MMA Junkie News

Joanna Jedrzejczyk has no doubt she'll beat Ronda Rousey's UFC title-defense record

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

NEW YORK CITY – Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is promising history in her fight at UFC 217.

Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) attempts to tie Ronda Rousey’s UFC record of six consecutive title defenses for a female champion when she puts her belt up for grabs against Rose Namajunas’ (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in Saturday’s co-main event.

UFC 217 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Jedrzejczyk vs. Namajunas airs on the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedRose Namajunas confident ahead of 2nd UFC title shot: 'I'm f*cking good'

Although she’s essentially retired, Rousey’s run of dominance during her prime was impressive. Jedrzejczyk has done things her own way during her reign, steamrolling opponent after opponent. She’s ready to add one more to the win column at UFC 217 to tie Rousey’s record. After that, she said she’ll take sole possession.

“I’m ready to put on a great fight on Saturday,” Jedrzejczyk said at today’s UFC 217 open workouts. “Believe me, I will tie Ronda Rousey’s record (and then) break the record of seven title fights in the women’s division.”

Like most of her fights, Jedrzejczyk, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, enters UFC 217 as a sizable 6-1 betting favorite. She said her striking, wrestling and jiu-jitsu will be superior to No. 6 Namajunas, and she said she sees no scenario where she will falter on the cusp of history.

“I don’t give up,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I never give up. I’m ready. I was born ready.”

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

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Michael Bisping loves New York but doesn't 'give a (expletive)' about defending UFC title at MSG

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

NEW YORK – Middleweight champion Michael Bisping pays no mind to the fact that he’s just days away from headlining only the second UFC event to take place at historic Madison Square Garden.

Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) meets Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) in Saturday’s pay-per-view headliner at the famous New York City arena. Prelims air on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Bisping is thrilled to compete, but the location? He doesn’t care.

“I love New York, but I don’t give a (expletive) about fighting in Madison Square Garden,” Bisping told reporters at today’s UFC 217 open workouts. “My bathroom, his house, Australia, Brazil – we’re going to step in a cage, and we’re going to fight, and GSP is going to (expletive) lose.”

RelatedMichael Bisping, Jorge Masvidal get into profane altercation at UFC 217 fighters' hotel

Bisping has been confident in the matchup with the returning St-Pierre since the fight was first announced in March. It’s been a long build, but “The Count” never has shown any signs of doubt. The Brit said he knows exactly what St-Pierre is going to do when he steps in the octagon, and he plans on responding with a knockout.

“Georges, that’s all he does,” Bisping said. “Jab, jab, double leg. (Expletive) off. He’s going to sleep.”

If there’s anyone with doubts over Bisping’s ability to win the fight, he delivered a stern message.

“Boo me, cheer me – (expletive) you,” Bisping said.

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

T.J. Dillashaw: Cody Garbrandt's injury, UFC title fight delay worked out perfectly

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

NEW YORK – T.J. Dillashaw had to wait nearly a year to get his hands on UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but with UFC 217 just days away, Dillashaw said the wait was worth it.

Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) was originally slated to fight Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 213 in July after they served as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 25.” “No Love” suffered a back injury, though, which forced him to withdraw.

UFC officials pushed back the fight four months. However, Dillashaw said he wasn’t bothered by having to wait for his former teammate-turned-rival; now he gets to fight on an even bigger stage.

RelatedUFC champ Cody Garbrandt calls T.J. Dillashaw 'a gimme,' looks toward 'Mighty Mouse'

“Absolutely, it’s worked out perfectly,” Dillashaw said at today’s UFC 217 open workouts. “I get to fight in this historical arena. I couldn’t ask for anything more than fighting on the biggest card. I’m excited to do this.”

UFC 217 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Dillashaw challenges Garbrandt in the pay-per-view co-headliner following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

With so much animosity going into the fight, it’s difficult to envision exactly how it will play out. Dillashaw, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, said he’s prepared for every situation, though, adding that’s going to cause problems for No. 1-ranked Garbrandt.

“I can adapt to every situation,” Dillashaw said. “I can adapt to any fighter.”

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Emily Ducote didn't think Bellator title shot would come this soon, but ready to take advantage

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Of the two fighters in Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight title fight Friday, Emily Ducote could have predicted who one would be.

But it sounds like she didn’t expect the second one would be her.

Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) meets Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) in a rematch for Bellator’s first women’s flyweight belt in the Bellator 186 co-main event at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

The two just fought in December 2016 at Bellator 167, where Macfarlane won a unanimous decision.

RelatedIlima Macfarlane just fine with Emily Ducote rematch for flyweight title at Bellator 186

“(It was) a little surprising, just at the timing,” Ducote today told MMAjunkie of getting the call to fight for the belt so soon after their first meeting. “I knew it would eventually happen, the rematch, but I wasn’t really expecting this timing. But it’s happening, and I’m excited.

“I knew she’d be fighting for the title. She’s been doing really well, and I knew she’d be fighting for it. I just didn’t know against who. We got the phone call, got the question, and of course we accepted. The rematch is going to be awesome. She’s obviously a high-level athete, so we’re excited for it.”

Ducote said 11 months was enough time for her to up her game. The loss to Macfarlane snapped a four-fight winning streak, including consecutive submissions for Bellator. But since then, she has a submission win over Katy Collins at Bellator 174, and in July she outpointed Jessica Middleton at Bellator 181.

The Middleton fight was supposed to be a bout against new Bellator signee Valerie Letourneau, who had just come over from the UFC. But a Letourneau injury took her off the card, and Ducote had to deal with the opponent switch on short notice.

But maybe that challenge was enough to give her some increased signs of improvement, as well.

“(The first fight with Macfarlane was) exactly 11 months ago, which is kind of cool to show the improvement I’ve made over almost a year – most of it mental, just kind of realizing the level I’m on,” Ducote said. “Before the last fight (against Macfarlane), I just didn’t know. I had never fought anybody that made me question what level I was on. Now I know this is my level. I’m on this level and I deserve to be (fighting for the title) in this division.”

Ducote believes Macfarlane will have improved in the meantime, as well. The California-based Hawaiian has had just one fight since then, also against Middleton – and Macfarlane submitted her.

And the win over Ducote the first time around no doubt has helped make Macfarlane a 3-1 favorite with the oddsmakers. But Ducote is trying to ignore all that and simply focus up on the task at hand – knowing a belt is on the line.

“I’m positive she’s improved, as well,” she said. “It’s been 11 months for me, but it’s been 11 months for her, as well. I’m sure we’ve both improved.

“She beat me, so of course I’m going to be the underdog – and I don’t mind. I really don’t mind it at all. … She’s been doing well. Can she be stopped? We’ll find out on Friday. I think it’s going to be a better version of the first fight.”

For more from Ducote, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Ex-UFC fighter Erik Perez signs with Combate Americas

Former UFC bantamweight Erik Perez has signed an exclusive, multi-year contract with Combate Americas and is expected to make his debut in January, it was announced today.

“We are thrilled to welcome ‘Goyito’ Pérez, the top Mexican fighter in the sport of MMA, and look forward to having him compete in La Jaula,” Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren said in a statement.

The 27-year-old “Goyito” (17-6), fighting out of Monterrey, Mexico, hasn’t competed this year because of a knee injury. He went 7-2 during a four-year stint with the UFC, including wins in his last three fights. Most recently, Perez won by split decision over Felipe Arantes at UFC Fight Night 98 in November of 2016.

Perez was the first Mexican-born competitor on “The Ultimate Fighter,” taking part in the reality series’ 15th season in 2012. He willingly left the UFC to sign with Combate Americas.

Pérez has been serving as a color commentator on Combate Americas’ live telecasts since the first Hispanic-based promotion made its debut in January, and he will continue in that role. Perez will be on the call for the one-night Copa Combante tournament being held Nov. 11 in Cancun, Mexico.

For more on the upcoming MMA schedule, visit the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Erik Perez (red gloves) walks to the cage before his bantamweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Francisco Rivera (red gloves) competes against Erik Perez (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Francisco Rivera (red gloves) reacts after being defeated by Erik Perez (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Erik Perez (red gloves) fights against Edwin Figueroa (blue gloves) in their bantamweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Erik Perez (red gloves) fights against Edwin Figueroa (blue gloves) in their bantamweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Erik Perez (red gloves) fights against Edwin Figueroa (blue gloves) in their bantamweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Erik Perez (red gloves) fights against Edwin Figueroa (blue gloves) in their bantamweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Jun 7, 2014; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Erik Perez (red) and Bryan Caraway (blue) fight during their bantamweight bout during UFC Fight Night 42 at Tingley Coliseum. Caraway won via second round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Erik Perez participates in the official weigh-in of UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Aug 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Takeya Mizugaki (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Erik Perez during UFC Fight Night 27 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports Aug 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Takeya Mizugaki (red gloves) fights Erik Perez during UFC Fight Night 27 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports Aug 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Takeya Mizugaki (left) fights Erik Perez during UFC Fight Night 27 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-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/4wxo5ph8zviBePcoJY8JQP/281335", customAnalytics: true, title: "Erik Perez", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News

Rose Namajunas confident ahead of 2nd UFC title shot: 'I'm f*cking good'

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

NEW YORK – Rose Namajunas is forgetting her previous shortcomings as she attempts to claim the UFC strawweight title from champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217.

Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) came up short in the inaugural 115-pound title fight, when she met Carla Esparza in December 2014. She’s been building her way back to the top. However, Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) has since taken over the division and become one of the most dominant champions in the sport.

Some lessons need to be learned the hard way. Namajunas, No. 6 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, was only 21 when she first fought for UFC gold. She’s a more mature and experienced fighter now, and she said that’s one of many reasons she’s going to end No. 1-ranked Jedrzejczyk’s undefeated streak.

RelatedUFC 217's Rose Namajunas won't engage Joanna Jedrzejczyk after she's again called 'mentally unstable'

“I do the best that I can possibly do just given my circumstances,” Namajunas said at today’s UFC 217 open workouts. “I was very young my first title fight. There was definitely a lot of things being thrown at me. Now I’ve just got to take every experience and learn from it. I’m not perfect, I don’t try to act like I am, but I’m (expletive) good.”

UFC 217 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Namajunas challenges Jedrzejczyk on the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Although Namajunas has come a long way since her first crack at a UFC title, her underdog status (+425 to -600 Jedrzejczyk) shows the betting public still doesn’t view her as ready. Namajunas, though, said she full expects to walk away from UFC 217 with the title around her waist.

“Definitely always improving,” Namajunas said. “Obviously that sounds cliche, but I’m always trying to become a better version of myself. If I keep doing that, I’m unstoppable.”

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

Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (red) celebrates the win over Michelle Waterson (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (red) and Michelle Waterson (not pictured) fight during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (Red Gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (Blue Gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson (not pictured) fight during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (Red Gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (Blue Gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (red) and Michelle Waterson (blue) following the fight during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (Red Gloves) react to fight against Michelle Waterson (Blue Gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (Red Gloves) react to fight against Michelle Waterson (Blue Gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Rose Namajunas (red gloves) competes against Karolina Kowaliewicz (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Rose Namajunas (red gloves) competes against Karolina Kowaliewicz (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Karolina Kowaliewicz (blue gloves) embraces Rose Namajunas (red gloves) after defeating her in the third round during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rose Namajunas pins Paige VanZant against the mat during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rose Namajunas moves in with a punch against Paige VanZant during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rose Namajunas applies a hold against Paige VanZant during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rose Namajunas applies a hold against Paige VanZant during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rose Namajunas applies a hold against Paige VanZant during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rose Namajunas celebrates her victory by submission against Paige VanZant during UFC Fight Night at The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Rose Namajunas (red gloves) competes against Angela Hill (blue gloves) during UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Rose Namajunas (red gloves) competes against Angela Hill (blue gloves) during a women's strawweight bout at UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oct 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Rose Namajunas reacts after winning her women's strawweight bout against Angela Hill (not pictured) during UFC 192 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-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/7GWVVzLmLJkgKJiSdAjhiE/281268", customAnalytics: true, title: "Rose Namajunas", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Michael Bisping, Jorge Masvidal get into profane altercation at UFC 217 fighters' hotel

Middleweight champion Michael Bisping has a title defense to concentrate on against Georges St-Pierre on Saturday night at UFC 217. Welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal also has his own fight against Stephen Thompson to worry about.

However, that didn’t stop either Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) or Masvidal  (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) from turning their attention to each other today as the two got into a heated altercation at the fighters’ hotel in New York. It was chalk full of profanity, including what appears to be Masvidal hurling a homophobic slur at Bisping near the end.

Here’s the video (via Instagram):

If you’re wondering where this all stems from, it appears Masvidal had Bisping on his mind before they crossed paths.

Here’s what Masvidal told MMAjunkie’s Mike Bohn during UFC 217 media day when asked about Bisping:

“I haven’t crossed paths with that coward yet. The beef stems from him talking shit, because someone asked me on Twitter what I thought of the Yoel (Romero) fight and him, and I gave my honest opinion. And then he went on a rant. And then he did another rant, and then he went as far as to rip my country’s (Cuban) flag up for no reason – just to be a funny guy, just to get some likes on Facebook. I just think the guy’s a coward. He hasn’t fought any top-10 middleweight, and now he wants to retire before he has to actually fight a top-10 middleweight. So maybe he’ll do like his regular pattern is and fight another non-top-10 middleweight in me.”

So there you have it.

UFC 217 takes place this Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

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

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

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

UFC 217's Stephen Thompson thinks Dana White's title plans could change

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

NEW YORK – Add Stephen Thompson to the list of fighters who are not all that certain that UFC President Dana White’s current plans for the welterweight title will materialize.

Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) returns to the octagon this Saturday at UFC 217 after two consecutive closely contested but ultimately failed attempts at taking the 170-pound title from champ Tyron Woodley. He meets Jorge Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC), who in turn was most recently seen dropping a split decision to recent title contender Demian Maia.

Now ranked No. 2 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, Thompson won’t say in so many words that he sees the encounter with No. 9 Masvidal as a No. 1 contender fight. But he’s clear in that he’s not done with his pursuit for gold.

RelatedUFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal couldn't believe Stephen Thompson signed on dotted line

“I’m looking at this (like) if I go out there with a go win over Jorge Masvidal, it’s going to keep me in that running,” Thompson told MMAjunkie today during a media day. “I know Dana White said that the winner of Robbie Lawler and (Rafael dos Anjos) will get the next shot. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. And what he says doesn’t come to fruition.

“So my goal is to go out there and put on a show. I’m not giving up on that title, so hopefully that’s in the near future again.”

Thompson and Masvidal meet on the pay-per-view main card of Saturday’s UFC 217, after prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. The event, which is capped off by three title fights, takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Thompson isn’t the only one hoping White has a change of heart. No. 5-ranked Colby Covington had been actively campaigning for his own stab at champ Woodley for quite some time – a case that was probably helped by his unanimous-decision win over Maia in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 119 co-headliner.

Of course, it wasn’t just his fifth consecutive win that warranted Covington some added attention last week. The welterweight has also been under fire by some peers and even UFC officials after his inflammatory comments about Brazil and its population.

So where does Thompson stand on Covington’s recent displays – in and outside the octagon?

“I thought it was a good performance by him,” Thompson said. “He defended the takedown very well. Do I think that was 100 percent Demian Maia? No. I don’t think that was the Demian Maia we’re used to seeing.

“But even that said, he did put on a good performance. And he’s putting on a show. He’s making people talk, so hats off to the guy.”

RelatedTyron Woodley isn't amused by Colby Covington's schtick, but is he missing a golden opportunity?

On Saturday Thompson meets Masvidal in a bout that’s intriguing on different fronts. Other than its possible implications atop the talent-filled 170-pound division, Masvidal’s penchant for striking battles might also bode well with Thompson’s karate-based style.

On the other hand, Masvidal has also been known to go on the counter-attack and get pickier about his shots on occasion. So which one does Thompson foresee going down: the showstopper or the more technical, calculated affair?

Well, the way he sees it, Masvidal is called “Gamebred” for a reason.

“He’s always game when he walks out there and steps out in the octagon,” Thompson said. “He comes forward. I believe he’s going to be ready to throw down. And so am I. I’m ready to put on a show for the fans here in New York City, kind of how I did the last time.”

To hear from Thompson, check out the video above.

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

Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stephen Thompson leaves the octagon after his welterweight championship bout against Tyron Woodley at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stephen Thompson enters the arena to face Tyron Woodley (not pictured) for their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stephen Thompson enters the octagon to face Tyron Woodley (not pictured) for their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) and Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) fight during their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) and Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) fight during their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) and Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) fight during their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) and Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) fight during their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) and Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) fight during their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stephen Thompson reacts after being defeated by Tyron Woodley in their welterweight championship bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Woodley won via majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) fights against Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) in their welterweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) fights against Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) in their welterweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Blood drips from the face of Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) during his welterweight title bout against Tyron Woodley during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Blood drips from the face of Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) during his welterweight title bout against Tyron Woodley during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) reacts after fighting Tyron Woodley in their welterweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Tyron Woodley (red gloves) hugs Stephen Thompson (blue gloves) after their welterweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-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/ZJRgJKEqzzkE2zTHpiteBD/281288", customAnalytics: true, title: "Stephen Thompson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

USADA: UFC's Brandon Moreno accepts no-fault finding after failed drug test

Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) defeats Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) bleeds from a cut during his fight against Sergio Pettis during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) fights Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports Aug 5, 2017; Mexico City, Mexico; Sergio Pettis (red gloves) defeats Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Tovar-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/veHjcXWmk75rPXbf9y4fF/281277", customAnalytics: true, title: "Pettis def. Moreno", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Officials from the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), today announced a finding of no-fault after standout UFC flyweight Brandon Moreno failed a drug test.

Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) failed a drug test for trace amounts of the banned substance clenbuterol. But after an investigation, USADA determined that the positive likely came from contaminated meat, an issue well-known to the anti-doping agency.

Consequently, USADA ruled Moreno ingested clenbuterol “without fault or negligence,” clearing him of a potential anti-doping violation.

“Consistent with numerous prior reported cases globally, the issue of illicit administration of clenbuterol to animals destined for food production can result in, under specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete,” USADA stated in a press release sent to MMAjunkie. “Both USADA and WADA have issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico.”

Moreno, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, failed an in-competition test in the early hours of Aug. 6, after a unanimous-decision loss to Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 114, which took place at Mexico City Arena in Mexico City. USADA then looked into his whereabouts prior to the fight, his dietary habits, and laboratory reports showing “very low parts per billion concentrations of the prohibited substance.”

RelatedTwitter reacts to Sergio Pettis' victory over Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114

“Based on this information, USADA concluded that the presence of clenbuterol in the athlete’s sample very likely resulted from clenbuterol-contaminated meat consumed in Mexico,” the release stated. “USADA’s investigation also took into consideration the negative results for samples collected from Moreno both before and after his positive test. As a result, Moreno will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test.”

On WADA’s banned substance list, clenbuterol, a stimultant, is on a short list of “other anabolic agents” banned at all times. A first-time UFC offender would likely face a two-year suspension.

While Moreno escapes a sanction as the result of USADA’s findings, the anti-doping agency issued another warning about clenbuterol-tainted meat.

“While the risk of … testing positive for an athlete is extremely small, consistent with past athlete advisories, USADA reminds athletes to use the utmost care if eating meat in known high risk countries, including Mexico and China,” the release stated. “In line with WADA recommendations, USADA will continue to assess the presence of clenbuterol in an athlete’s sample on a case by case basis, taking into account all the evidence supporting the likelihood of such contamination.”

Moreno joins a list of fighters cleared by USADA for accidentally ingesting clenbuterol, including Mexican UFC veteran Augusto Montano and Chinese fighters Ning Guangyou and Li Jingliang.

Moreno’s loss to Pettis snapped a three-fight winning streak and temporarily dashed his hopes of getting into title contention.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Georges St-Pierre on Michael Bisping title fight: 'There is nothing bigger than this'

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NEW YORK CITY – Georges St-Pierre is ready to reclaim UFC championship glory when he returns from a four-year layoff to fight middleweight champion Michael Bisping in Saturday’s UFC 217 main event.

UFC 217 takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. St-Pierre challenges Bisping, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, in the pay-per-view headliner following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) took a four-year hiatus beginning in late 2013, vacating the UFC welterweight title he held for the better part of a decade. He attempts to become the fourth multi-division champion in UFC history, potentially joining Conor McGregor, B.J. Penn and Randy Couture.

“Rush” was going to step back in the octagon only with something significant at stake, and he said fighting Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) is the perfect scenario.

RelatedUFC 217 preview: The historic numbers behind Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre

“There is nothing bigger than this,” St-Pierre said at today’s UFC 217 open workouts. “I’m fighting for the world title against the guy who has the record for most wins in UFC history. I’m fighting for my legacy. I’m fighting also to be among an elite group of fighters to hold the title in two different divisions. … It’s never been done before. If I do it I’ll be the first one to do it. I can’t think of a better scenario. I’m very excited.”

St-Pierre appears calm heading into his return. He said he expects a standout performance at UFC 217.

“I’m very happy,” St-Pierre said. “This has been four years in the making working very hard. I never took a break. I’ve always trained, training for fun. Now I’m training for performance, and I have one goal in mind, and that’s to become world champion again.”

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

Mar 3, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre speaks during a press conference to promote his middleweight title bout against Michael Bisping (not pictured) prior to weigh ins for UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre in attendance at UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre between rounds in a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre before a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre before a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) enters the cage before his welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) and Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) hug after their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre is interviewed by Joe Rogan after his welterweight championship bout against Johny Hendricks during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Georges St-Pierre the training partner of Francis Carmont (not pictured) yells instructions as he fights Costa Philippou (not pictured) during their Middleweight bout at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Mar 13, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; UFC World champion Georges St-Pierre shakes the hand of Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta (21) before the game against Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (black) ties up Carlos Condit (white) during first round action of their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (black) lands a punch on Carlos Condit (red) during second round action of their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (top) checks the remaining time left in the fifth round in his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit (bottom) at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; UFC official Yves Lavigne separates Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit during fourth round action in their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre reacts after the fifth round of his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre is declared the winner by unanimous decision in his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre poses for a photo with his parents Pauline and Roland after winning the Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre poses for a photo with his team after winning the Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. 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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

With 13th bout, 'UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar' lineup finalized

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; General view of the arena for the fight between Jose Aldo (red gloves) Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) and Max Hollway (blue gloves) touch gloves before the fight during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/B84CQRWMH4V4dxLzmg3uQL/281217", customAnalytics: true, title: "Holloway def. Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

With a final addition to the fight card, the lineup is set for next month’s UFC 218 event.

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

A heavyweight bout between Allen Crowder (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Justin Willis (5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is the latest addition to the card and serves as the curtain-jerker.

Crowder, a 27-year-old from North Carolina, picked up a UFC contract after a third-round TKO win over Don’Tale Mayes at DWCS 8. It marked his second straight victory and his sixth stoppage in seven career wins. He now meets Willis, a 30-year-old American Kickboxing Academy member who made his UFC debut in July and scored a decision victory over James Mulheron. It was his fifth straight victory.

RelatedWhat do you think of UFC 218's official poster (and Frankie Edgar's 'crazy eyes')?

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA 145-pound rankings (and No. 8 pound-for-pound), looks to defend his title for the first time when he meets former lightweight champ and perennial contender Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC), who’s ranked No. 3.

The co-main event could serve as a title-eliminator as No. 2-ranked Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on No. 9 Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in a battle of heavyweight strikers.

Rounding out the main card are No. 3 flyweight Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. No. 6 Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), No. 3-ranked lightweight Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. former champ and No. 5 Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC), and No. 7 strawweight Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) vs. honorable mention Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

The featured prelim boasts Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs. Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC). As MMAjunkie reported on Tuesday, Oliveira replaced injured Al Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC), who’s ranked No. 14 at lightweight.

The full “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar” card now includes:

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

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

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

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


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Mickey Gall


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Mickey Gall.

Fast-rising Gall fights fellow welterweight Randy Brown on Saturday’s UFC 217 preliminary card.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

UFC 217 face-offs: Jorge Masvidal with a throat-slash, Randy Brown with a phone call

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NEW YORK – Check out the face-offs from today’s UFC 217 media day, which had a few humorous moments.

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

Today, before the stacked event, some fighters who aren’t part of the trio of title fights met with media members and had a customary face-off for the cameras. And they offered a little of everything.

Welterweights Jorge Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Stephen Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC)? It ended with a Masvidal throat-slash and a quick exit from the stage.

RelatedUFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal couldn't believe Stephen Thompson signed on dotted line

Middleweights Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) and Paulo Borrachinha (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)? A few laughs as ex-champ Hendricks seemed to forget the face-off positions.

Featured preliminary-card fighters and lightweights Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and James Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC)? Polite smiles before a fight that could deliver some stellar striking.

Heavyweights Mark Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC)? Upbeat, as always.

Light heavyweights Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC), former training partners and friends? A bro hug, of course.

Welterweights Randy Brown (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Mickey Gall (4-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC)? A few laughs as Brown got a call during his face-off.

And light heavyweights Ion Cutelaba (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Michal Oleksiejczuk (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims? No love lost here.

Check out all of the face-offs above.

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

Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) fights Jake Ellenberger (red gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) fights Jake Ellenberger (red gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) fights Jake Ellenberger (red gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Ross Pearson (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) reacts after the first round against Ross Pearson (not shown) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Ross Pearson (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports May 29, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Lorenz Larkin (blue gloves) gets punched by Jorge Masvidal (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports May 29, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Lorenz Larkin (blue gloves) gets punched by Jorge Masvidal (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports May 29, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Lorenz Larkin (blue gloves) gets punched by Jorge Masvidal (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Nov 28, 2015; Seoul, South Korea; Benson Henderson (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Olympic Gymnastics Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lili Troncale-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/abFDrLdwaNra2Aat9k88g4/281222", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jorge Masvidal", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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UFC 217 pre-event facts: All 6 title-fight competitors sport astoundingly deep resumes

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

UFC 217 is arguably the most significant event of the organization’s 2017 schedule, and unsurprisingly, the deck has been stacked with three title fights and a number of marquee stars.

From the anticipated UFC main event between middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) and Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), to the bantamweight title grudge match between champ Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and T.J. Dillashaw’s (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC), to the showdown for strawweight gold between titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) and Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC), UFC 217 has a little bit of something for everyone.

Check below for 65 pre-event facts about UFC 217, which airs Saturday on pay-per-view from Madison Square Garden in New York City following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Main event

Go in-depth with the numbers behind the Bisping vs. St-Pierre middleweight title fight.

Co-main event

Cody Garbrandt

Garbrandt is one of nine fighters in UFC history to win a belt with an undefeated record.

Garbrandt’s five-fight UFC winning streak in bantamweight competition is tied with Jimmie Rivera for the longest active streak in the division.

Garbrandt has earned nine of his 11 career victories by knockout. That includes four of his six UFC wins.

Garbrandt’s seven knockdowns landed in UFC bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Dillashaw is one of six cast members from “The Ultimate Fighter” to win an undisputed UFC championship.

T.J. Dillashaw

Dillashaw competes in his 14th UFC bantamweight bout, tied with Takeya Mizugaki for the second most appearances in divisional history behind  UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber (15).

Dillashaw’s 10 victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied with Faber for most in divisional history.

Dillashaw’s 10 victories in UFC/WEC bantamweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Dominick Cruz (12) and Faber (11).

Dillashaw’s six stoppage victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied with Faber for most in divisional history.

Dillashaw’s five knockout victories in UFC bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Dillashaw’s five knockdowns landed in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Garbrandt (seven) and Eddie Wineland (six).

T.J. Dillashaw

Dillashaw is one of two fighters in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in five consecutive fights. Jedrzejczyk also accomplished the feat.

Dillashaw scored the latest head-kick knockout finish in UFC history when he stopped Joe Soto at the 2:20 mark of Round 5 at UFC 177.

Dillashaw is one of two fighters in UFC history to earn two or more fifth-round stoppage victories. Flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson also accomplished the feat.

Dillashaw lands 5.38 strikes landed per minute in UFC bantamweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Thomas Almeida (6.0).

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

Dillashaw’s six fight-night bonuses for UFC bantamweight bouts are the most in divisional history.

Women’s title bout

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Jedrzejczyk became the first Polish-born champion in UFC history when she defeated Carla Esparza at UFC 185.

Jedrzejczyk is one of nine fighters in UFC history to win a belt with an undefeated record.

Jedrzejczyk’s five consecutive UFC title defenses are second most among current champions behind D. Johnson (11).

Jedrzejczyk’s six victories in UFC title fights are tied with Ronda Rousey for most of any female in company history.

Jedrzejczyk competes in her ninth UFC strawweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Jedrzejczyk’s eight-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Jedrzejczyk’s eight victories in UFC competition are tied with champ Amanda Nunes and Jessica Andrade for most of any female in company history.

Jedrzejczyk’s eight victories in UFC strawweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Jedrzejczyk has earned nine of her 14 career victories by decision. That includes six of her eight UFC wins.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Jedrzejczyk has out-landed her opponents 971-328 in significant strikes over her past six UFC appearances.

Jedrzejczyk is the only fighter in UFC history to land 200 or more significant strikes in two separate bouts.

Jedrzejczyk is one of two fighters in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in five consecutive fights. Dillashaw also accomplished the feat.

Jedrzejczyk’s 225 significant strikes landed against Andrade at UFC 211 are a UFC title-fight record. She also holds the second highest amount with 220 against Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193.

Jedrzejczyk’s 225 significant strikes landed at UFC 211 are second most in a UFC fight behind Nate Diaz’s 238 significant strikes against Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 in December 2011.

Jedrzejczyk’s 75 leg kicks landed against Andrade at UFC 211 are the single-fight UFC record. She also holds the second highest amount with 70 against Letourneau at UFC 193.

Jedrzejczyk’s three fight-night bonuses for UFC strawweight bouts are the most in divisional history.

Namajunas competes in her seventh UFC strawweight bout, tied for the second most appearances in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (nine).

Rose Namajunas

Namajunas’ four victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight) and Tecia Torres (five).

Namajunas has earned five of her six career victories by submission.

Namajunas’ three stoppage victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with Paige VanZant for the most in divisional history.

Namajunas’ three submission victories in UFC strawweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Namajunas’ submission of VanZant at the 2:25 mark of Round 5 at UFC Fight Night 80 stands as the latest stoppage in UFC strawweight history and the latest stoppage overall in a women’s UFC bout.

Namajunas’ eight takedowns landed against VanZant at UFC Fight Night 80 stand as the single-fight record for a women’s UFC bout.

Namajunas’ 14 successful guard passes against VanZant at UFC Fight Night 80 stand as the single-fight record for a women’s UFC bout.

Remaining main card

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) enters the event on a two-fight winless skid. He hasn’t earned a victory since June 2016.

Thompson’s five knockout victories since 2012 in UFC welterweight competition are second most in the division behind Matt Brown (six).

Thompson’s five fight-night bonuses since 2012 for UFC welterweight bouts are tied for second most in the division behind Erick Silva (seven).

Jorge Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is 4-3 since he returned to the welterweight division in July 2015.

Masvidal is one of five fighters in UFC history to finish a bout by submission at the 4:59 mark of Round 2. He accomplished the feat against Michael Chiesa at UFC on FOX 8.

Masvidal has suffered nine of his 12 career losses by decision. That includes all five of his UFC defeats.

Johny Hendricks

Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) is 1-1 since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in February.

Hendricks is 1-4 in his past five fights.

Hendricks is one of five fighters in UFC history to record three or more knockout victories in less than one minute each.

Hendricks and Lawler combined for 308 significant strikes landed at UFC 171, tied for second most ever for a UFC title fight behind Jedrzejczyk vs. Letourneau at UFC 193 (323 combined significant strikes).

Paulo Borrachinha (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned all 10 of his career victories by stoppage.

Borrachinha has earned nine of his 10 career victories by knockout. That includes both of his UFC wins.

Preliminary card

Joseph Duffy

Joseph Duffy (16-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has earned 14 of his 16 career victories by stoppage. He’s finished 13 opponents in the first round and eight in less than two minutes each.

Duffy has earned all three of his UFC stoppage victories in the first round.

Duffy’s 25-second submission of Mitch Clarke at UFC Fight Night 90 is the fourth fastest submission finish in UFC lightweight history.

Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC) competes in his second UFC bout in a 28-day stretch. He lost to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 216 this past month.

Harris is 3-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in April 2016.

Harris has earned all 10 of his career victories by knockout.

Harris defends 63 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC heavyweight competition, the highest rate among active fighters in the weight class.

Mickey Gall

Mickey Gall (4-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has earned all four of his career victories by submission in a total fight time of 12:32.

Gall’s three-fight submission streak in UFC competition is the longest among active fighters.

Gall’s 45-second submission of Mike Jackson at UFC Fight Night 82 tied the mark for fourth fastest submission in UFC welterweight history.

Aleksei Oleinik (52-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has earned 42 of his 52 career victories by submission. He’s finished 36 of those wins in Round 1.

Oleinik has earned his past 14 victories by stoppage. That includes all four of his UFC wins.

Oleinik is the only fighter in UFC history to earn an Ezekiel choke submission victory. He accomplished the feat at UFC Fight Night 103.

Corey Anderson

Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) lands 5.01 significant strikes per minute in UFC light-heavyweight competition, the highest rate among active fighters in the weight class.

Anderson completes 50 percent of his takedown attempts in UFC light-heavyweight competition, the third highest rate in divisional history behind Lyoto Machida (65 percent) and Glover Teixeira (51.4 percent).

Anderson’s 61-second knockout of Matt Van Buren at the TUF 19 Finale stands as the fastest finish in a “TUF” tournament final.

Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC) competes in his second UFC fight in a 42-day span. He defeated Yushin Okami at UFC Fight Night 1117 in September.

Saint Preux’s two-fight UFC winning streak in light heavyweight competition is tied for the second longest active streak in the division behind Mauricio Rua (three) and Volkan Oezdemir (three).

Saint Preux’s nine victories since 2013 in UFC light heavyweight competition are the most in the division.

Saint Preux has earned 16 of his 21 career victories by stoppage. That includes seven of his nine UFC wins.

Saint Preux’s seven stoppage victories since 2013 in UFC competition are most in the light heavyweight division and tied for fourth most in the company behind Cerrone (nine), champ Max Holloway (eight) and Derrick Lewis (eight).

Ovince Saint Preux

Saint Preux’s four submission victories in UFC light-heavyweight competition are tied with Renato Sobral for second most in divisional history behind Jon Jones (five).

Saint Preux’s three Von Flue choke submissions in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce are the most in combined company history. No one else has more than one.

Saint Preux has earned three of the five Von Flue choke victories in UFC history. Jason Von Flue and Jordan Rinaldi also accomplished the feat.

Saint Preux’s two technical submission victories in UFC competition are tied for second most in company history behind Frank Mir (three).

Saint Preux vs. Okami was just the second fight in UFC history to feature zero combined significant strike attempts. Ilir Latifi vs. Cyrille Diabate at UFC on FUEL TV 6 was the other.

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

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

May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights Jessica Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights Jessica Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA;Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights Jessica Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights Jessica Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) defeats Jessica Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) before fighting against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) reacts after defeating Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) reacts after defeating Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) with the championship belt after defeating Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Jul 21, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Former MLB and NFL player Bo Jackson and UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk fool around before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Melbourne, Australia; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) competes against Valerie Letourneau (blue gloves) during UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Melbourne, Australia; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) competes against Valerie Letourneau (blue gloves) during UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Melbourne, Australia; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) competes against Valerie Letourneau (blue gloves) during UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-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/UitP2ycaS6gFmHGwNAnW5X/280988", customAnalytics: true, title: "Joanna Jedrzejczyk", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Firas Zahabi: No ring rust for Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217; it'll be 'like riding a bike'

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MONTREAL – It’s been four years since Georges St-Pierre strapped on MMA gloves to defend his UFC welterweight title, and he escaped far from unscathed.

St-Pierre took a beating from Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 but won a controversial split-decision before announcing his intention to step away from the sport. Given the blows he took, time off seemed a wise choice.

On Saturday, St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) returns to the UFC’s octagon for a fight few had in mind when they envisioned a comeback: a shot at the middleweight belt against Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC), a champion few thought would ever wear gold after multiple setbacks near the top.

RelatedFiras Zahabi defends GSP from Bisping's steroid allegations – then compliments champ

The two serve as the pay-per-view headliner of UFC 217, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York and airs on pay-per-view. It’s as big a stage as any for St-Pierre to make a comeback. If there was any time to start talking about ring rust, it would be now for St-Pierre, who’s reputation for being meticulous during preparation is offset by his time away from active competition.

Firas Zahabi knows perhaps more than anyone else about the French Canadian ex-champ’s strengths and weaknesses, his rhythms, and his eccentricities. And Zahabi is unwilling to concede any disadvantage Bisping could possibly present..

“If he had a limited amount of experience I believe it could be a major issue,” Zahabi told MMAjunkie. “But again, he’s been competing since he was 6, 7 years old. For him, it’s like riding a bike. I don’t believe ring rust is an issue in this fight, in this particular fight.”

RelatedUFC 217 preview: The historic numbers behind Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre

That addendum suggests the competitive regard for which St-Pierre’s camp holds Bisping, who’s primarily known as a striker and admits he was out-wrestled by St-Pierre years ago when they trained.

But the thing is, Bisping is coming into the fight on one of the most impressive runs of his career, taking out a string of dangerous middleweights, including ex-champ Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold, whom he upset to win the belt, and Dan Henderson.

When the brash Brit faces off with St-Pierre, he will have functional muscle and endurance that’s been honed for years, rather than within a short span of time. Zahabi, though, believes St-Pierre’s smaller frame may serve to outpace Bisping.

RelatedWhy did Georges St-Pierre leave? Before UFC 217 return, GSP discusses self-imposed exile

“When you fight with somebody who’s bigger than you, there’s a few techniques, movements and strategies that have to be eliminated off the table,” Zahabi said. “Because if a person is bigger than you, the chances of those strategies and techniques working are far less. So when you fight somebody bigger, you have less tools.

“However, I’m a believer that the smaller guys have the superiority in movement. You can move around move efficiently and use that to your advantage.”

There’s no doubt that movement will serve one main purpose: to ground and pound Bisping until he submits. And if St-Pierre can reassert himself as the dominant player against Bisping, Zahabi said “Rush” is in a class of his own.

“I think it cements him as the greatest fighter or all time,” he said. “The greatest fighter of all time. All the other candidates had USADA issues.”

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

Mar 3, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre speaks during a press conference to promote his middleweight title bout against Michael Bisping (not pictured) prior to weigh ins for UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre in attendance at UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre between rounds in a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre before a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre before a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) enters the cage before his welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) and Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) hug after their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre is interviewed by Joe Rogan after his welterweight championship bout against Johny Hendricks during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Georges St-Pierre the training partner of Francis Carmont (not pictured) yells instructions as he fights Costa Philippou (not pictured) during their Middleweight bout at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Mar 13, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; UFC World champion Georges St-Pierre shakes the hand of Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta (21) before the game against Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (black) ties up Carlos Condit (white) during first round action of their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (black) lands a punch on Carlos Condit (red) during second round action of their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (top) checks the remaining time left in the fifth round in his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit (bottom) at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; UFC official Yves Lavigne separates Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit during fourth round action in their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre reacts after the fifth round of his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre is declared the winner by unanimous decision in his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre poses for a photo with his parents Pauline and Roland after winning the Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre poses for a photo with his team after winning the Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. 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So, what's Jon Jones been up to lately?

We haven’t heard much lately from Jon Jones, the former UFC light-heavyweight champion who’s facing a potentially long suspension.

However, Jones (21-1 MMA, 15-1 UFC) apparently isn’t giving up on the possibility of someday returning to the cage.

He recently posted a few updates, suggesting he can get to the “top of the mountain” once more (via Instagram):

Jones, who remains No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings (and No. 2 pound-for-pound) while his latest gaffe plays out, has yet to resolve his case with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, and the California State Athletic Commission, which overturned a recent knockout win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 when a failed steroid for turabinol, an oral steroid, was confirmed.

Cormier, who eventually was reinstated as champion, has since turned his attention to Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) as his possible next opponent.

RelatedWhat 'other' Jon Jones has learned about MMA and its fans after years of misdirected angry tweets

Jones, 30, also failed tests in 2016 due to clomiphene and letrozole – hormone and metabolic modulators. He’s denied knowingly take any prohibited substances.

UFC President Dana White questioned whether Jones, who posted eight title defenses from 2011-2015, will ever fight again after his latest failure and that it might be the “end of his career.”

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

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

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; UFC president Dana White puts the championship belt on Jon Jones following his victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones before the match against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands an elbow hit as Daniel Cormier defends during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands an elbow hit as Daniel Cormier defends during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Daniel Cormier defends as Jon Jones moves in for a hit during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Daniel Cormier defends as Jon Jones moves in for a hit during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Daniel Cormier defends as Jon Jones moves in for a hit during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones reacts following his TKO victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones fights Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in with a knee hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands a kick against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands hits against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones pins Daniel Cormier to the mat during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones reacts following his victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones reacts following his TKO victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones is declared the winner against Daniel Cormier by TKO during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-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/bdoeQcZL7CgusvB3jtbMZ9/281214", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jones def. Cormier", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Bellator 186's Zach Freeman's dream: a lightweight title, and then a unifier against Aaron Pico

Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Zach Freeman (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Aaron Pico (red gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Zach Freeman (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Aaron Pico (red gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Aaron Pico (red gloves) fights Zach Freeman (blue gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Zach Freeman (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Aaron Pico (red gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Zach Freeman (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Aaron Pico (red gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Jun 24, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Zach Freeman (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Aaron Pico (red gloves) during Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/xSXRnj6vgfXVLbAEyFJUcb/281171", customAnalytics: true, title: "Freeman def. Pico", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

For a guy who’d just pulled off one of the biggest upset of the year, Bellator lightweight Zach Freeman didn’t seem like a very happy guy.

After needing just 24 seconds to submit the heavily hyped Aaron Pico in June at Bellator 180, Freeman’s post-fight celebration was cut with criticism toward the MMA media for its lack of notice prior to the fight.

Officially the spoiler of Pico’s professional debut, Freeman vowed only to talk to the media outlets that previously had given the time of day.

Four months later, Freeman, nicknamed “The Altar Boy,” is a little more pragmatic about the issue after a “bittersweet moment” in victory.

RelatedBellator NYC highlights: Zach Freeman shocks 10-1 favorite Aaron Pico in 24 seconds

“I think my point was that, in the future, I think it’s important to give everybody a platform to tell their story, to give them an opportunity to earn sponsors, and to rightly deserve where they’re at,” Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who on Friday faces Saad Awad (20-9 MMA, 8-6 BMMA) at Bellator 186, told MMAjunkie. “That’s kind of what I meant.”

It might not have come across that way in the moment, of course. But Freeman ended up getting what he wanted, to a certain degree. More interview requests and interest in his career as a fighter and part-time musician followed after the event.

Now he no longer blames the media for its fair-weather approach. He recognizes it’s just part of the game in a sport where heroes are minted overnight.

“You guys work hard to help us get our names out there and get a bigger platform,” he said. “I’m always going to appreciate MMA journalists. I just was hoping I could get a little more attention.”

Make no mistake, he still wants it. More than that, he wants bigger opportunities. He is just resolved to earn them.

RelatedTwitter reacts to Zach Freeman's stunning submission of Aaron Pico at Bellator NYC

“I feel like I have a lot of work to put in to earn the respect of Bellator and fans,” he said. “A lot of people can call it a fluke, so it’s my job to show that it was not.”

To that end, Freeman is working hard to deliver a successful follow-up in Bellator. He is well aware of the increased stakes. This time, he faces a much more experienced opponent in Awad, whom he faces on the Spike-televised main card at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.

Compared to Pico, there is no doubt Awad is ready for a big fight.

“I’m almost in the Pico boat now, fighting a veteran who’s got all this experience,” Freeman said. “I think they did justice and the opponent they chose for me.”

Against Awad, Freeman will fulfill the second obligation of a four-fight deal he signed prior to facing Pico (1-1 MMA 1-1 BMMA). Ten months remain on his contract, meaning he’ll be staying busy until he comes up for renewal.

Despite his high-profile loss, Pico beat Freeman back to the cage. This past month, the decorated wrestler starched veteran Justin Linn with a perfectly placed punch, returning him to the win column in the most impressive way possible.

RelatedAaron Pico's emphatic Bellator 183 KO just what he needed after that awful debut

Freeman isn’t bothered by the timeline of his return. In fact, he considers himself a fan of the young fighter. He thinks Pico should next face off with Justin Lawrence, the UFC veteran who’s had a second life in Bellator.

Freeman even hopes to meet Pico down the road after they’ve both become champions.

“I think the best-case scenario would be something like I win the title, and one year and a half from now, Aaron Pico wins the featherweight title, and he can fight for my title and we can put on an awesome pay-per-view event like (Conor) McGregor and (Eddie) Alvarez did,” Freeman said.

Amibtious, indeed. But based on the intense interest in Pico’s debut, and the subsequent intrigue surrounding his brief downfall, Freeman thinks putting them together would close a storyline opened with their first meeting.

In that episode, Freeman was relegated to an also-ran that didn’t have much chance against the young upstart. Now that he’s proven that was wrong role, he aims to give Bellator more reasons to promote him as the type of talent that warrants the attention.

“I took that platform and I delivered, and I really can’t ask them to be any better than they have,” he said. “They gave me a second fight, and they’ve given it to me on a main card. They’re giving me every opportunity. At this point, it’s up to me to deserve anything more.”

For more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News

MMAjunkie's 'Submission of the Month' for October: A legendary sub ends a historic title fight

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best submissions from October. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and the winner of MMAjunkie’s “Submission of the Month” award for October.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Straus at Bellator 184

It took overcoming some rough spots early, but grappling-savvy Emmanuel Sanchez (16-3 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) looked nothing short of impressive en route to a third-round submission win over former champion Daniel Straus (24-8 MMA, 11-5 BMMA).

After an action-packed first round, which saw some crazy reversals and near-misses, Sanchez took control of the featherweight bout in the final two rounds, marking his best Bellator display yet with the rear-naked choke of Straus.

Demetrious Johnson def. Ray Borg at UFC 216

Demetrious Johnson’s (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) long journey toward UFC championship history reached its conclusion with his most memorable octagon moment to date when he scored a spectacular fifth-round submission of Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC).

Johnson’s unprecedented run of success as UFC flyweight champion claimed another victim when he defeated challenger Borg with a one-of-a-kind armbar in the final round. With the win, he broke Anderson Silva’s longstanding UFC title-defense run.

Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee at UFC 216

It was far from an easy night of work for Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), but a third-round triangle choke got Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to tap. It earned “El Cucuy” the UFC’s interim lightweight title.

After a back-and-forth two rounds, Ferguson’s superiority on the ground allowed him to set up a slick triangle choke. Lee attempted to fight out of it, but the choke was too fight, and he was forced to tap out in the title fight.

Jan Blachowicz def. Devin Clark at UFC Fight Night 118

Devin Clark’s (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) rushing attack had Jan Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) on his heels in the first round. But in the second, Blachowicz had an answer to end the light-heavyweight bout.

Clark exposed his neck while charging forward, and Blachowicz seized it. He secured a rarely seen standing no-hooks rear-naked choke in the second round, ending a three-fight slump for the Polish fighter.

Vicente Luque def. Niko Price at UFC Fight Night 119

Vicente Luque (12-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) made the most of his short-notice opportunity against Niko Price (11-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), chipping away with heavy shots until a finish presented itself.

Luque dropped Price with a combo in the second round of the welterweight fight. But rather than punch his way to a stoppage, he locked in a D’Arce choke and forced a tap, becoming just the third fighter in UFC history to earn two or more submission wins with the technique.

* * * *

The Winner: Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson

In what may go down as the slickest finish in his record-breaking championship reign, Johnson tapped Borg with a fifth-round armbar.

Just when it appeared Johnson was going to cruise to an easy decision win over Borg, “Mighty Mouse” lifted his opponent, grabbed his left arm in one fluid motion, and got a tap-out from an armbar at the 3:15 mark of the fifth round.

RelatedEven in super slo-mo, Demetrious Johnson's UFC 216 finish is pretty unfathomable

Johnson was listening when Borg said in a pre-fight interview he liked to upset his opponents’ balance to initiate winning scrambles. When he saw an opportunity to do the same, Johnson seized it and pulled off his eye-popping armbar.

“A couple of weeks ago, he was saying when somebody’s planted, you have to shift their weight, and when they shift their weight, they’re light,” Johnson said following the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “So I kneed him, and then I shook his weight – I shifted his weight, and when he shifted, he went back and threw and elbow, and I was like, ‘Got you.'”

It wasn’t the first time Johnson had pulled off such a move, which he dubbed the “Mighty Armbar,” as improvisational as it seemed. He had pulled it off several times in practice for UFC 215, where he was originally scheduled for his try at the all-time UFC record before Borg fell ill and was forced to withdraw the day before the fight.

RelatedAnd for his next trick, the great Demetrious Johnson will attempt ... what, exactly?

But the general public would never have known it was coming since Johnson has a strict rule of secrecy when it comes to his work in the gym.

“You see a lot of people that are doing their (video blogs), but I don’t show any of my training,” he said. “I just don’t do it. It’s none of your guys’ business what I’m doing in the gym. But we do have the ‘(UFC) Embedded’ crew come out there, and I show my warmup, and they’re like, ‘Dude, you need to let us film your sparring because the stuff you’re doing in sparring, you’re actually doing in the octagon.’

“When I was in Edmonton (for UFC 215), I was practically throwing people up. I do it all the time in the gym.”

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Ray Borg (blue gloves) during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) is seen before his fight against Ray Borg (not shown) during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) kicks Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) kicks Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ray Borg (blue gloves) fights Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) competes against Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights against Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the second round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) punches Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights against Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) competes against Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights against Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fourth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) fights Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fourth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) competes against Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fourth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) punches Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) picks up Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) picks up Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) picks up Ray Borg (blue gloves) during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) puts Ray Borg (blue gloves) in an armbar during the fifth round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ray Borg (blue gloves) reacts after being defeated by Demetrious Johnson (not shown) during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Ray Borg (blue gloves) during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Demetrious Johnson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Ray Borg (blue gloves) during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-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/6MMse4cmK35LaEcs9B39fh/280960", customAnalytics: true, title: "Johnson def. Borg", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

'Countdown to UFC 217' full episode with Bisping-GSP, Garbrandt-Dillashaw, Jedrzejczyk-Namajunas


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Did you miss the debut of “Countdown to UFC 217,” or just want to watch it again? Check out the full episode now.

The one-hour special debuted Monday on FS1 and previews Saturday’s big event, including the three title fights.

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

RelatedUFC 217 preview: The historic numbers behind Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre

In the main event, middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) takes on former longtime welterweight contender Georges St-Pierre(25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), who returns from a four-year layoff.

UFC 217 also features bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) and strawweight titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) vs. Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

Go inside the camps and lives of all six fighters in the “Countdown” special above.

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

Mar 3, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre speaks during a press conference to promote his middleweight title bout against Michael Bisping (not pictured) prior to weigh ins for UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre in attendance at UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre between rounds in a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre before a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 15, 2014; Jaragua do Sul, SC, Brazil; Georges St-Pierre before a fight between Ronaldo Souza (red gloves) and Francis Carmont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night Machida vs Mousasi at Arena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) enters the cage before his welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) and Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) hug after their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Georges St-Pierre is interviewed by Joe Rogan after his welterweight championship bout against Johny Hendricks during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Georges St-Pierre the training partner of Francis Carmont (not pictured) yells instructions as he fights Costa Philippou (not pictured) during their Middleweight bout at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Mar 13, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; UFC World champion Georges St-Pierre shakes the hand of Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta (21) before the game against Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (black) ties up Carlos Condit (white) during first round action of their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (black) lands a punch on Carlos Condit (red) during second round action of their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre (top) checks the remaining time left in the fifth round in his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit (bottom) at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; UFC official Yves Lavigne separates Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit during fourth round action in their Welterweight Championship bout at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre reacts after the fifth round of his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre is declared the winner by unanimous decision in his Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre poses for a photo with his parents Pauline and Roland after winning the Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Nov 17, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Georges St-Pierre poses for a photo with his team after winning the Welterweight Championship bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 at the Bell Centre. St-Pierre defeated Condit by unanimous decision. 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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

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