MMA Junkie News

Carrington Banks' unique Bellator 197 view: He's trained with Chandler, and now trains with Girtz

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – Carrington Banks will have a unique perspective heading into tonight’s Bellator 197 main event.

Banks (7-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), an unbeaten Bellator lightweight, spent a couple years training in South Florida with former lightweight champion Michael Chandler. Recently, though, Banks relocated to Denver – where he now trains with Brandon Girtz.

Chandler (17-4 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) and Girtz (15-7 MMA, 7-5 BMMA) fight tonight in the Bellator 197 headliner at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., near St. Louis. The main card airs on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Related5 reasons to watch Bellator 197, where Brandon Girtz could spoil Michael Chandler's plans

Banks told MMAjunkie one of the refreshing things about his position is there’s no real animosity there between Chandler or Girtz, and therefore no reason for him to be caught in the middle of an old training partner and a new one. Chandler vs. Girtz is not exactly a trash-talking type of fight.

Brandon Girtz and Michael Chandler

“It’s an exciting fight, man,” Banks said. “The way these two guys fight – they’re both explosive, they’re both aggressive and violent. I don’t see it not being a violent fight. There’s going to be some grappling and finessing, but ultimately they both look for the kill and look for the finish.

“Knowing both of them personally, you can’t change that about them. That’s what they do, and that’s what they’re going to do.”

Check out the video above to hear Banks break down the Chandler-Girtz fight.

And for more on Bellator 197, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Bellator 197 ceremonial weigh-ins view 38 images

Marvin Vettori calls BS on Israel Adesanya's story of alleged confrontation

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So, about that supposed confrontation with Israel Adesanya? It’s all BS, UFC on FOX 29 opponent Marvin Vettori said.

The way Adesanya (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) tells it, he and Vettori (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC) ran into each other in Las Vegas. Vettori gave him some “weird energy,” so Adesanya was convinced they’d eventually fight. He made it out to be a budding rivalry.

There’s just one problem.

“This is all bullsh-t, man,” Vettori told MMAjunkie earlier this week ahead of their main-card bout, which airs Saturday on FOX from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. “I didn’t even recognize him. I saw him one time.”

RelatedIsrael Adesanya plans to show Marvin Vettori who the real striker is at UFC on FOX 29

That was at the UFC Performance Institute, according to Vettori, who said they were training in separate cages and never even chatted. But what about the discussion at MGM Grand in Vegas, where, according to Adesanya, he told Vettori he had a good fight that night but got a dirty look in return?

“Nah,” he said. “Honestly, I’d say yes (if it were true). That thing didn’t happen, honestly. I wouldn’t have any problem to say if it it did, but I don’t remember it.”

While his opponent is known for electric striking, it’s talking, Vettori said, where Adesanya really excels.

“He’s a little chihuahua, and I’m the bulldog, man,” he said.

Adesanya, of course, is being pushed as a can’t-miss middleweight prospect – one who’s trying to downplay comparisons to MMA phenom Jon Jones. He’s also a hefty – nearly 3-1 – favorite at the sports books. So what does Vettori, a 24-year-old Italian who was on a 7-1 run before a recent draw with Omari Akhmedov, think of his opponent’s hype?

RelatedIsrael Adesanya on comparisons to Jon Jones, other greats: I'm 'the one and only me'

“We’ll see on Saturday. I’m more than excited for this fight, and I just think I’m way better,” he said. “That’s it.”

Vettori, a former Venator FC champ who has 10 stoppages in 12 career wins, admitted Adesanya is a “dangerous fighter on his feet for sure,” but come Saturday, he expects to be the breakout start.

“It’s my opportunity,” he said. “It’s my time.”

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Who ya got?! Fighters predict Michael Chandler vs. Brandon Girtz at Bellator 197

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – Who will win the Bellator 197 main event between Michael Chandler and Brandon Girtz? Fellow fighters gave us their picks.

Former lightweight champion Chandler (17-4 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) takes on Girtz (15-7 MMA, 7-5 BMMA) in the headliner. Chandler was supposed to fight champ Brent Primus in a rematch for the title until Primus pulled out with an injury.

Check out the video above to get the predictions from their fellow fighters.

Bellator 197 takes place today at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., near St. Louis. The main card airs on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

For more on Bellator 197, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Bellator 197 ceremonial weigh-ins view 38 images

UFC on FOX 29 staff picks: Who wins the Dustin Poirier-Justin Gaethje potential slugfest?

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Poirier
vs.
Gaethje Adesanya
vs.
Vettori Condit
vs.
Oliveira Casey
vs.
Waterson MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2018: 33-23
Gaethje
(52%)
Adesanya
(85%)
Condit
(61%)
Waterson
(78%) Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2018: 35-21
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Waterson Dan Tom
@DanTomMMA
2018: 34-22
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Casey Mike Bohn
@MikeBohnMMA
2018: 33-23
2014 Champion
Poirier
Adesanya
Condit
Casey Matt Erickson
@MMAjunkieMatt
2018: 33-23
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Waterson Steven Marrocco
@MMAjunkieSteven
2018: 32-24
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Casey Fernanda Prates
@nandaprates_
2018: 31-25
Poirier
Adesanya
Condit
Casey Ben Fowlkes
@BenFowlkesMMA
2018: 31-25
2016 Champion
Gaethje
Adesanya
Condit
Casey Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2018: 31-25
2015 Champion
Gaethje
Adesanya
Oliveira
Casey Trent Reinsmith
@TrentReinsmith
2018: 31-25
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Casey Ken Hathaway
@kenshathaway
2018: 29-27
Gaethje
Adesanya
Condit
Casey John Morgan
@MMAjunkieJohn
2018: 29-27
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Casey George Garcia
@MMAjunkieGeorge
2018: 27-29
Poirier
Adesanya
Oliveira
Waterson Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2018: 26-30
2017 Champion
Gaethje
Adesanya
Oliveira
Waterson Abbey Subhan
@kammakaze
2018: 25-31
Gaethje
Adesanya
Oliveira
Casey

The UFC is back in Arizona this week for its latest offering on the big FOX network.

UFC on FOX 29 takes place Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The card airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) takes on Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a crucial lightweight showdown. Poirier is just a slight betting favorite at -140, but he’s got nine votes from our 14 MMAjunkie editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers.

In the co-feature, Israel Adesanya (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) taekes on Marvin Vettori (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC) in a middleweight fight, and Adesanya is our lone unanimous pick on the card. He has all 14 of our staff members siding with him as a -275 favorite.

Also on the main card, former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit (30-11 MMA, 7-7 UFC) takes on Alex Oliveira (18-4-1 MMA, 7-3-1 UFC). And though Oliveira took the fight on just a couple weeks’ notice, he’s the pick of 10 of our 14 staff members.

To open the main card, Cortney Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) meets Michelle Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in a women’s strawweight matchup. Casey is a heavy favorite among our pickers at 10-4, though she’s just a slight favorite from the oddsmakers.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Gaethje, Adesanya, Condit and Waterson are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

'Bellator 198 Countdown,' No. 1: Fedor returns to 'the place where I became the man I am now'

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Bellator MMA’s heavyweight grand prix continues this month, and the promotion is rolling out a special two-part series previewing the highly anticipated matchup between Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir.

Ex-PRIDE FC champion Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) meets former UFC champ Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in Bellator 198’s main event at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on April 28. The main card airs on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

RelatedDaily Debate: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir, Bellator’s most anticipated upcoming headliner?

In the first edition of “Bellator Countdown,” Emelianenko travels home to Stary Oskol in Belgorod Oblast, Russia – “the place where I became the man I am now” – to train with his team. Meanwhile, Mir polishes his boxing at Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas and makes an appearance on Brendan Schaub’s “Below the Belt” showtime.

Check out the video above and take a look behind the scenes at how both of these athletes are preparing for their quarterfinal matchup.

And for more on Bellator 198, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Photos: Best of Fedor Emelianenko view 23 images

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2659 with Chase Sherman, David Feldman

Stream or download Thursday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Chase Sherman and David Feldman.

UFC heavyweight Sherman, who is set to face Justin Willis on April 21 at UFC Fight Night 128, called in to talk about his upcoming fight. Bare Knuckle FC president Feldman also joined the program, promoting a historic bare-knuckle boxing event that is set to take place June 2 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com. You can watch a replay of the episode below, as well.

 

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with James Vick and Ricky Simon

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests James Vick and Ricky Simon.

Vick, a top UFC lightweight contender, has gotten into a bit of war of words with Saturday’s UFC on FOX 29 headliner Justin Gaethje, who fights Dustin Poirier. Simon makes his promotional debut against Merab Dvalishvili on April 21 at UFC Fight Night 128.

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.

Gokhan Saki and Khalil Rountree give it another go at UFC 226

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UFC officials will give that Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree bout another try.

Officials today announced light heavyweights Saki (1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Rountree (6-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) will fight in July at UFC 226 (via Twitter):

Rebooked!@GokhanTheRebel vs. @War_Khalil will go down at #UFC226! pic.twitter.com/U4lMXdYARR

— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) April 13, 2018

UFC 226 takes place July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order are still being put together.

Saki and Rountree originally were scheduled to fight in December at UFC 219, but Saki was forced off the card due to an injury.

Rountree, a 28-year-old who was a runner-up on “The Ultimate Fighter 23,” instead fought replacement Michał Oleksiejczuk and lost via decision, but the loss was overturned when his opponent failed a drug test. With the result wiped from his record, Rountree, an RFA vet, now enters UFC 226 on a two-fight winning streak following knockout wins over Daniel Jolly and Paul Craig.

He now meets Saki, a 34-year-old Dutch-Turkish vet who tallied more than a hundred kickboxing fights while racking up titles and a lengthy highlight reel. After a 13-year break from MMA following his pro debut in 2004, he returned in September and scored a knockout win over Henrique da Silva at UFC Fight Night 117, which marked his promotional debut.

The latest 226 card now includes:

  • Champ Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier – for heavyweight title
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki

For more on UFC 226, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

10 reasons to watch UFC on FOX 29, with a Poirier-Gaethje headliner that could be straight fire

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The UFC is in Arizona for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 29 and odds are good that the two lightweights competing in the main event are going to give fans their money’s worth.

On one side of the octagon will be Dustin Poirier, who has put together a record of 6-1 (with one no-contest) since returning to the 155-pound division in 2015. During that stint, he’s earned four fight-night bonuses. On the other side of the cage is Justin Gaethje, the former WSOF lightweight champ who has fought just twice for the UFC but has earned three fight-night bonuses in those two outings.

RelatedUFC on FOX 29 main-event breakdown: Dustin Poirier or. Justin Gaethje in high-speed chase?

In the co-headliner, ex-interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit looks to find some traction against Alex Oliveira. Condit’s record over the past four years is 1-4. Oliveira recently saw his five-fight unbeaten streak come to an end.

UFC on FOX 29 takes place at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The card will air on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Shot caller

After his December submission win over Anthony Pettis, Poirier did his best to play matchmaker.

“I’m not going to ask for a fight,” Poirier told UFC commentator Jon Anik. “I’m going to tell you right now who I’m going to fight. I’m going to fight the winner of Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, and then I’m going to fight for the belt.”

It turns out Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) is fighting the loser of that fight in Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). And while that might seem like a bummer for Poirier and his title hopes, fans have been in a lather over the matchup ever since it was announced in January.

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These all-action fighters have four “Fight of the Night” performances between them in their past five outings. Both of Gaethje’s UFC bouts landed on the shortlist for MMAjunkie’s 2017 “Fight of the Year.” His knockout win over Michael Johnson claimed top honors. There’s no doubt this fight is the favorite to take home “Fight of the Night” honors in Glendale.

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As exciting as this fight promises to be, the fact that it’s also a high-stakes matchup makes it all the more intriguing. Poirier is ranked No. 9 in the division, while Gaethje, the former WSOF lightweight champion, comes in at No. 5.

2. Can ‘The Natural Born Killer’ get it back?

After his August 2016 submission loss to Demian Maia, Condit openly contemplated his future.

“I don’t know if I have any business fighting at this level anymore,” Condit said at the UFC on FOX 21 post-fight news conference.”. “I’ve been at this for a really long time. The pressure of kind of being one of the top guys for almost a decade, it’s been awesome to be involved in this sport as long as I have. I got to do what I love for a living for a very long time. I don’t know, man. I don’t know if I belong here anymore. We’ll see.”

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When he returned in December, Condit found it difficult to get into a groove against Neil Magny, who won the contest by unanimous decision.

Condit (30-11 MMA, 7-7 UFC) faces Oliveira (18-4-1 MMA, 7-3-1 UFC) at UFC on FOX 29, and he will have a spotlight shining on him in this matchup. Condit has to show that his loss to Magny was due to ring rust he built up during his time off. He needs a win here. If he loses to an unranked – and short-notice – opponent, the future is going to be murky for the man who once fought the best the UFC welterweight division had to offer.

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The good thing about this matchup is that Oliveira is not the tactician that Magny is. So this is the type of contest that should allow Condit to fully utilize his striking abilities.

Oliveira is coming off a “Fight of the Night” TKO loss to Yancy Medeiros at UFC 218.

3. The dog is back in the yard

Israel Adesanya entered his UFC debut with 11 knockouts in 11 MMA fights. Unsurprisingly, he was a heavy favorite with a good deal of hype surrounding his UFC 221 bout against Rob Wilkinson.

Adesanya, who has a kickboxing background, struggled early with Wilkinson’s clinch work and takedown attempts, but when he found room to work in the second stanza, Adesanya showed everyone the buzz surrounding him was legit. His striking was fast, diverse and accurate, and it left Wilkinson bloody and defenseless by the time referee Steve Perceval waved off the fight at 3:37 of the second round.

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Adesanya followed his 12th knockout win with a memorable post-fight interview in which he told Rogan, “Middleweights, I’m the new dog in the yard, and I just pissed all over this cage.”

It’s too early to tell how high Adesanya can climb in the 185-pound rankings, but his fighting style and personality make him a must-see.

Adesanya (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meets Marvin Vettori (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC) in Glendale. Vettori’s most recent fight ended in a majority draw.

4. Another chance to break through

The UFC did its best to provide Michelle Waterson with opportunities to make herself a star. In her three most recent outings, she’s headlined a UFC on FOX event, fought in the co-main event of another FOX card and opened a pay-per-view show. In the first of those three fights, she earned a technical submission win over Paige VanZant, but she dropped her two most recent bouts, submitting to current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas and then losing a decision to Tecia Torres.

While Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is a popular fighter, she is currently unranked in the division. Her UFC on FOX 29 matchup against Cortney Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) could be her final opportunity to become something more than just another fighter on the UFC women’s 115-pound roster.

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On paper Casey presents some difficulties for “The Karate Hottie.” Casey has both height and reach advantages, and her high output style could prevent Waterson from closing distance effectively. “Cast Iron” has thrown a whopping 602 strikes in her two most recent outings. Casey has alternated wins and losses in her past four fights.

5. Let’s try this again

Muslim Salikhov was riding an 11-fight winning streak when he made his UFC debut against Alex Garcia at UFC Fight Night 122. A Wushu Sanda world champion, Salikhov had a reputation as a flashy striker with a penchant for highlight reel spinning-kick knockouts. Garcia did not give “The King of Kung Fu” many opportunities to utilize his arsenal of strikes. Instead, Garcia used a wrestling-heavy game to neutralize his opponent and limit him to just 10 landed strikes before Garcia finished the fight with a rear-naked choke in the second round.

Salikhov (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) should get a chance to showcase his striking against Ricky Rainey (13-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in this welterweight matchup. While Salikhov probably won’t have to worry too much about Rainey’s wrestling – he is much more of a striker – he will have to contend with Rainey’s massive nine-inch reach advantage.

Rainey joins the UFC on very short notice. His most recent fight was a decision win over Marc Stevens at Bellator 182.

6. Stay in the hunt

John Moraga and Wilson Reis have both had their shot at flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, and both would no doubt like another opportunity to fight for UFC gold. The problem they have is that the divisional rankings are slowly filling with fighters who are younger than they are and who have not yet fought for the title.

The No. 9 ranked Moraga (18-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) put a rough 0-3 run behind him with wins over Ashkan Mokhtarian and Magomed Bibulatov. Those victories against unranked opponents earned him his shot against No. 10 Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC), who is on a two-fight losing skid. One of those defeats came against Johnson, while his most recent loss was to No. 3 Henry Cejudo.

The winner here is likely to stay in the title hunt and move on to face one of the aforementioned up-and-coming flyweights ranked in the top eight. The loser will probably meet one of the hungry up-and-comers below him in the rankings.

7. Lock it in

Brad Tavares broke into the top 15 of the middleweight rankings in October 2017 when he extended his winning streak to three straight with a unanimous decision over former middleweight title challenger Thales Leites. Before rattling off those victories, Tavares had a rough stretch in which he went 1-3.

Tavares (16-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC), who is currently ranked No. 15 at 185 pounds, faces the No. 14 ranked Krzysztof Jotko in Arizona. Jotko (19-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who began his UFC career on a 6-1 run, is on a two-fight losing skid. His most recent defeat was a second-round knockout loss to Uriah Hall.

While this middleweight scrap is not receiving the hype of the main-card matchup between Adesanya and Vettori, this is a significant bout for these two combatants. The middleweight division is in a state of flux right now. Several ranked fighters such as Anderson Silva, Michael Bisping and Lyoto Machida are nearing the end of their careers. Now is the time for competitors like Jotko and Tavares to secure their standing in the divisional rankings.

8. Would not be denied

Lauren Mueller did not make it into the fighter house for Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but she did make it to the UFC thanks to a strong showing on the Dana White’s Contender Series 8 card, where she took a bantamweight fight on short notice. She won that fight, defeating Kelly Velasco by unanimous decision.

Mueller, a product of Alliance MMA, did an excellent job of getting inside on the taller Velasco and showed some impressive close-range striking skills. However, she did fade a bit in the third-round, so that’s something to watch when she faces Shana Dobson.

Unlike Mueller (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Dobson (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) did make it into the house for TUF 26. She was the No. 16 seed. Top seed Roxanne Modafferi knocked her out in the first-round of the tournament. Dobson did get an opportunity to fight on The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale card where she knocked out Ariel Beck in the second round.

This fight is a pick ‘em according to the oddsmakers, and it should be a good striking battle. What will be most interesting about this contest is to see how Mueller performs at flyweight with a full camp behind her.

9. That’s more like it

Yushin Okami spent seven years with the UFC. When the promotion released him in 2013 it was a shock. The UFC let the former middleweight title challenger go after Ronaldo Souza stopped him via TKO at UFC Fight Night 28. The loss was Okami’s first defeat in four fights and his UFC record stood at 13-5. He was also the No. 7 ranked fighter in the middleweight division at the time of his release.

In 2017 Okami got the opportunity to rejoin the UFC, but it was not under ideal circumstances. First, he took the fight against Ovince Saint Preux on a weeks’ notice. Second, the matchup was at light heavyweight, a weight that Okami had never fought at before. The fight did not go well for the man who UFC President Dana White once called, “the best fighter to ever come out of Japan.” Saint Preux choked Okami unconscious via a Von Flue choke.

At UFC on FOX 29, Okami gets the opportunity to show what he can do at a weight where he has more experience – 170 pounds.

Okami’s (34-11 MMA, 13-6 UFC) opponent is also in his second run with the promotion. Dhiego Lima (12-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) went 1-3 with the UFC between 2014 and 2015. He returned to the octagon via “The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption.” He made it to the final of the tournament, but Jesse Taylor submitted him via rear-naked choke in the second round.

Both of these men know through their experiences with the promotion how important a victory is in this matchup.

10. A little less pressure, but not much

Arjan Bhullar had a lot on his shoulders heading into his UFC debut. When he stepped into the octagon at UFC 215 in Edmonton, he became the first fighter of South Indian origin and the Sikh faith to compete for the UFC. He was also fighting in the country he represented in the 2012 Olympics as a wrestler.

Bhullar cruised through the first two rounds of his matchup against Luis Henrique, showing off both his wrestling and striking skills. However, he struggled in the third round when Henrique put his foot on the gas. In the end, Bhullar’s work in the first two rounds won him the fight.

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There was a lot to like about Bhullar’s (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) first UFC fight, but his third-round drop-off remains a concern heading into his heavyweight bout against Adam Wieczorek (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

Wieczorek also made his UFC debut in his most recent outing. He defeated Anthony Hamilton by decision in that bout. Wieczorek has a four-inch height advantage and a six-inch reach advantage over his opponent.

Bhullar probably won’t feel the stress he did in his UFC debut in this matchup, but he’s still going to be under a great deal of pressure. He is fighting on Vaisakhi, a holy day for Sikh Warriors, he is representing his faith by wearing a turban to the octagon and, oh yeah, he’s trying to protect his perfect record.

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Photos: Best of Dustin Poirier view 32 images

UFC on FOX 29 weigh-in results and live video stream (noon ET)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – MMAjunkie is on scene and reporting live from today’s early and official UFC on FOX 29 fighter weigh-ins, which kick off at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

The early weigh-ins take place at the UFC host hotel in Glendale, Ariz., and precede the ceremonial weigh-ins for the fans, which take place at 8 p.m. ET at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The same venue hosts Saturday’s event, which airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Among those weighing in are Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who meet in the lightweight main event.

The full UFC on FOX 29 weigh-in results include:

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

  • Dustin Poirier (156) vs. Justin Gaethje (156)
  • Israel Adesanya (184) vs. Marvin Vettori (186)
  • Carlos Condit (171) vs. Alex Oliveira (171)
  • Cortney Casey (115) vs. Michelle Waterson (115)

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX, 6 p.m. ET)

  • Tim Boetsch (185) vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (185)
  • Ricky Rainey (170) vs. Muslim Salikhov (171)
  • John Moraga (126) vs. Wilson Reis (125)
  • Krzysztof Jotko (185.5) vs. Brad Tavares (186)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 3:30 p.m. ET)

  • Gilbert Burns () vs. Dan Moret (156)
  • Shana Dobson (126) vs. Lauren Mueller (126)
  • Dhiego Lima (171) vs. Yushin Okami (170)
  • Arjan Bhullar (241) vs. Adam Wieczorek (232)
  • Matthew Lopez (136) vs. Alejandro Perez (136)
  • Patrick Williams (136) vs. Luke Sanders (135)

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Daily Debate: Whose UFC Glendale bout is more anticipated – Carlos Condit or Israel Adesanya?

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Outside of Saturday’s UFC on FOX 29 headliner, which bout are fight fans most anticipating?

It’s a question we asked as part of MMAjunkie Radio’s Daily Debate feature, and despite three options, it turned into a two-horse race.

UFC on FOX 29 takes place at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The card airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

In addition to lightweights Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), UFC on FOX 29’s main card features a trio of other bouts, but the co-headliner is the most anticipated (via Twitter):

Today's #DailyDebate poll question for @MMAjunkieRadio: Aside from the main event, which #UFCGlendale main-card fight are you most anticipating on Saturday?

— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) April 12, 2018

With 48 percent of the vote, Carlos Condit (30-11 MMA, 7-7 UFC) vs. Alex Oliveira (18-4-1 MMA, 7-3-1 UFC) edged out highly touted middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who has a tough test against Marvin Vettori (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC). In a distant third – with seven percent of the vote – were strawweights Cortney Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) and Michelle Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC).

Check out the video above as the MMAjunkie Radio hosts discuss the intriguing storylines of those fights.

And for more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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UFC on FOX 29 main-card breakdown: Is Israel Adesanya for real? Can Cortney Casey prove odds right?

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC on FOX 29’s top bouts, and today, we look at the first two main-card bouts.

UFC on FOX 29 takes place Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The card airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Also see:

* * * *

Israel Adesanya (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC)

Israel Adesanya

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 28 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 80″
  • Last fight: TKO win over Rob Wilkinson (Feb. 10, 2018)
  • Camp: City Kickboxing (New Zealand)
  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA titles
+ Professional kickboxing experience (26-5-2)
+ Professional boxing experience (5-1)
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt
+ 12 KO victories
+ 6 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Good feints and footwork
+ Creative striking flow
^ Variates well to the body
+ Dynamic kicking arsenal
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Good base and balance
+ Shows serviceable counter grappling
^ Good getup urgency

Marvin Vettori (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC)

Marvin Vettori

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 24 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Majority draw with Omari Akhmedov (Dec. 30, 2017)
  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA title
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt
+ Amateur boxing experience (8-0)
+ Multiple grappling accolades
+ 2 KO victories
+ 8 submission wins
+ 10 first-round finishes
+ Aggressive pace and pressure
+ Improved overall striking
^ Puts together punches well
+ Hard kicks and knees
+ Strong inside of the clinch
+ Serviceable wrestling ability
+ Solid transitional grappler
^ From top or bottom

Summary:

In an intriguing middleweight matchup, Israel Adesanya takes on Marvin Vettori.

A professional kickboxer whose highlight reels have already captured the imagination of many, Adesanya introduced himself to UFC stage earlier this year in Australia, dispatching of Rob Wilkinson in the second round. Now, tasked with another tough test before him, the man who fancies himself “The Last Stylebender” has a chance to make a statement to the American audiences on FOX.

Seeking to spoil that party is Vettori, an Italian standout who has taken his skills to the U.S. Coming into his fifth fight with the organization, Vettori will be looking to use this opportunity under the spotlight to announce an arrival of his own.

Starting off on the feet, we have a battle between two fighters who use pressure in different ways.

RelatedIsrael Adesanya on comparisons to Jon Jones, other greats: I'm 'the one and only me'

A more traditional pressure-fighter, Vettori, the southpaw, comes forward in a similar spirit to his Kings MMA stablemates. Working under the teachings of muay Thai master Rafael Cordeiro, the Italian workhorse presses into exchanges with a strong sense of himself, striking with real intent and power.

Like any good southpaw, Vettori will competently put together left crosses and right hooks, mixing in crushing left body kicks to the liver side when the target becomes available. Although pressure will likely be the Italian’s friend against Adesanya, his aggression inherently makes him hittable in exchanges.

Against a striker like Adesanya, Vettori could get his defenses severely audited should he not commit to his causes.

Introduced to martial arts at a young age, Adesanya started spreading his proverbial wings in the kickboxing arena, showing his skills to international audiences spanning from his adopted home of New Zealand to a brief stint in China. The Nigerian-born fighter also dabbled in professional boxing while earning himself a 5-1 record and two tournament titles in the process.

A creative martial artist, Adesanya earns his moniker with his creative striking flow. Seamlessly moving through space, Adesanya will intelligently use feints and footwork to establish his reads and set up his shots.

When feeling in stride, the 28-year-old talent will unleash a dynamic array of kicks, whether it be powerfully thrown from the rear or sneakily delivered off of his lead. And when Adesanya smells blood, he will celebrate his reach by varying his punches, using extended hands to hide the kill-shots to come.

RelatedIsrael Adesanya plans to show Marvin Vettori who the real striker is at UFC on FOX 29

Although Adesanya is undoubtedly the better striker on paper, we have seen many skilled strikers falter inside the octagon before, which makes me wonder how the New Zealand native will deal with the durable Vettori.

I will also be interested to see how things play out in the clinch, a place where the striking stanzas may end up taking the two.

A gateway to potential grappling exchanges, Vettori will probably be treating the clinch as his friend. The Italian’s presence is sturdy inside of this space, whether he is unloading hard knees or looking to change his level. However, if he intends on grounding Adesanya, he will likely need to demonstrate another level to his wrestling.

Dating back to his first professional MMA bouts back in 2012, Adesanya was already showing a surprising amount of clinch savvy, hitting hip tosses and displaying a basic understanding of over and underhook leverage.

Since then, Adesanya has appeared only to improve his defensive grappling, smartly fightings grips and protecting his hips, typically while using the cage for assistance. Coupled with his natural base and balance, the six-year pro has proven increasingly difficult to ground.

That said, should Vettori get this to the mat via a takedown or caught kick, then the temperature of this contest will immediately start to rise.

A solid transitional grappler, Vettori wields a well-rounded game. From strong strikes and passes from topside to his deceptively slick guard, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt will provide threats from multiple areas that Adesanya will need to be aware of when mixing it up with Vettori.

The oddsmakers and public seem to fairly set on their opinions, listing Adesanya -265 and Vettori +225 as of this writing.

I can see why Adesanya is favored to win, but I still believe the line should be much closer given that Vettori is a credible threat. From Rick Story vs. Thiago Alves to Bryan Barberena vs. Sage Northcutt, we have seen durable southpaw pressure-fighters spoil the hype trains of many talents throughout the UFC timeline, and shouldn’t be entirely surprised if an upset occurs here.

If Vettori shows in the first round that he can take Adesanya’s shots and still move forward confidently, then the former pro kickboxer could be in for a long, grinding affair. Ultimately, I’m still not sold on Vettori’s ability to defend what will be coming his way, nor am I sure he has the offensive wrestling chops to put this fight where he needs to. The pick is Adesanya to earn himself an attritive second-round stoppage after extinguishing the threats of a valiant and game Vettori.

Official pick: Adesanya inside the distance

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Shana Dobson had her 'most rigorous' training camp for UFC on FOX 29, even as teacher

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – “The Ultimate Fighter 26” didn’t go as planned for Shana Dobson, but the dream remains the same, especially after the journey’s culmination left her wanting more.

After getting bounced from the ‘TUF 26’ tournament in the first round by eventual finalist Roxanne Modafferi, Dobson, 29, was booked to make her official UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale. She delivered an impressive performance in defeating fellow former castmate Ariel Beck via second-round TKO.

Afterward, Dobson returned home to Arlington, Texas, where she received a warm welcome.

RelatedUFC on FOX 29 pre-event facts: Can Carlos Condit snap his skid?

“When I went back to Texas, I was greeted with love and just total support just as I expected,” Dobson told MMAjunkie. “Everybody was super proud of me, and that’s all I wanted to do is represent for Texas. Now represent for Maryland. The people that believe in me, I want to make them proud.”

Dobson (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) gets her second octagon outing Saturday against newcomer Lauren Mueller (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 29, which is slated for the UFC Fight Pass prelims.

As she mentioned, Dobson moved to Maryland and joined with Team Lloyd Irvin to prepare for this matchup. Her attention, however, still remains split between training and teaching.

“I’ve got a new set of little rugrats that I deal with Monday through Friday,” said Dobson, who was teaching in Texas prior to joining the “TUF” cast. “I developed a love for them just as I did with all my other students.”

The situation isn’t ideal, but that doesn’t deter Dobson. Her days are spent teaching science to fourth graders. After that, it’s straight to the gym to put in the hard work training.

RelatedRole model Shana Dobson shows off potential early in career with TUF 26 Finale win

“I’m about that grimy life and doing what it takes,” Dobson said.

“I try not to let my students know, but they go and Google me and look me up,” she continued. “… They’re cool about it. I use it as a teaching method. I use it to show them no matter how far out there your dreams may be, they’re always within reach.”

Dobson said she went through the “most rigorous, most technical” training camp ever for Saturday’s bout from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. Although she’s impressed by Mueller, a Dana White Contender Series alum, Dobson believes she’s the superior fighter, which will show when they meet in the cage.

“I know I’m going to get my hand raised at the end of the day,” Dobson said. “Whether it’s a three round ‘Fight of the Night’ war or I go in there, put her away, go get some food, put her away quickly, I know I’m going to be victorious in the end.”

To hear more from Dobson, watch the video above.

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC on FOX 29's Lauren Mueller, 4-0, wants to make immediate impact in flyweight rankings

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – Lauren Mueller’s quick rise to the UFC required just four fights. Now that she’s here, she has no reason to taper expectations.

Mueller (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes her UFC debut on Saturday when she meets Shana Dobson (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 29. The bout is scheduled for the recently introduced women’s flyweight division, which is still wide open in terms of the pecking order. For someone in Mueller’s position, that presents an opportunity.

“I’m definitely coming in to make a statement,” Mueller told MMAjunkie. “Because of the rankings, they’re not really set, and you don’t really know where everyone’s at yet. So, for me, my first goal (is to) make a statement. Second goal is, whoever has the belt at any time, that’s my main focus. I’m going to be training for that person at all times because I want that belt.”

UFC on FOX 29 takes place at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The preliminary-card bout between Mueller and Dobson streams on UFC Fight Pass prior to the remainder of the card on FOX.

RelatedUFC on FOX 29 pre-event facts: Can Carlos Condit snap his skid?

Mueller’s rise to the octagon has taken even her by surprise. She made her pro debut less than three years ago but has competed only once in the past 21 months. She punched her ticket to the UFC in August, though, when she was awarded a contract following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series 8 (via Twitter):

.@princess_tiger_ delivers some nasty shots at the end of the round, but @killerkellymma stays tough and survives to see the 2nd!! pic.twitter.com/JVXh8s4fph

— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) August 30, 2017

“Honestly I didn’t think it would be that fast,” Mueller said. “But when I first started, I set out a goal: ‘I’m going to get there no matter what.’ I didn’t realize how fast I would get there, but that’s just an additional bonus. So now I’m here and just going to keep on going.”

Mueller, 26, admitted she’s had some internal monologues about whether she’s ready for the UFC level. However, with high-level training parters such as Former Invicta FC champ Angela Hill and former UFC title challengers Jessica Penne and Cat Zingano, she likes her odds of coming out on top against Dobson – who, by the way, has just as few pro fights as Mueller.

“I definitely see my and getting raised for sure,” Mueller said. “How it goes down, I’m not really sure. I’m going to try to go out hard right away probably. But whether it’s standing, on the ground, I’m going to get the finish no matter what.”

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

How Victory FC 60's Kevin Nowaczyk got his 'Give Me Your Lunch Money' nickname

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Even in a sport full of unique nicknames, Kevin Nowaczyk’s moniker manages to stand out: “Give Me Your Lunch Money.”

How did Nowaczyk (19-3), who brings a seven-fight winning streak into Saturday’s Victory FC 60 main event with middleweight Andrew Kapel (11-6), get it?

Was he a bully on the school ground? Was he shaking nerds from their ankles to pick up their loot?

“Actually, it was just the opposite,” Nowaczyk told MMAjunkie Radio. “I was bullied in high school and getting my lunch taken. Maybe that’s why I chose it, you know?

“I was trying to get that revenge back.”

RelatedOnetime 'TUF' hopeful Kevin Nowaczyk, Kamaru Usman's brother among Victory FC 60 additions

On Saturday, he hopes to get his revenge on Kapel, who never actually stole Nowaczyk’s lunch funds but stands across him in a high-profile bout – one where a victory very likely could get him on the UFC’s radar. Victory FC 60, which is a joint venture with fellow Alliance MMA promotion Hoosier Fight Club, takes place at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., near Chicago.

The card streams on UFC Fight Pass, so UFC officials likely will be watching Nowaczyk’s bout, which is a sort of second chance for the fighter; he fell short in an elimination-round bout against Dominic Waters on “The Ultimate Fighter 16” in 2012.

The nickname, of course, is likely to be a bonus when it comes to potential marketing should he get to the UFC. So where did it even come from?

“I’ve actually had that since my first fight – my first amateur fight,” Nowaczyk, now 29, said. ” … I was like 18, and it kind of came out of nowhere when the announcer asked me if I wanted to have a nickname, and I just said, ‘Yeah, ‘Give Me Your Lunch Money,” sort of as a joke.

“But he laughed so hard, I just kind of stuck with it after that fight, and I got so many compliments.”

Check out the full interview, which includes his thoughts on Kapel, above.

And for more on Victory FC 60, check out the MMA Rumors 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

UFC 226 gets second fight: Bantamweights Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font

UFC 226, which closes out the organization’s annual International Fight Week, now has its second fight.

It features bantamweight contenders Raphael Assuncao (26-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC) and Rob Font (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC), as reviewjournal.com first reported.

UFC 226 takes place July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order are still being put together.

RelatedFight with Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 another chance to chase history for Daniel Cormier

Assuncao is No. 4 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, and Font is an honorable mention.

Assuncao looks for a definitive win to put a bow on top of his contender resume, which includes three straight wins, a 10-1 run since 2011, and a 2013 victory over now-champ T.J. Dillashaw. After a string of decision wins, the 35-year-old Brazilian scored a knockout win over Matthew Lopez in November and picked up a “Performance of the Night” bonus in the process.

He now meets Font, whose only two UFC losses came to fellow contenders John Lineker and Pedro Munhoz. In his most recent bout, the 30-year-old former CES MMA champion and two-time “Performance of the Night” winner used a head kick and punches to TKO Thomas Almeida in a January bout. All seven of his recent victories have come via stoppage.

The latest 226 card now includes:

  • Champ Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier – for heavyweight title
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font

For more on UFC 226, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) celebrates beating Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Matthew Lopez (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; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) celebrates beating Matthew Lopez (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/weGFvJzmwfc4yoLK3TKmQG/314621", customAnalytics: true, title: "Assuncao def. Lopez", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Video: Watch today's UFC on FOX 29 ceremonial weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET

GLENDALE, Ariz. – UFC on FOX 29 ceremonial fighter weigh-ins take place today, and you can catch a live video stream of the proceedings here on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).

The weigh-ins take place at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The same venue hosts Saturday’s event, which airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

In addition to the video stream above, you can check out the early and official UFC on FOX 29 weigh-in results from earlier in the day.

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Bellator 197 play-by-play, official results and live stream (7 p.m. ET)

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – MMAjunkie is on scene and reporting live from today’s Bellator 197 event, and you can join us for live play-by-play, official results and a live video stream beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).

The event takes place at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., near St. Louis. You can watch the prelims above beginning at 7 p.m. ET before the main card shifts to Paramount (formerly Spike) at 9 p.m. ET.

In the main event, former lightweight champion Michael Chandler (17-4 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) takes on Brandon Girtz (15-7 MMA, 7-5 BMMA). In the co-feature, A.J. McKee (10-0 MMA, 10-0 BMMA) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Justin Lawrence (11-4 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) at featherweight.

Follow along with live official results at 7 p.m. ET for the prelims and full play-by-play and official results for the main card at 9 p.m. ET.

You can also get behind-the-scenes coverage and other event notes from on-site reporter Matt Erickson (@MMAjunkieMatt) on Twitter.

Enjoy the fights, everyone.

* * * *

Joaquin Buckley vs. Logan Storley

Round 1 –
Result:

Devon Brock vs. Kevin Ferguson Jr.

Round 1 –
Result:

Justin Lawrence vs. A.J. McKee

Round 1 –
Result:

Michael Chandler vs. Brandon Girtz

Round 1 –
Result:

* * * *

MAIN CARD (Paramount, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Michael Chandler vs. Brandon Girtz
  • A.J. McKee vs. Justin Lawrence
  • Devon Brock vs. Kevin Ferguson Jr.
  • Joaquin Buckley vs. Logan Storley

PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Rebecca Ruth vs. Juliana Velasquez
  • Dominic Mazzotta vs. Josh Sampo
  • Derek Anderson vs. Zak Bucia
  • Jeff Crotty vs. Jordan Downy
  • Adam Cella vs. Dewayne Diggs
  • Joe Roye vs. Cort Wahle
  • Justin Robbins vs. A.J. Siscoe
  • Eric Ellington vs. Jordan Howard

For complete coverage of Bellator 197, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The MMA Road Show with John Morgan No. 159 – Phoenix: Jose Youngs, featuring Justin Gaethje, Carlos Condit, Arjan Bhullar

Episode No. 159 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

UFC on FOX 29 takes place Saturday in Arizona, and John Morgan and Cold Coffee welcome FanSided’s Jose Youngs to help preview the event from his backyard. Along the way, hear interviews with UFC on FOX 29 fighters Justin Gaethje, Carlos Condit and Arjan Bhullar.

Check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.

In these difficult times, perhaps Pixar holds the answer to the MMA call-out

Onetime UFC title challenger Ali Bagautinov (17-6) is looking for a particular matchup, but he’s turning to cartoons rather than car attacks to make his challenge.

“Puncher King” is hoping for a rematch against the last man to beat him, Tyson Nam (16-9-1), and he’s using some basic Photoshop skills and a famous clownfish to call his shot.

“Nam, last time you were lucky and got me,” Bagautinov wrote in a social media post. “But remember, the predator will not rest until he catches the prey. You can’t hide. I’m finding Nam very soon.”

Bagautinov is currently riding a three-fight winning streak following Fight Nights Global wins over Andy Young, Danny Martinez and Pedro Nobre. However, that run only started following a stunning head-kick loss to Nam.

Meanwhile, Nam had enjoyed a five-fight unbeaten streak – including the win over Bagautinov – prior to a Fight Nights Global 86 loss to Zhalgas Zhumagulov.

Time will tell if the two meet again. But with all that’s going on in the world of MMA, perhaps it’s time to focus on the hand making balloon animals rather than the one throwing gang signs.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly seriously, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

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