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  1. NASHVILLE – Stephen Thompson is the contender who has arguably benefited most from Kamaru Usman taking the UFC welterweight title away from Tyron Woodley. Thompson (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC), who returns from a 10-month layoff to fight Anthony Pettis (21-8 MMA, 8-7 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 6 headliner, believes a win wouldn’t put him far away from title consideration at 170 pounds. He twice failed to capture the gold from Woodley, but now that the belt has changed hands, his spirit is uplifted. “Having a new champion, I knew it was going to be better for my career,” Thompson told MMA Junkie. “Nobody wants to see Thompson vs. Woodley 3, and I kind of understood that. I would have to have two or three more fights before I even get that shot again. This, now that we’ve got a new champion, is going to be a faster way up. “The division has changed dramatically since the last time I fought. Got a new champion, Darren Till got knocked out by a guy that I’ve already beat. It’s up in the air. I’m ranked No. 4 right now, so any one of us could be fighting for that title again.” UFC on ESPN+ 6 takes place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The entire card streams on ESPN+. Thompson hasn’t fought since losing a competitive decision to Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 130 in May. He suffered a knee injury in the bout and has been working toward a comeback following surgery. Thompson wanted to fight sooner, but said he couldn’t find an opponent to accept a bout with him. That’s when ex-lightweight titleholder Pettis made a surprising callout of “Wonderboy,” and the matchup quickly materialized from there. “I just couldn’t get (a fight),” Thompson said. “I tried to fight Robbie Lawler, it didn’t happen. (Santiago) Ponzinibbio, Leon Edwards and nothing came to fruition. I was headed to Denver, Colo., for a snowboarding trip, and I took my phone off airplane mode and my phone was blowing up and I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ I saw Anthony Pettis called me out. I’m like, ‘Wow. Let’s get this thing happening.’ “I’ve always been a fan of Anthony Pettis because we have similar styles. I think this is going to be a fun fight. Definitely a fight for the fans.” On paper, the matchup with Pettis looks like it has serious potential for entertainment. Both men come from striking backgrounds and are highly diverse on the feet. Thompson said he thinks it will meet expectations. “This is definitely going to be a straight-up ninja fight,” Thompson said. “He’s very flashy, and I like to throw different angles and different kicks, too. So it’s going to be whoever is the best ninja that night. “I know he’s very crafty. He’s got good jiu-jitsu, good wrestling, and I’m prepared wherever the fight goes. I’m expecting and the fans are expecting just a barnburner, and that’s what we’re going to give them.” If Thompson wins at UFC on ESPN+ 6, he said he will be on the short list of potential title challengers. All signs point to Colby Covington getting the next shot at champ Usman, then the likes of Woodley and Ben Askren could be in the mix, as well. All those fighters come from wrestling backgrounds, and as a striking-based fighter, Thompson likes how he matches up with the best. “A lot of these guys have been wrestlers, and it’s something I’m used to,” Thompson said. “I do have a better striking game than any one of those guys. My goal is to be better all around, just be a better MMA fighter – not just be a better striker, but be an MMA fighter. So we’ve been working hard on my wrestling and jiu-jitsu, and especially my wrestling defense, to keep the fight standing to where I want it. I know these guys are high-level wrestlers, but it doesn’t bother me.” Although the belt is on his mind, Thompson already sees his next step after UFC on ESPN+ 6: a fight in his hometown of Greenville, S.C., where the UFC will visit for the first time on June 22 with UFC on ESPN+ 11. Having Thompson headline the card seems like a natural fit, and he’s hoping he can come out of the fight with Pettis unscathed so he can make the quick turn. “I hope I’m coming out of this fight uninjured, no hurt feet or hands or anything like that, and be able to fight again three months later,” Thompson said. “I got some guys in mind I’ve been wanting to fight for a long time. Lawler, RDA; I think that would be a good fight for my hometown.” For more on UFC on ESPN+ 6, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. Voir l'article complet
  2. Gallery Photos: Best of Kevin Lee view 10 images A welterweight clash between former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee will headline the UFC’s first trip to Rochester, N.Y. UFC officials on Wednesday told the Democrat and Chronicle that the 170-pound bout will serve as the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 9, which streams live on ESPN+ from Blue Cross Arena on May 18. Dos Anjos is currently ranked No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports MMA welterweight rankings, while Lee sits at No. 5 in the lightweight list. However, after having difficulty cutting down to the division’s 155-pound limit in a pair of recent outings, Lee now moves up to 170 pounds for the first time in his UFC career. Related UFC lightweight Kevin Lee 'done playing around,' says coaching changes on the way Dos Anjos returns to action for the first time since falling short to current UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman in a No. 1 contender fight last November. He’ll now face Lee, who challenged unsuccessfully for an interim UFC title in October 2017. Since that setback, Lee earned an impressive TKO win over fellow top contender Edson Barboza before losing a heartbreaking decision to Al Iaquinta this past December. With the addition to the card, the UFC on ESPN+ 9 lineup now includes: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Kevin Lee Sijara Eubanks vs. Aspen Ladd Zak Cummings vs. Trevin Giles Grant Dawson vs. Mike Trizano Patrick Cummins vs. Ed Herman For more on UFC on ESPN+ 9, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. Gallery Photos: Best of Rafael dos Anjos view 99 images Voir l'article complet
  3. Bellator 218 takes place Friday at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The main card airs on Paramount and streams on DAZN. Prelims stream on MMA Junkie. In the headliner, featherweights Emmanuel Sanchez (17-4 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) and Georgi Karakhanyan (28-8-1 MMA, 6-6 BMMA) meet in a rematch of their January 2017 affair at Bellator 170. Sanchez was originally expected to compete in the night’s main event against Ashleigh Grimshaw, who was forced to withdraw due to injury. In stepped Karakhanyan, who looks to avenge a majority decision loss in the pair’s first meeting. What are the keys to victory for each fighter the second time around? Watch the video above to hear the MMA Junkie Radio crew’s breakdown and predictions. For more on Bellator 218, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site. Voir l'article complet
  4. Do you think Dana White is more a Thin Mints man, or a Tagalong kind of guy? We’ll find out soon, it seems, as the UFC president just committed to buying 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Michelle Waterson’s daughter, Araya. White took to social media to reveal he’d been hit with “the cutest sales pitch I’ve ever seen in my life!!!” and was ready to shell out $4,000 for the annual fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of the USA. This is the cutest sales pitch I’ve ever seen in my life!!! This is @karatehottiemma’s daughter. I’m going to buy 1000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies!!! pic.twitter.com/rWbuLFwtRw — Dana White (@danawhite) March 20, 2019 So take note, fighters – the next time negotiations for your next fight aren’t going so well, don’t ask your manager to handle something your daughter could probably accomplish with a properly rehearsed cell-phone video. Waterson (16-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) returns to action at next week’s UFC on ESPN 2 event in Philadelphia, where she takes on Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). “The Karate Hottie,” who sits as an honorable mention in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA women’s strawweight rankings, looks to move up the list against No. 6 Kowalkiewicz. Prior to the fight, Waterson and her daughter will be featured as part of an ESPN “E:60” profile entitled “Cage Mom.” You can check out a preview of the feature in the video above. Here’s how ESPN describes the episode: Eight years ago, Michelle Waterson was still in the early stages of her professional MMA career when UFC president Dana White famously declared that no women would ever fight for the UFC. Around that same time, she learned that she was going to have a baby. But instead of ending her career, baby Araya gave Waterson the one thing she didn’t realize she was missing: a reason to fight. Today, Waterson, known as the Karate Hottie, is the UFC’s ninth-ranked strawweight, and she’s among six fighters who are mothers to crack the top ten. She sat down with E:60’s Tisha Thompson to talk about how she balances motherhood and her professional fighting career and why she has decided to allow her now eight-year-old daughter to watch every one of her fights, no matter how gruesome they can be. For more on UFC on ESPN 2, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. 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
  5. Both the New York State Athletic Commission and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency have confirmed that T.J. Dillashaw failed a drug test. Just what that he tested positive for, though remains a mystery. Dual statements from the regulators revealed little information about the substance that caused an adverse finding for Dillashaw (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC), who this morning announced the unfortunate news and his decision to relinquish the UFC bantamweight title. According to USADA, the in-competition test window starts noon the day prior to a fight and ends after post-bout samples are collected. The agency’s stance on Dillashaw reflects new rules on the reporting of potential violations in the UFC’s anti-doping program. This past September, the promotion said it would no longer announce potential violations before the conclusion of a particular case. UFC executives believed the delay would guard against fighters unfairly being branded cheaters. Earlier today, NYSAC officials confirmed Dillashaw has been suspended one year – retroactive to his Jan. 19 title fight against flyweight champ Henry Cejudo (13-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) – and fined $10,000 for “violations relating to use of a prohibited substance,” the commission said in a statement, declining further comment. The UFC has yet to weigh in on Dillashaw’s move to vacate the belt. The now ex-champion had pushed hard for a rematch with Cejudo after a first-round TKO stoppage he felt was premature. Cejudo, meanwhile, had lobbied to put the bantamweight belt on the line in the rematch. Contenders such as Marlon Moraes, Pedro Munhoz and Aljamain Sterling sat in limbo with no direction announced by the promotion. Dillashaw’s conquest for Cejudo’s flyweight title was documented extensively. Although many MMA observers expressed concern over his physical appearance during his training camp, he made weight through a rigorous diet and exercise program. News of the adverse finding marks the first time Dillashaw has been accused of cheating after repeated accusations by his ex-teammate and two-time opponent, former champ Cody Garbrandt. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 1, check out the UFC Events section of the site. Voir l'article complet
  6. On Saturday, the UFC makes its return to Tennessee after nearly two years away with UFC on ESPN+ 6, which takes place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and streams on ESPN+. A welterweight fight with great potential for excitement headlines the card as perennial contender Stephen Thompson (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) returns to competition after 10 months on the sidelines to take on former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis (21-8 MMA, 8-7 UFC), who competes in his third UFC weight class. For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s fifth fight card in Nashville, check below for 45 pre-event facts about UFC on ESPN+ 6. * * * * Main event Thompson competes in his sixth UFC headliner. He’s 3-2 in previous main events. Thompson is 1-2-1 in his past four fights dating back to November 2016. Thompson’s nine knockdowns landed in UFC welterweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Thiago Alves (13), Jake Ellenberger (11) and Tyron Woodley (10). Thompson’s five knockout victories since 2012 in UFC welterweight competition are second most in the division behind Matt Brown (seven). Thompson’s five fight-night bonuses since 2012 for UFC welterweight bouts are tied for third most in the division behind Erick Silva (seven) and Brown (six). Thompson has suffered all three of his career losses by decision. Pettis moves up to the welterweight division for the first time in his 22-fight UFC/WEC career. He’s also competed at lightweight and featherweight. Pettis has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights. He lost his most recent bout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 229. Pettis is 3-6 in his past nine UFC appearance dating back to when he lost the UFC lightweight title in March 2015. Pettis is the only fighter in UFC history to win consecutive UFC lightweight title fights by submission. Pettis’ nine stoppage victories in UFC/WEC lightweight competition are tied for fifth most in divisional history behind Donald Cerrone (14), Nate Diaz (12), Joe Lauzon (12) and Jim Miller (10). Pettis’ five submission victories from a bottom position in UFC/WEC competition are tied with Nate Diaz for most in combined company history. Co-main event Curtis Blaydes (10-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage. Blaydes completes 55.9 percent of all his takedown attempts in UFC heavyweight competition, the highest rate among active fighters in the weight class. Blaydes’ takedown rate of 6.75 per 15 minutes of fighting is highest in UFC heavyweight history and second highest overall in company history behind Gregor Gillespie (7.44). Blaydes’ 33 takedowns landed in UFC heavyweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Cain Velasquez (34). Blaydes’ 10 takedowns landed against Mark Hunt at UFC 221 tied the record for second most in a single UFC heavyweight fight behind Velasquez’s 11 takedowns landed at UFC 155. Justin Willis’ (8-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is tied with Daniel Cormier for the longest active streak in the division. Willis is one of three heavyweights in UFC history to earn knockouts stemming from a knee and an elbow strike. Tai Tuivasa and Cheick Kongo also accomplished the feat. Willis has earned three of his four UFC victories by decision. Remaining main card John Makdessi (16-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) is one of six fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a spinning back fist. He accomplished the feat at UFC 129. Makdessi defends 71.4 percent of opponent significant strike attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the second highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Desmond Green (71.5 percent). Makdessi defends 86.8 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the third best among active fighters in the weight class behind Donald Cerrone (88.9 percent) and Mairbek Taisumov (87.5 percent). Jussier Formiga’s (22-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) competes in his 13th UFC flyweight bout, the fifth most appearances in divisional history behind Demetrious Johnson (15), Joseph Benavidez (15), John Moraga (14) and Dustin Ortiz (14). Formiga’s three-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Henry Cejudo (four) and Deiveson Figueiredo (four). Formiga’s eight victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Johnson (13) and Benavidez (12). Formiga’s three submission victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Johnson (five). Formiga defends 85.2 percent of all opponent takedown attempts in UFC flyweight competition, the second highest rate in divisional history behind Ian McCall (90 percent). Deiveson Figueiredo’s (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) 15-fight MMA winning streak is the longest of any fighter in the UFC flyweight division. Figueiredo’s four-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is tied with Cejudo for the longest active streak in the division. Figueiredo has earned 13 of his 15 career victories by stoppage. All three of his UFC finishes are by knockout. Luis Pena (3-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) drops to the UFC featherweight division after spending his previous octagon appearances at lightweight. Steven Peterson (17-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights. He won his most recent bout at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale in July. Maycee Barber (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), 20, is the youngest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event. Barber moves up to the UFC women’s flyweight division after making her promotional debut at strawweight. J.J. Aldrich (7-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) moves up to the UFC women’s flyweight division after spending her previous four octagon appearances at strawweight. Aldrich has earned all three of her UFC victories by decision. Preliminary card Bobby Moffett (14-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned his past three victories by submission using the Brabo choke. That includes his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 139. Frankie Saenz (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), 38, is the oldest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event. Saenz has earned all five of his UFC victories by decision. Alexis Davis (19-8 MMA, 6-3 UFC) is 1-1 since she dropped to the UFC flyweight division in December 2017. Randa Markos (8-6-1 MMA, 4-5-1 UFC) competes in her 11th UFC strawweight bout, tied with Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the most appearances in divisional history. Markos has completed at least one takedown against nine of her 10 UFC opponents. Markos and Marina Rodriguez fought to the first draw in UFC strawweight history at UFC Fight Night 137 in September. Angela Hill (8-5 MMA, 3-5 UFC) is 2-3 since she returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2017. Hill’s two knockdowns landed in UFC strawweight competition are tied with Rose Namajunas for most in divisional history. For more on UFC on ESPN+ 6, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript. Voir l'article complet
  7. Stream or download Tuesday’s episode of MMA Junkie Radio with guests Marlon Vera and Angela Hill. UFC bantamweight “Chito” Vera meets Frankie Saenz at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 6 event, while strawweight Hill faces Randa Markos on the same card. Stream or download the entire episode over at AudioBoom.com, or watch a replay in the video above. Voir l'article complet
  8. LONDON – UFC light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa knows when he wants to fight. He just doesn’t know who will stand on the other side of the cage. But for the man known as “Poster Boy,” the name doesn’t really matter. “There’s loads of new contenders in light heavyweight, so I’m good to go,” Manuwa recently told reporters, including MMAjunkie. “That’s what happens. There’s always new fighters coming through. It’s great for the sport.” Manuwa last saw action in December, suffering a disappointing knockout loss to one such new name, Thiago “Marreta” Santos. The English slugger has been sidelined since then but says he’s healing from a groin injury at a promising rate and now eyes June 1’s UFC on ESPN+ 10 as the perfect card to host his return. “We’re getting there, getting fit,” Manuwa said. “I think I’m aiming for the June card in Sweden.” A perennial contender at 205 pounds, Manuwa’s recent three-fight slide has seen him drop to No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA light heavyweight rankings. But the Brit believes he’s capable of beating anyone in the division and mentioned names such as No. 5 Dominick Reyes and No. 11 Johnny Walker as intriguing new arrivals to the division. “With the light heavyweights, I think with the top-10, top-15, anyone can beat anyone,” Manuwa said. To hear more from Manuwa, check out the video above. For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, including UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. Voir l'article complet
  9. Like a little pre-fight banter, but feeling a little burned out on the intense brand of trashtalk that has become all the rage in MMA? Roxanne Modafferi (22-15 MMA, 1-3 UFC) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) may be the fight for you. The contest takes place at next month’s UFC on ESPN+ 7, which is scheduled for April 20 at Yubileyniy Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia. Former title challenger Modafferi is ranked No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA women’s flyweight rankings, while the undefeated Shevchenko appears primed to make an impact in the rankings following her impressive UFC debut. But you want a little flavor in your matchups, right? Well, Modafferi recently took to social media to get the discussion started. No stranger to cosplay, Modafferi used the upcoming feature film “Avengers: Endgame” as inspiration. Tune in for Roxy vs Antonina Shevchenko @AntoninaPantera April 20th in UFC Fight Night, St. Petersburg, Russia…. #ufc #captainAmerica #ufcstpetersburg @ufc @espnmma pic.twitter.com/AeFmdgc6N1 — Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) March 11, 2019 While Shevchenko hasn’t been terribly outspoken through her brief octagon run, “La Pantera” decided she couldn’t let it go – even offering a prediction of a first-round finish in their clash. Super hero?@Roxyfighter I got things simple. I will send you to sleep in first round and go to drink tea with friends!pic.twitter.com/31a8jZBojH — Antonina Shevchenko (@AntoninaPantera) March 17, 2019 While Modafferi isn’t one to engage in much trashtalk – she is “The Happy Warrior,” after all – the Syndicate MMA fighter offered her take on the matchup. The fight will definitely end in the first round, but not the way you think. I wanna go to my dad’s retirement party the next week without a mark on my face. @ufc @espnmma #ufc https://t.co/5kcgM9ib0Y — Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) March 17, 2019 It’s no “three piece with a soda,” but “tea with friends” and “my dad’s retirement party” might be more your speed. For more on UFC on ESPN+ 7, check out the UFC Rumors section the site. 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
  10. With this morning’s shocking development that UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw was ‘voluntarily relinquishing’ his title, the 135-pound title will now be up for grabs. So who should get their shot at the belt? We take a look at the options below, ranging from the highly likely to the slightly bizarre. Take a look at our thoughts, and offer yours in the comments below. Check out the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA bantamweight rankings, as well, if you’re looking for a little inspiration in terms of potential matchups. Marlon Moraes Marlon Moraes Marlon Moraes (22-5-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) absolutely has to be involved in any bantamweight title fight should the promotion care about legitimacy in terms of a fighter claiming the vacant belt and being considered a true champion. The former WSOF bantamweight champion came to the promotion in 2017 and promptly lost a hotly contested split-decision to Raphael Assuncao at UFC 212 – a bout that 16 out 17 tracked media outlets scored for Moraes, according to MMADecisions.com. Since that time Moraes has earned four wins over legitimate contenders, including Assuncao in a rematch, and earned three “Performance of the Night” bonuses. In short, the “Magic” man is the leader in the clubhouse. Henry Cejudo Henry Cejudo UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo (14-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) has certainly enjoyed a front-row seat for the drama that has unfolded, as it was his belt that was on the line when Dillashaw dropped down for an opportunity at champ-champ status, only to be rebuked in a mere 32 seconds. While Dillashaw had called for a rematch at flyweight, it made more sense for Cejudo to move up to 135 pounds and take his shot at a second belt. Of course, with Dillashaw no longer involved, Cejudo may want to focus on keeping the flyweight division around – which has seemed anything but a certainty – by defending his belt at 125 pounds. Cejudo and Moraes also share a manger in Dominance MMA’s Ali Abdelaziz, so the team may collectively decide it’s better to avoid a fight. But if Cejudo wants his shot at becoming .a double champ, he’s certainly done enough to earn the call. Aljamain Sterling Aljamain Sterling It wasn’t long ago that the Aljamain Sterling (17-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) hype train seemed well on its way to complete derailment. A pair of split-decision losses to Raphael Assuncao and Bryan Caraway were disappointing setbacks, but a 67-second knockout loss to Marlon Moraes in December 2017 was a true crushing blow. But since then, “The Funk Master” has battled back with a victory over a previously undefeated Brett Johns, turned in a “Submission of the Year” win over Cody Stamann and put together perhaps his most complete victory to date a dominant decision win over Jimmie Rivera. Perhaps a rematch with Moraes and a shot at redemption – along with a UFC title – could pique fans’ interests. John Lineker John Lineker While John Lineker (31-8 MMA, 12-3 UFC) spent the early part of his UFC career trying to convince the world (and maybe himself) that he was a flyweight, “Hands of Stone” has seen his career flourish since moving up to 135 pounds. Lineker hasn’t fought since May, after a pair of previously scheduled contests fell through, but he currently stands at an incredible 8-1 in his past nine appearances, with the only loss during that time coming to Dillashaw. With his propensity to stand and bang, Lineker is one of the division’s most exciting fighters, and a clash with Moraes could produce a very violent start to a new champion’s title run. Pedro Munhoz Pedro Munhoz He may be a bit of a wild card, but Pedro Munhoz (18-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) has certainly earned a right to be part of the discussion, as well. “The Young Punisher” was in action earlier this month and secured a thrilling first-round knockout over former champ Cody Garbrandt, earning a “Fight of the Night” bonus in the process. With such a recent victory on which to lean, Munhoz could certainly put his hand in the air, as he did following that big win. But the body of work is far deeper than just that victory over “No Love,” with Munhoz standing at 7-1 in his past eight appearances and boasting three “Performance of the Night” wins in that stretch. Raphael Assuncao Raphael Assuncao OK, listen, it’s a stretch since he was submitted by Marlon Moraes in his most recent octagon appearance, but Raphael Assuncao (27-6 MMA, 11-3 UFC) has been chasing a title shot since his arrival in the UFC in 2011. Ever the company man, Assuncao has taken fights against the best in the world, even when it wasn’t always in his best interest. With a pair of fights (including a win) already under his belt against Moraes, perhaps a trilogy fight between two Brazilians for the vacant title could be an easy sell. Assuncao also boasts a previous win over Dillashaw that he could use to bolster his case. Kyoji Horiguchi Kyoji Horiguchi You may have stopped paying attention since he moved back to Japan, but Kyoji Horiguchi (26-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) hasn’t lost since his infamous 2015 UFC title shot against Demetrious Johnson. In fact, the American Top Team product now boasts an 11-fight winning streak and is the Rizin FF bantamweight champion. When’s the trade deadline, again? Petr Yan Petr Yan I mean, this absolutely isn’t going to happen, but Petr Yan (12-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) did volunteer for the assignment, and I’ll watch this guy fight anyone. For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. Voir l'article complet
  11. Bellator Europe’s sophomore effort continues to fill out, and a highly touted prospect now has an opponent, while a Bellator Kickboxing champ will try his hand at MMA for the first time in more than a decade. Bellator officials today announced that undefeated middleweight Fabian Edwards (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) will face Portuguese newcomer Falco Neto (11-9 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), while Bellator Kickboxing welterweight title holder Raymond Daniels (0-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will make his Bellator MMA debut against Jon Durrant (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at Bellator Europe 2, which takes place May 4 at Resorts World Arena in Birmingham, England. The card is expected to stream on DAZN in North America. Edwards made his professional debut under the Bellator banner with a May 2017 first-round knockout. He then racked up four more stoppage wins under the BAMMA banner before returning to Bellator for the promotion’s first Bellator Europe card, picking up a decision win over Lee Chadwick in February. He now meets Portugal’s Neto, who makes his promotional debut. “Telelo” has earned nine of his 11 career wins via stoppage, including seven by knockout. Meanwhile, Daniels is known as one of Bellator Kickboxing’s most entertaining athletes and now returns to an MMA cage for the first time since a 2008 submission loss under the Strikeforce banner. He takes on Durrant, who makes his professional debut. With the additions to the card, the Bellator Europe 2 lineup now includes: MAIN CARD Brent Primus vs. Tim Wilde Derek Campos vs. Ryan Scope Fabian Edwards vs. Falco Neto Raymond Daniels vs. Jon Durrant PRELIMINARY CARD Aiden Lee vs. Saul Rogers Brian Moore vs. Binh Son Le Domingos Barros vs. Rob Beech Lee Chadwick vs. James Mulheron Giorgio Pietrini vs. Jim Wallhead David Khalsa vs. Dominique Wooding Ashley Reece vs. Craig Turner Kane Mousah vs. Mateusz Piskorz Corey Beldon vs. Akonne Wanliss Daniel Cassell vs. John Nicholls For more on Bellator Europe 2, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site. Voir l'article complet
  12. Check out these photos of T.J. Dillashaw through the years Voir l'article complet
  13. T.J. Dillashaw has announced plans to vacate the UFC bantamweight title as he deals with an issue with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) following his January loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN+ 1. Dillashaw (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) today revealed on social media that an “adverse finding” came out of a test taken in conjunction with the fight against UFC flyweight champion Cejudo (13-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), which took place Jan. 26 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Neither USADA nor NYSAC officials were immediately available for comment when contacted by MMAjunkie. As a result of the situation, and while he deals with the process, Dillashaw, 33, says he will be giving up his UFC title (via Instagram): Dillashaw did not reveal the substance that brought up the adverse test but made it clear he intends on investigating the matter with his team and working with USADA and the NYSAC. The fight with Cejudo marked Dillashaw’s first career contest at 125 pounds after competing is entire career at 135. The UFC on ESPN+ 1 matchup was Dillashaw’s attempt at becoming one of just a handful of fighters to simultaneously hold belts in two different weight classes. However, an early Cejudo barrage saw the fight called off in just 32 seconds. A disappointed Dillashaw didn’t approve of the quick stoppage and had been campaigning for a rematch, though Cejudo had countered with an offer to come up to 135 pounds and compete for that title, give him a shot at history. Although he has never previously failed a doping test, Dillashaw was repeatedly accused of being a cheater by former Team Alpha Male teammate Cody Garbrandt ahead of their UFC 217 title fight in November 2017. For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 1, check out the UFC Events section of the site. Gallery Henry Cejudo def. T.J. Dillashaw at UFC on ESPN+ 1: Best photos view 12 images Voir l'article complet
  14. LONDON – Joanne Calderwood is 2-0 since moving to the UFC women’s flyweight division, and she insists it’s no accident. Spending her days split between training at Las Vegas’ Syndicate MMA and the UFC Performance Institute, Calderwood believes she’s taking her career seriously for the first time, and she’s reaping the rewards of her invested effort, even she hasn’t reached her ultimate goal just yet. “I feel like my strawweight body wasn’t good,” Calderwood recently told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “I was kind of skinny-lean, so it wasn’t good. I feel like now, each camp, it’s getting better and better. I can see changes in my body, so I know it’s not going to be – obviously I wanted it to be the first camp. I wanted it to be like, ‘Oh, she actually looks like a fighter, but it’s taken, like – well, I’ve still not got the body I want, so maybe next camp. But I know it’s going to take some time.” Still, it’s hard to deny the quality of Calderwood’s performances. A surprising submission win over Kalindra Faria was followed by an impressive decision over Ariane Lipski, washing away the frustration of back-to-back losses to Cynthia Calvillo and Jessia Andrade. Calderwood said her confidence has improved right alongside her fighting skills, and she thinks that “JoJo 2.0” is a very real entity. “I wasn’t honest with myself (earlier in my career),” Calderwood said. “I was just kind of winging it and going with he flow. For a professional athlete, you shouldn’t be doing that. You need all the help you can get, and you need to invest in yourself – your body and your mind – because at the end of the day, that’s the tool you’re taking in with you.” Calderwood (13-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) had a big opportunity up next, taking on Katlyn Chookagian (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) at UFC 238, which takes place June 8 at United Center in Chicago. With Calderwood currently ranked No. 14 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA women’s flyweight rankings and Chookagian at No. 6, it has real meaning in the division, especially since it takes place on a card that sees current champ Valentina Shevchenko put her belt on the line against Jessica Eye. Calderwood said UFC President Dana White advised her to stay ready to move up the bill, and the Scottish striker said she’ll oblige. Related Jessica Eye sees weaknesses in champ Valentina Shevchenko, won't be 'a pushover' at UFC 238 Megan Anderson wants UFC 238 spot, heard UFC is 'finally starting to sign some featherweights' After all, Calderwood believes her tool is now as sharp as ever – though she joked there may be one more investment to make before the fight. “I know (Chookagian) is an awkward fighter – oh yeah, and a noisy one because when she fights, she’s all ‘ish, ish, ish,’ so I feel like I have to be better than that, maybe go in with a mic or something,” Calderwood said with a smile. “But yeah, I just see it being a real – I”m going to bite down on my gumshield and go after it.” For more from Calderwood, check out the video above. And for more on UFC 238, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site. Gallery Photos: Joanne Calderwood through the years Voir l'article complet
  15. Check out these photos of UFC Octagon Girls, Bellator ring card girls and more MMA personalities who remind us what round it is. Voir l'article complet

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