MMA Junkie News

Andrea Lee-Davina Maciel off LFA 16 headliner, Johnny Bedford vs. Jimmy Flick new main event

Friday’s LFA 16 card in Dallas has a new main event.

History was supposed to take place at the event with the first title defense since the promotion debuted in January. But women’s flyweight champion Andrea Lee (7-2) won’t defend against challenger Davina Maciel (6-1).

Lee posted on her Instagram account that visa issues for Maciel are the culprit keeping the Brazilian from traveling to the States for the title fight, and LFA officials confirmed as much when announcing the event’s new headliner between bantamweights Johnny Bedford (23-12-1) and Jimmy Flick (8-3).

LFA 16 takes place Friday at The Bomb Factory in Dallas. The main card airs live on AXS TV.

The 34-year-old Bedford is a UFC, “Ultimate Fighter” and Bellator veteran. Fighting out of nearby Fort Worth, Bedford went 2-3 with a no-contest in the UFC and was let loose on a three-fight skid in 2014. But since then, he has four consecutive stoppage wins.

After starting his pro career a perfect 6-0, Flick has alternated wins and losses for six fights. Included in that mix is a pair of setbacks under the Legacy FC banner before the promotion merged with RFA to form the LFA. This past December, Flick was stopped by Levi Mowles with a second-round TKO at Legacy FC 63, so he’ll be looking to get back in the win column in the headliner against Bedford.

Lee was set to enter the bout on a three-fight winning streak and make her return to LFA after one fight away. “KGB” won the inaugural title in February when she submitted Heather Bassett with an armbar at LFA 4. Lee’s most recent bout took place in Invicta FC, where she took a split decision over Liz Tracy in May at Invicta FC 23.

Maciel was going to be making her LFA debut also riding a three-fight winning streak after an armbar submission in April under the Extreme Warriors International banner. Four of Maciel’s six victories have come by way stoppage during her 12-year professional career. But now that LFA debut is on hold.

The LFA 16 card includes:

For more on LFA 16, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News

After UFC 213 stoppage win, Thiago 'Marreta' Santos wants Mousasi rematch with full camp

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LAS VEGAS – When Thiago “Marreta” Santos fought Gegard Mousasi at UFC 200 a year ago, he had been painted into the proverbial corner.

Santos took a fight at UFC 200 against Mousasi when Derek Brunson dropped out about three weeks before the bout. The result was not a pretty one. Mousasi crushed Santos for a first-round knockout.

Santos’ next time out, back in his home country of Brazil, he was stunned by Eric Spicely, who submitted him with a rear-naked choke in the first round at UFC Fight Night 95. Santos was more than an 8-1 favorite in that fight, making Spicely’s win one of 2016’s biggest upsets.

But on Saturday at UFC 213, Santos (15-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC) continued to move past those rough results when he stopped Gerald Meerschaert (26-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC) with a second-round TKO at UFC 213, giving him back-to-back stoppage wins. The fight was part of the FS1-broadcast preliminary card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas ahead of the main card on pay-per-view.

Now Santos wants another shot at Mousasi – but with a full training camp behind him.

“I feel like I could have fought better against him,” Santos said through a translator backstage after his win over Meerschaert. “I took the fight on short notice, so it feels like I deserve a better chance to train properly to face him again.

“We can have a really good fight for the fans. He’s a very good fighter. I admire him, and I like to see him fight. It’s nothing personal. I want to face better guys, and he’s one of the best.”

Mousasi indeed is one of the best. He’s currently No. 6 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings. Santos is unranked, but with some more stoppage wins like the one he had Saturday night, he may not be long for watching the top 15 from the outside looking in.

For more from Santos, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) is attended to while fighting Thiago Santos (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) is attended to while fighting Thiago Santos (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) looks over Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Thiago Santos (red gloves) fights Gerald Meerschaert (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/eMVwguRvnwJvXieoxPyRNC/258156", customAnalytics: true, title: "Santos def. Meerschaert", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Rob Font just glad UFC 213 win was against the opponent he trained for

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LAS VEGAS – When Amanda Nunes pulled out of the UFC 213 main event the afternoon of the card on Saturday, it was a huge opportunity for Rob Font.

Font went from a bantamweight fight against Douglas Silva de Andrade on the prelims on UFC Fight Pass straight to the opening fight on the pay-per-view main card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, leapfrogging the FS1 portion of the show entirely.

Font (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) made the most of his opportunity and submitted Andrade (24-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) with a second-round guillotine choke. The finish was worth an extra $50,000 as one of the “Performance of the Night” awards.

But maybe even more importantly for Font was the simple fact he went through a training camp and only had to think about one opponent.

“Every fight I’ve had since I got to the UFC, I’ve never fought my original opponent,” Font said after his win over Andrade on Saturday. “So for me to go through the whole camp and actually fight the guy I was supposed to fight, it’s been huge.”

Andrade had but one loss on his record heading into the fight with Font, and that was a decision setback in his UFC debut in February 2014. That fight came on short notice and with a quick turnaround time.

He then got booked to fight Font, of all people, three years ago, but had to pull out with an injury. At long last, the cards lined up for them to meet at UFC 213, and Font made sure Andrade was worth the wait.

“This was a huge fight for me,” Font told MMAjunkie. “He hasn’t lost in forever. The guy’s 24-1. He had a lot of experience. He’s been there, done that, so this was a big fight for me.”

Now that he has back-to-back wins, Font is starting to look higher up the bantamweight charts for his next opponent.

“I think Pedro Munhoz would be a great fight for me,” he said. “Anybody in the top 10, for sure. But I think Pedro would be a great name for me.”

Check out the video above for more from Font after his win over Andrade.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rob Font (red gloves) fights Douglas Silva de Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/5CEYMYpt8PowNkE96a7Bi9/258152", customAnalytics: true, title: "Font def. Andrade", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

After big KO win in debut at UFC 213, Trevin Giles heading back to middleweight

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LAS VEGAS – Trevin Giles’ promotional debut at UFC 213 was all about new experiences.

For starters, Giles was fighting up a weight class at light heavyweight when he took on James Bochnovic. And then there was the way Giles (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) put Bochnovic (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) away with a massive knockout in the second round.

Although he had three prior knockouts on his record, they were all TKOs and he said he never had seen an opponent go completely out before. Things were bad enough for Bochnovic, a training partner of UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell, that he left T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on a stretcher after he and Giles opened the card on UFC Fight Pass before the rest of the prelims on FS1 and the main card on pay-per-view.

“It felt horrible – I didn’t like to see him like that,” Giles said backstage after the fight. “He’s a very nice guy. I hope he’s fine. He didn’t look too good. I feel worried for him, so I hope he’s doing good. Actually seeing him go out like that was a new experience for me.”

Giles, from Texas, said he’ll be going back to his natural middleweight home when he has his sophomore effort in the UFC at some point down the road. At 185 pounds, the 24-year-old was 9-0 when he got the call to fight Bochnovic on short notice at UFC 213.

But at middleweight, the finisher believes he’ll be able to get some things done in his new promotional home.

“When I drop back down, I think my cardio’s going to be even better,” Giles said. “I think I’m going to have more energy, I’m going to be faster. I was a bit heavy in there – we got to fight at 205 (pounds). I felt great because I didn’t have to weight cut, but I’ll be dropping down, and I think I’m going to be matching up great with a bunch of those guys – all of them.”

A 10-0 start to his MMA career, and a huge first fight in the UFC with a knockout win isn’t too shabby of a beginning for a guy who was only training MMA to get in shape for football tryouts.

To hear that story, check out the video with Giles above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) fights James Bochnovic (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Trevin Giles (red gloves) looks on as James Bochnovic (not pictured) is attended to for medical reasons during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Bochnovic (blue gloves) is attended to as Trevin Giles (red gloves) looks on during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Bochnovic (blue gloves) is attended to after being injured while fighting Trevin Giles (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Bochnovic (blue gloves) is helped onto a stretcher after being injured while fighting Trevin Giles (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Bochnovic (blue gloves) is helped onto a stretcher after being injured while fighting Trevin Giles (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Bochnovic (blue gloves) is carried out of the ring on a stretcher after being injured while fighting Trevin Giles (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Bochnovic (blue gloves) is carried out of the ring on a stretcher after being injured while fighting Trevin Giles (not pictured) during UFC 213 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/QWaM3TVC3asrnYiDDBeYJ6/258154", customAnalytics: true, title: "Giles def. Bochnovic", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Aleksei Oleinik says finish of Travis Browne at UFC 213 was big – but not his biggest

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LAS VEGAS – Aleksei Oleinik’s win over Travis Browne on Saturday was big. It was really big.

But it might not have been the biggest of his career, he said.

Oleinik (52-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) got into a heavyweight slugfest with Browne (18-7-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) to close out the UFC 213 preliminary card on FS1 ahead of the pay-per-view main card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Browne had the Russian hurt early, but Oleinik turned the tables.

Ultimately, he was able to get Browne to tap in the second round. Winning by submission is certainly no surprise for Oleinik – it was his 42nd tap victory in 52 wins. And even though he’s become known for finishing opponents with an Ezekiel choke, he had to settle for a more garden variety rear-naked choke, though it was slightly modified.

RelatedUFC President Dana White says Travis Browne should retire after UFC 213 loss

Perhaps more importantly, though, was essentially tricking Browne into thinking he wanted to stand and trade.

“I was thinking of doing that,” Oleinik said through a translater after his win. “If you want to fight someone and get your opponent confused, you have to tell them the opposite. I wanted to do something he wasn’t expecting. … Today, I tried the (Ezekiel choke) three, four, five times, but Travis is very high level.”

Browne was a 3-1 favorite in the fight despite having lost three straight going into the bout. Just a few short years ago, Browne was fighting Fabricio Werdum as a favorite in a No. 1 contenders fight to get a shot at the heavyweight title. And it’s been mostly downhill for Browne since a loss to Werdum.

Still, he’s one of the division’s biggest established names, so a skin like his for Oleinik might do wonders for rising in the UFC’s heavyweight division, even more than 60 fights into his career. That said, Oleinik believes his win over Mirko Filipovic in November 2013 before he came to the UFC was bigger.

“I think this is one of the biggest,” Oleinik said. “Not the biggest, but one of. I think Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ is bigger. He’s a legend. He may not be as strong as Travis, but he’s a legend.”

Oleinik believes his finish of Browne is going to send him up in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings, and at 4-1 in the promotion, he wants to contine to get big names like Browne standing across from him.

“I think I’m going to move up in the rankings, so I want to fight guys ahead of me – not down,” Oleinik said.

For more from Oleinik after his win over Browne, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Travis Browne (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Travis Browne (red gloves) fights Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Travis Browne (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Travis Browne (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Travis Browne (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Aleksei Oleinik (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Travis Browne (red gloves) during UFC 213 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/HAqqmkSQrHaA2nYg9DtgzQ/258150", customAnalytics: true, title: "Oleinik def. Browne", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Belal Muhammad regrets not getting finish of Jordan Mein at UFC 213

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LAS VEGAS – It was an interesting fight booking for Belal Muhammad when he got matched up against Jordan Mein at UFC 213.

Although Muhammad is more than a year older than Mein, he said he actually spent time watching the Canadian fight when he was early on in the sport. Mein had six years of experience under his belt by the time Muhammad made his pro debut in 2012.

On Saturday, Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) beat Mein (29-12 MMA, 3-4 UFC) by unanimous decision at UFC 213 in a preliminary-card bout on FS1 ahead of the main card on pay-per-view at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. That was a little surreal, perhaps.

“I used to watch him a lot when I was coming up in the game,” Muhammad said after the fight. “Just because he was young – he’s young, but he’s been in the game for a while. I used to always watch his fights because he’s exciting. It was that type of thing: ‘I’m across from Jordan Mein.'”

By a couple years ago, Mein had fought so often – nearly 40 times by the time he was 25 – that he retired from the sport. He came back, though, and Muhammad thinks he hasn’t looked the same as he was before.

Muhammad said he was expecting a little bit more of an offensive onslaught from Mein at some point, but that rush never came.

“I feel like he needs to get back mentally first,” Muhammad said, speculating that Mein perhaps wasn’t truly ready to be out of retirement. “… He needs to go back to the old Jordan. Maybe he’s not doing it for the right reasons now.”

Still, Muhammad may beat himself up for a while over not being able to finish the Canadian. While he’s happy to have his second straight win and third victory in four fights, he said a stoppage was in the cards – but didn’t happen.

“I trained really hard for this fight; I should’ve had the finish,” Muhammad said. “I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board and fix some things, but I’m just trying to get better every fight.”

For more from Muhammad after his win over Mein, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Jordan Mein (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Mein (red gloves) fights Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Jordan Mein (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Jordan Mein (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Belal Muhammad (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Jordan Mein (not pictured) during UFC 213 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/KTakjFzjHMHnh4t4v3xVfS/258148", customAnalytics: true, title: "Muhammad def. Mein", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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UFC 213 winner Chad Laprise explains why he called out 'spoon-fed' Mickey Gall

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LAS VEGAS – Immediately after beating Brian Camozzi at Saturday’s UFC 213, Chad Laprise joined the ever-growing list of men who want a stab at Mickey Gall.

Speaking to reporters backstage after the third-round TKO of Camozzi  (7-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC), Laprise (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) explained the reasoning behind the callout made in the octagon. Spoiler alert: It sounds a lot like the same one given by all the other fighters who have asked for Gall (4-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in their own speeches.

“He’s just been spoon-fed,” Laprise said after the FS1-televised welterweight bout at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. “He was on (the ‘Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight’) show. I had to work my way here. I went through ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ I won ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’

“This is my seventh fight in the UFC now. I fought all tough guys. Mickey Gall fought C.M. Punk and a reporter (Mike Jackson) who’d never had a fight in his life. I want to give him a test to fight a real guy. I have no disrespect against him – good on the kid. But come fight me and things will be different.”

RelatedUFC's Mickey Gall on surge of callouts: I hope all the 'idiots' keep saying my name

Laprise says the issue is not personal – and that Gall not only “seems like a good kid” but also possesses some skills of his own. But, ultimately, he doesn’t foresee a particularly tough night against him.

“Obviously, getting Mickey Gall is a long shot,” Laprise said. “Everybody wants to fight Mickey Gall. He’s one of the easiest guys, who has the biggest name.

“He’s not UFC level. He can beat lower-ranked guys. He’s OK. I’m sure he has decent jiu-jitsu. But he’s not a guy like me-level. He’s not a lot of guys that are in the welterweight division-level. Obviously, I’m not someone who wants to trash talk. I’m just saying, facts are facts.”

Laprise even has a time and location in mind: Sept. 9, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where UFC 215 is set to take place. And though he’s aware Gall may be a hard get, Ontario’s Laprise trusts he’s getting his home-country fight regardless.

“I am fighting there,” Laprise said. “It’s not confirmed, but I was barking at (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby from the side of the cage. I was already getting ready for a fight in Edmonton before I took this fight. That was the fight I was planning on happening.

“I saw that Camozzi’s opponent got hurt, so I right away called Sean. I said, ‘Listen, Sean. I’ll step in and take fight.’ He said sure. So I said, ‘But I’ll fight in Edmonton after.'”

That may end up working out perfectly, since Laprise remembers reading on social media that Gall – who’s been flying under the radar since a UFC on FOX 22 submission win over Sage Northcutt in December – was aiming for an end-of-summer return.

Laprise, who hadn’t fought since a TKO win over Thibault Gouti at last August’s UFC on FOX 21, says he was “chomping at the bit” to return after recovering from injury. He was so ready, in fact, that the short one-month camp for Camozzi ended up not being a problem.

“I’m healthy now,” Laprise said. “And I’ll fight tomorrow if I get another fight again.”

More realistically, however, the plan is to take a week off and get back to the gym to prepare for that UFC 215 spot he’s got his sights on.

To hear from Laprise himself, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC octagon girl Brittney Palmer during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) looks on prior to fighting Brian Camozzi (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) fights Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) is attended to after fighting Chad Laprise (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Brian Camozzi (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Brian Camozzi (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Laprise (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Brian Camozzi (not pictured) during UFC 213 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/m2ed29wJwb7o5MVGwKyYy4/258123", customAnalytics: true, title: "Laprise def. Camozzi", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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After UFC 213 win, Cody Stamann plans to tell his dad he's quitting the family business

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LAS VEGAS – Considering newcomer Cody Stamann had just eight days to prepare for UFC debut, he’s got a bright future with a full training camp.

“I was going to be on the UFC card in December, so I was taking the summer off,” Stamann (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) said backstage at T-Mobile Arena after outpointing Terrion Ware (17-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) on at UFC 213. “My performance, I would give it a 7 or an 8 (out of 10).

“I was talking to (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby in between rounds. I turned to him on the bench and was like, ‘Seven days, Sean? I’m 14-1. Can’t you give me eight weeks’ (notice)?”

As it turned out, Stamann is good at shifting focus. Two months out of the year, he works full-time in his family’s restoration business. It’s a job that affords him the ability to train mostly full-time, even though the summer months get busy.

He was in the middle of a big job when his manager called and told him he was fighting in the UFC next weekend.

“I was like, ‘Oh, (expletive) – are you serious?” he said. “All right, well, I’ll start doing medicals.”

Next time out, Shelby agrees he should get eight weeks to prepare. A full training camp without distractions might bump his self-score to 10.

Now that he’s a successful UFC fighter, heading back to work doesn’t sound like such a good idea.

“I’m going to walk into the stands, shake my dad’s (hand), give him a big kiss, and tell him I quit,” he said.

Check out the video with Stamann above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cody Stamann (red gloves) fights Terrion Ware (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/E9vEgSxZdcJFxfpEfQSiS6/257810", customAnalytics: true, title: "Stamann def. Ware", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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TUF 25 Finale's Jared Cannonier quit his job at FAA, so fighting on religious holiday was must

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LAS VEGAS – Jared Cannonier is putting his career first.

After many years of working for the government, he has quit his job at the Federal Aviation Administration, where he worked for eight years as an airway transportation systems specialist.

In many ways, his new full-time job as a UFC light heavyweight is perfect for his schedule. He gets to wake up and train, take a break, and then train again at night.

“It’s not fun working 10 hours a day and then going to try and train at night,” Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) told reporters backstage after beating newcomer and injury replacement Nick Roehrick (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) on the FS1-televised prelims of the TUF 25 Finale on Friday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The victory put Cannonier back in the win column after he took a massive step up in competition, facing onetime title challenger Glover Teixeira and losing via decision.

But not all of the schedule is conducive to Cannonier’s lifestyle. An offer to fight at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale came on the day of Shabbat, a day of rest and celebration for those of the Jewish faith.

Cannonier follows the tenants of Judaism without necessarily identifying as a practicing member of the religion. Still, he was hesitant to take the fight. But he wasn’t in a place to turn down the opportunity.

Hopefully, he doesn’t have to make that choice again.

“I would prefer never to fight on a Shabbat,” he said. “Maybe the next time they offer the fight on Shabbat, I’ll be like, ‘Nah, I can’t do it.’ But I needed the fight to quit my job.”

The good news is, Cannonier is well-compensated for his work. He said with his win over Roehrick, he’s already made enough to live for the rest of the year. Another two fights, he said, “and that’s just extra.”

And for complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) reacts after defeating Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; (Editors Note: Graphic Content) Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; (Editors Note: Graphic Content) Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Jared Cannonier (red gloves) fights Nick Roehrick (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; Nick Roehrick (blue gloves) reacts after losing to Jared Cannonier (not pictured) fights during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nick Roehrick (blue gloves) reacts after losing to Jared Cannonier (not pictured) fights 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/4ZKNouoomcQD8kQSUDyzPG/257740", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cannonier def. Roehrick", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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James Krause undecided on 155 or 170 pounds, will go where fun fights await

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LAS VEGAS – Semifinalist James Krause may not have gotten that fat $290,000 check but, the way he sees it, he’s not walking away from “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” empty-handed.

In a season of “TUF” alumni looking for new chances at a UFC careers Krause stood out as the only cast member who still had an active UFC contract. Krause had a solid run until Jesse Taylor – who went on to become the season winner – took him out of the running with a guillotine choke in the third round of their semifinal-round bout.

Krause (24-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) wound up hospitalized with a bad staph infection after the show, but he still had enough time to recover before the finale on Friday – and earn a unanimous-decision win over fellow semifinalist Tom Gallicchio (19-10 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

RelatedTUF 25 Finale results: James Krause sweeps gritty 'TUF' roommate Tom Gallicchio

Sure, Krause didn’t take the “TUF” crown. But that wasn’t the only thing he had in mind when he took on a challenge that, both career-wise and financially, he didn’t really have to take.

“I know the best fighter doesn’t always win that show; it’s been proven time and time again,” Krause told reporters after the FS1-televised preliminary-card welterweight scrap at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “And the No. 1 pick, all that (expletive), that all goes out the window. None of it matters there. That show is a different beast.

“I went in that show with goals and aspirations, regardless if I won or lost. I’m definitely taking advantage of those. I’m getting a lot of opportunities, I’m getting a lot of exposure. I mean, look at you (reporters) right here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a line like this, ever, outside of any of my other wins. So my goal is accomplished.”

Moving forward, Krause is not yet sure where his octagon road will take him – or even in which division it might take place. A habitual 155-pounder, he competed both in the house and at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale as a welterweight. And, even with the pounds his hospital stint helped shed, he still had some cutting to do.

That’s not to say he’s done with making the lightweight limit. It’s all going to depend on the type of competition made available. And by that, he doesn’t mean well-ranked or title-ready types. Krause just wants risk-takers who are as invested in finishing him as he is in finishing them.

“(Lightweight) is difficult and (welterweight) is not hard, but it’s not easy either, so I don’t really know,” Krause said. “I think we’re going to try one at 170. I talked to Sean, and I said ‘Hey man, give me some fun matchups. Don’t give me some bull(expletive)-ass wrestler that’s going to try to lay on me. Give me fun. I’m an entertainer.’

“I don’t give a (expletive) about rankings, titles. You guys can criticize me all you want. I don’t care about that (expletive). I want to make money, and I want to entertain. If that means me climbing up the ladder on the way, then let’s do it. I want to be on fun fights.”

As for who could give him those scraps, Krause won’t point out specific names (“Man, that’s your guys’ job,” he said). He just wants to entertain. So much so that the jiu-jitsu black belt has adjusted his style to fit what he sees as the casual fans’ preference for striking battles.

Which, he clarifies, doesn’t mean ground fighters can’t put on exciting displays. He’s sure the right opponents are out there. Either way, Krause just wants to showcase some “crazy (expletive).”

“Anybody that likes to strike, anybody that’s exciting to watch,” Krause said. “Those are the guys I want to fight.”

And what happens should he get his wish – but ends up getting his current three-fight winning streak snapped in the process?

“I don’t give a (expletive),” Krause said. “I’ve been beat up in front of millions of people for. I don’t give a (expletive), bro. That’s the thing, that’s what makes me dangerous – I don’t care if I win or lose. I don’t need this (expletive). My paycheck’s coming in regardless, bro.”

To hear Krause’s full scrum, check out the video above.

And for more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC octagon girl Vanessa Hanson carries a round number card during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; (Editors Note: Graphic Content) James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; (Editors Note: Graphic Content) James Krause (red gloves) fights Tom Gallicchio (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; (Editors Note: Graphic Content) James Krause (red gloves) and Tom Gallicchio (blue gloves) embrace after their bout during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; James Krause (red gloves) reacts after defeating Tom Gallicchio (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/kSnrER2PAycc8ag82UqQSM/257640", customAnalytics: true, title: "Krause def. Gallicchio", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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TUF 25 Finale's Jordan Johnson: 'No reason to go out of first gear' against Marcel Fortuna

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LAS VEGAS – It may not look like it by his post-fight interview, but Jordan Johnson is happy.

And, of course, the light heavyweight has every reason to be. By beating Marcel Fortuna (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) via unanimous decision at Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) expanded his still-undefeated pro record, got his win money and now holds two UFC victories in a division that’s hungry for new blood.

So, yes, Johnson is happy. Which doesn’t mean he’s entirely satisfied with his display. Not that he doesn’t think he won decisively – in fact, he can’t even see why all three judges would have scored it a 29-28.

RelatedTUF 25 Finale results: Jordan Johnson stays unbeaten, outworks Marcel Fortuna for decision

“He did not win a round; he didn’t do anything in that fight,” Johnson said after Friday’s FS1-televised main-card opener, which took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

It’s just that, considering that his opponent didn’t present him with a single surprise, he thinks he could have done even better.

“Not to dog on him, but it was an easy fight,” Johnson said. “There was no reason to go out of first gear. So I just stayed in first gear. I just kept doing what I was doing. There was really no reason to crank it up. Because I could just do what I was doing and win the fight.

“Maybe if I could go back, maybe would’ve cranked it up a little bit. I just kind of went in there, and I just wanted to fight. Maybe, looking back, I’ll watch the tape. Probably should’ve just cranked it up and just gone in there and whooped his ass. Which I did do, but just whooped it worse.”

Regardless, it was a win – and one at the high-profile International Fight Week. And while the added flair of the stage doesn’t really matter to the seemingly blasé Johnson, he does understand he’s in a division that allows for rapid growth opportunity.

Which is why, after adding a second straight win to his unblemished record, he’s already started to “bull(expletive)” around with his coaches and management to figure out the best route to the title.

“We’re going to figure out the next step that’s going to get me to the title shot, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Johnson said.

As for who might provide him with that next step, Johnson remained cryptic. He did remind everyone that he’s quite active on social media, though, so you might want to stay tuned for news on that front.

To hear Johnson himself, check out the video above.

And for more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) fights Marcel Fortuna (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; Jordan Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Marcel Fortuna (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/RRuAohCY7hvymYXj9Zw8kj/257662", customAnalytics: true, title: "Johnson def. Fortuna", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Dana White says Max Holloway likely gets ex-UFC champ Frankie Edgar next

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It sounds like Max Holloway’s first title defense as an undisputed champion will come against a former champ.

UFC President Dana White told KHON-2 in Holloway’s (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) home state of Hawaii that “Blessed” is likely to take on former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) sometime later this year for his first challenge as featherweight champion. But the UFC boss did not elaborate on when or where the fight might take place.

“We’re looking at Frankie Edgar, but we don’t know where,” White said. “Absolutely (before the end of the year).”

RelatedDana White would love to bring UFC to Hawaii for champ Max Holloway, but ...

Holloway won the UFC’s interim featherweight title this past December with a dominant win over former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis at UFC 206. At UFC 212 in June, he unified the title with a third-round knockout of Jose Aldo (27-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) in Brazil.

After that, Holloway said he wanted a pay raise. With his wins over Pettis and Aldo, one certainly would be warranted if he took out another former champ in Edgar.

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Edgar lost the lightweight title to Benson Henderson five and a half years ago. He couldn’t regain it in a rematch, then dropped to featherweight and went after Aldo. He lost that title fight, as well, for a three-bout skid.

After five straight wins over Charles Oliveira, B.J. Penn, Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes, Edgar got another shot at Aldo at UFC 200 a year ago, but again lost. He has rebounded with wins over Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez, though, to put himself right back in the mix.

Although not yet announced, the UFC is planning a November return to Madison Square Garden in New York City, not far from Edgar’s New Jersey stomping grounds. And that could make an ideal setting for what would be his third shot at a 145-pound title. Over the course of a UFC career that has stretched more than 10 years, Edgar has had eight title fights and is 3-4-1 in those bouts.

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

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; General view of the arena for the fight between Jose Aldo (red gloves) Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) and Max Hollway (blue gloves) touch gloves before the fight during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/B84CQRWMH4V4dxLzmg3uQL/258141", customAnalytics: true, title: "Holloway def. Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Justin Gaethje and TUF 25 Finale's other winning fighters?

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Former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje put on another masterpiece of violence on Friday at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, living up to the hype in every way imaginable in his main event bout with Michael Johnson.

Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) delivered arguably the most memorable performance of his career when he stopped Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) with strikes in the second round of the lightweight bout, which aired on FS1 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Early prelims streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Although Gaethje’s victory was the most significant on the card, several others earned important wins, as well, including new “TUF 25: Redemption” champ Jesse Taylor (31-15 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who closed the door on the latest season of the reality series with a submission finish in the co-headliner.

Also on the main card, Drakkar Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Jared Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), Brad Tavares (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Jordan Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) added another tally to their win columns.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jordan Johnson

Darren Stewart

Should fight: Darren Stewart
Why they should fight: Some intriguing new blood has revealed itself in the UFC lightweight heavyweight in recent months, and Johnson is certainly part of that group after his unanimous decision win over Marcel Fortuna.

Johnson admitted his performance lacked in significant action, but considering his inexperience in the sport, 15 minutes of hard-fought time in the octagon can’t hurt his development. Johnson brings a solid wrestling pedigree and a growing striking game into his fights, and if he keeps adding to his skillset, there’s a promising future ahead.

The undefeated 28-year-old needs several more fights against a somewhat even level of competition before he gains consideration for a truly noteworthy matchup, and with same number of pro fights, Stewart (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) would be a fair booking for both.

Brad Tavares

Sam Alvey

Should fight: Winner of Sam Alvey vs. Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 114
Why they should fight: More than seven years after making his UFC debut, Tavares added a 10th octagon victory to his resume when he defeated fan-favorite Elias Theodorou by unanimous decision.

Tavares was just a step ahead of “The Ultimate Fighter: Nations” winner Theodorou throughout the middleweight bout, and it led to his third victory in his past four fights. The Hawaiian has only lost to notable names throughout his UFC tenure, and even then, he makes his opponents work hard for it.

Still just 29, Tavares has potential to make noise at 185 pounds and has once again put himself in position to do just that. The winner of the UFC Fight Night 114 bout between Alvey (30-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Evans (19-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) on Aug. 5 isn’t ranked or on a big winning streak, but he will carry name value, which could help an underrated fighter like Tavares get more attention.

Jared Cannonier

Gokhan Saki

Should fight: Gokhan Saki
Why they should fight: Cannonier did what he was supposed to against an opponent who stepped in as an injury replacement on just three days’ notice when he defeated UFC newcomer Nick Roehrick by third-round TKO.

Cannonier’s vast striking arsenal was way too much for Roehrick to handle with essentially no preparation time. It was an important, confidence-building performance after Cannonier was blown out of the water against Glover Teixeira in his biggest fight to date at UFC 208 in February.

To make things even better, Cannonier came to his post-fight interview with a plan in mind. In an outside-the-box callout, he offered to welcome world renowned kickboxing champion Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who signed with the promotion earlier this year.

The callout was met with instant excitement, and despite the fact Saki has essentially no MMA experience, he said he wants tough fights right away. Cannonier will oblige in exactly the type of fight the Dutch striker wants, and there’s no doubt it would be a fan-pleasing affair. Moreover, Saki said he’s interested.

Sorry for the late response, had to google this guy first. I didnt know the UFC had Kamikaze fighters #ufc

— Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) July 8, 2017

Like the worst decision in life. Why the fuck does a Suzuki want to race a Ferrari?

— Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) July 8, 2017

Drakkar Klose

Alan Patrick

Should fight: Alan Patrick
Why they should fight: The most heated grudge match on the card went in favor of Klose when he surprised highly touted prospect Marc Diakiese with a split-decision win.

There was a ton of tension and trash talk between the competitors prior to their encounter. Most expected it to be another showcase fight for Diakiese, but Klose had other plans and put in a superior work rate to hand the Brit his first career loss.

Klose’s confidence and relentless style will likely aid him to a successful UFC career, and while it’s not to discredit his performance, one of the primary narratives coming out of the fight is whether there was too much hype behind Diakiese.

He should get a chance to prove that’s not the case, though, and in the loaded 155-pound division, there’s no shortage of fighters capable revealing how good Klose really is. Patrick (14-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is coming off consecutive wins and has been tested over his multiple years as a UFC fighter. His mix of his experience and skillset would help further reveal Klose’s ceiling.

Jesse Taylor

Belal Muhammad

Should fight: Belal Muhammad
Why they should fight: Taylor completed the ultimate redemption story when he captured “The Ultimate Fighter 25” crown with a second-round submission of Dhiego Lima to claim a $290,000 prize.

Taylor’s journey from getting kicked off Season 7 of “TUF” just before the finals due to some careless antics to winning Season 25 is well documented, and his journey is nothing short of impressive.

“JT-Money” wants to make his mark on the UFC roster, but in a deep welterweight division it’s not going to be easy. Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) scored a quality decision win over Jordan Mein at UFC 213 the night after Taylor’s performance, and his game would be an interesting test for the latest “TUF” winner.

Justin Gaethje

Should fight: Al Iaquinta
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Gaethje should fight Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Michael Johnson (red gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) moves to the octagon to fight Justin Gaethje (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) gestures before his bout with Michael Johnson (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) does a backflip off the top of the octagon fence after defeating Michael Johnson (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) does a backflip off the top of the octagon fence after defeating Michael Johnson (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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/zs7EHJWoebxPiYh7EWasJc/258134", customAnalytics: true, title: "Gaethje def. Johnson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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UFC 213 post-event facts: Robert Whittaker is a bonus machine

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After 44 fighters walked to the octagon during the UFC’s sixth annual “International Fight Week” festivities, Robert Whittaker closed the show when he claimed the interim UFC middleweight title in Saturday’s UFC 213 main event.

Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) defeated Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) by unanimous decision in the pay-per-view headliner, which followed prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, closing a weekend with 22 fights across two events.

For more on the numbers to come out of Whittaker’s victory, as well as the rest of the competitors on the card, check below for 45 post-event facts to come out of UFC 213.

* * * *

General

The Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $182,500.

Whittaker, Romero, Chad Laprise and Rob Font earned $50,000 UFC 213 fight-night bonuses.

Debuting fighters went 2-2 on the card.

UFC 213 drew an announced attendance of 12,834 for a live gate of $2.4 million.

Betting favorites went 10-1 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:24:45.

Main card

Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker

Whittaker became the first New Zealand-born fighter in UFC history to win a championship.

Whittaker improved to 7-0 since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in November 2014.

Whittaker’s seven-fight UFC winning streak in middleweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Whittaker’s eight-fight UFC winning streak is tied for the sixth longest active streak in the company behind Jon Jones (13), Demetrious Johnson (12), Georges St-Pierre (12), Max Holloway (11) and Tony Ferguson (nine).

Whittaker’s 74 significant strikes landed marked the most of his UFC career.

Whittaker has earned five of his 10 UFC victories by decision.

Whittaker has earned a fight-night bonuses in six of his past eight UFC appearances.

Romero had his eight-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since September 2011.

Romero suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum

Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC earned just the fifth decision victory of his career. Three of those have come during his UFC career.

Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) fell to 8-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2012.

Werdum fell to 3-2 in rematch or trilogy bouts during his career.

Werdum has suffered five of his seven career losses by decision.

Curtis Blaydes (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) earned the first decision victory of his career.

Daniel Omielanczuk (19-8-1 MMA, 4-5 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

Omielanczuk has suffered seven of his eight career losses by decision.

Anthony Pettis

Anthony Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) was successful in his return to the lightweight division after a two-fight stint at featherweight.

Pettis earned his first decision victory since Oct. 8, 2011 – a span of 2,100 days (nearly six years) and 10 fights

Jim Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC) fell to 4-6 in his past 10 UFC appearances.

Douglas Silva de Andrade (24-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) fell to 2-2 in his past four fights after starting his career on a 23-fight unbeaten streak.

De Andrade fell to 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC bantamweight division in February 2015.

De Andrade suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Preliminary card

Aleksei Oleinik and Travis Browne

Aleksei Oleinik (52-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has earned all four of his UFC victories by stoppage.

Oleinik has earned 42 of his 52 professional victories by submission.

Travis Browne (18-7-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since January 2016.

Browne fell to 2-6 overall in his past eight UFC appearances dating back to April 2014.

Browne suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Chad Laprise

Chad Laprise (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC welterweight division. He earned his first victory in the weight class since April 2014.

Laprise improved to 2-0 in the UFC welterweight division.

Brian Camozzi (7-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered both of his career stoppage losses by knockout.

Thiago “Marreta” Santos (15-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC) has earned six of his seven UFC victories by knockout.

Santos’ six knockout victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (eight), Michael Bisping (seven) and Chris Leben (seven).

Gerald Meerschaert (26-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Belal Muhammad

Belal Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has earned eight of his 12 career victories by decision.

Jordan Mein (29-12 MMA, 3-4 UFC) fell to 0-2 since he returned from retirement in December.

Trevin Giles (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned nine of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

James Bochnovic (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his nine-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since his MMA debut in August 2014.

Bochnovic suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) celebrates after fighting Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) celebrates after fighting Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) is awarded the belt from UFC president Dana White after defeating Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/yqLJdA8di6FKJk8FTie845/258118", customAnalytics: true, title: "Whittaker def. Romero", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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TUF 25 Finale post-event facts: Justin Gaethje extends winning streak in high-volume debut

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The UFC’s sixth annual “International Fight Week” festivities kicked off on Friday with The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, which took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The lightweight main event produced one of the most memorable fights of the year, with Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) making a huge impression in his UFC debut. “The Highlight” and Michael Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) combined for an astonishing 195 signifiant strikes landed before Gaethje scored a TKO in the closing seconds of the second round.

Gaethje’s performance stole the show, but there were several others who delivered noteworthy efforts, as well. For more, check out 45 post-event facts to come out of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale.

* * * *

General

The Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $122,500.

Debuting fighters went 1-2 at the event.

Johnson and Tecia Torres earned $50,000 TUF 25 Finale fight-night bonuses. Gaethje received two bonuses for $100,000.

The TUF 25 Finale drew an announced attendance of 6,308 for a live gate of $432,495.

Betting favorites went 8-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:18:32.

* * * *

Main card

Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson

Gaethje extended his winning streak to 18 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat in his nearly six-year career.

Gaethje’s 18-fight MMA winning streak is third longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24) and Jimmie Rivera (19).

Gaethje had earned 16 of his 18 career victories by stoppage.

Gaethje has earned 15 of his 16 career stoppage victories by knockout.

Gaethje became the first to earn two fight-night bonuses for one bout since Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 101 in November.

Johnson fell to 1-4 in his past five fights dating back to August 2015.

Johnson suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Jesse Taylor

Jesse Taylor (31-15 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was successful in his return to UFC competition. He lost his lone previous octagon appearance in July 2008.

Taylor has earned 17 of his 22 career stoppage victories by submission.

Dhiego Lima (12-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) was unsuccessful in his return to the UFC for a second stint. He hasn’t earned an octagon victory since November 2014.

Lima has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage.

Lima suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Drakkar Klose

Drakkar Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned both of his UFC victories by decision.

Marc Diakiese (12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) had his 12-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his professional career.

Jared Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) improved to 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC light-heavyweight division in December.

Cannonier has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Cannonier has earned both of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Nick Roehrick (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his seven-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his pro career.

Brad Tavares

Brad Tavares (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) has earned his past eight UFC victories by decision. His last stoppage win was a first-round knockout of Phil Baroni at UFC 125 in January 2011.

Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

Jordan Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned his past three victories by decision after opening his career with five consecutive stoppages.

Marcel Fortuna (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Angela Hill

Angela Hill (7-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) improved to 1-1 since she returned to the UFC for a second stint in February.

Hill improved to 5-1 since her initial release from the UFC in late 2015.

Hill has earned both of her UFC victories by decision.

Ashley Yoder (5-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered all three of her career losses by decision.

James Krause

James Krause (24-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) was successful in his UFC welterweight debut.

C.B. Dollaway (16-8 MMA, 10-8 UFC) snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since May 2014.

Dollaway was successful in his UFC light-heavyweight debut.

Dollaway improved to 5-4 in his past nine UFC appearances.

Ed Herman (24-12 MMA, 11-8 UFC) fell to 1-2 since he returned to the light-heavyweight division in January 2016.

Tecia Torres

Torres’ (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) five victories in UFC strawweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Torres earned the first stoppage victory of her career.

Juliana Lima (9-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) suffered the first submission loss of her career.

Gray Maynard

Gray Maynard (13-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) improved to 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in July 2016.

Maynard has earned his past 10 UFC victories by decision. He is the first fighter in UFC history to earn 10 wins with the organization without a stoppage, breaking his own record of nine.

Maynard’s 11 takedowns landed tied the record for most in a UFC/WEC featherweight fight.

Maynard’s 11 takedowns landed marked a personal best in his UFC career. His previous high was nine against Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 13.

Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) has suffered both of his UFC losses by decision.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Michael Johnson (red gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) moves to the octagon to fight Justin Gaethje (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) gestures before his bout with Michael Johnson (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) does a backflip off the top of the octagon fence after defeating Michael Johnson (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) does a backflip off the top of the octagon fence after defeating Michael Johnson (not pictured) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (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; Michael Johnson (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at T-Mobile Arena. 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Why Yoel Romero is surprisingly upbeat – and why 'the game isn't over' – despite title loss

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LAS VEGAS – It didn’t happen this time, but Yoel Romero hasn’t given up hope of becoming a UFC champion.

Romero came somewhat close to gold on Saturday after putting fellow UFC 213 headliner Robert Whittaker in a tight spot early on with some vicious low side kicks. Whittaker, however, weathered through the early adversity en route to a unanimous-decision win. With his efforts, came the UFC’s interim middleweight title.

The tough loss in such a big pay-per-view headliner would’ve been enough to bring any man down. But showing that it’s not just his physique that borders on the superhuman, Romero showed up at the post-event press conference in seemingly good spirits.

RelatedUFC 213 video highlights: Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero

So, after nearly 20 minutes of patiently fielding questions from reporters with the help of an interpreter, the question arose: What’s behind Romero’s unwavering positive attitude?

“Very simple: All of us who are here, we’re healthy,” Romero said backstage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “I’m healthy. I’m doing what I love. I’m doing what helps my family. I’m learning. In spite of being 40, I feel like a pioneer in this sport. I’ll keep going.”

This was Romero’s first loss in almost six years. It was also only the second setback of his entire career, after being knocked out by the much larger Rafael Cavalcante in a 2011 Strikeforce fight. After joining the UFC, Romero went on an eight-fight winning streak and recently knocked out ex-champs Lyoto Machida and Chris Weidman – with a split call over fellow contender Ronaldo Souza in between.

And he came relatively close to adding yet another victim to his extensive list with Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC). After some early success with low kicks – which the Aussie later admitted put him in some real trouble – Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) seemed ahead on the scorecards. Until, in Round 3, he significantly slowed down.

Romero will sit down with his team and review the footage to see exactly what went wrong. But he said that the cardio – commonly pointed out as the biggest weakness of his game – was not it. In fact, Romero said he didn’t feel particularly tired and doesn’t really see any mistakes made strategy-wise.

RelatedTwitter reacts to Robert Whittaker's interim title win over Yoel Romero at UFC 213

Giving Whittaker the fourth round, Romero said, was part of the game plan to make a strong comeback in the fifth. The way he sees it, that was working until the final minute of the fight. His focus is now figuring out how exactly he ended up on the floor, which made way for Whittaker’s final flurry.

“I have to review the video, and I really need to see how I fell in the last minute of the last round,” Romero said. “If that wouldn’t have happened, more than likely I’d have the belt sitting right here in front of me.”

One question that came up was why he didn’t continue attacking Whittaker’s leg after it proved to be so effective early on. Romero, in turn, said he was not oblivious to the damage he was causing. But it’s not like Whittaker didn’t have a say in how the fight unfolded.

“Yes, of course (I wanted to keep it going), but he wasn’t giving me the opportunity,” Romero said. “Every time I tried to do the same side kick to the knee, he would switch his legs. And I was running the risk of remaining inside his guard (and) within reach of his hands.”

While Saturday’s outcome wasn’t exactly what he expected, Romero has an optimistic outlook on the future.

“The game isn’t over,” Romero said. “We’ve got a second part coming. To be continued.”

Now all signs indicate that newly crowned interim champ Whittaker will meet the undisputed titleholder, Michael Bisping, in a title-unifier. But, for a while after a matchup between Bisping and former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre was ruled out, Romero was the one slated to meet Bisping.

Bisping later revealed a knee injury, prompting Saturday’s interim affair to be scheduled. Whether that long-awaited meeting with the Brit ever comes to fruition, Romero can’t tell for sure. But hey, crazier things have happened.

“Well, if he beats Robert, I’m there,” Romero said. “Anyway, all paths are very mysterious, always. You never know what can happen tomorrow. Hey, you never know. Something may happen. (UFC President Dana White) might call me, and he might tell me, ‘Yoel, time to come get it.'”

Other than a few cuts to his face, and a pain in his left leg that he hopes isn’t serious, Romero feels healthy and prepared to get back on the horse soon. Among all the uncertainty of his next steps, he can tell you this: “I have a great conviction: I’m taking this title.”

To hear from Romero himself, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) celebrates after fighting Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) celebrates after fighting Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) is awarded the belt from UFC president Dana White after defeating Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/yqLJdA8di6FKJk8FTie845/258086", customAnalytics: true, title: "Whittaker def. Romero", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Ex-UFC champ Anthony Pettis: Lack of pressure key to bouncing back at UFC 213

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Anthony Pettis kept his career out of the danger zone on Saturday when he defeated Jim Miller at UFC 213 while resembling the fighter who once held the UFC lightweight title.

Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) had struggled since losing UFC gold in March 2015. He had dropped four of five leading up to UFC 213, and it included a miserable stint at featherweight that saw him miss weight before being stopped for the first time as part of an interim title bout with Max Holloway at UFC 206 in December.

“Showtime” moved back up to 155 pounds for the encounter with Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC), though, and he showed flashes of a return to form in the unanimous-decision win at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Pettis’ struggles caused some to write him off as a fighter who could be a relevant contender again. The losses in his drought came against elite competition in Holloway, Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez and Rafael dos Anjos, and while Pettis said he never lost faith, he said a regrouping stage to get his confidence back was key.

RelatedTwitter reacts to Anthony Pettis' blood-soaked victory over Jim Miller at UFC 213

“It wasn’t really doubt; it was just about getting that mental right,” Pettis said after his pay-per-view main-card bout. “Definitely you feel like, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ But I just stuck to it. … Just the win in general feels amazing. To be back in the lightweight division, the weight cut was amazing. I didn’t have to kill myself. I got to train the whole camp. It just felt good.”

Although Pettis didn’t deliver the highlight-reel finish some have come to expect due to his flashy style, he still got a convincing win against Miller, who holds a share of the record for most fights in UFC history and most lightweight victories in promotional history.

Pettis had Miller in trouble on more than one occasion, but he couldn’t secure a stoppage. He said it felt nice to let go with his offense more than in recent bouts, but felt there was still a lot more he could do.

RelatedTwitter reacts to Anthony Pettis' blood-soaked victory over Jim Miller at UFC 213

“The biggest thing was no pressure,” Pettis said. “I wasn’t fighting for a belt or a potential belt. I was just fighting to have fun and do what I do best. … It wasn’t my best performance, but I feel like against a guy like Jim Miller, I hit him with some big shots, and he stayed standing. So, props to Jim.”

Despite putting his body through a lot of stress and enduring some humiliation for missing weight at featherweight, Pettis said he wouldn’t change his decisions from the past. His pursuit to join the exclusive list of fighters to win UFC titles in two fight classes was not meant to be, he said, and now that he has that knowledge, Pettis can go all in at lightweight as he attempts to work toward a second reign.

“My goal was always to be a two-time champ,” Pettis said. “When I beat (Benson) Henderson, I called out (Jose) Aldo. But I know with my age and where I’m at, the weight cuts are ridiculous.

“I felt this way when I went on my title run. When I beat (Joe) Lauzon, (Donald) Cerrone, Henderson, all in the first round. I just felt confident in my skill set.”

For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) fights Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jim Miller (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Anthony Pettis (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) embraces Jim Miller (blue gloves) after their fight during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anthony Pettis (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Jim Miller (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/Re932Sy5yqfcPQtkFDX48m/258101", customAnalytics: true, title: "Pettis def. Miller", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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After interim title win that felt like the real thing, Whittaker is the fight Bisping needs

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Robert Whittaker was standing in the cage with one fully functional leg, and he couldn’t keep from laughing.

What was so funny? Oh, just his left knee. He’d hurt it in training for his bout against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, then tried hard to get it healed in time for Saturday night’s pay-per-view main event bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Moments into the fight, Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) stabbed at Whitaker’s left knee with a series of lunging kicks, and yep, there went that knee. Then Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) kept fighting on it for four more rounds, which would be impressive enough by itself. That he beat one of the world’s best middleweights on it, that’s something else.

“I thought it would be 100 percent by now,” Whittaker said in the cage after his unanimous-decision victory. “But the bastard kicked it and set it back weeks.”

RelatedUFC 213 video highlights: Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero

Did I mention he was laughing during all this? Because that seems important.

Same with his response to UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who took to the microphone to explain that he’d come in the cage to talk “(expletive),” but it was a great fight from both Romero and Whitaker, so he had to give them credit.

Then, of course, Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) went ahead and talked that (expletive) anyway, calling Whittaker a “poser” for wearing the interim title he’d just won, before throwing down his own belt in a gesture that made up for in vehemence what it lacked in internal logic.

Whittaker? He looked at Bisping’s belt there on the canvas, then looked back up at Bisping.

“Can I keep that?” he said.

Now it was our turn to laugh. This Whittaker guy, he can be funny when he wants to be. And when he’s opposite Bisping, who conducts himself like a cross between a pro-wrestling heel and a teen-movie bully (he actually ripped up the Cuban flag at cageside during Romero’s fight, because what’s a rivalry without some solid props), the combination has the potential to be a lot of fun.

RelatedRobert Whittaker: Mutual respect with Michael Bisping – but 'no mercy' in title-unifier

All of which is to say, remember that text message challenge that Georges St-Pierre reportedly issued to both Bisping and UFC President Dana White earlier this week? Yeah, forget that. Please. It was a nonsense fight to begin with, and now it feels even more unnecessary.

One way you can tell is by how important the Whittaker-Romero fight felt. Usually these interim title fights are a farce so obvious that even the UFC barely bothers to go through the motions of pretending that it’s really a championship affair. The winner gets a belt, sure, and that makes for more shiny jewelry to spruce up the event poster, but we all know those belts come cheap, and the interim variety is mainly useful as a token that can be redeemed for a shot at the real title.

This one was different. Whittaker and Romero were both accomplished enough middleweights that theirs felt like a fight to determine the true champion. Bisping might have the actual belt, but he has yet to defend it against an actual contender after more than a year of ownership, and he’d likely be a betting underdog against anyone in the top five right now.

RelatedTwitter reacts to Robert Whittaker's interim title win over Yoel Romero at UFC 213

His fight against Whittaker will be as much about solidifying his grip on the middleweight title as it will be about defending it. He took the belt fair and square, but he still has some convincing to do if he wants people to regard him as the champ.

In that sense, Whittaker is a gift. In his last three fights, he’s beaten Romero, Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. There’s not a more legit middleweight on the planet right now than the 26-year-old Whitaker, which might be why it’s so delightful to see him crack jokes while Bisping activates his own internal-feud-generation software.

The entire division needs this fight, and far more than it needs Bisping and St-Pierre to use each other as walking ATMs. Whittaker needs it, because it’s always unsatisfying when interim titles simply melt into real ones. And Bisping? He needs it most of all, as his antics after the fight reminded us.

Because when you go throwing down your belt at the feet of the man who’s fought his way to the top, you have to be careful that when the show is over you don’t pick up the replica belt by mistake.

For more on UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) celebrates after fighting Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) celebrates after fighting Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) is awarded the belt from UFC president Dana White after defeating Yoel Romero (red gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Yoel Romero (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 213 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/yqLJdA8di6FKJk8FTie845/258070", customAnalytics: true, title: "Whittaker def. Romero", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Former UFC champ Frank Mir announces release after 16 years with promotion

Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) looks on before his bout with Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Mark Hunt (red gloves) competes against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) receives attention after being knocked out by Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) stands in the ring during a heavyweight bout against Andrei Arlovski (not shown) at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 4, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Andrei Arlovski (left) and Frank Mir face off for for their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jul 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Frank Mir (red) enters the arena before his fight with Todd Duffee (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Antonio Silva (red gloves) fights against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) after defeating Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Antonio Silva (red gloves) fights against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) after defeating Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) before his fight against Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Frank Mir (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (not pictured) during UFC169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/RAJrc7J3W8UuKpA8h5ftNi/258084", customAnalytics: true, title: "Frank Mir", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Frank Mir’s historic UFC tenure came to an end on Saturday when the former two-time heavyweight champion announced his release from the organization.

Mir (18-11 MMA, 16-11 UFC), who debuted with the company at UFC 34 in November 2001 and has been part of the roster since, has been campaigning for his UFC release for quite a while after he was the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USDA) tagged him for a violation following a March 2016 fight with Mark Hunt.

The 27-fight octagon veteran was officially handed a two-year suspension retroactive to the date of the test, but has maintained his innocence. He listed numerous potential sources for the positive test, including eating kangaroo meat while in Australia for the fight with Hunt. However, he was still given a maximum punishment by USADA.

It took a while, but Mir finally got his wish to part ways with the company (via Twitter):

I have been granted my release from #UFC -I just posted this episode of my @phoneboothfight podcast talking details: https://t.co/5LwBmNwypx

— Frank Mir (@thefrankmir) July 8, 2017

At 38, Mir has expressed interest in continuing his career. He’s under USADA suspension until April 2018, but with no contractual ties to the UFC for the first time in more than 15 years, he’s free to compete for organizations that may not adhere to USADA’s oversight.

Mir leaves the UFC with numerous heavyweight records to his credit, including most fights (27), wins (16), stoppages (13) and submissions (eight). Although active UFC fighter B.J. Penn made his promotional debut prior to Mir, the former champion’s uninterrupted UFC tenure of 5,727 days is a record that may never be broken.

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


Filed under: News, UFC

UFC champ Amanda Nunes reveals 'chronic sinusitis' forced UFC 213 withdrawal

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has revealed the issue that forced his last-minute withdrawal from Saturday’s UFC 213 pay-per-view headliner.

According to the Brazilian, “chronic sinusitis” and its complications plagued her throughout fight week, and though she’s fought through it before, it was much too overcome this time, she wrote.

Just prior to UFC 213, which concluded the UFC’s annual International Fight Week, Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) pulled out of a rematch with Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC). In an initial statement, Nunes was light on details and wrote: “Sorry to all my true fans. The fight will be rescheduled and I will be back at 100%”

Today, she reaffirmed her desire for the matchup and offered some additional details.

“The fight is being rescheduled,” she wrote. “I still want this fight. I still want this opponent.

Here’s today’s full statement (via Twitter):

pic.twitter.com/kJci0LOnXU

— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) July 9, 2017

“Everyone is wanting to hear my side so here it is….. I have chronic sinusitis , I have fought with it before but this time It didn’t work out, during the weight cut I was unable to breath and felt off balance from the pressure in my sinuses. I was not feeling well enough to risk getting punched in the head with such pressure. I was taken to the hospital after weigh ins and they only checked my blood and dehydration so cleared me based on that. The next day I went back and they did a CT scan and found a build up and I was prescribed antibiotics and referred to a specialist. I have never pulled out of a fight before. I am sorry to all my fans that came out to see me, I’ll make it up to you the next time I step in the cage. The fight is being rescheduled. I still want this fight. I still want this opponent. Thank you”

In the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal, UFC President Dana White was less than sympathetic – even saying she “didn’t want to fight” – and said Nunes won’t again headline a show (though he said the same thing about Jon Jones, who headlines UFC 214 later this month). White said the Nunes-Shevchenko rescheduling/rematch is tentatively slotted for UFC 215 on Sept. 9, which takes place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Shevchenko, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s bantamweight rankings, said she felt No. 1-ranked Nunes “backed out” from the fight after botching her weight cut and recovery (watch the video above), though she obviously wasn’t aware of the details of Nunes’ issues at the time.

For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes during the match against Valentina Shevchenko (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko against Amanda Nunes (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (left) against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes during the match against Valentina Shevchenko (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes pins Valentina Shevchenko to the mat during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (right) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko lands a kick against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (top) against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (left) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (top) against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes lands punches against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko is pinned to the mat by Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko against Amanda Nunes (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (left) against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko moves in with a knee hit against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (right) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (right) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (right) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (left) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (right) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko lands a punch against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko (left) against Amanda Nunes during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko celebrates following her fight against Amanda Nunes (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes celebrates following the match against Valentina Shevchenko (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes react following their match during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko hugs Amanda Nunes following their match at UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes reacts following her victory by decision against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes is declared the winner by decision against Valentina Shevchenko during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Valentina Shevchenko against Amanda Nunes (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes celebrates following the match against Valentina Shevchenko (not pictured) during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-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/LejrtCkKj7fRqzy4fhMGkJ/258082", customAnalytics: true, title: "Nunes def. Shevchenko", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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