MMA Junkie News

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Uriah Hall (in studio), Nate Landwehr, Eric Nicksick


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Uriah Hall (in studio), Nate Landwehr and Eric Nicksick.

Hall will visit the studio to talk about his upcoming bout at UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis against former champion Vitor Belfort in what is supposed to be Belfort’s retirement fight. Nicksick, one of Hall’s coaches at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, will join Hall to discuss the fight and training camp. Landwehr is coming off a win over Viktor Kolesnik earlier this month at M-1 Challenge 85.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2570 with Edson Barboza, Paul Felder, Joe Soto

Stream or download Tuesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with Edson Barboza, Paul Felder and Joe Soto.

Barboza discussed his upcoming matchup with Khabib Nurmagomedov, which takes place Dec. 30 at UFC 219. Felder, who fights Charles Oliveira on Dec. 2nd at UFC 218, talked about his fighting future, calling fights for the UFC and more. Soto, who faces Brett Johns on Dec. 1 at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, also called in to talk about his future.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.


Filed under: News, Radio, UFC

UFC-Shanghai headliner Kelvin Gastelum talks 'badass' Bisping – and why he wants a Woodley rematch

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

SHANGHAI – A couple weeks back, Kelvin Gastelum was sick to his stomach over the thought of what might happen to his third straight UFC main event with his opponent out.

Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) didn’t just have any opponent for UFC Fight Night 122. He had former longtime middleweight champ and onetime pound-for-pound legend Anderson Silva, regarded by many to be the greatest in history. But when Silva got flagged for a potential doping violation, Gastelum wondered if his fight would be off.

And if he’s just being honest, he even wondered if the entire card would survive for the promotion’s debut in mainstream China without a name the caliber of Silva’s.

But then Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) came to the rescue. Just a week after losing his middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre in the UFC 217 main event, Bisping wanted to get the bad taste out of his mouth and take advantage of the chance for another payday while he was still (mostly) in fight shape.

Now Gastelum vs. Bisping headlines UFC Fight Night 122 in a middleweight bout Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

“I didn’t want to go from fighting the greatest of all time to just fighting Joe Schmoe – that just wouldn’t make sense for me, for my career,” Gastelum told MMAjunkie today in Shanghai. “I want to keep making steps forward, not making steps backward. … I was really happy we got a replacement. I was really happy that Mike stepped up – how badass is he? I feel this is actually an even bigger fight for my career.”

The fight is bigger, Gastelum thinks, because Bisping just was the champion a few weeks ago, unlike Silva, whose best days appear to be several years in the rearview mirror.

The fight against Silva was to be just the latest in a string of standouts Gastelum has stepped into the ocatagon with. And now Bisping is his latest ex-champion opponent.

Consider Gastelum’s previous seven fights: a split-decision loss to current welterweight champ Tyron Woodley at UFC 183; a TKO of former Strikeforce middleweight champ Nate Marquardt at UFC 188; a decision win over former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks at 170 pounds at UFC 200; a TKO of former light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort in March (later flipped to a no-contest when Gastelum tested positive for marijuana); and in July, a submission loss to former middleweight champ Chris Weidman in the UFC on FOX 25 main event.

So while all the talk has been on just how legendary a move Bisping made by taking the short-notice fight with Gastelum, who is a 3-1 favorite, Gastelum thinks maybe he ought to get a little love, too.

“It doesn’t matter to me, but it would be cool if I got a little bit of credit, too, for stepping up and accepting the fight,” he said. “This will be my third or fourth former champion that I’ve fought in the last 12 months. I don’t think people have been giving me credit for the fights I’ve been taking in the last 12 months. This will be my third main event in a row. (But) I’m just riding the wave.”

Prior to the loss to Weidman, Gastelum had been on a serious roll with the wins over Hendricks, Kennedy and Belfort. The submission loss to Weidman was the first time he had been stopped, and it obviously left a bad taste in his mouth.

RelatedKelvin Gastelum planning welterweight return after loss to 'really strong' Chris Weidman

That gave him the motivation to get back in the win column against another former champion, first Silva and now Bisping. But if Gastelum is just being honest, there’s another loss that hurts him even more.

More than anything, he seems to want another shot at Woodley. When they fought at UFC 183, it was at welterweight, the division in which Gastelum infamously had trouble hitting the limit. That forced the move up to middleweight, where he’s now been for three fights.

Against Woodley, he came in at 180 pounds – nine pounds over the non-title 171-pound limit.

“I’m a little bit salty on the Tyron Woodley fight,” Gastelum said. “I’m a little hurt, still, after all these years. I want that rematch. I know I can beat him. And I know I can make the weight. I was immature, I was young, and stupid, and I feel I’ve grown from all those experiences. There’s been a lot of trial and error in my career. When I fought him, I was 23 years old. Finally, we’re putting all the experiences togehter, the good, the bad, and making something that actually works.”

That’s why Gastelum hopes – even if he has to admit it might be a long shot – he might be able to get a title shot at welterweight against Woodley. Fighting him at a catchweight or with Woodley moving up to middleweight without the title on the line wouldn’t be worth it.

“I’ve got to be up there in those discussions (with a win), whether I fight for the middleweight title or the welterweight title,” Gastelum said. “I’ve always had my eyes set on that welterweight title and a rematch with Tyron. (But) if I win this fight, I might have permanently cemented myself as a middleweight whether I want it or not.

“… It has to be for the title, and now that he’s the champion, I want to take it from him. But let me just say I respect Tyron. As a person, as a fighter, I respect him. It’s just (the loss) doesn’t sit (with me) well.”

For more from Gastelum, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) defeats Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Chris Weidman (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Chris Weidman (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) before his fight against Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) defeats Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Tim Kennedy (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) reacts to the fight with Tim Kennedy (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Tim Kennedy (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Tim Kennedy (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) reacts to the fight with Tim Kennedy (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/Rj7mJSYbwjdoPRdgaH825j/285968", customAnalytics: true, title: "Kelvin Gastelum", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start(); if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_5ojwmajW_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/5ojwmajW.json","ph":2} );
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Nina Ansaroff contemplates having baby with UFC champ Amanda Nunes, though decision not clear

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff pulled off arguably the biggest victory of her career earlier this month with a unanimous-decision victory over former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night 120.

And with it, things are on the up-and-up for Ansaroff (8-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC).

After a two-fight losing streak to open her UFC career, the 31-year-old Ansaroff now has back-to-back wins, both coming in 2017. She’s got her mojo back, you might say, and she’s thinking seriously about her future. But those thoughts aren’t just about fighting.

Does she aspire to be a UFC champion? Yes, she does. But also …

“I do want a family, and that’s something that I would have to take time off for,” Ansaroff recently told MMAjunkie Radio following her win earlier this month. “If you’re going to tell me that I’m not going to fight in a year, I would use that year to have a child. But if you tell me we’re going to get this going, give (me) three fights in the next year? Let’s do the thing. I’m not picking one or the other at this time. I’m going to go with what it is.”

RelatedNina Ansaroff: UFC champ Amanda Nunes showed me how to win as an underdog

Ansaroff, who is in a relationship with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, isn’t ready to make a definite decision on what’s next. She feels like she still has plenty of years fighting left in her. And if the opportunity presents itself to remain active and make a run at the title, Ansaroff will go that route.

That’s the tricky part, though. Some clarity on what the UFC has planned for her in 2018 would help her make a decision.

“It’s not this or that. It is, but it’s not. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” Ansaroff said. “But in our situation it takes planning. It’s not like a normal relationship. You know how this works these days. So I need to know when I’m fighting next and when I’m not.”

Check out the video above to hear more from Ansaroff.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) celebrates beating Angela Hill (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) celebrates beating Angela Hill (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Nina Ansaroff (blue gloves) celebrates beating Angela Hill (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/fkoibhtMbQJouRzuWyZnXi/285775", customAnalytics: true, title: "Ansaroff def. Hill", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

3-1 'dog Michael Bisping 'not expecting a walk in the park' at UFC-Shanghai vs. Kelvin Gastelum

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

SHANGHAI – Once again, Michael Bisping will be part of UFC history on Saturday.

Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) headlines UFC Fight Night 122 in a middleweight bout against Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC). It’s historic because it’s the UFC’s first card in mainland China.

UFC Fight Night 122 takes place Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

But it’s also historic because Bisping earlier this month was the UFC’s middleweight champion, and he’s making a turnaround just three weeks later to step in for another former champ in Anderson Silva, who was pulled from the card due to a potential doping violation. Bisping lost his title to Georges St-Pierre in the UFC 217 main event at Madison Square Garden in New York.

RelatedMichael Bisping: Anderson Silva 'completely destroyed' legacy with second failed drug test

Bisping said taking the fight actually bought him some points with fans who normally have been a little critical of him.

“It’s weird – for most of my career, I’ve been Public Enemy No. 1,” Bisping told MMAjunkie. “It’s a refreshing change – I’ve been getting a lot of compliments from people. … To be honest, I just don’t understand why someone in my position wouldn’t take that fight. I’ve got no injuries from the last one, I’m in shape, I had a tremendous training camp (for St-Pierre). The fight didn’t go my way – for whatever reason, it wasn’t clicking on the night. That’s just the way it goes – I had a bad night at the office. I get a chance now to go out there and fight the way I wanted to fight.”

St-Pierre, the longtime welterweight champ and pound-for-pound great, was returning after a four-year hiatus. He put Bisping to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the third round to become the fourth two-division champ in UFC history.

If there were critics of Bisping taking the fight against Gastelum on such short notice, it was because his initial medical suspension from the New York State Athletic Commission was for 30 days, given the bumps and bruises from a typical physical Bisping fight, as well as the fact he went unconscious.

But that suspension was reduced when Bisping was cleared by doctors to return early to save the card in China.

“(UFC President) Dana (White) was very adamant that I go through a bunch of medical hoops, which was a pain in the ass,” Bisping said. “… It was a very, very stressful week. But I’m good, I’m fine, I passed all my medicals – I’m great.”

Kelvin Gastelum

Now Bisping will have to contend with Gastelum, who will be trying to rebound from a loss, as well. In July in the UFC on FOX 25 main event, Gastelum tapped to an arm-triangle choke against former champ Chris Weidman in front of Weidman’s home crowd on Long Island.

Prior to that, he had a TKO win over Vitor Belfort overturned to a no-contest after he tested positive for marijuana. But he also had key wins over former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks (when both still were fighting at 170 pounds) and Tim Kennedy.

Bisping said he expects Gastelum to provide a stiff challenge Saturday – and the oddsmakers agree. They’ve made the 26-year-old Gastelum, 12 years Bisping’s junior, a 3-1 favorite in the fight.

“I work as an analyst – I’ve broken down his fights many times,” said Bisping, who does analyst work for FOX Sports in between fights. “Kelvin’s a great guy. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Kelvin. This isn’t on pay-per-view – I’m not trying to sell pay-per-views or any of that. Kelvin seems like a very, very nice guy – apart from the fact he does a little bit too much pouting on Instagram. Other than that, he seems like a lovely guy.

“Great fighter, good hands, good wrestler. He’s got some good wins – he beat some guys I didn’t beat. Granted, they’re not on steroids anymore. I’m expecting a tough fight. I’m not expecting a walk in the park. What I am expecting is a smaller guy with a shorter reach, without the experience. If I fight the way I fight, I’ll win this fight pretty handily. But we’ll see what happens.”

For more from Bisping, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) reacts after winning his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) enters the arena before his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) cut under his left eye during his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) in the UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) fights against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) cut under his left eye during his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) in the UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) bleeds from a cut during his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) in the UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Michael Bisping (red gloves) enters the octagon before his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) fights Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) fights Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates with his wife after his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping reacts after his fight against Anderson Silva during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/mCWH6kigogSDYNhSJ5YG4T/285966", customAnalytics: true, title: "Michael Bisping", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start(); if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_MHvudckg_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/MHvudckg.json","ph":2} ); if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_IpGuJAlo_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/IpGuJAlo.json","ph":2} );
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Aljamain Sterling reflects on how wrestling saved him from gang life

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

If it wasn’t for wrestling, there’s a good chance Aljamain Sterling wouldn’t be who he is today.

We know the 28-year-old Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) as a rising MMA star. But the way Sterling tells it, he came close to going down the wrong path.

During a recent interview with MMAjunkie Radio, Sterling reflected on growing up in Long Island, New York, and how his brothers became “pretty affiliated” with gangs. Eventually, Sterling said, he arrived at a crossroads, but it was wrestling that saved him.

“People always say, ‘You probably would’ve been successful anyway.’ Because I work hard,” Sterling said. “Yeah, but you guys don’t understand the place in my life where I was, where I was really at a crossroads, where I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue with this gang thing and take it more seriously and really get initiated.

“But wrestling changed my life. It gave me purpose. It gave me a sense of urgency of a way to use it as an escape route to get out of the hood and to get to college and make something of myself.”

Which is what Sterling did. After a successful high school wrestling career, he attended SUNY Cortland and became a two-time Division III All-American. Now, in addition to striving to be UFC champion, Sterling also gives back by coaching wrestling at Uniondale High, his alma mater. It’s his way of setting a real-life example for kids who currently grow up the way he did.

Sterling next fights Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Night 123 on Dec. 9 in Fresno, Calif. The card airs on FS1 followed by prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the video above to hear Sterling reflect on his upbringing.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling celebrates his victory by chokehold submission against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Johnny Eduardo against Aljamain Sterling during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling wins by chokehold submission against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling wins by chokehold submission against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands punches against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling pins Johnny Eduardo to the mat during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands a kick against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling fights against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling fights against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands a kick against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands a kick against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands punches against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling fights against Johnny Eduardo during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling reacts during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) lands a punch on Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling pulls back for a punch while on top of a prone Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) avoids an attacking Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) battles Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a UFC fight at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Hugo Viana (red gloves) and Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) get held up by the fencing during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) gets a leg up on Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) kicks at Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) blocks a kick by Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) punches Hugo Viana (red gloves) during a UFC fight at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) points a finger up in the air during a bantamweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) celebrates his win against Cody Gibson (red gloves) during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) takes Cody Gibson (red gloves) in a leg twist during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) holds down Cody Gibson (red gloves) to the mat in an arm lock during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) holds down Cody Gibson (red gloves) in a tight leg twist during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) throws a kick against Cody Gibson (red gloves) during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) attempts to take down Cody Gibson (red gloves) during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) blocks a kick from Cody Gibson (red gloves) during their UFC bantamweight bout at Mandalay Bay. Sterling won 29-28 by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/ZFxMXYdjYUMMmVUztWqY6g/285941", customAnalytics: true, title: "Aljamain Sterling", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Jimmy Smith on what makes Arlene Blencowe dangerous in Bellator 189 rematch with champ Julia Budd


Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Bellator is back Stateside next week, and the women’s featherweight title will be on the line.

In the Bellator 189 main event, champion Julia Budd (10-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) will put her belt up in a rematch with Arlene Blencowe (10-6 MMA, 3-2 BMMA). The card also includes a middleweight bout between Chris Honeycutt (10-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) and Rafael Lovato Jr. (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).

Bellator 189 takes place Dec. 1 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card will air on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Budd won Bellator’s inaugural women’s featherweight title earlier this year when she stopped former Strikeforce champ Marloes Coenen with a fourth-round TKO at Bellator 174, which also took place in Thackerville.

RelatedBellator 174 highlights with blink-and-miss-it 13-second TKO, former champ's retirement

Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blencowe

To get to that title shot, Budd, from Canada, won her first three Bellator fights after a 4-0 run for Invicta FC. And the third of those wins came at Bellator 162 nearly a year ago – a unanimous decision win over Blencowe, who now will challenge for her title.

Blencowe, from Australia, has gone 3-0 since that loss. She picked up a pair of knockout wins in her native Australia, then took a split call from Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 182 in August.

Ahead of the title fight, Bellator analyst Jimmy Smith takes a look at the rematch and just why Blencowe is dangerous in the latest edition of “What to Watch.”

For more on Bellator 189, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Andre Soukhamthath steps in for Bryan Caraway, meets Luke Sanders at UFC-Fresno

Andre Soukhamthath will get a third chance in 2017 to pick up his first win in the UFC, but it will have to come on short notice.

Soukhamthath (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has stepped in for an injured Bryan Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) to take on Luke Sanders (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night 123 next month. UFC officials recently announced the replacement booking.

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedBryan Caraway out at UFC-Fresno, Luke Sanders needs new opponent

Soukhamthath came to the UFC earlier this year as CES MMA’s bantamweight champion. The Rhode Islander fought 13 of his first 14 pro fights for that promotion, all in his home state, and went 11-2.

He signed with the UFC and fought Albert Morales at UFC 209 in March, but dropped a split decision in Las Vegas in a back-and-forth fight. He returned against Alejandro Perez at UFC Fight Night 114 in Mexico City in August, but again dropped a split call. Prior to signing with the UFC, he had three straight knockout wins under the CES MMA banner.

Luke Sanders

Sanders is looking to bounce back from a March loss to Iuri Alcantara. The kneebar defeat marked Sanders’ first professional setback, snapping a run of 11 consecutive wins to open his career.

Caraway, who is currently ranked No. 11 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, hasn’t competed since a May 2016 win over Aljamain Sterling. He was scheduled to meet fast-rising contender Jimmie Rivera this past January, but injury forced him out of that matchup, as well. Caraway is 4-1 in his past five contests but fought just once in 2015, once in 2016 and now appears unlikely to compete in 2017, at all, though an exact timetable for his return wasn’t evident.

The UFC Fight Night 123 lineup currently includes:

  • Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
  • Gabriel Benitez vs. Jason Knight
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
  • Eryk Anders vs. Markus Perez
  • Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales
  • Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
  • Carls John de Tomas vs. Alex Perez
  • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Frankie Saenz
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
  • Iuri Alcantara vs. Alejandro Perez
  • Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto
  • Marlon Moraes vs. Aljamain Sterling
  • Luke Sanders vs. Andre Soukhamthath

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) defeats Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during his fight against Alejandro Perez during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) defeats Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Alejandro Perez (red gloves) fights Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/9G9qUhb7VC3Sf8HuacrbYb/285957", customAnalytics: true, title: "Perez def. Soukhamthath", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Bellator 190 lineup set for Italy return; event to air on Spike via tape-delay

The card for Bellator’s return to Florence, Italy, is set.

Bellator 180 takes place Dec. 9 at Nelson Mandela Forum with a main card that airs at 8 p.m. ET on Spike via tape-delay.

The main event between middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho and Alessio Sakara was announced last month, and now the rest of the lineup is set.

In the co-main event, Brandon Girtz (14-7 MMA, 5-5 MMA) takes on Bellator newcomer Luka Jelcic (10-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a lightweight bout. Girtz, a Bellator competitor since 2013, will be looking to snap a three-fight losing streak against Jelcic, who brings a four-fight winning streak into the cage.

The other two main-card bouts feature Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) vs. Alejandra Lara (6-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at flyweight and Mihail Nica (6-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) vs. Carlos Miranda (10-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at lightweight.

The unbeaten Lara and Miranda, who’s on a four-fight winning streak, will be making their Bellator debuts.

With the additions, Bellator 180’s card includes:

MAIN CARD (8 p.m. ET, SPIKE)

  • Champ Rafael Carvalho vs. Alessio Sakara – for middleweight title
  • Brandon Girtz vs. Luka Jelcic
  • Lena Ovchynnikova vs. Alejandra Lara
  • Mihail Nica vs. Carlos Miranda

PRELIMINARY BOUT

  • Gregory Babene vs. Tony Zanko

For more on Bellator 190, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News

'King Mo': I'm a problem for anyone in Bellator heavyweight grand prix

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Bellator’s eight-man grand prix next year to decide a new heavyweight champion is the inclusion of four fighters who aren’t true heavyweights.

And of those four, perhaps nobody faces a size disadvantage quite like Muhammed Lawal.

RelatedBellator heavyweight grand prix opening odds: TBA favored over 'King Mo,' Sonnen, 'Rampage'

At 5-foot-11 and a little more than 200 pounds, he’s small in comparison to the true heavyweights in the field. Could you imagine seeing “King Mo” vs. Roy Nelson, for instance?

Granted, Lawal has experience fighting in openweight tournaments in Japan and has the occasional heavyweight bout to his credit. That includes a unanimous-decision win earlier this year against Quinton Jackson, himself part of the Bellator grand prix field.

That might explain Lawal’s confidence when he spoke to MMAjunkie Radio about his inclusion in the tournament.

RelatedWho wins Bellator heavyweight grand prix? A primer on the good, the old and the weird

“If you think about it, stylistically I match up bad against all of them,” Lawal said. “I can wrestle. I’m long. Granted, I’m not that tall, but I got a long reach. I’m quicker, and I got a pretty good gas tank. …

“I think I’m going to give all those guys problems. I’ve never been muscle in a fight. It might happen this tournament. Who knows? But I’m going to find a way to make sure that don’t happen. I find ways to keep the fight to my strengths. That’s what I’m going to do.”

To hear more from “King Mo” on the Bellator heavyweight grand prix, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator’s upcoming schedule, visit the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos

UFC Fight Night 122 pre-event facts: How legendary is Michael Bisping? Just look at his resume

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

The UFC makes its first stop in mainland China on Saturday with UFC Fight Night 122, which takes place at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and streams on UFC Fight Pass.

After years of waiting to host an event in a major city in China, the organization brings a card that features a former champion in the main event. Ex-middleweight titleholder Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) makes a three-week turnaround from losing the title to Georges St-Pierre to take on “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in an important showdown.

There’s not much meat on the bone outside of the headliner, but 10 fighters are scheduled to make their octagon debut on the undercard, seven of which are from China. For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s final November fight card, check below for 50 pre-event facts about UFC Fight Night 122.

* * * *

Main event

Michael Bisping

Bisping, 38, is the oldest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Bisping competes in his second UFC bout in a 21-day span. He lost the UFC middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 earlier this month.

Bisping competes in his 29th UFC bout, the most appearances in company history. His 24th UFC middleweight fight also marks a new record for most in divisional history.

Bisping makes his 14th UFC main-event appearance (8-5 in previous headliners). He’s been main or co-main event in 22 of his 29 UFC appearances, including UFC Fight Night 122.

Bisping is the only fighter in UFC history to headline two cards in a one-month span.

Bisping has headlined UFC cards in seven different countries, most in company history.

Bisping’s total cage time of 6:03:03 in UFC competition is second most in company history behind Frankie Edgar (6:27:49). They’re the only two fighters with six-plus hours of octagon time.

Michael Bisping

Bisping’s 20 victories in UFC competition are tied with St-Pierre for most in company history.

Bisping’s 16 victories in UFC middleweight competition are most in divisional history.

Bisping’s 10 knockout victories in UFC competition are tied for fourth most in company history behind Vitor Belfort (12), Anthony Johnson (11) and Anderson Silva (11).

Bisping’s seven knockout victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Silva (eight).

Bisping’s seven stoppage victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Silva (11), Chris Leben (nine) and Nate Marquardt (nine).

Bisping’s 10 decision victories in UFC competition are tied for fourth most in company history behind St-Pierre (12), Diego Sanchez (11) and Gleison Tibau (11).

Bisping has landed 1,560 significant strikes in UFC competition, the most in company history.

Michael Bisping

Bisping is one of three fighters in UFC history to record 100 or more significant strikes in five separate bouts. T.J. Dillashaw and Joanna Jedrzejczyk also accomplished the feat.

Bisping’s 216 leg kicks landed in UFC middleweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Bisping’s five knockdowns landed from the clinch position in UFC competition are the second most in company history behind Silva (seven).

Bisping won the middleweight championship from Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 in his 26th UFC appearance, the latest into a career of any first-time titleholder in company history.

Bisping is one of six European-born champions in UFC history. He’s the only from England.

Bisping’s one of five fighters in UFC history to win “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and an undisputed UFC title. Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Matt Serra and Carla Esparza also accomplished the feat.

Bisping is the only fighter in UFC history to win “TUF,” a UFC championship and make a successful title defense.

Kelvin Gastelum

Gastelum competes in his fourth career UFC main event. He’s 0-2 (with one no-contest) in previous headliners.

Gastelum is 1-1 (with one no-contest) since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in December. He’s 3-1 (with one no-contest) in the organization at 185 pounds.

Gastelum has earned nine of his 13 career victories by stoppage.

Gastelum has landed six knockdowns in his past five fights.

Co-main event

Li Jingliang’s (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) three-fight winning streak is the longest of his UFC career.

Jingliang has earned all three of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Zak Ottow (15-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned his past three victories by decision after stopping his opponent in his first 12 career wins.

Remaining main card

Alex Caceres

Alex Caceres (13-10 MMA, 8-8 UFC) is 3-2 since he returned to the UFC featherweight division in January 2015. However, he’s just 3-5 in his past eight UFC appearances overall.

Caceres is one of three fighters in UFC/WEC bantamweight history to land 100 or more significant strikes in two different fights. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz also accomplished the feat.

Caceres’ submission of Sergio Pettis at the 4:39 mark of Round 3 at UFC on FOX 10 marked the second latest in a three-round UFC bantamweight fight. Only Bryan Caraway’s victory at the 4:44 mark of Round 3 at UFC 159 occurred later.

Caceres’ 12 submission attempts in UFC bantamweight competition are tied with Dillashaw for most in divisional history.

Wang Guan (16-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has earned all 12 of his career stoppage victories as a result of strikes.

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia (14-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has earned 11 of his 14 career victories by stoppage. He’s earned 10 of those finishes in Round 1.

Garcia has completed 20 takedowns in his past six UFC appearances.

Muslim Salikhov (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut on a 10-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since December 2012.

Salikhov has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage. He’s earned 10 of those finishes in Round 1.

Salikhov has earned his past two victories by first-round spinning hook kick knockout.

Preliminary card

Zabit Magomedsharipov (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) enters the event on a nine-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since April 2013.

Magomedsharipov has earned 11 of his 13 career victories by stoppage.

Kenan Song (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut following a more than one-year layoff in a loss in his most recent bout at Road FC 34 in November 2016.

Kailin Curran

Kailin Curran (4-5 MMA, 1-5 UFC) competes in her seventh UFC strawweight bout, tied for the second most appearances in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (nine).

Curran’s three-fight losing skid is the longest of her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since December 2015.

Curran’s five UFC losses are tied with Jessica Eye for most of any female in company history.

Xiaonan Yan (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is 4-0 (with one no-contest) since returning from a nearly five-year layoff in July 2015.

Chase Sherman (11-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has landed a combined 214 significant strikes in his past two UFC appearances.

Shamil Abdurakhimov (17-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has earned his past four victories by decision, the longest stretch of his career without a finish.

Wu Yana (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), 21, is the youngest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Bisping (red gloves) reacts after losing to Georges St-Pierre (not pictured) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates with his wife after his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Feb 26, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping reacts after his fight against Anderson Silva during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 26, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping addresses the crowd after the decision against Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping lines up a punch against Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping throws a left kick to Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping connects with a left to Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping connects with a left hook to Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping lines up a shot against Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping connects with a kick to the chest of Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping connects with a kick to the head of Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping lines up a shot against Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping enters the ring for his bout with Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping leaves the ring victorious after beating Thales Leites on a split decision at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports A referee stops the fight as Cain Velasquez, center, punches Brock Lesnar during a UFC mixed martial arts match in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. Velasquez won by TKO in the first round. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/2G26nwEYrVw6cq7DaMFTAE/285887", customAnalytics: true, title: "Michael Bisping", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

ESPN's '30 for 30' podcast about UFC 1 makes an old story feel new

It sounds like a tale you already know, or at least think you know: the origin story of the UFC. And chances are you have heard it before, in several different ways and from a variety of sources, but maybe never quite like this.

As much as I enjoy the ESPN “30 for 30” series, I can’t say I had high expectations for the podcast episode “No Rules – The Birth of the UFC.” It just felt like subject matter I was already too familiar with, plus the old-school hardcore fan in me always feels like the more mainstream the media outlet, the more likely they are to screw up something important when it comes to MMA and its history.

Royce Gracie at UFC 1.

I was very pleased to find out how wrong I was this time.

The podcast, produced by Chris Berube of Pineapple Street Media, does an impressive job of telling the story of the UFC’s inception and its first event in a way that feels detailed and comprehensive, but also novel.

Part of it is the medium itself. You’ve probably read stories about the creation of the UFC. Maybe you’ve seen a TV special about UFC 1. But the podcast form gives you this story in a way that’s part vibrant oral history and part historical examination.

When Art Davies talks, you get a sense of his fast-talking huckster charm. And when it’s Rorion Gracie, you want to chuckle slowly at the madness of it all right along with him.

Then there’s sumo wrestler Teila Tuli telling the story of how he saved the event from coming apart at the seams during the pre-fight rules meeting. And if you don’t want to hear about Gerard Gordeau sitting around backstage before the fights started, smoking cigarettes and staring people down, well, I just don’t know what to tell you.

Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock at UFC 1.

Of course, this podcast also includes some familiar characters being exactly who we expect them to be. For instance, are the Gracies going to continue glorifying their brand of jiu-jitsu at every opportunity? Definitely. And is Ken Shamrock still complaining that he would have won if he’d been allowed to wear shoes? You bet he is.

But in all, this manages to be a thorough, engaging look at the inception of a phenomenon that gave way to a sport. No matter how many times you think you’ve heard this story, this podcast will make you feel like you haven’t heard it all.

That’s not easy to do, and it’s worth an hour of your time to enjoy and appreciate it.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.


Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Champ Max Holloway questions Jose Aldo's mindset ahead of UFC 218 rematch

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has some questions about the mindset of Jose Aldo going into their title rematch at UFC 218.

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), who challenges Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) in the main event of the Dec. 2 pay-per-view card at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, is looking to gain revenge after “Blessed” took his belt by third-round TKO at UFC 212 in June.

Aldo said he’s more motivated than ever, mainly because this time he enters the fight as the challenger with everything to gain, and not as the titleholder with everything to lose. Holloway said he takes umbrage to that, though, because Aldo should have had plenty to get up for the first time they shared the octagon.

RelatedJose Aldo: If proven guilty, Anderson Silva's 2nd drug-test failure diminishes legacy 'a lot'

UFC 212 took place in Aldo’s hometown of Rio de Janeiro and saw red-hot Holloway coming in with bold claims that he was going to take the belt in front of the Brazilian fans. That should have been enough to get Aldo’s motivation to its peak, but apparently that wasn’t the case.

“This guy, we fought him in his hometown, he was the champion, and for him to be saying that now he feels way more motivated; fighting for your country and fighting in front of your people for your belt is not enough motivation, what’s going on?” Holloway said on today’s UFC 218 media call. “I’m motivated. The belt is great. You know what comes with the belt? Better payday, pay-per-views and a lot more stuff, but the belt is the belt. A fight is a fight.

“I ain’t trying to go out there and get my butt whooped, my ass whooped in front of billions of people watching at home, thousands of people. That’s not what I’m about. I’m in the hurt business. I’m out there, and I want to win.

RelatedWhy Jose Aldo doesn't fault Conor McGregor for Bellator in-cage melee

“I don’t care who I fight. I could fight this guy 10 times in a row. I’ll be motivated. That’s just what it is. That’s this warrior spirit that I have in myself and this whole belief I have in myself. It doesn’t take much to motivate me. I don’t know why people talk about, ‘It’s hard to get motivation.’ You’re in the wrong business, man. In this business you can get hurt. There’s another guy trying to hurt you seriously in there. This guy’s talking about motivation. It just blows my mind.”

Holloway, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, has backed up his words with actions in the lead-up to UFC 218. The Hawaiian was originally set to defend against No. 3 Frankie Edgar, but the former lightweight champion suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw on short notice. That allowed Aldo, who was already booked to fight at UFC on FOX 26 in December, the opportunity to step in for his rematch.

There are plenty of previous instances throughout UFC history in which a main-event title fight has fallen apart on short notice and the champion did not remain on the card. Holloway said he intended on fighting at UFC 218 no matter what, though, even if it meant taking a fight against low-ranked opposition or moving up to lightweight.

RelatedUFC champ Max Holloway surprised his mom with a brand new truck

“I don’t care if it’s him; I don’t care who it was,” Holloway said. “I was ready for the next man up. Line them up, and I’m going to knock them down. Too much people depend on, ‘This is what he did in the first fight; this is what he’ll do in the second fight.’ We don’t know what happens. I’m getting ready for the best Jose Aldo in the second fight, just like I did for the first fight. I was getting ready for the best Frankie Edgar, now it’s Aldo.”

It doesn’t take much to get Holloway’s blood boiling to step in the octagon, but he does feel there’s upside to his situation. Aldo suffered just two losses in his opening 12 years as a professional fighter, and now Holloway has the chance to beat one of the sport’s all-time greats twice in six months.

“At the end of the day this is a legacy fight,” Holloway said. “This is huge for legacy. Jose back to back. Nobody ever beat him twice. Me being the greatest featherweight champion is a long journey. This is a step. That was a stepping-stone. I’ve just got to focus. I got to focus on this one first and then I’ve got to get defenses. He’s got six or seven or eight of them.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; General view of the arena for the fight between Jose Aldo (red gloves) Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) and Max Hollway (blue gloves) touch gloves before the fight during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/B84CQRWMH4V4dxLzmg3uQL/285931", customAnalytics: true, title: "Holloway def. Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

John Lineker gets wish, steps in to fight Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219

Jimmie Rivera has a replacement foe, and John Lineker has the fight he wants.

The bout between top-10 bantamweights has been set for UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view. ESPN.com cited UFC officials in reporting the booking.

Rivera, No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, originally was slated to face Dominick Cruz before the ex-champion was forced to withdraw because of injury. But now Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) gets No. 8 Lineker (30-8 MMA, 11-3 UFC) instead.

After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

Lineker ended a 10-month layoff last month with a unanimous-decision win over Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night 119. The victory put Lineker back on track after a loss to champ T.J. Dillashaw ended a six-fight streak.

Lineker said just days after his win that he’d be on stand-by for the Cruz-Rivera fight and now gets his wish.

With the addition, the latest UFC 219 card includes:

  • Champ Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm – for women’s featherweight title
  • Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • John Lineker vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Rick Glenn vs. Myles Jury
  • Emil Meek vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Dan Hooker

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) fights Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Thomas Almeida (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/285917", customAnalytics: true, title: "Rivera def. Almeida", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

CSAC reschedules Jon Jones' steroids hearing for early 2018

It’ll be a while longer before the California State Athletic Commission decides Jon Jones’ fate.

Jones, whose original hearing for his doping case was set for Dec. 12 in Sacramento, has been granted a continuance, CSAC executive office Andy Foster told MMAjunkie on Tuesday. While Foster was unable to give a specific date for the rescheduled hearing, he said it would occur “early next year” at the commission’s first meeting of 2018. Foster gave late February/early March as a time frame.

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential doping violation Aug. 22 for an out-of-competition sample collected ahead of his UFC 214 title fight with Daniel Cormier. Jones’ B sample also tested positive.

RelatedJon Jones blasts Colby Covington for racism, throws shade after Fabricio Werdum altercation

As a result, the CSAC, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, overturned Jones’ TKO win to a no-contest. The UFC, in turn, stripped Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion.

The failed drug test marked Jones’ second in two years. In 2016, he failed a test at UFC 200, which canceled his title-unifying main event with Cormier. Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. He used that defense during arbitration with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension for negligence.

Jones, who had denied knowingly cheating, is headed for arbitration again with USADA. If found guilty this time, he faces up to a four-year ban.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC

Jose Aldo: If proven guilty, Anderson Silva's 2nd drug-test failure diminishes legacy 'a lot'

Jose Aldo has been quick to defend former longtime UFC champion Anderson Silva during many of his career trials and tribulations. He has a difficult time standing by his fellow Brazilian this time, though.

Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC), the former UFC middleweight champion, was flagged with a potential doping violation from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency earlier this month, forcing him out of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 122 headliner in Shanghai. If proven guilty, it would be the second drug-testing infraction of Silva’s career and a critical blow to the legacy of a fighter once argued by many as MMA’s greatest of all time.

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), who challenges Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) for the UFC featherweight title Dec. 2 in the UFC 218 main event at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, said he’s trying his hardest to keep an open mind until all the facts are in. However, he can’t help but speculate on how the world will see Silva if the test results are accurate.

RelatedWhat happened to Anderson Silva, and why don't we seem to care?

“Whether you like it or not, it does diminish it a lot,” Aldo told MMAjunkie on Monday at a UFC 218 media day in Rio de Janeiro. “He’s an idol for us. For those who are in the MMA community, not so much, but for the fans, yes (it hurts his legacy). They have a different view. And he got caught twice. If it were once, we could maybe say something. But twice, it could condemn him to that. It could taint a career that, for me, was one of the best.”

Aldo has watched what has happened to Silva, as well as many other high-profile fighters who have failed drug tests during their careers, and taken away serious lessons to apply to himself. “Scarface” has never tested positive for a banned substance in more than 13 years as a professional fighter, and he said it’s because he’s done his due-diligence.

There was a point when Aldo was viewed as perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world while he was nearly untouchable in the cage for more than 10 years. He wants history to look kindly on his accomplishments and contributions to the sport, and said that’s more difficult to do with fighters who have drug-testing blemishes on their records.

RelatedMichael Bisping: Anderson Silva 'completely destroyed' legacy with second failed drug test

Aldo claims to be a clean athlete, and whether Silva’s incident was a misunderstanding or because of blatant cheating, he said he never wants to be in the same position.

“I think this taints someone’s entire career,” Aldo said. “Many fans and reporters, people in the MMA community, they now say Anderson was the champion because he was doping all along. This really taints someone’s career. So I try to take every precaution and do everything the right way. Before starting a camp, I e-mail (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and USADA saying everything I’m going to take and then, when they say it’s OK, we start. I think that’s a precaution that not just me, but every athlete should take.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

What does the UFC offer its next TV partner, and how could it change the fan viewing experience?

The next phase in the UFC’s plan to ascend to a higher plane of profitability may have hit a snag. According to a report from “Sports Business Journal,” the exclusive negotiating period between the UFC and current TV partner FOX has ended, and the UFC has thus far failed to attract a flood of interest from other potential bidders.

Part of it is the price tag. As outlined in investor documents last summer, the UFC’s new owners are banking on a huge increase in rights fees to help justify the company’s enormous price tag.

The current deal with FOX, which ends in 2018, brings in an average of $120 million a year, with the price jumping to $160 million in the final year.

RelatedWhat investor documents tell us about the UFC's past – and its future

For its next deal? The UFC reportedly wants $450 million per year – a nearly threefold increase of the peak price under the current deal. At present, FOX, according to SBJ, is prepared to make an offer of $200 million a year. Not quite the leap the UFC’s owners at Endeavor were hoping for.

So what does the UFC of the very near future stand to offer a TV partner? And how could the drive for a huge price increase affect the way fans watch UFC fights once the FOX deal expires? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answers to these two questions could have a lot of overlap.

With the UFC comes tons of content and a very loyal audience

If we’ve learned anything from the UFC’s wandering broadcast positions over the years (hey, remember Versus?), it’s that hardcore fans will follow the UFC wherever it goes.

Seriously, make up a new channel. Call it whatever you want. Put it way out there on the cable TV hinterlands, sandwiched between car shows and the network that only plays ’80s miniseries. MMA fans will grumble about it and mock it relentlessly, but come fight time we’ll find our way there. And if you’re lacking programming, just dig into the UFC’s vault. If there’s an upside to the UFC over-saturation of recent years, it’s the accumulation of hours and hours of content.

All of that is appealing to any broadcast partner trying to draw eyes to a new network or streaming service – or both. Which leads us to the next point…

UFC fans are already accustomed to a variety of viewing platforms

An online stream, a cable TV channel, and a pay-per-view broadcast? That’s a fairly normal Saturday night for an MMA fan, jumping from one platform to the next. The UFC has already gotten its fans used to streaming live content (case in point, Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 122 event from Shanghai), and for the right broadcast partner, that’s a big boost.

Maybe that explains why Turner Sports is said to be one of the more interested parties so far. Turner is a subsidiary of Time Warner, which is at the center of a suddenly troubled merger with AT&T. If the merger goes through, as the Sports Business Journal report notes, the new company “could let DirecTV handle the UFC’s pay-per-view, AT&T oversee UFC’s mobile apps, and Turner use UFC content on its channels and (over-the-top) platform.”

The big problem there is the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block the merger. Critics say it’s a sharp shift in antitrust policy from the U.S. government, and point to President Donald Trump’s frequent criticism of CNN, which Time Warner also owns, as the real explanation for the pushback.

The uncertainty over that merger may take a key player out of UFC negotiations, at least for a while. If AT&T has to sell DirecTV, or Time Warner has to unload Turner in order to get approval, suddenly the ability to leverage the UFC across multiple platforms might seem less attractive.

But what, exactly, would you get if you spend hundreds of millions on UFC broadcast rights?

Here’s where it gets really tricky. The UFC has the power to draw many millions of viewers with the right offering, but there are several tiers to UFC programming, and just because you pay for TV rights doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the good stuff.

Look at the FOX deal. Events on the big FOX network started with a UFC heavyweight title fight that drew nearly 9 million viewers, but the quality of the cards soon dipped and ratings fell with it. The most recent UFC on FOX event, in July, drew some of the lowest ratings in series history. And while the UFC Fight Night events on FS1 are far more frequent, they clearly don’t represent the best content the UFC has to offer.

As of now, the UFC still relies heavily on pay-per-view, which is the company’s single-biggest driver of revenue. The investor pitch didn’t call for a new TV rights deal that would replace that revenue, but rather add to it. That makes you think that the UFC has no plans of putting its few reliable pay-per-view draws on regular old TV, so why would a network spend $450 million a year just to get the UFC’s leftovers?

Earlier reports have suggested that a new deal might have to come with a share in pay-per-view revenues, or at least more of a say in which bouts go where. That could be good news for fans who are feeling the financial strain of buying all those pay-per-views, and it could also help the UFC’s growth if its best and most interesting fighters get seen by more potential fans.

The problem is finding the right deal that makes the best use of all that the UFC has to offer – and for the exorbitant price Endeavor is asking.

As you may recall, one of the justifications for the huge bump in price was the lack of other available sports properties up for grabs in the next few years. In other words, UFC owners were expecting a lot of competition among networks, and with more bidders and fewer items up for sale, they expected prices to skyrocket.

So far, however, it doesn’t seem like the bids are flowing quite as expected. If that doesn’t change it might mean it’s time to adjust the price – or the offer that goes along with it.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Champ Daniel Cormier to 'go to the next guy' if Volkan Oezdemir's legal woes scrap UFC title fight

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is no stranger to other fighters’ outside-the-cage troubles hindering his own fight schedule, and his current situation is no different.

Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) reportedly planned to put his 205-pound title on the line against Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) at January’s UFC 220 event in Boston. However, the matchup could be in jeopardy after the challenger was recently arrested and charged for an alleged battery that took place in a Florida bar in August.

RelatedVolkan Oezdemir's alleged battery victim claims being knocked unconscious

It’s still unknown exactly what type of ramifications Oezdemir could face for the alleged incident, but it seems likely that sharing the octagon with Cormier has dropped down on his list of priorities. If he’s unable to fight soon, the reigning champ said he’s ready for the next man up, whether it’s Alexander Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), Ovince Saint Preux (22-10 MMA, 10-5 UFC) or another challenger.

“Of course I’d fight any of these guys; it doesn’t matter,” Cormier told the “Anik and Florian Podcast.” “(Oezdemir is) on the longest win streak in the division, so he was getting the title shot, but if this trouble is going to keep him out of that opportunity, I’ll just go to the next guy.

“Of course I’d fight Gustafsson,” Cormier continued. “Someone told me yesterday that Team Ovince Saint Preux was like, ‘We want a title fight because we’ve got a good winning streak too.’ Whoever is winning gets the title shot, that’s just the way it is. I don’t care who it is.”

Oezdemir, No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, was widely viewed as the most legitimate contender to No. 2-ranked Cormier due to his three-fight winning streak that includes first-round knockout wins over Misha Cirkunovm and Jimi Manuwa. Going down the list, though, the remaining options don’t have quite the same appeal.

RelatedVolkan Oezdemir's attempt to troll UFC champ Daniel Cormier kind of backfired

No. 5-ranked Gustafsson is on a two-fight winning streak, but before that, he suffered a title loss to Cormier at UFC 192 in October 2015, albeit by narrow split decision. A rematch does carry some appeal, and likely more than a clash with No. 10-ranked Saint Preux, who’s currently booked to fight Ilir Latifi at UFC on FOX 27 in January.

Regardless of what happens, Cormier said he will be prepared to defend his title early next year.

“It’s tough to be going through this type of thing, especially at this time when you’re on the cusp of your biggest moment in your career,” Cormier said of Oezdemir’s situation. “I don’t know what happened. You’ve got to not be doing things that are wrong or put yourself in these situations where stuff can go sideways. You’ve got to try to stay out of those positions. Maybe it was self-defense, but because of who he is then it’s much worse because he has the ability to sleep dudes that are trying to hit him. You never know what’s happening, but even just these run-ins, they’re really unneeded, especially when you’re a young guy as Volkan is and you’re on the cusp of something so big for the first time in your career.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) defeats Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts before his both against Misha Cirkunov (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) fights Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) fights Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (right) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/HEBcogVsJo8qj8t4c4FpL7/285883", customAnalytics: true, title: "Volkan Oezdemir", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

'No excuses' for Will Brooks after Nik Lentz loss dropped him to 'not acceptable' 1-3 in UFC

Will Brooks is still holding his head high despite going through the most challenging period of his career.

The former Bellator lightweight champion has hit hard times since joining the UFC in July 2016. After winning his debut, Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered his third straight loss this past weekend after succumbing to a second-round submission to Nik Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 121 video highlights: Nik Lentz submits Will Brooks

When he signed with the UFC, Brooks was on a eight-fight winning streak and ranked No. 11 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. Now he’s on an ugly skid, and though it’s a tough turn of events, Brooks isn’t hitting the panic button yet, nor is he making any excuses for faltering against Lentz (via Twitter):

No excuses. I was very focused and sharp… I got greedy and paid for it.

— Will Brooks (@ILLxWillBrooks) November 19, 2017

Thank you. #peaceandblessings pic.twitter.com/FxBWBstT2u

— Will Brooks (@ILLxWillBrooks) November 19, 2017

Although Brooks seemingly had the upper-hand in the bout with former American Top Team teammate Lentz, he made a careless mistake that resulted in him being caught in a tight guillotine choke. The 31-year-old has been stopped inside the distance in all of the losses during his skid, but he’s apparently still undeterred.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz reacts following his victory by submission against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz moves in with a hit as Will Brooks defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz lands a hit against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz moves in with a kick against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz moves in with a hit as Will Brooks counter hits during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Will Brooks moves in with a hit as Nik Lentz defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz applies a hold against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz puts Will Brooks in a hold during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz applies a hold against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz applies a hold against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz reacts following his match against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz reacts following his victory by submission against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/wzxZGNvdcWY5Ax2JtDXfTf/285867", customAnalytics: true, title: "Lentz def. Brooks", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Georges St-Pierre: 'My entourage told me it was a bad idea' to fight Michael Bisping at UFC 217

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Georges St-Pierre admits there was some conflict within his team regarding whether it was wise to make his return from a four-year layoff to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title at UFC 217. As we now know, though, his decision paid off.

St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC), a former longtime welterweight champ, moved up a weight class to challenge then-champ Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) for the 185-pound title earlier this month at UFC 217 in New York. “Rush” emerged with the gold via third-round submission, proving wrong his naysayers, some of whom came from his own camp.

St-Pierre’s longtime training partner Rory MacDonald said he would have advised a different comeback plan. The French-Canadian’s longtime mentor Kristof Midoux publicly criticized his preparedness for the bout, and even grappling coach John Danaher admitted to having some doubts along the way.

RelatedWatch Montreal Canadiens fans give UFC champ Georges St-Pierre a rousing ovation

Despite all that, St-Pierre claimed the belt from Bisping with a solid performance, which made him just the fourth fighter in UFC history to win belts in two weight classes. That historic moment is what St-Pierre was pursuing for his comeback, and he said he relishes his accomplishment even more after what he was forced to overcome.

“What I’ve done, it’s never going to be taken away from me,” St-Pierre told MMAjunkie at a media appearance following UFC 217. “It’s something I will keep for the rest of my life. Maybe one day I will go through some negative thing in my life. I will be able to think back about that moment, and it will make me smile. That’s what it is what people don’t understand. I do this to live a moment. (UFC 217), I lived a moment.

“I feel very privileged to live that moment. It was a big risk, but bigger the risk, bigger the reward. Even though a lot of people in my entourage told me it was a bad idea, I always trusted my myself and I always believed I was able to do it, and I did it and I’m very proud.”

In the wake of his legendary win, which took place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden and aired on pay-per-view, St-Pierre said he was going on vacation before resuming business and deciding what’s next. He’s contractually obligated to meet interim middleweight champ Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in a title-unification bout, but he also knows that could change at any time, so he left the door open for a return to welterweight.

RelatedWill Georges St-Pierre vs. Robert Whittaker title-unifier headline UFC 221 in Perth?

St-Pierre also hinted that there’s no guarantee he actually fights again. At 36, he has only so many prime years left, and one of his biggest fears is to stick around the octagon beyond his expiration date.

For St-Pierre, the way he ends his career is just as important to his legacy as everything else he does along the way. He said that’s something he keeps in mind as he plots out his next move.

“The goal in this game is to retire on top, to not leave too late like a lot of guys like Muhammad Ali,” St-Pierre said. “They made the mistake of believing they were on top, but when you start to get a little bit greedy thinking that you’re special – we’re all human beings, and nobody is invisible. There’s no such thing as being the strongest man. When I was young, I wanted to do MMA because I wanted to be the strongest man. There’s no such thing. I realize now. Everybody can beat everybody on any given day.”

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) defeats Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) defeats Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) defeats Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Bisping (red gloves) reacts after losing to Georges St-Pierre (not pictured) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/t2pBbXqn6WUG8Z2WigLLpQ/285861", customAnalytics: true, title: "St-Pierre def. Bisping", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

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