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  1. (ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Leon Edwards and UFC on ESPN 4’s other key winners?) Former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos came up short in another big spot Saturday when he lost to Leon Edwards in the main event of UFC on ESPN 4. After bouncing back from a two-fight skid just a few months ago, dos Anjos (29-12 MMA, 18-10 UFC) was looking to return to title contention against surging British welterweight Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC). It didn’t work out for him, though, as the result was a unanimous-decision loss. Related 5 biggest takeaways from UFC on ESPN 4: On Leon Edwards, Greg Hardy, more Callout Collection: Who UFC San Antonio winners want next – and how likely they'll get them Although dos Anjos fought valiantly over 25 minutes at AT&T Center in San Antonio, the reality is he now has three losses in his past four fights – albeit against the absolute best 170 pounds has to offer. What does the loss mean for dos Anjos? Watch the video above for thoughts and analysis on his future. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. Gallery Leon Edwards def. Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 32 images Voir l'article complet
  2. After every event, fans wonder who the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC on ESPN 4’s most noteworthy winning fighters. Those winners include Leon Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who outworked Rafael dos Anjos (29-12 MMA, 18-10 UFC) to a unanimous decision in the welterweight headliner at AT&T Center in San Antonio, as well as Walt Harris (13-7 MMA, 6-6 UFC), Greg Hardy (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), Dan Hooker (18-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC), Andrei Arlovski (28-18 MMA, 17-12 UFC), and Raquel Pennington (11-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC). * * * * Raquel Pennington Should fight: Sara McMann Why they should fight: Pennington got her first win since November 2016 when she narrowly outpointed a game Irene Aldana to take a split decision and move into second place all-time on the UFC women’s bantamweight wins list. The former title challenger has had a rough go in recent years. From injuries to personal losses to losses in the octagon, few things have been easy for Pennington. Because of that, the win should come as a huge relief and hopefully lift her confidence moving forward. The win over Aldana puts Pennington back into relevance at 135 pounds, but if she wants to re-enter the title discussion her next performance must be much more convincing. Another former title challenger looking to get back to the top is McMann (11-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC), who has been out of action since February 2018 due to pregnancy leave. She was scheduled to return this month,but had to pull out of the fight due to injury. If she’s healthy and ready to fight by the end of the year, a clash with Pennington could be compelling. Andrei Arlovski Should fight: Winner of Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes at UFC on ESPN+ 16 Why they should fight: At 40 years old and with 30 UFC fights on his record, Arlovski keeps on trucking and finding ways to win. His latest came in a unanimous decision over fellow veteran Ben Rothwell, which gave the former UFC champ the all-time heavyweight wins record. With the most octagon appearances of any person to compete in his division, Arlovski has fought pretty much everyone over multiple generations. He’s determined to keep pushing forward in his career, though, and has shown a willingness to take on anything from top-ranked contenders to unknown up-and-comers. Arlovski should have to do more before getting another top-10 fight, and perhaps the winner of the September matchup at UFC on ESPN+ 16 between Duffee (9-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC and Hughes (10-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) could be the bridge to that. Both men, like Arlovski, are trying to build ground in the weight class. The winner would be on their way. Dan Hooker Should fight: Charles Oliveira Why they should fight: Hooker showed the ability to bounce back from a devastating loss when he shut the lights on James Vick with a brutal knockout less than three minutes into their lightweight bout. After getting badly diced up and stopped by Edson Barboza in December, Hooker took time off to get back to the right place mentally and physically. It paid dividends, because he looked quite sharp before dropping and stopping Vick with his punches. The win puts the New Zealander back in the a good spot at 155 pounds and puts him back in position to fight another reputable name in the weight class. Oliveira (27-8 MMA, 15-8 UFC) has been doing sensational things of late, putting together a streak of wins that’s included some slick finishes. Hooker has a keen sense for stopping fights, too, and a matchup with the Brazilian submission specialist would be fireworks. Greg Hardy Should fight: Maurice Greene Why they should fight: The latest win in Hardy’s MMA journey saw him silence trash-talking foe Juan Adams with a TKO just 45 seconds into the heavyweight bout. Although oddsmakers had Adams as the betting favorite, Hardy looked a level above in the octagon, which is a sign that his skills are developing. He needs to start getting some better opponents who can test him and bring some sort of challenge to the table. Hardy’s checkered past is something many are still uncomfortable with, but at this point it’s obvious he is here to stay. Don’t expect the UFC to part ways with him any time soon unless something occurs that forces the promotion’s hand. And if Hardy is going to stick around, it’s time to set up more difficult fights. Greene (7-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) would represent another unranked foe, but “The Ultimate Fighter 29” cast member has skills, particularly on the ground where there is a lot of mystery around Hardy. If Hardy can get by that, then talk of him fighting the more notable crop of heavyweights should reach the point where it would materialize. Walt Harris Should fight: Blagoy Ivanov Why they should fight: Given the opponent and stage, Harris turned in the best win of his UFC career when he completely walked through Aleksei Oleinik for a knockout just 12 seconds into their heavyweight co-headliner. After going through more downs than ups during the first half of his UFC tenure, Harris has very much turned things around and now finds himself unbeaten in his past four outings. It feels like he hasn’t reached his full potential, either, which could be a point of concern for other fighters in the weight class. “The Big Ticket” appears to be trending toward a top-ranked matchup but has a little more work to do first. Ivanov (18-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is a former WSOF champion and one of the toughest people to compete in the sport. He’s coming off a pair of quality victories in his own right, and a matchup with Harris would set up one man with the chance to break through to the next tier of the division. Leon Edwards Should fight: Jorge Masvidal or winner of Colby Covington vs Robbie Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5 Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Edwards should fight Masvidal (34-13 MMA, 11-6 UFC) or the winner of the UFC on ESPN 5 headliner between Covington (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Lawler (28-13 MMA, 13-7 UFC) next. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. Voir l'article complet
  3. SAN ANTONIO – Local boy done good Alexander Hernandez was full of energy before and during his UFC on ESPN 4 bout with Francisco Trinaldo. And that energy was still there for all to see as he talked to reporters backstage after his split-decision win over Francisco Trinaldo. Hernandez (11-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was clearly energized by the occasion as he fought in his hometown in front of friends and family at AT&T Center, where he produced the most composed performance of his young UFC career to score an important victory. “It’s the most electrifying moment of my life,” Hernandez said. “I’m so used to walking into enemy territory. We’ve got such a boisterous bunch of dogs out there; we were going crazy. I had my boys hoist me up afterwards. The whole experience was surreal.” Usually Hernandez piles forward and imposes his will on his opponents, but against the teak-tough Trinaldo (23-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC) he knew he had to be more considered in his approach. And despite the added excitement level of competing on home soil, he executed exactly as he planned to secure the win. “That was almost a complete contradiction of my prior style,” Hernandez said. “I went out there and above all adhered to a plan. It was the most physically and mentally composed I’ve ever felt in there, listening to everything, I was hyper-aware, and I could hear all the voices. “Fighting a guy like Trinaldo, who is entirely a counter-striker … I had to draw him out and just pick my exchanges, pick my shots and win the little battles that would compile over the course. It was a huge growth marker in my career as a fighter.” After three rounds of cat-and-mouse action, the bout went to the scorecards with the Texan unsure of which end of the result he would find himself. “I’m my own biggest critic, so if I don’t have an overwhelming blowout, I’m pretty difficult on myself. So I’m probably the worst person to ask,” Hernandez said. “When they were announcing (the result), I couldn’t hear them very well, and I thought I could hear his ring name – ‘Massaranduba,’ that’s what I heard coming out, and that’s why I kinda had that lack of energy and a negative demeanor. Somehow it rounded from an M to ‘The Great’ and I was like, ‘Man, baby! We’re back! Let’s go!’ “I’m so critical, so I’ll have to run back and look at the tape. I know I was winning exchanges. I was hoping that the judges weren’t counting little things that weren’t making contact with my face or brushing my shoulders, and I was hitting to the body, so I was hoping they were seeing the shots that were landing and (not the ones) that weren’t. I’m happy with it.” Having passed his tricky Trinaldo test, Hernandez says he has just one aim: to keep moving up the lightweight ladder and testing himself against an increasingly difficult lineup of opponents. “Always up, baby. Always up. Up the totem pole,” Hernandez said. “I don’t care about size, shape or style. I don’t care about any name, it’s just my name. It’s always me vs. me in there, featuring whomever. So just get me on that totem pole, and I’ll keep climbing.” For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. Voir l'article complet
  4. The UFC made its return to Texas on Saturday with UFC on ESPN 4, which took place at AT&T Center in San Antonio and aired on ESPN. The welterweight main event from the card saw Leon Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) extend one of the longest winning streaks in divisional history when he picked up his eighth in a row with a unanimous decision over former champion Rafael dos Anjos (29-12 MMA, 18-10 UFC). For more on the numbers behind Edwards’ victory, as well as others, check below for 50 post-event facts to come out of UFC on ESPN 4. * * * * General Gallery UFC on ESPN 4: Official scorecard photos from San Antonio view 13 images UFC on ESPN 4 featured 10 decision results, tied with six other cards for the single-event UFC record. UFC on ESPN 4 featured nine consecutive decision results, a new single-event record. UFC on ESPN 4 started with nine consecutive decision results, a new single-event record. The UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance payout for the event totaled $209,500. Debuting fighters went 0-2 at the event. Walt Harris, Dan Hooker, Mario Bautista and Jin Soo Son earned $50,000 UFC on ESPN 4 fight-night bonuses. UFC on ESPN 4 drew an announced attendance of 9,255 for a live gate of $841,820.61. Betting favorites went 7-5 on the card. One fight had even odds. Betting favorites remained 9-13 in UFC headliners this year. Edwards vs. dos Anjos had even odds. Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:43:30. Main card Gallery Leon Edwards def. Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 32 images Edwards’ eight-fight UFC winning streak in welterweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Kamaru Usman (10). Edwards has completed at least one takedown against seven of the eight opponents in his current winning streak. Edwards has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by decision. Dos Anjos fell to 4-3 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in June 2017. Dos Anjos has suffered six of his 10 UFC losses by decision. That includes all three of his welterweight defeats. Gallery Walt Harris def. Aleksei Oleinik at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 18 images Harris (13-7 MMA, 6-6 UFC) improved to 6-4 (with one no-contest) since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in April 2016. Harris has earned all 13 of his career victories by knockout. Harris’ 12-second victory marked the third fastest knockout in UFC heavyweight history. Aleksei Oleinik (57-13-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has suffered all three of his UFC stoppage losses by knockout. Gallery Greg Hardy def. Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 17 images Greg Hardy (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned all of his career victories by first-round knockout. Juan Adams (5-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered consecutive losses after starting his career on a five-fight winning streak. Adams suffered the first knockout loss of his career. Gallery Dan Hooker def. James Vick at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 11 images Hooker (18-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC) improved to 5-1 since he moved up to the UFC lightweight division in June 2017. Hooker has earned 17 of his 18 career victories by stoppage. That includes all nine of his UFC wins. James Vick’s (13-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since February 2018. Vick has suffered all three of his career stoppage losses by knockout. Gallery Andrei Arlovski def. Ben Rothwell at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 25 images Andrei Arlovski (28-18 MMA, 17-12 UFC) improved to 7-8 (with one no-contest) since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in June 2014. Arlovski’s 17 victories in UFC heavyweight competition are most in divisional history. Arlovski landed 152 significant strikes to set a new single-fight record for a three-round UFC heavyweight bout. Arlovski’s total fight time of 4:33:13 in UFC heavyweight competition is the most in divisional history. Ben Rothwell (36-12 MMA, 6-6 UFC) fell to 0-2 since he returned from a nearly three-year layoff. He hasn’t earned a victory since January 2016. Rothwell’s three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since January 2016. Preliminary card Gallery Alex Caceres def. Steven Peterson at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 26 images Alex Caceres (15-12 MMA, 10-10 UFC) improved to 5-4 since he returned to the UFC featherweight division in January 2015. Caceres has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by decision. Steven Peterson (17-9 MMA, 1-3 UFC) has suffered eight of his nine career losses by decision. That includes all three of his UFC defeats. Gallery Raquel Pennington def. Irene Aldana at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 23 images Raquel Pennington’s (10-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) seven victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Amanda Nunes (10). Pennington has earned five of her seven UFC victories by decision. Irene Aldana (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has suffered all three of her UFC losses by decision. Gallery Klidson Abreu def. Sam Alvey at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 27 images Klidson Abreu (15-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) earned the first decision victory of his career. Sam Alvey’s (33-13 MMA, 10-8 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since June 2018. Alvey fell to 2-3 since he moved up to the UFC light-heavyweight division in February 2018. Alvey has suffered nine of his 13 career losses by decision. Jennifer Maia (17-5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned her past six victories by decision. That includes both of her UFC wins. Roxanne Modafferi (23-16 MMA, 2-4 UFC) fell to 8-5 since her initial UFC release in November 2013. Modafferi has suffered 12 of her 16 career losses by decision. That includes all four of her UFC defeats. Gallery Ray Borg def. Gabriel Silva at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 22 images Ryan Borg (12-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) improved to 1-1 since he returned to the UFC bantamweight division in March. earned just the second knockout victory of his career and first since May 2013. Borg has earned four of his six UFC victories by decision. Gabriel Silva (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his eight-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career. Soo Son (9-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision. Domingo Pilarte (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript. Voir l'article complet
  5. Under different circumstances, we might be talking talking today about the hottest new heavyweight sensation to hit mixed martial arts in quite some time. Make no mistake about it: Greg Hardy could end up being very, very good at this sport. He hits really hard, as his 45-second annihilation of Juan Adams on Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 4 attests. All eight of his pro and amateur victories have been first-round knockouts. And he’s a part of one of the world’s very best gyms at American Top Team. But then, there’s also this: Five years ago, Hardy was convicted of domestic violence after an incident in Charlotte, N.C. The police report, obtained by Deadspin, stated the victim was thrown onto a pile of semi-automatic assault weapons and that Hardy strangled her and told her he should kill her. Later, after reportedly reaching a settlement with the victim, charges against Hardy were dropped when the victim stopped cooperating. But the stench from the incident was such that the NFL, hardly known as the playground of the pure and virtuous, all but blackballed an All-Pro-caliber player in the aftermath. Have you heard this before? Sure, you have. But UFC on ESPN 4 fight week was the week it became crystal-clear that most of the parties involved are betting this will all go away as Hardy’s fighting career begins to pick up steam, even though he refuses to address the issue while demanding his second chance. Related Greg Hardy 'super proud' of quick TKO vs. Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4 Twitter reacts to Greg Hardy's quick TKO of Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4 We figured out where the UFC stands on this the moment they made Hardy’s official debut the co-feature bout of the first event of their ESPN deal in January. UFC president Dana White put Hardy on the same card as recent domestic violence victim Rachel Ostovich, then acted as if the people who brought this up were the problem. The fact Hardy has been fed competition that would lose to Glass Joe in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out also says something. Great, we’ve seen that Hardy can knock out low-level opposition on several occasions. Now how about matching him up with someone who can wrestle? Hardy also has managed to drag ESPN into the muck with him in this, his third fight on the cable network. Adams chirped nonstop about Hardy’s disturbing past throughout his fight-week media appearances. It was the storyline that most resonated on the entire card. But the only thing that was hinted at this during the broadcast was a brief Adams mention of “screw-ups” with no context. There was no follow-up on what exactly those “screw-ups” might be. There have been instances when the UFC won’t talk about certain subjects, but wholesale ignoring what fans are most talking about heading into a card is certainly rare. Related Juan Adams apologizes for Greg Hardy loss, post-fight behavior: 'I acted horribly' ESPN has been near-perfect in it’s presentation of the UFC in this first year of their partnership. The broadcasts are better paced and more professional than FOX. The UFC finally feels like a big league now. ESPN has indisputably been a huge upgrade. But whitewashing Hardy is not a good look. It’s not hard to understand why some in the media are trying to wish this all away. Hardy’s management team is one of the most powerful in the sport. If MMA writers play along with Hardy’s image rehab and write fawning columns, then somewhere down the road they might be handed a scoop like a well trained poodle accepting a treat. It’s also easy to look at Hardy’s situation and play Twitter trolls’ favorite game: whataboutism. Yeah, this business sure can be dirty sometimes. I could fill another column just listing all the other bad things fighters and people within the fight game have done. Also, most people learn by kindergarten that two wrongs don’t make a right. So here’s an idea for Hardy, his team and the UFC going forward: If you want to wake up the morning after a fight and hear only talk about how his upside in the cage and chatter about how far he can go in the UFC heavyweight division, then stop trying to pretend his past doesn’t exist. Talk about it. Apologize. Make a generous donation to a women’s charity. Show some sort of sign that he’s contrite and is learning from his experience. Then give some time to show he really means it. Then, and only then, will we focus on the fact Hardy very well might have a bright future in this sport. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the MMA Results. Gallery Greg Hardy def. Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 17 images Voir l'article complet
  6. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski has issued an apology for using a homophobic slur during his post-fight interview at UFC on ESPN 4. Arlovski (28-18 MMA, 17-12 UFC) snapped a four-fight winless skid on Saturday when he defeated Ben Rothwell (36-12 MMA, 6-6 UFC) by unanimous decision at AT&T Center in San Antonio. “The Pitbull” was emotional when speaking to MMA Junkie post-fight, wiping tears from his face while discussing the promise he made to his son that he would be victorious. Moments later, Arlovski sounded off on critics of his rough patch and anyone who questioned his ability to take damage by using the derogatory term. “Once again I will tell everyone shut your (expletive) mouths about my ‘glass chin,’ so go f*ck yourself, fa**ots,” Arlovski said. “That’s it. I proved to everyone you’re f*cking wrong.” On Sunday, Arlovski apologized for using the homophobic slur in a statement to MMA Junkie. “I apologize to anyone I offended with my poor choice of words,” Arlovski said. “I did not mean to offend any one group or person. I am deeply sorry and will not use these type of words in the future.” Arlovski, 40, isn’t the first former UFC champion who’s been caught using homophobic language. In October 2017, Conor McGregor was caught on camera using the same term while consoling friend Artem Lobov following a loss at UFC Fight Night 118. He issued an apology more than one week later. Just a month prior in September 2017, Fabricio Werdum got into a heated exchange with Tony Ferguson at a UFC 216 media lunch and used the same word as Arlovski and McGregor. The former titleholder would later apologize, as well, and insisted he was not homophobic. When contacted by MMA Junkie, the UFC acknowledged Arlovski’s inappropriate language. “UFC is aware of the recent remarks from heavyweight athlete Andrei Arlovski,” the promotion said in a statement. “The organization does not condone any disparaging comments regarding race, religion and/or sexual orientation. We have already addressed this issue directly with Andrei and his team. This is an ongoing priority for the organization, and there will be continued monitoring of these types of situations moving forward.” After the grueling fight with Rothwell, which marked a rematch of a July 2008 bout “The Pitbull” won by third-round knockout, Arlovski said he hopes to return to the octagon as soon as possible. He’s looking for a rematch with someone who has beaten him but said he will leave it up to UFC brass to decide what’s next. “I consider myself a real man. I want to fight everyone who whooped my ass in the past,” Arlovski said. “Of course I want to fight people in front of me (in the rankings), but it’s totally up to UFC, up to Dana White and the matchmakers.” For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. Voir l'article complet
  7. What mattered most Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 4 in San Antonio? Here are a few post-fight musings … * * * * * 1. Leon Edwards is legit … but in an unfortunate spot Look, here’s the deal with Leon Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC): He’s obviously very good at this fighting thing, which he’s proven over an eight-fight winning streak, with the last three against Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson and Donald Cerrone being particularly impressive. Unfortunately, he’s not yet captivated the masses with his work. Saturday’s unanimous decision over dos Anjos was his first career victory in the U.S., and all but one of his previous wins has been tucked away quietly on UFC Fight Pass or ESPN+ streaming events. When you’re trying to argue for a title shot, as Edwards is, that lack of exposure certainly doesn’t help the cause. Moreover, Edwards is in a division ripe with talent and currently includes multiple legitimate title challenger options in addition to himself. Related After UFC on ESPN 4, Leon Edwards will be none too pleased if Jorge Masvidal gets title shot Jorge Masvidal unimpressed by Leon Edwards' UFC on ESPN 4 win: 'Don't call me out no more' In another weight class, an eight-fight winning streak would probably secure a title shot. Edwards is stuck competing with the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, Robbie Lawler, and Tyron Woodley for the next shot at Kamaru Usman, though, and it’s hard to see a scenario where the UFC selects “Rocky” over any of those names. Right now Edwards’ resume is up there with any other contender at 170 pounds. He absolutely deserves respect, because while his skills seem to be up there among the best, his lack of popularity could prevent him from getting what he wants. And that’s just the sad reality of the today’s MMA landscape. 1 2 3 4 …5Voir l'article complet
  8. SAN ANTONIO – Rising heavyweight contender Walt Harris scored a spectacular 12-second knockout of Aleksei Oleinik at UFC on ESPN 4, then came bounding into the post-fight press conference wearing a coonskin cap and a broad grin as he joked with the media following his highlight-reel victory. “It’s an ode to the late, great Davy Crockett,” Harris said, explaining his attire. “He came to San Antonio and helped this great country, helped these great people in San Antonio. And he also killed bears with his bare hands. The Russian symbol is a bear, so that’s what my goal was tonight, to kill a bear with my bare hands, pun intended. “I just wanted to channel my inner Davy, go in there and attack, man. It’s wild out there, it’s tough terrain, so I wanted to go out there and make sure I used all of my weapons, and we got the job done in 12 seconds.” Harris (13-7 MMA, 6-6 UFC) looked in the best form of his career as he connected with a huge left hand that knocked Oleinik (57-13-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) out cold in their co-headliner. It was a euphoric moment for Harris, but the American said he quickly curbed his enthusiasm when he saw his opponent taking longer than usual to recover. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Aleksei, and you never want to see anybody get hurt,” Harris said. “I knew it was a good shot when it landed, and I was just like ‘Wow!’. Then I saw he was slow to come to, and I just felt like, man, I gotta pay some respect to him because I heard this might be his last fight. “A couple of people mentioned to me this week that he was hinting that this might be his last fight. So I just wanted to take a moment and pay homage to him, because he’s respected in this sport. To go in there and do what I did against him was something that I wanted to do, but at the same time you never want to see anybody get hurt.” Harris said he went into the bout well-drilled and attuned to Oleinik’s stooping striking style that often sees him lean forward while throwing his overhand punches. But he also revealed that the moment he knew he was ready came when, in the locker room area, he saw some brief TV footage of his opposite number warming up in front of the cameras. “He has a tendency to dip his head, and in fact I saw in the pre-fight build-up they were working the overhand right. I was like ‘Hmmm! Bingo! There it is!’ So we just went out there, and we executed, man. I’m just happy. “I watch everything. I’m like, ‘OK, that’s what you’re working on? We’re gonna go in there and see if you’ll do that.’ And he did it literally right at the beginning of the fight. I didn’t expect him to do that. I thought he would try to pressure me against the cage or something. But he stuck his head down there right away and threw that overhand, and I was like: ‘Money! Let’s get it!'” Harris has switched camps recently, swapping American Top Team for Spartan Fitness in Homewood, Ala. It’s a change he says has brought the best out of him as he looks to surge into title contention within the next 18 months. “I’m in a different place in my life, mentally and physically,” Harris explained. “I’ve got the best team in the world in Alabama, man. We’re brewing something special. Spartan Fitness is growing so rapidly. We’ve got Eryk Anders, we’ve got Matt Elkins, we’ve got one of the best wrestling coaches to ever wrestle in the state of Alabama every day, helping me. So I just feel like it’s all syncing right now, not only physically but mentally. That’s a dangerous fighter, man.” And that dangerous fighter says he’s ready for whatever challenge the UFC plans on throwing his way next. But if “The Big Ticket” had a say in his next matchup, there are two key names he’d be particularly keen to face. “There’s a couple of guys in front of me that I’m interested in fighting,” Harris admitted. “Volkov is one, (and) I would love to get the Abdurakhimov fight back. I feel like I won that one. I’m up for whatever. Whoever’s in front of me, they’re all gonna get it. “I want to be a champion one day. I set a goal for 2020 to be in that conversation, so the next step, whatever the UFC puts out there, I’m going to get it.” For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. Voir l'article complet
  9. SAN ANTONIO – For Kiwi lightweight Dan Hooker, Saturday night’s knockout of James Vick at UFC on ESPN 4 was the perfect way to bounce back from his loss to Edson Barboza last time out. But, as he explained backstage after the fight, the victory was more for those around him than it was for himself. “That meant a lot to me, man,” Hooker told reporters backstage after his first-round highlight-reel finish. “That was probably the most satisfying win of my career. Not just for myself. Me? I’ll do this regardless. “That last fight, to me, I can brush that off pretty easily,” he explained. “All the physical damage and stuff, that’s just something I accepted, so that’s not a big deal to me. But the people around me that watch it – family, friends, my wife – they’re the ones that I feel like they needed a win like that. They needed a big win. That was for all of them rather than for myself.” Hooker (18-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC) revealed that he’d changed his mental approach to the fight with Vick (13-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC), saying he’d taken a step back from the analytical, tactical side of preparation and left that aspect down to his City Kickboxing coaches, Eugene Bareman and Tristram Apikitoa. “I just trusted in what I’ve been working on with my coaches,” Hooker said. “It’s all down to guys like my head coach Eugene and my striking coach Tristram – it’s all down to them. I just took a step back in this fight, and I just went out there, enjoyed myself, enjoyed my training, pushed very hard, trained very hard. My job is to go out there and fight. Their job is to do all the study and break down my opponents.” That division of labor during fight camp proved to be a winning formula for Hooker and his team, as the 29-year-old produced one of the most clinical performances of his UFC career to finish the dangerous Vick in a little over half a round. And while winning fights in the octagon is nothing new, Hooker did admit the experience felt a little different this time around. “It did feel different, because stepping back for so long I just appreciated, even on the walkout, just how much I missed this, how much I missed going out there and putting on a show for the fans,” Hooker said. “I was soaking it up on the walkout and even after the fight you could see how much it meant to me.” Now back in the win column and ready to take on the world’s best, Hooker already has called his shot – a bout on the UFC 243 card Oct. 5 that will feature teammate Israel Adesanya’s middleweight title unifier against reigning champ Robert Whittaker. The bout is expected to take place in Melbourne, Australia, though there has been no official confirmation from the UFC. Hooker admitted he’s couldn’t shed any light on the situation, either. “They keep me in the dark. I’ve got a big mouth!” Hook said with a laugh. “I feel like I get another shot. I feel like I’m back where I left off. I want a big-name fighter. I want a top-10 guy. If they’re coming down to Melbourne, they need to sell some tickets. But Dan Hooker against a top-10 fighter, I feel like that makes a lot of sense and that sells a lot of tickets.” And when presented with a trio of potentially available names, Hooker immediately latched onto one in particular. I feel like (Al) Iaquinta’s the one that makes sense,” Hooker said. “That name definitely stands out to me. Yeah, Iaquinta, October 5th, meet me in Australia. Get him on a plane!” Until he gets his next assignment, though, Hooker will enjoy his crowd-pleasing return to winning ways, even though he did have to achieve it by defeating a local favorite. “I think I turned (the crowd) around in the post-fight speech,” Hooker said. “These fans, they come here to be entertained, and it’s not even something I have to try to do. It’s just kind of a natural way that I approach this sport … to hunt the finish and look for the finish. “I’m happy that I got to put on a show for the fans, regardless that they were booing me before the fight. I got to turn them around a bit with the old ‘you don’t mess with Texas’ (comment). I’ve had a lot of people were saying that to me all week.” For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. Voir l'article complet
  10. UFC on ESPN 4 turned out to be an easy night of work for Greg Hardy. In what was probably the most anticipated fight on the card, the former NFL All-Pro TKO’d Juan Adams in just 45 seconds of their heavyweight grudge match. Hardy used an onslaught of punches to the head after a failed takedown attempt by Adams, who immediately protested the outcome to referee Dan Miragliotta. Moments later, Adams stormed out of the octagon without partaking in Bruce Buffer’s announcement of the winner. In that moment, something seemed to bother Miragliotta. As pointed out on Twitter, the veteran referee shook his head at Hardy before walking away. You can watch it below: Big Dan didn’t approve….#UFCSanAntonio pic.twitter.com/niYR9FLiqJ — Steve (@SteveKMMA) July 21, 2019 “Big Dan didn’t approve” was the tweet from Twitter user @SteveKMMA. OK, but what didn’t Miragliotta approve of? Hardy’s dance celebration? Was Miragliotta having second thoughts about the stoppage? Is he not a fan of Hardy in general? Guess we won’t know for sure unless Miragliotta spills the beans, but obviously something caused that reaction. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, 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 Greg Hardy def. Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 17 images Voir l'article complet
  11. Juan Adams was in no mood Saturday night. He’d just been TKO’d by Greg Hardy in a mere 45 seconds of their heavyweight fight, which is the kind of result that would be disappointing enough as is. But all things considered, this was worse. Adams had spent the better part of two years calling out Hardy, talking about how much he wanted to hurt him for, among other things, his history of domestic violence. It was a lot of talking. So to last just 45 seconds after all that was deflating for Adams, and it showed in the immediate aftermath when he stormed out of the octagon. On the ESPN broadcast, all we saw was Adams throw his mouthpiece into the crowd as he was about to exit before footage cut back to Hardy. But the ESPN MMA Twitter account shared an extended clip, which you can watch below: Clearly the heat of the moment got to Adams. To his credit, he later took to social media to issue an apology for his behavior. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC Results. The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, 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. Voir l'article complet
  12. SAN ANTONIO – Ray Borg beat Gabriel Silva on Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC on ESPN 4. Take a look inside the fight with Borg, who snapped a two-fight skid. Result: Ray Borg def. Gabriel Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Updated records: Borg (12-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC), Silva (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) Key stat: After weathering all sorts of out-of-the-cage tribulations over the past two years – including his young son’s illness and an eye injury suffered during Conor McGregor’s infamous 2018 van attack – Borg earned his first victory since defeating Jussier Formiga on March 11, 2017. Borg on getting through his difficult period in life “Truth be told, I don’t hide any secrets, I don’t lie, I didn’t know if we were going to get to this point that where we’re at right now. I didn’t know if there was going to be much more of a road to keep going on at this point, but I’m a very strong person. I’ve been through a lot my entire life, not even just the past couple years.” Borg on his sense of urgency going into the final round My coaches told me straight, “we need this last round, we need this last round. I kind of came out to a fast start in the first, and kind of let him get too much of the upper hand in the first, so, I agree with giving him the first round, and I know a lot was on the line in the last round.” Borg on a potential move back to flyweight “Hey sign me up man, hell yeah I want back in that division. My move to bantamweight was based on bad life habits, not being an adult in my career. I started to think of my career as an obligation rather than a privilege.” To hear more from Borg, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above. And for complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the MMA Results. Voir l'article complet
  13. SAN ANTONIO – Leon Edwards said after his impressive UFC on ESPN 4 victory over Rafael dos Anjos that he wants his grudge match with Jorge Masvidal next. There are some complicating factors in this. Colby Covington fights Robbie Lawler next month at UFC on ESPN 5. A Lawler upset could put Masvidal into a title fight with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. But a Covington win would very likely put him in the title shot, meaning Masvidal would be free to face someone else. And Edwards believes that a fight between him and Masvidal, with whom he got into a backstage altercation in March at UFC London, would be exactly the fight to prove his point. Unlike most of the fight world, Edwards said during his UFC on ESPN 4 post-fight scrum that he was not at all impressed with Masvidal’s five-second flying-knee knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239. “Who has Masvidal beat?” Edwards said. “He beat Ben Askren, Ben Askren has fought nobody. He got a close victory against Robbie (Lawler). Apart from that I couldn’t tell another person who’s he beat that’s a big name. He went to China or wherever it was and stacked a 9-0 record, came to the UFC, and then talked a lot of (expletive), and then he got to No. 5 above me, which is weird.” That clearly galled Edwards, whose win over former lightweight champ dos Anjos was his eighth in a row and 10th in his past 11. The eight-fight winning streak is second longest at welterweight to Usman’s 10. “I’m on an eight-fight win streak now and was No. 11, that’s crazy. That’s second most to world champion,” Edwards said. “That’s madness. That shows that it’s not about fights or technique, and it’s not about winning. It’s about talking trash on social media. That’s what gets you up there.” Not only was Edwards not impressed by Masvidal, but he doesn’t think Masvidal could run over Askren again if he tried. “I believe Masvidal is an amateur. He has beaten nobody that I can say that he is amazing,” Edwards said. “He did a flying knee against Ben; Ben is an amateur. He’s slow, he’s old, he is a grappler. He’s taken big confidence from it. It’s one of those things that, if they fought 10 out of 10 times, that would never happen again. I believe I am better than Masvidal anywhere in the fight, and I’ll get an opportunity to prove it.” For more on UFC on ESPN 4, check out the MMA Schedule. Voir l'article complet
  14. Earning wins in the UFC is certainly no easy task, but what comes next is often even more important: the post-fight callout. So after Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 4 event in San Antonio, who took advantage of their time on the mic? See below for this week’s Callout Collection – and just how realistic each one is. * * * * * Dan Hooker Wants to fight: Al Iaquinta Al Iaquinta The callout: “I feel like I’ve earned a shot at a top-10 guy. I’m not going to be like some of these guys dancing around and point fighting someone in my hometown. I put on a show for my fans, so I’m going to jump that guy who I will not name, and I want someone like Al Iaquinta – that’d be a great matchup.” The reality: Dan Hooker (18-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC) rebounded from a brutal loss to Edson Barboza in scintillating fashion, knocking out James Vick and proving that he is still as dangerous as ever. Afterward, he called for an opportunity to compete alongside his teammate, Israel Adesanya, at October’s UFC 243, which is expected to take place in Australia. Hooker is a fan-friendly fighter who certainly boasts a solid ground game but understands what fans want to see. Meanwhile, Iaquinta (14-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) is coming off a loss to Donald Cerrone and stands at 1-2 in his past three appearances. That said, “Raging” Al is a fan favorite, as well, and he’s certainly the type of fighter who can be placed against any opponent and still generate a buzz, whether or not he’s on a winning streak. As a side note, Hooker recently joined Iaquinta as a licensed real estate broker, so the title of “World’s Toughest Man Who Could Also Sell You a House” would be on the line, as well. As long as Iaquinta is able to make the journey, it seems like a solid pairing. Walt Harris Wants to fight: Alexander Volkov or Shamil Abdurakhimov The callout: “There’s a couple guys in front of me that I’m interested in fighting. Volkov is one. I would love to get the Abdurakhimov fight back. I feel like I won that one. I’m up for whatever, man. Whoever is in front of me, they all can get it. I want to be a champion one day.” The reality: Walt Harris’ stock has never been higher than it is right now, officially boasting a three-fight winning streak, including back-to-back victories earned in a total of just 62 seconds. “The Big Ticket” is coming into his own as a legitimate heavyweight threat, and there are a number of intriguing options on the table. But Harris’ two specific requests share one very clear similarity: They’re both Russian. With the UFC set to return to Moscow in November for UFC on ESPN+ 21, Harris (13-7 MMA, 6-6 UFC) seems to be making a veteran play in hopes of securing a featured slot. Harris lost a 2016 bout via split decision to Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who is currently booked into a key fight with Curtis Blaydes at September’s UFC 242. Abdurakhimov’s availability may be severely impacted by the results of the contest, but it’s certainly worth monitoring. Meanwhile, Alexander Volkov (30-7 MMA, 4-1 UFC) hasn’t seen action since an October 2018 loss to Derrick Lewis and may be looking to get back to work, potentially opening up that option in Russia. Either way, Harris’ next booking is a big one, as he’s currently in the best form of his career. Leon Edwards Wants to fight: Jorge Masvidal The callout: “I want one more fight before the end of the year. The little weasel Jorge Masdival, I’d love to get him. If not, give me the rematch against Kamaru Usman. He was the last guy to beat me four years ago, and I’d love my rematch. so let’s make it happen.” The reality: Truthfully, there is no more meaningful non-title fight to book right now at 170 pounds than Leon Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) vs. Jorge Masvidal (34-13 MMA, 11-6 UFC). Edwards’ eight-fight winning streak makes him a clear top contender in the welterweight division, but Masvidal’s star power has never been higher than right now, following back-to-back knockout wins over Darren Till and Ben Askren. Add the backstage skirmish between Masvidal and Edwards to the equation, and there is both an incredible backstory and incredibly meaningful stakes on the line. Colby Covington deserves the next shot at current champ Kamaru Usman. However, “Chaos” has been given a bout with Robbie Lawler at next month’s UFC on ESPN 5 event to deal with first. If Covington wins, he should get Usman, leaving Edwards vs. Masvidal inevitable. If Lawler wins, things could get a little complicated, but it seems the UFC would be silly to pass on a chance to find some way to put this contest together. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC results. Voir l'article complet
  15. Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For two athletes, Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 4 event marked that special moment in their career. Check out this week’s rookie report to see what kind of first impression those fighters made on the sport’s biggest stage from AT&T Center in San Antonio. * * * * * Domingo Pilarte Domingo Pilarte Division: Bantamweight Result: Felipe Colares def. Domingo Pilarte via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) Record: (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) Grade: C Texas native Domingo Pilarte had the honor of making his UFC debut in his home state, but things certainly did not play out the he might have hoped, losing a decision to Felipe Colares in the night’s first fight. That said, the ultimate result of the contest wasn’t the most troubling aspect of the evening for Pilarte, but rather how he got to that point. Pilarte started off slow, a reality easily attributable to both octagon jitters as well as the added pressure of pleasing a hometown crowd. That improved as time wore on, with Pilarte showing some impressive grappling sequences in both the second and third frames. However, the sequences in the second were largely earned off the back, making it difficult for judges to reward him for the efforts. Pilarte will have to realize that giving up dominant position at the highest level can be a recipe for disaster. But the third round was the most concerning. Despite getting to the back of Colares early in the frame, Pilarte wasn’t able to get especially close with any submission attempts. In fact, it was Colares who was earning the crowd’s cheers at the close of the round as he punched – with both hands – toward the opponent attached to his back. Pilarte needs to capitalize on such advantageous positions, and if he realizes that’s impossible, he must find a way to make adjustments. Overall, Pilarte showed some of the potential that earned him a deal following a Dana White’s Contender Series victory. But an overall lack of urgency was concerning, as was the inability to punish his opponent for mistakes. Pilarte will want to tighten things up in his return to the octagon. Gallery Felipe Colares def. Domingo Pilarte at UFC on ESPN 4: Best photos view 20 images 1 2Voir l'article complet

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