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  1. Former Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas and highly touted prospect Aaron Pico will both be sidelined for an extended period of time following knockout losses at Bellator 222 this past weekend in New York. On Tuesday, the New York State Athletic Commission verified the medical suspensions handed down to the fighters competing in Madison Square Garden last Friday. Dantas led the list with a 90-day suspension following his brutal knockout loss to Juan Archuleta. Meanwhile, super prospect Aaron Pico earned a 60-day suspension following a flying knee knockout courtesy of Adam Borics in the second round. It was the second straight knockout suffered by Pico in his seven fight career. Chael Sonnen also received a 60-day suspension following a similar flying knee knockout in his fight against Lyoto Machida. Sonnen won’t likely have to worry much about his suspension as he announced his retirement following the conclusion of the fight against Machida last Friday. Here’s the full list of medical suspension for Bellator 222 per the NYSAC: Rory MacDonald - 7 Days Neiman Gracie - 14 Days Chael Sonnen - 60 Days Lyoto Machida - 7 Days Darrion Caldwell - 30 Days Kyoji Horiguchi - 30 Days Dillon Danis - 30 Days Max Humphrey - 14 Days Eduardo Dantas - 90 Days Juan Archuleta - 7 Days Aaron Pico - 60 Days Adam Borics - 30 Days Heather Hardy - 30 Days Taylor Turner - 7 Days Haim Gozali - 7 Days Gustavo Wurlitzer - 14 Days Robson Gracie - 7 Days Oscar Vera - 14 Days Michael Kimble - 7 Days Sebastian Ruiz - 45 Days Michael Wilcox - 45 Days Phil Hawes - 7 Days Brandon Polcare - 7 Days Brandon Medina - 14 Days Nekruz Mirkhojaev - 30 Days Marcus Surin - 7 Days Whitney Francois - 30 Days Kastroit Xeham - 30 Days Kenneth Rivera - 7 Days John Beneduce - 7 Days Valerie Loureda - 7 Days Larkyn Dasch - 7 Days Lindsey Van Sandt - 7 Days Rena Kubota - 30 Days Patrick Mix - 7 Days Ricky Bandejas - 30 Days Afficher l’article complet
  2. John Phillips is out of UFC Sacramento, but the promotion has already found a new opponent for Karl Roberson’s return to middleweight. Roberson, who lost to Glover Teixeira in a light heavyweight match earlier this year, will now take on Brazilian middleweight prospect Wellington Turman at UFC Sacramento, which is scheduled for July 13 at the Golden1 Center. Both fighters confirmed the booking on social media following a report by Combate. Turman joins the company after racking up 15-2 record with four straight wins, capped off by a first-round submission over TUF Brazil runner-up Marcio Alexandre Jr. in April. Roberson (7-2) went 2-1 in the UFC prior to his quick move to light heavyweight, defeating Darren Stewart and Jack Marshman. “Baby K” also scored an impressive 15-second knockout over Ryan Spann at Dana White’s Contender Series. UFC Sacramento will be headlined by a bantamweight clash between former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie and undefeated prospect Aspen Ladd, while former WEC champion Urijah Faber comes back from retirement to face Ricky Simon in the co-main event. Afficher l’article complet
  3. Ricardo Ramos and Jordan Griffin have new opponents for UFC Minneapolis on June 29, the promotion announced. Ramos, originally slated to face Sergio Pettis in a bantamweight clash, will now take on Journey Newson. Griffin, previously booked against Chas Skelly, now faces featherweight Vince Murdock. The Fight Night event takes place at Target Center in Minneapolis. Newson (9-1) makes his first walk to the Octagon after scoring six straight wins in the regional circuit, including five finishes. “Carcacinha” Ramos (12-2) looks to rebound from a first-round defeat to Said Nurmagomedov last February that dropped his UFC record to 3-1. Murdock (12-3, 1 no-contest), a 28-year-old product of Team Alpha Male, joins the UFC on short notice against former King of the Cage champion Griffin (17-6), who lost his UFC debut to Dan Ige in December. UFC Minneapolis will feature a five-round heavyweight showdown between former champion Junior dos Santos and one-time title contender Francis Ngannou in the main event. Afficher l’article complet
  4. Just two fights into his MMA career, Dillon Danis is having to deal with the toll the sport can take on the body. Danis’s coach John Kavanagh confirmed on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that the jiu-jitsu star-turned cagefighter injured his knee ahead of his bout with Max Humphrey at Bellator 222 last Friday. The result was still overwhelmingly positive for Danis and his team as he dominated Humphrey on the ground before finishing with a first-round armbar, but there was some concern that he might not make it to fight night after injuring his lateral collateral ligament a week before the show. “Weirdly a common story,” Kavanagh said. “The last round of his last spar—in fact it was the last few seconds of the round. Actually, he went for the same technique that he won his fight with, but he got caught in a kind of funny angle and he heard a tear and he went got assessed and it turned out that he had a tear of his LCL. And I didn’t know whether it was going to happen or not, but I said I’ll come over anyway, so I flew in on Tuesday and you’re kind of like, let’s just make weight then. Let’s see how the next 48 hours go. “We made the decision, if you’re going to take it and you lose then you can’t talk about it because you’re assuming you’re at a high enough level to compete. That always kind of bugs me, if someone loses a fight and then, ‘Well, I had this injury.’ I think if you win it you can mention it, but yeah, he did have a pretty bad tear in the knee.” Because it appeared that Danis was able to easily defeat Humphrey, one could be forgiven for wondering just how serious Danis’s injury was. According to Kavanagh, a keen observer would notice that Danis was somewhat limited in what he could do even as he controlled Humphrey with his grappling. “If you actually watch his fight, for jiu-jitsu guys out there they’ll see how little he was using his left leg,” Kavanagh said. “It was a lot of time with just one hook in, or if he put both hooks in he wouldn’t go to the body triangle, which would be his go-to move. So there’s a few positions that he couldn’t do what he would normally do. But he still did very well.” Danis improved to 2-0 in MMA, with both of his wins coming by way of first-round submission. Just 25 years old, he’s performed as expected against competition with the same level of pro experience. Kavanagh sees a lot of reason to be encouraged by Danis’s development, despite the fighter having less than seven minutes of total cage time so far. “The takedown came pretty quick, but even his ground-and-pound style I don’t think we’d really seen that before. Very dominant takedown, dominant style ground-and-pound, good positioning, and then good awareness of listening to his corner. I still have to remind myself it’s his second fight ever. No amateur career, so little things like understanding that with 45 seconds to go I would pretty much always call for a joint lock rather than a choke because by the time he set up a strangle, people can usually hold, they hear the clicking going and they’ll hold on, whereas a joint lock is a quick submission. “His awareness to know that that call was coming, then hear, and then follow through on it. It usually takes guys with a lot more experience to do the type of things he was doing in his second-only ever fight.” More so than his performances, Danis has fans and media talking about him because of his brash personality that owes more than a little to the influence of Danis’s friend and training partner Conor McGregor. After beating Humphrey, Danis called for future fights with Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Those aren’t the first big names that Danis has challenged and likely won’t be the last. Kavanagh laughed when talking about Danis’s outlandish personality and explained that much of it is simply for entertainment. “It’s almost getting to be a badly kept secret. Maybe I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but he’s such a nice guy. I’m so fond of Dillon. [My girlfriend] Orlagh is so fond of Dillon. We love having him over in the house, he’s a great guy. “Maybe Chael was one of the first guys to have this kind of—It’s not that it’s not them, but it’s a blown-up, cartoonish figure of them. Definitely Dillon is very competitive and he likes talking and letting people know, but it’s a magnified version of that personality is there.” Danis is currently on the mend, though Kavanagh couldn’t speak on the severity of the knee injury. The plan is for Danis to get a scan this week and then they will decide whether he needs time to rehab or has to undergo surgery. “I was really hoping to get him on a run this year and get two or three even before the end of the year,” Kavanagh said. “Now that’s in question, so we’ll have to just wait.” Afficher l’article complet
  5. Paulo Costa was fined by two athletic commissions and issued a retroactive six-month suspension by USADA for a prohibited IV use prior to two UFC wins, and also had to deal with other issues outside the Octagon. Costa admitted to receiving an IV of permitted substances, including saline solution and stomach medication called Plasil, prior to his wins over Oluwale Bamgbose and Johny Hendricks. A video of “Borrachinha” administering the IV in a hotel room had surfaced online months before, and Costa now says that an ex-trainer was the “snitch” responsible for the footage. “He was already identified and removed from the team,” Costa told Ag. Fight. “This person tried to send it to several people. It’s a tragicomic situation. He hurt himself a lot because he was cut from the team. He was part of the team and betrayed not only my confidence, but every fighter’s (confidence), I believe. I don’t know if a trainer can have the confidence of a fighter or a gym owner now because if he does that to one fighter, he’ll do to another. This guy has to be banned from the sport.” Costa did not reveal the name of the trainer. “He tried to use that short moment to hurt me and extort me with that video,” he added. “He said, ‘If you don’t give me this amount of money…’ That completely broke the confidence and I obviously didn’t even try to negotiate because I knew what I was doing.” The undefeated middleweight, who is slated to return to the eight-sided cage against Yoel Romero at UFC 241 on Aug. 17, says he made the mistake of trusting the trainer at the time, having him in his hotel room prior to the fights. “I had this trainer in the UFC for one fight before, and he did that in the second one,” Costa said. “I believe he thought, ‘He’s in the UFC, making a lot of money, I’ll extort him.’ I had worked with him four or five years before (joining) the UFC, but there was no extortion because I wasn’t making money [laughs].” Costa hasn’t fought since July 2018, when he stopped Uriah Hall in the second round at UFC 226. Since then, a middleweight clash with Romero has been in the works multiple times but never came to fruition. Unbeaten in 12 professional fights, Costa is 4-0 in the UFC with four stoppage victories. Afficher l’article complet
  6. UFC superstar Anderson Silva might be close to retiring from mixed martial arts, but his son Gabriel Silva has already added a victory to his family's combat sports history. Gabriel Silva made his muay thai debut on June 15, taking on Nick Navarro in a light heavyweight bout at the WCK 35 in California and winning by second-round TKO. “The Spider” posted a video of the first round on his social media, showing Silva knocking Navarro down twice in two minutes. On his Instagram page, the UFC fighter wished his son success in his new career. “I’m very proud,” Silva wrote. “I saw a lot of me in you today. I’m happy, and think that the certainty that I can really stop really is closer. Love you, my son. Bad Boys.” Gabriel also shared a slo-mo clip of his win on social media. “I will remember this night for the rest of my life,” Silva wrote. “I’ve learned a lot from it, and I will continue to grow.” Afficher l’article complet
  7. mmafighting

    Rewind: Bellator 222 edition

    With Bellator 222 in the books, MMA Fighting’s E. Casey Leydon takes a look back at a memorable fight week in New York City. Afficher l’article complet
  8. James Gallagher and Aaron Pico may not be the best of friends, but “The Stabanimal” insists that his fellow prospect is going nowhere despite suffering his third career loss to Adam Borics at Bellator 222 last weekend. Gallagher’s sole professional loss to Ricky Bandejas was met with similar online traction and he admitted that he sympathizes with Pico following his latest defeat. “100 percent [I sympathize with him],” Gallagher told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “Hats off to him, he puts it on the line every time. I don’t particularly like the guy, but you can’t hate on someone for getting defeated. The worst kind of mindset that I’ve seen is someone who hates on someone and puts someone down. We have to pull these people back up.” Gallagher, who faces Jeremiah Labiano at this weekend’s Bellator London event, criticized those who are putting Pico down after the knockout loss. “You can’t kick a man while he’s down and it’s absolutely horrible that people that are sitting on their sofas with a tin of beer saying, ‘He’s done’. He’s only f*ckin’ 24 years old or something, he’s got a long road ahead of him. Maybe his career hasn’t got off to the start he wanted, but he’s not done. He’s a young fellah doing something he loves. I don’t think he should be going anywhere; the only place he should be going is back to the gym and training. Maybe he should take a little break, but he should go back to the gym, get back on the horse and go again,” he said. “F*ck that. Don’t be listening to any of these bums saying he’s done. He’s achieved a lot more than any of those people have ever achieved,” he added. Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The James Gallagher interview beings at 49:00. Afficher l’article complet
  9. When Ben Askren came out of retirement to finally join the UFC roster it was only for one reason — and that was proving he’s the best in the world. With a win over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in his debut, the former Olympic wrestler has already positioned himself with a high ranking in the division as he prepares to face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in July. Masvidal is coming off a stunning knockout against former title contender Darren Till, which makes him the perfect opponent as Askren continues to chase his ultimate goal to compete for the UFC welterweight championship. “To prove I’m the best in the world is the one goal that I came back for because I was retired. I think this puts me closer to that,” Askren told MMAFighting. “I think the way the momentum is shifting, if I beat up Jorge Masvidal, I think there’s a good chance I get a title shot, and if not, I’m not very far away. I’m pretty darn close.” The biggest obstacle outside of Masvidal standing in Askren’s way is former interim champion Colby Covington, who has been promised the next shot at Kamaru Usman and his welterweight title. Covington was at odds with the UFC earlier this year after he was passed over in favor of Usman, who went onto win the title with a lopsided unanimous decision victory against former champion Tyron Woodley. Eventually, Covington sat down with UFC president Dana White and the two agreed that he would be next in line to challenge Usman when he’s ready to fight again after he underwent double hernia surgery following his championship win back in March. The problem is Usman doesn’t expect to return until the latter part of the year and even he’s said nothing is guaranteed when it comes to who he fights next in his first title defense. What was promised yesterday doesn’t necessarily end up happening tomorrow and that’s why Askren feels like a strong showing against Masvidal could help put Covington back in a holding pattern without a title shot. “I think it is [possible],” Askren said about leap frogging Covington into title contention. “I don’t think people are too into Colby’s schtick anymore. They realize it’s old, it’s washed up, it’s just not that exciting. The guy is doing one of these things where you sit out and wait for a title fight and that is something I will never, ever do. “How long ago was Colby’s last fight? Last June? What is this mother—ker going to sit out for 16 months and expect to get a title shot? The only way to stay relevant in this sport is to stay in there and keep getting after it. So yeah, if I go beat up Jorge, I’m going to have a lot more momentum. And if “Marty” (Kamaru Usman) wants to make some money, I’m sure “Marty” has a pay-per-view clause in his contract, you’re damn sure that I’m going to sell a whole bunch more pay-per-views against him than Colby would.” Askren has never shied away from taking shots at Covington, who he called out for a fight almost immediately after he inked his contract with the UFC. While that fight could still take place one day, Askren just doesn’t understand the logic of sitting out for more than a year and just hoping to maintain your position while other fighters in the division are going out and getting wins. “That’s a long time to sit out in your prime,” Askren said. “Colby had a minor surgery and then if you remember, Colby had the option to fight “Marty” in January of this year and Colby said no and then Colby got burned on that whole deal. “I don’t know why he keeps sitting out. He should have figured out that probably isn’t a great strategy and went to a different strategy.” Beyond anything else, Askren knows that he could sell a fight against Usman and that would ultimately put more money into the UFC’s bank account, which is why he believes the title shot could be his with a win on July 6. “I don’t see why not,” Askren said. “At the end of the day what the UFC sees more than anything are dollar signs and right now when they look at me, that’s what I present.” Afficher l’article complet
  10. Over the last few months, the UFC’s lightweight title picture has finally started coming into focus. At UFC 242, Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his title against interim champion Dustin Poirier. After that, Tony Ferguson is the presumptive No. 1 contender for the belt, with Justin Gaethje waiting in the wings. That leaves only Conor McGregor as the odd man out in the lightweight title picture, insofar as the sport’s biggest star could ever be considered out of title contention. McGregor is on the sidelines by choice. “Notorious” is negotiating with the UFC and still trying to figure out what fight makes sense for him to come back to. He’s previously said he wants whatever fight will get him back to the title the fastest but while McGregor is trying to angle for the Nurmagomedov rematch, his coach would prefer they settle affairs with Nate Diaz. “I always loved the Diaz trilogy,” McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani yesterday. “I’ve kind of said that from the start. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Nate looks in the fight that’s coming up [against Anthony Pettis]. That would be just, as a fan, very exciting. Justin Gaethje kind of reminds me of that similar style, you know he can take a tremendous amount of punishment and keep coming forward. Honestly if it’s Conor excited, and motivated, and pushing himself hard, it doesn’t really matter all that much to me. Anybody in the UFC at the level that Conor McGregor would be fighting are good opponents, they have different challenges. If you’re going to put a gun to me, it would be the Diaz trilogy. That would be for me.” McGregor and Diaz have a storied rivalry in MMA. However, Diaz is currently set to fight former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in a welterweight bout at UFC 241. Diaz has also said he’s not interested in a third fight with McGregor, though if push came to shove, most expect he would relish a third fight with his lucrative foe. The two have a way of bringing out the best in one another, which is partly why Kavanagh is so keen on the fight: he wants to see a motivated Conor McGregor. “I really want to see him motivated,” Kavanagh said. “You probably saw the Tony Robbins interview where he spoke about losing that for a bit. This is a game where it’s full-on, it’s full-contact, it’s dangerous. When he won the second belt, when he beat Eddie [Alvarez], he achieved everything he set out to achieve. He was very wealthy, he was world champion, so you’ve got to take some time and think what’s going to motivate you to do it anymore. He said himself that that became a bit of a problem, you know, what is it? Is it get another belt, is it make some more money?” Fortunately, Kavanagh says McGregor has gotten past that rough patch and fallen back in love with the sport of MMA, which has him excited for whatever challenge is next. “I think what has come back around, it’s the love of the sport,” Kavanagh continued. “He loves doing it, he loves training, he loves competing. And legacy. That he’s remembered being one of the best, if not the best ever. So that’s what has really come back to him since the beginning of the year and that’s what I wanted to see. He’s obviously a very well-known student of mine but he’s also somewhat like a kid brother, so I wouldn’t want to see him doing something just for the sake of doing it and maybe getting hurt or whatever because he’s not fully there. Now he absolutely is. We’re having a lot of deep conversations about technical sequences and training regimes and so on, it really reminds me of his rise and to see that again is exciting.” Of course, McGregor has always been his most motivated after a loss. Following his submission defeat to Nate Diaz, McGregor lobbied aggressively for the immediate rematch and was granted it by Dana White. He similarly has tried to get an immediate rematch with Khabib, but with less success given the level of domination of the bout. But despite how the fight went, Kavanagh says he’d be very confident in a rematch there as well, and they wouldn’t need a tune up fight to get ready. “I think for 99.9 percent of people, yes [you should get a confidence boosting win first],” Kavanagh said. “But there is absolute confidence that I have in him and he has for himself. So I don’t think it’s as important. It’s a very unique person, a very unique character. Almost anybody else, I would say yeah. For Conor, no. Actually, recently watching the fight and I would be very confident in a rematch. I would be.” MUST-READ STORIES Assumptions. Dana White: ‘I’m assuming’ Tony Ferguson is next in line for Khabib vs. Poirier winner. The One. Dustin Poirier explains why he will be the one to finally defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov. Reacts. Derek Brunson reacts to Elias Theodorou being released from the UFC following their fight. Hype. Adam Borics: Aaron Pico is ‘very talented’ but ‘maybe the hype was too much for him’. VIDEO STEW The MMA Hour. Monday Morning Analyst. The rise of women’s MMA. Chael Sonnen fight night. Darrion Caldwell’s fight night. Darrion is not pleased. Ricky Hatton on Paulie’s bare knuckle debut. LISTEN UP The Co-Main Event. Discussing the big Bellator weekend. Anik & Florian. Previewing the UFC’s first card in South Carolina. SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE Julie Kedzie keeping y’all correct. (Women were fighting 5 minute rounds before this) https://t.co/ccaoNBUmBq — Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) June 18, 2019 The thing where they made female MMA fighters fight 3 minute rounds? First time I encountered it was at Elite XC—10 fights into my career. It was a thing bc of certain states’ sexist regulations. Strikeforce isn’t heroic for “fixing it”—they could’ve not adopted it to begin with. — Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) June 18, 2019 I don’t give a shit what you think about my history in the sport—I’ got other plans. But don’t discredit the places like Hook n’Shoot and Bodog who didn’t buy into the stupid narratives about female fighters not being marketable or not having comparable lung capacity or whatever — Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) June 18, 2019 Thank you for tuning into another episode of “Hey Let’s Not Totally Rewrite the Story of Women in MMA” w/ an increasingly cranky Julie Kedzie. In closing, there are two important parties you should hold accountable to truth: yourself & whomever they labeling a hero this week. — Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) June 18, 2019 Respect. Sometimes we get lost in the storm and translation. No matter the outcome I want to say thank you to @dududantasmma and his team. Much respect to you for taking the fight and giving me a battle. I pray that you and your family are ok and Godspeed on your recovery. Strength&honor pic.twitter.com/r2RwGdRvNP — Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) June 18, 2019 Kelvin wants to box. Sign me up for a Boxing fight @danawhite @espnmma https://t.co/VVb8KlZuAF — #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) June 18, 2019 OSP getting caught with the sponsor post. Can you post this and say “Heading out to Vegas to do some Hypnotherapy with https://t.co/0Z3mb7ROvo He’s changing the way fighters approach the mental aspect of the game. I’m excited to start this new journey. Stay tuned big… https://t.co/K2ivllw8wK — Ovince Saint Preux (@003_OSP) June 18, 2019 Elias was at the Raps parade. Awesome day at the Raptors parade with the kids! Even ran into @EliasTheodorou who was kind enough to take a pic! pic.twitter.com/9VbBo3qq8J — Vlad B (@vbosnja) June 17, 2019 The man can grapple. little details the untrained eye doesn’t catch watch closely when the grip break happens i then use my foot on his bicep to block the reconnection of him gripping his hands again #invisiblejiujitsu pic.twitter.com/nLAKqSCjia — Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) June 17, 2019 Gonna be good. Part 2 coming up next... hopefully! #bellatorwgp pic.twitter.com/j8FzrDM3ye — Douglas Lima (@PhenomLima) June 17, 2019 FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS Eric Spicely (12-4) vs. Deron Winn (5-0); UFC Greenville, June 22. FINAL THOUGHTS Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow. EXIT POLL If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook. Afficher l’article complet
  11. Look behind the scenes of Chael Sonnen’s fight with Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222 and the subsequent retirement of “The American Gangster.” In the above clip, Sonnen gets a special gift from the New York Knicks, explains why was cordial with Machida ahead of their fight, takes his final walk to and from the cage, and more. Afficher l’article complet
  12. On this edition of the Monday Morning Analyst, I take a look at the somewhat surprising loss by Aaron Pico at Bellator 222. Afficher l’article complet
  13. Derek Brunson knows his three-round battle against Elias Theodorou in early May wasn’t the most exciting fight in history, but he got the job done. Dealing with an awkward counter fighter, Brunson had to make some adjustments to ensure the victory but ultimate he swept the scorecards to get back in the win column following a pair of consecutive losses. Heading into the fight, Brunson acknowledged that Theodorou is a tough puzzle to figure out at times and he had to make his own adjustments after switching teams where he began working with the coaches and fighters out of Hard Knocks 365 in Florida. “He’s a smart guy. He went out with his game plan and he fought the normal way that he always fought and he thought I was going to present the same attributes or come out the same way I did in my previous fights just really aggressive,” Brunson told MMAFighting when speaking about the fight with Theodorou. “He didn’t deviate from that game plan and I said to myself ‘you can’t keep doing the same dumb stuff over and over again’. “I would have liked for him to stay in the middle a little bit and sit down in the pocket so I could unleash some of my new combos or some of the things that I’ve been working but he’s one of those guys who is not going to deviate from his game plan. He’s going to stick and move and try to out point you.” Following the fight, Brunson was matched up against rising middleweight prospect Ian Heinisch at UFC 241 in August while Theodorou got the surprise of his life when he received his release papers from the promotion. With a 16-3 record overall and an 8-3 resume in the UFC, Theodorou was a top 15 ranked fighter just recently so his release came as a surprise to just about everybody including Brunson. While he can’t say for a fact, Brunson believes there had to be some kind of underlying cause that led to Theodorou’s UFC exit beyond a lackluster performance against a higher ranked opponent like himself. “It was silly but I knew it was something else,” Brunson explained. “It wasn’t the way that he fought. You can’t cut a guy who’s 8-3 or whatever his record is in the UFC. He was 16-2 before he fought me and he only had two losses in the UFC and he won “The Ultimate Fighter” also. The guy he’s a good competitor. “I think it was other stuff. I know it wasn’t just that fight. Guys have boring fights and do boring stuff all the time but it had to be some underlying issue with the UFC I’m guessing.” UFC president Dana White justified Theodorou’s release ahead of UFC 238 in Chicago when speaking with TSN by pointing out that he’s looking for champions and top contenders and it didn’t appear the Canadian middleweight was ever going to be either of those things. “There’s a ton of guys and girls that fight here. We have like 600 people under roster,” White said. “There’s always times when we release people and they question, ‘Well, why, why were these people released?’ I’m looking for people that can break into the top five or possibly become world champions. “The real question is, ask me how many times I’ve been wrong? If you look at me when I’ve released people and who I’ve released, how many times have I actually been wrong about that?” Afficher l’article complet
  14. Despite a 12-0 record with three wins inside the Bellator cage, Adam Borics walked into his fight against Aaron Pico as the underdog with all eyes on his opponent. Ever since he was a teenager, Pico has been under the spotlight first as a prodigal wrestler, who opted to skip college and go the Henry Cejudo route in an effort to head straight to the Olympics instead. Pico came up just short of making the 2016 Olympic wrestling team so he then turned his attention to mixed martial arts where he was already being called one of the brightest prospects to enter the sport. After nearly two years competing, Pico was 4-2 with a submission loss in his debut and then a stunning knockout courtesy of Henry Corrales in his last performance. He was then matched up against the undefeated Borics at Bellator 222 this past Saturday. Through the first eight plus minutes, Pico looked like a much smarter fighter as he started to lean on his wrestling to take Borics to the mat rather than stand in the center of the cage winging punches and just hoping for the best. “I knew he would try to wrestle with me because he’s a really good wrestler,” Borics said about Pico on The MMA Hour on Monday. “He’s a world champion and I know it. His distance was shorter than me and maybe it was a good plan but everybody just thought I am good on striking but I am good on the ground. I was tutored for that. “I knew that he would take me down but I was prepared for that.” Borics finally found his opening to get back to the feet with just over a minute remaining in the second round and that’s when he uncorked a huge flying knee that blasted Pico and send him crashing to the canvas in a heap. Borics followed up with a few more shots on the ground but the fight was already over as Pico was down and out after suffering his second straight knockout loss. It was called an upset at the time but Borics never saw himself as the underdog against Pico no matter how much attention he was getting before the fight started. “Maybe everybody was a little bit underrating me and I was a little bit upset,” Borics explained. “Because everybody was just talking about him and everybody was like ‘Pico will finish Adam like this and like this’ but it’s OK. We knew it. I’m going to finish him.” Following the knockout, Borics finally received the attention he was due while the narrative on Pico shifted dramatically from highly touted prospect to potentially wasted talent following his third loss in seven professional fights. While he was obviously happy to get the win on Friday night, Borics isn’t ready to write off Pico as a cautionary tale of failed potential just yet. “He’s such a good guy, very talented, very technical,” Borics said about Pico. “People forget but he was a wrestling world champion and not too many people can say that. I really respect that. He’s a boxing Golden Gloves [champion]. He looks like a very nice guy. He’s a hard worker, too. He’s so [motivated]. “I think he just needs some rest and maybe the hype was too much for him because he was crazy hyped. Maybe he was too young for the pressure.” In Borics’ opinion, Pico might consider a move down to bantamweight where he won’t be giving up as much size and power to his opponents. Borics definitely felt Pico’s strength in the grappling exchanges but he never felt overwhelmed and the size difference was dramatic when the two began exchanging strikes on the feet. “I think he is a little bit short and maybe in 135, he can beat everybody,” Borics said. “Because he was really, really strong and I think maybe he can cut more [weight]. I usually cut 20 pounds and maybe he didn’t do that or maybe he just cut 15 or 10 pounds.” As far as what comes next for Borics, he hopes to gain entry in the recently announced Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix that is expected to kick off later this year. Prior to the event, Bellator president Scott Coker previously stated that Pico could be considered for a slot so it only stands to reason that Borics could get that call instead. “I hope so I will be in the tournament,” Borics said. “I think I deserve it.” Afficher l’article complet
  15. Highly touted middleweight prospect Deron Winn will still make his UFC debut this weekend after Eric Spicely agreed to step up and accept the fight on short notice at UFC Fight Night from Greenville, S.C. Winn has undergone three opponent changes now — first losing Markus Perez and then Bruno Silva this past weekend before the UFC tapped Spicely as a replacement opponent. Sources close to the situation confirmed the news on Monday following an initial report about the possibility of the fight from ESPN on Sunday. A former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor, Spicely went 2-4 in his previous stint in the UFC including a submission win over current light heavyweight title contender Thiago Santos back in 2016. Spicely was released from the promotion following three straight losses but then bounced back with two consecutive wins including a TKO against fellow UFC veteran Caio Magalhaes in March. Now Spicely will make his return to the UFC with a chance to pull off an upset when he faces Winn this weekend in a middleweight bout scheduled for the preliminary card. A former college wrestler, Winn has close ties to UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who took him under his wing when he made his transition into mixed martial arts. Winn is currently 5-0 in his career including a victory over former UFC fighter Tom Lawlor in his most recent performance at the lone Golden Boy MMA card last year. Afficher l’article complet

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