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They can make you do community service, but they can't make you stop being Renzo Gracie

MMA Junkie News -

Remember back in 2015 when Renzo Gracie was sentenced to community service for his role in a New York City nightclub brawl in the streets of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District the year prior? Yeah, well, looks like he served that sentence at some point. Also looks like he managed to be totally Renzo about it all, which shouldn’t surprise us.

Judging by the video Gracie posted to Instagram on Thursday, it appears as though trash collection was part of his community service duties following his plea to misdemeanor assault charges. And, as he is known to do, even here it seems like Gracie made fast friends.

Yep, that seems to be Gracie and a garbageman with whom he worked, singing along to “Eye of the Tiger” and just generally having an awesome time. Because they can make you do community service, but they can’t make you stop being yourself.

You may recall that Gracie got himself into trouble when, along with several other pals, he went down to the nightclub 1 Oak in New York City to confront the security staff over some perceived slight. Despite being in his mid-40s at the time, Gracie and six others engaged in a brawl outside the club that ended with their arrest and eventual pleas that helped them avoid jail time.

Fast-forward a couple years, and here’s Gracie, serving the community with the same charismatic energy he’s showed in every other endeavor.

What, you thought he was supposed to be punished by being forced to pick up trash? According to Gracie, by the end of his time as a community-serving garbageman he was basically offered a job.

So now the MMA legend who makes friends everywhere he goes apparently has some new ones in New York City’s sanitation department. What else did we expect?

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


Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News

Ana Julaton says nearly 2 years off before Bellator 185 has her new and improved

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – It’s possible fans checking out Bellator 185 tonight will be seeing Ana Julaton for the first time. For many, they may have never even heard of her.

But Julaton (2-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) hopes to change that in a big way when she makes her promotional debut at flyweight against Lisa Blaine (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card, including Julaton-Blaine to open up, airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Julaton, a Filipino-American born in San Francisco and now fighting out of Las Vegas, where her training partners include former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, hasn’t fought in nearly two years. And when she did fight in MMA, Julaton, who also is a pro boxer, did so only in Asia for her first four fights, all with ONE Championship.

RelatedBellator 185 weigh-in video highlights with ex-Heather Hardy boxing opponent's heckling and removal

But now that she’s with Bellator, and has had nearly two years to refine her game, she finally gets to fight in the United States – and wants to make a big first impression on a new fan base.

“It’s nice to actually be back home, and it’s a big deal – it’s nice to make my debut on the American stage,” Julaton told MMAjunkie on Wednesday. “I’ve fought all over the world for the past few years. For me, it’s been a personal dream of mine (to fight in the United States).”

Julaton said she worked on improving her overall game the past two years. Her boxing may have needed the least cleaning up, given she’s had 19 pro boxing matches and won world titles.

She broke down everything and nearly started from scratch, though, and now is convinced she’s going to show off a new and improved fighter.

RelatedHeather Hardy says leaps and bounds improvement will be on display at Bellator 185

“Me and my team have been working very, very hard for the past two years,” Julaton said. “I stayed low-key for a reason. There’s a reason why I only wanted to show my boxing on social media. We worked a lot, specifically on me developing my style. If anyone wants to know what’s going to happen, I expect to showcase phenomenal, phenomenal martial arts. First and foremost, for those who know me as a boxer, I am a martial artist.”

She also comes to Bellator with a near-instant rivalry with another MMA newbie from the boxing world, Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who fights Kristina Williams (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) on tonight’s main card a couple fights after Julaton.

The two already have gone back and forth, so a win for each of them might just mean they’ll be matched up against each other in a hurry.

Check out the video above for more from Julaton ahead of her fight. Below, catch up on her budding rivalry with Hardy.

And for more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

The MMA Road Show with John Morgan No. 134 – Gdansk: Cerrone, Till, Perry, Jones, Head, Subhan

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Episode No. 134 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

John Morgan is back on the road, and it’s time for a UFC Fight Night 118 preview from Poland with old friends Simon Head and Abbey Subhan. Along the way, hear from headliners Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, as well as fast-rising welterweight and UFC-Gdansk guest fighter Mike Perry. And don’t miss the return of “Conspiracy Corner” with the one and only Fiasco Jones.

Listen below, or check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.


Filed under: News, UFC

Bellator 185 live video stream and official results (6:30 p.m. ET)

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Bellator 185 takes place today, and you can join us for a live video stream and official results beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT).

The event takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Former middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko returns to take on former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and recent UFC standout Gegard Mousasi, who is making his Bellator debut.

Viewers in the U.S. can watch the preliminary card above at 6:30 p.m. ET before the main card shifts to Spike at 9 p.m. ET. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch the entire card above.

Official Bellator 185 results include:

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

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Zak Bucia vs. Neiman Gracie
  • Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
  • Ryan Quinn vs. Marcus Surin
  • Lisa Blaine vs. Ana Julaton

PRELIMINARY CARD (6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Billy Giovanella vs. John Lopez
  • Kevin Carrier vs. Jose Perez
  • Vovka Clay vs. Frank Sforza – 150-pound catchweight
  • Matthew Denning vs. Don Shainis – 150-pound catchweight
  • Alec Hooben vs. Jordan Young – 195-pound catchweight
  • Steve Skrzat vs. Costello Van Steenis
  • Joaquin Buckley vs. Vinicius de Jesus
  • Pete Rogers vs. Timothy Wheeler
  • John Beneduce vs. Dean Hancock

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

UFC Fight Night 118 official weigh-in photos and video highlights

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Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

GDANSK, Poland – Check out the video highlights and photo gallery from today’s official UFC Fight Night 118 fighter weigh-ins, where the event’s 24 competitors all hit the scale in anticipation of Saturday’s fight card.

As MMAjunkie previously reported, 23 of the night’s athletes made weight with no issue, though middleweight Sam Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC), who stepped in on short notice, came up short on his attempt. Still, his fight with UFC newcomer Ramazan Emeev (15-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will go on as scheduled.

Check out highlights of the night’s competitors stepping to the scale in the video above. Below, don’t miss our exclusive photo gallery from the event.

UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and the entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Há 10 anos: o mata-leão de Demian Maia em sua estreia invicta no UFC

GracieMag News -

Demian com sua finalização preferida do MMA em sua estreia no UFC. Foto: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Considerado um dos maiores representantes do Jiu-Jitsu no MMA, Demian Maia tem uma carreira longeva dentro do esporte de luvinhas, e no dia 20 de outubro de 2007, há exatos 10 anos, o craque pisava pela primeira vez no octógono mais famoso do mundo.

Depois de brilhar com seu fino Jiu-Jitsu de kimono no Brasil, EUA e Abu Dhabi, Demian migrou com sucesso para o MMA, e acumulou seis vitórias seguidas, três delas por finalização. O convite para o UFC veio na edição de número 77 do evento, na cidade de Cincinatti, em duelo pelos pesos médios, categoria no qual o faixa-preta fez sua escalada até disputar, dois anos depois, o cinturão contra Anderson Silva.

Seu adversário de estreia foi Ryan Jensen, atleta mais experiente, que já tinha no cartel 11 vitórias e apenas duas derrotas. Sem se amedrontar, Demian partiu para cima confiante nas suas habilidades e logo buscou a queda para trabalhar no solo. Jensen não se entregou e defendeu bem as investidas do brasileiro, enquanto pode. Em um bote certo no pescoço, Demian passou o braço por baixo do queixo de seu adversário e apertou com fino ajuste, para ter os três tapinhas ainda no primeiro assalto, no mata-leão que valeu inclusive o bônus de finalização da noite.

Relembre o debute de Demian Maia no vídeo abaixo e não perca a próxima atuação da fera no Ultimate, no dia 28 de outubro, na luta coprincipal do UFC São Paulo!

UFC Fight Night 118 official weigh-in video, results (3 a.m. ET)

MMA Junkie News -

GDANSK, Poland – MMAjunkie is on scene and reporting live from today’s early and official UFC Fight Night 118 fighter weigh-ins.

Today’s ceremony takes place at the host hotel, while the ceremonial affair follows in the evening.

UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and the entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Official weigh-in results include:

  • Donald Cerrone () vs. Darren Till ()
  • Jodie Esquibel () vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz ()
  • Jan Blachowicz () vs. Devin Clark ()
  • Oskar Piechota () vs. Jonathan Wilson ()
  • Nasrat Haqparast () vs. Marcin Held ()
  • Anthony Hamilton () vs. Adam Wieczorek ()
  • Brian Kelleher () vs. Damian Stasiak ()
  • Sam Alvey () vs. Ramazan Emeev ()
  • Andre Fili () vs. Artem Lobov ()
  • Warlley Alves () vs. Salim Touahri ()
  • Aspen Ladd () vs. Lina Lansberg ()
  • Felipe Arantes () vs. Josh Emmett ()

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News

Karolina Kowalkiewicz aims to rebound from skid at UFC-Gdansk – and celebrate with a cookie

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

GDANSK, Poland – Karolina Kowalkiewicz returns to action at UFC Fight Night 118 as relaxed as ever, despite her recent run of poor form.

Kowalkiewicz (10-2, 3-2 UFC) unsuccessfully challenged Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the UFC strawweight title at UFC 205 in New York last year. Then Kowalkiewicz suffered the first stoppage loss of her career when she was submitted by Claudia Gadelha at UFC 212.

The back-to-back losses are the only blemishes on Kowalkiewicz’s record, and she took a philosophical view when she chatted with MMAjunkie at UFC Fight Night 118 media day at Ergo Arena, site of Saturday’s UFC Fight Pass-streamed event.

Related'UFC on the Fly': Behind the scenes with UFC-Gdansk co-headliner Karolina Kowalkiewicz

“What can I say? Shit happens!” Kowalkiewicz said with a laugh. “We’ve changed a few things in my training. Now I’m really prepared for this fight, and you’ll see everything on Saturday.”

Kowalkiewicz takes on UFC debutant Jodie Esquibel (6-2, 0-0 UFC), who brings an eight-fight record into the octagon, including a win over current “The Ultimate Fighter 26” contender DeAnna Bennett in her last outing.

“She’s a newcomer in the UFC,” Kowalkiewicz said. “But we were all newcomers (once) in the UFC. Jodie is a great striker. She’s very tough. She’s a good and complete MMA fighter.”

The fight also marks Kowalkiewicz’s return to her homeland to compete in front of her own fans for the first time in her UFC career. When asked whether fighting on home soil brought more pressure or more fun, she was adamant.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 118 pre-event facts: Donald Cerrone on cusp of all-time UFC wins record

“More fun,” Kowalkiewicz said. “I never feel pressure before fights. I feel pressure when I am hungry, and I can’t eat a cookie because I’m making weight. This is a great experience, I (get to) fight in the UFC in my home. This is great.”

And if Kowalkiewicz is successful on Saturday night, she already knows what post-fight treat she’ll indulge in as she celebrates victory.

“Chocolate cookie!”

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Claudia Gadelha (red gloves) fights Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Claudia Gadelha (red gloves) fights Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Claudia Gadelha (red gloves) to fight against during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Claudia Gadelha (red gloves) to fight against during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) fights against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (blue gloves) in their strawweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Karolina Kowalkiewicz lands a punch against Heather Jo Clark during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Heather Jo Clark land punches against one another during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Karolina Kowalkiewicz moves in with a punch against Heather Jo Clark during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 8, 2016; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Karolina Kowalkiewicz is declared the winner by decision against Heather Jo Clark during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Rotterdam. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Karolina Kowalkiewicz fights against Randa Markos during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Randa Markos holds onto Karolina Kowalkiewicz against the cage during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Karolina Kowalkiewicz is declared the winner against Randa Markos during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-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/HMr7Evtw4niDqecyhAmqxY/278583", customAnalytics: true, title: "Karolina Kowalkiewicz", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Bellator 185's Neiman Gracie happy to keep family name relevant in MMA

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

The Gracie name will forever and always be remembered as one of, if not, the most important aspects to the growth of MMA. Neiman Gracie is one of the fourth-generation members of the family, and he takes pride in that.

With that pride comes expectations, though, and Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) admits he feels it. He’s done well to thrive in MMA so far, winning his first six fights. He will look to stay unbeaten on Friday when he takes on Zak Bucia (18-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at Bellator 185.

“Don’t put that pressure on me,” Gracie told MMAjunkie with a laugh when asked if he’s currently the most relevant family member in MMA. “I don’t know (if I’m the most relevant). There is some other good guys. Kron is training a lot and fighting (in Rizin FF). There’s not that many other Gracie’s in MMA. I’m happy I’m one of the top Gracie’s right now.”

RelatedBellator 185 pre-event facts: Can Shlemenko strengthen resume at Mousasi's expense?

Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The welterweight bout between Gracie and Bucia co-headlines the Spike-televised main card following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

Although naturally known best for his jiu-jitsu prowess, Gracie is aware he can’t rely entirely on his grappling forever. He’s earned five of his six career victories by submission, but as the competition gets more difficult deeper into his career, he won’t always be able to get the fight where he wants it.

Gracie said he’s realistic about that fact, and it could possibly even happen in his next fight. Bucia has yet to be submitted in his 26-fight career, and while Gracie has expectations to be the first to get a tap, he’s aware he must have a backup plan.

“I’ve been training striking and the other martial arts for a while now,” Gracie said. “I think that with time I’m going to be able to show more of my ability. I think in these next fights I will be able to show a little bit of what I have in the other areas.

“I will always try to apply my Gracie jiu-jitsu,” he continued. “That’s what I always want to do. If I have no option and cannot do my game plan, I will try to fight on the feet or do whatever else I need.”

RelatedFans at Bellator 185 can get a Royce Gracie bobblehead to go next to their Fedor one

If Gracie is able to continue to handle his opponents on the mat, though, then his rise up Bellator’s 170-pound pecking order is going to be quick. However, at 28, and with just four years of fighting experience to his credit, he said he’s in no rush to leap into title contention immediately. He said he is ready for that type of competition, though.

“I’m happy with Bellator and happy with my career and the way it’s going,” Gracie said. “After this fight, depending on how I do, I think I will be ready for the bigger names for sure.

“There’s always room for improvement with everything, but I see myself at the top level for sure,” he continued. “I just need to get more cage time and improve my record. But I’m ready to fight the top guys.”

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Heather Hardy says leaps and bounds improvement will be on display at Bellator 185

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Heather Hardy’s pro MMA debut earlier this summer was a much-heralded one thanks to her unbeaten run as a women’s boxing champion.

And her fight against Alice Yauger at Bellator 180 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, not far from her Brooklyn home, didn’t disappoint the fans, even if Hardy wasn’t exactly thrilled with it. The 35-year-old gave herself a C+ grade for the third-round TKO in what was a blood-soaked thriller.

“The first one, I didn’t know what to expect,” Hardy told MMAjunkie on Wednesday ahead of her second pro fight at Bellator 185. “It was like, ‘I’m going to try to gloss over everything and hope for the best.’ It was a great outcome. The end of that fight, you couldn’t script it any better.

“… I had a lot of fine-tuning to do, and it’s much easier for me (now) to focus in on what I need to do to get ahead in this sport.”

Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) fights Kristina Williams (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a flyweight fight on the main card. Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

RelatedBellator 185's Heather Hardy, Ana Julaton start the dance toward eventual fight

Hardy’s deal with Bellator gives her the freedom to put the MMA gloves away to take boxing matches when the opportunities are right. She’s 20-0 as a pro boxer and is the WBC’s international women’s featherweight champion. There likely will be more boxing on the horizon, but for now Hardy is focusing in on making improvements in the cage.

“I’m a different fighter right now – you’re seeing a different Heather Hardy,” she said. “I went through this in my boxing career because I started late and I had to catch up. I’m doing the same thing now: I started late, had my first one, got out OK, but we’re going into this one much smarter, much stronger, and way more prepared.

“… From here, you’ll see me get three times better before my next fight.”

Hardy’s nickname is “The Heat,” and there’s some heat already on a potential next fight after her bout with Williams. Joining her on Bellator 185’s main card is another pro boxer who is fairly new to the MMA game. ONE Championship vet Ana Julaton (2-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) makes her promotional debut at flyweight against Lisa Blaine (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

There is a rivalry quickly building between the two, and after some Julaton comments to a British newspaper, Hardy now is convinced there’s no more dancing around it. She believes they’re destined to fight. Maybe it’ll be in the Bellator cage. Maybe it’ll be in the ring. Maybe it’ll be both, to hear Julaton talk about it.

Related5 reasons to watch Bellator 185, where Gegard Mousasi looks to establish dominance

But before Hardy can truly think about that fight, she has to beat Williams and prove she’s made the leaps she says she has. And Julaton has to beat Blaine. And while Williams isn’t on the radar screen the way Hardy is, she said there’s no taking her lightly.

“I’m prepared for a killer,” Hardy said of her opponent this week. “I have the big-stage experience. I’ve done the Garden, I’ve done the Barclays Center (in Brooklyn), I’ve done the Olympic training. I’ve done huge things. But she has the MMA experience and the ground experience and the kicking experience. So I didn’t take this kid lightly at all.”

Check out the video above for more from Hardy ahead of her fight. Below, catch up on her budding rivalry with Julaton.

And for more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Bellator 185 weigh-in video highlights with ex-Heather Hardy boxing opponent's heckling and removal

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

The Bellator 185 ceremonial weigh-ins are in the books – and featured a rare altercation.

While Heather Hardy was facing off with opponent Kristina Williams, a fan came past the barricades and started shouting at her. It took three members of the Bellator staff to get her away from the stage and drag her back past the barricades while she shouted and pointed Hardy down the whole time.

Turns out it was Shelly Vincent, a boxer who fought Hardy in the ring in 2016. Hardy won by majority decision in New York for the WBC’s International women’s featherweight title. Prior to their fight, Vincent told The Ring magazine that Hardy was “everything that’s wrong with women’s boxing.”

So there’s beef there, for sure … but right now, Hardy is concerned with her next MMA fight.

Bellator 185 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Check out the video highlights from the main card weigh-ins above.

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Twitter Mailbag: On Cerrone-Till, Cyborg's USADA concerns, UFC's PPV status, and more

MMA Junkie News -

Is “Cowboy” taking his Liverpudlian opponent lightly at UFC-Gdansk? Does Cyborg really think there’s a USADA conspiracy afoot? Is Bisping really a jerk, or does he merely want us to believe he is?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

Do you feel Darren Till is being underestimated by Cerrone and his team leading into this fight?

— MainEventMMA (@MainEventBlog) October 18, 2017

I doubt it. Donald Cerrone has surrounded himself with experienced professionals who can make an honest assessment of opponents regardless of ranking or name recognition. Cerrone may not have known much about Darren Till when the fight was booked, but by now I’m guessing he’s been briefed.

I don’t every worry about Cerrone taking opponents lightly, because he seems like the kind of guy who would enjoy a parking lot rumble with the toughest dude in any town as much if not more than a main event bout in a packed arena. What I always wonder is what kind of condition he’s going to show up in, because we all know that Cerrone will take fights and cash paychecks whenever he can, even if he’s injured or burned out or just not fully prepared.

And if you asked me who’s hungrier here, or who this fight means more to, that would have to be Till. But then, it’s not like Cerrone hasn’t beaten up people who really, really wanted to win before.

Cyborg is trying VERY hard to make people think Holm is on something. What gives?

— Paul Duckworth (@Paul_D86) October 18, 2017

Cris Cyborg is what I like to call a “grievance fighter.” She’s always mad at someone, always feels she’s been wronged by powerful forces. She seems to need that motivation, as if she’s only at her best when she is struggling against a vast conspiracy.

It’s not an uncommon syndrome among pro fighters, but it seems to get worse when your critical thinking skills aren’t all that great. As Holly Holm pointed out, she’s been tested plenty by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. And it’s not up to either fighter to agree to a certain number of pre-fight tests. That part is not up to them, nor should it be. If you know how many times you’ll be tested, you know when the testing is over and it’s safe to dope.

My hope is that Cyborg understands this and is just trying to generate some hype for the fight by taking the doping accusation that follows her like a cartoon rain cloud and using it against her opponent. She’s probably also looking for the fuel that comes with feeling like the world is against her. That, or she’s just saying stuff without thinking any of it through.

In your perfect world, what would Mcgregor's next 3 fights be?

— Matthew Beary (@MattBeary) October 18, 2017

1. Tony Ferguson
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Nate Diaz

In that order.

If USADA checked weight when performing a test, does that inform a healthy fighting weight as the mean grows? Do fighters lean out as result

— shawn (@BuddyHuggs) October 19, 2017

I’d be interested in seeing that data, but I’d caution against trying to use it in any official capacity. USADA tests fighters year-round, whether they’ve got a fight coming up or not. If they show up two weeks after your latest loss, when you’ve been doing nothing but countering the creeping despair with ice cream and “Deadwood” marathons, they’re probably not going to get an accurate picture of your healthy fighting weight.

But if USADA accumulated the data anonymously, just to tell us how many lightweights walk around like light heavyweights? That’s a graph I’d love to see. I’m just not sure what to do with the information.

With many personalities at play in MMA, from loathsome to lovable, bellicose to bashful, how in hell do you stay impartial as a journalist?

— MMA Goddess (@MMAGoddess) October 18, 2017

Impartial journalism is a thing you do, not a thing you feel. Of course you’re going to form opinions on these people once you get to know them a little. They’re going to form opinions on you, too, and they don’t always express them super diplomatically. But they still deserve the same fair shake in your coverage.

Honestly, it’s not the loathsome people who present the biggest challenge – it’s the lovable ones. At least for me, it’s much harder to write negative things about people you like than it is to write positive things about people you don’t. But what’s true is true. That’s the only guiding principle that’s worth anything.

Is Paulie Malignaggi just sayin' stuff to keep his name in the news? I'm not sure i #wouldwatch even if it did happen.

— Dr Ruffle B. Berg (@Ruffleberg) October 18, 2017

Without McGregor,Rousey,Jones its plausible that a UFC PPV never reaches 500K buys again. Is '18 the year we see all UFC events on free TV?

— Brandon (@_theoldcrow_) October 18, 2017

That’s a hell of a claim to make with UFC 217 staring us right in the face. You’re telling me the return of Georges St-Pierre, plus two other compelling title fights, isn’t going to break half a million buys? If you’re taking bets, give me the over on that one.

But OK, then what? Conor McGregor may or may not return to defend his lightweight title. Jon Jones may or may not end up with a lengthy suspension for his anti-doping policy violation. Ronda Rousey probably ain’t ever coming back, unless the UFC can lure her with just the right offer against someone who promises not to hit her in the face too hard.

So where on the active roster is the next pay-per-view star?

I suspect what we’ll see more of in 2018 is the kind of stacking we see with UFC 217. At one point, that card would have been GSP-Bisping and not much else.

But the UFC’s been burned by injuries and last-minute scratches often enough to appreciate the need for a backup plan or two, which in the best-case scenario results in a better overall fight card for the money. You might be tempted to sit it out and wait for the GIFs if there’s only one fight you want to see. But what if there’s three?

What we won’t see is a complete abandonment of pay-per-view. Not yet, anyway. It’s such a huge piece of the UFC’s revenue pie (see the second graph on this page) that it’d be impossible to pivot away from it without some other huge new revenue stream to take its place. And even if the UFC does get the huge new TV deal it’s hoping for, revenue projections included that money in addition to a growth in pay-per-view sales.

What may actually happen is that a new TV deal could give greater input to the broadcast partner. After all, if you were going to pay hundreds of millions to broadcast the UFC, wouldn’t you want some guarantees that you’d get more than just the leftovers the UFC thought it couldn’t sell for premium prices?

I’m excited about the @bisping @GeorgesStPierre fight but there’s no consensus on who’s winning. WHO U GOT and why?#TMB

— Eric Stolfa (@Reality0982) October 18, 2017

You can’t ever count out St-Pierre, but he’s asking a lot of himself here. We have no idea what he’ll look like after four years away, or how his style will translate against a bigger opponent in a weight class he’s never competed in before.

Say what you will about Michael Bisping (and we will), but these days he’s a sound defensive wrestler who wins fights with his physical and psychological endurance. It’s hard for me to see a smaller man jabbing and double-legging his way to a win over Bisping – even if that smaller man is GSP.

But if you want an explanation for the lack of consensus, look at St-Pierre’s resume. Clearly, he’s a gifted fighter who knows how to execute a game plan. And, let’s be honest, it’s not like Bisping is even one of the scarier middleweights out there. It’s not so crazy to think that GSP could surprise him. But if he does? Let’s just say I’ll be pretty surprised too.

I hate Michael Bisping. I think he's an asshole. That is his whole schtick though. Therefore is my attitude towards him wrong?

— Max Sawyer (@maxsawyer12) October 18, 2017

I guess it depends how much of it you think is schtick. Or does it?

Say you’re right. Say this is all an act, and  Bisping has only been pretending to be a jerk in basically every public appearance because it generates heat with the fans and turns him into a draw. Say he’s been doing this for years, never letting the mask slip, forcing himself to go against his own personal ethos by spitting at cornermen and committing intentional fouls in his fights, all as part of a calculated ploy to make fans hate him.

If that’s the case, wouldn’t hating him be the same as rewarding him for a job well done? He’s worked hard at this. Too hard, one might even say. He deserves to be recognized and appreciated. It’s just that, in this case, you show that appreciation with boos.

But if he’s really capable of putting on that convincing an act, for that many years, then Bisping is wasting his talents in MMA.

My theory? At some point, Bisping realized that he was the bad guy. He saw that he was never going to get to wear the white hat, so the best he could hope for was to be good at wearing the black one. It just so happens that he’s very good at it. This is probably not unrelated to why fans felt the way they did about him in the first place. Like all the best schticks, this is his natural personality with the volume cranked up. And it seems to be working.

Why do MMA fans care so much about PPV numbers? Don't we just want to watch the fights and leave the numbers to the company?

— Mike Bold (@MiketheBold) October 18, 2017

There was a time when I would have agreed with you. We aren’t UFC shareholders (wait, you’re not Guy Fieri, are you?), so why do care so much how many units the company moves, or what ratings it draws on TV?

The answer is: We care because the UFC cares. Because it clearly influences every decision the UFC makes, and very quickly. You can’t understand what the UFC is doing and why if you don’t pay attention to some of that stuff.

At the same time, it is possible to pay too much attention to it, or to see it as a catch-all excuse. Just because we understand that the UFC is motivated by profits and pay-per-view buys, that does not oblige us to go along with anything just because it serves that end.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC veteran Lyman Good files lawsuit against companies for tainted supplement

MMA Junkie News -

UFC welterweight Lyman Good is going after the companies who made and sold a supplement he alleges is behind a positive drug test.

Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), via attorney David M. Fish, today filed a lawsuit in New York alleging the companies were part of “an ongoing, fraudulent scheme to adulterate certain products with anabolic steroids and misbrand those products as ‘dietary supplements’ to defraud consumers.”

TMZ first reported the news.

The lawsuit names as defendants Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, as well as executives Richard Gaspari and Jared L. Wheat, who acquired a stake in Gaspari in April 2016. It also names supplement seller The Vitamin Shoppe where Good alleges he purchased a multi-vitamin, Anavite, later found to contain the androstenedione, a banned performance-enhancer that mimics anabolic steroids.

Calls to Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals were not immediately returned.

Good denies knowingly using steroids and said he was taking the supplement when an out-of-competition drug test from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found the banned anabolic agent in his system. Good claims he sent the bottle of Anavite to an independent lab, which certified it contained androstenedione, and USADA also verified the contamination. As the result of that, he claims, USADA added the multi-vitamin to its “high-risk list.”

The UFC’s anti-doping partner noted Good’s used of a dietary supplement product and said a World Anti-Doping Agency-certified lab discovered androstenedione, which was not disclosed on its label of ingredients. As a result, Good received a six-month suspension for unknowingly ingesting a banned substance.

The UFC welterweight wants a trial to determine compensatory damages, as well as damages for future earning capacity, lost capacity in living, punitive damages. He also seeks injunction on defendants to “identify, locate and warn all purchasers of Anavite.”

As the result of his failed out-of-competition test, Good was pulled from a fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC 205. He returned to the octagon in July and lost a split decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos at UFC on FOX 25.

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

Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Lyman Good (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Lyman Good (red gloves) fights Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Lyman Good (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-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/bzxFHHFN5Us9uEzgMuFokj/278687", customAnalytics: true, title: "Santos def. Good", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

UFC-Gdansk in-depth breakdown: Stylistic matchups, fight picks, best bets and fantasy studs

MMA Junkie News -

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 118’s main-card bouts.

UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland and streams entirely on UFC Fight Pass.

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

Donald Cerrone (32-9-1 MMA, 19-6-0 UFC)

Donald Cerrone.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 34 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 73″
  • Last fight: Decision loss to Robbie Lawler (July 29, 2017)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Multiple Muay Thai titles
^ 28-0 as a pro kickboxer
+ 8 KO victories
+ 16 submission wins
+ 13 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Intelligent strike setups
^ Feints, reads, reacts
+ Devastating head kicks
+ Accurate and intercepting knees
+ Hard leg kicks
^ Most landed in UFC history
+ Underrated wrestling ability
+ Excellent transitional grappler
+/- 4-7 against UFC southpaws

Darren Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC)

Darren Till.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″” Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Bojan Velickovic (Sept. 2, 2017)
  • Camp: Team Kaobon (England)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw / Muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ K-1 European title
+ Luta Livre purple belt
+ 9 KO victories
+ 2 submission wins
+ 4 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Good feints and footwork
+ Accurate left hand
^ Coming forward or off the counter
+ Hard Thai kicks
^ Works well to the body
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Dangerous elbows and knees
+ Underrated grappling ability
^ Shows good positional awareness

Summary:

The main event on UFC Fight Pass features a muay Thai maelstrom between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.

A top-ranked welterweight who is looking to recover from a two-fight losing skid, Cerrone is in Gdansk to get his redemption. There, the American will find Till, an undefeated Englishman who is seeking to steal the spotlight and further state his arrival.

Starting off on the feet, we have two Thai-style strikers who ply their craft in different ways.

Till, the southpaw, will work behind subtle feints and solid footwork, creating angles that allow him to capitalize and counter on his opponent’s reactions. Favoring his heavy left cross, Till possesses a pull-counter that bears a slight resemblance to Conor McGregor, typically stunning his opposition when landing cleanly.

However, Till’s one-sided ways have often drawn criticism and questions about his game as a whole, something he will likely have to answer for in this matchup. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Till makes the adjustments and displays the proficiency of his right hand, especially considering that right hands have typically been Cerrone’s common culprit against both stances.

I will also be curious to see how Till’s kicking arsenal of playing, prodding and picking his places for power will play out with Cerrone, who never seems to shy away from trading shots.

Embracing his frame and kickboxing base, Cerrone does an excellent job of using leg kicks and teeps from a distance. Mixing in punches appropriately, Cerrone will draw out his opponent’s defenses to set up the fight-ending head kicks that comprise his highlight reel.

And though those head kicks could tax Till’s low-handed leans, I see Cerrone getting much more mileage in this matchup with his leg kicks.

Till typically utilizes a wide stance to facilitate his power shot and pull-counter agenda, something that usually makes his lead leg available, as we saw Bojan Velickovic exploit in Till’s last outing.

Still, Till has displayed the composure and craft to work through this opening, inviting opponents to kick his leg as he keeps counter crosses at the ready. But against the fighter who has landed the most leg kicks in UFC history, the Englishman will most certainly be playing with fire if he fails to make adjustments.

Cerrone will also provide much more than kicks and knees. He’s made strides in his overall striking in recent years, particularly inside the pocket or when throwing in combination. Under the care of Brandon Gibson, this most recent iteration of Cerrone has him moving his head and torso offline and at angles, unloading his punches with different mechanics than before.

Often punching his way out of exchanges with his left-hook, Cerrone will feed his newfound flow into his patent head kicks, as his arsenal is now much more symbiotic –– which in turn makes him more dangerous.

Another potential linchpin in this matchup resides inside the clinch.

Both men are unabashedly offensive in this space, but I believe Till is quietly the better defensive fighter, as Cerrone has been surprisingly hittable from here for much of his career. Furthermore, Till also appears to be technically competent and comfortable in the clinch – which coupled with being the naturally bigger man – could pay potential dividends.

Nevertheless, Cerrone is not reliant on the clinch to get off his strikes or offensive grappling. Keeping an excellent reactionary shot in his holster, Cerrone will usually use it to throw off an opponent early, or go to it when he is under heavy fire.

Should Cerrone get the Englishman to the floor, he will surely have the on-paper advantage. Whether he is attacking off of his back or plotting his next move from a topside half-guard, Cerrone is a natural, gifted transitional grappler. But on-paper advantages can often be misleading, as I do believe Till is an underrated grappler to boot.

Coming from a Luta Livre background (a style more synonymous with catch wrestling than jiu-jitsu), Till demonstrates excellent positional awareness and disciplined hand-fighting, a technique that allows him to unleash unforgiving elbows when on top.

From the bottom, Till displays craft and composure, but will smartly not stick around long to see how things play out. Instead, the Englishman will typically elect to turtle-out to his base and work to stand from there. If Till can continue this approach while protecting his back, then I do not see ground stanzas lasting for large portions of the round.

With the betting lines being closer than expected, it seems that the oddsmakers and public either have high faith in Till – or fleeting faith in Cerrone.

As for me, it is easy to see why Cerrone is favored to win. He has more experience in big fights and has a much more diverse arsenal. But on the other hand, I can also see why Till is a live dog in this spot.

From his southpaw stance, brutal body attacks and confident attitude, he carries all the intangibles that have traditionally troubled Cerrone. All of the intangibles –– minus a high pace.

Like many traditional muay Thai fighters, Till can arguably be too comfortable in outclassing his opponent on a micro-level, which can be dangerous considering that MMA judges have trouble interpreting striking from a macro-level. If Till cannot significantly change the course of this fight with his power, then I see Cerrone having a stylistic edge should this contest go to the cards.

I’m a fan of Till’s game and am rooting for him to do well, but it is ultimately hard to pick him based on the information at hand. For that reason, I suggest keeping your money in your pocket and holding onto your beer firmly –– this fight will likely be a back-and-forth affair that could go long.

Official pick: Cerrone by decision Official outcome: To be determined

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Ovince Saint Preux replaces Patrick Cummins, meets Corey Anderson at UFC 217 in NYC

MMA Junkie News -

After fighting a short-notice replacement in the main event of UFC Fight Night 116 in September, it’s now Ovince Saint Preux who will step late for an upcoming fight.

Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC) will replace Patrick Cummins to take on Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 217, which takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

A UFC official verified the new matchup to MMAjunkie following an initial report from newsday.com.

RelatedVon Flue? Just call it the 'Von Preux choke' from now on

Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) was forced to withdraw from the light heavyweight matchup due to a “mutant staph infection” in his foot that prevented him from properly preparing for the contest.

Instead, Anderson will now fight Saint Preux, who pulled off another historic Von Flue choke when he defeated Yushin Okami in the main event of UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan this past month.

Saint Preux, No. 10 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, was hoping to get a matchup with former UFC champ Mauricio Rua rebooked for his next fight, but instead he’s jumping on the opportunity to meet Anderson, an honorable mention in the latest rankings, on short notice.

The latest UFC 217 lineup now includes:

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

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – for women’s strawweight title
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks

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

  • Joseph Duffy vs. James Vick
  • Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris
  • Ion Cutelaba vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
  • Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • Corey Anderson vs. Ovince Saint Preux
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi

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

Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) defeats Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Yushin Okami (blue gloves) before fighting Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) before fighting Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Bruce Buffer announces the fight between Ovince Saint Preux and Yushin Okami during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) before fighting Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Yushin Okami (blue gloves) is checked on after his fight against Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) defeats Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2017; Saitama, Japan; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) defeats Yushin Okami (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Susumu Nagao-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/XhXtCQMiehnzMbTxfX773L/278681", customAnalytics: true, title: "Saint Preux def. Okami", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Watch: Eddie Bravo Awards Tony Ferguson A Very Special Jiu-Jitsu Black-Belt - Pundit Arena

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Pundit Arena

Watch: Eddie Bravo Awards Tony Ferguson A Very Special Jiu-Jitsu Black-Belt
Pundit Arena
Famed-BJJ innovator Eddie Bravo has bestowed a tremendous honour upon his pupil Tony Ferguson following his UFC 216 win over Kevin Lee. Eddie Bravo is one of the grappling circuit's most unique personalities. Known mainly for his work at 10th Planet ...
Tony Ferguson Earns His Black Belt From Eddie BravoJiu-Jitsu Times

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Antonio Rogerio Nogueira hit with potential USADA violation, pulled from UFC on FOX 26

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A potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency violation has forced Antonio Rogerio Nogueira out of December’s UFC on FOX 26 event.

Officials today announced Nogueira (22-8 MMA, 5-5 UFC) had been notified of the potential violation, which resulted from an out-of-competition sample collected on Sept. 27. No other details were given, but he later stated his test showed the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.

From a USADA statement posted to the UFC’s web site:

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Nogueira. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

Nogueira was slated to fight Jared Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC). A replacement opponent is being sought.

UFC on FOX 26 takes place Dec. 16 at MTS Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The card airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Nogueira hasn’t competed since November 2016 when he suffered a second-round TKO loss to Ryan Bader in the main event of UFC Fight Night 100. Prior to that, he earned a first-round TKO of Patrick Cummins at UFC 198 in May 2016.

The 41-year-old Brazilian is among the oldest active fighters on the UFC roster. He’s 1-3 in his past four contests and hasn’t put together consecutive victories since 2013.

Nogueira took to social media to immediately deny any wrongdoing in the situation (via Instagram):

A translation, per Google Translate:

Students, fans, friends, family: to all who are always by my side, I am here speaking to you.

Today I was surprised by the USADA – dopping control organ – that appeared a diuretic substance in my exams.

I am here to try to clarify because we do not have all the explanations yet, but from now on we will investigate this situation in depth, I have told all of you that I am confident in my innocence and will actually find out what happened, and defend myself in the hour timely

I’ve always played the rules, I’m a veteran fighter and I’ve been in the sport for a long time; and I want to always set an example for the younger ones who mirror the career I built and would never get involved with something unlawful to improve my performance or gain any advantage.

I have never needed to take a diuretic, everyone who accompanies me mainly my coaches, know that I never had any difficulties to lose weight and this is the function of the diuretic.

As soon as the UFC marks my fight, I start a process of diet and training for precisely, at the end of the camp does not suffer with the weight loss.

It is very difficult going through this, for me I have always been honest, and especially with my work, that I dedicated myself and still dedicate myself with much love.

On account unfortunately my fight was canceled, I was very sad about it all, but I hope as soon as possible to clarify this misunderstanding and give spectacular fight to all of you.

Thank you all for your support and respect for me.

For more on UFC on FOX 26, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) before his fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ryan Bader (red gloves) defeats Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. 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/nC8zB8j5XnfmYmXNLdtt3j/278672", customAnalytics: true, title: "Bader def. Nogueira", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Aljamain Sterling: 2 more UFC wins makes me an 'appealing fight' for bantamweight title

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GDANSK, Poland – Aljamain Sterling is confident about where he stands in the UFC bantamweight division, and he sees a clear path to the title over the next year or less.

Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who faces Rani Yahya (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 123 on Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. (the card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass), believes he’s just a couple of wins away from becoming a viable contender for the title in the deep 135-pound weight class.

Currently bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt is lined up for a title defense against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217 on Nov. 4. After that, the winner of December’s UFC 218 matchup between former titleholder Dominick Cruz and the streaking Jimmie Rivera is likely next in line. “The Funkmaster” thinks he’s right behind those names, though, and if he can beat Yahya and then take out another notable name, he said it would be tough to deny him a crack at the gold.

“I think two more,” Sterling told MMAjunkie of his path to a title shot. “This one, and I think I fight one more in 2018, and I think that should be the No. 1 contender fight. I think just the landscape of everything, with (Raphael) Assuncao fighting Matt Lopez, the winner of that is going to be one step closer. Really, I don’t think they want Assuncao to fight for the belt. He split decisions everybody. (Bryan) Caraway, that guy doesn’t fight. He’s finally fighting on the same card as me. Then you have Cruz vs. Rivera, the winner will get the next title shot, that’ll be in 2018.

“After that we’ll see how that shakes out. John Dodson, if he gets another win, that could be an interesting fight for me. This next one, I have to get a win, I’ve got to get a finish, and I think I go out there and fight one more in 2018. I go out there and solidify the next shot at the belt.”

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Sterling, No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, has a realistic understanding of the division. He knows it all comes down to the timing of matchmaking and who is a viable contender at a given time. Right now he’s simply not in that position.

Although he’s coming off a unanimous-decision win over former UFC champion Renan Barao at UFC 214 in July, Sterling recognizes he’s currently short on momentum. The performance against Barao snapped a two-fight losing skid and got Sterling back on track after a rough patch in his career.

Sterling said he’s happy to have momentum on his side again, but it’s not the type of momentum he wants to bring into a championship fight. He wants to make sure he’s firing on all cylinders when he challenges for the gold, and that means stringing together consecutive wins against elite competition.

“I don’t think it’s the right time (to fight for the title),” Sterling said. “I think I need one more fight. I think I go in there with a three-fight win-streak, a four-fight win-streak. That makes it a more appealing fight for the masses to want to watch. Nobody wants to see a guy coming in off one or two wins and fighting for the title. Maybe, unless you’re a Conor McGregor or someone like a polarizing figure like a Ronda Rousey. If she came back she could immediately fight for a title. I’m in a different space right now. I’m still building my brand, building my career. Wins matter, especially in my weight class. I want to bring something to the table where I bring in some solid momentum.”

RelatedCody Garbrandt-Aljamain Sterling Twitter beef spirals out of control with racism accusations

Sterling hopes a victory over Yahya at UFC Fight Night 123 will move him closer to his desired position. The fight pits two of the best grapplers in the bantamweight division against one another, and if the action hits the mat, viewers could be in for a treat.

There’s plenty to respect about Yahya, who has made 20 UFC/WEC appearances dating back to June 2007. Sterling said he holds the Brazilian in high regard, but believes he has the advantage if the fight hits the floor. Sterling views Yahya’s grappling style as “basic” and “traditional,” and said if the fight ends up on the mat, his more dynamic approach is going to make the difference.

“He’s definitely an elite-level grappler, but which one of these grapplers is doing the stuff I’m doing?” Sterling said. “Who is going for inverted triangles off their back? Who is going for banana splits? Who is doing stuff like that? No one is doing that kind of thing. I don’t think these guys have shown their versatility in their grappling arsenal as I have. A lot of these grapplers are high-level, but it’s very basic, very traditional.

“I don’t know what Rani Yahya has for me except traditional grappling. He doesn’t have anything unorthodox. I’m willing to go out there and throw a flying triangle. Is he willing to do some (expletive)’ like that? I have no idea. But I’m willing to do some crazy stuff.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling applies a hold against Renan Barao during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands a hit against Renan Barao during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands a hit against Renan Barao during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands a hit against Renan Barao during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Renan Barao defends against Aljamain Sterling during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Renan Barao lands a hit against Aljamain Sterling during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling lands hits against Renan Barao during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling applies a hold against Renan Barao during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Renan Barao lands a hit against Aljamain Sterling during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Aljamain Sterling and Renan Barao hug following their match during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/tJNCjtAJyBfRwEeEq9ktBZ/278629", customAnalytics: true, title: "Sterling def. Barao", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Interim UFC champ Tony Ferguson receives jiu-jitsu black belt from Eddie Bravo

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Tony Ferguson is on a belt-collection tour.

After claiming the interim UFC lightweight title with a third-round submission of Kevin Lee in the UFC 216 headliner earlier this month, Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) got another belt of significance this week.

Ferguson was awarded his black belt from 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu head coach Eddie Bravo, a well deserved honor considering the success of “El Cucuy” on the mat in recent years, but particularly the showdown with Lee.

RelatedTony Ferguson responds to Conor McGregor with perfect(ly odd) 'Grand Theft Auto' video on Twitter

Several techniques from Bravo’s grappling program aided Ferguson to victory. He implemented a rubber guard in the contest with Lee before finally locking in a fight-ending submission. Ferguson became just the second fighter in UFC history to end a championship fight by triangle choke, a feat worthy of black belt status.

Bravo announced Ferguson’s graduation on social media (via Instagram):

The day I got back to Jean Jacques Academy after 2003 ADCC, he gave me the black belt off his waist. Tonight I gave it to @tonyfergusonxt

Following his submission win at UFC 216, Ferguson, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, is hoping for a title-unification showdown with champion and No. 1-ranked Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), though the matchup is not officially confirmed.

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

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

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