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  1. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Watch Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler full fight video to see Covington score a lopsided win over former UFC welterweight champion Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5 in Newark, N.J., on Aug. 3, 2019. Facing one of the division’s most respected punchers, Covington showed no fear in this fight, pressuring Lawler from minute one and dominating the duration of the bout. Covington swept the scorecards to earn his eighth straight victory, a streak that included wins over Rafael dos Anjos and Demian Maia. Covington’s next fight would be a championship bout against Kamaru Usman at UFC 245. Though Covington fell short in that outing, he aims to stay in the title mix when he takes on rival Tyron Woodley this Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 11 on ESPN+. Afficher l’article complet
  2. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Middleweight Darren Stewart spoke to reporters before his fight against Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 11, and he is happy to be fighting an opponent who likes to scrap and have fun in the octagon. Afficher l’article complet
  3. Mayra Bueno Silva and Gloria de Paula train together at Chute Boxe Diego Lima in Brazil. | Photo via Mayra Bueno Silva Mayra Bueno Silva entered the UFC through Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, and now it’s time for her girlfriend Gloria de Paula to walk the same path. “Sheetara” returns to action at Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 11 against Mara Romero Borella, and the initial plan was to have “Glorinha” compete for a UFC contract three days later versus undefeated strawweight Pauline Macias. The DWCS bout was moved to Nov. 4 since the UFC is going to Fight Island next week for a series of five shows in Abu Dhabi, but the plan remains the same: two wins, one bonus and a contract. Silva (6-1) and de Paula (4-2) met each other in 2016, when both fighters moved to Sao Paulo to join Chute Boxe Diego Lima. Sheetara was 1-0 as a professional MMA fighter at the time, while de Paula was still getting ready for her first test in a cage. The UFC flyweight will be the first to enter the octagon, and having previous experience on the Contender Series definitely helped her girlfriend get set for such challenge. “I can help her in a mental aspect,” Silva said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “That’s a chance everybody wants, but everybody gets a bit scared knowing that Dana White will be there, watching. I try to take the focus away from that because, to me, the UFC and the Contender are like any other fight. You can’t let that go in your head and pressure you. It’s her dream, but it’s just like every other fight.” “It’s the fight of my life, right?” de Paula agrees. “When I went to Las Vegas with Sheetara for her Contender Series fight in 2018 I told everyone I wanted to be in the UFC through the Contender because it was so cool. When the opportunity came, I was freaking happy. When I saw how things worked backstage, there was no other way for me.” De Paula explained that she was so inspired by her girlfriend’s success in her first octagon appearance on DWCS that she flew back to Brazil and scored a third-round knockout just eight days later at Max Fight. Even though her DWCS bout was pushed back to November and she wasn’t able to travel to Las Vegas to stand by Silva at UFC Vegas 11, Glorinha still counts on her advice. “It’s so much easier for me because she knows everything I’m gong through,” de Paula said. “She makes me grow and gives me strength, both mentally and physically. Contender is like all or nothing, but I feel no pressure. It’s more like motivation for me. I’m working hard because I want to go there and impress Dana White. I won’t leave without a contract [laughs].” Silva is happy for her girlfriend’s success, but first focuses on the task standing in front of her as she attempts to bounce back from her first career loss, a “Fight of the Night” decision setback to Maryna Moroz at March’s UFC Brasilia. That card was the last UFC show before a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but being in a relationship with a fellow MMA fighter helped in that sense as both traveled to the country and built a gym in de Paula’s parents’ house, only returning to Sao Paulo when they felt it was safe enough. Silva had to deal with a long list of issues going into UFC Brasilia after a knee injury she suffered in her victorious UFC debut forced her to go through the longest layoff of her MMA career. The inactivity affected her weight cut as well, leading to overtraining. “I know Mayra Sheetara wasn’t there that night,” Silva said. “I know I’m much better than that. I think I would win 10 times if we fought 10 times more, but that was her night and all I can do is look straight ahead, fix my mistakes, and be humble enough to understand that there was a well-trained athlete in the cage that night and she was superior. “It was chosen as the ‘Fight of the Night’ and I look on the bright side of things, I’ve grown as an athlete because of that, but that’s stuck in my throat. I know it was a mistake a made to overtrain and f*** up. I’m not mad because I lost, I’m mad because I didn’t perform well.” Silva paid some debts and started to buy her mother an apartment in her hometown of Uberlandia with the extra $50,000 check she pocketed that night, and now aims to win another bonus in Las Vegas. “I don’t leave my house for nothing but putting on a show,” she said. “I know the UFC only hands out four bonuses and I never plan on not being one of those four fighters. It’s not just for me, it’s for Gloria and my family as well.” Her UFC Vegas 11 opponent is in desperate need of a win in the company as Borella lost in four of her last five octagon appearances, and Silva feels she’s the ideal matchup. “I haven’t been able to show my grappling in the UFC yet,” Silva said. “I tapped the best grappler in the UFC in my debut, Gillian Robertson, but couldn’t show more because I hurt my knee. I couldn’t show it against Maryna either because I had issues. When they offered me Mara I thought, ‘this is the perfect fight,’ because she’s a grappler and I’ll have the opportunity to show how good my grappling is.” Afficher l’article complet
  4. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting As can be expected, Gerald Meerschaert enters his UFC Vegas 11 fight with highly touted prospect Khamzat Chimaev feeling disrespected. The disrespect doesn’t necessarily come from his opponent—who has been pretty quiet in the build to the middleweight matchup set for this Saturday night at the UFC APEX—but by the oddsmakers, and the promotion in which he fights for. “GM3” competes in his 45th professional fight against the 8-0 Chimaev, who subsequently has his return fight tentatively booked with multiple-time UFC title challenger Demian Maia in December. Chimaev turned a lot of heads with two dominant finishes of John Phillips and Rhys McKee in an 11-day stretch on Fight Island in July in two different weight classes. Following DWCS Season 4: Week 6 earlier this month, UFC president Dana White spoke with the media about double booking Chimaev and claimed that there was no disrespect intended towards Meerschaert by having the bout with Maia ready to go. “The thing is the guy wants to keep fighting,” White said of Chimaev. “He wants all these fights back-to-back. It’s no disrespect to his opponent, he’s either gonna win or lose. That has nothing to do with us. That’s up to them. But to do that, really fight two fights in a row, you have to book them.” Meerschaert heard White’s comments, and while he understands the UFC’s mindset in pushing Chimaev, the 32-year-old still feels somewhat slighted. “On one hand, you want to be a good promoter,” Meerschaert told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “You’ve got this opportunity to build this guy up and, in essence, set him on track to be a superstar. Why wouldn’t you do that? I totally get that from a business perspective. “On the other hand, he also kind of sounded like, did you ever see Talladega Nights? It sounded like Ricky Bobby when he said, ‘Just because you say no disrespect, you can’t then say something super disrespectful afterwards.’ It’s not disrespectful, but I’m definitely going to do something that most people feel is disrespectful right after. It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword.” With the hype Chimaev has garnered after his first two wins inside the octagon, Meerschaert was asked if he believes the hype behind his next opponent is warranted. “I understand why,” Meerschaert said. “I’ve been around long enough and I’ve seen the direction the sport has gone and the way the UFC likes to build people up. It makes sense. He’s young, he’s undefeated, and he’s had two very quick fights, back-to-back, where he looked very dominant and because they were so quick back-to-back, a lot of people overlook the opponents he had. “He had a guy that moved up from lightweight to welterweight that wasn’t a challenge at all—maybe he had a bad night, maybe he’s different from what we saw that night. But he wasn’t much of a challenge. Then, he fought an 85er who looked like he had a tough weight cut who likes to stand and bang. It’s pretty easy work if you’re a competent grappler and, clearly, it was. “That being said, if you fight fast enough people will overlook those two things, and on top of that, you fight just like a guy who is a champion, who is also undefeated. Most times, people want to see fighters stand and bang and knock each other out, but in this case, if you fight exactly like Khabib, undefeated and from the same area, he’s doing the ‘I will smash him’ shtick, of course they’re going to take it and run with it.” The Roufusport product has had a roller coaster ride during his UFC tenure. Meerschaert finished four of his first five promotional fights, with the lone loss coming to Thiago Santos via TKO at UFC 213. Since then, Meerschaert has lost four of his last six, which includes controversial decision split decision losses to Kevin Holland and Eryk Anders and submission wins over Trevin Giles and Deron Winn. In his most recent bout, Meerschaert was finished in the first round by Ian Heinisch at UFC 250. Despite having a 36-fight experience edge on his opponent, Meerschaert enters Saturday night nearly a four-to-one underdog at the betting window. “It’s ridiculous,” Meerschaert said. “Anyone that likes betting money on anything, this would be a pretty good bet for you to take right now. There’s a lot of upside that people aren’t seeing.” This isn’t the first time Meerschaert has had the opportunity to play spoiler in his career. Prior to making his UFC debut, Meerschaert was matched up with unbeaten 20-year-old prospect Sidney Wheeler for regional promotion Valor Fights in 2016. Wheeler entered the bout with a lot of hype with wins in his first five professional bouts, but was submitted in just 82 seconds. Two fights later, Meerschaert was in the UFC. Coincidentally enough, Chimaev also holds an opening round finish over Wheeler at Brave CF 20 in December 2018. Meerschaert sees similarities in the two scenarios and knows this fight with Chimaev is on a much higher scale than his fight with Wheeler four years prior. If he’s able to derail another hype train, he is well aware of what it can do for his career. “It would definitely help a lot,” Meerschaert said. “A lot of people keep asking me, ‘Well, if you win, do you want to fight Maia?’ As far as I know, Maia is staying at 170. And one thing I do know is that I’m not cutting to 170, first of all. Second of all, I’m not thinking about anybody else. I’m thinking about Khamzat Chimaev on Sept. 19. To me, there’s nothing after that. “He can think about how many people he’s going to run through by the end of the year, I’m just thinking about him. It’s just me and him locked in the cage.” When he breaks his opponent down, Meerschaert says he has seen Chimaev run through guys using the same strategy time and time again. It just so happens that the formula that has made Chimaev successful will fall into the strengths that Meerschaert possesses. As far as how he sees the fight playing out, Meerschaert knows the fight will be a tough one, but he expects to shock a lot of people on Saturday night. “I just got to break him mentally,” Meerschaert said. “I know it’s not gonna be easy. Look, again, undefeated, tough kid, he thinks he can take on the world. But what’s gonna happen when he runs into somebody that doesn’t lay over for him? What’s gonna happen when the thing he wants to do is the worst thing for him? “I’m gonna frustrate him. I’m gonna make him make mistakes. Then he’s gonna find himself in a position that he’s not used to and he’s gonna have to either give up, go to sleep, or he’s gonna get an appendage broken off.” Afficher l’article complet
  5. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Well, it finally happened. The UFC finally signed Michael Chandler. But Dana White and company did more than just that. After signing Chandler, White announced that the former Bellator lightweight champion would serve as the back up to next month’s lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. So let’s talk about Chandler’s move to the UFC and all the various scenarios it has created. UFC debutant/title challenger? Thoughts on chandler being the step in guy for Khabib Gaethje/why he would be the step in guy before any of the top 5 guys — Haugh (@natehaugh1) September 17, 2020 Michael Chandler signing with the UFC is, honestly, not that interesting, at least from the standpoint that over the last month it has become increasingly clear that was going to happen. However, making him the backup to the biggest fight of the year is not only surprising, but a pretty big signal from the UFC about how they view Chandler. The idea with any backup is that the position is ceremonial, right? I mean, in a perfect world, nothing intervenes with Khabib-Gaethje and so the backup position is largely meant as a way to anoint someone as a top contender, with the bit of added value that if something does happen, you have your bases covered. So by declaring Chandler, someone who wasn’t even Bellator’s champion at the time he was signed, as a stand in, the UFC is essentially dubbing him a top-five lightweight out of the gate. And I’ve gotta say, I don’t love it. Chandler is a very good fighter, and a few years ago, arguably was the best lightweight in the world (think Anthony Pettis champion time frame). However, I have no confidence that is still true. Chandler hasn’t beaten a legitimate fighter since 2016, and that’s only if you consider Benson Henderson a top-tier guy still. People can kick and scream all they want about how Bellator is as good as the UFC but that’s not true. This isn’t a WEC or Strikeforce situation where those organizations were populated largely by young and emerging talent, so when the UFC absorbed them, that talent could shine. Some Bellator fighters are great, but the overall talent pool is not. Chandler happens to be one of those guys that is great but him going from fighting Sidney Outlaw to facing Khabib is like going from climbing a ladder to scaling K-2. That being said, I get why they are doing it. Chandler is 34 years old and, likely, cost a pretty penny to acquire. The UFC needs to get value for money here and running him through the lightweight ranks creates a serious opportunity for Chandler to get relegated down almost immediately. I mean, let’s be serious, Eddie Alvarez did not deserve a lightweight title shot but they gave him one because it’s the outcome they wanted when he signed, and so even though he lost his debut and won bad split decisions in his next two fights, they just gave it to him. Essentially, this is the UFC doing the same thing, only cutting out the middleman. Still, if I were Dustin Poirier or Tony Ferguson, I would be pissed. Both men have more than paid their dues in this sport, especially in the lightweight division, and they are essentially being jumped in line by a guy who lost his title by getting knocked out by a featherweight. Actually, come to think of it, Michael Chandler is a lot like Eddie Alvarez. If not a title fight, who should Chandler fight? Is Michael chandler vs Tony Ferguson the fight to make ? — HONG KONG (@AbdullahShwihdi) September 17, 2020 No. Dustin Poirier vs. Tony Ferguson is the fight to make. Just because the UFC is now fundamentally against paying fighters anything at all above the bare minimum (since they’ve got all that fun cheap labor from the Contender Series) doesn’t mean that the fight they were targeting was wrong. Poirier vs. Ferguson is one of the most dynamic, interesting fights the UFC can put together right now and that’s who both of those men should be fighting, both from an in-cage perspective and from a career perspective. It’s why Poirier and Ferguson have been standing with each other publicly. They know it, the fans know it, and even Dana knows it but damn if he’s going to pay for it. The fight to make for Michael Chandler is, I would suggest, Dan Hooker. Honestly, I’d like a softball for Chandler to get him rolling in the organization but the problem with lightweight is there is no such thing. Any top-15 lightweight presents a real threat to kick over the Chandler applecart immediately so you kinda are just priced into throwing him in the deep end and hoping he can swim. Given that, he needs a top-10 guy, but opponents like Diego Ferreira, Paul Felder, and Charles Oliveira don’t pack enough name value to make a matchup with Chandler sparkle. With Gaethje, Poirier, Ferguson, and McGregor all non-starters, that really limits the UFC’s options. Al Iaquinta or Kevin Lee could also work but Hooker is coming off a Fight of the Year contender and a win over him would allow the UFC to vault Chandler into a true title fight. Give me Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker as the main event of a Fight Night at the end of the year. How will Chandler fare in the UFC? Is is just slightly too late for Chandler to come to the UFC? How do you see him doing against the top of the division? — strike.mx (@strikemxnyc) September 16, 2020 In short: yes and poorly. Like I said above, a few years ago and Chandler probably would have done much better in the UFC, however, at 34, I have serious questions about his potential. The thing with Chandler is that the lightweight metagame is not in a space conducive to his skill set. Chandler is essentially a wrestle-boxer and check out the rankings: there aren’t really any of those there right now. There’s a reason for that. A few years ago, that’s all that populated the top of the division but the fighters have adapted to that style. Could Chandler beat some top guys? Sure. It’s lightweight, anyone can beat anyone else on any given day. But let’s go through the top-10 matchups for Chandler. Khabib - Chandler will get smashed like everyone else. Gaethje - Gaethje hits much harder and can take a much better punch. Poirier - An all-around better striker, especially with boxing. Ferguson - Better striker and serious submission threat. Conor McGregor - Much better striker. Probably a good enough wrestler to keep it standing. Hooker - More dynamic striker. Wrestling could make it interesting. Oliveira - More dynamic striker and submission threat if Chandler wrestles. Felder - Better striker and more durable (this one is pretty close). Ferreira - Honestly, no telling what this could look like. Iaquinta - winnable. Lee - Winnable, but on paper, Lee is way better at everything Chandler wants to do. I mean, there’s just not a lot of room for Chandler to operate in there. The UFC’s lightweight division is a f*cking shark tank. Look what happened to Will Brooks when he came over. You have to be nearly perfect every time out and even then, it’s still a crapshoot. That’s why Khabib’s run is arguably the most impressive run in the sport’s history. Adding Chandler to that shark tank makes it even more dangerous but it’s like adding a Mako when there are already Great Whites there. (Fun fact: this analogy falls apart under scrutiny as pelagic sharks do not fare well in captivity. Still, I think the point gets across.) How other Bellator fighters might fare in the UFC. How would you see AJ McKee or Pitbull doing if they were in the feather weight division the UFC has? — Daniel (@TPDGNCR) September 16, 2020 Once you start discussing how Chandler will do in the UFC, the next logical progression is how other top Bellator fighters might fare and, by and large, I think much of the same things apply here. Bellator has a number of excellent fighters, but for the most part, I don’t think any current Bellator fighters would come in and wreck shop in the UFC. Patricio Pitbull is certainly a top-10 featherweight, and arguably a top-five one, but his size would give him serious issues with the best the division has to offer. Douglas Lima is a sensational welterweight, almost certainly a top-five guy, but Kamaru Usman would be like fighting a much, much better version of the Rory MacDonald Lima struggled with. Newly crowned bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta could hang around the top-10 of the division but I struggle to see him making too much headway in the stacked 135-pound class. But A.J. McKee, that’s an interesting one. If you scroll back up to where I mentioned Strikeforce and the WEC, the reason the fighters from those organizations were so successful in the UFC when they came over is because of the timing of it all. Luke Rockhold, Tyron Woodley, Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson, and Anthony Pettis were all on the upswing of their careers and they continued to grow in the UFC. In recent years, Bellator has put a lot of effort into developing young talent and fighters like A.J. McKee are the ones who interest me the most in the UFC. I’m not saying he’d come in and be champion, but McKee is one of the brightest prospects in the entire sport and I could definitely see him developing into a true world champion if Bellator ever let him go. Khamzat Chimaev’s double dare Is Khamzat making a mistake being this confident in a victory over a grizzled MMA veteran? — Aspiring Sports Burner (@aspiringburner) September 17, 2020 Oh, yeah. UFC Vegas 11 is tonight. Almost forgot all about that with the Chandler news. I suppose we should answer at least one question about that and we’ve all talked Tyron Woodley vs. Colby Covington to death so Chimaev seems as good a topic as any. To put it bluntly, no, he is not. Gerald Meerschaert is a well-schooled veteran, a journeyman, a gatekeeper, however you want to put it. That’s not an insult but a statement of fact. Meerschaert is not a good athlete but he’s a determined fighter and has spent his life maximizing his skills. That is incredibly commendable but it’s also woefully inadequate in light of what he is facing. Athleticism is functionally a cheat code in MMA because the sport still exists at a point where you can be entirely unathletic and still succeed. Khamzat Chimaev is not that. He is, in fact, incredibly athletic and he marries that with being very schooled. That adds up to a very bad night for Meerschaert. Now, granted, Meerschaert is the biggest test of Chimaev’s career to this point but he also is a gift of a style matchup. What, is Meerschaert going to stop takedowns? Sure isn’t. So is he going to win off his back? I mean, I guess he can try but strength against strength with a vastly superior athlete is a recipe for disaster nine times out of 10. There’s a reason people are so high on Chimaev, and it’s not just the Khabib parallels (right down to the troubling relationship with Ramzan Kadyrov), it’s because thus far his career has looked much like every other uber-elite level prospect in MMA’s history. Good fighters win, great fighters finish, and world-class fighters obliterate inferior opposition. Chimaev has done the last one in spades. I don’t think he will run over Meerschaert the same way he has with all of his other opponents, but I also don’t think he’s in much danger this fight. Then again, that’s why they actually fight the fights. Perhaps Meerschaert will prove me wrong tonight. Thanks for reading this week, and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun. Afficher l’article complet
  6. Colby Covington headlines UFC Vegas 11 against longtime rival Tyron Woodley. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Colby Covington proudly represented the American Top Team flag all the way up to winning the UFC interim welterweight belt, and now enters the octagon for the first time with a new team behind him. “Chaos” confirmed he split with ATT back in May, joining Florida’s MMA Masters to train with head coaches Daniel Valverde and Cesar Carneiro. Covington’s first bout since switching homes takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas, when he headlines UFC Vegas 11 opposite longtime rival Tyron Woodley. Valverde—a black belt in judo and jiu-jitsu who has run MMA Masters for more than a decade alongside Carneiro—has known Covington for years before Covington reached out about joining his team. “We’ve followed Colby’s MMA career since the beginning and we’ve always had a great relationship,” Valverde said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “He got in touch with us [after leaving ATT] and asked if he could visit the gym to check it out and train there. He loved the team and is 200 percent on board with us.” Partnering with two Brazilians might seem an odd choice for Covington after his constant verbal attacks directed at the South American country in the past. That idea never crossed Valverde’s mind, however, since “we’ve already known Colby and we know that he’s another person off-camera, he’s just acting there.” “Working with Colby has been great,” Valverde said. “He’s very respectful, he’s a soldier. He’ll do everything you tell him to do without asking. ‘Do this kick, 100 times,’ and he’ll do it. ‘What do you want me to do today, coach?’ ‘I want you to do this and that.’ ‘Yes, sir.’ He’s a wonderful guy to work with. … We have many Brazilians working with us and everybody loves the guy.” Covington vs. Woodley has been teased for years in the UFC but never came to fruition for various reasons. It’s finally going down Saturday, and the stakes are high despite the fact that both welterweights are coming off losses. “Chaos” hasn’t competed since losing to 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman via fifth-round TKO back in December, snapping a seven-fight win streak that included victories over Robbie Lawler, Rafael dos Anjos and Demian Maia. “The Chosen One” - who also went undefeated in seven straight bouts before losing his belt to Usman - dropped a one-sided decision to Gilbert Burns in May. “It was a very close fight with Kamaru and he’s made some mistakes that we are fixing in case he fights Kamaru again, mistakes he can’t make,” Valverde said. “He’s very excited to fight Tyron Woodley now. That’s a fight he’s always wanted — he didn’t want it to happen with both coming off losses, but let’s do it. Tyron Woodley is still ranked No. 5 and we know that a good wins gets us in a good position for a title shot.” Covington “truly is a super athlete and is super smart,” Valverde said, and has added new weapons to his arsenal since joining the MMA Masters stable earlier this year. “He has great wrestling, and I’ve added some judo techniques to his game since I’m a judoka. He took people down but didn’t have much control on the ground, didn’t use much of jiu-jitsu, taking people’s back and controlling better, blocking punches and moving more.” Both Covington and Woodley are both decorated wrestlers and this type of matchup sometimes results in standup contests in the octagon. That said, Valverde believes “Colby has to use his wrestling and mix it with his striking.” “Colby is a cardio machine, he never gets tired, so that’s an advantage he has,” Valverde said. “I think Colby has to use that that instead of just focusing on one thing, striking or wrestling. This is MMA and he has to use all weapons, and Colby has great kicks. He started with karate before moving to wrestling, so he has great kicks, a great striking game.” The former UFC titleholders will collide in a five-round contest at the UFC Apex, but Covington’s head coach doesn’t expect it to go 25 minutes. “We’re obviously expecting the best Tyron Woodley, we’re training for that Tyron Woodley that was the champion,” he said, “But, from what I’ve seen from Colby in the gym, how happy he is to get to the gym and learn new things to add to his game, and the fact that I don’t expect Tyron Woodley to change that much… I believe Tyron Woodley will do what he always does and Colby will be prepared for every situation. “I believe in a TKO finish, or maybe a submission. Anything can happen. Colby is prepared to finish this fight in all areas.” Afficher l’article complet
  7. With UFC 253 a week away, see how UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa ended up in the main event. Afficher l’article complet
  8. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Sharing nearly an hour of octagon time with somebody will create an incredible amount of respect. That’s what Stephen Thompson has developed for former champion and two-time opponent Tyron Woodley. Woodley looks to get back in championship form when he faces longtime rival Colby Covington in the main event of UFC Vegas 11 on Saturday in Las Vegas. “Wonderboy” challenged Woodley for the welterweight title on two different occasions. In their first meeting at UFC 205 in November 2016, they fought to a majority draw in a “Fight of the Year” contender. They would rematch four months later in the main event of UFC 209 where Woodley earned a majority decision to retain his title. While Thompson is figuring out his next move in a loaded 170-pound division, he is excited to put his fight fan hat on and watch the rivalry play out this weekend. “I am really excited,” Thompson told MMA Fighting on What the Heck. “I’m ready to see my man Tyron Woodley go out there and finish this guy. You got the guys that you love to like and then the guys you love to hate in the sport. Colby Covington has made himself into the unlikable guy with the whole beef with the gyms, him and (Jorge) Masvidal were friends, now they don’t like each other. “Now you have Masvidal, the ‘BMF,’ going up to help Tyron finish Colby Covington. I think it’s great.” Woodley has lost his last two via lopsided unanimous decisions to Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, and will enter a fight on a losing streak for the first time in his career. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Woodley’s teammate Gerald Meerschaert said that “The Chosen One” looks like he did ahead of his fights with Robbie Lawler and Darren Till—which both ended with Woodley getting a finish. Thompson has also heard good things about Woodley’s preparation. “From what I hear, Tyron is ready to rock,” Thompson said. “I think it was an eye-opener in his last fight and he was fired up. He took that first shot and it went downhill from there. But I think he rekindled that flame a little bit. And if you’re going to get motivated for a fight, it’s going to be with a guy like Colby Covington.” While he didn’t give an official prediction for the matchup, in a perfect world, Thompson is going to be on Team Woodley this Saturday night. “I’m rooting for my man Tyron Woodley,” Thompson stated. “He’s 38 years old. He’s a year older than me and that motivates me. I’m still improving every day, and so is Tyron. But it’s going to be a fun fight. There’s going to be a lot of smack in that octagon, outside of the octagon, wherever. But I’m excited for it.” Afficher l’article complet
  9. mmafighting

    UFC Vegas 11 predictions

    Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Even without a title on the line, the grudge match between Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley is the stuff that pay-per-view main events are made of. Had this fight happened 18 months ago, that’s likely the position these two blood rivals would have found themselves in; instead, in the ESPN+ era of the UFC they headline a stacked UFC Vegas 11 card going down at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas this Saturday. That less prestigious positioning is emblematic of the bloom that has been taken off of what has long been considered a must-see matchup. Neither man enters carrying a title, undisputed or otherwise. Both are coming off of losses, though Woodley’s recent efforts have been considerably more discouraging than Covington’s competitive clash with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. And neither were given much of a chance this week to build on the years of animosity that has naturally developed between them, with Woodley simply repeating “Black Lives Matter” after Thursday’s press conference to address social unrest in the U.S. and Covington having to deliver his usual rhetoric to a group of reporters as opposed to his opponent’s face. Surely, there’s something to be said about the contender and career implications for both men, but at this point we’re all just looking forward to seeing them get 25 minutes to back up their talk and maybe, just maybe—though I wouldn’t bet on it—settle their differences once and for all. In other main card action, welterweights Donald Cerrone and Niko Price meet in a co-main event that has already been anointed as the “Fight of the Night,” hot prospect Khamzat Chimaev faces middleweight veteran Gerald Meerschaert, Johnny Walker looks to break the first losing streak of his career when he fights fellow light heavyweight blue-chipper Ryan Spann, Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Mackenzie Dern fights Randa Markos in a strawweight bout, and middleweights Kevin Holland and Darren Stewart look to stay in the winner’s circle. What: UFC Vegas 11 Where: UFC APEX in Las Vegas When: Saturday, Sept. 19. The eight-fight preliminary card begins at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+, with the six-fight main card starting at 8 p.m. also on ESPN+. Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley I’m looking forward to Tyron Woodley proving me wrong. As much as I’d love for this to be a competitive five-round main event, a fitting culmination to one of the most organic feuds in recent memory, I strongly believe that Colby Covington is tailor-made to deal with the current version of “The Chosen One.” He’s one of the best fighters in the welterweight division at using pressure and volume, two of Woodley’s weaknesses even before his recent troubles. In a battle of tactics, Woodley excels; when his opponents dictate the pace and tone of the fight, he falters. If Woodley can’t get fired up for this fight with Covington, there’s no man who left who will be able to drag a vintage performance out of him. Everything about Covington is designed to motivate Woodley. I confess to being terrible when it comes to factoring in intangibles (by their very nature, impossible to measure), so I can’t assume that Woodley will magically return to vintage form on Saturday just because he’s seeing red. It’s a reasonable narrative though if you’re predicting a Woodley victory. I, however, am not. Covington can match Woodley’s wrestling and has an extra gear in the standup that Woodley hasn’t shown for some time. Even if Woodley gets off to a promising start, I see Covington outlasting him and winning a decision. Pick: Covington Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price Don’t count out “Cowboy” just yet. Yes, four straight losses is a bad look for any fighter, much less one who turned 37 earlier this year and is about 10 years older when factoring in combat sports mileage. And putting Donald Cerrone in the cage with one of the hardest hitters at 170 pounds doesn’t sound like a salve for his worries. If it comes down to skill though, Cerrone has the advantage over Niko Price when it comes to striking diversity, all-around game, and experience. Both men have been in wars, but Price has yet to be tested against the very best that the UFC has to offer like Cerrone has. Look at any of Cerrone’s losses from the past three years. It’s a list of former champions and top contenders from two divisions. Price is a talented fighter with great energy and that’s going to take him a long way in his career. Who knows, he may find himself playing the “elder statesman” role like Cerrone someday. Here and now, Cerrone is the better fighter and he’s going to snap his skid at Price’s expense. Pick: Cerrone Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert Here it is, the first major test of Khamzat Chimaev’s career. With respect to John Phillips and Rhys McKee, two fighters who were ill-equipped to deal with Chimaev’s elite wrestling, it falls upon Gerald Meerschaert to be a litmus test for The Crown Prince of Fight Island. “GM3” has a highly respected ground game and if Chimaev doesn’t treat it as such, he’ll become Meerschaert’s 24th tap-out victim. What can Chimaev do to avoid that fate? Wrestle his ass off like he’s been doing. Say what you want about Phillips and McKee being overmatched, but Chimaev did what you’re supposed to do and he ran straight through them like they were barely there. The Khabib Nurmagomedov comparisons are legitimate. It takes a special kind of wrestler to not just have an explosive shot, but to be able to go to your second, third, and fourth options in pursuit of a takedown. Chimaev goes through those progressions like a star quarterback and when he gets the fight to the ground, he maintains his aggressiveness. That said, I do think he’ll have to focus more on control should he tussle with Meerschaert on the mat because as mentioned, Meerschaert can finish in a variety of ways down there. While he does have size, he lacks the burst that Chimaev has shown, which leads one to believe that if Chimaev can keep up the pace for three rounds it’s going to be difficult for Meerschaert to get up or attack from his back. This fight is going to reveal a lot about Chimaev, both in terms of how gifted he is and also how far he has to go before he’s truly ready for elite competition. Chimaev by decision. Pick: Chimaev Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann Count me among those who still believe in the Johnny Walker hype. His dynamic striking is what sent him soaring up the light heavyweight ranks and it’s what’s going to bring him the victory against Ryan Spann. “Superman” has dangerous hands, but he also has defensive deficiencies that can’t be ignored. If he can get caught clean by veterans like Sam Alvey and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, what’s going to happen when he has the speedy Walker rifling punches and hurling flying knees at him? In fairness, Walker also has defensive question marks so this matchup will likely be decided by who makes a mistake first. If you’re a believer that Walker has learned and matured from his first two UFC losses, then one can only expect him to go upward from there. This should be an entertaining battle that ends with Walker get back on the positive side of the highlight reel. Pick: Walker Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos The Randa Markos Sequence ends here. For those of you not familiar with what The Randa Markos Sequence is, the veteran strawweight has somehow gone over six and a half years without recording consecutive wins or losses. Given the volatile nature of MMA, that seems like a statistical impossibility. And yet it is so. She’s coming off of a loss to Amanda Ribas and I expect Mackenzie Dern to beat her as well to break Markos’ bizarre pattern. Dern has shown some raw ability in her standup, and if she’s honing that part of her game with Jason Parillo, then you can expect there to be substantial improvement from when we first saw her. Add in her top shelf jiu-jitsu and this is a tough draw for Markos. Expect the Canadian grinder to make life difficult for Dern early on. She’s been in this game too long to be intimidated by anyone, even a fighter with Dern’s grappling credentials. When the time comes to shift into another gear though, I think it’s Dern who asserts herself on the ground and becomes just the second fighter to submit Markos. Pick: Dern Kevin Holland vs. Darren Stewart Do you lean towards the steady Darren Stewart or the unpredictable Kevin Holland? At his best, Holland is a ton of fun to watch, and here’s why I think he takes out Stewart. Holland is just starting to hit his peak and you can see in his last couple of fights that his talent has caught up with his skills. Though he’s still a fresh face in the UFC, Holland has fought over 20 times with his best days still ahead of him. He’s tightened up his striking and appears to be making better decisions as far as knowing when to mix his standup skills with his grappling. That blending of techniques is scary. Fortunately for Stewart, he has his own tools to deal with the threat of Holland. He’s great at fighting from range and also knows how to throw in the occasional takedown to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm. What’s going to give him headaches is the extraordinary reach of Holland, an advantage that Holland brings into most of his fights. If Stewart can’t change things up and figure out how to get inside on Holland, he’s going to get picked apart. As it is, I predict Holland will catch him with something coming in and submit him. Pick: Holland Prelims Jordan Espinosa def. David Dvorak Mirsad Bektic def. Damon Jackson Mayra Bueno Silva def. Mara Romero Borella Jessica-Rose Clark def. Sarah Alpar T.J. Laramie def. Darrick Minner Randy Costa def. Journey Newson Andre Ewell def. Irwin Rivera Tyson Nam def. Jerome Rivera Afficher l’article complet
  10. Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley will clash in the UFC Vegas 11 main event. | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images MMA Fighting has UFC Vegas 11 results for the Covington vs. Woodley fight card in Las Vegas, live blogs of the top three fights, and live UFC Vegas 11 Twitter updates. The scheduled main event features a welterweight showdown between rivals Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley. Also on tap for the ESPN+ event is a welterweight co-headliner between Donald Cerrone and Niko Price. Follow UFC Vegas 11 results below. Main card (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+) Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos Kevin Holland vs. Darren Stewart Preliminary Card (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+) Jordan Espinosa vs. David Dvorak Mirsad Bektic vs. Damon Jackson Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Mara Romero Borella Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Sarah Alpar Randy Costa vs. Journey Newson Andre Ewell vs. Irwin Rivera Darrick Minner vs. T.J. Laramie Tyson Nam vs. Jerome Rivera Afficher l’article complet
  11. John Dodson | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Two-time title contender and The Ultimate Fighter 14 champion John Dodson has been released from the UFC. Sources close to the bantamweight and flyweight veteran confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Friday. Dodson’s manager Ricky Kottenstette issued a statement after news of Dodson’s release was confirmed. “We are excited to see what other offers are out there for John,” Kottenstette said. “John is 100 percent committed to his fight career and he’s not diminished in his skill set whatsoever. “John has fought the absolute best in the world in two weight classes and he’s still more than ready face elite competition. We look forward to talking to any and all promotions to find John the best home for his future.” Dodson’s exit from the UFC comes after he spent nearly an entire decade with the promotion following his win on TUF in 2011. Dodson went undefeated on the realitys how before capping off the season with a knockout of future bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. After competing on the reality series at bantamweight, Dodson dropped down to 125 pounds where he went 2-0 to earn a shot at flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in January 2013. “The Magician” gave Johnson an incredibly tough fight but ultimately lost a decision after five rounds. Dodson earned his way to a rematch at UFC 191, but came up short against Johnson a second time. Dodson managed to beat a long list of top-ranked flyweights including Jussier Formiga, Tim Elliott and John Moraga. Following the second fight with Johnson, Dodson decided to move up to bantamweight where he remained a stalwart of the top-15 rankings while picking up impressive wins over Pedro Munhoz, Eddie Wineland and a TKO victory against highly touted prospect Nathaniel Wood. Dodson fell to Merab Dvalishvili by decision in his most recent outing, which precipitated his UFC release. Now the 33-fight veteran seeks a new home with his manager telling MMA Fighting that he plans to speak to multiple promotions to decide on the best possible landing spot for his client. Afficher l’article complet
  12. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Frank Mir is heading to the world of bare knuckle fighting. Sources close to the situation confirmed to MMA Fighting that Mir has signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship following an initial report from Fight Bananas. Mir makes the transition after a professional MMA run that spanned nearly two decades. The 41-year-old made his UFC debut in his third fight at UFC 34 in November 2001. After a 5-1 start in the octagon, Mir became the UFC heavyweight champion for the first time after submitting Tim Sylvia in just under a minute at UFC 48. He would go on to capture UFC gold again in 2008, finishing Antonio Rogerio Nogueria at UFC 92 to become the interim heavyweight champion. Mir lost the title in his next fight to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 seven months later. Following a nearly 15-year run with the UFC, Mir signed with Bellator MMA in 2018. After losing his first two fights to Fedor Emelianenko and Javy Ayala, Mir would pick up a win over Roy Nelson at Bellator 231 this past October in, what could turn out to be, his final mixed marital arts bout. No word on when Mir would make his first BKFC appearance, and what his role would entirely entail. Afficher l’article complet
  13. mmafighting

    UFC 253 poster released

    Israel Adesanya | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting The UFC is heading back to Fight Island and bringing a pair of world title fights for its return. UFC 253 takes place next Saturday night in Abu Dhabi headlined by the highly anticipated battle of the unbeatens between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa for the middleweight title. In the co-main event, Dominick Reyes battles Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title. On Friday, the promotion released the official poster for the event. TWO TITLES. #UFCFightIsland starts with a BANG! [ #ESPNPlus PPV | @VisitAbuDhabi | #InAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/DSb9ARao2M — UFC (@ufc) September 17, 2020 Adesanya will look to make it a perfect 20-0 as he defends his title for the second time. After earning the interim middleweight title with a victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236, “The Last Stylebender” became the undisputed 185-pound titleholder with a second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 243. Adesanya went on to defend his title against Yoel Romero at UFC 248, where he picked up a unanimous decision win. Costa gets his first shot at UFC gold after winning all five of his octagon appearances, finishing four of those. “The Eraser” has defeated such names as Romero, Uriah Hall and Johny Hendricks on the road to a battle with his bitter rival. Reyes and Blachowicz look to become the first 205-pound champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier in almost a decade after Jones recently vacated the title to turn his attention to the heavyweight division. Here is the UFC 253 fight card as it currently stands: Main card, 10 p.m. EST, ESPN+ PPV Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa — middleweight title fight Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz — vacant light heavyweight title fight Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Royval Ketlen Vieira vs. Sijara Eubanks Hakeem Dawodu vs. Zubaira Tukhugov Preliminary card, 8 p.m. EST, ESPN/ESPN+ Brad Riddell vs. Alex da Silva Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Matthews Shane Young vs. Ludovit Klein William Knight vs. Aleksa Camur Preliminary card, 6:30 p.m. EST, UFC Fight Pass Jeff Hughes vs. Juan Espino Khadis Ibragimov vs. Danilo Marques Afficher l’article complet
  14. Melvin Manhoef won two in a row since moving up to the light heavyweight division in Bellator. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Longtime MMA veteran Melvin Manhoef is one of the latest additions to Bellator’s first trip to Paris, France on Oct. 10, the company announced Friday. Manhoef is set to face Simon Biyong in a light heavyweight contest. Oliver Enkamp, a Swedish welterweight prospect who’s unbeaten since leaving the UFC and joining Bellator in 2019, will also be part of the show at the Accor Arena, taking on promotional newcomer Emmanuel Dawa. The updated card now includes 10 bouts, including the heavyweight main event between Cheick Kongo and Tim Johnson. Manhoef (32-14-1, 2 no contests) has been on the Bellator roster since 2014, a run that includes a pair of middleweight championship bouts with then-champion Rafael Carvalho. The 44-year-old striker is 2-0 since moving up to light heavyweight, capped off by a first-round stoppage over Yannick Bahati in Dec. 2019. Biyong (7-1) started his professional MMA career months after Manhoef’s second shot at the Bellator belt in 2017, inking a deal with the North American company after winning four in a row in Europe, Africa and Japan, where he knocked out Vitaly Shemetov in his sole appearance under the RIZIN banner. Check the complete Bellator Paris lineup below. Cheick Kongo vs. Tim Johnson Michael Page vs. Ross Houston Melvin Manhoef vs. Simon Biyong Oliver Enkamp vs. Emmanuel Dawa Terry Brazier vs. Yves Landu Davy Gallon vs. Brian Hooi Dominique Wooding vs. Fabacary Diatta Jean N’Doye vs. Ciaran Clarke Dylan Logan vs. William Gomis Maguy Berchel vs. Lucie Bertaud Afficher l’article complet
  15. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Watch Tyron Woodley vs. Darren Till full fight video to see Woodley pick up his fourth consecutive successful title defense against Till at UFC 228 on Sept. 8, 2018, in Dallas. Till entered this welterweight championship bout with an unblemished record of 17-0-1, but Woodley gave Till his first loss in dominating fashion. The Englishman had few answers for his more seasoned opponent and when the fight went to the ground in round two, he succumbed to Woodley’s expertly applied D’Arce choke. That marked Woodley’s last successful title defense before dropping the belt to Kamaru Usman and then losing a five-round unanimous decision in his most recent outing against Gilbert Burns. “The Chosen One” looks to return to form when he meets rival Colby Covington in the main event of UFC Vegas 11 this Saturday on ESPN+. Afficher l’article complet

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