Tagged in: lightweight

UFC lightweight Bobby Green disappointed after positive drug test

Popular UFC lightweight Bobby Green stated in an Instagram video Friday night that he was forced out of a scheduled fight at UFC 276 due to a positive drug test.

Green said — as he was in training camp for the scheduled July 2 fight versus fellow veteran fighter Jim Miller — that he received a call from the UFC informing him he had tested positive for a banned substance. Green said he believes the adverse finding came from a dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplement he was taking.

DHEA is a banned substance in the UFC’s anti-doping policy, which is administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), under the anabolic category. USADA, in a statement to ESPN, confirmed Green’s “adverse analytical finding,” which the agency was able to do because Green made it public first.

USADA does not typically announce anti-doping policy violations until the conclusion of its adjudication process. USADA did not comment on the substance found nor any discipline. Green said he knew he could face a longer suspension by coming forward with the information before USADA and the UFC announced it, but he wanted to be open with his fans.

Green could face up to a two-year suspension for testing positive for such a prohibited drug, though a full, two-year suspension is uncommon in these situations.

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Green stated DHEA was recommended by a doctor he frequently watches on YouTube, and his wife bought the supplement from the company Spring Valley at Walmart. In the video, Green apologized for his mistake, said he has never tested positive before in 14 years as a professional MMA fighter and is vehemently against performance-enhancing drug use.

“I’m crushed,” Green said. “I’m like what the f—? I had no idea, guys, what I was doing, that it was wrong, that there was any benefits to what I was doing. I would never try to cheat. I would never try to lie to my public. I’m against drugs, I’m against PEDs.”

Green stated he had purchased multiple all-natural supplements recommended by Dr. Eric Berg, a doctor with more than 8.5 million YouTube subscribers. Green said he’s a “hoarder” of pills, and is willing to try anything for his physical and mental health, provided the pills are “all natural.” He said he earnestly did not know DHEA was a banned substance.

“It’s not USADA’s fault; it’s my fault,” Green said. “I did wrong in this. I f—ed up and I’m taking responsibility. … I don’t want any way to cheat. I do not want any edge that’s not natural over any of my opponents. I believe my skills should pay the bills.”

Green (29-13-1) was coming off a UFC Fight Night loss on short notice versus top contender Islam Makhachev in February. Prior to that, the California native was on a two-fight winning streak and had won five of seven overall. Green, 36, has been in the UFC since 2013, compiling a 10-8-1 record.

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Devin Haney-George Kambosos rematch being planned for mid-October on ESPN

The Devin Haney-George Kambosos rematch for the undisputed lightweight championship is being planned for Oct. 16 in Australia, sources tell ESPN, which will accommodate an ESPN prime-time telecast on Oct. 15.

The fight could land at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, home of the Australian Open, but no site has been finalized yet. When Haney signed to fight Kambosos in March, the 23-year-old agreed to a return bout in the champion’s native Australia later this year.

Haney routed Kambosos via unanimous decision in June to capture all four 135-pound titles, and Kambosos quickly exercised the rematch clause.

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With the rematch deal already agreed to beforehand, there were no negotiations necessary the second time around.

The only loose ends that needed to be tied up were the date and the site.

Despite the lopsided nature of the first meeting, Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) is set to receive a second crack at the titles he collected from Teofimo Lopez in November in ESPN’s Upset of the Year.

The 29-year-old was unable to deal with Haney’s excellent jab and defense and grew frustrated as the fight wore on. And this was a far cry from Kambosos’ thrilling win over Lopez, which featured both men on the canvas.

Haney (28-0, 15 KOs). elected to box from the outside and pile up rounds. Neither boxer was ever in any danger during the tactical bout at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. Kambosos is rated No. 4 at lightweight by ESPN. Haney, who fights out of Las Vegas, is rated No. 1.

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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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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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Devin Haney dethrones George Kambosos to become undisputed lightweight champion

Devin Haney can no longer be called an email champion, a titleholder or anything but the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

The 23-year-old traveled from Las Vegas to Melbourne, Australia, and delivered a dominant performance to collect all four 135-pound belts in a unanimous-decision triumph Sunday over George Kambosos before 41,129 at Marvel Stadium on ESPN.

Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) used his excellent jab to dictate the pace en route to the lopsided victory via scores of 116-112, 118-110 and 116-112.

“The game plan was to go there and hit and not get hit, and I did that for the majority of the fight,” said Haney, who entered the ring rated No. 4 by ESPN at lightweight. “I took the last round off just because I knew I was comfortably ahead, but I fought a good, smart fight.

“I handicapped him of his best things. He wanted to land the overhand right, and he wanted to land the big left hook. … I was fighting both ways. When I would go to the left, I would fight his right hand. When I would go to the right, I would fight his left hook. And he couldn’t hit me with neither one of them.”

Indeed, it was a virtuoso defensive performance from the rising star. He used the lead weapon to disrupt Kambosos’ rhythm and often changed levels with the jab, shooting it to the body and head.

Anytime Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) closed the distance, Haney stepped back and fired a jab. On the rare instance Kambosos connected with a solid shot, Haney tied up the Australian before he could follow up his attack.

Despite the clear gap in skill level, there will likely be a rematch between Haney and Kambosos later this year in Australia.

The 28-year-old, who was rated No. 1 by ESPN at lightweight, is contractually guaranteed another fight with Haney in his home country if he chooses to exercise the rematch clause.

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“Yes, 100 percent … we’ll do it again,” Kambosos said when asked if he would exercise the rematch clause. “Look, I gave him the shot. If I hadn’t given him this shot, he wouldn’t have had his moment right now.

“He grabbed and held a lot and did what he had to do to win. That’s what it’s about. You do what you have to do to win, and today they gave him the decision, but I’m sure it will change when we get it on again. … This is going to make me hungrier.”

Said Haney: “I’m not ducking or dodging nobody. If it makes sense, if the network wants it, I’ll do it again. But it has to make sense.”

As the rounds ticked by, it became increasingly clear Kambosos had no answers for Haney’s ring smarts, jab and educated footwork. He pressed harder during the late stages of the fight, when he needed at least a knockdown to win, but never came close to landing the sort of fight-altering punch that materialized in November when he shocked Teofimo Lopez to collect four lightweight titles.

When Kambosos dethroned Lopez in ESPN’s Upset of the Year, he started fast with a knockdown in the opening round, and survived a knockdown in Round 10 to earn the split-decision victory.

Afterward, Kambosos called for the biggest fights possible in the star-laden lightweight division rather than the usual victory lap many new champions enjoy. He was ringside for not only Haney’s decision win over Joseph Diaz Jr., the following week, but also Gervonta Davis’ victory over Isaac Cruz.

“This is what it’s all about, f— protecting records,” Kambosos said. “I’ve always been about fighting the best.”

Ultimately, Kambosos engaged in negotiations with Vasiliy Lomachenko, the former pound-for-pound king, and there was a deal in place. But when Russia invaded Ukraine, Lomachenko decided to remain in the war-torn country with his family and passed on the fight.

Enter Haney, who was embroiled in a dispute with Kambosos and much of the boxing world over the legitimacy of his title. Haney was elevated from interim champion to WBC titleholder in October 2019, while Lomachenko, who held the WBC’s lightweight belt, was designated the franchise champion.

“It’s a title to basically duck your mandatory,” Haney told ESPN in May.

Finally, Haney grabbed his opportunity to “put a stop to the confusion: the email champion or the franchise and all that,” with his fight versus Kambosos, who entered the bout with the WBA, WBO, IBF and WBC franchise title.

However, it initially appeared he would have to do so without his father and trainer, Bill Haney. Due to a 1992 drug conviction, the elder Haney initially wasn’t approved for a travel visa, but on Thursday, he received clearance and arrived in Melbourne approximately 15 hours before the bell rang.

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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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Khabib Nurmagomedov adding Kevin Lee, 165-pound weight class to his promotion, Eagle FC

As an active fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov was one of the most influential figures in mixed martial arts. It seems he will continue to be one in his retirement.

Nurmagomedov, 33, revealed on Wednesday that his MMA promotion, Eagle FC, has signed former UFC lightweight Kevin Lee to an exclusive contract. Nurmagomedov also said his company plans to permanently open a new 165-pound weight class — a topic of debate in the sport for some time.

Lee (18-7) fought in the UFC from 2014 to 2021. He competed at 155 and 170 pounds but campaigned — unsuccessfully — for the addition of a 165-pound weight class.

“It’s going to be big news for a lot of fighters around the world,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “I know a lot of fighters want 165. A lot of fighters can’t make 155 and they are a little small at 170.

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“Honestly, this is not only about Kevin Lee. This is about a lot of fighters. I know because when I was a fighter, how I was feeling in there and I was talking with a lot of fighters around the world, they were asking, ‘Why other promotions — UFC, Bellator, PFL — why they not make 165?'”

Nurmagomedov even encouraged UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier to join his 165-pound weight class.

Poirier is signed to the UFC and just came up short in a title bid versus Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 over the weekend in Las Vegas.

Born in Dagestan, Nurmagomedov purchased Eagle FC in 2020. The promotion is holding its first U.S.-based event on Jan. 28 in Miami. The retired former champ says he has big plans for his promotion, and expects it to become a global brand.

“I have so much knowledge and I can share my knowledge with a lot of people,” Nurmagomedov said. “I can make comfortable position for a lot of fighters around the world. Right now, we are going to create a new system.

You guys will know very soon about this platform, where fighters will be happy. More happy than they’ve been with other organizations. Nothing against our big brothers, but this business have to move on.”

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Dustin Poirier’s next fight will be against Nate Diaz

After a rare off weekend in the world of UFC, action returns to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday as middleweights Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum each try to come back from losses to Robert Whittaker in their most recent fights.

While it would seem to be more pressing for Gastelum, who has lost four out of five — albeit versus the top fighters in the division — when it comes to factors including age and urgency, whether Cannonier’s UFC journey will ever include a title shot could well hinge on winning this fight.

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Mark O. Madsen has similarly lofty aspirations in the lightweight division, and he steps into Saturday’s co-main event — looking to move his record in the UFC to 3-0 — against 15-year UFC veteran Clay Guida.

As he looks to climb the ranks in a deep 155-pound division, a win over a familiar face will certainly help, but how much?

Dustin Poirier is already there, sitting as the No. 1 contender in the lightweight division. Poirier was there before he elected to fight Conor McGregor for the third time, which seemingly set him up for a championship fight against Charles Oliveira.

But buzz is starting to build around another high-profile, non-title opponent for Poirier — Nate Diaz. Could Poirier once again forego a title shot?

Yair Rodriguez, on the other hand, seems supremely focused on getting himself a title shot in the featherweight division.

His previously scheduled bout against Max Holloway is still searching for a new date later in the year, but after almost two years out of the Octagon, would a win over the former UFC featherweight champ put Rodriguez at the top of the list to challenge the winner of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega?

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Dustin Poirier wins trilogy rematch by TKO after Conor McGregor injures leg in Round 1

Dustin Poirier now owns two triumphs over the biggest star in the history of mixed martial arts. This one, though, didn’t end in the cleanest way.

Poirier hit Conor McGregor with a combination at the end of the first round of Saturday night’s highly anticipated UFC 264 main event. McGregor went to plant his left foot and his leg buckled, sending him to the mat. Poirier followed up with punches on the ground as time expired in the round.

With McGregor clearly hurt, referee Herb Dean called the lightweight fight. The official result was Poirier by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of the first round. A stretcher was brought in to transport McGregor to the hospital. The video replay showed McGregor’s lower leg bent gruesomely as his foot hit the canvas. UFC president Dana White later stated the injury was to McGregor’s lower tibia and that he will have surgery Sunday morning.

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The finish left the sold-out crowd disappointed. There was a mixture of boos and cheers when Poirier was declared as the winner. This was one of the most anticipated trilogy fights in UFC history.

“I beat the guy,” Poirier said in his postfight interview.

Poirier explained that he hurt McGregor’s ankle on a checked kick and then the ankle buckled at the end of the first round. McGregor denied that it was a checked kick that did it. Poirier picked up his 15th career first-round finish.

“This is not over,” McGregor said.

White said Poirier will fight for the UFC lightweight title next versus champion Charles Oliveira and that when McGregor is healthy he will probably get a fourth fight against Poirier.

“When Conor is healed and ready to go, we’ll do the rematch, I guess,” White said. “Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready.”

Oliveira told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger he expects the fight with Poirier to possibly be in December.

“It’s really sad what happened [to McGregor], but if you look at Poirier’s game, he’s been improving a lot, he’s been putting a lot of pressure, so he deserves the win,” Oliveira said of Saturday night’s result.

White said he believes that had McGregor not been injured, he would have gotten out of the first round.

“His ankle snapped from throwing punches. He was fighting back,” White said. “It wasn’t like he was up against the cage with Dustin unloading punches on him. If his ankle doesn’t break, I think we get to the end of the round.”

Poirier, for his part, said he and McGregor “are going to fight again, whether it’s in the Octagon or on the sidewalk. … He was saying that he was going to kill me. You don’t say stuff like that.”

Poirier said he wasn’t sure he felt a sense of closure following the trilogy.

“I need to digest it all, because right now, it kind of feels weird,” he said. “It’s not a good feeling.”

Poirier stopped McGregor at UFC 257 in January via second-round TKO. In 2014, at UFC 178, McGregor knocked out Poirier in less than two minutes.

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Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier UFC 257 bout to be on Fight Island Jan. 23

The UFC is formally headed back to Fight Island for its first slate of events in 2021, and it includes the return of former two-weight champion Conor McGregor at UFC 257.

UFC president Dana White informed on Tuesday that McGregor’s nontitle lightweight fight versus Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 will take place on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The pay-per-view-event will cap off a series of three events in seven days: UFC Fight Night events on Jan. 16 and Jan. 20, followed by UFC 257.

A previously announced featherweight fight between former champion Max Holloway (21-6) and Calvin Kattar (22-4) will headline the card on Jan. 16. According to White, a welterweight matchup featuring 2020 breakout star Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) and title contender Leon Edwards (18-3) will serve as the main event on Jan. 20.

Per sources, the UFC is also finalizing a new welterweight matchup between Michael Chiesa (16-4) and Neil Magny (24-7) for the Jan. 20 event. Chiesa or Magny would presumably serve as a potential backup option for the main event, should anything happen to that 170-pound fight.

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Mike Jackson (1-1) will also return to action on the Jan. 20 card in a 170-pound fight versus Dean Barry (3-1), who will be making his UFC debut, per sources. This will mark Jackson’s first fight since his June 2018 victory over former WWE star CM Punk at UFC 225 in Chicago.

This will mark the UFC’s third trip to Abu Dhabi since the promotion’s operations were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The UFC has held its events exclusively in either Yas Island or Las Vegas since mid-May.

Previously, events in Yas Island have taken place without fans inside Flash Forum; however, there has been discussion around moving events to Etihad Arena and including fans. Those details are not yet completed.

This will also mark the second year in a row that McGregor (22-4) headlines the UFC’s first pay-per-view event of the year. He headlined UFC 246 in January 2020, and knocked out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds.

That would turn out to be McGregor’s only appearance of 2020. He has fought only twice since capturing the 155-pound title in 2016.

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