Tagged in: fight

UFC fight between lightweights Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon canceled again

The fight between a pair of UFC lightweight luminaries seems to be cursed.

For the second time, Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon has been canceled the day of the planned bout,. Lauzon had to withdraw because of a non-weight-cut-related medical issue, the promotion said. The contest was arranged as the UFC Austin co-main event Saturday night.

“So I’m not fighting Cowboy Cerrone tonight,” Lauzon said on Instagram. “The freakiest weirdest thing ever: I weigh-in officially, I got sit down, and I got to put my socks on, I turn my knee out, and my knee locks out.

“I’ve dealt with meniscus injuries on both knees, but this knee in particular, had it cleaned out a bunch of times, but when it does lock up, I can usually straighten out, it unlocks, totally fine, 100 percent, immediately. This time, I’m now surrounded by all the fighters, commission, Cowboy’s in the room, I’m trying not to make a scene and let people know there’s not a problem with my knee. Eventually, I end up hopping on one of my cornerman’s back, acted like I was choking him like we were joking, but I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t walk at all.”

Cerrone and Lauzon were supposed to fight at UFC 274 on May 7 in Phoenix, but that time Cerrone fell ill the morning of the fight, forcing a cancellation. Cerrone vs. Lauzon was first scheduled for April 30, but moved from that date and now it appears it will have to move again.

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Both men are among the most popular and exciting fighters at 155 pounds and closing in on their career twilight.

Cerrone (36-16, 2 NC) is winless in six consecutive fights and has not won since 2019. The 39-year-old New Mexico resident is tied for the most victories in UFC history with Jim Miller and Andrei Arlovski (23).

“Cowboy” also is tied for the most fight-night bonuses in UFC history with Charles Oliveira (19) and owns the second most finishes in the promotion ever (16).

Lauzon (28-15) is coming off a first-round TKO win over Jonathan Pearce in October 2019 and has not fought since. The 38-year-old Massachusetts-born fighter is tied with Nate Diaz for the second most fight-night bonuses in UFC history (15) and has the second most finishes in UFC lightweight history (13), behind Cerrone.

UFC Austin is headlined by a featherweight contender bout between Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett.

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Dmitry Bivol scores stunning unanimous decision victory over Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas

Dmitry Bivol, in one of the biggest boxing upsets in recent memory, scored a unanimous decision over the sport’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

All three judges scored the fight 115-113, but the fight wasn’t nearly that close. Still, Bivol needed to win the final rounds on all three cards to avoid a draw. Equally puzzling: All three judges scored the first four rounds for Alvarez.

The judges’ view aside, Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) was in control from the opening bell, as he used his size (including a 4-inch height advantage at 6 feet tall to the 5-foot-8 Alvarez), range and jab to keep his light heavyweight title in his ninth defense.

“I prove myself today, I’m the best [in my division],” said Bivol, who resides in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but didn’t have his national anthem played at a time when many of his countrymen are being barred from competing in major sporting events due to the war in Ukraine. “Eddie Hearn, sorry I broke your plans with Gennadiy Golovkin.”

The long-awaited trilogy fight between Alvarez and Golovkin, the biggest event boxing can deliver, was already signed for Sept. 17. Instead, Alvarez stated he plans to exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch.

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“It doesn’t end like this,” said Alvarez, who entered the ring rated No. 1 pound-for-pound by ESPN.

“No excuses, I lost today; he is a great boxer … I felt his power. He comes in and he goes out. He manages his distance really well.”

As Bivol said, “Rematch? No problem.”

The 31-year-old Bivol used beautiful footwork to circle away from Alvarez’s power shots and stay out of harm’s way during the early rounds, yet Bivol also stood his ground and fired three- and four-punch combinations that met the mark.

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) tore through the opposition at 168 pounds over the past 16 months and collected all four world titles to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship, but an attempt to regain a 175-pound title proved to be too much.

The defeat is Alvarez’s first since 2013, when he was just 23 and outclassed by Floyd Mayweather.

And like the all-time great, Bivol employed expert counterpunching set up by the jab to pile up rounds.

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer applied plenty of pressure and found some success on the inside, particular with a right uppercut he ripped through Bivol’s guard on occasion. But Alvarez wasn’t able to sustain his attack.

Bivol, ESPN’s No. 2 light heavyweight, was the far cleaner puncher throughout the fight. He caught many of Alvarez’s powerful shots on his gloves and arms, his left biceps swollen and red when the final bell rang.

“He beat my arm up but not my head,” said Bivol, who was a 4-1 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook. “He kept hitting me in the arms, and I kept hitting him in the face … I expect that. I watched the fight against Callum Smith.”

Alvarez had targeted Smith’s arm in an attempt to take away the jab and left the Englishman with a torn biceps in their December 2020 fight. Versus Bivol, the strategy didn’t work.

Bivol landed a surprising amount of flush shots — 152 connects to 84 — and Alvarez’s face was already red by the end of Round 1. Alvarez is used to being in control, but he often appeared frustrated, particularly down the stretch as the seconds ticked away on his impressive run at the top of the sport.

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Conor Benn eyes Yordenis Ugas fight after snubbing dinner request in Las Vegas

After turning down the opportunity to have dinner with Yordenis Ugas, Conor Benn hopes they can meet again in the ring later this year.

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs), 35, puts his WBA welterweight belt on the line versus WBC-IBF champion Errol Spence (27-0, 21 KOs), 32, in a world title unification fight at the AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, on Saturday. Just a few hours after, Benn continues his development against Chris van Heerden at the Manchester Arena, England.

Benn (20-0, 13 KOs), who was raised in Spain and Australia and moved to Essex, England, is the son of Nigel Benn — the world middleweight and supermiddleweight champion in the 1990s — and has made rapid progress over the last two years.

The 25-year-old travelled to Las Vegas recently for sparring, but claims Miami-based Cuban Ugas turned down the chance to spar him and instead invited him to dinner. “When I was out in Vegas recently, we tried to make the sparring with Ugas because me and Ugas speak,” Benn said.

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“He kept saying we would spar, he knows the score and knows what was going on but we ended up sparring [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and he had to get pulled out of the spar. Bearing in mind I wasn’t even in training camp but he had to get pulled out because he was beginning to get a bit of a pasting.

“Ugas was there and after he was inviting me out for dinner with him and his missus. I thought: ‘That’s a bit odd,’ I look at that and think ‘I fancy my chances.’ If he does beat Spence, which I believe is not likely, but it is a fight I’d love in the future.

“I didn’t take him up on dinner. I told him I was busy but as I was walking through the casino, I see him and his missus having food and I went over to say hello and thought ‘That couldn’t have gone anymore awkward really.’

“It’s not that we are from the same country or live the same lifestyle so I was thinking ‘Why does he want me to go to dinner?’ What are we going to do? Sit there and stare at each other. I found it very odd. I don’t know what his motive was.

“I would love to do it for real. I want to test myself against the best in the division. Every challenge they put in front of me I come through it. I’m top five in every governing body and No. 1 in Britain.”

Benn is closing in on a world title shot which he hopes to get later this year or in 2023, as long as he defeats California-based Van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs), a southpaw from South Africa.

Benn added: “I’ve done a lot of southpaw sparring and I love challenges, I love overcoming them. I think I have shown in my last few performances that I can beat any style put in front of me. I think I fill him in, to be honest. I’m prepared for a hard fight.”

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Kell Brook defeats Amir Khan in six rounds in nontitle catchweight bout at AO Arena

For years Kell Brook has insisted he has the beating of Amir Khan, and on Saturday he executed his game plan to perfection when he stopped his British rival in six rounds.

Brook troubled Khan with his power from the start before overwhelming him amid a furious, one-sided attack at the start of the sixth round to prompt a stoppage in a nontitle catchweight fight (149 pounds) just above the welterweight limit at the AO Arena.

Brook (40-4, 27 KOs), from Sheffield, who made three defenses of the IBF world welterweight title during a reign from 2014 to 2017, had Khan rocking in the first and fifth rounds, before relentless pressure in the sixth forced the stoppage.

Khan (34-6, 21 KOs), who was knocked out by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2016 when he jumped two weight classes to fight for the world middleweight title, was stopped on his feet, but defeat had looked inevitable for a while. Khan got out-landed 79-34 in total punches (64-19 in power punches), and just could not handle Brook’s power.

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After at least six years of serious attempts to make this clash between two bitter rivals who live about 50 miles apart, but whose paths have repeatedly missed each other, Brook celebrated wildly with his team in the ring after the stoppage.

“It was just a matter of time before I was getting him out of there,” Brook said.

“Those are the fights I wanted to be involved in when I walked into a gym as a kid. I knew from 18 years old I was a better fighter than him. He had the push and promoters behind him because he won an Olympic medal.”

Brook had to change gloves in the ring before the fight after a dispute about gloves and wraps, but Brook remained completely focused.

“They tried to get into my head,” Brook said.

When Brook looks back at his career, this might be his most satisfying and proud moment, and revives some hope he can remain in big fights.

For Khan, however, a sixth professional defeat might be enough to convince him to retire.

“I’ve had 40 fights, winning two world titles, fighting in America and around the world,” Khan said. “I need to sit down with my family. But it is more towards the end of my career. In the ring, I didn’t have excitement and that push. That’s maybe a sign that I should call it a day, but let’s see.”

Both 35-year-olds were in decline before their overdue meeting. Brook last held a world title in 2017, while Khan’s reign at junior welterweight ended in 2011.

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Charles Oliveira to defend title vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 in May, Dana White says

UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will seek his second title defense versus Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7, UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Wednesday.

The UFC is working on finalizing the 155-pound title fight shortly. The pay-per-view event now contains two title fights. Brazilian light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira will face Jiri Prochazka on the same date.

The UFC has not revealed an official venue. It had considered holding it in Brazil, but the card is now expected to take place in the U.S.

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Oliveira (32-8) is coming off a spectacular year in 2021.

The 32-year-old from Brazil won the vacant title by knocking out Michael Chandler in the second round of an exhilarating title fight in May, and finished off the calendar year with a comeback submission triumph over Dustin Poirier for his first title defense.

Gaethje (23-3) has been waiting for another crack at UFC gold since former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired in October 2020. Gaethje, of Arizona, challenged Nurmagomedov for the title in the final fight of Nurmagomedov’s career.

His record made him worthy of fighting for the vacant title right away, but he was forced to pick up one more win before earning the shot.

That win came versus Chandler in November at UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden, where Gaethje won the fight via decision.

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Deiveson Figueiredo edges past rival Brandon Moreno to reclaim featherweight title in trilogy bout

Mexican fans showed up in droves on Saturday to witness the UFC’s first Mexican-born champion, Brandon Moreno, defend his title for the first time. But by the slimmest of margins, Deiveson Figueiredo spoiled the party.

Figueiredo (21-2-1) reclaimed the 125-pound title he lost to Moreno (19-6-2) in August by defeating his rival in a unanimous decision. All three judges scored the flyweight title fight, which co-headlined UFC 270 inside the Honda Center, in favor of Figueiredo, 48-47.

Saturday’s result brings the rivalry to an even record of 1-1-1. The two fought to a draw in December 2020, before Moreno dominated Figueiredo in their second meeting. After losing by submission in the rematch, however, Figueiredo looked like a completely different fighter in the trilogy, as his cardio and mental preparation was obvious.

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“Today is my day,” Figueiredo stated. “For this moment, for Brandon, for us to give you the gift of a fight of the night, for everyone who was here. I’ve been away from my family for four months. I’m ready for a fourth fight against Brandon in Mexico.”

According to UFC Stats, Moreno outlanded Figueiredo 106-95 in total strikes.

But Figueiredo landed several devastating strikes, including a heavy right hand that knocked Moreno down, badly hurting him, at the end of the third round.

“I feel like I threw the better combinations with more speed, maybe he connected a little bit more power,” Moreno said. “Obviously, I thought I won, but it is what it is right now. I feel I was putting better pace on the fight. I don’t know. I need to watch the fight again and see what happened.”

The trilogy fight saw the best of both men. Moreno’s boxing and footwork were on display all night. He had great success with his left hook at the end of exchanges and was hard to track down in wrestling scrambles. Figueiredo answered with heavy low leg kicks that knocked Moreno off balance and powerful right hands.

Figueiredo left his native Brazil ahead of Saturday’s fight to train with former flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo in Arizona, and his adjustments clearly paid off. His patience was better, and his weight cut during fight week was noticeably improved from August.

Moreno’s popularity exploded after he acquired the belt. Saturday’s crowd was heavily in his favor and played a big role in the UFC setting a new gate record at the Honda Center. In the main event, Francis Ngannou fought Ciryl Gane for the UFC’s heavyweight championship.

The loss was Moreno’s first since May 2018.

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Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo 3 preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight elites Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo will collide for the third time this weekend at UFC 270 inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Though the record heading into their rubber match stands only slightly in favor of Moreno at 1-0-1, it’s impossible to deny that he has all the momentum. After all, the rematch saw the Mexican athlete put on a masterclass, a dominant showing in all areas of martial arts that seemingly sent Figueiredo packing to Bantamweight.

Instead, “Daico” stuck around, and when Alexandre Pantoja was unable to accept a title shot due to injury, Figueiredo was in prime position for a shot at retaking the belt.

Could this be his last fight at Flyweight one way or another? Perhaps, and Friday’s weigh-ins may be a spectacle to keep an eye on.

Moreno has been very good since he first joined the UFC roster, but his skills and confidence has exploded in the last 1.5 years.

The Flyweight king now possesses arguably the division’s sharpest jab, slick counter combinations, and his wrestling/grappling remain quite potent.

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Is there really any room for improvement based on the rematch?

In their second battle, Moreno immediately jabbed his adversary up, kept him swinging at air, and landed punishing shots from his back foot. He took him down, dropped him and choked him out.

The same tools Moreno found success with last time are likely to be available again here, as Figueiredo is 34 years old, deep into his professional career, and unlikely to full revamp his game in half a year. As such, it would be wise for Moreno to start quickly and keep momentum in his corner.

If Moreno starts the fight by blasting Figueiredo’s nose with stiff jabs and making him miss, it’ll really damage his opponent’s confidence, and the fight likely looks like a continuation of the rematch.

Figueiredo got beat up last time out, but that doesn’t mean the Brazilian sucks now. “Deus da Guerra” remains one of the division’s heaviest hitters, an all-offense fighter known for brutalizing opponents.

Seventeen finishes in 20 wins as a Flyweight is massive.

For as great as Moreno’s performance was in the rematch, Figueiredo’s was equally flat. The Brazilian never found his timing, tried to force exchanges, and ultimately didn’t look that upset when he lost. In short, it wasn’t his night, and “Daico” definitely has more to offer than he showed at UFC 263.

For Figueiredo, not chasing Moreno is the key. Due to the power in his hands, Figueiredo has grown accustomed to swinging big, and if he misses, most opponents pulled too far away to answer back.

Instead of hunting the knockout from the first bell, Figueiredo has to take his time and attack easier targets, notably the lead calf and torso.

If Figueiredo is cutting off the cage and looking to slow Moreno down with attritional damage, he’ll eventually get the brawl he wants.

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Claressa Shields’ anticipated bout with Ema Kozin moved to Feb. 5

The middleweight fight between Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Williams as well as the latest middleweight title defense for Claressa Shields are on the move again.

Shields tweeted Monday that her fight versus Ema Kozin will now take place on Feb. 5, a week after it was supposed to on Jan. 29.

This comes after Great Britain’s boxing commission suspended the sport for the month of January. On Saturday, the British Boxing Board of Control stated it was suspending boxing in the country based on advice from the organization’s medical panel.

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“Following advice from the British Boxing Board of Control Medical Panel, Boxing tournaments under the jurisdiction of the BBBofC will be suspended for the month of January,” a statement from Robert W. Smith, the BBBofC’s general secretary, said.

“A further review by the Medical Panel and Stewards will take place prior to the planned recommencement of Boxing in February.”

The Eubank-Williams fight was the highest-profile card affected in the country.

It’s also the second time the card has been moved because of the main event.

An injury to Williams (23-3-1, 18 KO) pushed back the fight versus Eubank (31-2, 23 KO) from its initial date on Dec. 11 to Jan. 29, taking Shields’ defense of her IBF, WBA and WBC titles against Kozin (21-0-1, 11 KO) with it.

Now the United Kingdom debut for Shields (11-0, 2 KO) — and her return to boxing after two consecutive fights in mixed martial arts — will have to wait another week.

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Amir Khan and Kell Brook close to secure fight deal set for Feb. 19

Amir Khan and Kell Brook are close to agreeing terms on a long-awaited, and almost forgotten, welterweight fight in Manchester on Feb. 19, according to BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom.

Shalom, the youngest licensed boxing promoter in the U.K., told ESPN the bitter British rivals are at advanced talks to stage a fight that has previously fallen through during negotiations.

“We are aiming for early next year, there are a few details still to confirm and it’s not been easy,” Shalom told ESPN.

“We [BOXXER] want to make a big investment in fights and we’ve got Josh Taylor versus Jack Catterall [Feb. 26] and Chris Eubank versus Liam Williams [date to be confirmed], but this is the biggest.”

Brook (39-3, 27 KOs), 35, from Sheffield, and Khan (34-5, 21 KOs), 34, from Bolton, could not agree terms in 2016 when both welterweights instead stepped up to middleweight for big fights.

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Brook has repeatedly called in vain for Khan to fight him and after recent world title setbacks the rivals are lastly close to agreement.

Shalom is close to matching them in what he has described as boxing’s biggest fight in the U.K. outside of the heavyweight division, which features WBC champion Tyson Fury and former WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua.

“Everyone says it should have happened three or four years ago but people said that about Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao and it still broke records,” Shalom said.

“Brook only fought for a world title last year, and it’s still a huge fight. They are both coming off world title fights, they are both younger than Mayweather and Pacquiao were when they fought each other, and hopefully it will be the biggest fight in the U.K. outside of the heavyweights.

“It’s going to help the sport grow. The U.K. needs this fight. The two of them hate each other and it’s been painful dealing with it, but we are very close.

“Where ever this fights ends up, this is going to be a monster of a fight.”

Both Brook and Khan have suffered defeats in recent fights, and both will have been out of the ring for over a year come fight night.

Brook suffered a broken eye socket in a fifth-round stoppage loss to Gennadiy Golovkin for the WBC and IBF world middleweight titles in 2016 and in his next fight suffered the same injury when he lost the IBF world welterweight title in a fourth defense to Errol Spence in an 11th round knockout.

Brook was stopped in the fourth round by American Terence Crawford, the WBO titleholder, in his last bout a year ago.

Crawford also stopped Khan in six rounds in April 2019, and Khan’s last fight was a four-round non-title stoppage victory over Billy Dib in July 2019. Khan, who will end a two-and-a-half year exile versus Brook, boldly stepped up to middleweight like Brook in 2016, only to get knocked out in the sixth round by the Mexican.

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Max Holloway edges Yair Rodriguez in bloody, back-and-forth UFC Fight Night main event

Yair Rodriguez, blood coming from several cuts on his face, pointed his finger and planted it in Max Holloway’s chest. Holloway, face swollen and bleeding from above his right eye, took his fist and patted it versus Rodriguez’s face.

Holloway’s legend continued Saturday with a unanimous-decision victory (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) over Rodriguez in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. And Rodriguez’s own lore leveled up after a warrior-like performance in a losing effort.

The back-and-forth bout, which ended up as one of the best of 2021, could have been a torch passing moment from Holloway, the former UFC featherweight champion, to the up-and-coming Rodriguez. Instead, Holloway, nicknamed “Blessed,” earned another huge victory in a historic career.

Rodriguez pushed Holloway to the brink, rallying with an elbow that cut Holloway in the fifth round. But Holloway held on.

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“If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best — and the best is ‘Blessed,’ baby,” Holloway said in his postfight interview.

Both fighters were taken to a hospital after the fight.

Holloway outlanded Rodriguez in important strikes 230-159, per UFC stats. The 389 combined significant strikes are the third largest total in a single fight in UFC history — and Holloway has been involved in each of the top four highest totals, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Holloway landed 251 total strikes, becoming the first fighter to eclipse 3,000 total strikes in a UFC career. His 2,848 significant strikes are also a UFC record. Holloway is the only fighter in history to have 25 UFC fights and never get knocked down.

“Insane,” UFC president Dana White said. “It was one of the best fights I’ve ever seen.”

Holloway is arguably the best featherweight in UFC history, holding the 145-pound title from 2017 to 2019 with three title defenses. ESPN has Holloway ranked tied for No. 9 in the world in its pound-for-pound MMA rankings. At featherweight, Holloway is ranked No. 2 and Rodriguez is No. 8.

“Max is an amazing fighter,” Rodriguez stated. “He has a lot of experience. He’s done an amazing job. I have nothing to do but accept [the loss].”

Afterward, Holloway was noncommittal about what he wants next. He mentioned a possible title fight at lightweight, another shot at the man who took the featherweight title from him in Alexander Volkanovski, and even being on “the short list” for a fight versus Conor McGregor, who beat Holloway in 2013.

“We’re ready whenever,” Holloway said.

Holloway, 29, owns the most wins (18), most KO/TKO wins (8) and most stoppage victories (10) in UFC featherweight history. Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC) was undefeated in three consecutive fights coming in and has just two losses in 10 UFC fights.

The Mexico native had not fought since a unanimous-decision victory over Jeremy Stephens in October 2019. Rodriguez, 29, owns the record for the latest knockout in UFC history, a spectacular back elbow finish of “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, with one second remaining in the fifth and final round in November 2018.

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