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Episode No. 10 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

MMA Junkie News -

Episode No. 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens by immediately jumping into weigh-ins for the third quarterfinal matchup, which pits #2 Barb Honchak of Team Alvarez against #10 Rachael Ostovich of Team Gaethje.

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

Fight day arrives. Honchak and Ostovich head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs, including head coached Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. #10 Rachael Ostovich (3-3)

Round 1 – Honchak is tentative with her strikes early on as Ostovich moves around the octagon. Both fighters exchange, but nothing lands clean. Ostovich connects with a counter-left. Honchak is beginning to land with her punches but Ostovich is avoiding her big shots. Honchak initiates a clinch and presses Ostovich against the fence. She works on a trip takedown but Ostovich fends her off and lands a hard right hand on the break. Honchak shoots for a single leg takedown and manages to put Ostovich on the mat. Ostovich gives up her back, stands up and escapes to freedom. Ostovich lands an uppercut, right hand combination and is beginning to gain confidence. Honchak shoots for another single leg takedown, but Ostovich denies the initial entry and keeps her opponent away until the end of the round.

Round 2 – Ostovich lands a right hand to open the round, but Honchak doesn’t appear to be phased. They exchange and Honchak lands a clean punch. Ostovich connects in the midst of a combination but Honchak charges forward with a takedown attempt. She briefly puts the fight on the ground but Ostovich stands right back up. Honchak keeps the pressure on and takes Ostovich down again. Ostovich gives up her back and Honchak begins to work for a rear-naked choke. She gives up on it and throws strikes, but provides enough space that Ostovich can stand up. Honchak forces the fight back to the mat and takes the back once again. Honchak is riding the position and landing more strikes while working for the finish. Honchak continues to dominate the spot until the end of the round.

Barb Honchak def. Rachael Ostovich via unanimous decision

“That title feels attainable,” Honchak says after her victory. “It feels like I’m getting close to what I’m here for.”

Focus immediately shifts to the fourth and final quarterfinal matchup, which pits #6 Montana Stewart against fellow Team Gaethje fighter, #14 Nicco Montano.

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

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

#6 Montana Stewart (7-4) vs. #14 Nicco Montano (3-2)

Round 1 – Both fighters miss big with early shots but begin to settle into proper striking range. Stewart catches a kick from Montano and attempts to get a takedown, but Montano denies her entry. Stewart pushes her opponent against the fence and is working to put the fight on the canvas. Montano reverses the position before breaking free, and matchup returns to striking range. Montano lands a solid leg kick and Montano fires back a hard right hand. Montano is using good movement while mixing in kicks. Stewart is applying pressure and looking to land heavier shots. Both fighters land during a clinch exchange. Montano sticks Stewart with a hard right hand and is now the one controlling the pace. Montano nearly slips on a takedown and Stewart looks to capitalize. Montano springs back to her feet while Stewart attempts to move the fight to the mat again. Montano shows stellar defense, avoiding takedowns form the clinch and landing hard knees to the body and head of her opponent. A massive cut opens on Stewart’s forehead and that only encourages Montano to pour on more strikes from the clinch until the end of the round.

Round 2 – Montano continues to apply the pressure as the round begins, attacking Stewart with punches and kicks to the body. Montano counters with a solid right hand and starts to pressure with her open attacks. Montano shoots for a takedown but Stewart locks on a tight guillotine that has Montano in danger. Montano stays calm and maneuvers into side control. Montano attacks with short shots and Stewart is gushing blood. Montano postures up and is connecting clean from inside the guard against an exhausted Stewart. Stewart is desperately attempting to roll into a better position but Montano is riding her hard from on top and connecting with heavy shots. Stewart attempts to stand up but eats a crushing elbow in response. Stewart attempts to isolate an arm but Montano won’t give up an inch and is completely dominating the action. Stewart is doing everything she can to stand up and finally goes. She eats a pair of knees to the head for her troubles and her face is completely coated with blood. Montano finally breaks free of the clinch, but she has nothing left in the final seconds before time expires.

Nicco Montano def. Montana Stewart via unanimous decision

“I felt awesome,” Montano says after her victory. “I have one more week left here in the TUF house. If I can keep on keeping on until the end, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

With Montano’s victory, the tournament semifinal matchups are now set and will unfold as follows:

Bracket A

  • #1 Roxanne Modafferi (Team Gaethje) vs. #12 Sijara Eubanks (Team Alvarez)

Bracket B

  • #2 Barb Honchak (Team Alvarez) vs. #14 Nicco Montano (Team Gaethje)

Also see:

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


Filed under: News, UFC

Fabricio Werdum not so sure Alistair Overeem-Francis Ngannou winner deserves UFC title shot

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – The prevailing notion is that the winner of next month’s UFC 218 showdown between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou will be at the front of the line for a shot at Stipe Miocic’s heavyweight championship.

Fabricio Werdum, however, sees things differently.

“I think I deserve it,” Werdum on Wednesday told MMAjunkie in Sydney.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 121 pre-event facts: Fabricio Werdum brings big numbers

When Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) says he deserves it, of course, that’s assuming he defeats Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the FS1-televised main event of UFC Fight Night 121 on Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena. Prelims air on FS1 followed by early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Since May of last year, when he lost the title to Miocic, Werdum has alternated losses and wins, and that includes dropping a majority decision to Overeem in July at UFC 213. Most recently, though, Werdum easily dispatched Walt Harris last month, submitting him in 65 seconds at UFC 216.

As impressive as it was, the win over Harris didn’t do Werdum any favors the way a win over Derrick Lewis – who withdrew the day of the fight – would have. But for Werdum, his case as to why he’s deserving of the title shot with a win over Tybura doesn’t come down to just one performance.

“It’s not just about my last fight,” said Werdum, who’s ranked No. 2 in the official UFC rankings. “I think about everything in my career – 20 years of history. I don’t know. I’m just waiting.”

RelatedEnough with 'could,' says Francis Ngannou: UFC 218 win will earn me title shot

Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), officially ranked No. 4, recently told MMAjunkie Radio that he believes a win against No. 1 Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) definitely will earn him the next title shot, a claim that Werdum is likely to take issue with considering “The Predator’s” relative inexperience. The 40-year-old Werdum is making his 15th UFC appearance on Saturday. Overeem has five fights with the promotion under his belt.

Werdum, it seems, would have an easier time accepting getting passed over for Overeem than he would Ngannou.

“I think I deserve it. Overeem is there, too. I don’t know about Francis being there to fight for a title shot yet,” Werdum said. “I don’t know. I respect him, too. But I think he’s not (ready). Maybe Overeem, yes. But I’m waiting, too.”

All of this become a moot point if Werdum can’t get the job done against Tybura. Werdum has more to lose by facing the eighth-ranked Polish fighter, but Werdum said he isn’t feeling any pressure.

“Zero pressure. I don’t have pressure,” Werdum said. “The pressure comes from training – if you have an injury, different things. But this time I’m good. No injuries. I’m 40, but my mind is 28. Everything is good. I’ve been waiting for this fight. …

“My goal is the belt. It doesn’t matter who has the belt around his waste. My goal is the belt. It doesn’t matter if it’s Miocic or Overeem or other guys. That’s it. This is my big goal.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) reacts after defeating Walt Harris (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; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) fights Walt Harris (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; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) competes against Walt Harris (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; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) reacts after defeating Walt Harris (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) walks to the octagon to fight Alistair Overeem (not pictured) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Overeem def. Werdum via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Overeem def. Werdum via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Overeem def. Werdum via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports July 8, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 213 at T-Mobile Arena. Overeem def. Werdum via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) competes against Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) competes against Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) competes against Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) competes against Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) competes against Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) is separated from Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fabricio Werdum (red gloves) defeats Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/nGLZcDFY7c2f2BPH9oQDBd/284711", customAnalytics: true, title: "Fabricio Werdum", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Check out Noad Lahat's highlight reel before his main event at Bellator 188

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

It took an injury to featherweight champion Patricio Freire to elevate Noad Lahat to Thursday’s Bellator 188 main event.

But now Lahat has an opportunity to make the most of his first Bellator headliner – and in front of a friendly crowd. Lahat (11-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) takes on Jeremiah Labiano (11-5 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in Bellator 188’s main event in Israel, where he was born.

Bellator 188 takes place Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. It airs Friday via tape-delay on Spike.

Related5 reasons to watch Bellator 188, where Noad Lahat headlines in his native Israel

Lahat is as much as a 5-1 favorite over Labiano in his quest to move to 3-1 under the Bellator banner. His debut for the promotion came a year ago at Bellator 164 – also in Israel – when he submitted Scott Cleve with a first-round rear-naked choke.

This week, Lahat, who trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., will be trying to get back on track after a decision loss to Henry Corrales at Bellator 182 in August.

Before he steps in the cage looking for his third win in four fights, and in his first main event for a major promotion, check out some of Lahat’s highlights courtesy of Bellator in the video above.

And for more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the


Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Michael Bisping: Anderson Silva 'completely destroyed' legacy with second failed drug test

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Michael Bisping always has spoken highly of fellow former middleweight champion Anderson Silva – until now.

Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) last week was notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of a potential violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy, forcing his removal from the UFC Fight Night 122 headliner vs. Kelvin Gastelum. As a result, Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) stepped in to fight Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the Nov. 25 FS1-televised headliner in Shanghai, China, just three weeks removed from losing his title at UFC 217.

Bisping on Wednesday sounded upbeat during a media call in speaking about the opportunity in front of him on such short notice. But when asked how he felt about Silva’s stature in MMA following the second failed drug test of his career, Bisping struck a different tone.

RelatedAnderson Silva breaks silence after potential USADA violation: 'I will not give up'

“Well, he completely destroyed his legacy in my opinion,” Bisping said. “A lot of people have a short memory, and they’ll just remember his performances. His performances were great, but if you test positive for steroids twice? Once, you can talk your way out of it. Twice, I think the nail’s in the coffin.”

Silva has been in the discussion for “greatest of all time” for many years because of his longstanding reign as the UFC’s 185-pound champion. He won the title from Rich Franklin on Oct. 14, 2006, with a “Knockout of the Night” and then proceeded to defend the belt 10 straight times over the span of nearly six years. That stood as the record until flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson scored his 11th straight title defense last month at UFC 216.

After losing the belt to Chris Weidman and suffering a broken leg in their rematch, Silva, 42, failed a drug test around the time of his UFC 183 fight with Nick Diaz in January 2015 before USADA partnered with the UFC. Silva was handed a one-year suspension and $380,000 fine from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for that failure, which he claimed was the result of a tainted sexual enhancer.

RelatedWith Michael Bisping's 3-week turnaround, here's UFC Fight Night 122's new poster

For Bisping, who defeated Silva in a Feb. 2016 “Fight of the Night” at UFC Fight Night 84, the writing is on the wall.

“The guy was a cheat, and it’s a shame. It’s really, really disappointing,” Bisping said. “I was a huge fan of Anderson Silva. It’s just disappointing, and it’s a black eye to the sport of MMA.”

Gastelum had a hard time disagreeing.

“It’s not like I dislike Anderson, or I like him,” Gastelum said. “I feel indifferent about him. To me, it wasn’t surprising that he got caught. … I feel like he definitely tarnished his legacy with this. It is what it is, and the show must go on.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 26, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping square off during weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) before his fight against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) before his fight against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) reacts during his fight against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Anderson Silva (red gloves) competes against Michael Bisping (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping reacts after his fight against Anderson Silva during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Michael Bisping reacts after his fight against Anderson Silva during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports 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/zm52B75EgRx9cBMvtDz4fd/284704", customAnalytics: true, title: "Best of Bisping vs. Silva", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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From Brazil's karate team to the Bellator cage, Luiz Victor Rocha unshaken by bright lights

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When it comes to his MMA career, the big stage came a little faster than Luiz Victor Rocha originally expected.

Rocha’s Bellator debut, which takes place Thursday t Bellator 188 in Tel Aviv, Israel, will be only his fifth professional bout. It will also be his first time leaving his home country – or even state – to compete in MMA. Add to that the fact that he is, even after a last-minute switch, fighting a local athlete, and you have the makings of a stressful situation.

Rocha, who fights under the “Pitbull Brothers” team led by Bellator veterans Patricio (the current 145-pound champ) and Patricky Freire (a former lightweight title challenger), has seen how this kind of pressure has affected some of his stablemates.

Related5 reasons to watch Bellator 188, where Noad Lahat headlines in his native Israel

But when you’ve spent half your life traveling the world to compete in the highest levels of another combat sport, these things tend to look a little less scary.

“I’ve been part of Brazil’s karate team since 2003,” Rocha told MMAjunkie. “It’s been quite some time, so this experience has been helping me keep my head a little cooler than normal.”

Which is not to say that it’s been easy.

“The first few days were the toughest,” Rocha said. “I had to really control myself to stay grounded and focus on the fight. Because it felt like I was living a dream. This was something I was planning for two, three years from now. And it’s happening now.

“On my first dinner here, I ran into Royce Gracie, who’s a legend. Everything feels like a dream, and I’m trying to keep my mind focused on the fight. Thankfully, I’ve been managing.” (via Instagram)

It’s a good thing for Rocha (3-1 MMA, 0-0 Bellator) that his nerves are in check, because his Bellator 188 outing got another layer of drama on Tuesday. The Brazilian bantamweight’s original opponent, Israel’s own Kirill Medvedovski, fell ill ahead of their scheduled encounter. So Almog Shay (2-1 MMA, 1-0 Bellator), whose original bout in the same event also fell through, stepped in.

The two meet on a preliminary card bout at Menora Mivtachim Arena Arena in Tel Aviv. The main card of Bellator 188, which takes place on Thursday, airs Friday on Spike via tape-delay.

As Rocha explained, he wasn’t expecting to be on the big stage as quickly as he is. But it’s not like it just fell on his lap, either. While he understands the leverage his team holds within the Bellator brass was certainly helpful, it was the Brazilian’s own work ethic that got him noticed in the first place.

“I’ve been training hard,” Rocha said. “And, because I’m already a high-level athlete in another sport, I’ve always faced sports as a profession. Since day one in MMA, I’ve trained as a professional – which I do to this day. I do two, three practices a day, and I think that’s what made me gain the trust from my team.”

And karate, it turns out, isn’t just part of Rocha’s past: it’s his present, too.

The 28-year-old fighter actively competes on behalf of Brazil’s national karate team, which is already preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics – the first one that will have karate as an official sport. (via Instagram)

The calendar, Rocha says, has been kind: With all major karate competitions done early this year, he’s been able to focus mostly on MMA since May. In any case, it’s not like one thing hinders the other, as Rocha believes he’s been able to strike a balance in which his training in one sport is able to translate positively to the other.

Of course, he’s not the first karate practitioner to cross over to MMA. The most accomplished example is perhaps former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, whose older brother and fellow karate expert, Chinzo, also competes for Bellator.

But when it comes to fighting style, Rocha believes his comes closer to the one presented by two-time UFC title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

“He’s a little looser, keeps a low guard and kicks more,” Rocha said.

Rocha was very clear in the immense help that a lifetime of high-level competition has meant for his focus and mental game. But he sees numerous ways in which his tools inside the cage have gained from his background.

RelatedBellator 188 pre-event facts: Can John Salter overtake middleweight submission record?

“I think my movement and my skill to kick and use both legs,” Rocha said. “In karate, we end up becoming a bit ambidextrous. I do everything with both hands and legs. I think the main thing is the feel of it and reaction times. I’m able to see things before they happen.

“I notice that people have a bit of a slow vision. And karate prioritizes speed – so we end up not only having faster bodies, but we also have faster neuro-muscular response. The time it takes me to see something and react to it is faster than most people’s.”

This, Rocha clarifies, doesn’t only mean improved striking. Other aspects of the MMA game such as grappling and wrestling – which he’s been honing with well known coach Eric Albarracin – have also gained a lot from the reflexes he’s been sharpening his entire life.

“I’ve been adapting (to) things well.” Rocha said, before adding with a timid laugh, “I think I’m doing well. It seems to be working out.”

When he makes his official Bellator debut Thursday, Rocha is aware there is a lot to overcome – not only in regards to the other man standing across from him, but on his own mind, too. But that doesn’t keeping him from thinking about the future.

And that future includes James Gallagher, a Bellator featherweight who goes by “The Strabanimal” for most but, for Rocha, is simply known as the “Irish chicken.”

“I think he was a little bold in challenging Patricio (Freire),” Rocha said. “I think he’s way below that. If he wants to get to the king, he must at least first get past the prince. And he won’t. I think it will be hard for him. I think he’s much more hype than competence.

“I look at that guy, and I can’t imagine him beating me in any way. I’m a much better striker than him. And Albarracin has made me impossible to take down. If he can’t take me down, he can’t beat me.”

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News

Tyron Woodley: I'll fight Nate Diaz at UFC 219 if he wants to fight me

MMA Junkie News -

With a little over six weeks to go until UFC 219, the UFC remains in need of a headliner for its year-end pay-per-view event in Las Vegas.

Could Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Diaz be it?

BJPenn.com first reported Tuesday that Diaz started training camp for a fight. On Wednesday, ESPN.com reported that the UFC has looked into the possibility of booking a welterweight title fight between champ Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC).

According to ESPN, Woodley’s original plan following his most recent title defense against Demian Maia in July was to take off the rest of 2017 to nurse a shoulder injury. But it seems he’s willing to make an exception for a showdown with Diaz.

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

“If Nate wants to go (at) UFC 219, I’m ready,” Woodley said.

Woodley has defended his belt twice this year, first winning a majority decision in a rematch with Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 and then taking a unanimous decision from Maia in a lackluster affair at UFC 214. Woodley has campaigned recently for “money” fights, which a bout with Diaz would constitute.

Diaz’s future has remained uncertain while he’s seemingly held out for a third fight with lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Diaz submitted McGregor in their first fight last year at UFC 196 but lost the rematch via majority decision at UFC 202 and hasn’t fought in nearly 15 months since.

In the way of a potential trilogy is interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, who could be next in line for McGregor to unify the title. Diaz was offered an interim title fight with Ferguson earlier this year but backed out after initially accepting. Diaz has claimed it would take a huge amount of money to get him back in the octagon.

Could a shot at Woodley’s title entice him?

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

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')); March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz celebrates his victory by submission against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts after losing during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz celebrates his victory by submission against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz celebrates his victory by submission against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor is tended to by a doctor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor is looked at by the ring doctor following his loss against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor is tended to by a doctor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz lands punches against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (top) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz pins Conor McGregor against the mat during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (top) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (top) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (top) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz lands punches against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz applies a chokehold against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (left) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (left) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz pins Conor McGregor against the mat during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz lands a punch against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) punches Nate Diaz in the face during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz pins Conor McGregor against the cage during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (right) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz moves in for a punch against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz moves in for a punch against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz reacts against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) reacts against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (right) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) reacts against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (right) against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/vkPdyLSw6Lk9egr9uQGKB8/284682", customAnalytics: true, title: "Diaz def. 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Enough with 'could,' says Francis Ngannou: UFC 218 win will earn me title shot

MMA Junkie News -

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Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Sure, Francis Ngannou is excited about his upcoming UFC 218 meeting with Alistair Overeem.

Just don’t tell him that winning could be the thing to make him the next challenger to Stipe Miocic’s heavyweight belt.

“No, enough ‘could be,'” Ngannou told MMAjunkie Radio. “It will be.”

Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) isn’t just excited about meeting Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC). Having been away from the octagon since his 92-second knockout of Andrei Arlovski back in January, with a scrapped UFC 215 appointment in between, Ngannou is ecstatic to be back.

That it gets to be against a man who happened to have held DREAM, K-1 and Strikeforce titles – and challenged for a UFC belt?

Well, that’s a plus.

RelatedFrancis Ngannou roasts Alistair Overeem for Instagram photo to hype UFC 218 fight

“And then to know that something bigger is coming. Opportunities are becoming bigger and bigger,” Ngannou said. “I’m very excited, because that fight will probably change the level of things.

“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. I’ve been within this moment almost my whole life. And now I feel like I’m next to the goal. I’m next to it. And I’m really, really excited for it. I feel ready for everything.”

The heavyweight bout between Ngannou and Overeem is set to co-headline UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit. The event will air on pay-per-view, following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Ngannou isn’t all talk, either. Currently holding an unblemished UFC record with five finishes, he’s taken practical steps to make sure his career delivers on its promise. Earlier this year, for instance, Ngannou left his home in France and relocated full time to Las Vegas to take advantage of the UFC Performance Institute.

Ngannou hasn’t committed to a gym yet. Rather, having had a tough time finding single headquarters with a high concentration of fellow heavyweights, he tries to get what he needs from different places.

RelatedFrancis Ngannou was willing to fight Fabricio Werdum last minute after Derrick Lewis withdrew

His jiu-jitsu, for example, has currently found some help in grappling ace and UFC vet Vinny Magalhaes. The UFC Performance Institute, he says, also helps with other needs.

“But everything is OK,” Ngannou said. “I just take my time to feel how I do things.”

Whether that will translate to results in the octagon remains to be seen as the heavyweight hasn’t fought since moving. But, as much as he wouldn’t mind bringing some of his coaches and training partners from France if he could, Ngannou believes there’s been enough to compensate for what he’s missed.

“You’re going to move forward. You’re going to try to adapt,” Ngannou said. “To not think about what you miss, but think about what you get.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC 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 and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Ketlen Vieira says planned fight with Germaine de Randamie off due to 'GDR' injury

MMA Junkie News -

Hopefully you weren’t holding your breath waiting for the return of Germaine de Randamie.

De Randamie (7-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC), the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion who later had her title stripped, was rumored to be returning against Ketlen Vieira (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 125 in February in Brazil.

But according to Vieira, the fight is off because of a de Randamie hand injury – or potentially a recurring or continued hand injury. Vieira posted on her Instagram a picture of the booking with a bold red banner across the fighters images saying, “NOT TRUE!!”

UFC officials had not yet announced the bout for UFC Fight Night 125, which is set for Feb. 3 at Mangueirinho Gymnasium in Belem, Para, Brazil. The card is likely to air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Germaine de Randamie

De Randamie won the inaugural UFC women’s 145-pound title in February with a five-round unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Holly Holm. The win was her third straight after TKOs of Larissa Pacheco in 2015 and Anna Elmose in 2016. Both those fights were her lone appearances in those calendar years, and prior to that she was out for more than a year after a TKO loss to current bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.

A few months after she won the featherweight belt, de Randamie said she planned to return to bantamweight and didn’t want to take a fight against Cris Cyborg. So in June, the UFC stripped her title and booked a fight between former Invicta FC champ Megan Anderson and Cyborg for the vacant belt at UFC 214. Anderson got injured and was replaced by Tonya Evinger, who lost to Cyborg in the title fight.

And de Randamie still has remained sidelined. She was supposed to take on Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 115 in her home country of the Netherlands. But an injury forced her out.

Vieira stayed perfect in her pro career and picked up her first stoppage win in the UFC when she submitted Sara McMann with an arm-triangle choke at UFC 215 in September. Prior to that, she had decision wins over Kelly Faszholz and Ashlee Evans-Smith after she signed with the promotion with a 6-0 record, all in her native Brazil.

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

May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Germaine de Randamie reacts following her victory against Anna Elmose during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Germaine de Randamie is declared the winner by TKO against Anna Elmose during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Germaine de Randamie reacts following her victory against Anna Elmose during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Germaine de Randamie pins Anna Elmose to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Germaine de Randamie arrives for her match against Anna Elmose during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Larissa Pacheco (red) fights Germaine de Randamie (blue) in the womens bantamweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Larissa Pacheco (red) fights Germaine de Randamie (blue) in the womens bantamweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Germaine de Randamie (blue) before fighting Larissa Pacheco the womens bantamweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Nov 6, 2013; Fort Campbell, KY, USA; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) in the women's bantamweight bout during UFC Fight for the Troops at Fort Campbell. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 6, 2013; Fort Campbell, KY, USA; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) in the women's bantamweight bout during UFC Fight for the Troops at Fort Campbell. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Holly Holm (red gloves fights Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Holly Holm (red gloves fights Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Holly Holm (red gloves fights Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Holly Holm (red gloves fights Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Germaine de Randamie (blue gloves) walks back to the dressing room with the championship belt after defeating Holly Holm (not pictured) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/hX8bLLBnxu9csu4Gwzx9h6/284659", customAnalytics: true, title: "Germaine de Randamie", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News

Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria flyweight bout headed to UFC-St. Louis in January

MMA Junkie News -

The UFC’s new women’s flyweight division will be on display when the company debuts in St. Louis in January.

Jessica Eye (11-6 MMA, 1-5 UFC) will take on Kalindra Faria (18-6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a 125-pound bout at UFC Fight Night 124. Promotion officials recently announced the new booking.

UFC Fight Night 124 takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The card will air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedVitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall now official for UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis

The 31-year-old Eye, a training partner of UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, is in desperate need of a win. Today marks the three-year anniversary since her lone official win under the UFC banner, a second-round TKO of Leslie Smith. Since then, she’s had four straight decision losses.

Eye actually debuted in the promotion at UFC 166 with a split-decision win over Sarah Kaufman. But that fight later was overturned to a no-contest after Eye tested positive for marijuana metabolites.

Brazil’s Faria debuted with the promotion in October at UFC 216, but suffered a submission loss to Mara Romero Borella. That setback snapped a three-fight winning streak that included a win 13 months prior under the Titan FC banner.

Prior to coming to the UFC, Faria’s resume featured losses to some highly recognizable names in women’s MMA: Carina Damm, Claudia Gadelha, Vanessa Porto, Jessica Aguilar and Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

With the addition, the UFC Fight Night 124 card includes:

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

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


Filed under: News, UFC

Kimbo Slice the latest to get bobblehead treatment from Bellator – complete with a gold chain

MMA Junkie News -

Bellator is getting pretty good with this whole bobblehead thing.

The latest in the promotion’s ongoing fan giveaway series of collectibles will continue in January at Bellator 192, where the first 5,000 fans through the doors will receive a bobblehead of heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.

And if you’re wondering if Kimbo will have a big gold chain that is just as amazing as Fedor’s sweater, why yes … he sure will.

The promotion announced its Kimbo bobblehead giveaway today for Bellator 192, which takes place Jan. 20 at The Forum in Los Angeles. The main card, featuring a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald, airs on what will then be the Prudential network following prelims on MMAjunkie.

The Kimbo Slice bobblead will be the fourth Bellator has released in recent months. It started with a Fedor Emelianenko collectible, followed by Royce Gracie and, most recently, Randy Couture. The Couture bobblehead came at Bellator 187 earlier this month in Pennsylvania.

Kimbo Slice died unexpectedly in June 2016 from heart failure. His death came less than four months after a TKO win over Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 in Houston, though after that fight the win was flipped to a no-contest when Slice tested positive for a banned steroid and an elevated testosterone level.

In his eight-fight MMA career, Slice fought four times for EliteXC, then fought on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” before having two fights in the UFC and another two for Bellator.

Slice’s son, Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr., currently is under contract with Bellator.

For more on “Bellator: Lima vs. MacDonald,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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


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

UFC Fight Night 121 pre-event facts: Fabricio Werdum brings big numbers

MMA Junkie News -

The UFC returns to Australia this weekend with UFC Fight Night 121, which takes place Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) makes a quick turnaround from a win at UFC 216 in October when he steps in for Mark Hunt against Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the headliner.

The card has experienced a number of changes on top of the main event, but nevertheless some notable names are still set to compete. For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s 11th fight card in Australia, check below for 40 pre-event facts for UFC Fight Night 121.

* * * *

Main event

Werdum, 40, is the oldest of the 26 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Werdum, 40, is the second oldest active fighter in UFC heavyweight division behind Mark Hunt (43).

Werdum competes in his second UFC bout in a 42-day stretch. He defeated Walt Harris at UFC 216 in October.

Werdum’s 42-day turnaround between fights is the shortest of his more than 15-year career.

Werdum is 8-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2012.

Werdum has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by stoppage.

Marcin Tybura.

Werdum’s 65-second victory over Harris at UFC 216 was the fastest of his career.

Werdum’s five submission victories in UFC/Strikeforce heavyweight competition are tied for second most in combined divisional history behind Frank Mir (eight).

Tybura competes is in his second consecutive fight against a former UFC heavyweight champion. He defeated Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 111 in June.

Tybura’s three-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind Stipe Miocic (five) and Francis Ngannou (five).

Tybura has earned 13 of his 16 career victories by stoppage.

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

Co-main event

Bec Rawlings.

Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) makes her official debut in the UFC women’s flyweight division. She missed weight twice in the strawweight division.

Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes her UFC debut on short notice with just two victories in her past six fights dating back to June 2015.

Remaining main card

Tim Means (27-8-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is 7-3 (with one no-contest) since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in May 2014.

Means has earned 22 of his 27 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his nine UFC wins.

Means’ four stoppage victories since 2015 in UFC welterweight competition are tied with Donald Cerrone for second most in the division behind Vicente Luque (five).

Belal Muhammad.

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

Jake Matthews(10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) moves up to the UFC welterweight division after spending his entire octagon tenure at lightweight.

Matthews enters the event with back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since March 2016.

Bojan Velickovic (15-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) fell to 1-2-1 since he dropped to the UFC welterweight division in July 2016.

Elias Theodorou.

Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has completed at least one takedown in six of his seven UFC appearances.

Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has won as the underdog in five of his six UFC victories.

Kelly has earned four of his six UFC victories by decision.

Kelly defends 65.2 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC middleweight competition, the third highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Thiago Santos (66.7 percent) and Michael Bisping (65.9 percent).

Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) enters the event on a 12-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since May 2013.

Preliminary card

Ryan Benoit (9-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past eight fights. He suffered a loss in his most recent bout at the TUF 24 Finale in December.

Will Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) enters the event with back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

Nik Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC) is 2-1 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in December 2015.

Lentz has landed two or more takedowns against 14 of his 18 UFC opponents.

Lentz’s 17 guillotine choke submission attempts in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Anthony Hamilton.

Anthony Hamilton’s (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He’s 1-4 in his past five fights overall and hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

Hamilton’s average fight time of 5:19 in UFC heavyweight competition is second shortest among active fighters in the weight class behind Francis Ngannou (4:35).

Hamilton has suffered five of his six UFC losses by stoppage.

Hamilton’s 14-second knockout of Damian Grabowski at UFC 201 is the second fastest in UFC heavyweight history. Only Todd Duffee’s seven-second knockout at UFC 102 was faster.

Adam Wieczorek (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut on a seven-fight winning streak. He hans’t suffered a defeat since November 2011.

Frank Camacho (20-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) drops to the UFC lightweight division after losing a welterweight bout in his debut.

Alex Chambers.

Alex Chambers(5-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), 39, is the second oldest active female on the UFC roster behind Marion Reneau (40).

Chambers returns to competition for the first time since Sept. 5, 2015. The 805-day layoff is the longest of her more than seven-year career.

Chambers’ submission of Kailin Curran at 3:15 of Round 3 at UFC Fight Night 65 stands as the latest third latest submission in a three-round UFC strawweight fight.

Chambers defeated Curran despite being outlanded by 37 significant strikes, the biggest deficit for a stoppage in a UFC strawweight fight.

Nadia Kassem (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), 21, is the youngest of the 26 fighters scheduled to compete at the event. She’s 18 years the junior of her opponent.

Rashad Coulter (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has earned all nine of his career victories by knockout. That includes six wins in Round 1.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, 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.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Gray Maynard (in studio), Jose Torres, Eric Nicksick

MMA Junkie News -

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Gray Maynard, Jose Torres and Eric Nicksick.

Longtime UFC lightweight Maynard, a two-time title challenger in that division, now is 2-1 as a featherweight. He’ll stop by the studio to talk about what’s coming up next for him. Torres, Titan FC’s flyweight and bantawmeight dual champion, will defend his 135-pound title on Friday against Gleidson DeJesus at Titan FC 46. And Nicksick, the general manager at the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, will co-host the show in the studio.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

Filed under: News, UFC

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2565 with Muhammed Lawal, Nina Ansaroff, Chazz Walton

MMA Junkie News -

Stream or download Tuesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Muhammed Lawal, Nina Ansaroff and Chazz Walton.

Lawal talked about his upcoming spot in Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix, which will take place over the course of 2018 and crown a new champion. Ansaroff, coming off a win over Angela Hill at this past weekend’s UFC-Norfolk event, unpacked her fight and shared what’s next. Walton, who faces Raush Manfio at Titan FC 46 this Friday, shared his story as he heads into the co-main event.

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

 


Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio, UFC

Who wins Bellator heavyweight grand prix? A primer on the good, the old and the weird

MMA Junkie News -

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

Agent of chaos and promoter extraordinaire Scott Coker is at it again.

The man who ended his reign as Strikeforce CEO with the wild and crazy notion of a heavyweight grand prix is now repeating history as Bellator President, and the result is bound to be memorable – one way or another.

Eight fighters. Only about half of them heavyweights. None of them younger than mid-thirties. And soon they’ll collide in a grand prix tournament to crown the first Bellator heavyweight champion in well over a year.

RelatedTwitter reacts to announcement of star-studded Bellator MMA World Grand Prix 2018

What could go wrong? Except for many, many things.

While we wait for tournament brackets to be set and the first injury withdrawals to be announced, we might as well take a look at the field (vote in our poll at the bottom).

Who are these guys, anyway? And who did they used to be? And in what way is their particular journey through this tournament bound to get weird?

Frank Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)

Frank Mir

Who he is: A former UFC heavyweight champion who at one time was a new prototype for MMA big men, essentially because he had size and strength but also submission skills, and in an era when those didn’t typically go together. That was more than a decade ago. He ended his UFC run with six losses in eight fights, then pleaded for and was granted his release after a positive test for steroids that he semi-seriously suggested could be due to tainted kangaroo meat he ate before fighting in Australia. I wish I were making this up.

Why he might win: If he can keep from getting knocked out (a big if for any aging heavyweight), he has legit skills both standing and on the mat. Plus, he’s one of the bigger men in the tournament, though that isn’t saying much with a bunch of light heavyweights running around.

Why he might not: His chin.

Most likely (weird) result: Gets dropped early in opening round, pulls off a Hail Mary submission from his back, withdraws from semifinals with a staph infection.

Roy Nelson (23-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA)

Roy Nelson.

Who he is: The biggest of countries, the former IFL heavyweight champion, the owner of a beard that gradually went from good ole boy to LOTR dwarf to sovereign citizen separatist right before our very eyes. Somehow, if only by a matter of months, Nelson is the oldest fighter in this tournament at 41. He’s also one of the most resilient, which is really saying something when you consider how long he’s been blocking punches with his head as a short, slow heavyweight.

Nelson has one unremarkable Bellator victory since bouncing out of the UFC earlier this year, but in all his years of fighting some of the heaviest hitters in this sport, he’s only been knocked out twice. Then again, he’s also one of the better grapplers who absolutely refuses to use those skills most of the time, so you might say his reliance on his own ability to eat strikes has been both a hindrance and a help.

Why he might win: You won’t get rid of him easily, and his overhand right is a real threat to some of the chinny older guys in this field. Plus, you really think any of the light heavyweight wrestlers want to spend all night shooting doubles on “Big Country?”

Why he might not: You know the last time Nelson put two or more wins together in a row? It was 2013, and it proved to be one of only two winning streaks in his UFC career. Tough to win a tournament that way.

Most likely (weird) result: Knockout win in opening round, wheezing decision loss in the semis.

Muhammed Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA)

Muhammed Lawal.

Who he is: A former All-American wrestler and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion who once dubbed himself a “moneyweight,” and who has stuck to that approach his entire career – especially after being released from the Zuffa-owned version of Strikeforce following a positive steroid test in 2012.

At 5-foot-11 and usually barely over 200 pounds, he’ll be one of the smallest men in the tournament, but that’s never bothered him before. He’s fought in openweight tournaments in Japan and won three fights in three days to conquer the 2015 Rizin World Grand Prix. He’s also been somewhat inconsistent in big fights throughout his career, and his most intense rivalry – opposite fellow tournament participant “Rampage” Jackson – resulted in some of his least exciting fights.

Why he might win: “King Mo” can wrestle, and he can punch. Fighting heavyweights, even when it means giving up 40 pounds or more, is nothing new to him.

Why he might not: He’s not much of a finisher, especially when he’s up against bigger fighters, and not every judge appreciates his style as much as he does.

Most likely (weird) result: Split-decision loss in the opening round, followed by an unsuccessful appeal and calls for a congressional investigation.

Chael Sonnen (30-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA)

Chael Sonnen

Who he is: A gangster from West Linn, Ore., Sonnen is one of only two men in this tournament to have never held a significant title, though he came close twice. In fact, coming close was one of the primary things Sonnen was known for during his time in the UFC. The others were his bombastic, pro wrestling-inspired public persona and his history of performance-enhancing drug use, the latter of which got him released from the UFC, suspended for two years, and somehow hired by ESPN as an intermittent analyst.

He’s 1-1 after roughly a year with Bellator, getting quickly submitted by an aging Tito Ortiz and then winning a decision over an aging Wanderlei Silva. He’s also, as far as we know, the only person in this tournament to be both a disgraced realtor and a disgraced politician, all thanks to a 2011 guilty plea on federal money laundering charges. In other words, he’s what we in the fight game like to refer to as “colorful.”

Why he might win: Sonnen is a legitimately suffocating wrestler when he’s on his game, and he’s never met a shortcut he wouldn’t take. Plus he’s interesting enough that Bellator might want to give him a friendly first-round matchup in order to keep him involved.

Why he might not: He’s arguably the most one-dimensional fighter in this thing. He’s no threat to anyone on the feet, has a history of getting caught in submissions, and he’s always struggled against bigger opponents.

Most likely (weird) result: Loses in the first round, comes back as an injury replacement and beats an alternate in the semis, then tests positive for an experimental Russian steroid.

Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA)

Matt Mitrione.

Who he is: The only former NFL player in the tournament, and also the only person to already own both a knockout win and a knockout loss against other fighters in this field. Just in terms of his MMA feats, he’s arguably the least accomplished fighter here, though also one of the most deceptively dangerous. Mitrione is a big, though still athletic, heavyweight, plus he’s not as shopworn as some of the others, and he can flat-out hit. As proof, see his three consecutive knockout wins since signing with Bellator in 2016.

Why he might win: His recent losses have all come against bigger heavyweights, and there aren’t many of those in this bunch.

Why he might not: Even when Mitrione wins by knockout, he sometimes does it while tiptoeing right up to the line of losing by knockout.

Most likely (weird) result: TKO win in the first round, no-contest due to simultaneous double knockout in the semis.

Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA)

Fedor Emelianenko

Who he is: Come on, you know who he is. Unless you’re too young, in which case ask your dad. It’ll be a good chance for you two to bond. And besides, you guys never talk anymore ever since he left your mom and started dating Sharon.

Why he might win: The ghosts of Saitama, summoned by a dark ritual that may or may not be connected to the sudden disappearance of Jerry Millen, flood through a portal into the world of the living and carry Emelianenko to victory.

Why he might not: The incredible overabundance of evidence that he is shot. Look, Emelianenko was a great fighter once, but those days are gone. He’s too small for this field, doesn’t take a punch like he used to, and yet he still fights like it’s 2006, and he can’t be touched. He hasn’t evolved, but he has aged – and that poorly.

Most likely (weird) result: Extremely depressing first-round TKO loss.

Quinton Jackson (37-12 MMA, 4-1 BMMA)

“Rampage” Jackson.

Who he is: A former UFC light heavyweight champion who now hears the words “heavyweight tournament” and heads straight for the buffet. Jackson’s continued ability to stay competitive, at least in Bellator, comes almost in spite of his own efforts. He was never known as a gym rat even back in his heyday(s) with PRIDE and then the UFC, but now he seems to despise MMA with all the fury he used to reserve for his own nutritionists.

As an added wrinkle, Jackson has claimed that he only learned he was a part of this tournament after signing a new Bellator contract. Will this prove to be the seed that quickly blooms into a tree of discontent? Maybe, but the one thing you can always count on is that “Rampage” will find some way to be extremely outwardly displeased with whatever his current employment status may be.

Why he might win: When he’s at least somewhat motivated, and when his opponents consent to exactly the type of fights he wants, Jackson can still win. He barely seems to enjoy it, but still.

Why he might not: Especially recently, the heavier you allow him to be on weigh-in day, the worse he looks on fight night. The fact that he seems to care so much more about video games than about MMA does not seem to help this problem.

Most likely (weird) result: Sloppy decision victory in the opening round, then he refuses to fight in the next round unless Bellator gives him a gold-plated Xbox and one of those James Bond cars where the headlights turn into machine guns.

Ryan Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA)

Ryan Bader.

Who he is: The current Bellator light heavyweight champion and also the youngest man in this tournament at sprightly age of 34. Partly for that reason, Bader might be the fighter with the brightest possible future here. A win in this tournament, and he’s suddenly a two-division champ, which doesn’t seem like a possibility Bellator has really prepared for. A loss, and he at least gets the atta-boy points for being willing to go up and take the risk.

Why he might win: He can wrestle with the wrestlers and throw out enough one-punch bombs to at least threaten the aging and increasingly vulnerable strikers. And compared to most of these grizzled old guys, he’s practically dewy with youth, though not green with inexperience.

Why he might not: A lot of light heavyweights look good until they get hit by a heavyweight, and the power is often the last thing to go for an aging big man.

Most likely (weird) result: First-round TKO loss … only to come back in the finals as an injury replacement and win the whole thing.

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

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Bellator 188 weigh-in results: Noad Lahat (146), Jeremiah Labiano (146) official for headliner

MMA Junkie News -

The weigh-ins are in the books for this week’s Bellator 188 event, and the fighters on the main card all hit their marks.

In the main event, Noad Lahat meets Jeremiah Labiano in a featherweight bout elevated from the co-feature when featherweight champion Patricio Freire was forced out of his title defense against Daniel Weichel.

Although the Lahat-Labiano fight was originally set to be a 150-pound catchweight fight, both fighters hit 146 pounds at the weigh-ins today in Israel to make the headliner official.

Bellator 188 takes place Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena Arena in Tel Aviv. The main card airs on Spike the following day via tape delay.

In the welterweight co-main event, Haim Gozali was 169.5 pounds for his fight against Arsen Faitovich, who was 170.5.

Complete Bellator 188 main-card weigh-in results included:

  • Noad Lahat (146) vs. Jeremiah Labiano (146)
  • Arsen Faitovich (170.5) vs. Haim Gozali (169.5)
  • Jason Radcliffe (186) vs. John Salter (186)
  • Denise Kielholtz (125) vs. Jessica Middleton (125)

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

Report: Gian Villante vs. Francimar Barroso booked for UFC 220 in Boston

MMA Junkie News -

The UFC’s return to Boston in January continues to build with the addition of a new light heavyweight bout.

Gian Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) will take on Brazil’s Francimar Barroso (19-6 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at UFC 220. The booking was reported by Newsday on Villante’s Long Island home base, though UFC officials have not yet made a formal announcement.

UFC 220 takes place Jan. 20 at TD Garden in Boston. It airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedUFC 220 in Boston gets new bouts, including Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja

Villante needs to snap a two-fight skid. In July in front of his home fans, he dropped a split decision to Patrick Cummins. In March in Brazil, he was stopped with a third-round TKO by former champion Mauricio Rua.

Villante’s UFC run has been up and down since he came over following the merger with Strikeforce. He’s had one two-fight winning streak over his 11-fight run, and his current slide is his first losing skid with the promotion.

Francimar Barroso

Barroso will be trying to get back on track, as well. In September, he dropped a unanimous decision to Aleksandar Rakic in the Netherlands. Prior to that, he had a pair of fights with Darren Stewart. In the first outing, he dropped a TKO in Brazil – but that loss was overturned to a no-contest due to an accidental headbutt leading to the finish. In March, he took a decision from Stewart in their rematch in London.

With the addition, the latest UFC 220 lineup includes:

  • Islam Makhachev vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja
  • Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font
  • Shane Burgos vs. Calvin Kattar
  • Kyle Bochniak vs. Brandon Davis

For more on UFC 220, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

5 reasons to watch Bellator 188, where Noad Lahat headlines in his native Israel

MMA Junkie News -

Bellator is making the most of its time overseas.

Last week the promotion visited 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, for Bellator 187. On Thursday, the Bellator cage touches down at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, for Bellator 188, which airs Friday via tape-delay on Spike.

In the main event, Noad Lahat fights in his home country for the second time under the Bellator banner against Jeremiah Labiano in a featherweight contest.

In the co-headliner, Haim Gozali also fights in Israel for the second time with the promotion. Like Lahat, he won his first Bellator fight in his home country via first-round submission. Gozali faces Arsen Faitovich, who is 20 years his junior in a welterweight bout.

Also on the card is middleweight title hopeful John Salter, who puts his four-fight Bellator winning streak on the line against Jason Radcliffe.

Here are five reasons to watch Bellator 188.

1. Bringing it back home

After a 2-2 run with the UFC, Lahat signed with Bellator. In his promotional debut, which took place in Israel in late 2016, Lahat steamrolled Scott Cleve. He won the bout via first-round tapout. The Israeli-born Lahat followed that victory with a technical submission win over Lloyd Carter. With those two wins it looked like Lahat was prepared to step up and face the sharks who patrol the top of Bellator’s featherweight division.

At Bellator 182 Lahat faced former two-division King of the Cage champion Henry Corrales. Lahat, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, could not overcome the striking of Corrales and lost a unanimous decision.

RelatedInjury forces champ Patricio Freire out of Bellator 188; Lahat vs. Labiano new headliner

At Bellator 188, Lahat (11-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) heads back to Israel where he faces Labiano (11-5 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in the headlining bout.

Labiano was set to face rising star James Gallagher in the main event of Bellator 187, but the Irish fighter suffered a knee injury before that contest, and the promotion shifted Labiano to this card.

Labiano, who is also a BJJ black belt, won the Conquer FC featherweight title in June. Lahat doesn’t have as much hype behind him as Gallagher, but if the American fighter can get a win here, he’ll be in position to move up in competition in his next outing.

2. A long, storied career

Gozali ‘s MMA career has been long but not very active. He made his pro debut in 1998 against a young Carlos Newton. He lost that bout to the future UFC champion by first-round submission. Over the next six years, Gozali went 5-0. He won each of those matchups by first-round stoppage. After more than two years away from the sport he faced Ronaldo Souza on a Jungle Fights card. Like the Newton fight, that “Jacare” bout ended with Gozali on the wrong end of a first-round submission.

After the loss to Souza, Gozali took almost six years off from MMA. He returned in 2012 and has gone 2-2 since then. His most recent bout was a decision loss to Ryan Couture at Bellator 180. That fight was the first time Gozali left the first round in his career.

The 44-year-old Gozali is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. As a BJJ player he was the first Israeli athlete to compete in an ADCC event, doing so in 2005. He also promotes Bellator fights in Israel.

Gozali meets Faitovich in this welterweight bout. The 24-year-old Ukrainian makes his Bellator debut on this card. Like Gozali (7-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), Faitovich (4-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) likes to work fast. His four wins have come by stoppage, while his only loss is a first-round knockout defeat.

3. In need of an impressive win

Before his Bellator 181 fight against Kendall Grove, Salter told MMAjunkie he wanted to have the Bellator middleweight title around his waist before 2018. That’s not going to happen since current champ Rafael Carvalho will defend that title in December at Bellator 190 against Alessio Sakara.

RelatedBellator 188 pre-event facts: Can John Salter overtake middleweight submission record?

An additional roadblock was placed in Salter’s path when Gegard Mousasi joined the promotion’s 185-pound division and defeated former champ Alexander Shlemenko in October. Before the fight, Mousasi told MMAjunkie that Bellator promised him the winner of the Carvalho vs. Sakara fight with a win in that contest.

The black cloud over Salter’s head reappeared in the lead-up to Bellator 188. He was originally booked to face the 25-2 Anatoly Tokov on this card, but an injury put Tokov out of commission. Salter (14-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) now faces Jason Radcliffe, (12-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) who is on a two-fight losing skid.

Salter has been impressive during his run with Bellator. Four fights into it, he has racked up four stoppage victories, including a first-round submission win over former middleweight champion Brandon Halsey.

If Salter wants to stay in the mix for a title shot in the coming months, he needs to add a fifth stoppage victory.

4. Give it another go

If you’ve been following Bellator Kickboxing, the name Denise Kielholtz should be familiar. The 28-year-old Dutch fighter is 4-1 with the kickboxing promotion and 47-3 overall. She’s also the current Bellator Kickboxing flyweight champion.

Kielholtz tries her hand at MMA for the second time at Bellator 188. Her first MMA bout did not go well. She lost that 2015 contest via first-round submission at Torarica Summer Fights 1.

RelatedIsrael PM Benjamin Netanyahu rolls out welcome mat for Bellator 188

Kielholtz, who holds a kickboxing win over current Glory super bantamweight champion Tiffany van Soest, has heavy hands and is very effective when she throws counter combinations. Kielholtz (0-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will need to rely on that speed in this flyweight bout against Jessica Middleton (2-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA), who holds significant advantages in both height and reach.

Middleton began her MMA career with two wins, but she’s dropped her two most recent fights. All four of her bouts have come under the Bellator banner.

5. It’s been a busy year

Kirill Medvedovsky’s first run with Bellator lasted two fights. He lost both those contests by first-round stoppage. To be fair, the promotion didn’t give the young Israeli fighter easy matchups. In his first Bellator fight he faced former WSOF featherweight champ Georgi Karakhanyan in a 150-pound catchweight bout. Medvedovsky then faced Gallagher.

Since those losses, the 24-year-old has gone 4-1. Three of Medvedovsky’s victories came via first-round stoppage. His fourth win was a second-round technical submission.

The most eye-opening thing about that run is all seven of those fights have taken place since last November.

For his return to Bellator, Medvedovsky (11-5 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) gets an opponent who is more in line with his experience level. Luiz Victor Rocha, who trains with Pitbull Brothers, is 3-1. Rocha (3-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has two wins by decision and one TKO.

This bout should be a good opportunity for Medvedovsky to show that he can fight on the big stage while also providing an introduction to the 28-year-old Rocha, who makes his Bellator debut on this card.

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the


Filed under: Bellator, News

Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall now official for UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis

MMA Junkie News -

Vitor Belfort took the liberty of announcing his next fight booking, against Uriah Hall, a few weeks ago. Now it’s official.

At the time, Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC) merely said on social media that he would fight Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) on Jan. 14, a Sunday, but didn’t have the location. But 10 days ago, the promotion announced that slot for its long-awaited debut in St. Louis, and now has formalized the middleweight booking.

UFC Fight Night 124 takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The card will air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

In his most recent fight in June, Belfort scored a unanimous-decision win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 212. It was Belfort’s first victory since Nov. 2015, when he knocked out Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 77.

Prior to the win over Marquardt, the 40-year-old Brazilian legend had lost four of five fights by TKO to CHris Weidman in a title fight at UFC 187, Ronaldo Souza, Gegard Mousasi and Kelvin Gastelum. But the Gastelum win was flipped to a no-contest after Gastelum tested positive for marijuana.

Uriah Hall

In Hall, Belfort faces an opponent also on the rebound. Hall in September rallied to win via TKO over Krzysztof Jotko at UFC Fight Night 116 to snap a three-fight losing streak.

Prior to the bonus-winning KO of Jotko, Hall had dropped a decision to Robert Whittaker, then lost back-to-back TKOs to Derek Brunson and Gegard Mousasi. The Mousasi loss was a rematch from 14 months prior when Hall stunned the Dutchman with a flying knee for a TKO in Japan.

The UFC Fight Night 124 card includes:

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

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

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) reacts to fight against Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) before the fight against Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Victor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) reacts to fight against Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/JmzjWf3tg9CCuDfPnHnPKj/284595", customAnalytics: true, title: "Belfort def. Marquardt", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Like elbows of doom? Check out FloCombat’s 10 best regional MMA finishes

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

A seemingly infinite amount of MMA events happen around the world each week. The likes of the UFC and Bellator get the overwhelming majority of attention from media and fight fans, but arguably the most brutal fight finishes come from the regional scene.

FloCombat.com streams many of those local events, and in conjunction with The Blue Corner, brings the top 10 finishes from September. Among the highlights are Sagetdao Petpayathai’s elbows of doom he unleashed on Mahmoud Mohamed at “ONE Championship 60: Shanghai.”

Watch the video above and tell us your favorite in the comments below. And check out the full top-10 list at FloCombat.com.

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


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

Listen to today's UFC Fight Night 122 media call with Michael Bisping, Kelvin Gastelum at 3 p.m. ET

MMA Junkie News -


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

You can listen to today’s UFC Fight Night 122 media call here on MMAjunkie at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT).

On the call will be former middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC), who earlier this month lost his title to former longtime welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre in the UFC 217 main event, and Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC).

Bisping stepped up to fight Gastelum on what will be three weeks’ notice after getting choked out by St-Pierre in the third round. Gastelum needed a new opponent after former middleweight champion Anderson Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) was pulled from the fight due to a potential doping violation.

UFC Fight Night 122 takes place Nov. 26 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The event streams on UFC Fight Pass.

During today’s media call, the headliners will take questions from the media ahead of the fight card.

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, 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/284597", customAnalytics: true, title: "St-Pierre def. Bisping", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

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