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  1. (ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Junior Dos Santos after UFC on ESPN+ 24 loss?) 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+ 24’s most noteworthy winning fighters. Those winners include Curtis Blaydes (13-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC), who defeated Junior Dos Santos (21-7 MMA, 15-6 UFC) by second-round TKO in the main event at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., as well as Michael Chiesa (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), Arnold Allen (16-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and Sara McMann (12-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC). * * * * Sara McMann Should fight: Raquel Pennington Why they should fight: Former title challenger and Olympic silver medalist McMann returned from a two-year hiatus and ended her 35-month winless skid in a dominant effort against Lina Lansberg. As is the case with many who meet McMann, the wrestling was no match and led to a lopsided result. Given McMann’s name value and achievements, that’s all she needs to move on an upward trajectory in the thin UFC women’s bantamweight division. Inconsistency has been an issue for McMann, but perhaps this is her time to gain momentum and possibly get a rematch with champion Amanda Nunes, who beat her in 2015. McMann will need to take out at least one more top contender before that happens, though, and Pennington (10-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC), who is coming off a loss to Holly Holm at UFC 246, is someone always willing to take on a challenge. Arnold Allen Should fight: Josh Emmett Why they should fight: The strong start to Allen’s UFC tenure continued when he joined the shortlist of featherweights to start 7-0 in the octagon with a solid decision win over a veteran opponent in Nik Lentz. Allen’s past two wins against Lentz and Gilbert Melendez shows he knows how to handle experienced opponents who have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. It’s what he should be doing as a highly regarded 25-year-old prospect, but now he needs a different type of challenge. He was originally scheduled to fight Emmett (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) on the card, but it fell apart when Emmett withdrew due to injury. That was the top 10 opponent Allen deserved given his streak, and considering how he handled Lentz, it’s more than clear he deserves that type of opportunity. Michael Chiesa Should fight: Winner of Gilbert Burns vs Demian Maia at UFC on ESPN+ 28 Why they should fight: Chiesa earned the most significant win of his welterweight run, and perhaps his UFC career overall, when he outworked former UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos to a unanimous decision. It wasn’t the prettiest of fights, but Chiesa is now 3-0 since bumping up from lightweight 13 months ago. Chiesa made a solid callout of Colby Covington after his win, but for some reason that fight feels unlikely for him. He deservingly wants someone in the top five, but it remains to be seen how the top of the division will be booked in the coming months. Chiesa isn’t far off from being in that mix, though. The matchup that would best suit him would be the winner of the March 14 contest in Brazil between Burns (17-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) and Maia (28-9 MMA, 22-9 UFC). If Maia wins, he would be on a four-fight streak and the type of highly ranked, established name Chiesa is looking for. Should Burns turn it in his favor, he would be much in the same position of Chiesa as someone who shot up the rankings by beating someone much higher. A pairing between them would see one of them take the next step. Curtis Blaydes Should fight:Alexander Volkov Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Blaydes should fight Volkov (31-7 MMA, 5-1 UFC) next after his main event victory. Voir l'article complet
  2. (ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Curtis Blaydes and UFC on ESPN+ 24’s other key winners?) Junior dos Santos was placed into new territory of his career on Saturday with a loss to Curtis Blaydes in the UFC on ESPN+ 24 headliner. For the first time, the former UFC heavyweight champ Dos Santos (21-7 MMA, 15-6 UFC) is on a losing skid after suffering a second-round TKO loss to Blaydes (13-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in the main event, which took place at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., and streamed on ESPN+. Coming into the fight, “Cigano” was confident he could make a run and reclaim his former title glory. At 35 and coming off a pair of rough stoppages, though, his plans could be significantly altered going forward. What does the loss mean for Dos Santos? Watch the video above for thoughts and analysis on his future and why a matchup with Augusto Sakai (14-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) would make most sense for him going forward. Voir l'article complet
  3. RALEIGH, N.C. – Angela Hill beat Hannah Cifers with a first-round TKO Saturday on the main card at UFC on ESPN+ 24 in Raleigh, N.C. Take a look inside the fight with Hill, who got her second straight stoppage win and now has her first winning streak in the UFC. Result: Angela Hill def. Hannah Cifers via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:26 Updated records: Hill (11-7 MMA, 6-7 UFC), Cifers (10-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) Key stat: Hill moved to No. 3 on the UFC women’s strawweight all-time wins list with six. Hill on the fight’s key moment “I always say the mental battle is the hardest for me. I can work hard all day. I’m not a slacker. I’ve never missed a wrestling class. The problem with me is that if I mess up, I begin doubting myself and hesitate. If I get a short-notice fight, the less time I have to think about all that stuff. If I just train to train, and train to get better, I’m not worried about what someone else is going to do to me.” Hill on her first UFC winning streak “(It) feels amazing. I hate losing, so this is great. It’s great to get two finishes in a row, as well. I feel reborn. I feel like a different fighter going in there ready to kill instead of worrying about losing or if my reputation is going to get worse. I put all of that behind me and just focus on being the killer that I know I can be.” Hill on what she wants next “I’m technically always in fight camp, so getting a fight on 10 days’ notice doesn’t matter. I’ll be prepared. Now, it’s more about what I do well instead of what they are bringing to the table. I listen to my coaches, do what I’m told and go in there and get the job done.” To hear more from Hill, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above. Voir l'article complet
  4. INGLEWOOD, Calif. – AJ Agazarm got what he wanted. Agazarm, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, picked up a submission win in his fourth professional fight on Saturday at Bellator 238. Agazarm (3-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) submitted Adel Altamimi with a triangle-choke after a back-and-forth battle that dragged into the third round at The Forum. Although Agazarm got the tap, he didn’t do it with the textbook triangle MMA fans are used to seeing inside the cage. “I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life,” Agazarm said in his post-fight scrum. “That’s called the ‘Agazarm,’ and that’s my patented move. “I learned it from my jiu-jitsu professor a long time ago and just kind of made it my own. You’ve seen that submission finish in Polaris like three or four times. Actually, funny enough, I just shared it on my Facebook like three days ago, so it was cool to finally get that. “It’s a bait move, so you go for the arm bar, and you trick him into falling for the triangle, and he fell right for it. It’s not really your traditional triangle. It’s a bit of a variation, so I was stoked on that one.” It appeared Altamimi did a light tap before the referee called off the fight. Yet, Altamimi kept on engaging in the grappling exchange a second after the contest was waived off. Some people on social media said Agazarm’s opponent didn’t really tap. The Nick Diaz Army fighter assures he got the clean submission win and says he “could’ve kept it longer” if needed. “It was as tight as tight can get without his head popping off,” Agazarm said. Regardless of what people think of the finish, Agazarm is now on a three-fight winning streak after losing his professional MMA debut in early 2019. Agazarm is happy with his performance but thinks there’s a lot to work on, calling himself a “white belt with three stripes” in MMA. Voir l'article complet
  5. RALEIGH, N.C. – Sara McMann beat Lina Lansberg with a unanimous decision Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC on ESPN+ 24 in Raleigh, N.C. Take a look inside the fight with McMann, who returned after nearly a two-year layoff. Result: Sara McMann def. Lina Lansberg via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25) Updated records: Lina Lansberg (10-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) vs. Sara McMann (11-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) Key stat: McMann landed three takedowns and won the significant striking battle 38-1. McMann on the fight’s key moment “I’m working on my composure and setting things up, but she hit a good liver shot at one point and I knew I didn’t want any more of that. She’s a muay Thai fighter. She’s good, and she’s fast, so I didn’t want to deal with that.” McMann on the long layoff “I wondered if I would feel a little bit more tired out there than I did. It doesn’t matter how hard you train. When you are out there and the adrenaline is going with the importance and urgency of it all, you end up more fatigued than you would be in practice. I’ve been training really well, very hard, and I’ve been focusing on my recovery a lot. I did a lot of running and swimming for this, which is great conditioning for my legs, especially.” McMann on what she wants next “I want to savor tonight, but I know how the UFC works. They don’t want to give me an easy fight, and I’m on the same page as them. I’d like a top-five opponent. Bring them on and I’ll knock them down.” To hear more from McMann, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above. Voir l'article complet
  6. What mattered most at Bellator 238 in Inglewood? Here are a few post-fight musings … * * * * * 1. Cris Cyborg’s big moment and what’s next Cris Cyborg picked up her fourth major promotional championship with a fourth-round TKO of Julia Budd to claim the women’s featherweight title. This seems like the pinnacle for her at this point, and anything else she achieves going forward is gravy. We all wanted to see that rematch with Amanda Nunes in the UFC, but it not coming to fruition might have been for the best. Cyborg seems to be infinitely happier fighting in Bellator, and it sounds like she’s getting a healthy payday to be there. Although the narrative is that Bellator has a deeper women’s 145-pound division than the UFC, having Cyborg at the top can make things look thin in a hurry. The fight with Budd was compelling for its layer of perceived competitiveness, and more matchups like that will be needed to hold interest in her title run. 1 2 3 …4Voir l'article complet
  7. What mattered most at UFC on ESPN+ 24 in Raleigh? Here are a few post-fight musings … * * * * * 1. Curtis Blaydes’ ‘Plan Z’ ain’t too shabby It was no surprise that Curtis Blaydes was a winner over Junior Dos Santos in the main event. He was a roughly 3-to-1 betting favorite, but even his strongest supporters didn’t see it unfolding like that. Not only did Blaydes stop Dos Santos with strikes, but he did so without getting a single takedown. All six of his attempts were denied, forcing him into what he labeled post-fight as “Plan Z.” He revealed he’s got some talent there, as well, landing solid shots before a massive one rocked Dos Santos and led to the second-round TKO. Blaydes’ preferred method of victory still would’ve been to take down Dos Santos and batter him, he said, but that’s what was expected if the fight went his way. This performance was much more eye-opening, and it helps generate a better understanding of Blaydes as he continues to jockey for position in the heavyweight title picture. 1 2 3 4 …5Voir l'article complet
  8. 1 2 The sports world experienced a shocking loss on Sunday when Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, tragically were killed in a helicopter crash. Bryant was 41. Bryant’s influence was felt well beyond basketball, and that included the MMA world. Bryant, a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, attended multiple UFC events and was a partner with UFC sponsor BodyArmor. His death rippled through the MMA community, as seen in the social media reactions below from UFC president Dana White and many more. * * * * * 1 2Voir l'article complet
  9. Bellator 238 took place Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., where Cris Cyborg made history. In defeating Julia Budd by fourth-round TKO in the night’s main event, Cyborg became the first fighter to win major championships in four separate promotions – Strikeforce, Invicta FC, the UFC, and now Bellator. The event also included Darrion Caldwell moving on to the featherweight grand prix quarterfinals with a submission win over previously undefeated Adam Borics. As is customary, Bellator president Scott Coker spoke with reporters afterward and offered his reaction to those outcomes and more. You can read below or watch the video above. **** On Cris Cyborg’s championship win over Julia Budd “It was electric in there, and I think that Cyborg came in, and she looked super explosive, like really good. Julia looked great, too, but as the rounds went on, Cyborg started dominating the fight and instilled her will on Julia. That’s the way I saw it, but in that first round anything could’ve happened, someone could’ve gotten caught, and you know, get a finish. “It was a great fight. It was really intense in there, and I’m proud of both ladies. Julia Budd is a great fighter. She’s someone who’s had the belt for a long time, and I think everybody can now see why. She’s gotten so much respect among her peers and fans.” Related Emotional Julia Budd: 'No excuses on my part' for title loss to Cris Cyborg at Bellator 238 Cris Cyborg reflects on historic fourth major championship won at Bellator 238: 'I feel blessed' On a potential rematch between Cris Cyborg and Julia Budd Cris Cyborg and Julia Budd at Bellator 238. (Dave Mandel, MMA Junkie) “That really depends on what happens in the next year. I think Julia, I haven’t talked to Julia, but I’m just assuming from knowing her that she’s going to want to come back and get busy. So if she gets on a tear and Cyborg keeps winning then maybe we’ll get it on again, but in this sport you never know.” On Cris Cyborg wanting a women’s featherweight grand prix “I think we have eight girls that are solid, but I’ll tell you what: After that performance, she’s going to be a tough fight for anybody in the weight class, so they better bring it, because she’s a beast, explosive, and she looked like she didn’t miss a beat in my opinion. That’s why I call her the greatest fighter of all time today in the female division, and I think you saw it with your own eyes today.” On Sergio Pettis’ successful Bellator debut Sergio Pettis submits Alfred Khashakyan at Bellator 238. (Dave Mandel, MMA Junkie) “I think he looked great. I think he’s right in that mix, because with (Kyoji) Horiguchi being out and DC (Darrion Caldwell) being in the (featherweight) tournament, we’re going to host a 135-pound championship (fight) at some point. But we’re going to wait and see how these guys perform over the course of two, three, four months, because we will be doing 30 (events) this year in 2020. “So well have a lot of opportunity for these guys to get some more fights under their belt, and we’ll probably host a 135-pound championship fight in some time.” On Darrion Caldwell’s quick submission win over Adam Borics “Caldwell surprised me. Let’s be honest: We thought that may work out the other way, but in a fight anything can happen. “I think that was one of the fights that could’ve maybe had a different outcome, but he went and did his thing. He wants to fight for that million dollars at the end of the year. The only thing I didn’t like was the backflip at the end off the cage. I think I’ve seen enough of that. I tell my guys, ‘Please, let’s just stop that.'” Related Darrion Caldwell focuses on A.J. McKee after quick Bellator 238 win over Adam Borics On boxing champion Ava Knight suffering her first MMA loss “Ava Knight had something to prove tonight. She fought a girl that had some great ground skills and beat her, so back to the drawing board. I know she’ll bounce back, train hard, and this is not an easy sport, as you all may know. “This is a difficult sport, so we wish her luck in training and maybe in three or four months we can have her back.” Voir l'article complet
  10. The first Bellator event of the year unfolded Saturday with Bellator 238, which went down at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., with a main card that streamed on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie. In the main event, Cris Cyborg (22-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) enhanced her legacy with another championship belt when she scored a fourth-round TKO of Julia Budd (13-3 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) to claim the women’s featherweight belt. The card also featured a quarterfinal bout in the ongoing Bellator featherweight grand prix, as well as some other notable results. For more on the numbers behind the card, check below for 30 post-event facts about Bellator 238. General Betting favorites went 4-2 on the main card (5-2 overall in fights where odds were available). Total fight time for the six-bout main card was 41:59. Main card Cris Cyborg Cyborg became the first in history to win titles in Bellator, UFC, Invicta FC and Strikeforce. Cyborg became the second in history to win titles in Bellator and UFC. Eddie Alvarez also accomplished the feat. Cyborg has earned 18 of her 22 career victories by knockout. Budd had her 11-fight winning streak snapped for her first defeat since November 2011. Budd has suffered all three of her career losses by stoppage. Budd suffered her first knockout loss since Jan. 7, 2011 – a span of 3,306 days (more than nine years) and 14 fights. Darrion Caldwell Darrion Caldwell (15-3 MMA, 12-2 BMMA) improved to 6-0 in Bellator featherweight competition. He’s 8-0 in the weight class during his career. Caldwell’s six-fight Bellator winning streak in featherweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind A.J. McKee (16). Caldwell’s six submission victories in Bellator competition are tied for second most in company history behind Goiti Yamauchi (seven). Adam Borics (14-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) had his 14-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career. Juan Archuleta (24-2 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) has earned four of his six Bellator victories by decision. Sergio Pettis Sergio Pettis (19-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) earned his first submission victory since Sept. 28, 2013 – a span of 2,311 days (more than six years) and 15 fights. Alfred Khashakyan (11-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) earned the first submission victory of his career. Raymond Daniels (2-1 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) improved to 2-0 since he returned to MMA competition from a nearly 11-year layoff in May. Daniels has earned both of his career victories by knockout. Jason King (8-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage. He’s suffered all those defeats by knockout. Emilee King (4-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) is on a four-fight winning streak after starting her career 0-4. Ava Knight (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) suffered the first loss of her career. Preliminary card Aaron Pico Aaron Pico (5-3 MMA, 5-3 BMMA) improved to 5-2 since he dropped to the featherweight division in September 2017. Pico has earned all of his career victories by knockout. Pico’s five knockout victories in Bellator featherweight competition are third most in divisional history behind A.J. McKee (six) and Patricio Freire (six). Adel Altamimi (8-7 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) has suffered six of his seven career losses by stoppage. Altamimi suffered the first submission loss of his career. Voir l'article complet
  11. The UFC made its sixth stop in North Carolina on Saturday with UFC on ESPN+ 24, which took place at PNC Arena in Raleigh with a 12-fight card that streamed on ESPN+. A new heavyweight contender was born in the main event when Curtis Blaydes (13-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) validated his resume by taking out a former UFC champ for the first time. The streaking contender beat Junior Dos Santos (21-7 MMA, 15-6 UFC) at his own game, scoring a second-round TKO to push his winning streak to three. For more on the numbers to come out of the main event, as well as the rest of the card, check below for 45 post-event facts to come out of UFC on ESPN+ 24. * * * * General Gallery UFC on ESPN+ 24: Official scorecards from Raleigh view 12 images The UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance payout for the event totaled $169,000. Debuting fighters went 2-2 at the event. Alex Perez, Herbert Burns, Brett Johns and Tony Gravely earned $50,000 UFC on ESPN+ 24 fight-night bonuses. UFC on ESPN+ 24 drew an announced attendance of 14,533 for a live gate of $1,303,320. Betting favorites went 9-3 on the card. Betting favorites improved to 2-0 in UFC headliners this year. Total fight time for the 12-bout card was 2:18:41. Main card Curtis Blaydes Blaydes’ three-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is tied for the second longest active streak in the division behind Jairzinho Rozenstruik (four). Blaydes has earned 10 of his 13 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his eight UFC victories. Blaydes failed to complete a takedown in victory for the first time in his UFC career. Dos Santos fell to 8-5 in UFC headliners. Dos Santos suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his career. Dos Santos has suffered six of his seven career losses by stoppage. Dos Santos has landed 1,075 significant strikes in UFC heavyweight competition, the most in divisional history. Michael Chiesa Michael Chiesa (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) improved to 3-0 since he moved up to the welterweight division in December 2018. Chiesa has completed at least one takedown against 13 of his 14 UFC opponents. Rafael dos Anjos (30-13 MMA, 18-11 UFC) fell to 1-4 in his past five fights dating back to June 2018. Dos Anjos fell to 4-4 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in June 2017. Dos Anjos has suffered all four of his UFC welterweight losses by decision. Dos Anjos’ total fight time of 6:43:11 in UFC competition is second most in company history behind Frankie Edgar (7:15:51). Jordan Espinosa (14-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered all four of his career stoppage losses by submission. Angela Hill Angela Hill’s (11-7 MMA, 6-7 UFC) six victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (nine) and Jessica Andrade (seven). Hill improved to 5-5 since she returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2017. Hill has earned all of her career stoppage victories by knockout. Hill’s two knockout victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with Jedrzejczyk for second most in divisional history behind Rose Namajunas (three). Hannah Cifers (10-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has suffered both of her UFC losses by knockout. Darko Stosic (13-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) fell to 1-3 since he dropped to the light heavyweight division in July 2018. He went 12-1 at heavyweight. Stosic has suffered all three of his UFC losses by decision. Preliminary card Arnold Allen Arnold Allen’s (16-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) seven-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division. Allen has earned five of his seven UFC victories by decision. Nik Lentz (30-11-2 MMA, 14-8-1 UFC) was unsuccessful in his return to the featherweight division. He fell 4-3 in the weight class. Justine Kish (7-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) improved to 1-1 since she moved up to the UFC flyweight division in January 2018. Kish has earned all three of his UFC victories by decision. Lucie Pudilova’s (8-6 MMA, 2-5 UFC) four-fight losing skid is the longest of her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since February 2018. Pudilova fell to 0-3 since she dropped to the UFC women’s flyweight division in February 2019. Pudilova has suffered five of her six career losses by decision. Montel Jackson (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) landed 11 takedowns in his victory, tied for the single-fight UFC/WEC bantamweight record. Felipe Colares (9-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision. Sara McMann Sara McMann’s (12-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC) six victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Amanda Nunes (11) and Raquel Pennington (seven). McMann has landed 20 takedowns in UFC women’s bantamweight competition, the most in divisional history. Johns (16-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) snapped his two-fight skid for his first victory since December 2017. Gravely (19-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage. Gravely has suffered all five of his career stoppage losses by submission. Burns (10-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned the first knockout victory of his career. Nate Landwehr (13-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career. UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript. Voir l'article complet
  12. INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Sergio Pettis might be considered a veteran at this point, but he’s still experiencing new things in his MMA career. The 26-year-old Milwaukee native, who’s been fighting professionally for close to a decade, made his Bellator debut on Saturday night after leaving the UFC late last year. Pettis (19-5 MMA, 1-0 Bellator) scored a technical submission win over Alfred Khashakyan on the main card of Bellator 238 at The Forum. Despite having many fights under his belt, Pettis felt the pressure of expectations that come with switching organizations. “Honestly, it was stressful,” Pettis told reporters in his post-fight scrum, which MMA Junkie attended. “I was trying to keep it cool the whole time, but I was stressed the hell out, (explicit) nervous, very nervous, whole new setting. “Even the whole walkout was different. I’m used to having my corner in the back talking me up, and they left to the cage, and I was like, ‘Damn, I’m by myself right now.’ This is so different, but it was fun. It was a cool night, man. I’m very happy.” Pettis competed for the UFC from 2013 to 2019. He compiled a record of 9-5 competing at flyweight and bantamweight there. The change from UFC to Bellator marks Pettis’ first switch of major organizations. Despite it being so stressful, Pettis still sees the experience as a positive. “It was definitely a lot different than what I was used to,” Pettis said. “I was in the UFC for six years, so things were ran different. Things were a little different, but it was good. Everybody was cool here, everybody was very welcoming and very nice to me, so big shout out to Bellator. Thank you, guys.” Apart from the obvious change of employers, Pettis; performance on Saturday was notable for other reasons. The Roufusport product got his first finish in seven years. “I got a highlight, finally,” Pettis said. “It’s been a while. My first finish in, (explicit), 12 fights, so it’s definitely humbling. “Those fights are fun. I prefer those fights. I think it brings out the better me, having someone trying to hurt me and knock me out makes me, I don’t know, something just came out of me tonight. It was different.” Voir l'article complet
  13. 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+ 24 event in Raleigh, N.C., who took advantage of their time on the mic? See below for this week’s Callout Collection – and just how realistic each one is. * * * * * First up, let’s take a look at the night’s prelim winners. Herbert Burns Wants to fight: Chase Hooper, Makwan Amirkhani or Ryan Hall The callout: “I’ll take on whoever is next, but there are a lot of guys I’d like to fight next: Chase Hooper, (Makwan) Amirkhani, Ryan Hall is looking for a dance partner. He says he has the best grappling in the division. Let’s see.” The reality: The UFC’s featherweight division is one of the most stacked weight classes in the promotion, and that means anyone coming off a solid win should have a variety of possible matchups waiting for him. Hooper is still very young in his career, and the UFC may look to slow-play him a little, so that may be less likely, but Herbert Burns’ mention of Ryan Hall is a fascinating one. Hall has made no secret of his frustration at not being able to find himself an opponent, and Burns will be confident in his own grappling against the noted heel-hook specialist. It would represent a solid next test for the “Dana White’s Contender Series” graduate, while also getting Hall back into action after a longer-than-intended layoff. I like it. Next up, let’s check out the main card. 1 2 Voir l'article complet
  14. Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For four athletes, Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 24 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 PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. * * * * * Jamahal Hill Division: Light heavyweight Result: Jamahal Hill def. Darko Stosic via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27) Record: 7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC Grade: C- Long and lean at 205 pounds with a slick southpaw jab, Jamahal Hill used his physical gifts to outpoint gritty grappler Darko Stosic over three rounds in the main-card opener, but his performance showed that the 28-year-old still has much to work on if he plans to make a dent in the UFC’s hard-hitting light heavyweight division. First, the positives: Hill showed a consistent, accurate jab and followed up with sharp, straight left hands to keep judoka Stosic at arm’s length for much of the bout as he landed more than 100 strikes. He also showed a decent gas tank and good athleticism as he comprehensively outstruck his opponent over the three-round duration. But while his strikes looked slick and his reflexes seemed sharp, the bout highlighted some technical issues that will certainly need attention as he looks to move up the ranks at 205 pounds. Hill carries his chin pretty high, and his low lead right hand leaves the door wide open for a left hand counter that a harder puncher than Stosic might have exploited. On the flip side, Trevor Wittman noted during the ESPN+ broadcast that Hill was tuned into his coaches’ instructions during the fight and was switching up his attack when called upon. That’s certainly a big positive for such a young fighter and shows he isn’t too caught up in the moment when he’s in the thick of the action. But he’ll need to tighten up his hands from a defensive perspective as he starts to face a higher class of opposition in the UFC. In conclusion, there’s plenty to work on, but there’s also plenty to be encouraged by. It might take a few fights and some noticeable improvements before he gets moved up in competition, but there’s certainly something to work with moving forward. 1 2 3 …4Voir l'article complet
  15. INGLEWOOD, Calif. — It was as impressive a statement as Darrion Caldwell could have possibly made in the quarterfinal round of the Bellator featherweight grand prix: Not only did he take the zero away from Adam Borics in his loss column, but he ran over him, submitting him with a rear-naked choke in less than half of a round on Saturday night. But Caldwell’s victory was barely in the books before he turned his attention to yet another undefeated fighter: A.J. McKee, whom Caldwell will face in the tournament’s semifinal round. “He’s good, he’s (16-0) for a reason,” Caldwell said at the Bellator 238 post-fight news conference at The Forum. “But like I said, I’m the guy that beat him. I’m the guy to beat ‘Pitbull.’ I’m going to be a champ at featherweight in 2020.” The manner in which Caldwell (14-3 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) earned his victory gave fans plenty of reason to anticipate his eventual showdown with McKee. The former Bellator bantamweight champion shot for the double, immediately improved his position when they hit the ground, and softened Borics up with strikes until the perfect moment arrived. “My body was right where I wanted it to be,” Caldwell said. “I think I opened him up with the elbows, forced him to give me the neck. So it was prefect; I’m taking those 0’s.” Related Cris Cyborg reflects on historic fourth major championship won at Bellator 238: 'I feel blessed' Bellator 238 results: Darrion Caldwell submits Adam Borics, advances in grand prix Twitter reacts to Darrion Caldwell's submission of Adam Borics at Bellator 238 While Caldwell is known to be a bit testy heading into his fight, he had kind words for a disconsolate Borics after the latter’s first career loss. “Adam is a great competitor,” Caldwell said. “14-0 is a hard feat, I didn’t even get to 14-0, so to do that is very difficult. So I just told him what he should really understand and really know this isn’t the end of him, you know? It’s only up from here. He just lost to a champion.” With that, Caldwell gets back to work. And while Caldwell went nose-to-nose with McKee in a post-fight staredown that saw neither fighter give an inch, Caldwell gives McKee his due. “It’s the same preparation, you know?” Caldwell asked. “Going in, laying the groundwork down early, and then attack it. He’s human. Everybody is beatable, and I proved that tonight. So at the end of the day, I’m going out there do my business, do my job. “Who knows? Every fight is different, yeah? You can’t really say his ground is flawed when he just got a slick-ass submission. So for me, it’s just about me. At the end of the day, it’s not about these guy it’s about me.” For more from Caldwell, watch the video above. Gallery Photos: Best of Bellator 238 prelims view 15 images Voir l'article complet

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