Tagged in: fighters

Rafael Fiziev continues hot run in fifth-round KO of ex-champ Rafael dos Anjos

Rafael Fiziev proved to be one step ahead of Rafael dos Anjos over the course of four lightweight rounds on Saturday. And then in the fifth, he put the former champion away for good measure.

Fiziev (12-1) kept his ascent of the UFC’s lightweight rankings with a blistering, left hook knockout 18 seconds into the final round. The victory, which headlined UFC Fight Night inside the Apex, extended Fiziev’s win streak to six. After the fight, Fiziev, who is notorious for his refusal of calling out any future champion, called for tennis’ superstar Rafael Nadal.

“Now we know who the best Rafael is in the UFC,” Fiziev said. “Now we know, and now I want to make a challenge: Who is the best Rafael in the sport? Rafael Nadal, come here.”

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Fiziev, 29, might not be comfortable calling other fighters out, but he has no issue when it comes to facing them in the cage.

His performance on Saturday was efficient and violent, as it has been throughout his career.

Representing the country of Azerbaijan, Fiziev worked dos Anjos’ body with kicks and boxing combinations throughout all five rounds. Dos Anjos came out aggressive in the fifth, which played directly into Fiziev’s hands. Referee Mark Smith stopped the fight as soon as Fiziev connected the left.

In addition to landing the harder strikes on the feet, Fiziev showcased tremendous takedown defense. Dos Anjos, who had been 2-0 since returning to lightweight from welterweight, has shown in his career he will exploit an opponent’s weakness on the ground if there is one.

The Brazilian veteran tried to get Fiziev to the floor, but converted just 2-of-16 takedown attempts, according to UFC Stats.

“I looked at a finish all rounds,” Fiziev said. “Who said he would take me down and submit me? How many times he take me down? One time? No problem. I stand up.”

Fiziev has now recorded knockouts in three of his six UFC wins, including three of his last four. His victims include very respected names in the division: dos Anjos, Brad Riddell and Renato Moicano. According to the UFC’s official rankings, dos Anjos went into Saturday as the No. 7 ranked lightweight. Fiziev was ranked No. 10.

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Nevada extends suspensions of 4 UFC fighters

Four UFC fighters had temporary suspensions extended Wednesday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

Jamahal Hill, Tim Elliott, Luis Pena and Marc-Andre Barriault failed in-competition drug tests in relation to their last fights in Nevada. Upon the results coming back, the four fighters were temporarily suspended.

On Wednesday, the commission extended those suspensions at its monthly meeting. The suspensions will be in effect until the athletes can have disciplinary hearings when the length of the suspensions and any other discipline — like fines — will be determined.

Hill, Elliott and Peña tested positive for cannabis. Barriault tested positive for the banned substance ostarine, a performance-enhancer in the family of selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). It is projected that the four fighters will have disciplinary hearings at the NSAC meeting next month.

The most recent NSAC suspensions for marijuana have been for nine months. Cannabis is prohibited in-competition by the NSAC over a threshold of 150 ng/ml.

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The commission can suspend a fighter for ostarine use anywhere between nine months and two years.

Barriault overpowered Oskar Piechota via second-round TKO at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov on June 20. With his failed drug test, Barriault is facing that victory being overturned to a no contest.

Hill, an unbeaten light heavyweight prospect, defeated Klidson Abreu by first-round TKO at UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns on May 30. Peña fell to Khama Worthy by third-round submission at UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker on June 27. All the bouts took place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

The four UFC fighters could also face discipline from USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner.

Also Wednesday, the NSAC came to an adjudication agreement with PFL fighter Glaico Franca, suspending him for nine months and fining him $3,500 for failing a drug test for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol last October in relation to his PFL playoff fight with David Michaud.

Franca’s suspension already expired July 12. The adjudication agreement delay was due to Franca having issues having his dietary supplements tested in his native Brazil and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Jones teases multiyear holdout, expects UFC deal

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones said if he needs to sit out several years to stand up for what he considers is right, it’s something he will be remembered for more than his fighting. But he is optimistic the UFC ultimately will meet him halfway in negotiations.

Jones has said he would be willing to vacate his belt after talks for a superfight with heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou fell through. Jones and fellow UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal are waging social media battles with the UFC and promotion president Dana White to get more money and rise revenue sharing among fighters.

“I’m not asking for anything outrageous, and I know we’re in a pandemic, and I know when you’re a multimillionaire and you’re asking for more, it makes you seem like this greedy person,” Jones said on Steve-O’s “Wild Ride” podcast. “I’m very aware of all of this, but I’m also very aware that I have the voice and the platform to make difference.

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“Most of the guys who are doing the absolute worst are not in the position that they can say publicly, ‘I have a second job, I’m borrowing money from my parents.’ I know so many fighters who are living in the Jackson Wink MMA gym because they can’t afford to have their own apartment, and they’re UFC fighters. So this is sad.

“And if I have to have a bad relationship with Dana, sit out for two years, three years, to bring light to what’s happening, then these are the things people remember you for more than winning belts. I stood for the younger fighters.”

White, who has described Jones as the greatest MMA fighter of all time, recently stated Jones can fight whenever he wants.

He said Jones and Masvidal both signed new contracts within the past year.

“Being the greatest of all time doesn’t mean you get $30 million. It’s being able to sell,” said White, who added that UFC walked Jones through the recent numbers on his fights. “[Jones] said, ‘I don’t give a f— what the numbers are. I want what I want.’

“That’s not how life works.” Jones said he wished he had a better relationship with White.

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Hybrid combat card relocated, won’t test for Virus

A 13-fight hybrid card arranged for Saturday in Topeka, Kansas, has been moved to Abilene and will not involve any testing for COVID-19 beyond temperature checks and questionnaires.

A few weeks ago, fighters on the card — which will feature boxing, kickboxing, bareknuckle fighting combat, jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts — were given a COVID-19 participation questionnaire by the Kansas Athletic Commission.

Once at the weigh-in facility, fighters will have their temperatures taken.

They are asked to wear masks while in Kansas and adhere to other social distancing protocols. Saturday’s show, initially scheduled for the hangar at Forbes Field, will take place without a live audience at the Never Surrender MMA gym in Abilene, Kansas.

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“Basically our goal is to ensure that no one who has symptoms of COVID-19 gets close to the other participants,” Dr. Matthew Bohm, the head physician for the Kansas commission, told ESPN. “So from a standpoint of the way we run medical clinics now is that when people come to the front door, they aren’t allowed in the building until they answer questions.”

Each training team will be limited to four individuals. Everyone involved in the fight — fighters, promotional team members, production staff, and commission members — must abide by the established regulations.

Adam Roorbach, the boxing commissioner for the state, said the plan is for portions of the card to be brought to the venue. Then, as they finish with their assignments, another batch of fighters will be brought into the venue to keep the number of people inside the building as low as possible at any given time.

“It’s going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare for the fighters and uncomfortable for their corners, but it’s just what has to be done at this point,” Roorbach told ESPN.

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