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Daily Debate: Does Dustin Poirier make the most sense for UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov?

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Dustin Poirier picked up a pivotal victory, but was it enough to earn him a shot at the UFC lightweight title?

That’s the question we asked in MMAjunkie Radio’s latest Daily Debate feature.

In this past Saturday’s UFC on FOX 29 headliner, Poirier (23-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC) topped Justin Gaethje (18-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) via fourth-round TKO in a bout that earned “Fight of the Night” honors – and one that’s likely to be in consideration for “Fight of the Year” accolades.

It was Poirier’s third straight win, his seventh victory in eight fights, and it propelled him to the No. 5 spot in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. But does that body of work justify the next shot at newly crowned 155-pound champ Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 10-0 UFC)?

The poll results were close, but ultimately, fight fans ruled against the fight (via Twitter):

Today's #DailyDebate question for @MMAjunkieRadio: With his #UFCGlendale win, should Dustin Poirier get the next shot at @UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov?

— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) April 17, 2018

The MMAjunkie Radio hosts discuss the merits of that potential fight – one that UFC President Dana White said is a real possibility – as well as where fellow contenders Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Eddie Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) fit into the picture.

Check it out above.

And for more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Gallery Dustin Poirier def. Justin Gaethje at UFC on FOX 29: Best photos view 13 images

Neil Magny: 'The stage is set' to make statement against Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night 130

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Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny brings down Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Carlos Condit moves in with a hit against Neil Magny during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny moves in with a hit as Carlos Condit defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny pins Carlos Condit to the mat during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny defends against a kick by Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny defends against a kick by Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny lands a hit against Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny moves in with a hit against Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny lands punches against Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny pins Carlos Condit to the mat during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny moves in with a kick against Carlos Condit during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Neil Magny pins Carlos Condit to the mat during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/TN6s7ZcieLGCsWJcaDaSUa/316118", customAnalytics: true, title: "Magny def. Condit", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

May represents a critical month for the UFC welterweight division, and Neil Magny is eager to make his mark with a win over Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night 130.

With a number of critical 170-pound bouts scheduled for the coming month, Magny (20-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) hopes he can show where he stands among the top contenders. He said his matchup with grappling ace Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is as important as any, and he wants to outshine his peers with a standout performance.

“We have six welterweights fighting within a week of each other,” Magny told MMAjunkie. “We have myself, (Kamaru) Usman vs. (Santiago) Ponzinibbio. You have (Darren) Till vs. (Stephen) ‘Wonderboy’ (Thompson). Within that week and all those welterweights competing, my goal and my job is to be the best one out of all six of those guys. The only thing I can control is me going out there and putting on an amazing performance. That will dictate what’s next in my career and it’s within my control.”

UFC Fight Night 130 takes place May 27 at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Magny vs. Nelson co-headlines the event while Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) vs. Thompson (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) serves as the headliner for the FS1-televised card following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedNeil Magny vs. Gunnar Nelson, Brad Scott vs. Salim Touahri added to UFC-Liverpool

One week prior to UFC Fight Night 130, Usman (12-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) faces Ponzinibbio (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in another main-event pairing at UFC Fight Night 129 in Chile. Magny said he doesn’t expect to get lost in the cluster of bouts and believes the situation is actually advantageous because it puts a spotlight on 170-pound fighters. In his mind, that’s a major chance to swoop in and garner some attention.

“The stage is set for me,” Magny said. “Here I am with a huge opportunity to go fight Gunnar Nelson with all these eyes on the welterweight division. I don’t need to steal the show because the eyes are already on this fight. It’s just up to me to go out and perform.

“I can’t go out on this fight and be cautious or have regrets about it. I want to go out there and just leave it all out there.”

Magny said UFC officials considered other opponents, but the Nelson bout was particularly attractive. Magny’s kryptonite throughout his career has been opponents with strong submission abilities, and Nelson is among the best in the weight class.

RelatedKamaru Usman, Colby Covington verbally spar at UFC presser, despite not being opponents

If Magny can overcome Nelson’s grappling, it would be a testament to his improvement, he said.

“I know there’s a big question mark if I can hang with elite grapplers in the game because of my submission losses,” Magny said. “I have six losses, and … four of them are by submission. Going into this fight, it’s a great opportunity for me to go out and show my ground game has improved and I’m a lot better than in past fights when it comes to the submission game. Gunnar does have the majority of his wins by submission, and that’s what excites me about this fight. It’s a big test for me, and it’s going to force me to rise to the occasion.”

Magny also said that beating Nelson is going to help him make up some ground that’s been lost in his career due to inactivity. His two fights in 2017 were his fewest in a calendar year since 2012.

“When I look at the past year, I didn’t shake up the division as much as I’d like to,” Magny said. “I spent nine months on the shelf after an injury and came back and went 1-1 at the end of the year. I can’t be too upset. All I can do is use it as motivation going into this fight with Gunnar Nelson.

“I want to have a fight with Gunnar Nelson to the point everyone is talking about it. That’s the kind of performance I’m going after, and everything that surrounds this fight is motivation for that. I don’t necessarily just want to win, I want to win impressively to the point where people want to see Neil Magny fight a big name next.”

For the latest on UFC Fight Night 130, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Newcomer Don Madge says he's fighting David Teymur at UFC Liverpool

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Streaking South African lightweight Don Madge is apparently booked for his UFC debut.

Madge (7-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) today announced he’s signed to fight fast-rising contender David Teymur (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 130 (via Instagram):

UFC officials haven’t made a formal announcement, but if true, it’d be the card’s 13th fight.

UFC Fight Night 130 takes place May 27 at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. However, the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Made, a 27-year-old former EFC champion, signed with the UFC earlier this year on the strength of a four-fight winning streak that includes four stoppages. Fight fans may remember him from a recent bout in which his opponent failed miserably at a takedown during their weigh-in face-off.

RelatedVideo: Fighter attempts takedown during weigh-in face-off, fails miserably

The Fight Fit Militia team member and seven-year pro could help the UFC make inroads in Africa, a continent with few roster representatives outside of heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou.

He gets a tough test in his promotional debut when he meets Teymur, a 28-year-old Swedish fighter who was a quarterfinalist on “The Ultimate Fighter 22.” Since his time on the reality show, he’s won four straight UFC fights, which included a “Fight of the Night” win over Lando Vannata and a recent decision victory over previously unbeaten Drakkar Klose.

The latest UFC Fight Night 130 card includes:

  • Stephen Thompson vs. Darren Till
  • Neil Magny vs. Gunnar Nelson
  • Arnold Allen vs. Mads Burnell
  • Manny Bermudez vs. Davey Grant
  • Tom Breese vs. Daniel Kelly
  • Claudio Henrique da Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
  • Trevor Smith vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Brad Scott vs. Salim Touahri
  • Makwan Amirkhani vs. Jason Knight
  • Lina Lansberg vs. Gina Mazany
  • Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart
  • Molly McCann vs. Gillian Robertson
  • Don Madge vs. David Teymur

For more on UFC Fight Night 130, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; David Teymur (blue gloves) and Lando Vannata (red gloves) fight during their bout at UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena. Teymur won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/obZVaQTywfGm2uaJNhEUsB/316165", customAnalytics: true, title: "Teymur def. Vannata", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Darren Till responds to UFC champ Tyron Woodley calling him 'light work' for 'Wonderboy'

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Gallery Photos: Best of Darren Till view 16 images

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley doesn’t seem particularly high on Darren Till’s chances of defeating Stephen Thompson in next month’s UFC Fight Night 130 headliner. Till, however, isn’t exactly bothered by that fact.

Following the announcement of Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) vs. Thompson (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) for UFC Fight Night 130 on May 27, Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) chimed in on the matchup. He said “Wonderboy,” who is a former two-time challenger to his belt, is going to make “light work” of the undefeated Brit.

Although the matchup certainly represents a step up in competition for Till and his most significant fight to date, he’s confident his performance will open not only the eyes of Woodley, but any one else who doubts he belongs at the top of the 170-pound division.

“I couldn’t really give a (expletive) about what Woodley says,” Till told MMAjunkie. “What does light work actually mean? I don’t know what that means. Is any fight light work? Is he trying to say I’m light work? That just doesn’t make any sense. To me that doesn’t make any sense at all. No one is light work at all. So he can tune in the 27th of May if he thinks anyone is going to make light work of me. I’m going to show everyone.”

RelatedDarren Till: 'Wonderboy' Thompson not my caliber, and I'll 'shock the world' with KO win

UFC Fight Night 130 takes place at Echo Arena in Till’s hometown of Liverpool, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Till, who’s No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, said he specifically asked for the Thompson matchup to prove his worth. The 25-year-old put himself on many fans’ radar with a first-round TKO win over Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 118 in October, but beating Thompson would legitimize him to an even greater degree.

Some other matchups were floated to Till before Thompson was locked in, and while he was willing to take on any of the welterweight contenders, he said he’s happy he got his wish.

“They were wanting to book me against a good striker so we could have a good war and give the fans a good fight,” Till said. “We talked about (Jorge) Masvidal, but he wasn’t ready. Then they had plans with (Rafael dos Anjos) and Colby (Covington) then (Kamaru) Usman and (Santiago) Ponzinibbio. Then (Demian) Maia and (Robbie) Lawler were out. So I just saw it coming. Then I got the announcement from the UFC. I asked for the fight, and I got it.”

RelatedWatch 'Wonderboy' Thompson cruise past Rory MacDonald to earn his UFC title shot

An argument can be made that Thompson is the toughest possible matchup due to his elusive karate style. Till said that’s what he wants, though.

For Till, UFC Fight Night 130 is going to represent a career-defining opportunity. Whether he wins or loses, he’s responsible for bringing the UFC to Liverpool for the first time. He’s so proud of that achievement that he doesn’t even care that he’s not getting top billing on the event name, despite it being in his backyard.

“I don’t think I deserve to walk out last,” Till said. “He is who he is, and he’s the No. 1 contender for a reason. I don’t mind being out first, even in my town. I just think respectfully he deserves to come out last. Stuff like that it doesn’t matter. He’s the blue corner, but it doesn’t matter. So respectfully it’s only right that he walks out second.”

For the latest on UFC Fight Night 130, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC 224's Raquel Pennington on why she wanted to smack Colby Covington at press conference

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger Raquel Pennington didn’t mope or celebrate when UFC 224’s originally scheduled co-headliner between Colby Covington and Rafael dos Anjos was moved to UFC 225.

Covington’s (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC participation arguably would’ve given UFC 224 a big boost in attention, given his war of words with Brazilians in advance of the event. Instead, his fight was moved to UFC 225. Security was a factor in the move.

Pennington (9-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC), though, wasn’t invested in the drama in advance of her title fight against champ Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC).

“You know, I’m not about that, so I don’t really care about the added attention, the hostility, and quite frankly, the press conference was a little annoying,” she said. “I wanted to smack him in the back of the head.”

During a press conference promoting the UFC’s spring and summer schedule, Covington amped up his usual troll routine, throwing shots at dos Anjos (28-9 MMA, 17-7 UFC) and bickering with Kamaru Usman (12-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC), who’s scheduled to headline UFC Fight Night 128.

Sitting beside Covington on the dais, Pennington tired quickly of the schtick. Her general opinion on it doesn’t differ much.

“I just find it unnecessary,” she said. “But to each his own, and that’s the macho talk coming out of the guy, so whatever.”

Pennington has no grudge against her upcoming opponent, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Nunes, and that’s fine heading into the May 12 pay-per-view event at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

“At the end of the day, it’s a sport,” she said. “We both have a very competitive side. But I’ve always been a humble person, and I don’t see the need to do a bunch of (expletive)-talking. Once that cage door closes, it’s not going to change what happens.”

For more on UFC 224, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Miesha Tate (red gloves) reacts after her fight against Raquel Pennington during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) before her fight against Miesha Tate during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Miesha Tate (red gloves) fights Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Miesha Tate (red gloves) fights Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Miesha Tate (red gloves) fights Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Miesha Tate (red gloves) fights Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; UFC octagon girl holds up a sign during the fight between Miesha Tate (red gloves) and Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Miesha Tate (red gloves) fights Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) fights Miesha Tate (red gloves) during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) greets Miesha Tate (red gloves) after their fight during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) gets a kiss on the forehead from Miesha Tate (red gloves) after their fight during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Raquel Pennington (blue gloves) greets Miesha Tate (red gloves) after their fight during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/hmK5FQ9VCCQFUtNpG974tB/315957", customAnalytics: true, title: "Pennington def. Tate", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC Atlantic City's Luan Chagas eyes new contract now, title shot within three years

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Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) defeats Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during his fight against Luan Chagas during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) fights Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Luan Chagas (red gloves) defeats Jim Wallhead (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/iSipwthctMgCc5Lc8n3qMP/316091", customAnalytics: true, title: "Chagas def. Wallhead", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

If Luan Chagas wants to be competing for the UFC’s welterweight belt in three years, he better get moving.

Here’s to hoping his body is on the same page.

Chagas (15-2-1 MMA, 1-1-1 UFC), who meets Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 128 on Saturday, has fought only three times since his UFC debut in May 2016. The reason for that is not exactly an uncommon one in this business: injuries.

First, it was a fracture suffered during a UFC Fight Night 95 bout with Erick Silva. Then a few months out from a UFC 212 meeting with Jim Wallhead, and ahead of a planned UFC Fight Night 119 bout with Niko Price, it was a broken foot that needed surgery.

It’s been more than 10 months since Chagas last set foot in the octagon. But he’s confident the tide is about to turn.

Related'UFC Fight Night 128: Barboza vs. Lee' lineup finalized with 13 bouts in New Jersey

“I believe this injury-riddled phase is over, and I’m aiming toward my best phase yet, injury-free and with wins,” Chagas told MMAjunkie.

That starts this week, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., where a win in the FS1-televise preliminary-card not only stands between Chagas and a .500 UFC record, but also a UFC contract renewal.

It helps that Chagas isn’t coming off a loss, having finished Wallhead in the second round of their June encounter. But it’s hard to even figure out how a somewhat unique record like Chagas’, which now sits at 1-1-1, will be taken into account by the promotion.

For what it’s worth, the numbers don’t say it all.

Chagas’ UFC debut was filling in for prospect-turned-divisional-boogeyman Kamaru Usman, at UFC 198. Then an unknown name stepping up on short-notice, Chagas was (understandably) a heavy underdog against Sergio Moraes – a grappling ace who was then on a four-fight winning streak. A draw isn’t a fighter’s favorite way to end a fight, but for debutant Chagas it served as a big statement.

Chagas was originally set to meet Shinsho Anzai in his second UFC bout, but shuffles in the UFC Fight Night 95 card led him to meeting Silva. Chagas was choked out in the end, but not before putting on a barnburner that earned “Fight of the Night” honors in Brazil.

That extra $50,000 ended up coming in handy when Chagas’ injuries left him without a cash flow. But, if you ask him, he’d gladly trade it in for a win.

RelatedSaturday's UFC Fight Night 128 broadcast plans set; Fitzgerald and Felder on the call

“I’d never seen that much money in my bank account,” Chagas said with a laugh. “It was a dream, but I’d trade that $50,000 for the win, no doubt.”

Thankfully, the win followed. And he’s hoping to get a streak going on Saturday against an opponent who’s also no stranger to layoffs.

“(Bahadurzada) was going through a similar thing than I was, with injuries,” Chagas said. “He ended up getting hurt a lot. He’s very aggressive, as well. He really likes to exchange on the feet, and I think that’s also why we end up getting hurt a lot in fights and having to sit it out for a while, unfortunately.”

But Bahadurzada’s case was a lot more serious than Chagas.’ Since joining the UFC in 2012, Bahadurzada was only able to fight twice in the same year once, in 2013. He fought in December that year, and didn’t return until 2016. After that, it was another 16 months before his return, which came in September.

However, albeit spread apart, Bahadurzada’s past two fights did end in wins. Stoppage wins, to be more specific. And for Chagas, who’d never gone to a decision before his UFC debut, there’s one simple prediction to be made out of this matchup.

“He’s got a heavy hand, but being heavy-handed at welterweight is a prerequisite,” Chagas said. “At the very least, you’ve got to have that. So I don’t expect less than that from him. But I’m going to pursue this fight like I usually do: moving forward. And I know that, when Siyar is attacked, he reacts. So think it will be a fight between two very aggressive guys.”

Chagas is focused on his immediate challenge, which is even more understandable given that how (or if) his UFC career will continue is riding on it. But, with hopes that his body lives up to its part of the deal, he still has his ambitions for further down the road.

“By winning this one, I want to start fighting the guys at the top,” Chagas said. “I know I’m just coming up, but I want to fight more often. I hope to stay in one piece after the fights so I can fight more often. My goal is to be fighting for a belt in three years.

“I’m sure that, from this fight on, I’ll get a lot of fights in a row. I believe that. And that’s my focus. To fight more and more, and to win more and more, too.”

Actually, scrap the “ambitions” part. Let’s just say Chagas has his certainties about what will eventually happen.

“For those who don’t believe it yet, so there isn’t any doubt: I will be UFC champion,” Chagas said. “I will be – of course, if no one gets there before I do – Brazil’s first welterweight champion.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 128, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Cage Warriors 95 lineup takes shape with 11 fighters and two title fights

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The lineup is starting to take shape for July’s Cage Warriors 95 event.

The event, which features two title fights, is set for July 21 at Indigo at The O2 in London. The card streams on UFC Fight Pass following early prelims on Facebook.

In the headliner, light-heavyweight champion Karl Moore (8-2) will look to defend his title. However, like all fighters announced for the card, an opponent hasn’t been determined.

RelatedCage Warriors confirms champ Molly McCann has signed with UFC for Liverpool bout

Moore, an Irishman, won the vacant belt with a decision victory over Josh Clark at Cage Warriors 81. He then suffered a quick, 15-second knockout loss to Mauro Cerilli this past month at Cage Warriors 92. Moore tried to become the organization’s latest two-division champ by taking on heavyweight titleholder Cerilli.

Also on the card, Craig White (14-7), a 27-year-old Englishman, get a crack at the vacant welterweight belt. He’s riding a four-fight winning streak, and all of the victories have come via stoppage and under the Cage Warriors banner. (Karl Amoussou recently vacated the 170-pound title to sign with Brave CF.)

“The UFC have picked up two of our world champions – Nathaniel Wood and Molly McCann – in just the last couple of months,” Cage Warriors President Graham Boylan stated. “It’s no secret that the UFC watch our champions closely, and there’s two world title fights going down at CW95.”

The latest Cage Warriors 95 card includes:

For more on Cage Warriors 95, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Treinados por policiais, mais de 100 jovens de comunidades do Rio viajam para o Brasileiro de Jiu-Jitsu

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Crianças e adolescentes do Jiu-Jitsu treinaram nos tatames do BOPE, no Rio. Foto: Leonardo Fabri

Neste ano a Geração UPP vai para o seu quarto Campeonato Brasileiro de Jiu-Jitsu consecutivo. No próximo dia 28, três ônibus saem do Rio de Janeiro rumo à cidade de Barueri, em São Paulo, onde tradicionalmente é realizado o principal torneio da modalidade no país, organizado pela CBJJ. Ao todo, serão mais de 100 crianças e adolescentes das comunidades Adeus, Andaraí, Baiana, Barreira do Vasco, Batan, Cidade de Deus, Providência, Salgueiro e Rocinha, todas treinadas por policiais militares graduados.

Até aqui, somadas as três participações no campeonato nacional, o time já faturou 169 medalhas, sendo 60 de ouro, 54 de prata e 55 de bronze, além de cinco troféus por equipe. Com mais de 100 atletas, está já é a maior delegação da história do projeto.

Assim como nos anos anteriores, as instituições supracitadas viabilizam toda a logística. Os ônibus que levam os jovens atletas são cedidos pela Secretaria de Segurança; o custo das inscrições é uma articulação dos professores; e alimentação, quimonos e demais apoios logísticos são fornecidos pela LBV e Super Rádio Brasil. Quem quiser colaborar e fazer parte deste time, pode entrar em contato através do e-mail contato.projetogeracao@gmail.com.

Treinão no BOPE antes do embarque para São Paulo

Na última semana, o Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE) abriu as portas da sua sede para um último treinão antes da viagem. A ação reuniu cerca de 40 jovens que irão competir em Barueri, além de professores e autoridades policiais. Presente no evento, o lutador do UFC e faixa-preta de Jiu-Jítsu Alan Nuguette ensinou algumas posições que podem ajudar os atletas durante as lutas.

“Sou fascinado por este projeto, tenho orgulho em dizer que sou um dos padrinhos, sempre que posso eu converso com essas crianças e passo um pouco do que sei dentro e fora dos tatames. Aproveitei esse treinão no BOPE e mostrei algumas posições que me ajudaram a vencer alguns campeonatos na minha época de competidor no Jiu-Jitsu. Espero que sirvam para eles também”, contou o peso leve do maior evento de MMA do planeta.

O evento dentro do BOPE foi articulado graças aos majores Bianca Neves e Marcelo Corbage. Subcomandante do batalhão, Corbage participou do Geração UPP quando era responsável pela comunicação social do projeto de pacificação, em 2014.

“Fico feliz por saber que o projeto só cresce e que hoje está ainda mais encorpado do que quatro anos atrás. A essência é mudar vidas. Educação, cultura e esporte são ferramentas importantíssimas para mudar a realidade desses jovens. Estou na torcida para que voltem de São Paulo com muitas medalhas e muitos aprendizados”, falou o caveira.

Hoje, o posto que era de Corbage é ocupado por Bianca Neves, que assim como o colega de farda, também é uma entusiasta do projeto.

“O objetivo principal da nossa seção é incentivar, monitorar e auxiliar nas ações de proximidade, e o projeto Geração UPP se destaca muito por ser uma das nossas ferramentas mais bem-sucedidas. Ao todo, são 3 mil e 800 jovens beneficiados e 44 policiais militares envolvidos. Sem dúvida é o no nosso carro-chefe, são nossos meninos e meninas de ouro. Estamos com uma grande esperança de que eles irão brilhar, trazer muitas medalhas, assim como nos anos anteriores”, disse a major.

O projeto existe desde 2009 e é fruto da parceria entre Legião da Boa Vontade – através da campanha “Esporte é Vida” -, Super Rádio Brasil, Prime Esporte, Boomboxe e Governo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

(Fonte: Assessoria de imprensa)

UFC Fight Night 128 main-event breakdown: The Kevin Lee tool that could foil Edson Barboza

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MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of UFC Fight Night 128’s top bouts. Today, we look at the Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee main event.

UFC Fight Night 128 takes place Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., and the card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Edson Barboza (19-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC)

Edson Barboza

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 32 Weight: 155 lbs. Reach: 75″
  • Last fight: Decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov (Dec. 30, 2017)
  • Camp: Ricardo Almeida Jiu-jitsu (New Jersey)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA titles
+ Multiple muay Thai accolades
^ Record of 25-3 (22 by KO)
+ 11 KO victories
+ 1 submission win
+ 7 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Good feints and footwork
+ Improved boxing technique
^ Jabs, pivots, check-hooks, etc.
+ Devastating leg kicks
+ Accurate spinning attacks
+ Underrated counter wrestling
^ 83 percent takedown defense
+ Solid butterfly guard
^ Good getup urgency

Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC)

Kevin Lee

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 25 Weight: 155 lbs. Reach: 77″
  • Last fight: Submission loss to Tony Ferguson (Oct. 7, 2017)
  • Camp: Xtreme Couture (Las Vegas)
  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA titles
+ Collegiate wrestler (NCAA Division II)
+ 1 KO victory
+ 8 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ Improved footwork and movement
+ Works well when coming forward
^ Puts together punches and kicks well
+ Strong inside of the clinch
^ Effectively chains from bodylock
+ Excellent offensive and reactive shots
^ Has taken down 11 of 12 UFC opponents
+ Intelligent transitional grappler
^ Positionally aware/fights hands
+ Dangerous back taker
^ Heavy hips and crushing chokes

Summary:

The main event in Atlantic City features a lightweight battle between Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee.

Coming off a loss to now-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov back at UFC 219, Barboza will be looking to get back in the win column in front of his newly adopted home of New Jersey. Also in search of a rebound is Lee, another proven talent at 155 pounds who happens to be coming off a loss to the former interim champion Tony Ferguson.

Starting off on the feet, Barboza will be the fighter with the striking edge on paper.

Storming onto the UFC scene with thunderous leg kicks, Barboza became renowned for his initial impressions of violence that reminded fans why they shouldn’t step inside the octagon. After a few years of mixed success, Barboza made his way up to New Jersey to train with Mark Henry, a coach who has quietly helped him improve his footwork and fundamentals within the boxing realm.

RelatedBefore they ring each other's, watch Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza ring bell at Philadelphia 76ers game

From hitting pivots to stepping off to the appropriate sides, the Brazilian can now better facilitate his punches and overall offense. Barboza has always possessed an underrated counter right-hand (seen early in his fight with Donald Cerrone) but has since developed his left hand under said upgrades.

Throwing his jab with much more efficiency, it is the improvements of Barboza’s check-hook that may serve him well in this fight. Utilizing the check-hook to punch out of exchanges or catch opponents coming in, I suspect it may come in handy against an engaging Lee, whose seemingly has a history with taking unfavorable shots from that side.

Still, Barboza will need to be careful not to overcommit to his checks, something that could cost him considering the level-changing threats of his ever-improving opponent.

Despite not being known for his striking game, Lee has quietly made improvements of his own under the care of Dewey Cooper. From his footwork to fundamentals, Lee has been displaying an understanding of defensive and offensive angles, getting more confident in his abilities every time he competes.

And with improved head movement typically accompanying upgraded footwork, Lee has also demonstrated much more discipline in rolling his head offline with his punches, something that should assist him in avoiding counters.

RelatedKevin Lee promises to expose Khabib Nurmagomedov after he whoops Edson Barboza

That said, the developing talent may not want to test his striking skills too much in this matchup.

Although Lee was able to stun Francisco Trinaldo standing (which is no easy feat), he will most certainly be playing with fire if he trades with Barboza for longer than he needs to.

For that reason, I believe that the wrestling exchanges will play a crucial and telling role in this battle’s narrative.

Since Barboza’s early encounters with wrestlers the likes of Jamie Varner and Danny Castillo, the nine-year pro has steadily strengthened his counter wrestling acumen. Even in his recent fight against Nurmagomedov – a fighter who can seemingly out-wrestle the entire lightweight lot – Barboza was still able to contest with his counterparts underhooks, creating enough space for separations despite being dead tired in the final frame.

Nevertheless, Barboza still may end up feeling the next best thing when it comes to wrestling pressure at 155 pounds, and that’s not hyperbole.

From Lee’s superb technique to his natural gifts of athleticism and reach, the former NCAA Division II national qualifier has a knack for finding the hips of his opponents. Working particularly well from the bodylock, Lee does a great job of chaining off his takedown approaches, either taking the path of least resistance or paving one of his own.

Should Lee ground Barboza, he cannot get too greedy in advancements or get away from controls.

Among the Brazilian’s ability to use the cage to stand, Barboza also wields an underrated butterfly guard that he utilizes well to help him create space. Whether he is against the fence or working from a modified guard, I imagine that Barboza has only continued to fill in these holes during his time spent with Frankie Edgar and company in New Jersey.

But if Barboza fails to find answers fast, then he may be in for another long night at the office.

RelatedMMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City

A phenomenal wrestler who seemingly embraced the submission arts early, Lee displays a preternatural ability to find and take the back. Fueled by slick transitions and heavy hips, the 25-year old arguably crushes as much as he attempts chokes, dominantly closing off airways in a way that reminds me of a vintage B.J. Penn.

The oddsmakers and public seem to be slowly taking a side on this one, listing Lee -145 and Barboza +125 as of this writing.

Putting any Xtreme Couture-related biases aside, I do think that this line is about right. Barboza is still a top fighter whose abilities have not gone anywhere, making him a live dog by default.

The Brazilian’s fleet-of-foot movement and improved defense will make him difficult to pin down, and his counter punches will probably be as lively as his kicks. However, despite his upgrades, the same factor has traditionally foiled him throughout his career – and that’s pressure.

Lesser strikers have used pressure to stun Barboza standing, and – like we saw last December – pressure accompanied by wrestling can be a suffocating combination for the Brazilian. Although Lee won’t have the late, great Robert Follis in his corner, I suspect that he will put on a performance that would make his former coach proud. I believe that both men will survive each other’s threats early, but ultimately see Lee scoring a surgical second-round submission.

Official pick: Lee inside the distance

For more on UFC Fight Night 128, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Photos: Best of Kevin Lee view 10 images

Fight Nights Global delays Brazilian debut, announces new Fight Nights Global 87 lineup in Russia

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Fight Nights Global officials delayed plans for a previously announced Brazilian event next month and will instead a host a show in the organization’s home nation of Russia.

Fight Nights Global officials told MMAjunkie “logistics issues” were to blame for the change, which comes on the heels of the arrest of Russian billionaire Ziyavudin Magomedov, chief financial backer of the promotion.

Fight Nights Global 87 now takes place on May 19 at KSK Express in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. The night’s main event sees Armenian lightweight David Khachatryan (24-3) take on SBG Ireland product Peter Queally (10-4-1).

The night’s co-feature sees Brazilian Adriano Martins (28-9) return to action for the first time since ending a seven-fight UFC stint when he takes on Russia’s Alexandr Shabliy (17-3).

As with all Fight Nights Global events, the new card streams live on Russian social media outlet VK.com.

The latest Fight Nights Global 87 lineup includes:

  • David Khachatryan vs. Peter Queally
  • Adriano Martins vs. Alexandr Shabliy
  • Malik Merad vs. Khalid Murtazaliev
  • Nikolay Gaponov vs. Daniil Voevodin
  • Michael Graves vs. Murat Khasanov
  • Vladimir Egoyan vs. Alexander Yanishev
  • Nikolai Danilov vs. Masoud Ranjbar
  • Vladimir Ivanov vs. Ovanes Obgaryan
  • Migran Arutyunyan vs. opponent TBA
  • Chermen Kobesov vs. opponent TBA

For more on Fight Nights Global 87, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

'The Ultimate Fighter 27' blog: Meet Jay Cucciniello

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Starting out, I want to be completely honest: Anyone who knows me knows I am not a writer. I’m probably the last person you’d expect to write a blog, but it’s not every day you get to have your mug on weekly TV, so I thought I would give it a shot, and if you watch the season and read along, you’ll really get to know what I am about, and hopefully I can fill in some of the blanks of the show for you!

Before we get into it, I wanted to give you a little bit of info about me and say thanks to John Morgan at MMAjunkie for helping me bring you these weekly instalments. Hopefully they give you a bit of extra juice about each episode from this season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

I’ve been a fan of “TUF” since the first season, dating back to my early military days. Me and my close friend Matty (AKA “T-Rex” for his long head) would hit the DVD store and head straight to the martial arts section to find the latest UFC release. The season that stands out for me was season 3, when Britain’s own Michael Bisping smashed through everyone and really gave British fighters a sense of belief that UFC was reachable – and for me, I went from just being a fan to really wanting to compete in MMA. Fighting has been within me from a young age, so once I left the military, it wasn’t long before I sought out my nearest MMA gym.

I began my MMA journey with Chris Ellington of Avaddon MMA (starting in a sports hall with a few mats thrown on the floor). We’re now very close friends, and without his input to my life, I would have never made it this far.

Having only been there a short while, Chris saw my potential and knew I needed more than he, alone, could offer at the time, and he decided to throw me in with the big boys. He took me to an MMA team which was well known up and down the U.K., producing some of the U.K.’s top level fighters – the Tsunami Gym in Cambridge. I trained with John and Tommy Maguire, Robbie Olivier, Jack Mason, Fabio Ferrari, A.J. Wenn, Lee Doski and “TUF 17” vet Luke Barnatt. Without all the beatings I received from these guys, I certainly wouldn’t be here. I’m forever grateful to these killers.

It’s been a long time since the days watching “TUF” and thinking about what it would be like. Since then I’ve managed to rack up an 8-0 MMA record – all finishes – starting on my local show in the U.K. to becoming a champion of Ansgar Fighting League, the biggest MMA show in Spain, and then taking me all the way to South Africa to duke it out for EFC.

But all of that is in the past, and now it’s my time to go on “The Ultimate Fighter” and put on some epic battles that hopefully will inspire someone else who’s going through something crazy time, just like Mike did for me.

The day had finally come to set off from my home in Malaga, Spain to Las Vegas for “TUF: 27 Undefeated,” a 26-hour journey ahead of me with only one thing on my mind, getting in that house and becoming the next ultimate fighter! As a half-Irish, half-Italian lad who grew up in England and now living on the southern coast of Spain, I was a bit dubious of my collective background making it across the U.S. border with the current situation with Mr. Trump at the helm of America!

My big dreams almost fell at the first hurdle as I was about to board my flight and a member of staff came up to me in the queue and asked to see my tickets – and then he drops it on me: “I am sorry sir. if you don’t have a return ticket booked, then I’m afraid you are not flying today.”

Oh, dear.

With my brain going through a near-meltdown, I contacted one of the producers from “TUF,” and he explained my situation to them. He reassured me I had a return ticket, and after calming me down, managed to explain the situation to the member of staff, so with 10 minutes until my gate closed, I headed to the information desk and had them check their system for my return ticket and in what felt like hours (in reality a few minutes), I started to believe that my journey would end here, and as I felt the entire process leading up to this point was all too good to be true, I thought this was it. This was finally the moment reality would hit and I would like so many before me be told that I was NOT going to be a part of “TUF 27.”

Thrashing my mind in what was a very stressful few minutes, the very helpful lady informed me all my tickets were in order, and the meltdown was over. Relief filled my body and for now my journey would continue.

After a few delays, I landed In Las Vegas, and it started to become real. I was taken to the Palace Station, where I was escorted to a hotel room. There, two members of the production team greeted me, and I was told to empty may bags and stripped to my underwear.

Only joking!

But they did take all of my belongings from me, and in return, gave me a Reebok package, which was a nice trade-off, so I wasn’t complaining! I was also briefed on rules for the next few days, in which the main message was that I would be confined to my hotel room, and if I needed to leave for any reason, I had to be escorted by someone. Total lockdown.

It was all becoming very real now. My belongings taken. My freedom taken. I had to remind myself that I signed up for this, and the saving grace was that we were told we would be entering the “TUF” house in a couple days, and until then, our phones could stay with us.

At the try-outs for the show I saw a few familiar faces one of which was a Richie Smullen, a lightweight who fights out of SBG Ireland. We got on well and exchanged contacts after the tryouts and kept in touch – which I’m glad we did because what happened next was crazy. Due to complications with the coaches for the season ,we were kept in our hotel rooms for TWELVE nights. It was mental! Not only that, but they took our phones from us two days into our lockup!

Imagine you’re stuck in a hotel room, not allowed to leave without an escort, and you have no access to the outside world. Yep, that’s right. I watched a LOT of “Duck Dynasty.” But for me it wasn’t a big problem; I’ve served on many operational tours with the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I can switch off when needed to. Another bonus was that me and Richie were gym buddies, but truthfully, there are only so many times you can hit the treadmill in the morning and work some pads in a gym the size of a shoebox. It was starting to feel like a real prison sentence.

Finally, after 12 days on lockdown, we entered the house. I thought I was going to be a lot more pumped, but something was pulling me down. From when I received my email to that moment entering the TUF Gym, it took a while for me to work out what it was, but when I saw the octagon in the TUF Gym for the first time, it hit me: There were no fights to get into the house on this season, and that just didn’t feel right to me. I wanted everyone to know I belonged there. I wanted to feel like I belong there. But hey that’s what it was and now I only had one thing on my mind: collecting some souls.

Jay Cucciniello (8-0), an English featherweight on “The Ultimate Fighter 27,” blogs about the season each week exclusively for MMAjunkie. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMelowFelow. New episodes of the show air each Wednesday night on FS1.

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings, April 17: Dustin Poirier surges

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Dustin Poirier is looking more and more like a worthy UFC title challenger.

In Saturday’s UFC on FOX 29 headliner, Poirier (23-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC) topped fellow contender Justin Gaethje (18-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in a “Fight of the Year” candidate that was halted in the fourth round.

In the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, Poirier took a major leap – from the No. 9 spot to No. 5. Gaethje, meanwhile, falls from No. 5 to No. 6.

Poirier has won three straight fights, and he’s 7-1 (with one no-contest) since his 2014 loss to Conor McGregor. Now, he’s hoping for a shot at gold.

He lost the fight, broke his orbital, got multiple stitches in his head – and had the time of his life

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Here’s what most people saw: For three rounds, Kyle Bochniak gets punched and kneed and kicked from every possible angle, until he’s bloodied and bruised and clearly headed to a decision loss against rising featherweight prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov.

Here’s what was going on inside Bochniak’s head at the time: This is the best night of my life.

It started backstage at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, N.Y. As he warmed up in a Barclays Center locker room, Bochniak felt unusually calm – like, maybe a little too calm. He was walking around and yawning, waiting for nerves that never came.

And he knew he was supposed to be nervous. Here he was, about to fight this killer out of Dagestan that everyone was so hot on, and on the pay-per-view portion of one of the year’s biggest UFC events. That was worth getting nervous for, and he knew it. But he was just so relaxed.

RelatedWe knew Zabit Magomedsharipov was tough, but now we have to wonder if he's human

“It was weird,” Bochniak told MMAjunkie. “It was like a dream. But when I got in the cage, and I saw him in there I just thought I don’t (expletive) care. I actually started screaming it, ‘I don’t (expletive) care!’”

Bochniak (8-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) entered the cage that night with a pretty simple plan. He knew Magomedsharipov (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was good in every aspect of the sport, but he also knew that anybody was bound to break if you could just keep pressuring them. So that’s what Bochniak did.

When Magomedsharipov stung him with uppercuts, Bochniak kept coming forward. When the Dagestani fighter thumped him with kicks and knees, Bochniak charged ahead for more. Through it all, he felt calm. He actually felt good.

“I was just in the most peaceful state, having fun, feeling no pain,” Bochniak said. “It wasn’t like an adrenaline rush thing, either. I was very calm. I could hear my corner, his corner. I was having a real good time. I just wanted to keep coming forward to show him that he couldn’t hurt me.”

By the final round of the fight, there was some reason to think that this strategy might pay off. Bochniak kept walking Magomedsharipov down, wiping away the blood and asking for more. The crowd was eating it up. The commentators were impressed and delighted.

But as time wound down, Bochniak saw Magomedsharipov sneak a glance at the clock. This guy wanted the fight to hurry up and be over already. His strategy was working. It just worked too late.

“I felt the momentum change then,” Bochniak said. “I could really feel it. But then pretty soon after that, the ref stepped in and said ‘time’ and that was it. If I had one more round, or if it was a battle to the death, I think I would have won. And that’s what I wanted.”

Gallery Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Kyle Bochniak at UFC 223: Best photos view 10 images

Bochniak wasn’t surprised when all three judges scored the fight for Magomedsharipov. At the same time, he couldn’t help but feel good about his performance.

“When I was in that cage, I felt like I was more free than I’ve ever been,” Bochniak said. “I wasn’t even thinking about winning or losing. It was just him trying to hurt me, and me trying to hurt him.”

Bochniak felt better than he had in all his previous fights – even the two UFC fights he’d won – so how disappointed was he supposed to be with the result? Even later, sitting at the hospital and getting stitches on his face, staples in his head, plus a diagnosis of a “minor orbital fracture,” he couldn’t help but be pleased.

That feeling only increased when he heard that his bout with Magomedsharipov had won the “Fight of the Night” bonus worth an extra $50,0000. It wasn’t until a few days later that the facts of the situation began to intrude on his happiness.

“Now it’s starting to hit me: I lost, I’m 2-3 in the UFC, and there’s no gray area there,” Bochniak said. “On paper, I’m 2-3 in the UFC. But the support I’ve been getting on social media has been incredible. I haven’t gotten one bad comment. I lost that fight, but my stock has gone up. That’s a good feeling, to be recognized that way.”

In fact, for Bochniak, it’s all good feelings coming out of that fight. Even with the stitches and staples and facial fractures, he can’t help but look back on it as a positive experience.

He also can’t wait for the next one.

“I hope it’s soon,” he said.

For complete coverage of UFC 223, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Four fights added to Bellator 200 in London, including debut of 'TUF 22' vet Saul Rogers

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Saul Rogers

Four more fights have been added to Bellator’s return to London next month.

Jeremy Petley (12-8-1 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) meets Saul Rogers (12-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Pedro Carvalho (7-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) takes on Daniel Crawford (10-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), both at featherweight. And Kevin Fryer (6-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will take on Costello van Steenis (9-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), and Vladimir Filipovic (10-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) meets Anatoly Tokov (25-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in a pair of middleweight fights. A Bellator official told MMAjunkie of the fight bookings today.

Bellator 200 takes place May 25 at The SSE Arena in London. The card airs via same-day tape delay on Paramount.

Canada’s Petley was mired in a four-fight skid. But he has rebounded with back-to-back wins, both under the Bellator banner. He took a unanimous decision from Chase Morton at Bellator 179 and won a split call against Lewis Monarch at Bellator 191 in December.

Rogers, from England, will be looking to rebound from a submission loss in March 2017 that snapped a six-fight winning streak. His resume includes a 3-0 record under the Cage Warriors banner. But he perhaps is most notable for his appearance on Season 22 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” on which he was coached by Conor McGregor and reached the semifinals.

Fryer, from England, has won five straight fights and has all six of his career wins by stoppage. Van Steenis, a 25-year-old from the Netherlands, made his promotional debut at Bellator 185 this past October in Connecticut and picked up a first-round TKO against Steve Skrzat to run his winning streak to three.

Filipovic’s fight with Tokov will be a rematch. Tokov won a unanimous decision in June 2016 at a Fight Nights Global show in Russia. That ran his winning streak to 17 fights, but he lost in December 2016. He rebounded in February 2017 in his Bellator debut, a TKO win over Francisco France. Filipovic has won three straight since that loss to Tokov and will be making his Bellator debut.

Carvalho, from Portugal, trains at SBG Ireland with the likes of McGregor and up-and-coming Bellator standout James Gallagher. He has back-to-back wins heading into his Bellator debut and five of his seven career wins by stoppage. Crawford will fight in front of his home fans in London for his Bellator debut. He has a four-fight winning streak and seven of his 10 career wins by stoppage.

The Bellator 200 card includes:

  • Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi
  • Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson
  • Michael Page vs. David Rickels
  • Phil Davis vs. Linton Vassell
  • Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths
  • Kate Jackson vs. Anastasia Yankova
  • Chad Griffiths vs. Tom Mearns
  • Martyn Harris vs. Ryan Scope
  • Kevin Fryer vs. Costello Van Steenis
  • Jeremy Petley vs. Saul Rogers
  • Pedro Carvalho vs. Daniel Crawford
  • Vladimir Filipovic vs. Anatoly Tokov

For more on Bellator 200, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Report: ESPN and FOX Sports put in joint bid for UFC TV rights deal

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It’s possible that an unlikely partnership could be responsible for airing UFC fights next year.

Rival networks ESPN and FOX Sports have teamed up to put in a bid for the UFC’s new TV rights deal, according to Variety.com, which reported the development today citing sources with knowledge of the proposal.

Here are some of the details, per the report:

According to sources with knowledge of the proposal, ESPN has signaled that it would be willing to pay $120-180 million per year to add the Endeavor-owned mixed martial arts league to its collection of live-event rights.

Fox, which currently pays $120 million per year UFC rights, would be willing see that number increase to a little more than $200 million. Fox’s current package includes four Saturday-night fights per year on Fox Broadcasting and a number of fight events on cabler Fox Sports 1 that has increased annually under its current agreement. A joint bid with ESPN would see Fox’s total number of events decline slightly.

Representatives from the UFC and the potential TV partners reportedly declined comment.

According to the report, as many as 15 UFC events could head to the new subscription streaming service ESPN+. The service launched this past week and costs $4.99 per month.

The current deal with FOX, which began in 2011 and ends this year, brings in an average of $120 million a year, with the price jumping to $160 million for this final year.

RelatedUFC owners just bought a major streaming company, and it could change the hunt for a new TV rights deal

The UFC reportedly wanted $450 million per year – a nearly threefold increase of the peak price under the current deal – but in late 2017, FOX reportedly was prepared to make an offer of just $200 million a year.

Recently, reports have suggested the UFC was considering direct-to-consumer options for its event broadcasts/streams.

For now, though, negotiations are likely to continue behind the scenes with all of the major players.

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

Clay Guida vs. Bobby Green added to already ridiculously stacked UFC 225 lineup

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Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Clay Guida (blue gloves) celebrates beating Joe Lauzon (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Clay Guida (blue gloves) helps Joe Lauzon (red gloves) to his feet after the fight during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) and Clay Guida (blue gloves) celebrates the win during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) and Clay Guida (blue gloves) celebrates the win during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Joe Lauzon (red gloves) fights Clay Guida (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Clay Guida (blue gloves) celebrates his win against Joe Lauzon (red gloves) UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/waBN23r7KtkP744qKFHSMY/316062", customAnalytics: true, title: "Guida def. Lauzon", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC 225 is going to be one hell of an event. Now, everyone knock on wood.

As it stands, the lineup could be the year’s best, and it continues to grow, this time with a lightweight bout between vets Clay Guida (34-17 MMA, 14-11 UFC) and fellow wrestler Bobby Green (24-8-1 MMA, 5-3-1 UFC).

ChicagoTribune.com today reported the bout.

UFC 225 takes place June 9 at United Center in Chicago. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Related$300 gets you cageside tickets for 'UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2' in Chicago

Guida, a 15-year pro who’s been with the UFC since 2006, is a former contender who slipped out of the lightweight title picture following a 3-6 skid from 2011-2016. However, the 36-year-old “Carpenter,” who’s a nine-time UFC fight-night bonus winner, has since rebounded with a decision victory over Erik Koch (which marked his return to lightweight from featherweight) and a TKO win over fellow vet Joe Lauzon.

He now meets Green, a fellow Strikeforce vet who’s struggled with consistency since moving to the UFC in 2013. The 31-year-old won his first four UFC fights but then suffered a string of losses to notables Edson Barboza, Dustin Poirier and Rashid Magomedov. After a split draw with Lando Vannata in October (in a “Fight of the Night” bonus winner), he rebounded in January with a decision victory over Koch.

The latest UFC 225 card includes:

  • Champ Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero – for middleweight title
  • Colby Covington vs. Rafael dos Anjos – for interim welterweight title
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
  • Megan Anderson vs. Holly Holm
  • Mirsad Bektic vs. Ricardo Lamas
  • Carla Esparza vs. Claudia Gadelha
  • Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
  • Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Allen Crowder
  • Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago
  • Bobby Green vs. Clay Guida

For more on UFC 225, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Marvin Vettori plans to slap 'double-face liar' Israel Adesanya next time they cross paths

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Marvin Vettori is unhappy with a lot of people following his loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC on FOX 29 this past weekend.

Vettori (12-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) believes the split-decision result in the middleweight fight with Adesanya (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) should have gone his way. He said he’s disappointed in how the judges scored the fight, but they weren’t the only ones who have drawn the ire of the Italian.

He’s also not pleased with how UFC commentators Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz called the three-round bout. However, it doesn’t compare to the disdain he has for Adesanya. Before he gets to that, though, let him first explain why he felt he won Saturday’s 185-pound contest, which aired on FS1 from Gila Rivera Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

“I kind of shut down his whole rhythm, his fight rhythm,” Vettori told MMAjunkie. “He couldn’t do anything he was supposed to do against me. He couldn’t do any of what he wanted to do. I put him against the cage. I controlled him there. I’ve watched the first round three or four times now. I really think I got the first round. I see that pretty clearly. Then second was close, so I see it going his way. Then my corner told me we need the third. From the beginning I put good pressure on him, took him down and secured the round.”

RelatedTwitter reacts to Israel Adesanya's win over Marvin Vettori at UFC on FOX 29

Vettori’s, 24, argument isn’t entirely flawed. The third round was the most clear-cut in his favor, but the second was even clearer for Adesanya. It all comes down to the highly competitive opening frame, and Vettori is convinced he did the superior work.

Although he’s not trying to paint a picture of conspiracy, Vettori said he went into UFC on FOX 29 at a disadvantage before ever stepping into the octagon. Unbeaten Adesanya has garnered a lot of attention as a can’t miss prospect, and Vettori said that translated into a bias from both the judges and the commentary team, who he felt didn’t show enough respect to his efforts.

“Honestly I think the judges and a lot of people, they’ve been fooled by all the hype and the media he has around,” Vettori said. “They kind of built this image, and people are influenced by that. Even the commenters and stuff were all on his side in the first round. It’s crazy how I was pushing the pace and landing and stuff and they were saying – they weren’t talking about me landing. They were saying, ‘Oh, he’s trying to make it go longer so he can counter and stuff.’ (Cormier) said that. It’s so crazy. I think that was silly. It didn’t make any sense. They were all fooled. They were thinking about pushing him and making him look good. Meanwhile I was landing, and they didn’t give a (expletive) about me landing.”

RelatedIsrael Adesanya OK with criticism after UFC on FOX 29: Even Jesus Christ got crucified

All four of Vettori’s career losses have come by decision, so he knows the consequences that can come with leaving a fight to the scorecards. However, what made this one so difficult to digest, he said, is how Adesanya allegedly acted moments after their fight had reached its conclusion.

According to Vettori, “Stylebender” conceded defeat inside the octagon before the decision was read. But when the decision went his way, his tone apparently shifted drastically.

“After the fight, he knew he lost; he really knew he lost,” Vettori said. “He came up and told me, ‘We’ll do it again. Don’t worry. We’re going to meet again.’ He was looking all kind of like beaten. His mind was beaten. Then he went up to my coaches and is like, ‘Ah yeah, maybe I will come to train.’ He was humbled a lot by my performance against him. Then right after he goes out and talks (expletive) on media. That’s what pissed me off, because he’s like a double-faced piece of crap. That’s what he is. So my performance, I was solid. I definitely think that I won the fight. But the judges didn’t see it that way.”

RelatedUFC on FOX 29 post-event facts: Even in a loss, Justin Gaethje makes history

Vettori and Adesanya exchanged plenty of barbs prior to their encounter. Sharing the cage for 15 minutes is typically a good way to vent out all frustrations and put any negative feelings in the past, but that’s not the case from Vettori’s perspective.

Vettori’s resentment has only grown in the fallout of UFC on FOX 29. The decision paired with Adesanya’s public dismissal of there being any chance he lost does not sit well with Vettori. He said he plans to act on those emotions the next time he crosses paths with his rival.

“I just don’t like his attitude,” Vettori said. “He kept talking (expletive) about the spaghetti bull(expletive). He knows I can’t do any of this thing because he knows I’ll be pointed as racist because he’s black, but he can do that toward me because I’m white, and I don’t like that, at all. I think UFC should do something to stop this because it’s not fair. I’m not joking.

“Next time I see him – I better not see him because I’m going to after him. I don’t care who is in front of me. I’m going to slap him real hard. I don’t care. Whatever I say I’m down to back it up. I’m not a little (expletive). I don’t talk to be funny like he does. Next time I see him, it’s better that I don’t see him because it’s not going to be good for him. I don’t like the fact that he’s a double-face liar. At first he said something and he was all beat up, and then right after he goes out and talks (expletive).”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Gallery Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori at UFC on FOX 29: Best photos view 14 images

Rafael Gordinho ensina transição do cem-quilos para o mata-leão no Jiu-Jitsu

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Rafael Gordinho com seu ataque do cem-quilos para o mata-leão. Foto: Reprodução

Líder da nossa GMI Start BJJ Academy, em Pembroke Pines, na Flórida, o faixa-preta Rafael “Gordinho” vez ou outra nos presenteia com uma de suas eficientes transições no solo. E para a aula de hoje, sem ser diferente, o professor mostra como gosta de surpreender o adversário que quase consegue se livrar do domínio no cem-quilos.

Na transição, Gordinho se aproveita do posicionamento do oponente, que gira para o lado inverso do cem-quilos para escapar, e limita o movimento dos seus quadris com o cotovelo. Em seguida, com pressão por trás, Gordinho força o inimigo a ficar sentado, para assim atacar no mata-leão e puxar o oponente para ser finalizado.

Confira a transição em detalhes no vídeo abaixo, estude a posição e aplique no treino de hoje!

Oh no not again: Joanna Jedrzejczyk is getting a little fuzzy on the facts while protesting her UFC 223 loss

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk does a lot of things well. Handling a loss is, apparently, not one of them.

We all remember how, after she suffered a first-round TKO loss to UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas in their first meeting at UFC 217, she spent weeks afterward blaming the loss on a bad weight cut and on the doctor who “failed” her before that bout.

Then they rematched at UFC 223, had themselves an awesome five-round war, and Namajunas walked away the victor again with scores of 49-46 from all three judges.

Jedrzejczyk wasn’t thrilled about the scoring right after the loss, and as time goes by she seems to be getting more and more upset with it, to the point where she might even be making up her own version of the recent past to make it all more palatable.

RelatedJoanna Jedrzejczyk shocked at UFC 223 loss to Namajunas, tells other strawweights: 'Bow down'

In interviews with local media in her home country of Poland (courtesy of BloodyElbow.com), Jedrzejczyk continued to blame the loss on the judges, and she’d even have us believe that this is the consensus viewpoint.

“Even Rose’s coach said after the verdict that I won that fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “ … Numbers don’t lie. Commission in New York is very young. They are still learning how to score fights. Dana White was also a little bit disgusted by the scoring.”

Here we have a statement that appears to mix fact and fiction. Did Namajunas’ coach (assuming she’s referring to Trevor Wittman) say that he thought Jedrzejczyk deserved to win? If he did, we sure missed it. Also, that would be a really weird thing for him to say after his protege successfully defended her title in one of the best women’s fights we’ve seen in the UFC.

Also, did UFC President Dana White say he was “disgusted” by the scoring here? Not publicly. In fact, he said he thought the bout was even heading into the final round, which Namajunas pretty clearly won.

However, it is true that Jedrzejczyk led the stats in the striking department, landing 145 significant strikes to Namajunas’ 105, according to FightMetric.com.

And while it’s true that the New York commission is new to regulating MMA, the judges who scored that bout – Glenn Trowbridge, Dave Tirelli, and Chris Lee – certainly aren’t. Between the three of them, they’ve judged more than 700 MMA bouts, according to MMADecisions.com.

Obviously, that experience is no guarantee of competence (Adalaide Byrd has judged 172 bouts), but come on. Is Jedrzejczyk really going to go around acting like the entire MMA world decried this result as a robbery? Because that didn’t happen.

If it’s true that we learn a lot about fighters by how they deal with defeat, Jedrzejczyk continues to make a pretty poor case for herself.

For complete coverage of UFC 223, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly seriously, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

Gallery Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 223: Best photos view 12 images

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