MMA Junkie News

Bellator Kickboxing's Kevin Ross: In muay Thai, unlike MMA, you'd never ask someone what his record is


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

OK, spoiler alert … Kevin Ross fought for the Bellator kickboxing featherweight title two weeks ago in California.

But tonight, you can see whether he won that belt or lost. We’ll give you a hint: It’s a great fight, and it was a split decision.

Bellator Kickboxing 7 took place alongside Bellator 183 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. But tonight, you can watch it as a tape delay following the Bellator 184 broadcast at roughly 11 p.m. ET on Spike.

Check out the video above for a feature on Ross from Bellator Kickboxing sponsor Monster in which Ross compares the differences between fighting as a kickboxer, as a muay Thai fighter, and as an MMA fighter.

“In Thailand, and in (muay) Thai boxing, you rarely ask people what their records are,” Ross said. “You just ask them how many fights they have – because it’s about the experience of the whole thing. It’s not whether you’re undefeated or any of those things that seem to be what people focus on these days. I think that’s what’s missing with a lot of fighters and a lot of organizations. They’re too focused on that aspect, when the fight itself should be the thing that gets the most emphasis. The fighters will get more out of that, as well as the fans.”

Ross brings excitement to the fans, for sure. And you can check that out tonight on Spike.

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


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

'UFC 216 Embedded,' No. 4: Kevin Lee resists the lure of cookies and chips


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

The UFC returns to Las Vegas this week, and the promotion has rolled out its “Embedded” treatment for a preview of Saturday’s UFC 216 event.

UFC 216, which features two title fights, takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

In the headliner, Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) takes on Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) for an interim lightweight title. The winner will stay in line for a potential unification bout against champion Conor McGregor.

In the co-main event, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) looks for a UFC-record 11th straight title defense when he meets challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC). That fight was pushed back from UFC 215 in September in Edmonton due to a Borg illness on fight day.

In the fourth episode of “Embedded,” Johnson goes suit shopping and visits an art store. Borg gets in a workout at the UFC Performance Institute. Derrick Lewis and Fabricio Werdum make their own arrivals. Ferguson tries on his new fight shorts, and Lee heads to a children’s hospital to visit with young cancer patients – where he is offered chips and cookies from basically the cutest kid ever.

Check out the full episode above.

Also see:

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis poses with his championship belt following a press conference after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Apr 18, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Derrick Lewis during a weigh-in for UFC on FOX 11 at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports Apr 19, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Derrick Lewis looks at Jack May after the referee stopped the fight in the first round of their heavyweight fight during UFC on FOX 11 at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis enters the octagon for a heavyweight fight against Guto Inocente (not pictured) at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) goes in for a blow to Guto Inocente (blue gloves) during a heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) takes down Guto Inocente (blue gloves) during a heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) celebrates his knockout victory over Guto Inocente (blue gloves) during the first round of a heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Derrick Lewis on the scale at the weigh-in for his fight at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during his Heavyweight bout against Ruan Potts (blue gloves) at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) after winning his Heavyweight bout at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) (not pictured) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) (not pictured) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) (not pictured) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights against Damian Grabowski (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Derrick Lewis throws a punch against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Derrick Lewis lands punches against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Derrick Lewis reacts following his knockout victory against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 7, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis lands a kick against Roy Nelson during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Graden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 7, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis lands a hit against Roy Nelson during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Graden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis prepares for a fight against Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis reacts after defeating Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis reacts after defeating Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Feb 18, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis is interviewed by former fighter Brian Stann before fighting against Travis Browne during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) kneels before entering the octagon to fight Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts before fighting Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after defeating Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after defeating Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis climbs the octagon fence after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after defeating Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis poses with his championship belt following a press conference after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/uMw5ZdDL39As4K83JJx5DV/276343", customAnalytics: true, title: "Derrick Lewis", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

UFC's Jeff Novitzky explains exemption for Kalindra Faria and Mara Romero Borella

A rule in the UFC’s anti-doping policy cost Andrea Lee her spot on UFC 216. Should the same have applied to her opponent, and the replacement who took her spot?

Lee (8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a first-time UFC fighter, was removed when it was discovered she had a previous anti-doping violation, which required her to enter the USADA drug testing pool for six months prior to fighting in the octagon.

Kalindra Faria (18-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Lee’s scheduled opponent, had no previous anti-doping violations. But as a UFC newcomer, it appeared she was subject to a rule requiring new fighters to be in the testing pool for one month. The same followed for Mara Romero Borella, the opponent who eventually replaced Lee. Yet both Faria and Boreal were exempted from the rule.

MMAjunkie reached out to UFC anti-doping partner USADA to clarify the situation. USADA deferred questions to UFC VP of Athlete Relations Jeff Novitzky, who said the UFC considers the new bout an injury replacement, despite the fact neither replaced an injured fighter.

“As Paige (VanZant) was injured, this fight really replaces the Paige vs. Jessica Eye fight,” Novitzky said. “So it fits under that criteria.”

Rule 5.7.6 of the UFC’s anti-doping policy indicates the exemption applies to the circumstance in which a fighter steps in for an injured fighter. An exemption is permitted “automatically” when a fighter “is named to a fight card as a replacement for an athlete who was withdrawn from the Fight Card due to loss of eligibility, injury or other event not reasonably foreseeable to UFC.”

But Novitzky said the rule is applied more broadly in cases in which an injury to one fighter causes an entire bout to be scrapped from the event, and a new bout is booked to replace it. As MMAjunkie previously reported, VanZant (7-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) withdrew from UFC 216 with a back injury. Eye (11-6 MMA, 1-5 UFC) declined to face Lee on short notice, opening up a spot on Saturday’s pay-per-view card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Novitzky said the UFC and USADA work together when short-notice replacements arise, with the promotion clearing details with the anti-doping agency “to make sure they have a comfort level that the circumstances fall under any given section in the policy.”

However, he added, the ultimate authority in whether an exemption is granted lies with USADA.

“We worked with USADA to put the rules together, but they are sole authority on enforcing the rules of the policy,” Novitzky said.

With injuries and last-minute withdrawals a constant in the UFC’s business, the exemption is part of a balancing act for the promotion. One one side, its goal is to have the most comprehensive anti-doping program in sports. On the other, it needs flexibility when it needs to fill fight cards.

The issue was brought into focus this past December when Angela Hill, a strawweight UFC veteran fighting for the all-female Invicta FC, was called up on short notice only to be scratched because of a four-month window required of returning athletes. Several UFC vets then complained the anti-doping program effectively shut them out, as short-notice fights are often the only chance for a return. The UFC eventually waived Hill’s testing window, arguing it was manifestly unfair to apply it.

The exemption has been a source of controversy, however. The promotion was embarrassed after it granted one to returning ex-champ Brock Lesnar, only to see him fail a drug test that was collected prior to a winning fight with Mark Hunt at UFC 200, but not reported until after the event.

In February, when the UFC and USADA revised the anti-doping policy, the one-month injury exemption was added, while the window for athletes returning from retirement was extended to six months. For the former, Novitzky said the intention of the rule was to provide a more level playing field to athletes who’d previously competed for the UFC without any anti-doping incidents and were released by the promotion for competitive reasons.

“We saw that that wasn’t really fair,” Novitzky said. “So we changed that scenario and added the scenario we’re talking about here.”

Novitzky admits the one-month exemption also exposes the promotion to more possible anti-doping issues. Without prior testing, it is relying on the assurances of fighters and managers who have little vested interest in telling the truth about drug use. But he points to “checks and balances” put in place as a deterrent.

One check, he said, is a comprehensive review process prior to a fight booking that checks fighters’ medical, legal and anti-doping history. In the case of Lee, he said, that process was underway when the media erroneously reported the fight was booked.

“The medical team will vet a fighter to make sure they’re medically cleared, and our legal team looks at immigration and code of conduct and criminal history, and my team as well,” he said.

Another is a new rule recently adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions to include USADA suspensions in an administrative database followed by all major athletic commissions.

“The commissions can choose what they want to do with that, but the reality is most reputable commissions are going to see those USADA suspensions and adhere to it,” he said. “And that’s good, because say in these last-minute injury replacements or other unforeseen reasons a fighter gets in there, knows they were doing something and says, ‘Hey, I want to fight anyway, this is my foot in the door.’ What’s more than likely going to happen is that fighter is tested fight night, comes back positive – now, not only are they going to be prevented from fighting in the UFC for an extended period of time, if not forever, but the odds of them returning to the regional or local show because of that suspension on the database are just diminished, as well. So it’s virtually career suicide.”

When a new UFC fighter is being considered as a short-notice replacement, Novitzky said UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard emphasize the consequences if the fighter is not clean.

“We’ve actually seen an uptick in recent instances where managers will tell Mick or Sean, ‘Ah, you know what, I think my guy’s good. He’s not interested,'” Novitzky said. “That’s a great thing. First and foremost, this program is in place to protect the UFC athletes and make our promotion healthier and safer.

“We’re starting to see that, that the trickle-down of information as far as what our program means to these local, regional fighters. Combined that with some of the advances in testing – we’re now seeing tests, and Jon Jones’ case being a perfect example, where chlorinated steroids, there’s now tests for metabolites that go out four to six months.

“I think what this means is that information is passing down to the aspiring UFC fighter that sees: ‘Hey, usually my foot in the door is that last-minute replacement. I never know when that call is coming, and if I’m doing anything within four to six months of that call coming, I’m screwed. I’m not going to be able to fight, and if I do, it’s one and done.’ I think really positive development.”

Of course, as with any program, it’s not perfect. The UFC has signed first-time fighters on short-notice, only to see them subsequently fail drug tests. Novitzky, though, defends the current policy as an effective compromise in regulatory oversight.

“The comprehensiveness and strength of the program is important, but it’s just as important to have fairness and due process,” Novitzky said. “I think a lot of these aspiring UFC fighters, their ability to have that foot in the door comes from these last-minute replacements. So to put something in place where we wouldn’t have the ability to do that wouldn’t be fair to them.

“Now, on the other side, there are those checks and balances. We don’t want want to put fighters in that are dirty. And so we have those checks and balances. But it’s clearly a balancing act.”

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Kevin Lee on near-miss at UFC 216 weigh-in: 'I ain't no bitch'

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

Kevin Lee provided a major scare today when he nearly missed weight for Saturday’s UFC 216 interim lightweight title fight and headliner against Tony Ferguson.

After coming in heavy for his first attempt, Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) managed to hit the championship 155-pound limit on his second try, which made his showdown with Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) official.

UFC 216 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass, official.

It was a dramatic few hours as the world watched closely to see if Lee would make weight. Once he did, he posted a blunt message – with a somewhat trollish hashtag – on Twitter:

Told y'all I ain't no bitch. #scaredyadidntI

— Kevin MTP Lee (@MoTownPhenom) October 6, 2017

I'm willing to die bout this shit. I got a title to win tomorrow. Nobody gonna stop me. #25toLife

— Kevin MTP Lee (@MoTownPhenom) October 6, 2017

Had Lee missed weight, he would have not cost himself not only 20 percent of his fight purse and a chance to win the interim 155-pound title – but he would have suffered the embarrassment that came with it.

At Thursday’s UFC 216 open workout, Lee stated that he still had 19 pounds to cut, and that was after eating some tiramisu. He somehow shed all that weight, but it remains to be seen what impact it will have on his performance:

With less than 24 hours until #UFC216 weigh-ins, Kevin Lee bragged (joked?) about eating tiramisu. More: https://t.co/Z8gSMhc8US pic.twitter.com/0DP3EaLFXr

— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) October 6, 2017

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) reacts after beating Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Al Iaquinta (red gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee celebrates his victory over Jon Tuck during a lightweight fight during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) celebrates his win over Michel Prazeres (left) during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee poses during weigh-ins for UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) reacts to fights against Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-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/NUEYhhB9cYaVsvwhUxSUdd/276316", customAnalytics: true, title: "Kevin Lee", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Coach: Don't like Kevin Lee's massive UFC 216 weight cut? Change the rules

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Don’t like Kevin Lee’s massive weight cut for UFC 216 – either for health or competitive reasons? Blame the rules, his coach says.

On Saturday in UFC 216’s pay-per-view headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) takes on Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) for the interim lightweight title.

But it almost didn’t happen.

Earlier this week, Lee said he had approximately 20 pounds to cut to make weight – which he did today. But only after he came in a pound heavy initially, got an extra hour to cut weight (with the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s doctor’s approval), and then hit 154.5 pounds while looking completely spent.

RelatedKevin Lee makes weight for UFC 216 after failing on 1st try; Tony Ferguson fight official

Was Robert Follis, his coach at Xtreme Couture, concerned about Lee’s plan for such a massive weight cut?

“No,” he said on Thursday, a day before the officials weigh-ins. “We’ve done this every camp. He’s a huge dude. And I would venture to say Tony’s probably not a lot smaller at this point.

“You’re talking about the big, big guys in this division. They all have tough weight cuts. Until we make a change in the rules, that’s going to be what it is. Until they add some weight classes or change how the weight cuts go, if you want to be a dominant force, you’re going to be pushing that envelope. And I don’t expect it to be a problem this week.”

Lee, who’s No. 8 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, benefited from some timing, other contenders’ injuries/schedules, and a seemingly legit rivalry with No. 3-ranked Ferguson to get his shot at an interim belt. However, a close call with his weigh-in nearly spoiled the title shot.

But Follis said he knew early on from working with Lee that he’s something special and is champion-material. It’s one reason he wasn’t concerned about the 25-year-old fighter’s massive weight cut possibly hindering his performance at UFC 216.

Why?

“I’ve worked with a lot of athletes over the years, and I’ve had guys coming up on 18 years in the UFC, and he’s one of the top athletes I ever worked with,” Follis said. “His mental strength is very good. Like he even said: Between rounds, he’s a very smart fighter. He’s able to listen, make adjustments, and go out there and put the corrections in on the fly.

“So I feel like we’ve earned this shot. This isn’t something that we’re in over our heads with. We’re very well prepared. We’ve been working for this since we started working together four years ago, and we expect to go out and win a belt.”

Check out the full scrum with Follis above.

And for more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) reacts after beating Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Al Iaquinta (red gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee celebrates his victory over Jon Tuck during a lightweight fight during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) celebrates his win over Michel Prazeres (left) during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee poses during weigh-ins for UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) reacts to fights against Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-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/NUEYhhB9cYaVsvwhUxSUdd/276256", customAnalytics: true, title: "Kevin Lee", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Kevin Lee initially misses weight for UFC 216, allotted 1 hour to lose 1 pound

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) came in heavy during today’s official UFC 216 weigh-ins at The Mirage in Las Vegas, tipping the scale at 156 pounds for his interim lightweight title fight with Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC).

Per Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett, Lee was cleared by a doctor to lose one pound and has one hour to do so, beginning at 11:15 a.m. PT (2:15 p.m. ET).

Lee wiped off the sweat from his head before stepping on the scale fully nude, covered by a towel. He appeared confident he’d made the 155 limit until it was announced he was over, at which point he looked genuinely confused.

On Thursday, Lee told reporters he needed to lose 19 pounds with under 24 hours to go until the weigh-ins.

UFC 216 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Stay tuned as this story develops.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) reacts after beating Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Al Iaquinta (red gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee celebrates his victory over Jon Tuck during a lightweight fight during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) celebrates his win over Michel Prazeres (left) during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee poses during weigh-ins for UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) reacts to fights against Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-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/NUEYhhB9cYaVsvwhUxSUdd/276250", customAnalytics: true, title: "Kevin Lee", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC 216 loses a featured prelim on eve of event

So much for that UFC 216 bout between Will Brooks and Nik Lentz.

Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC), lightweights who were scheduled to compete in one of the featured preliminary-card bouts at Saturday’s UFC 216 event, have been scratched from the card.

UFC officials today announced the cancellation, citing “medical issues” for Lentz. CombatPress.com first reported the scrapped bout.

Brooks had actually weighed in and successfully made weight before officials announced the cancellation.

RelatedUFC 216 early weigh-in results and live video stream

UFC 216 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Taking Lentz and Brooks’ slot on the FX prelims is a flyweight fight between Marco Beltran (8-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Matt Schnell (9-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC), which was originally slated to kick off the event. The fight was originally set to stream on UFC Fight Pass.

Lentz had been competed at featherweight up until two bouts ago, when he moved back up to lightweight. He was on a 3-1 run before a recent decision loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 208. Brooks, meanwhile, is a former Bellator champ who was hoping to get back in the win column following back-to-back UFC losses to Alex Oliveira and Charles Oliveira.

The latest UFC 216 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee – for interim lightweight title
  • Champ Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg – for flyweight title
  • Mara Romero Borella vs. Kalindra Faria
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Fabricio Werdum
  • Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham

PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Tom Duquesnoy vs. Cody Stamann
  • Marco Beltran vs. Matt Schnell
  • Poliana Botelho vs. Pearl Gonzalez
  • Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:45 p.m. ET)

  • Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris
  • Magomed Bibulatov vs. John Moraga
  • Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nik Lentz (red gloves) fights Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/FEBzrmQcHPKhhcDkGtjZVP/276266", customAnalytics: true, title: "Makhachev def. Lentz", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

UFC 216 staff picks: Does anyone dare pick against all-time great Demetrious Johnson?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Ferguson
vs.
Lee Johnson
vs.
Borg Lewis
vs.
Werdum Borella
vs.
Faria Dariush
vs.
Dunham MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 91-66
Ferguson
(80%)
Johnson
(90%)
Werdum
(62%)
Borella
(59%)
Dariush
(78%) Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 100-57
Lee
Johnson
Werdum
Faria
Dunham Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 100-57
2015 Champion
Ferguson
Johnson
Werdum
Faria
Dariush Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 98-59
2016 Champion
Ferguson
Johnson
Lewis
Faria
Dariush Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 97-60
Ferguson
Johnson
Werdum
Faria
Dariush Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 96-61
Lee
Johnson
Lewis
Faria
Dariush Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 93-64
Ferguson
Johnson
Werdum
Faria
Dariush John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 91-66
Ferguson
Johnson
Lewis
Faria
Dariush George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 90-67
Lee
Johnson
Lewis
Faria
Dariush Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 90-67
2014 Champion
Ferguson
Johnson
Werdum
Faria
Dariush Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 90-67
Ferguson
Johnson
Lewis
Borella
Dunham

The UFC returns to its Las Vegas home base this week, and a pair of titles are on the line.

UFC 216 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

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

In the main event, Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) fight for an interim lightweight title and the chance to potentially move on to a title unification bout against Conor McGregor. Ferguson is about a 2-1 favorite, and he’s the pick of seven of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, dominant flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) takes on challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a fight delayed from UFC 215. Johnson is a 12-1 favorite, and to little surprise he’s the lone unanimous pick on this week’s card.

Also on the main card, Derrick Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) takes on former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC). And even though Lewis is a 2-1 favorite, the fight is split down the middle at 5-5 with our pickers. Mara Romero Borella (11-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Kalindra Faria (18-5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) are a pair of promotional newcomers fighting at strawweight. Faria is a 2-1 favorite, and only one of our 10 pickers has the courage to go against her with the underdog.

And to open the main card, Beneil Dariush (14-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) meets Evan Dunham (18-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) at lightweight. It’s a runaway for Dariush, who is an 8-2 pick over Dunham.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Ferguson, Johnson, Werdum, Borella and Dariush are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Daniel Cormier (in studio) and Urijah Faber


Filed under: News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Daniel Cormier, who’s in studio, and Urijah Faber.

Cormier, the reigning UFC light-heavyweight champion, is our in-studio guest host. UFC Hall of Famer Faber helps us preview UFC 216.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

Filed under: News, UFC

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2537 with guests Cub Swanson, Karyn Bryant, Marvin Vettori

Stream or download Thursday’s episode of  with guests Cub Swanson, Karyn Bryant, Marvin Vettori, and Jason Buchamer.

Swanson reflected on his stellar career and discussed his upcoming bout vs. Brian Ortega on Dec. 9 at UFC Fight Night 123. FS1 anchor Bryant discussed the origins of the Tony Ferguson-Kevin Lee rivalry, when Ferguson worked as an analyst and interviewed Lee after his win over Michael Chiesa. Vettori was in-studio to discuss UFC 216, which includes two of his teammates, Fabricio Werdum and Beneil Dariush. Former MMAjunkie Radio intern Buchamer recapped “The Ultimate Fighter 26,” Episode 6.

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


Filed under: News, Radio, UFC

UFC 216 early weigh-in results and live video stream


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – MMAjunkie is on scene and reporting live from today’s early and official UFC 216 fighter weigh-ins, which kick off at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

The early weigh-ins, which precede the day’s ceremonial affair, take place at the UFC host hotel in Las Vegas. The UFC 216 ceremonial weigh-ins take place at 8 p.m. ET at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The same venue hosts Saturday’s event, which airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Among those weighing in are headliners Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), who fight for the interim lightweight title, and flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) and challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who meet in the co-main event.

The full UFC 216 weigh-in results include:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Tony Ferguson (155) vs. Kevin Lee () – for interim lightweight title
  • Champ Demetrious Johnson (125) vs. Ray Borg (124) – for flyweight title
  • Derrick Lewis (263.5) vs. Fabricio Werdum (247)
  • Mara Romero Borella (126) vs. Kalindra Faria (125)
  • Beneil Dariush (156) vs. Evan Dunham (156)

PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Tom Duquesnoy (135.5) vs. Cody Stamann (136)
  • Will Brooks (156) vs. Nik Lentz ()
  • Bobby Green (155) vs. Lando Vannata (155.75)
  • Poliana Botelho (115) vs. Pearl Gonzalez ()

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

  • Mark Godbeer (244.5) vs. Walt Harris (251)
  • Magomed Bibulatov (126) vs. John Moraga ()
  • Thales Leites (185.5) vs. Brad Tavares (185.5)
  • Marco Beltran () vs. Matt Schnell (126)

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) defeats Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tony Ferguson in a lightweight bout against Michael Johnson during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Michael Johnson won by unanimous decision in the third round. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Michael Johnson (left) fights Tony Ferguson in a lightweight bout during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Michael Johnson won by unanimous decision in the third round. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Michael Johnson (left) fights Tony Ferguson in a lightweight bout during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Michael Johnson won by unanimous decision in the third round. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Oct 18, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Tony Ferguson during the weigh-in for UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights against Mike Rio (blue gloves) in their lightweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) celebrates his victory against Mike Rio (not pictured) in their lightweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) and Katsunori Kikuno (blue) throw punches during their UFC 173 welterweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Ferguson won the bout by TKO. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) locks onto Katsunori Kikuno (blue) during their UFC 173 welterweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Ferguson won the bout by TKO. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights against Danny Castillo (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights against Danny Castillo (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports August 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Danny Castillo (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of UFC 177 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) and Abel Trujillo (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Ferguson won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) and Abel Trujillo (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Ferguson won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) and Abel Trujillo (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Ferguson won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) submits Abel Trujillo (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Ferguson won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) submits Abel Trujillo (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Ferguson won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Dec 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red) after submitting Abel Trujillo (blue) during UFC 181 at Madalay Bay Events Center. Ferguson won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during his Lightweight bout against Gleison Tibau (blue gloves) at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during his Lightweight bout against Gleison Tibau (blue gloves) at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jul 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Josh Thomson (red) fights Tony Ferguson (blue) during UFC Fight Night at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2016; Sioux Falls, SD, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights against Lando Vannata (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Denny Sanford Premier Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2016; Sioux Falls, SD, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights against Lando Vannata (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Denny Sanford Premier Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2016; Sioux Falls, SD, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights against Lando Vannata (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Denny Sanford Premier Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) and Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) react after their fight during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) defeats Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-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/BZmaANcyDjkNFoqU9L5v2d/275978", customAnalytics: true, title: "Tony Ferguson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start(); if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_kX1XF89z_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/kX1XF89z.json","ph":2} );
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10 reasons to watch UFC 216, including Demetrious Johnson’s 1,841-day title reign

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The UFC is back in its hometown of Las Vegas for the first time in three months for UFC 216. Two title fights sit atop Saturday’s event.

In the headlining bout, highly ranked competitors Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee meet to determine the interim lightweight champion – and hopefully earn a shot at current lightweight kingpin Conor McGregor. No one’s sure what’s next on McGregor’s dance card, but you can bet the winner of this fight will have some choice words for the man who has yet to defend the title he won in November.

In the co-main event, the only flyweight champion in UFC history, Demetrious Johnson, looks to make his record-breaking 11th consecutive UFC title defense. Ray Borg is the man who hopes to put an end to Johnson’s 1,841-day title reign.

UFC 216 takes at T-Mobile Arena. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Settle those differences

Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee

The sniping between Ferguson and Lee started in June, and it hasn’t let up since. Shortly after Lee submitted Michael Chiesa via rear-naked choke, Ferguson, working as a commentator for FS1 that night, asked Lee a question he didn’t appreciate. That launched a verbal back-and-forth between the two.

RelatedUFC 216's extended preview gives origin story on Ferguson-Lee beef, ignores UFC 215 shuffle

That feud culminates in the main event of UFC 216 with the victor leaving Las Vegas as the interim 155-pound champion.

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Ferguson, the No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, has been itching for a title fight for a while. His nine-fight winning streak, the longest in UFC lightweight history, and five consecutive fight-night bonuses say he’s earned his shot.

Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), ranked No. 8, wasn’t the UFC’s first choice to face Ferguson, but his five-fight winning streak, two fight-night bonuses and beef with Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) earned him his shot.

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Johnson captured the flyweight title on Sept. 12, 2012. One month earlier, Borg competed in his first professional MMA fight. That means Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has effectively spent his entire career training and preparing to beat one man: Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC).

You would think the ability to focus on a single opponent for several years would give Johnson’s challengers an advantage. It hasn’t. The most recent contender who turned pro around the time Johnson became champion was Henry Cejudo, who had more than three years to prepare for Johnson. When the two met in April 2016, the champ claimed a TKO victory in the middle of the second round.

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Borg, the No. 5-ranked flyweight, has had five years to try to find one flaw he can exploit, one way to succeed where previous title contenders failed. If he does it, he can keep Johnson from taking sole possession of the UFC’s most prestigious record.

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After briefly contemplating retirement following his June loss to Mark Hunt, Derrick Lewis returns to the octagon at UFC 216. Lewis, ranked No. 12 in the heavyweight division, faces No. 3-ranked Fabricio Werdum, who enters this contest on the heels of a July loss to Alistair Overeem.

This fight could put Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to the test. Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) is arguably the most dangerous ground fighter in the division. If Lewis, a heavy-handed striker, drops Werdum and follows him to the mat, he could find himself in deep waters. What makes things even trickier is Werdum sometimes exaggerates strikes and falls to the mat to get his opponent inside his guard.

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With champion Stipe Moicic without a fight due to a contract impasse, a dominant win could put the victor in the mix for a title shot when Miocic returns.

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In September, Evan Dunham won his fourth straight fight. The last time he had a UFC winning streak that long was more than seven years ago, when he was victorious in his first four bouts with the promotion.

Dunham faces No. 1-ranked lightweight Beneil Dariush, an opponent Dunham expressed interest in fighting when he spoke to MMAjunkie Radio in June.

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Dunham, known for his ground game, has developed his striking over the past few years. During his current winning streak, he’s has out-landed his opponents in significant strikes 449-163.

If Dunham (18-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) scores a win against Dariush (14-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who enters this fight following a loss to contender Edson Barboza, he’s likely to break into the rankings post-UFC 216.

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Tom Duquesnoy

Tom Duquesnoy didn’t disappoint in his UFC debut. The former two-division BAMMA champion knocked out Patrick Williams early in the second round with a crisp elbow. The bantamweight victory extended Duquesnoy’s unbeaten streak to 12.

After the fight, Duquesnoy said, “Step by step, I will do everything to get the belt as soon as possible.”

Duquesnoy (15-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) jumps to featherweight for his second UFC fight. His opponent, Cody Stamann, also won his most recent fight. Stamann (15-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) defeated Terrion Ware by decision – his eighth straight.

This could be a fun striking battle. Both fighters landed more than six significant strikes per minute in their UFC debuts.

6. Former champ looks for break

Will Brooks

When former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks signed with the UFC, he was ranked No. 11 in the division and on an eight-fight winning streak. After his hand was raised in his promotional debut, Brooks climbed to No. 10. Today, he is unranked.

The reason for the former champ’s precipitous slide? He lost his two most recent fights by stoppage. Brooks was more than a 3-1 favorite in each of those contests – to Alex Oliveira and Charles Oliveira.

When he signed with the UFC, Brooks told MMAjunkie, “I believe I have everything it takes to be a UFC lightweight champion.”

Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) hasn’t looked especially competitive in either of his UFC losses. He doesn’t get a break at UFC 216, where he faces the gritty and always competitive Nik Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC), who lost his most recent fight via decision.

If Brooks has any hopes of working his way back into the mix, he needs a definitive win here.

7. Collecting more bonuses than wins

Lando Vannata

Lando Vannata has been better at collecting fans and fight-night bonuses than he’s been at winning fights during his three-fight UFC run. The Jackson-Wink MMA fighter is 1-2 with the promotion, but he’s earned a fight-night bonus check in each of those contests.

Vannata is one of the more exciting fighters to join the UFC in the last year or so. He employs an aggressive and flashy striking style that finds him landing as many power strikes as he absorbs. Vannata expends a lot of energy, and as his fights progress, he tends to fade. That allows his opponents to find their target with more accuracy over time.

Vannata (9-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) faces Bobby Green in this lightweight bout. Green (23-8 MMA, 4-3 UFC) was on a roll for a few years, running up eight straight wins between September 2011 and July 2014. But he’s fought only three times since then, and he’s lost each of those matchups.

8. Long wait comes to end

Poliana Botelho (photo by Anchell Fotografia)

The UFC signed Poliana Botelho in mid-2016. An injury prevented the former XFC flyweight champion from making her scheduled promotional debut at UFC 206.

In Botelho’s (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) first fight in more than two years, she faces Pearl Gonzalez (6-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a strawweight scrap.

Botelho, a member of Nova Uniao, is a powerful striker. She isn’t particularly aggressive in the open, but when she traps her opponent against the cage, she unleashes wild combinations. All of Botelho’s wins have come by knockout. Her only loss is a five-round decision defeat to No. 13-ranked Viviane Pereira.

Cynthia Calvillo submitted Gonzalez in the third round of her UFC debut. The loss ended her six-fight winning streak.

9. A rising star with some baggage

Magomed Bibulatov

If you’re looking for a non-ranked flyweight to keep an eye on, Magomed Bibulatov might be your guy. In his UFC debut, the former WSOF flyweight champion showed an excellent array of striking techniques, good takedowns and a strong top game on his way to a dominant decision win over Jenel Lausa.

At UFC 216, Bibulatov (14-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) looks to move into the rankings at the expense of No. 11-ranked John Moraga (17-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC), who ended a three-fight losing skid with a decision win over Ashkan Mokhtarian in his most recent bout. The victory was the first since 2014 for the former title challenger.

Bibulatov does carry some baggage. In his UFC.com profile, he lists Ramzan Kadyrov, the controversial leader of the Chechen Republic, as his “hero.” He also told “The Buffalo News” that he “supports Ramzan fully.”

10. Keep your distance

Thales Leites

You can look at Thales Leites’ most recent fight, a decision win over Sam Alvey, as safe or smart. Against the powerful counterstriker, Leites relied heavily on leg kicks. That strategy worked well. The former middleweight title contender landed almost 90 percent of his leg strikes, which allowed him to rack up points while avoiding Alvey’s counters.

No. 13-ranked Leites might be wise to employ a similar tactical approach against rankings honorable mention Brad Tavares, who is a bit more active than Leites on the feet. Another reason Leites (27-7 MMA, 12-6 UFC) might use his leg kicks is Tavares (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has good takedown defense, which could negate Leites ground advantage. Tavares has wins in his two most recent fights.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) defeats Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) defeats Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) competes against Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) knocks down Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) and John Dodson (blue gloves) during their flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) during his flyweight title bout against John Dodson (not pictured) at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) and John Dodson (blue gloves) during their flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) after defeating and John Dodson (not pictured) in the flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC president Dana White puts the championship belt on Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) after defeating John Dodson (not pictured) in the flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY 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/mCVxgLk25EVCFkrwbjhRq4/276228", customAnalytics: true, title: "Demetrious Johnson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Recovered from shoulder surgery, Edson Barboza wants a fight – but not just any fight

Considering Edson Barboza has had his sights set on an interim title shot for a while, one could certainly understand if watching UFC 216’s headliner is upsetting to him.

As it turns out, it’s not. In fact, Barboza (19-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), who’s been vocally opposed to champ Conor McGregor’s (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) inactive reign since claiming the 155-pound crown, is glad to see the division moving along.

And though it’s Tony Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) and Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) who are fighting for interim honors Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Barboza thinks he’s not too far from his own taste of gold.

“I know I’m close to the title shot,” Barboza told MMAjunkie. “I know I will get my chance.”

RelatedYo, Edson Barboza – Mairbek Taisumov wants to know if you wanna fight

Not that Barboza didn’t try to get the interim title shot. In fact, coming off a huge TKO win over Beneil Dariush, Barboza said he tried to convince UFC President Dana White and matchmaker Sean Shelby to have him meet Ferguson for a stab at the interim belt.

The fight would have served as a rematch for a “Fight of the Night” encounter in late 2015 at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale, which saw Barboza being submitted after stepping in on short notice. But UFC officials didn’t go for it.

The reason, however, wasn’t that Barboza hadn’t earned it – but rather because they knew he was dealing with a seriously injured shoulder that needed medical attention. Considering Barboza went on to have surgery, that was probably the right call. Still, he not only wanted to move forward with it. He was quite confident, too.

“I know if I fought him with a bad shoulder, I’d win the fight,” Barboza said.

RelatedUFC 216's Kevin Lee intends to prove he's not 'all talk' against 'weird dude' Tony Ferguson

Sounds a bit crazy, but it’s not like Barboza hasn’t fought while hurt before. He went into his most recent scrap with the same injury – or rather, four different injuries on the same shoulder – that kept him from both the Ferguson encounter and a talked-about meeting with Justin Gaethje.

At UFC Fight Night 106, Barboza overcame a tough first round to finish Dariush with a knee in the second. But the “Performance of the Night” win looks all the more impressive knowing what the Brazilian lightweight went through prior to it.

“A couple of weeks before, I started feeling my neck a little bit, going down to my left shoulder,” Barboza recalled. “I still worked hard. I was sparring with my training partner. He shot, I defended a takedown, and I heard my shoulder kept, ‘Pop, pop, pop.’ Crazy, crazy pops.

“I have the video. I ran to my head coach, said, ‘Mark, my shoulder popped.’ He said, ‘OK, you want to stop?’ I said, ‘No, let’s finish the round.’ I did three more rounds with the one arm.'”

On the way home, Barboza started really feeling the effects of what turned out to be a tore bicep tendon and a broken piece of bone – among other things. For two weeks, he says, he didn’t punch or lift weights. He even considered, at first, pulling out of the fight.

RelatedUFC 216 headliner Tony Ferguson: 'Fake' Kevin Lee is 'trying to be something that he's not'

“But I’m a fighter, man,” Barboza said. “I love to fight. I try everything to fight.”

The decision paid off in the end, with Barboza adding a third win to a streak that features only respectable names like ex-champ Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez. But it also served as a huge test of Barboza’s grit.

“The first jab I threw, I said, ‘Man, that’s going to be a hard night,'” Barboza said. “Because it was so painful. The game plan (was) to throw a lot of the front hand, moving to my left side. And I couldn’t throw my left hand.

“That was the hardest fight of my career. Because I fought with one hand, very, very hard. And, like I said, Beneil is very tough. He gave me a hard time.”

After having surgery in Florida, Barboza says, he took six weeks off. Then, he started working “harder than ever” in physical therapy every day. The result was a recovery so swift that even his doctor marveled at it. Now, weeks after getting back to hard training, Barboza says he’s 100 percent pain-free and ready to go.

He’s even been calling his manager every day to get a fight. Not just any fight, though.

Edson Barboza

“I’m a fighter. I want to fight,” Barboza said. “But I’m not stupid. I want to fight somebody that really makes sense right now, get us a fight that put us closer to a title shot. Or on our way to get my chance to the title shot.

“Because I’m ready for this. I think I deserve it. I’ve been in the UFC for a long time. And I’m closer than ever to a title shot. I’m ready.”

Of course, Barboza is in the unfortunate position of being a UFC lightweight at a weird time. First, many wondered whether McGregor would ever return to MMA after his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. And now, even if he comes back, there’s a chance McGregor won’t fight the division’s interim champ – but engage on a lucrative trilogy with Nate Diaz instead.

While Barboza can’t predict what will happen next, he knows one thing: After taking on two high-risk fights that ultimately did nothing to advance him in the rankings, he wants someone ahead of him.

“My last two fights, I fought somebody behind me in the rankings,” Barboza said. “Very risky fights, very dangerous guys. But I was there fighting. I don’t care. I’ve improved all the time. I have almost 20 fights in the UFC. A couple of weeks ago, I saw the rankings. I fought seven guys in the top-15.

“I fought everybody. I think I deserve it. I really deserve to fight the No. 1 contender, or somebody in front of me. Or a title shot.”

Considering Barboza is currently ranked No. 4 in the official UFC rankings – and No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings – that doesn’t leave him too many options. Mairbek Taisumov. for instance, might just have to wait.

However, there is one man who not only fits the bill in both rankings, but doesn’t have a fight scheduled: undefeated, perennial contender Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC).

Some might see the Dagestani’s notoriously stifling wrestling game as a hazard to Barboza’s mostly striking-based movement. But the Brazilian, who’s quite into the matchup, isn’t fazed.

RelatedKevin Lee: Tony Ferguson's toughness just means he'll 'take a longer ass-whooping' at UFC 216

“He’s definitely one of the best in the division,” Barboza said. “I think this fight really makes sense for me. I’m ready. If the UFC books this fight, I’m ready.”

Of course, Barboza’s future also hinges on what happens with Saturday’s headliner. Although Nurmagomedov’s name is the one that most would point to as the next contender, the fact he’s been somewhat M.I.A. and even turned down a UFC 217 meeting with Ferguson could work in Barboza’s favor. Then there’s the chance McGregor fights Diaz.

Barboza is clear about wanting a title shot. But considering he doesn’t really see McGregor as the champion, he would have no problems meeting the division’s interim titleholder instead.

“That would be perfect,” Barboza said. “Like I said, if the UFC asks me to fight for the belt, for the real championship, I’d prefer to fight one of those guys. Because, like I said, McGregor for me is not the champion. He has the belt, but he’s not really the champ.”

If he does get his wish, and the interim champion is indeed next for him, Barboza believes that might just end up being a rematch.

“It’s going to be a fun fight,” Barboza said. “I think Tony Ferguson is going to win this fight. It’s hard to say that (Kevin Lee) doesn’t deserve it. He’s a great fighter, but he won just a couple of fights. Just his last fight, against (Michael) Chiesa, who’s a tough guy. But he fought nobody.

“I think Tony Ferguson is going to dominate this fight.”

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

December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Edson Barboza fights against Tony Ferguson during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Edson Barboza lands punches against Tony Ferguson during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Edson Barboza pins Tony Ferguson to the mat during The Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Edson Barboza (red gloves) reacts after winning a fight against Paul Felder (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports Jul 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Paul Felder (blue gloves) fights against Edson Barboza (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) fights against Edson Barboza (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Michael Johnson (blue gloves) fights against Edson Barboza (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Edson Barboza (red gloves) before his fight against Michael Johnson during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Edson Barboza (red gloves) celebrates his victory while Evan Dunham (blue gloves) gets attended to by the referee during a lightweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Edson Barboza (red gloves) lands a kick on Evan Dunham (blue gloves) during a lightweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2014; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Edson Barboza gets his gloves inspected during a lightweight bout at Revel Casino. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports December 14, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Danny Castillo (red gloves) fights Edson Barboza (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of the UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports December 14, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Danny Castillo (red gloves) fights Edson Barboza (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of the UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports December 14, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Danny Castillo (red gloves) fights Edson Barboza (blue gloves) during the lightweight bout of the UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports December 14, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Edson Barboza (blue gloves) fights Danny Castillo (red gloves) during the lightweight bout of the UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/wXweukvLXDAo9ZXoNKnLeS/276098", customAnalytics: true, title: "Edson Barboza", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Video: Hardy, Gooden break down Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg at UFC 216


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

The UFC’s most dominant champion chases history on Saturday night.

Flyweight titleholder Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) takes on challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in the UFC 216 co-headliner, which takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

If Johnson wins – and he’s more than a 12-1 favorite – he’ll break Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive UFC title defenses.

Ahead of the co-main event, UFC broadcasters Dan Hardy and John Gooden step “Inside the Octagon” to break down the fight.

Johnson and Borg were supposed to headline UFC 215 in September, but a Borg illness on the day of the weigh-ins forced the fight to be canceled and pushed to Las Vegas.

Check out Hardy and Gooden’s breakdown in the video above. And stay tuned for their breakdown of the main event interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) defeats Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) defeats Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) competes against Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) knocks down Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) and John Dodson (blue gloves) during their flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) during his flyweight title bout against John Dodson (not pictured) at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) and John Dodson (blue gloves) during their flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) after defeating and John Dodson (not pictured) in the flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC president Dana White puts the championship belt on Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) after defeating John Dodson (not pictured) in the flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY 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/mCVxgLk25EVCFkrwbjhRq4/276039", customAnalytics: true, title: "Demetrious Johnson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start(); if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_kX1XF89z_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/kX1XF89z.json","ph":2} );
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Video: Hardy, Gooden break down Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee at UFC 216


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

The UFC will crown yet another champion on Saturday night.

Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) takes on Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) for a new interim lightweight title in the UFC 216 headliner, which takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

It is presumed that the winner will stay in line for a title unification fight against champion Conor McGregor – though UFC President Dana White has not made that a sure thing just yet.

Ahead of the main event, UFC broadcasters Dan Hardy and John Gooden step “Inside the Octagon” to break down the fight.

Check out Hardy and Gooden’s breakdown in the video above. And don’t miss their breakdown of the co-main event flyweight title fight between champ Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) defeats Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) defeats Tim Elliott (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) competes against Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) knocks down Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Apr 23, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Henry Cejudo (blue gloves) during UFC 197 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) and John Dodson (blue gloves) during their flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) during his flyweight title bout against John Dodson (not pictured) at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) and John Dodson (blue gloves) during their flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) after defeating and John Dodson (not pictured) in the flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC president Dana White puts the championship belt on Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) after defeating John Dodson (not pictured) in the flyweight title bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Johnson won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY 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/mCVxgLk25EVCFkrwbjhRq4/276042", customAnalytics: true, title: "Demetrious Johnson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start(); if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_kX1XF89z_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/kX1XF89z.json","ph":2} );
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Bellator 184's Steve Kozola ready for big fights – but needs the big money, too

Steve Kozola is ready to break into the elite tier of the Bellator lightweight division. Before he does that, though, he is seeking greater compensation from the organization.

Kozola (8-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) is rising up the divisional ranks and will take another step forward if he can get past Carrington Banks (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) on Friday at Bellator 184, which takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., with a main card that airs on Spike following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

With two fights remaining on his current Bellator deal, Kozola said he’s ready to fight out his contract if necessary. However, if he does that, he believes he will continue to get mid-tier competition. In order for him to step in the cage against some of the bigger names at 155 pounds, he said a better deal is in order.

“Under this contract, it’s not reasonable for me, from a business perspective, to fight those top guys,” Kozola told MMAjunkie. “Let’s renegotiate, let’s put the right amount of money in my pocket so I can take care of my family and then we can fight these big names like Josh Thomson, Benson Henderson, Patricky ‘Pitbull’ (Freire) and all these top guys out there. I truly believe I can compete, and not only compete, but win decisively against any one of them and be a champion in this division.”

Kozola has the utmost confidence he could give Bellator its monies worth, and his track record to this point shows why. Kozola has earned all eight of his career victories by stoppage, with five of those wins coming inside the opening round.

An argument can be made Kozola hasn’t been tested enough, and that’s why he’s been able to put opponents away in such a one-sided fashion. That may be true, but Kozola said it’s more about how he approaches the fight.

“I don’t prepare to go three minutes,” Kozola said. “I prepare to dominate. So whether it’s in the first, second or third round, my goal is always to finish and win decisively and in impressive fashion so I can get in there and get out healthy and get ready for the next one.”

The only thing somewhat bothersome for Kozola going into Bellator 184 is the fact his fight with Banks won’t be seen by as many people as it could. The matchup is tucked away on the prelims, which Kozola said is somewhat disappointing, even if he understands why.

“I was a little bit just because with my last performance being as good as it was, I thought the whole prelim thing would be done with,” Kozola said. “But when I was looking at the main card and seeing all the fighters on it, these guys have 20-plus fights. They deserve to be where they are. They’ve put in the time and put in those miles. Respect to them. They deserve their spot. I’ll just keep on putting on devastating performances and be entertaining and I’m sure Bellator will find a spot for me on the main card permanently after this fight.”

Regardless of what time or which platform the fight airs on, Kozola said it’s not going to change how he performs. He intends to go into the cage and made a statement against Banks, the same way he’s done against his previous eight foes.

“I’m going to go in there and assert myself as one of the top guys in this division,” Kozola said. “I’m ready for a top-five contender, for sure.”

For more on Bellator 184, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News

Gina Carano applauds Bellator Kickboxing, advocates for even more exposure

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Bellator Kickboxing 7 airs tonight on Spike at 11 p.m. ET, but – spoiler alert! – the event already took place Sept. 23, as part of a doubleheader with Bellator 183.

In the main event, Kevin Ross and Domenico Lomurno squared off for the inaugural featherweight title in front of thousands of fans at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Which is great and all, but former MMA star Gina Carano wishes it wasn’t being televised on a two-week tape delay.

“This is so awesome for Bellator to put on kickboxing for such a huge stage,” Carano told MMAjunkie on the night of the event. “But I personally think it should’ve been live. This sh*t should’ve been live.”

RelatedToday in MMA History: When Cris 'Cyborg' vs. Gina Carano elevated women's MMA to new heights

Carano was on hand to support her fiancée, Ross, as well as MMA fighter Gaston Bolanos, who she trains with. Carano’s hope is that more MMA fans will give  kickboxing – and other combat sports that are part of MMA – more of a chance.

“You know what I think? Basically, f*ck chances. F*ck it,” Carano said. “You do something, because you’re passionate about it, because it changed your life, because it made you a better person. And there’s a bunch of jiu-jitsu people and their group of people that make them a better person. We should shine the light on them, and we should also shine the light on these kickboxers and muay Thai people. I get that MMA puts it all together, and it’s its own animal. But there’s this underground thing.”

Carano at one point was the most recognizable women’s MMA star during the late 2000s, putting the now-defunct EliteXC on the map before losing to current UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg in a 2009 Strikeforce title fight.

Carano alluded to her in-cage stardom being limited because of a general lack of major exposure for women’s MMA and would like kickboxing stars to not experience the same thing. She’d like them to have the opportunity to show what they’re all about.

“Thank you, Bellator and (president) Scott Coker, for always staying loyal to putting these cards out,” Carano said. “That means the world. But you’re not going to find these people like Kevin Ross and Joe Schilling. You already missed a lot of legends that came before them. You should expose the legends that we have now.”

To hear more from Carano, watch the video above.

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

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Video: Watch today's UFC 216 ceremonial weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – UFC 216 ceremonial fighter weigh-ins take place today, and you can catch a live video stream of the proceedings here on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).

The weigh-ins take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The same venue hosts Saturday’s card, which airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

In addition to the video stream above, you can check out the early and official UFC 216 weigh-in results from earlier in the day.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) reacts after beating Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Al Iaquinta (red gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Al Iaquinta (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee celebrates his victory over Jon Tuck during a lightweight fight during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) and Michel Prazeres (red) compete during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Feb 14, 2015; Broomfield, CO, USA; Kevin Lee (blue) celebrates his win over Michel Prazeres (left) during UFC Fight Night at the 1stBANK Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee poses during weigh-ins for UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) fights Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kevin Lee (red gloves) reacts to fights against Magomed Mustafaev (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) defeats Francisco Tinaldo (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. 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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Watch today's UFC 217 press conference with Bisping, GSP, others at 6:30 p.m. ET


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Check out a live stream of today’s UFC 217 press conference, which includes all six title-fight participants, live here on MMAjunkie at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT).

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card – one of the best of the year – airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Today’s kickoff press conference, which Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena hosts, includes all of the big names.

RelatedThat big UFC 217 event with 3 title fights? Here's the official poster

In UFC 217’s featured bout, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) takes on former longtime welterweight titleholder and all-time MMA great Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), who returns from a four-year absence and moves up a weight class for the fight. Additionally, bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) takes on challenger T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) in the co-headliner, and women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) meets Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

MMAjunkie will have full coverage of today’s fan and media event.

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) fights Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) fights Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) fights Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates with his wife after his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (red) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Jun 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Michael Bisping (blue) celebrates his first round knockout of Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC 199 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping reacts after his fight against Anderson Silva during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping reacts after his fight against Anderson Silva during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 26, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping addresses the crowd after the decision against Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping lines up a punch against Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping throws a left kick to Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2015; Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Michael Bisping fights Thales Leites at The SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-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/4S3YY8Sr42aQz3Gf9qHNtS/276223", customAnalytics: true, title: "Michael Bisping", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

'UFC 216 Embedded,' No. 3: Derrick Lewis pushes cardio limits, tries negotiating a tasty meal


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

The UFC returns to Las Vegas this week, and the promotion has rolled out its “Embedded” treatment for a preview of Saturday’s UFC 216 event.

UFC 216, which features two title fights, takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

In the headliner, Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) takes on Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) for an interim lightweight title. The winner will stay in line for a potential unification bout against champion Conor McGregor.

In the co-main event, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) looks for a UFC-record 11th straight title defense when he meets challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC). That fight was pushed back from UFC 215 in September in Edmonton due to a Borg illness on fight day.

In the third episode of “Embedded,” Johnson tells the media he expects a finish, then taunts Lee with food at a press lunch in Los Angeles. Borg boards the plane for Las Vegas and receives applause on the short flight after the attendant announces his presence. Heavyweight Derrick Lewis pushes his cardio limits and does his best to negotiate a drive-through meal with his coach, while opponent Fabricio Werdum continues his training at the UFC Performance Institute. Las Vegas resident Lee returns to a changed city, determined to proceed with business as planned. Ferguson turns a basketball court into an MMA dojo.

Check out the full episode above.

Also see:

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis poses with his championship belt following a press conference after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Apr 18, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Derrick Lewis during a weigh-in for UFC on FOX 11 at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports Apr 19, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Derrick Lewis looks at Jack May after the referee stopped the fight in the first round of their heavyweight fight during UFC on FOX 11 at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis enters the octagon for a heavyweight fight against Guto Inocente (not pictured) at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) goes in for a blow to Guto Inocente (blue gloves) during a heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) takes down Guto Inocente (blue gloves) during a heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 6, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) celebrates his knockout victory over Guto Inocente (blue gloves) during the first round of a heavyweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Derrick Lewis on the scale at the weigh-in for his fight at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during his Heavyweight bout against Ruan Potts (blue gloves) at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) after winning his Heavyweight bout at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) (not pictured) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) (not pictured) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) competes against Viktor Pesta (blue gloves) (not pictured) during a heavyweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights against Damian Grabowski (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Derrick Lewis throws a punch against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Derrick Lewis lands punches against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Derrick Lewis reacts following his knockout victory against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 7, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis lands a kick against Roy Nelson during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Graden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 7, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis lands a hit against Roy Nelson during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Graden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis prepares for a fight against Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis reacts after defeating Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis reacts after defeating Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Feb 18, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis is interviewed by former fighter Brian Stann before fighting against Travis Browne during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) kneels before entering the octagon to fight Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts before fighting Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after defeating Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after defeating Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis climbs the octagon fence after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after defeating Travis Browne (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis poses with his championship belt following a press conference after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/uMw5ZdDL39As4K83JJx5DV/276188", customAnalytics: true, title: "Derrick Lewis", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

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