MMA Junkie News

Watch UFC-Austin headliner 'Cowboy' Cerrone take out Jim Miller with sick kick in 2014

It’s been a bit since we’ve had the chance to see Donald Cerrone get his hand raised.

“Cowboy” currently is mired in a three-fight slump – the first losing skid of his lengthy pro career. It’s remarkable, really, to think about: Cerrone went nearly 40 fights against some of the best in the business and never lost consecutive fights till recently.

On Sunday, Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC) has a chance to break out of his slump when he meets Yancy Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in the UFC Fight Night 126 main event. Before his current slide against Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and Darren Till, he had won 12 of 13 – and the only loss was a lightweight title shot.

Before you watch “Cowboy” try to get back in the win column, check out one of his most vintage performances in his first UFC main event. Cerrone headlined UFC Fight Night 45 in New Jersey and took out fellow veteran Jim Miller with a brilliant head kick in the second round.

Check out that fight in the video above. Then don’t miss UFC Fight Night 126, which takes place Sunday at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; against Donald Cerrone (red gloves) before his fight against Darren Till during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; against Donald Cerrone (red gloves) before his fight against Darren Till during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights against Darren Till (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone lands a kick against Robbie Lawler during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler react following their match during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone moves in with a hit against Robbie Lawler during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) reacts to fight with Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Patrick Cote (blue gloves) fights Donald Cerrone (red gloves) in a welterweight bout during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Patrick Cote (blue gloves) fights Donald Cerrone (red gloves) in a welterweight bout during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) reacts after his welterweight bout against Patrick Cote (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-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/PVhrMETcnLxfjDpbGMSqL5/302545", customAnalytics: true, title: "Donald Cerrone", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Mr. Flying Knee? Bellator 194's Tywan Claxton trying to live down viral fame

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_iF1A09Cx_FLu19iir_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/iF1A09Cx.json","ph":2} );

Tywan Claxton wanted to make a statement in his professional MMA debut.

Mission accomplished. Now what?

“I’ve got a couple more tricks that I’m willing to throw,” Claxton (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) told MMAjunkie Radio in advance of his follow-up at Bellator 194 opposite Jose Antonio Perez (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

It’s been tough for Claxton to live down the performance that made headlines around the world. Everywhere he goes, he’s the flying knee guy. Eventually, he stopped trying to fight it, even though he wanted to be known for more than one moment in time.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, I can strike. I’ve got kicks. I’ve got elbows. I can wrestle and do submissions,'” he said.

If Claxton is anything, he’s a avid learner. He appreciates diversity in skill-sets. He doesn’t like to be pigeonholed.

In his spare time, he taught himself how to code using Apple’s Swift programming language. Now, he spends almost as much time on the computer as he does on the mat.

“I have a degree in healthcare marketing, but I really don’t like healthcare,” he said. “So I just sit here and build apps between practice.”

For Claxton, the pursuit of excellence is a passion all its own. But with such a celebrated beginning in the cage, he struggled on how to deal with the next chapter of his career. He had to reset expectations.

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_5HMurtVO_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/5HMurtVO.json","ph":2} );

Looking for that next highlight reel in the gym, Claxton said, wasn’t the solution. He had a rough two weeks in sparring before he realized he was going about things the wrong way. As good as that knee was, he’d have to forget about it and start over.

Now, Claxton tries very hard to think of himself not as a human highlight-reel, but an opportunist who uses the right tools for the job.

“Let’s stick to basics,” he said. “I confuse people with my angles, and something will come. I’ve been lights out ever since.”

If lights out means dropping partners in practice, the public could be in for another show Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., where Claxton and Perez kick off the Paramount-televised main card.

But don’t count on another knee just yet.

“I’m not going in there looking to throw that,” Claxton said. “I’m just going to go in there and fight how I like to fight.”

For more on Bellator 194, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

UFC 221 'Fight Motion': Watch Yoel Romero pummel Luke Rockhold in super slow motion

Luke Rockhold wanted to get a belt wrapped around his waist again, but Yoel Romero had something to say about that.

In the UFC 221 main event this past Saturday in Australia, Romero (13-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) knocked out former middleweight champ Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in the third round to keep Rockhold from winning the interim 185-pound title. (Romero missed weight the day before, so was ineligible to win the interim belt.)

Now you can watch the super-slow-motion highlights from this past Saturday’s pay-per-view headliner at Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia. Plus, you’ll see Curtis Blaydes’ (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) impressive heavyweight win over Mark Hunt (13-12-1 MMA, 8-6-1 UFC).

Check out all of the highlights from the card above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 221, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero moves in with a kick against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero lands a kick against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold moves in with a hit against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero moves in with a hit against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold lands a hit against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold lands a kick against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero moves in with a hit against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold defends against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold reacts following his TKO loss against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero reacts after his victory by TKO against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero celebrates his victory against Luke Rockhold following UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold reacts following his TKO loss against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold reacts following his TKO loss against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero celebrates his victory against Luke Rockhold following UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-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/FoDGj8jmjQkAP94uK2TTwJ/302576", customAnalytics: true, title: "Romero def. Rockhold", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Co-Main Event Podcast: Download episode No. 293 with Ben Fowlkes, Chad Dundas

Episode No. 293 of the Co-Main Event Podcast now is available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie/USA TODAY columnist Ben Fowlkes and Bleacher Report lead MMA writer Chad Dundas host the weekly show (also dubbed the “CME,” if you nasty). This week, Missoula’s biggest Pearl Jam fans look back at UFC 221 and Yoel Romero’s knockout of Luke Rockhold, and look ahead to Bellator 194 and more.

Check it out at comainevent.com, or download the podcast directly.

Walkouts and logos: Roy Nelson's philosophy on self-marketing in MMA

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_peRwPCz9_FLu19iir_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/peRwPCz9.json","ph":2} );

Big walkouts are Bellator’s thing. And for fighters like Roy Nelson, that translates to big sponsorship opportunities.

“They’re trying to bring the PRIDE show back, where we’re in the entertainment business,” Nelson (23-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) told MMAjunkie in advance of his Paramount-televised headliner against Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) at Bellator 194. “That allows me to showcase different sponsors.”

After almost three years of fighting under the UFC’s uniform policy, which prohibits outside sponsors during fight week, Nelson notices the difference since his defection to Bellator nine months ago. There are more opportunities to make money outside the cage.

He rattled off a litany of companies he could promote as he made his walk to the cage, some more practical than others.

“If I want to walk out with a honky-tonk band, I can come out with a honky-tonk band,” he said after a training session to prepare for Friday’s event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “If I can come out with a Monster energy drink, I can come out with a Monster energy drink. I guess I can’t come out with heroin and do rehab, because that would get me in trouble.”

Even without the extra logos, though, Nelson works hard to develop his personal brand. His rotund frame, walkout song “Fat” by Weird Al Yankovic, and post-fight belly-rubs are nothing short of trademarks. Without restrictions on his walkout routine, he aims to drill that persona into the public consciousness.

“My thing is I try to grow my demographic and my fan base to get bigger and bigger,” Nelson said. “So when I do get to the championship, I’ve got more fans to cheer for me.”

Nelson needs to win two fights to get to that point, and it all starts with his rematch against Mitrione. The first time they met, in 2012 at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale, he took home a first-round knockout. Both fighters anticipate a completely different challenge the second time around. Above all else, Nelson is focused on getting to the next round.

After all, if he doesn’t win, he isn’t getting much camera time.

Watch the above video to hear Nelson on sponsors, his outside-the-cage business ventures, and his thoughts on fighting in Bellator.

And for more on Bellator 194, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Sep 24, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; Roy Nelson (red gloves) after his fight against Antonio Silva (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Apr 14, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Roy Nelson during weigh ins for UFC Fight Night at the Kansas City Power and Light District. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 14, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Roy Nelson during weigh ins for UFC Fight Night at the Kansas City Power and Light District. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Alexander Volkov (red) and Roy Nelson (blue) fight during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Alexander Volkov (red) and Roy Nelson (blue) fight during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jul 7, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson moves in with a hit against Derrick Lewis during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Graden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 7, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis lands a hit against Roy Nelson during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Graden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (red gloves) reacts after winning the fight against Jared Rosholt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (red gloves) reacts after winning the fight against Jared Rosholt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (red gloves) fights against Jared Rosholt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (red gloves) fights against Jared Rosholt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (red gloves) fights against Jared Rosholt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Feb 6, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (red gloves) fights against Jared Rosholt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Roy Nelson (red) fights Alistair Overeem (blue) in a heavyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Roy Nelson (red) fights Alistair Overeem (blue) in a heavyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Roy Nelson (red) fights Alistair Overeem (blue) in a heavyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Roy Nelson (red) fights Alistair Overeem (blue) in a heavyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Daniel Cormier (red gloves) fights against Roy Nelson (blue gloves) in their heavyweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Daniel Cormier (red gloves) fights against Roy Nelson (blue gloves) in their heavyweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports Jun 15, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Roy Nelson fights Stipe Miocic (not pictured) during their Heavyweight bout at UFC 161 at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/RvKao6iKYVc5KVbis5j8bk/302525", customAnalytics: true, title: "Roy Nelson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin

(NOTE: This story/polling will be updated when a sixth and final main-card bout is finalized.)

We want your predictions for Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 126 event in the Lone Star State.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC Fight Night 126 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 126 takes place at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros

Records: Donald Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC), Yancy Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC)
Past five: Cerrone 2-3, Medeiros 3-2
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: Cerrone No. 13
Odds (as of 2/12/18): Cerrone -160, Medeiros +140

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')); Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura

Records: Derrick Lewis (18-5-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC), Marcin Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Past five: Lewis 4-1, Tybura 3-2
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Lewis No. 12, Tybura honorable mention
Odds (as of 2/12/18): Tybura -155, Lewis +135

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')); Francisco Trinaldo vs. James Vick

Records: Francisco Trinaldo (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC), James Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC)
Past five: Trinaldo 4-1, Vick 4-1
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: Vick No. 14, Trinaldo No. 15
Odds (as of 2/12/18): Vick -230, Trinaldo +190

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')); Thiago Alves vs. Curtis Millender

Records: Thiago Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC), Curtis Millender (14-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Alves 3-2, Millender 5-0
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 2/12/18): n/a

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')); Thibault Gouti vs. Sage Northcutt

Records: Thibault Gouti (12-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC), Sage Northcutt (9-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC)
Past five: Gouti 2-3, Northcutt 3-2
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 2/12/18): n/a

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'));

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; against Donald Cerrone (red gloves) before his fight against Darren Till during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; against Donald Cerrone (red gloves) before his fight against Darren Till during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights against Darren Till (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone lands a kick against Robbie Lawler during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler react following their match during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone moves in with a hit against Robbie Lawler during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) reacts to fight with Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Patrick Cote (blue gloves) fights Donald Cerrone (red gloves) in a welterweight bout during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Patrick Cote (blue gloves) fights Donald Cerrone (red gloves) in a welterweight bout during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) reacts after his welterweight bout against Patrick Cote (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-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/PVhrMETcnLxfjDpbGMSqL5/302478", customAnalytics: true, title: "Donald Cerrone", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Oskar Piechota vs. Tim Williams official for UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin

The UFC’s return to Texas this weekend has one more bout that has made its way to official status.

Oskar Piechota (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will take on promotional newcomer Tim Williams (15-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a middleweight fight. Promotion officials formalized the booking today.

UFC Fight Night 126 takes place Sunday at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. Although the lineup is mostly set, a women’s strawweight fight featuring Jessica Aguilar in still in limbo while she waits for a replacement for the injured Livia Renata Souza.

Piechota made his promotional debut this past October in Poland at UFC Fight Night 118. There, in front of his home crowd, he stayed unbeaten with a unanimous decision win over Jonathan Wilson. The only blemish on Piechota’s resume is a 2013 split draw.

Williams’ lengthy career has been on the East Coast, where he has a dozen fights under the CFFC banner. He comes to the UFC on a five-fight winning streak, including victories over UFC veterans Jay Silva and Nah-Shon Burrell.

With the official addition, the UFC Fight Night 126 card includes:

MAIN CARD (FS1, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Francisco Trinaldo vs. James Vick
  • Thiago Alves vs. Curtis Millender
  • Jessica Aguilar vs. Livia Renata Souza
  • Sage Northcutt vs. Thibault Gouti

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Diego Ferreira vs. Jared Gordon
  • Brian Camozzi vs. Geoff Neal
  • Joby Sanchez vs. Roberto Sanchez
  • Sarah Moras vs. Lucie Pudilova

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 5:30 p.m. ET)

  • Brandon Davis vs. Steven Peterson
  • Oskar Piechota vs. Tim Williams
  • Josh Burkman vs. Alex Morono

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for Bellator 194 at Mohegan

We want your predictions for Friday’s Bellator 194 event in Connecticut.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC 221 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 126 takes place at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione

Records: Roy Nelson (22-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA)
Past five: Mitrione 3-2, Nelson 3-2
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Mitrione No. 11
Odds (as of 2/12/18): Mitrione -190, Nelson +165

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')); Derek Campos vs. Patricky Freire

Records: Derek Campos (19-6 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), Patricky Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA)
Past five: Campos 4-1, Freire 4-1
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 2/12/18): Freire -245, Campos +185

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')); Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov

Records: Liam McGeary (12-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA), Vadim Nemkov (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA)
Past five: McGeary 3-2, Nemkov 3-2
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: McGeary No. 15
Odds (as of 2/12/18): McGeary -155, Nemkov +125

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')); Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton

Records: Heather Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), Ana Julaton (2-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA)
Past five: Hardy 1-1, Hardy 2-3
Division: Women’s flyweight
Rankings: n/a
Odds (as of 2/12/18): Hardy -350, Julatan +260

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')); Tywan Claxton vs. Jose Antonio Perez

Records: Tywan Claxton (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), Jose Antonio Perez (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA
Past five: Claxton 1-0, Perez 0-1
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 2/12/18): n/a

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'));

For more on Bellator 194, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_qopyI1pa_RbnemIYZ_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/qopyI1pa.json","ph":2} );

Sergio Pettis calls out UFC 221 winner Jussier Formiga

Despite being stifled on the mat in his most recent bout, Sergio Pettis wants a fight against one of the best grapplers in the flyweight division next.

Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) has called for a matchup against Jussier Formiga (21-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC), who is coming off a third-round submission of Ben Nguyen this past Saturday at UFC 221, which took place at Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia.

RelatedHere's that spinning backfist that Jussier Formiga used to floor Ben Nguyen at UFC 221

“The Phenom” took to social media to congratulate the Brazilian on his win, then asked to fight him (via Instagram):

Congrats Jussier Formiga on your performance this past weekend. But what’s good let’s set this up.

Pettis, No. 6 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 218 in December. A victory would have likely set him up for a title shot at 125 pounds, but Pettis was neutralized by Cejudo’s wrestling over three rounds and couldn’t get the job done.

RelatedUFC 221 video highlights: Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen – with a brutal ending

Prior to the loss, the 24-year-old Pettis was riding a four-fight winning streak. He hasn’t succumbed to a submission in a fight since his first pro loss in January 2014, and it appears Pettis wants to see where his skills stand against a dangerous grappling threat like No. 7-ranked Formiga.

Pettis and Formiga were scheduled to fight at UFC Fight Night 103 in January 2017, but Formiga withdrew due to an ankle injury.

For complete coverage of UFC 221, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) and Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) react after fight during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Sergio Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-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/HyVs8FDjsXs9pqgXDd5uDA/302514", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cejudo def. Pettis", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Ben Askren predicts late-2019 showdown with Georges St-Pierre in Montreal

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_qqlwaPkJ_FLu19iir_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/qqlwaPkJ.json","ph":2} );

Ben Askren has been beating the drum for a Georges St-Pierre fight since well before he retired from the sport in November.

Askren (18-0), an undefeated vet who was in the top five of the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings before his retirement, has made it clear he will only return to competition for one fight – and that’s against St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC). That because he believes beating “Rush” would make him the undisputed No. 1 fighter in his weight class.

Typically, when Askren references St-Pierre, the discussion is sober, with the knowledge of the many roadblocks that stand in the way of such a fight taking place. His attitude recently shifted, though, and he now predicts it’ll occur by the end of next year.

RelatedBen Askren reminds us what MMA is and isn't, even in retirement

“My main motivation is to prove I’m No. 1 in the world,” Askren recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “I think it will happen, at the Bell Centre (in Montreal). Me vs. ‘GSP,’ probably somewhere in late 2019. … I don’t need to make any more money from fighting, and there’s only one thing left to prove. I’ve been No. 1 for the past five years, and I’ve unfortunately never had the chance to prove that fight. It’s the one thing that interests me.”

Askren became a notable fighter under the Bellator banner. The Olympian and former NCAA Division I national wrestling champion dominated the organization’s 170-pound division en route to becoming champion, but he eventually parted ways with the company. Askren has repeatedly detailed his messy attempt to join the UFC, but a hostile relationship with company president Dana White and an outspoken attitude prevented a deal.

If it were up to Askren, he would have joined the UFC roster and continued his career. But negotiations went sour, and the 33-year-old felt like he’d been used. That’s when Askren signed with the Asia-based ONE Championship and pushed his career unbeaten streak to 19 fights before retiring.

The odds of seeing Askren actually fight St-Pierre seem slim on the surface. Add in the fact it’s almost guaranteed the bout could only take place under the UFC banner, and it’s hard to envision it becoming reality, especially with Askren so outspoken against the UFC’s business practices.

RelatedONE Championship 65 highlights: Ben Askren bids farewell, 'undefeated forever'

“(My first UFC negotiation) was so dirty, it left such a bad taste in my mouth,” Askren said. “I already didn’t want to talk to Dana. I don’t trust a damn word that comes out of his mouth. I don’t trust a word. It’s like, why did I never pursue that again? Well, it’s because the first time I got screwed over – it was just about as dirty a deal as anyone could give you. I don’t want to have that discussion again. I don’t trust them one bit.”

Time can heal wounds, though, and it’s possible Askren will eventually reach workable terms with the UFC brass. For now, though, there’s no St-Pierre fight even available to work toward; the standout French-Canadian returned from his four-year MMA hiatus in November when he scored a third-round submission victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to become middleweight champion.

Just weeks after claiming the belt, though, St-Pierre was forced to vacate due to medical issues. He’s currently battling ulcerative colitis, and longtime head coach Firas Zahabi recently said he could see the disease keeping St-Pierre out of action for several years.

With that in mind, Askren’s predicted timetable for the fight seems accurately measured, and while it remains to be seen if St-Pierre will fight again, Askren said he’s in a position where he could come back any time.

“I’m 33, and I’ve taken very good care of my body,” Askren said. “I’ve never taken PEDs, so there’s no ill affects from that. I’ve never had a very major injury since college, and that was my neck, and it’s been over a decade, so I’m fine there. I’m very healthy. I’m planning on staying in good shape – not fighting shape. But I don’t see myself as being one of those guys that’s going to age very quickly.”

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

Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) fights Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) defeats Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) defeats Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) defeats Michael Bisping (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Michael Bisping (red gloves) reacts after losing to Georges St-Pierre (not pictured) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Georges St-Pierre (blue gloves) greets Michael Bisping (red gloves) after their fight in UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/t2pBbXqn6WUG8Z2WigLLpQ/302436", customAnalytics: true, title: "St-Pierre def. Bisping", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Matt Mitrione: 'Zero revenge factor' headed into Bellator grand-prix rematch with Roy Nelson

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_MHaHGPlf_FLu19iir_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/MHaHGPlf.json","ph":2} );

Current Bellator heavyweight and former UFC fighter Matt Mitrione had six fights to his name when he fought Roy Nelson six years ago in the UFC octagon.

A short-notice replacement for former UFC interim heavyweight champ Shane Carwin, Mitrione fell prey to Nelson’s heavy hands in the first round. It was Mitrione’s first stoppage loss.

The two now have been paired again for Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix, but Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) isn’t concerned about getting back at Nelson (23-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in their opening-round matchup of the yearlong eight-man tournament.

“I have zero revenge factor going on,” Mitrione told MMAjunkie Radio about the Paramount-televised rematch, which headlines Friday’s Bellator 194 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “Good job. Roy’s the first guy to legitimately beat me. I can’t get upset about that.

“I’m a completely different fighter. I’ve been as active as I can be, and I’ve had no injuries. It’s just the fact that my ego wants to prove that I’m better than Roy, wants to prove that I’m the best heavyweight in the Bellator division, and one of the best in the world. I’m ready for that.”

RelatedRoy Nelson discusses most exciting aspect of Bellator grand prix rematch with Matt Mitrione

Mitrione will face the winner of another quarterfinal-round bout, between Bellator light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, which headlines Bellator 199 on May 12 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Mitrione is unsure about the timeline of his next bout if he beats Nelson, but he’s hoping it’s sooner than later.

“I prefer to stay busy,” he said. “I don’t really like down time very much, so I’m not really happy a bout it. But I have to worry about my opponent up front, and then I can worry about the second (round).”

RelatedMatt Mitrione on status as Bellator grand prix frontrunner: I should be

Of course, Nelson will try to repeat history when he squares off with Mitrione. But Mitrione has goals beyond victory on Friday.

“I think I should be the favorite – I think I’ve earned that,” he said. “It’s up to somebody else to show me why I’m not. I feel great about it. I feel like I’m the most dangerous heavyweight in Bellator, that’s for damn sure.

“We’re going to see if I’m the most dangerous person in Bellator – or not.”

For more on Bellator 194, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Travis Browne (red) fights Matt Mitrione (blue) during a heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Browne won after three rounds by technical knock-out. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Matt Mitrione (blue) injures his eye during a heavyweight bout against Travis Browne (not pictured) at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Browne won after three rounds by technical knock-out. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: graphic content) The referee examines Matt Mitrione's eye during a heavyweight bout against Travis Browne (not pictured) at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Browne won after three rounds by technical knock-out. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: graphic content) Matt Mitrione (blue) injures his eye during a heavyweight bout against Travis Browne (not pictured) at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Browne won after three rounds by technical knock-out. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Matt Mitrione (blue) holds ice to his eye after a heavyweight bout against Travis Browne (not pictured) at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Browne won after three rounds by technical knock-out. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Travis Browne (red) fights Matt Mitrione (blue) during a heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Browne won after three rounds by technical knock-out. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jun 6, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ben Rothwell (red gloves) fights Matt Mitrione (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports December 13, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Matt Mitrione is declared the winning following his knockout victory against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports December 13, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Matt Mitrione celebrates his knockout victory against Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports December 13, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Matt Mitrione moves in on Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports December 13, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Matt Mitrione hits Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports December 13, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Matt Mitrione fights Gabriel Gonzaga during UFC Fight Night at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Dec 12, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Matt Mitrione weighs in for his bout against Gabriel Gonzaga (not pictured) during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Sep 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Matt Mitrione (right) fights Brendan Schaub during their Heavyweight bout at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 15, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (left) is kicked by Matt Mitrione (right) during their heavyweight bout in the Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Nelson won by KO. Mandatory Credit: Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports Dec 15, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson (left) is punched by Matt Mitrione (right) during their heavyweight bout in the Ultimate Fighter Finale at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Nelson won by KO. Mandatory Credit: Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports Oct. 29, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Matt Mitrione during UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Oct. 29, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Cheick Kongo (right) against Matt Mitrione during a heavyweight bout at UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Oct. 29, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Matt Mitrione during UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Oct. 29, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Matt Mitrione during UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/WpNN9nXShojHK7bHGgWmbF/302454", customAnalytics: true, title: "Matt Mitrione", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior among additions to UFC on FOX 29 in Arizona

Two new fights have been added to the UFC’s April return to Arizona.

Tim Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) will take on Antonio Carlos Junior (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in a middleweight bout, and Shana Dobson (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will fight Lauren Mueller (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a women’s flyweight fight at UFC on FOX 29. Promotion officials recently announced the two new bookings.

UFC on FOX 29 takes place April 14 at Gila Rivera Arena in Glendale, Ariz., near Phoenix. The main card will air on FOX following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Boetsch got back in the win column this past June with a bonus-winning second-round TKO of former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in Oklahoma City. That gave him a rebound from a submission loss to Ronaldo Souza. He has wins in three of his past four fights, all by knockout, after a rough patch that saw him drop four of five and six of eight.

Junior is on a roll with four straight wins after a TKO loss to Dan Kelly in Australia nearly two years ago. Since then, he has submissions of Leonardo Guimaraes, Eric Spicely and Jack Marshman and a decision victory over Marvin Vettori.

Dobson fought on Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” as the 16th ranked fighter for coach Eddie Alvarez. In the opening round, she lost to top-seeded Roxanne Modafferi by TKO. But she got a fight at the TUF 26 Finale in Las Vegas and stopped Ariel Beck with a second-round TKO this past December. The lone loss of her career came to Nicco Montano, who won “TUF 26” to become the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight champion.

Mueller comes to the UFC by way of a decision win over Kelly McGill-Velasco this past August at Dana White’s Contender Series 8. That victory kept the 26-year-old perfect at 4-0 to start her pro career after three wins under the Gladiator Challenge banner.

With the additions, the latest UFC on FOX 29 card now includes:

  • Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Matt Brown vs. Carlos Condit
  • Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • John Moraga vs. Wilson Reis
  • Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami
  • Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares
  • Cortney Casey vs. Michelle Waterson
  • Luke Sanders vs. Patrick Williams
  • Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
  • Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller

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

What's to become of you, Mark Hunt?

Just before his unanimous decision loss to Curtis Blaydes in the co-main event of UFC 221, Mark Hunt laid out a plan for his future.

“After the three fights with the UFC, I’d like to fight globally three more times and then retire,” Hunt (13-12-1 MMA, 8-6-1 UFC) told MMAjunkie. “Hang it up.”

Just to be clear, that’s the oldest fighter on the UFC roster – Hunt will be 44 next month (but still can hang with the young bucks in the club) – looking six fights into the future and envisioning a glorious end outside the UFC. Even better, he doesn’t seem to think it’s such a big deal.

When Hunt vows to “hang it up,” it’s with this air of resigned reluctance, the way your dad admits that one of these days he’s going to have to break down and get a new lawnmower.

That’s a guy who still loves to play punch-face, even if he is closing in on two decades as a professional fighter.

And if not for the uncommonly solid chin of Blaydes (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), Hunt might be sitting on a two-fight winning streak right now. A couple clean punches from Hunt had him looking like the early stages of a highlight reel knockout early in the fight, right before his takedowns saved him from a sudden visit to the dark lands.

But the weird thing about Hunt is that it doesn’t really seem to matter whether he won or lost. He’s still going to keep fighting either way, and fan interest in seeing him try to knock someone’s head off is not significantly diminished by his inability to stop Blaydes’ double-leg.

The market for Hunt’s specific brand of violence still is very strong. He wants to keep doing this well into his mid-40s? And he’s still reasonably competitive, even against guys like Blaydes, who at 26 is almost half his age? Then fine, you know there’ll be someone willing to cut him a check.

This game is not going to be through with Hunt until he decides he’s through with it. And to hear him tell it, he’s got at least a couple more years and maybe even a couple different fight promotions still to go.

Ten years ago, this is probably not the career path many people would have predicted for Hunt. He was a fun, but not terribly successful heavyweight in PRIDE. When Zuffa bought that promotion, UFC President Dana White actually tried to pay Hunt not to fight, until Hunt insisted on having his existing contract honored.

He would go on to become a surprisingly serious heavyweight title contender, which isn’t something that happens too often on the heels of a six-fight losing skid.

Now he’s shared the cage with just about every great heavyweight of the last decade and a half, battling everyone from Fedor Emelianenko to Stipe Miocic. He’s walked through “Cro Cop” head kicks and stuffed Brock Lesnar takedowns. He had one of the greatest fights in heavyweight history when he went five rounds in a draw against Antonio Silva. The scars he’s accumulated along the way are like a roadmap linking nearly everyone who mattered in this division for the last 10-plus years.

I don’t know what you can even do with Hunt anymore, except for basically anything you want to. Because the guy who refused free money just so he could go get hit in the head on TV some more? Yeah, he’s probably not going to leave this sport quietly. He might not even leave it in this decade.

For more on UFC 221, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes brings down Mark Hunt during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the cage during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Mark Hunt defends against Curtis Blaydes during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes applies a hold against Mark Hunt during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Mark Hunt defends against Curtis Blaydes during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Mark Hunt defends against Curtis Blaydes during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-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/ztiDeeqSozfwQEMh8DhTSi/302509", customAnalytics: true, title: "Blaydes def. Hunt", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC's Luke Rockhold could move to light heavyweight inside a year

February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero moves in with a kick against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero lands a kick against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold moves in with a hit against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero moves in with a hit against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold lands a hit against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold lands a kick against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero moves in with a hit against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold defends against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero defends against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold reacts following his TKO loss against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero reacts after his victory by TKO against Luke Rockhold during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero celebrates his victory against Luke Rockhold following UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold reacts following his TKO loss against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Luke Rockhold reacts following his TKO loss against Yoel Romero during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Yoel Romero celebrates his victory against Luke Rockhold following UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-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/FoDGj8jmjQkAP94uK2TTwJ/302508", customAnalytics: true, title: "Romero def. Rockhold", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Luke Rockhold’s days as a middleweight are numbered.

Even before he suffered a brutal knockout loss to Yoel Romero (13-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) this past weekend at UFC 221, Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) had designs on moving up.

“One-hundred percent,” Rockhold told MMAjunkie in an interview prior to his pay-per-view main-event loss at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. “I’m not hanging here at middleweight much longer. It’s too hard to make weight.”

Rockhold hit the 185-pound mark without issue for this past Saturday’s headliner. He attributed a good weight cut to the use of a nutritionist. But he said changes in his body have made the process much harder in recent years.

RelatedLuke Rockhold reacts to UFC 221 knockout loss: Yoel Romero 'made of steel'

“It’s not fun,” he said. “Plus, the division at light heavyweight without Jon Jones is not the same. The middleweight division is much tougher. So move up, cut less weight, and have easier fights? C’mon.”

Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) isn’t the only thing that’s kept Rockhold from moving up. His longtime friend and teammate Daniel Cormier (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) holds the title at 205 pounds, and the two are not keen to fight. But with Cormier in pursuit of the UFC heavyweight title against champ Stipe Miocic (18-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC), the timing might be right.

Whether Rockhold’s loss hastens his decision remains to be seen. Asked whether he might move up within one year, he said, “easily.”

The setback to Romero was a tough start to 2018 for the former champ, who lost his title in June 2016 when Michael Bisping (30-9 MMA, 20-9 UFC) stepped up on short notice and delivered an upset knockout at UFC 199. Rockhold spent the remainder of the year at odds with the UFC over his contract before restructuring his deal. He returned to the octagon this past September and battered ex-WSOF champ David Branch (21-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to get back to the win column.

RelatedSean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Luke Rockhold and UFC 221's other losing fighters?

Rockhold got a chance to win back UFC gold when former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) vacated the middleweight title, leaving interim champ Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) without an opponent. Upon promoting Whittaker to undisputed champ, the UFC booked Rockhold as the Aussie fighter’s first title challenger.

The opportunity was not meant to be. Whittaker was forced to withdraw from the fight, and the UFC installed Romero as a short-notice replacement. When Romero failed to make weight for the bout, eliminating him from title consideration, the pair shared a tense staredown at ceremonial weigh-ins.

Rockhold fared well early against the decorated Cuban wrestler but was caught in the third round by a pair of punches that crumpled him to the mat. Afterward, he gave Romero his due.

For complete coverage of UFC 221, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

 

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Derrick Lewis and Jay Hieron

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Derrick Lewis and Jay Hieron.

UFC heavyweight Lewis meets Marcin Tybura in Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 126 co-main event. Hieron, our in-studio guest host, is a retired UFC vet who’s now an actor/stuntman.

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.

Full fight video: Is Marina Mokhnatkina Russia's Ronda Rousey?

if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_MLO5eQ0L_FLu19iir_div').setup( {"playlist":"http:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/MLO5eQ0L.json","ph":2} );

Sure, invoking the name of Ronda Rousey can easily be seen as a bit of a gimmick, but with four wins in less than six minutes of total cage time, Marina Mokhnatkina may be worthy of a comparison.

Like, Rousey, Mokhnatkina established herself at the highest level of a single discipline – in her case, sambo rather than judo. At 29, Mokhnatkina is a six-time Russian champion, two-time European champion and, most importantly, a four-time world champion, which is the highest level of the sport, with sambo not recognized as an Olympic sport.

Mokhnatkina is now focused on MMA, and she turned pro in June 2016 and quickly racked up four first-round submission wins – two by armbar, one by Achilles lock and, most recently, a kneebar.

On Feb. 22, Mokhnatkina (4-0) faces Liana Jojua (5-2) at Fight Nights Global 83 in Moscow, with the promotion’s inaugural bantamweight title on the line. Can Mokhnatkina keep her impressive streak alive and become a pioneer in the women’s game in her native Russia?

Ahead of that FNG 83 clash, check out Mokhnatkina’s most recent victory, a 58-second submission win over Karine Silva, courtesy of FNG, above.

Bojan Velickovic targets Randy Brown or Mickey Gall for UFC 223 fan-friendly showdown

Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bojan Velickovic applies a hold against Jake Matthews during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bojan Velickovic applies a hold against Jake Matthews during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bojan Velickovic pins Jake Matthews to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Darren Till (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Nico Musoke (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Nico Musoke (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Nico Musoke (red gloves) fights Bojan Velickovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Nico Musoke (left) and Bojan Velickovic (right) embrace after their fight during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Bojan Velickovic (right) reacts after defeating Nico Musoke (left) fights during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-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/4EXuu6zkRC8ibTneZuCmNA/302444", customAnalytics: true, title: "Bojan Velickovic", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC welterweight Bojan Velickovic is still a little frustrated after his most recent outing, but he refuses to make any excuses. Instead, he’s simply ready to get back into the cage and prove his worth once again.

Velickovic (15-6-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC) most recently stepped into the cage in November for a UFC Fight Night 121 meeting with Jake Matthews in Australia, and while 10 of 14 media outlets awarded “Serbian Steel” a decision win, according to MMADecisions.com, he was forced to settle for a split-decision loss.

Velickovic said the disappointing result drove him to a quick return to the gym at Colorado’s Elevation Fight Team.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 121 results: Jake Matthews takes split from Bojan Velickovic in return to 170

“As soon as I came back from Australia, I jumped right back into training,” Velickovic told MMAjunkie. “I wasn’t happy with my performance. Even though a lot of people thought I won that bout, I know I’m a better fighter than Jake and I shouldn’t have let that fight go in the hands of the judges.

“At least I was glad I didn’t get injured so I could start working on the things that didn’t work in that fight and things I wanted to improve. Also, a few of my teammates had fights coming up, including Neil Magny, who was getting ready for his fight with Carlos Condit at the time. So at the same time, that helped me to move on, and also I was really excited to be able to participate in their preparation.”

Velickovic traveled to Las Vegas for Magny’s UFC 219 victory over Condit in December and then went back to his native Serbia to spend some much-needed downtime with family, not to mention reconnect with his training roots. Now, the 29-year-old has returned stateside and is ready to get his next fight booked.

“I went to Vegas for Neil’s fight at UFC, 219 which turned out great for him and entire team,” Velickovic said. “After that, I flew out to Europe to spend the holidays with my family and also to train a few weeks with the coaches I started my career with.

“Sometimes, it feels good to go back where you started and press the reset button – rebuild the foundation. I finally came back to U.S. a few weeks ago, and I feel great, ready to go out to the octagon and put out the good performance.”

RelatedNeil Magny curious what's next after biggest win of career vs. Carlos Condit at UFC 219

Velickovic, of course, is willing to take on any assignment the UFC offers, but he’s got a pair of names in mind that he finds most intriguing: Randy Brown (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Mickey Gall (4-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

Brown picked up a decision win over Gall in what turned out to be a bit of a grudge match in November at UFC 217. Velickovic was impressed by the action and thinks either fighter could provide an entertaining matchup.

“I watched their last fight, and they are both young and hungry fighters – ready to scrap and make a show for the fans,” Velickovic said. “That is the what I care about the most.”

Velickovic is willing to travel to New York for the opportunity, right in the backyard of both fighters, and he thinks UFC 223 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center would provide the perfect platform to turn in a “Fight of the Night” performance.

“Of course I want to win every fight, and that is my final goal, but the first one is to make a good performance and reward the UFC for the opportunity they give me to fight for the best fighting promotion in the world and in front of millions of fans around the world,” he said.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, including UFC 223, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

On last fight of contract, Curtis Blaydes wants 'decent offer,' will entertain Bellator

February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes brings down Mark Hunt during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the cage during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Mark Hunt defends against Curtis Blaydes during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes applies a hold against Mark Hunt during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Mark Hunt defends against Curtis Blaydes during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Mark Hunt defends against Curtis Blaydes during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-USA TODAY Sports February 10, 2018; Perth, Australia; Curtis Blaydes pins Mark Hunt to the mat during UFC 221 at Perth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stewart Allen-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/ztiDeeqSozfwQEMh8DhTSi/302434", customAnalytics: true, title: "Blaydes def. Hunt", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes just pulled off the biggest win of his career.

Good thing, because it’s getting close to contract renegotiation.

In an interview prior to his win over Mark Hunt (13-12-1 MMA, 8-6-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 221 pay-per-view co-headliner, Blaydes (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) told MMAjunkie his high-profile fight was one of two remaining bouts with the UFC.

For his next contract, Blaydes requires a bump.

RelatedUFC 221 video highlights: Curtis Blaydes vs. Mark Hunt

“If the UFC allows me to get to that fourth fight without a decent offer … I’ll listen to Bellator,” he said.

The UFC’s major competitor has the big men in the spotlight with this year’s Bellator heavyweight grand prix. But that’s not the reason Blaydes might be interested in jumping ship.

“They’ve been offering guys fat, fat contracts, and those heavyweights aren’t nearly as good as the ones in the UFC,” he said. “So the enticement is there – lesser competition for more money.”

Blaydes, who entered UFC 221 as the No. 14 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, didn’t disclose the purse he was set to earn for the UFC 221 co-headliner, which took place at Perth Arena in Australia. He did, however, say the raise wasn’t as big a bump as from his previous bout, a controversial TKO win over Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217. His most recent public payout was $38,000 for a win over Daniel Omielanczuk at UFC 213.

RelatedUFC 221 winner Curtis Blaydes wants top-5 opponent in Chicago – and spot in UFC video game

Of course, for what Blaydes may have lacked in earnings, he made back in stature. There was no doubt a win over a major Australian MMA star on a PPV card was big for his career.

But any attention he got for grinding out Hunt, it was all a means to an end.

“I don’t care if no one ever learns my name, as long as my bank account is full,” he said. “Because I’m not getting hit in the face just because I like it.

“I know there are guys who enjoy getting hit in the face. They enjoy the rush. They enjoy the adrenaline. I don’t. I don’t like getting hit in the face. It pisses me off. I’m only doing it because we’re getting paid. If we weren’t getting paid, I wouldn’t do this.

“I’m not one of those guys like, ‘If we were two guys in the backyard, I would still throw down.’ I would not. I’m in it for the money. I don’t feel bad about that at all.”

Blaydes is resigned to the fact that he must beat marquee opponents to make a bigger purse, largely because he isn’t the kind of fighter to trash-talk outside the cage. It’s become very clear to him what the UFC values in heavyweights, and unfortunately, many of those traits don’t apply to him.

Blaydes cites Francis Ngannou as an example of the priorities at play when it comes to building stars.

“He’s French, so he’s got foreign appeal,” he said. “And he’s got big muscles, so he looks good. It’s not hard to figure out how he got the hype train behind him. He does well. He has an exciting style.

“I get why he got the hype train, and I get why I’m not getting the hype train. I don’t have the eight-pack. I don’t look to stand and bang with my chin high and my hands below my waist. And I’m an American – and there are over 100-plus Americans in the UFC.

“I wish I was getting the money he’s getting, but I don’t like to count other people’s pockets, or look in their wallets. It’s his money – he deserves it. I’m sure once I show the UFC I deserve it, I’ll get my due money too. I’m only 26.”

With more time to build his name, Blaydes isn’t in a rush to be the next PPV headliner. He said the purse he made on Saturday is pretty good. It’s just that he wants his earnings trending up more steeply.

“Most guys my age aren’t making half what I’m making, so I’m fine with that,” he said. “For now.”

For complete coverage of UFC 221, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Jake Matthews doesn't fault Li Jingliang for eye-gouge at UFC 221

It would be perfectly understandable if Jake Matthews had no love for Li Jingliang after their UFC 221 fight.

Matthews (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) won and picked up a “Fight of the Night” bonus for his efforts at Saturday’s event. But he also went home with a pair of sore eyes after Jingliang (14-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) blatantly gouged them to get out of a choke in the second round.

As it turns out, Matthews isn’t a guy to hold grudges. In an interview with the UFC after his pay-per-view main-card bout with Jingliang at Perth Arena in Australia, he took the high road.

“Everything’s fine,” he said. “It’s more superficial than anything. It’s not too deep. No hard feelings against him. It’s what happens in fights, and all the best for his next fight, and I hope he does well.”

Matthews even had some fun about the whole situation on social media (via Instagram):

Going into the bout, Matthews was more concerned about enjoying his time at welterweight than cursing his opponent. Although he found success early on as a UFC lightweight, his later efforts saw diminishing returns. So when he decided to move up, he vowed to make the most of the trip.

“When I was at lightweight, I could never train, I couldn’t eat, I was very lethargic, and you take that into the fight,” he said. “On fight week now, I’m having fun, I’m having full training camps, I can eat, and that enjoyment plays into the fight. My whole mission in this fight, win or lose, was just to go and have fun, and I did that.”

At least one part of the fight didn’t look like much fun at all. But according to Matthews, these things happen in MMA.

For complete coverage of UFC 221, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Sunday's UFC Fight Night 126 lineup loses main-card matchup

Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 126 lineup recently lost a main-card competitor.

Former Invicta FC champion Livia Renata Souza (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) suffered a hand injury and was recently forced out of her UFC-debut bout against strawweight Jessica Aguilar (19-6 MMA, 0-2 UFC).

UFC Fight Night 126 takes place Sunday at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

UFC officials haven’t formally announced Souza’s removal from the card, which MMABrasil.com.br first reported. It’s not clear if Aguilar will remain on the card against a late-notice replacement opponent.

RelatedDonald Cerrone not thinking about 3-fight losing skid ahead of UFC Fight Night 126 headliner

Souza, a 26-year-old Brazilian, was going to bring a two-fight winning streak into her UFC debut. After losing her Invicta FC belt to Angela Hill via split decision in 2016, she rebounded with wins over Ayaka Hamasaki and Janaisa Morandin.

Aguilar, a former WSOF titleholder, is still in search of her first UFC win. The 35-year-old Mexican-American fighter posted 10 straight wins to earn a UFC contract but has since dropped decisions to Claudia Gadelha (in a title eliminator) and Cortney Casey.

The latest UFC Fight Night 126 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (FS1, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Francisco Trinaldo vs. James Vick
  • Thiago Alves vs. Curtis Millender
  • Jessica Aguilar vs. TBA
  • Sage Northcutt vs. Thibault Gouti

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Diego Ferreira vs. Jared Gordon
  • Brian Camozzi vs. Geoff Neal
  • Joby Sanchez vs. Roberto Sanchez
  • Sarah Moras vs. Lucie Pudilova

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

  • Josh Burkman vs. Alex Morono
  • Brandon Davis vs. Steven Peterson

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Jessica Aguilar (red gloves) fights Cortney Casey (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Jessica Aguilar (red gloves) fights Cortney Casey (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Jessica Aguilar (red gloves) fights Cortney Casey (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Cortney Casey (blue gloves)defeats Jessica Aguilar (red gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Cortney Casey (blue gloves)defeats Jessica Aguilar (red gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-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/vF9E5AGWRwmeDGA3b44dKV/302451", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jessica Aguilar", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Pages