. In the past, he said he wanted to be a champion because that was what you’re supposed to say, but these days he says it because it’s true and he feels like he’s maturing as a fighter. His skills are all coming together and he’s understanding the game a lot more. He says that outside of the loss to Dan Henderson and “the bullshit decision to Wanderlei,” he’s been great. He says he’s focusing exclusively on Akiyama right now, but he’d love to avenge the loss to Wanderlei at some point.

– Akiyama has been using the same entrance music since his debut. He believes he’s able to bring the entire crowd together as one by using it. Bisping agrees and says he thinks it’s a great song.

– Zelaznik says Akiyama needs to go, so “let’s ask one more question and then we’ll say goodbye to Yoshihiro.” Oh Marshall, I see what you did there.

Carlos Condit has joined the line. Bisping bids us goodbye and returns to training. We’re just waiting for Dan Hardy to join up and we’ll begin the second portion of our conference call. Oh, and it turns out that Bisping didn’t actually leave the conference call. He wants to stick around and listen because “I’m a nosy bastard.”

– Condit says that fighting in the UK will be a new experience, but he doesn’t expect it to have much effect on his sleep patterns.

– Hardy says it’s obvious that his wrestling and jiu-jitsu wasn’t up to scratch for the fight against GSP and that he couldn’t threaten him on the ground at all. He’s been working extensively on his jiu-jitsu and on being offensive on the ground.

– Hardy says it makes no difference where he fights because the Octagon is the Octagon, but it’s comforting to know he can drive to the venue and relax at home.

– Condit says he called Hardy out because he has status in the UFC, so a win over him would shoot him up the rankings. But in addition to that, Hardy is also an exciting fighter and Condit wants to give the fans a good show. He says that sometimes you’re going to face adversity in a fight. Some guys crumble and some guys can rebound, and his ability to come back from bad situations shows what kind of fighter he has. He says Hardy showed a lot of heart against GSP.

– Hardy says he’s comfortable standing on the Bud Light logo and trading punches until somebody falls down, but he’s been working his wrestling and jiu-jitsu and wouldn’t mind taking Condit down and putting him to sleep. But the Fight of the Night bonus would be a nice addition to his bank account.

– That will wrap up today’s conference call. Thanks for joining us. And now Michael Bisping pipes up and says he’s looking forward to watching Condit knock Dan Hardy out. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what he says.

Follow @heavymma on Twitter for more UFC 120 news.


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