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Ahead of UFC Fight Night 120, Marlon Moraes reflects on 1st loss in almost 6 years

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) reacts to fight against Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) before the fight against Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) before the fight against Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) fights Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) reacts to fight against Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) 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/JbztgoDLpsGorTAtWaR6kb/283292", customAnalytics: true, title: "Assuncao def. Moraes", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

When bantamweight Marlon Moraes enters the UFC octagon on Saturday, it’ll be under circumstances he hasn’t experience in quite some time: He’ll be coming off a loss.

By dropping a split decision to bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao (25-5 MMA, 9-2 UFC) in his octagon debut at UFC 212, Moraes (18-5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) also halted a winning streak that dated back to 2011. All but two of the 13 wins in that timeframe took place with his former WSOF home, where Moraes defended the bantamweight title five times before signing with the UFC.

Moraes is now fully focused on his next battle: a UFC Fight 120 bantamweight meeting with former 125-pound title challenger John Dodson (19-8 MMA, 8-3 UFC). But as present-driven as he is, it’s hard to completely dismiss the past.

“It does affect your ego a little bit,” Moraes told MMAjunkie ahead of the FS1-televised preliminary-card bout, which takes place at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va . “I want to get back out there soon, come back strong.

“(I want to) win this fight well and do everything I know. I think it’s another way to motivate me and to push me to go to my limit.”

RelatedUFC Fight Night 120 pre-event facts: Matt Brown matches longtime record in retirement bout

Moraes was certainly given no easy task to start off his UFC run. Fellow Brazilian Assuncao, who was just coming off a win over tough up-and-comer Aljamain Sterling, is a perennial contender who at one point rode an impressive seven-fight UFC winning streak that included a win over current champ T.J. Dillashaw.

Prior to his loss to Dillashaw in a UFC 200 rematch, Assuncao hadn’t tasted defeat since Erick Koch knocked him out in 2011.

Still, the No. 7 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings believes he could have done better against No. 4 Assuncao.

“Honestly, Raphael is a fighter who’s a top-three, top-five fighter in the UFC,” Moraes said. “But I had every intention to beat him. It was a very tight fight. It was a split decision that, honestly, was kind of controversial. But it wasn’t my best night.”

There’s a bright side there, though.

“If I could do that on a bad night,” Moraes pondered, “on a good night, I can certainly go up against anyone in the division.”

It’s with the same bittersweet approach that Moraes reflects upon his first setback in years. Sure, losing isn’t great – especially when you believe you could have done more to keep it from happening. But count on Moraes to, once more, offer a silver lining.

“Normally, in life, it’s very hard to deal with failure,” Moraes said. “And a loss – I failed. I didn’t win. But, mainly, because it wasn’t a great performance. When you fight and lose, but you give it everything you have, there’s that sense of fulfilled duty. But to me, it intensified a bit because that wasn’t the best Marlon you’ve seen inside the cage.

“It was hard at first. But it’s good, because it’d been a while since I’d lost. It’d been a while since I felt who was really with me and who wasn’t. And a time like this shows those who really are with you.”

RelatedMMA's week out of the cage: May-Mac World Tour, John Dodson gets hitched and more

In any case, Moraes is ready to move on. Which, of course, starts with Dodson. The recipe for a winning performance isn’t exactly mysterious: At the gym, Moraes put in the hours and the work. And, in the cage, it’s about pressure, moving forward and setting the pace.

“I’m an athlete who likes to fight in every area,” Moraes said. “And I hope to leave it in all there. It will be a well-rounded fight. You won’t see Marlon  shying away from the striking, from wrestling or jiu-jitsu. It will be an aggressive Marlon who’ll attack in every area.

“I’m prepared and I’m going to give it my all in pursuit of this win.”

While a 0-1 start to a UFC career isn’t ideal, it’s not like Moraes is just anyone in the bantamweight shuffle. He was, after all, a highly victorious champion. And, currently occupying the No. 9 spot in the UFC’s official rankings, it’s safe to say a win over No. 8 Dodson could award him some goodwill with the promotion.

But the former WSOF kingpin didn’t come into the UFC to start handpicking opponents. And neither is he willing to let future possibilities distract him from what is happening right now.

“My main focus is this fight – this win,” Moraes said. “To get in there and do the best fight of my life. That’s it and nothing else.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

LFA 28 set for Dec. 8 in Dallas with Cutts vs. Willis headliner

May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Damon Jackson during his fight with Rony Jason Mariano during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Damon Jackson before his fight with Rony Jason Mariano during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Rony Jason Mariano (red gloves) fights Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Rony Jason Mariano (red gloves) fights Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Damon Jackson (blue gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (red gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Yancy Medeiros (red gloves) fights against Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Yancy Medeiros (red gloves) fights against Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Damon Jackson (blue gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (red gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Yancy Medeiros (red gloves) fights against Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Yancy Medeiros (red gloves) fights against Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-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/uZmvTsfwdSuwYeUxFixjqX/283310", customAnalytics: true, title: "Damon Jackson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

LFA 28 will take place next month in Dallas, and the fight card is taking shape.

LFA 28 takes place at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, and the main card airs on AXS TV.

In welterweight main event, Evan Cutts (8-3), a 26-year-old from Dallas, looks for his fourth win in five fights when he meets unseated Jaleel Willis (8-0), a 25-year-old former Bellator and WSOF fighter who has four knockouts in eight career wins.

In the lightweight co-headliner, Damon Jackson (12-2-1), a 29-year-old former UFC fighter and “Fight Master” quarterfinalist who’s 3-1 since his UFC release, looks to continue his success with Legacy FC/LFA when he takes on undefeated Thai Clark (7-0), a 28-year-old who’s 7-0 with five decisions since turning pro in 2014.

The latest LFA 28 lineup includes:

For more on LFA 28, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News

Congressman grills UFC executive during Ali Expansion Act hearing


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

It was a scrap almost from the gavel.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., grilled UFC executive Marc Ratner during a subcommittee hearing today in Washington, D.C., calling the industry-leading promotion the “Don King of MMA” after several testy exchanges over the way fighters are ranked and promoted.

Mullin, a former MMA fighter and co-sponsor of a bill to expand Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act to include MMA fighters, accused Ratner of “misleading the American people” about a statement in opposition to the bill.

“When you say boxers are treated like MMA fighters, clarify that statement that you’re talking about the health of the fighter, but not the professional ranking system, and not about the financial disclosures, because there are distinct differences,” said Mullin, who represents Oklahoma’s 2nd district in the house. “And the Ali Act is the backstop to boxers. There is no backstop for MMA fighter. It’s take it or leave it, and that’s why I say the UFC has become the Don King of MMA.”

Today’s hearing was the second time the Ali Expansion Act was publicly discussed on Capitol Hill. The bill’s first version, introduced during the 114th session of Congress, died in committee. Mullin reintroduced a new version, H.R. 44, during the 115th session.

The current bill has 57 co-sponsors and remains in the house’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, which is a part of the house Energy and Commerce committee.

The bill, explored in depth in an MMAjunkie report this past year, aims to provide greater protections for MMA fighters by forcing promoters to provide greater disclosure of the revenues they earn, forbidding coercive contracts, establishing an independent rankings system, and eliminating conflicts of interest.

RelatedWith Ali Act, a long battle for MMA's future is just beginning

Ratner, vice president of regulatory affairs for the UFC, appeared on behalf of the promotion to argue why the expansion act wasn’t suited for the sport of MMA. Opposite on the dais was UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, a vocal advocate for the Act’s expansion since the bill was introduced, as well as Dr. Kristen Dams-O’Connor, an expert on brain trauma, and Greg Sirb, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission’s executive director.

Ratner read from a prepared statement that expressed the UFC’s commitment to health and safety standards and its contribution to the regulatory framework of the sport. He argued MMA fighters and boxers are treated the same from a regulatory standpoint, and that current regulatory standards are working as intended. He argued the imposition of a sanctioning model would run contrary to the promotion’s “merit-based, competitive matchmaking decisions.”

“We put on the fights that the fans want to see,” Ratner said. “Fighters, fans and sports reporters keep MMA promoters accountable. H.R. 44 would remove from the promoter the decisions regarding when and against whom fighters are matched, and might force inter-promotional fights. Because
different promotions have less comprehensive health and safety standards than the UFC, our fighters would be endangered.”

Mullin immediately went on the offensive in response to Ratner’s focus on health and safety, as well as his claim that MMA fighters and boxers are treated the same. He cited several instances where the promotion circumvented its own ranking systems to make fights, including this past Saturday’s UFC 217 headliner between Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) and Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC).

“If the UFC is considered a professional sport, then it should be on a merit-based rankings system,” Mullin said, “when the fans know the No. 1 contender actually has a shot at the title. Because we haven’t seen that at (middleweight). How did Dan Henderson – and I like Dan Henderson, this is no knock on him – but he wasn’t even in the top-10, and when was he last in the top-10? He got to fight Bisping for the title shot. Did the (No.) 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 (ranked contenders) refuse?

“When Dan Henderson fought Michael Bisping, it was a natural rematch from a fight four or five years ago,” Ratner countered.

“But then it wasn’t a title shot, but yet it was for a title shot,” Mullin shot back. “Then that means the world championship belt that the UFC has isn’t really a world championship belt. It’s really what (UFC Chief Operating Officer) Lawrence Epstein personally told me: It’s simply an award they bestow on the best fighter that night. That’s insulting to every professional athlete.

“How did (Georges St-Pierre) get a fight for the title when he hasn’t had a fight in four years, much less at 185 pounds, where he never fought for the belt?”

“St-Pierre hadn’t fought in four years, you’re absolutely right,” Ratner answered.

“So how did he get a title shot?” Mullin questioned.

“St-Pierre was a former champion,” Ratner replied, “a former pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, according to our. …”

“So he still didn’t fight for a title,” Mullin persisted. “He fought for an award bestowed upon the best fighter of the night.”

Check out the above video to watch Mullin’s questioning of Ratner.

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Michael Johnson gets Darren Elkins at UFC Fight Night 124 in first featherweight bout

Michael Johnson will be welcomed to the UFC featherweight division by a formidable foe.

Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) today announced on his Instagram that he’s set to fight the red-hot Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 124, which takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis and airs on FS1.

Brazilian website Combate was first to report the news.

Johnson told MMAjunkie last month that he wanted his first featherweight fight to be against top-10 opponent, and that’s what he’ll get in Elkins, who is riding a five-fight winning streak.

Johnson will enter the 145-pound division looking to reverse a recent tailspin. He’s lost four of his previous fight bouts, including two in a row. In his most recent encounter, Johnson was TKO’d in July by former WSOF champion Justin Gaethje in The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale main event. The two engaged in a blistering slugfest considered to be a “Fight of the Year” contender before Gaethje finished Johnson late in the second round.

The gritty Elkins, No. 10 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, won both of his fights in 2017. In March, Elkins rallied to knock out Mirsad Bektic in the third round at UFC 209. Elkins followed that “Performance of the Night” with a split-decision win over Dennis Bermudez in July at UFC on FOX 25.

The latest UFC Fight Night 124 card now includes:

  • Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
  • Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings
  • Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
  • James Krause vs. Alex White
  • Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson

For more on UFC Fight Night 124, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) defeats Dustin Poirier during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Aug 8, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights against Beneil Dariush (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Nate Diaz moves in with a punch against Michael Johnson during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Nate Diaz defends against a kick by Michael Johnson during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports Aug 9, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Michael Johnson speaks during a press conference after UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Aug 8, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Beneil Dariush (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Michael Johnson (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Aug 8, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights against Beneil Dariush (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Aug 8, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights against Beneil Dariush (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Aug 8, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights against Beneil Dariush (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Aug 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Michael Johnson during weigh ins for UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) celebrates after his fight against Edson Barboza (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) defeats Dustin Poirier during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) competes against Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) competes against Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) competes against Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) competes against Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) gets knocked down by Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) gets knocked down by Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) gets knocked down by Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) gets knocked down by Michael Johnson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) defeats Dustin Poirier during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports Sep 17, 2016; Hidalgo, TX, USA; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) defeats Dustin Poirier during UFC Fight Night at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Porkorny-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/BmPeLHi26f6C5PxADa7iAb/283349", customAnalytics: true, title: "Michael Johnson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Twitter Mailbag: On McGregor's career crossroads, Holloway's replacement challenger, and more

What will his next choice of opponent tell us about the UFC lightweight champion’s true goals? And who would make the best replacement to fight for the UFC featherweight title now that Frankie Edgar is injured? Plus, the UFC is getting into boxing now? Seriously?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

* * * *

As a McGregor fan, at what point should I become annoyed at Conor’s, let’s called it, lukewarm desire to defend a UFC belt against a legitimate contender? Lot of Diaz and Mayweather rumors in the air.

— Michael (@NOTORIOU5_Nigel) November 8, 2017

You have to decide for yourself where that point is, but this seems like a pretty clear crossroads. If Conor McGregor’s next fight (assuming the UFC gives in to his ownership demands) isn’t a UFC lightweight title defense against Tony Ferguson, or whoever holds the interim belt by then, it’s going to get a lot harder to refer to him as a UFC champion.

And I don’t say that lightly, since prior to this point I could see his reasoning for not defending his UFC belts. He’s an ambitious man, which meant he was always looking for something bigger and better. He was also looking for monster paydays and historic fights.

He’s had both in the past couple years. And we enjoyed it so much, we didn’t get overly concerned when it sometimes failed to adhere to a clear logic. But where’s he going to go from here? It’s tough to take a step up from that Floyd Mayweather bout. The best thing he can do is cement himself as a champion by making his first defense against a worthy challenger. And “El Cucuy” is as worthy as it gets.

With Poirier/Pettis, Brown/Sanchez, Lauzon/Guida, and Dodson/Moraes, is UFC FN Norfolk the ultimate hardcore fan appreciation or Just Bleed card?

— Jay Pettry (@jaypettry) November 8, 2017

It’s definitely not targeting the casual audience, that’s for sure. But if you heard all about how awesome UFC 217 was and you decided to tune in to the next free cable TV fight to judge the action for yourself, you could do a lot worse.

There’s bound to be some good action here, especially in the main and co-main. And if you don’t know Diego Sanchez’s long history in the sport, maybe you won’t even be bummed out if Matt Brown steamrolls him the way I expect him to.

Plus, if you can stay up and endure the commercials, Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis are probably going to give you one hell of a show in the headliner. I just can’t see that being a boring fight, no matter how it goes.

The question is, do any of these fights have immediate ramifications for their divisions? With a couple possible exceptions, no, not really. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be a good time for anyone with FS1 in their cable package this Saturday night.

Of the three available rematches for Holloway (also, lamas, Swanson) which is the most needed?

— Tyler Marentette (@dudleydigges) November 9, 2017

“Needed” is a tricky term, especially since Max Holloway already beat all three of those guys. So then you ask yourself two questions: 1) Who has done the most to earn a rematch, and 2) Who’d be the most fun and/or marketable fight for the champ?

Right away that rules out Jose Aldo, I’m sorry to say. He hasn’t fought since his TKO loss to Holloway in June, and the fight was so one-sided that I don’t see anyone getting too excited about running it back.

So how about Ricardo Lamas? He’s riding a two-fight winning streak with two finishes over tough fighters, so that’s a plus. Still, it’s not like he was at the top of anybody’s contender list, and he doesn’t have a super strong fanbase pushing to see him get another shot.

That leaves Cub Swanson, a reliably exciting fighter with four straight wins, the last two of which came with “Fight of the Night” honors. MMA fans love them some Cubbie Sampson. He’s bound to give you a show in victory or defeat, and he seems very into the idea of stepping in as replacement, judging by his initial reaction to the Frankie Edgar injury news on Twitter.

The only problem is, if you pull Swanson out of his fight with Brian Ortega, you create a domino effect of booking problems for UFC matchmakers. But hey, that’s their problem.

Has Thug Rose been given enough credit for UFC217?She went and flat out whooped Joanna but everyone's talking about Joanna's over-confidence

— MMA Ninja Geek (@MMA_Ninja_Geek) November 8, 2017

That’s a very fair point. For as long as it lasted, Rose Namajunas looked spectacular in her UFC 217 title bout. She wasn’t the least bit intimidated by Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but she also didn’t get overly excited when the fight started to swing her way.

In short, she looked like a well-rounded, mature fighter, which is saying something for a 25-year-old champion with only 10 pro fights in under five years of competition.

The real test is what happens now. Winning a UFC title can change your life in both good and bad ways. Everything we’ve heard from her recently makes me think Namajunas can handle it, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of challenge she faces in her first defense.

Do you believe Joanna’s record earns her an immediate rematch, or should a stopped (concussed) fighter get rest and a tuneup?

— shawn (@BuddyHuggs) November 8, 2017

Jedrzejczyk had a long and dominant enough reign at strawweight that I think she deserves an immediate rematch – when she’s ready for it. But you’re right that she might be better off taking some time to rest and recover after that fight, especially since she still seems hazy about what happened there at the very end.

@benfowlkesMMA #tmb does this mean we have to learn how to spell Joanna Champion's last name?

— Joe (@joec59) November 8, 2017

UFC 185 Hendricks beats Brown and improves to 17-3, on the heels of losing the closest of decisions against Lawler for the title. Last 6 he's 1-5 and looks like my friend who drinks for a living. 185 was march of 2015, usada July same year. Just coincidence? #tmb

— Bruno Walber Viana (@obrunowalber) November 8, 2017

First of all, I totally want to hang out with your friend. Second, I’ve got to admit that my eyebrows were literally raised after I read your question.

But we want to be careful about this line of reasoning. Fighters can go on losing skids with or without the help of performance-enhancing drugs. This is just that kind of business. Failure can beget doubt, which begets all sorts of bad and desperate decisions, which begets more failure. We’ve seen it over and over in MMA.

And riddle me this: If Johny Hendricks’ current woes are all the result of getting off whatever you think he was on, all due to a fear of USADA, wouldn’t he have been tempted to get back on the good stuff and take his chances with the drug tests by now? I know I would.

everybody knows that Cyborg is an alltime great, but are they doing a disservice to her legacy by installing her as queen of a non-functional, boutique division? Why on earth can't W145 be a functioning division like the others?

— Bardamu (@MacPherson9999) November 8, 2017

Cris Cyborg wasn’t “installed” on the throne of the 145-pound division – she took it by force. From Strikeforce to Invicta FC to the UFC, she’s beaten the tar out of anyone willing to buy the ticket and take the ride.

As for why the division doesn’t function like all the others, part of it is the lack of naturally occurring depth. There just aren’t a ton of female fighters with the size to compete in the 145-pound division, and Cyborg’s already beaten most of the existing ones.

And so far, the UFC hasn’t seemed that interested in cultivating an actual division there, maybe because it fears there aren’t enough good fighters to populate it, especially since Bellator already has several ranked fighters in the division under contract. In the UFC’s eyes, Cyborg is the whole show at 145 pounds.

Her opponents have mostly been a rotating cast of 135-pounders who were convinced to move up and take their chances, and that didn’t end well for any of them. Perhaps as a result, the job of convincing them seems to be getting harder and harder.

Do we ever see a boxing match on a UFC card? If so, when? #tmb

— JB (@captainfabulou2) November 8, 2017

I’ll believe the UFC as a boxing promoter when I see it, and even then I’m going to have some questions. Those questions may include, but are not limited to:

How are the payouts going to work, since top boxing talent usually gets paid a whole lot more than top MMA fighters?

And how can you oppose the Ali Act Expansion for MMA, but essentially admit that it’s fine for the boxing side of your business?

And speaking of the Ali Act, will the UFC try to require the same restrictive contracts of boxers that it does of MMA fighters?

Then there’s the other, arguably bigger question: Who is the intended audience for this? You need different fighting surfaces for the two different sports, so doing them both at the same event is tricky (ask Bellator). Plus, there’s not as much crossover between the two fanbases as people sometimes think, except when it comes to the few really big names in both sports.

I’m not saying the UFC can’t become a boxing promoter. What I am saying is that I wouldn’t be surprised if those “Zuffa Boxing” shirts become collector’s items soon. You know, in the same way that Atlanta Falcons 2017 Super Bowl Champions shirts are.

How excited was the CME to hear that Robert "Bobby knuckles" Whittaker has accepted his new nickname?

— Lotis Butchko (@LotisButchko) November 8, 2017

Does tapping to strikes deserve more scorn than tapping to a submission?

— Brandon (@_theoldcrow_) November 8, 2017

Short answer: no.

Slightly longer answer: depends on the circumstances, but still mostly no.

I’ve done battle with my nemesis Danny Downes on this topic before, but my position remains unchanged. I think there’s functionally very little difference between tapping to strikes and covering up in the fetal position while waiting for the referee to stop it. It makes no sense that we accept the latter as just something that happens, while the former makes a fighter an immediate object of scorn.

Why is @MMAjunkie breaking everyone’s hearts and posting fake news about till and woodley pic.twitter.com/v236eHjlrs

— Bombular (@nefaramos) November 8, 2017

In fairness, what we reported is UFC President Dana White said the fight was happening. And if you’ve been following this sport for any length of time, you ought to know that White excels at the art of just saying stuff. This time, it seems like he announced a fight without even discussing it with at least one of the participants.

And wasn’t White the one who, just last week, complained about inaccurate reporting on MMA? Wasn’t he the one who claimed that there’s “nothing factual that’s ever written about this business”? If that’s true, maybe it’s because we’re too willing to take his word for it, regardless of how many times he lies to us.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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/283330", customAnalytics: true, title: "Holloway def. Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Joe Lauzon knows you want 'Fight of the Night' for him and Clay Guida, but he won't chase it

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Joe Lauzon remembers the MMAjunkie headline when his fight against Clay Guida was announced in August: “Write the bonus check now,” it declared.

No pressure, right? But it’s a perfectly reasonable expectation of a headline, one would think. After all, Lauzon (27-13 MMA, 14-10 UFC) is the UFC’s all-time leader in bonus checks with 15, which have totaled out to more than $700,000 extra disclosed cash for him in his 24-fight career with the promotion. Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) has 24 fights in the UFC, as well, and has nine bonuses of his own.

Given the pair’s propensity for finishes, and propensity for being just as active in the 14th minute as they are in the first, Lauzon has to understand why everyone is expecting a typical barnburner from them at UFC Fight Night 120, which takes place Saturday at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, and Lauzon-Guida open up the main card.

Related24 is the magic number for UFC Fight Night 120's Clay Guida and Joe Lauzon

But Lauzon is adamant he can’t go chasing after a bonus check, akin to a baseball power hitter trying to hit a homer.

“The $50,000 matters, but when you go chasing after something like that, generally you don’t catch it,” Lauzon told MMAjunkie on Wednesday ahead of the fight. “I haven’t done as well in bonuses in the last eight fights or so. Before, it was like almost every single fight, I was getting a bonus. I got 10 bonuses in my first 13 (UFC) fights, I think. It’s slowed down. But I was never looking for it. They were just happening on their own. They were happening organically.

“I think it’s going to be the same thing (against Guida). I’m not worried, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta go out there and get a bonus.’ No. I’ve got to go out there and win a fight.”

Lauzon debuted in the UFC in 2006 and shocked former lightweight champion Jens Pulver with a 48-second konckout. That was his first bonus. In his first 14 UFC fights, he had 12 bonuses. There only were three events he didn’t pocket an extra award check, but he made up for it on one of them by grabbing a double bonus in 2012 for his UFC on FOX 4 submission of Jamie Varner, which also won “Fight of the Night.”

But he’s right – the bonuses have slowed down. In the past four years, he only has three. That’s a great career for some fighters, but we’re talking about Joe Lauzon here – the bonus king. The stretch also has been an up-and-down period for him with a 5-5 record. For the past eight fights, he’s alternated wins and losses, and he’s coming off a majority-decision setback against Stevie Ray in April.

So naturally, he’s due against Guida, who recently returned to lightweight after a run at featherweight. Guida is a 50-fight veteran. Lauzon has 40. They’ve both been in the UFC for more than a decade and debuted one event apart in 2006. How they’ve missed meeting up over the years is merely a fluke, it seems.

“I was excited,” Lauzon said of the call about the matchup. “You always see these guys that have been around for a long time and go, ‘I wonder how it would go against that guy.’ A lot of those guys, I’ve fought now. I’ve fought Jim Miller twice, I fought Diego (Sanchez), I fought a lot of these guys. But it never worked out with Clay, and I was excited for it. We’ve both been around for so long and it’s just great that we’re going to get to see how it actually would play out.”

But if you want that back-and-forth 15-minute war, like both Lauzon and Guida have demonstrated they’re more than happy to be involved in in the past, Lauzon doesn’t necessarily want to oblige you.

Sure, he’ll go down that road if that’s how it plays out. But when he fought Sanchez at UFC 200, everyone expected the same kind of brawl, and Lauzon took yet another bonus for a quick stoppage.

“In and out (is what I want). In and out,” Lauzon said. “We can go in there and have a three-round brawl, or we can go out there, like when I fought Diego – that was pretty much a perfect fight for me. I clipped him right off the bat, and TKOd him in like a minute and a half. That was great. … Quick, easy fight is the best for me. I know the fans and the UFC would like to see a little bit longer fight and us really go at it and test it each other. But for me, I want a flawless victory – go out there and bang him with a hand and catch him in a guillotine or something.

“… Maybe we’re both going to be bleeding all over the place. I don’t know. But that’s not what I’m looking for. If it happens, I’m all about partaking. We’ll go for it. But we’ll see what happens.”

For more from Lauzon, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Jim Miller (blue gloves) fights Joe Lauzon (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) reacts to fight against Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) reacts to fight against Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) reacts to fight against Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) reacts to fight against Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Joe Lauzon (blue gloves) reacts to his win against Diego Sanchez (red gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Joe Lauzon (blue gloves) and Diego Sanchez (red gloves) fight during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Joe Lauzon (blue gloves) punches Diego Sanchez (red gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Evan Dunham defends against Joe Lauzon during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) reacts after the fight against Takanori Gomi (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports Jul 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) celebrates his win against Takanori Gomi (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Takanori Gomi (blue gloves) fights against Joe Lauzon (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Al Iaquinta (blue gloves) is kicked by Joe Lauzon (red gloves) during their lightweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Al Iaquinta (blue gloves) fights Joe Lauzon (red gloves) during their lightweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports December 14, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) defeats Mac Danzig during the lightweight bout of the UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-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/4osMu6tQsGRTHmjahABwzd/283289", customAnalytics: true, title: "Joe Lauzon", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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UFC champ Georges St-Pierre brushes off GOAT talk: 'It's an illusion'

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The MMA world can keep arguing its “greatest of all time” takes, but don’t expect Georges St-Pierre to chime in.

With his third-round finish of Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 217 pay-per-view headliner, St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) became only the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two different divisions. More impressively, he did so after returning from a four-year layoff, in a division 15 pounds heavier than the one that he’d dominated for more than six years.

St-Pierre, in fact, hasn’t lost a fight since Matt Serra pulled the upset of a lifetime at UFC 169 in 2007 – a loss he later avenged. Add that to the fact that he was only the second man to submit Bisping in the UFC, and you have a pretty solid “GOAT” case there.

Still, St-Pierre won’t wear that title himself.

RelatedUFC champ Georges St-Pierre injured but won't 'freeze' division

Granted, the UFC’s current 185-pound champion wasn’t asked directly if he thought he should be the one to carry it. But, inquired as to whether former 205-pound kingpinJon Jones’ latest outside-the-cage shenanigans should remove him from the conversation, St-Pierre’s answer pretty much said it all.

“There’s no such thing as the greatest of all time,” St-Pierre said today during a conference call, in which he also discussed his post-UFC 217 future. “It doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion.”

To illustrate his point, St-Pierre offered an analogy: In sports like baseball or football, having the strongest team doesn’t necessarily translate to a victorious night. While many people would think that’s not the same with fighting, he argued, the principle is the same: The strongest man is not necessarily the one getting his hand raised.

“Even though you’re the best, it doesn’t mean you’re not going lose,” St-Pierre said. “And it doesn’t mean nobody’s going to beat you. For example, I fought Michael Bisping Saturday night, at Madison Square Garden. In that particular night, at that particular moment, at that particular place, I beat Michael Bisping. But that doesn’t mean if I fight him tomorrow that he’s not going to beat me.”

While it hasn’t happened in quite some time, St-Pierre has made peace with the fact that he can lose – even if it’s to someone he’d beat “nine times out of 10.” So, as much as we can use specific achievements to speculate about who’s the best fighter the sport has seen, experience has taught St-Pierre to refrain from doing the same.

RelatedGeorges St-Pierre's comeback so awesome even Canada's Prime Minister reacted

“When I started in MMA, I wanted to be the strongest man in the world,” St-Pierre said. “But there’s no such thing as being the strongest man in the world. Everybody can beat everybody at any given day, or any given time. That’s what I learned. There’s no such thing as being the strongest man in the world.

“You can be the best one day, but tomorrow you’re not. That’s the truth about this sport.”

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC 217's 'Thrill and Agony' will make your eyes water


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

If you though UFC 217 was an emotional rollercoaster on fight night, wait until you see the new behind-the-scenes and cageside footage.

The “Thrill and Agony” series takes us up close and behind the scenes of pay-per-view events, and at UFC 217, we saw some emotional aftermath after three titles changed hands.

UFC 217 took place Saturday at Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedSean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Georges St-Pierre and UFC 217's other winning fighters?

In “Thrill and Agony,” raw emotion is put on display, primarily with the corner and cageside cams that captured teammates, friends and family reacting to the fights.

Some of the most emotional footage comes from the night’s first title fight when heavy underdog Rose Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) upset strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC). Check out the reactions from the fighters, their corners, family and friends – and the cageside broadcasters above.

It also includes the aftermath of new bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) taking out former teammate and training partner Cody Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in the co-headliner, as well as Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) dethroning middleweight titleholder via submission Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) in the headliner.

The above video is a preview of “Thrill and Agony.” The full episode is available on UFC Fight Pass for subscribers.

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

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

Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) celebrates with the belt after defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (left) faces off with Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) reacts after her fight against Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) celebrates with the belt after defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during 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/PRfxKkNk5hxschbqceYpyk/283317", customAnalytics: true, title: "Namajunas def. Jedrzejczyk", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

UFC champ Georges St-Pierre injured but won't 'freeze' division

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Newly crowned middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre today revealed a neck injury he suffered during his title-winning fight against Michael Bisping, but he said he still plans to fight interim titleholder Robert Whittaker.

“There’s going to be news about it in the next few weeks, but I don’t plan to hold the title and not defend it,” St-Pierre told reporters today during a media call five days after his win at UFC 217 in New York.

St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC), who submitted Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) via rear-naked choke in the third round of the pay-per-view headliner at Madison Square Garden, said the injury occurred in the first round of the fight when the Brit threw an elbow from the bottom that contacted that back of his head.

“It looked very insignificant when it happened,” St-Pierre said. “It wasn’t the strength of the hit. It was more the precision of it. It’s not his fault. We’re not allowed to hit there, but it was just in the heat of the fight, and it’s normal.

“My neck was so inflamed, when I was on the floor, I had a hard time posturing up because it was hurting very bad. It felt like I couldn’t contract my head to posture up. After the fight when I cooled down, it was terrible. It was like my neck couldn’t move. Now it’s still sore, but it got a lot better. I got treatment on it, so I’ll be back 100 percent.”

RelatedRobert Whittaker: Georges St-Pierre 'looked slower than he's ever been' at UFC 217

First on the new champ’s itinerary, however, is a vacation to “forget about fighting.” He plans to talk with UFC officials about their plans for unifying the middleweight title against Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who welcomed a meeting with St-Pierre in February at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.

But St-Pierre resisted repeated questions to tie him down to a timeline.

“(UFC President) Dana White is going to talk with my agent, they’re going to figure it out, and we’ll see after I come back from vacation,” he told MMAjunkie when asked if he would be interested in unifying the title at UFC 221, or would prefer to fight elsewhere.

Whatever he decides, St-Pierre said he’ll make up his mind soon.

“We’ll see what I want to do and where my head is,” he said. “I have no intention of holding onto the belt and freezing the division. That’s not what I want to do. Robert Whittaker is in my contract. If I want to fight again, it has to be against Robert Whittaker at 185 (pounds). That’s in my contract. I cannot, for example, go fight (welterweight champ) Tyron Woodley or go fight another guy.”

RelatedWith UFC 217 win, did Georges St-Pierre just settle an old argument about MMA greats?

St-Pierre said he didn’t know if he’d return to the welterweight division following a fight with Whittaker.

Asked if he might simply retire instead of returning to middleweight, the new champ giggled.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s the same question from a different angle. That’s why I can’t talk about this – I don’t know right now

“I understand it’s normal, but I don’t even know for myself what’s going to be the next move.”

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Matt Brown, Daniel Weichel, Ricky Palacios, Jason Buchamer


Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Matt Brown, Daniel Weichel, Ricky Palacios and Jason Buchamer.

Brown co-headlines Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 120 event against Diego Sanchez. Weichel fights featherweight champion Patricio Freire on Nov. 16 at Bellator 188. Palacios is part of Saturday’s “Combate Americas: Copa Combate” single-night tournament. Former MMAjunkie Radio intern Buchamer helps us recap the latest episode of “The Ultimate Fighter 26.”

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: Bellator, News, UFC

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2561 with John McCarthy, Jon Anik, Patricio Freire

Stream or download Wednesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests John McCarthy, Jon Anik and Patricio Freire.

McCarthy co-hosted the entire show in-studio, sharing his experiences from officiating at last Saturday’s UFC 217 in New York. Anik, in transit between UFC 217 and UFC Fight Night 120, calls in to share insight into preparation that goes into fight week. Freire talked about his upcoming title defense against Daniel Weichel on Nov. 16 at Bellator 188 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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


Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio, UFC

5 reasons to watch Bellator 187, with A.J. McKee, 'Baby Slice,' Sinead Kavanagh and more

Bellator heads to Dublin for Friday’s Bellator 187 event. The card lost its originally scheduled main event when rising Irish featherweight James Gallagher suffered a knee injury in October, but enough local fighters remain on the card to give the Irish crowd something to cheer about, including main event combatant Brian Moore.

Moore landed in the top spot when Gallagher, his teammate at SBG Ireland, was removed from the fight. Moore faces another rising star in the featherweight division in the headlining bout: A.J. McKee.

McKee and Gallagher have been in a war of words for quite a while. Even though Gallagher is no longer on the card, that hasn’t stopped McKee from taking shots at his nemesis in the lead up to the event.

“We should be fighting,” McKee told MMAjunkie. “It just keeps confirming that he’s scared. He’s little princess Gallagher. It’s a shame, but you can’t send a 19-year-old boy to do a man’s job. So that’s why they replaced him with Brian Moore.”

In the co-main event, Kevin Ferguson Jr., the son of the late Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, faces Fred Freeman.

Bellator 187 takes place at 3Arena and airs via tape delay on Spike.

1. Championship goals

A.J. McKee

A few weeks after he turned 22, McKee laid out the blueprint for his MMA career.

“I plan on being the youngest champ ever,” McKee told MMAjunkie. “Jon Jones was 23 when he did it, so I’ve got a full year to beat that coming from April. (I also want to keep) being undefeated, keep that 0 and be the (Floyd) Mayweather of MMA. Just keep breaking records.”

While McKee has been impressive since turning pro with Bellator in 2015, the promotion has kept him away from the top fighters in the featherweight division. Names such as Daniel Weichel, Georgi Karakhanyan, Emmanuel Sanchez, Pat Curran and Daniel Straus don’t appear anywhere on his record. That makes McKee’s plan to capture gold in the next five months seem a tad too ambitious.

That’s not to say 22-year-old McKee hasn’t had a good run with the promotion; he has. His nine-fight winning streak is tied for longest in Bellator history with former welterweight champion Ben Askren. McKee has six finishes in those nine fights.

McKee (9-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) faces Moore (10-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), an SBG Ireland teammate of Gallagher’s, in this headlining bout. If the 30-year-old Moore manages to end the winning streak of his teammate’s nemesis, things might get a little crazy inside the arena.

2. Looking for progress

Kevin Ferguson Jr.

At Bellator 187, Ferguson fights in his third pro bout. In his debut he relied mostly on takedowns and striking, but his inexperience showed when he failed to lock in an anaconda choke and was easily reversed and quickly submitted via Aaron Hamilton’s second-round guillotine.

In his second fight with the promotion, Ferguson used power punches to put Darryal Griffin to the mat. Once on the ground, he used elbows and hammerfists to end the fight by TKO at the 3:40 mark of the first round.

Ferguson is still a very raw talent. He eschews jabs in favor of power strikes such as uppercuts and big overhands. He also tends to leave openings for submissions on the ground, but that’s not too much of a surprise considering his lack of experience in the cage.

Ferguson (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) has had nearly six months of gym work to ready himself for this 165-pound catchweight fight against Fred Freeman (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). With that prep time, there’s the expectation that we’ll see a more polished fighter when he steps into the cage in Dublin.

Freeman is 1-0 as a pro, but he has an extensive amateur background.

3. Getting back in the win column

Sinead Kavanagh

Sinead Kavanagh has hit a rough patch. After opening her career with a four-fight winning streak, the SBG Ireland fighter has lost her two most recent bouts.

Kavanagh got her start as a boxer before transitioning to MMA. That’s very evident from her “KO” nickname, as well as her striking heavy style.

In the first loss of her career, a decision defeat to Iony Razafiarison, Kavanagh’s lack of takedown defense was evident. The Irish fighter also showed a subpar game off of her back in that loss. She’s much more comfortable and confident in a fight if her opponent will stand and trade bungalows in the center of the cage.

Kavanagh’s (4-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) strengths and weaknesses are something her opponent, Maria Casanova (2-5-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), is undoubtedly aware of. If Casanova, who has two submission wins on her record, can get the fight to the ground, she has a much better chance of walking away from her Bellator featherweight debut with a victory.

Like Kavanagh, Casanova has losses in her two most recent bouts.

4. A big opportunity at home

Paul Redmond

Well-traveled veteran Paul Redmond makes his Bellator debut in his hometown of Dublin. The 31-year old has fought for 10 different promotions, including the UFC, Cage Warriors and BAMMA since he made his pro debut in April 2010.

This lightweight bout marks Redmond’s fifth consecutive fight in Ireland. He is 3-1 in his four most recent contests. His only loss during that run was a February split-decision defeat to Norman Parke. Had Redmond won that bout, he would have captured the BAMMA lightweight champion. Parke came in heavy for the fight, making him ineligible for the title.

Once primarily known for his ground game, Redmond has made a concerted effort to shore up his striking.

Redmond was originally booked to fight at Bellator 169 against former featherweight title contender Weichel. An injury knocked him from that card.

Redmond’s (13-7 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) opponent at Bellator 187, Sergio de Jesus Santos (4-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) doesn’t have the name recognition of Weichel, but this could be a good showcase fight for Redmond. For Santos, who has lost his two most recent bouts, this fight is an opportunity to get a win over a recognizable name.

5. A fresh start

Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward’s two-run stint in the UFC was brief. In those fights, he spent a little more than three minutes inside the octagon. Abdul Razak Alhassan knocked him out in 53 seconds in his first bout with the promotion. Ward’s second fight, a highlight-reel slam knockout loss to Galore Bofando, lasted a little more than two minutes. The SBG Ireland fighter, who was on a three-fight winning streak before his two recent losses, makes his Bellator debut in Dublin, and you can bet he hopes he has more success than he did with the UFC.

Ward (3-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is a brawler. He loves nothing more than getting into a firefight and slinging wild bombs. If he can implement his style against John Redmond (7-12 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), he should have a crowd-pleasing bout.

Redmond also makes his Bellator debut at Bellator 187. As his 7-12 record indicates, he’s had a rough go as a professional fighter. He has a 2-5 record since 2014. His two victories have come by way of knockout.

This middleweight matchup might not be pretty, but it could be entertaining, and sometimes that’s enough.

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News

NASCAR's 2017 finale includes 4-bout Bellator card with guests 'Hendo' and 'Rampage'

NASCAR’s 2017 season finale will be accompanied by some Bellator fights.

The Monster Energy Bellator MMA Fight Series will host its fourth and final event of the year on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., which also hosts NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend.

The four-bout Bellator event is free and open to all attendees prior to the start of the “Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Ford Ecoboost 400.” It takes place at the speedway’s Monster Energy Fan Zone.

Special guests include MMA vets Dan Henderson and Quinton Jackson.

RelatedChael Sonnen recounts the time Dan Henderson hilariously failed at giving fight advice

The fights kick off at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT), Henderson and “Rampage” arrive at 1 p.m. ET, and the race commences at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The headliners of the untelevised MMA card – featherweights Matt Wagy (10-4) vs. Kester Mark (5-4) – will be “in consideration to be signed to a multi-fight Bellator MMA contract” according to today’s announcement.

The card features:

  • Matt Wagy (10-4) vs. Kester Mark (5-4)
  • Johnny Eblen (2-0) vs. Emmanuel Verdier (3-1)
  • Thais Souza (0-1 amateur) vs. Ashley Samples (0-2 amateur)
  • Landon Stewart (0-0) vs. Rudial Mora (0-0)

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


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

UFC-Norfolk's Angela Hill motivated to work toward Rose Namajunas rematch

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Angela Hill’s run in the UFC has been up, down and then up again, and she hopes it continues toward the top.

Hill (7-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC), coming off a win in her last fight, looks to keep the momentum going when she takes on Nina Ansaroff (7-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) on Saturday in the opening FS1 prelim of UFC Fight Night 120, which takes place at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va.

Putting together a winning streak in the UFC strawwweight division has proven difficult for the former Invicta FC champion. She won her UFC debut in Sept. 2014 before losing back-to-back fights to Tecia Torres and current champion Rose Namajunas, who knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title last weekend at UFC 217.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 120 pre-event facts: Matt Brown matches longtime record in retirement bout

The two losses prompted Hill down to Invicta FC, where she put together a four-fight winning streak that included her title win and one defense. Her return to the UFC didn’t fare well, however, as she dropped a decision to title contender Jessica Andrade last February at UFC Fight Night 104.

Now that Hill is back in the win column – in the UFC, that is – after earning a decision from Ashley Yoder at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale in July, she hopes to continue climbing the ranks until she either gets a second shot at Namajunas or a crack at Jedrzejczyk, who was on her mind for some time.

“I’ve always wanted my rematches, but I wanted to make sure that I was ready when I did have those rematches,” Hill told MMAjunkie on Wednesday. “You know, everyone’s on the list that I’ve lost to when it comes to that. But I definitely feel like I was a totally different fighter when I did fight (Namajunas). I was motivated to fight (Jedrzejczyk) when she was champ. I was hoping that I could work my way up to that. I was already thinking about what I was going to do for the face-off and everything.

“But now that (Jedrzejczyk is) out of the picture, she’s still going to be around. I’d still love to fight her at some point. Yeah, I’m definitely going for that title run after I feel I’ve got enough wins, and I’ve impressed enough to get a go at (Namajunas).”

Check out the video above to hear more from Hill on her mindset heading into her fight on Saturday.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) reacts after defeating Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) fights Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) reacts after defeating Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Angela Hill (red gloves) reacts after defeating Ashley Yoder (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-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/umQKNiz8gcoMfx2FXUoG5a/283229", customAnalytics: true, title: "Hill def. Yoder", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Dustin Poirier trying to move past Alvarez debacle, believes win over Pettis has him in title mix

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – On the heels of what at the time likely was the biggest opportunity of Dustin Poirier’s career, he has one Saturday that could top it.

And while Poirier (21-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) is committed to focusing on former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC), whom he meets in the UFC Fight Night 120 main event, it’s hard to completely forget the debacle that was his UFC 211 fight against Eddie Alvarez in May.

In that fight in Dallas, in the second round, former champ Alvarez landed a pair of knees to the head while Poirier was grounded. The cageside doctor ultimately stopped the fight, and referee Herb Dean ruled the fight a no-contest rather than a disqualification win for Poirier.

Poirier believes a win over someone like Alvarez could have gotten him a title shot. But that didn’t come. Alvarez went on to get a coaching spot on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter” opposite Justin Gaethje.

RelatedDustin Poirier zeros in on Anthony Pettis but first wondered 'where the (expletive)' Eddie Alvarez is

“I don’t like to stare in the rearview, but the losses, or what could have been from that fight, it’s uncountable,” Poirier on Wednesday told MMAjunkie in Virginia ahead of his Saturday return. “I mean, I could have gotten a title shot with that win. I lost my win bonus. I lost ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus, probably. So we’re talking a lot of money, and potentially a lot more money with the title shot. Another win on my record.

“It goes on and on and on, so I don’t even like to think about it. I haven’t watched the fight but once since it happened, and that was the day after. I’m on to the next thing.”

The next thing is Pettis at UFC Fight Night 120, which takes place Saturday at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

When Poirier got the call with the Pettis offer on the table – a fight Pettis says he asked for – he knew he was the kind of opponent that could get him back into that title conversation. Poirier currently is ranked No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. Pettis is No. 11.

“I was pumped about it, because here’s another former world champion, another opportunity for me to go out there and show the kind of fighter I am,” Poirier said. “I can’t be mad with them matching me up with two former world champions in a row. I beat the first one, and I’m about to beat the second one. That just shows you the caliber that I am. I’m world-champion class, I know that.”

And with the UFC’s lightweight title picture in a constant state of flux, who knows what could come with a win. Champion Conor McGregor likely gets interim champ Tony Ferguson next – if he can sort out his demands with the UFC. Alvarez and Gaethje are scheduled to fight at UFC 218 next month and no doubt are in the mix. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza fight at UFC 219.

But the Poirier-Pettis winner will no doubt be pleading his case to be in that mix.

“I feel like I’m one away with a win over Anthony Pettis, if not there,” Poirier said. “I mean, Kevin Lee just got (an interim) title shot ranked No. 7 (in the UFC rankings). I feel like I beat Eddie Alvarez, who was ranked No. 2 or 3 at the time, so I know I’m there.”

For more from Poirier, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Apr 4, 2015; Fairfax, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) celebrates after the first round of a technical knock out against Diego Ferreira (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Apr 4, 2015; Fairfax, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Diego Ferreira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Apr 4, 2015; Fairfax, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Diego Ferreira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Apr 4, 2015; Fairfax, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Diego Ferreira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Apr 4, 2015; Fairfax, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Diego Ferreira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier gets ready for a featherweight fight against Conor McGregor during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Apr 16, 2014; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) celebrates beating Akira Corassani (not pictured) during their featherweight bout at Colisee Pepsi. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier wins his UFC Middleweight Bout against Diego Brandao (not pictured) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Poirier won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Apr 16, 2014; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) hits Akira Corassani (blue gloves), during their featherweight bout at Colisee Pepsi. Poirier won by KO/TKO. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier wins his UFC Middleweight Bout against Diego Brandao (not pictured) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Poirier won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) walks away from Diego Brandao (blue gloves) after winning his UFC Middleweight Bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) and Diego Brandao (blue gloves) fight during their UFC middleweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) and Diego Brandao (blue gloves) during their UFC Middleweight Bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Poirier won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) and Diego Brandao (blue gloves) fight during their UFC middleweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dustin Poirier during his UFC Middleweight Bout against Diego Brandao (not pictured) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Poirier won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Bobby Green (blue) fights Dustin Poirier (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Bobby Green (blue) fights Dustin Poirier (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Bobby Green (blue) fights Dustin Poirier (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Bobby Green (blue) fights Dustin Poirier (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Bobby Green (blue) fights Dustin Poirier (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Drew Dober (red gloves) competes against Jason Gonzalez (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-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/Z7Vq9zpzdwRcohsw9bwDGk/283282", customAnalytics: true, title: "Dustin Poirier", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Watch ex-Bellator champ Michael Chandler train hard for comeback in powerful mini-doc


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

Michael Chandler is a man on a mission.

Certainly you haven’t forgotten the gruesome ankle injury Chandler suffered in the first round of his title defense with Brent Primus that cost him the lightweight championship in June at Bellator NYC.

It was an unfortunate thing to happen to Chandler, who showed a warrior spirit by continuing to fight through until the referee stepped to have him examined by the cageside doctor. The decision was obvious: Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) couldn’t continue, so he lost his belt via injury TKO to Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA).

RelatedPrimus rematch? Sure, but Michael Chandler also eyes 170 with MacDonald and Daley

Now some four-plus months later, Chandler, who spoke to MMAjunkie Radio in September about future plans, is training for a comeback. You can see him hard at work in the wonderfully produced mini-documentary “The Mind of the Obsessed.” And in it, Chandler also has a message for Primus.

“He was praying to God that I didn’t get up off that stool and come back out to fight him. Because he knew I was going to finish him. He had a man completely debiliated, literally on one leg, and he didn’t even land a punch. He was afraid to take it. He was afraid to win. He was afraid to be the champion.

“When I rematch him, and I step back into that cage, I’m going to finish him in the first round.”

Check out the full mini-doc from the folks at Absolute Motivation in the video above.

Ans for complete coverage of Bellator NYC, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Brent Primus (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Michael Chandler (red gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) fights Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) fights Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) fights Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) fights Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) ankle looked at buy doctor during fight against Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) ankle durning the fight against Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Chandler (red gloves) fights Brent Primus (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-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/AL7ThTk8Mg3iohryXbwYNG/283164", customAnalytics: true, title: "Primus def. Chandler", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Trio of fights added to UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis

Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Apr 8, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Thiago Alves (red gloves) competes against Patrick Cote (blue gloves) during UFC 210 at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Jim Miller (red gloves) fights Thiago Alves (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Jim Miller (red gloves) fights Thiago Alves (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Thiago Alves reacts before his fight against Carlos Condit during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Carlos Condit (red gloves) fights Thiago Alves (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Carlos Condit (red gloves) fights Thiago Alves (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Carlos Condit (red gloves) fights Thiago Alves (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Goiania Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 30, 2015; Goiania, GO, Brazil; Carlos Condit (red gloves) fights Thiago Alves (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Goiania 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/jTmsZX5wvus7SPwnTjWfFE/283277", customAnalytics: true, title: "Thiago Alves", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

The fight card for the UFC’s debut event in St. Louis has three new additions.

The UFC Fight Night 124 matchups include welterweights Zak Cummings (21-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) vs. Thiago Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC), lightweights Marco Polo Reyes (7-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) vs. Matt Frevola (6-0 MMA, UFC), and lightweights James Krause (24-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Alex White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC).

UFC Fight Night 124 takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

RelatedVitor Belfort announces fight vs. Uriah Hall for January 2018

Cummings, a 33-year-old wrestler based out of Missouri, looks for the first three-fight winning streak of his UFC career following recent submissions wins over Alexander Yakovlev and Nathan Coy. He meets former title challenger Alves, a 34-year-old Brazilian who recently halted a two-fight skid with a decision victory over Patrick Cote in April. A subsequent booking with Mike Perry was scrapped in September after a hurricane forced Alves to pull out of the fight.

Reyes, a 33-year-old Mexican fighter, was on a four-fight winning streak before a recent TKO loss to James Vick. He now meets Frevola, a 27-year-old promotional newcomer who submitted Jose Flores at DWCS 8 in August.

Krause, 31, recently moved from lightweight to welterweight to score a decision victory over Tom Gallicchio for his third straight win. He takes on White, a 29-year-old Missouri native who recently score a TKO victory over Mitch Clarke for his second victory in three fights.

The latest UFC Fight Night 124 card now includes:

  • Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
  • Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings
  • Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
  • James Krause vs. Alex White

For more on UFC Fight Night 124, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Episode No. 9 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with the fighters getting ready to turn the page to the quarterfinal round. First, though, is some entertainment outside the house.

UFC President Dana White rents the coaches and cast members a boat for a tour of Lake Las Vegas. The fighters are able to blow off some steam before the competition resumes.

Preparation for the quarterfinals begins, and in the first matchup No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi meets No. 8 Emily Whitmire. Both are members of Team Gaethje, and coach Justin Gaethje decides he’s going to remove himself from preparation of both fighters. Instead, the assistant coaches are divided to benefit both.

Modafferi believes her experience and well rounded ability are going to lead her to victory, and she hopes to debut a special spinning backfist in the matchup.

At the weigh-in, Modafferi and Whitmire come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows, and the first quarterfinal tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Modafferi and Whitmire head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#1 Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) vs. #8 Emily Whitmire (2-1)

Round 1 – They get into a early exchange, but nothing lands clean. Whitmire starts landing the jab and her straight right. Modafferi is standing in the pocket and pressuring with kicks and her jab. Both fighters connect with punches. Modafferi goes for a spinning backfist, but Whitmire gets out of the way and moves into a body lock position. She’s holding Modafferi against the fence and attempts to drag the fight to the ground. Modafferi keeps upright and eventually reverses the position. Modafferi lands some knees to the body and trips Whitmire down to the canvas. Modafferi is working from half guard before finally advancing to mount. Whitmire gives up her back and Modafferi begins to work for the rear-naked choke. Whitmire attempts to scramble free, but Modafferi keeps control and ends up in the mount. Modafferi begins to land some heavy elbows from on top, forcing Whitmire to give up her back again. Modafferi opens up with more heavy shots just as the 10-second warning sounds. The referee gives a warning to Whitmire to escape, but she’s can’t. Modafferi lands more shots and gets the stoppage with one second remaining.

Roxanne Modafferi def. Emily Whitmire via TKO (punches, elbows) – Round 1

“I feel awesome right now,” Modafferi says after becoming the first fighter to advance to the semifinals. “I feel very proud of myself for my fight. I feel I showcased some of my standup, good movement, and I’m just happy I could get the win. This is my third mount TKO in a row.”

Whitmire is emotional after the fight and blames herself for the outcome, saying she was hoping the fight would be stopped because she didn’t want to fight a second round. Whitmire says she needs to “work on digging in and figuring it out.”

With the first quarterfinal matchup in the books, focus shifts to the second quarterfinal match. This time it’s Team Alvarez teammates who face off, with No. 4 DeAnna Bennett scheduled to take on No. 12 Sijara Eubanks.

Bennett and Eubanks are friends and roommates in the house. They aren’t thrilled over the fact they have to fight each other.

During practice, coach Eddie Alvarez tells Bennett and Eubanks he’s not going to help either of them prepare for the upcoming fight. Similar to Team Gaethje, he will remove himself from the situation and allow the assistant coaches to provide help for each side.

A familiar narrative begins to emerge with Eubanks as the fight gets closer. She’s physically the largest athlete in the tournament and nearly missed weight for her opening-round bout. The cut goes well until the final moments, where there’s serious doubt about whether Eubanks will shed her final pound.

At the official weigh-in, Bennett comes in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. Eubanks, however, comes in at 126.75 pounds on her first attempt. Team Gaethje’s Lauren Murphy immediately jumps in the sauna and begins losing weight in the event Eubanks can’t fight.

Eubanks enters the sauna and forces Murphy to leave because it’s Team Alvarez’s training time. That flares up another conflict between Murphy and coach Alvarez, but Murphy decides to use alternative methods of cutting weight.

At the end of the one-hour weigh-in period, Eubanks makes her second weigh-in attempt. Eubanks hits the 126-pound flyweight limit, and the matchup with Bennett is now official. A friendly staredown follows.

Fight day arrives. Bennett and Eubanks head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#4 DeAnna Bennett (8-3) vs. #12 Sijara Eubanks (2-2)

Round 1 – Eubanks opens with a hard right hand. Bennett is being mobile and uses good foot movements to evade the heavy shots with her speed. Bennett presses forward and tags Eubanks with a combination. Bennett forces her way into the clinch but breaks away with a knee. Bennett sneaks an uppercut inside, but as she moves away Eubanks throws a right hand that misses. She follows with a perfect left high kick that lands clean to the side of the head. Bennett goes down hard, and Eubanks walks off with the brutal highlight-reel knockout.

Sijara Eubanks def. DeAnna Bennett via knockout (head kick) – Round 1

KICK GAME PROPER! @SarJnCharge lands the stunning head kick to move onto the semifinals! #TUF26 pic.twitter.com/BiJQmVRUVX

— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 9, 2017

“I got one more fight (in) this house, and I’m through the roof,” Eubanks says after her victory. “Every time I hit a challenge, I have a rough weight cut. I fight. I had a rough weight cut, and I fight. This time it’s coming together. It feels like the suns and the moons and the stars are lining up in my favor, and I just feel so unstoppable right now. I’m so pumped.”

After the fight, Modafferi, who will fight Eubanks in the semifinal round, approaches her upcoming opponent and tells her “I was really impressed with your technique. I’m really looking forward to fighting you.”

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.


Filed under: News, UFC

Dominick Cruz out of UFC 219 fight with Jimmie Rivera

Dominick Cruz’s return to the octagon will have to be pushed back and, as a result, UFC 219 has lost a significant bout.

Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) has been ruled out of his fight with Jimmie Rivera after suffering a broken arm, according to a report from MMAFighting.com. Rivera  (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) confirmed Cruz’s withdrawal from the bout when reached by MMAjunkie via text message.

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedJohn Lineker won't issue callouts or pick dates, but he'll be on stand-by for Cruz-Rivera UFC 219 fight

Cruz, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, dropped the 135-pound belt to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 last December. Cruz opted to take time off and was originally angling for a fight against the winner of Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw, who knocked out “No Love” last Saturday to reclaim the title at UFC 217.

After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, No. 5 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.

It remains unclear if the UFC will attempt to find Rivera a replacement opponent.

The latest UFC 219 card includes:

  • Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. opponent TBD
  • 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, check out 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/283248", customAnalytics: true, title: "Rivera def. Almeida", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Cris Cyborg rep: Holly Holm 'pricing herself out' of UFC 219 title fight intentionally

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Women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg agreed to fight Holly Holm at UFC 219 – that’s what her camp knows.

If money is what’s preventing the fight from happening, a representative for Cyborg says they’ll just have to move on.

“The big fights are the ones you want as a fighter,” manager George Prajin today told MMAjunkie. “Those lead to the most money. I can’t speak for her camp. All I can say is that Cris has agreed to the fight.”

RelatedCheck out Holly Holm's unique training while she waits for 'good offer' to fight champ Cris Cyborg

Cyborg remains on good terms with the UFC and awaits her next matchup, Prajin said. That search remains active as the date for her possible return approaches.

Camps for Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) were in talks for a fight at UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But today Holm’s longtime manager, Lenny Frequez, told MMAFighting.com the deal is “dead” after he and the promotion “could not come to financial terms.”

“I would assume Holly doesn’t want to fight Cris,” Prajin said. “Holly is pricing herself out of the fight because she doesn’t want to fight her.”

Fresquez didn’t immediately reply to a message requesting comment.

UFC President Dana White was optimistic about getting a deal done, as was Holm, though she expressed concerns over drug testing that eventually spilled into a social media fight in which Cyborg and Holm verbally sparred over the issue.

RelatedCris Cyborg clarifies stance on Holly Holm and USADA testing

Cyborg complained she’s been targeted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and questioned whether Holm’s camp – which she claimed had perpetuated more doping violations than any other camp – was under the same scrutiny. Holm shot back a video reply pointing out she’d actually been tested on more occasions in the most recent quarter of the year.

Prajin, though, shot down the idea that drug testing had anything to do with the difficulty putting the fight together. The real problem, he added, is finding a willing opponent.

“There aren’t many girls willing to fight her in the first place,” Prajin said. “So whoever’s willing to take that courageous step, hey, we welcome it.”

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

May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) awaits the start of her fight against Leslie Smith during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) lands a punch to the face of Leslie Smith (blue) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) throws a kick defended by Leslie Smith (blue) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) fights against Leslie Smith (blue) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) reacts after defending Leslie Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) reacts for the fans and cameras after defending Leslie Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) reacts for the fans and cameras after defending Leslie Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) reacts after defending Leslie Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) reacts after defending Leslie Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Cris Justino (red) reacts after defending Leslie Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) before her fight against Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) fights Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) fights Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) fights Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) fights Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) celebrates defeating Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) celebrates defeating Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) celebrates defeating Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) celebrates defeating Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Cris Cyborg (red gloves) celebrates defeating Lina Lansberg (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. 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/bTjGvR9MzSFsZuKxiFrTbW/283231", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cris Cyborg", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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