Tagged in: MMA

Usman vs Masvidal agree to UFC 251

It will still take clearing some legitimate hurdles to reach the finish line, but according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal have completed negotiations and agreed to terms for a last-minute bout to serve as the main event of Saturday’s UFC 251 card in Abu Dhabi. 

With the new UFC 251 main event now essentially being cleared on paper, both warriors will undergo COVID-19 testing in Las Vegas and immediately enter quarantine while awaiting the results. Should Usman and Masvidal both test negative, then they will be en route to Abu Dhabi as soon as possible from there. With 48 career fights under his belt, Masvidal would serve as the fighter with the most MMA appearances before receiving his first title shot. 

Shortly after the news of the agreement broke, UFC president Dana White posted a hype video to Twitter which seemingly confirmed that he was able to secure the new blockbuster main event. 

The inaugural Fight Island card saw its original headliner fall apart Saturday when top contender Gilbert Burns pulled out of a shot at Usman’s title after testing positive for COVID-19.

Masvidal, the ceremonial BMF champion, was the opponent UFC initially targeted for Usman before negotiations went sideways and Masvidal started a public protest over fighter pay. 

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Masvidal (35-13) spent his July 4th holiday undergoing the first of what would be multiple coronavirus tests while negotiating the fight, per photos released on social media by his manager, Malki Kawa.

The 35-year-old brawler rose from journeyman status in 2019 with a trio of stoppage victories which earned him global fame and Fighter of the Year honors. 

Among the major hurdles facing the proposed fight are the logistics of how the fighters would safely arrive in the United Arab Emirates amid quarantine protocols in such a last-minute scenario.

Usman (16-1) did not board a chartered UFC flight which carried fighters, trainers, media and promotional personnel upon hearing the news of Burns (19-3) pulling out. 

In the event the fight does not take place, the original co-main event of featherweight champion Alexaner Volkanovski taking on former titleholder Max Holloway in a rematch would take top billing. The card also contains a vacant bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and former featherweight king Jose Aldo. 

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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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Cejudo retired, bantamweight title vacant

Earlier this month at UFC 249, Henry Cejudo shocked the world when he retired at the age of 33. The news came right after he made his first bantamweight title defense by earning a TKO victory over former longtime champ Dominick Cruz.

After the stunning news, many people doubted his retirement, but now his retirement seems to be the real thing as the UFC removed Cejudo’s name from the title page and the official rankings on the UFC website.

Once the world noticed the removal of Cejudo’s name, ESPN confirmed that Cejudo is now considered retired by promotion officials and therefore, the UFC bantamweight title is now vacant.

While the UFC views Cejudo as retired, there is now word at this time as to whether or not Cejudo has removed himself from the USADS drug-testing pool.

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Cejudo is one of the most successful combat athletes of all time.

In 2008, he won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling and following his wrestling career, he started competing in mixed martial arts, where he went on to conquer the UFC’s flyweight and bantamweight championships. He also is one of four people in UFC history to hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time.

At the time of his retirement announcement, Cejudo was considered to be in the prime of his career. He was on a six fight undefeated streak and his last loss came in 2016. He also ended Demetrious Johnson’s reign as flyweight champion, which snapped Johnson’s UFC record of 11 title defenses.

The UFC has not officially announced any further plans regarding the vacant bantamweight title. UFC president Dana White said after UFC 249 that Petr Yan would be one of the two men that will compete for the belt at 135-pounds. Yan was planned to fight Marlon Moraes in June, but the travel ban from the global coronavirus pandemic as affected that fight.

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Teixeira dominant in fifth-round TKO of Smith

One day, Glover Teixeira will cease to be one of the world’s best light heavyweight MMA fighters. That day was not Wednesday.

Eighteen years after his pro debut, Teixeira proved his caliber yet again in the main event of UFC Jacksonville, beating Anthony Smith via TKO at 1 minute, 4 seconds of the fifth round. Teixeira, at 40 years old and six years after his most recent title shot, has won four straight fights.

“It’s not how hard you hit,” Teixeira told Daniel Cormier in the postfight interview. “It’s how hard you get hit and keep coming forward.”

Teixeira laid plenty of hard hits on Smith, who was transported to a hospital and told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani afterward that he suffered a broken nose and a broken orbital bone and had two of his teeth knocked out, including one of his front teeth. The card took place at an empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

It was the second UFC event in four days, following UFC 249 on Saturday at the same venue. The promotion caps its busy eight-day stretch with another show from VyStar on Saturday. Before last weekend, UFC had not run an event since March 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Smith vs. Teixeira was supposed to headline a UFC card on April 25 in Lincoln, Nebraska, before the schedule was reshuffled.

Smith had a strong first two rounds Wednesday, using a very good jab and right hand, which found its home over and over. Teixeira’s left eye began to swell.

But in the third, Teixeira turned the tide. He landed a big combination with a head kick against the cage and a monstrous uppercut seconds later. A Teixeira uppercut put Smith down. The bout could have been stopped there, but referee Jason Herzog let it continue and Smith survived the rest of the round.

Teixeira got Smith down in the fifth, slipped into mount and rained down huge punches until Herzog stopped the fight. It was only the second fifth-round TKO in UFC light heavyweight history. The other featured Alexander Gustafsson stopping Teixeira in the final round of their 2017 bout.

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Gaethje batters Ferguson to win UFC interim title

Two months ago, Justin Gaethje was training and waiting for the UFC to find his next rival.

On Saturday night, after accepting a short notice opportunity to compete in the UFC 249 main event, he stopped Tony Ferguson by TKO in the fifth round to become interim lightweight champion, setting up an inevitable showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year.

It was a jaw-dropping show, as Gaethje punished Ferguson round after round before finally putting him away with less than two minutes remaining in the combat.

“I knew I was a killer stepping in here,” Gaethje said about his performance. “No better drug on Earth. Adrenaline coursing through my veins.”

Following two consecutive losses, Gaethje started making noticeable changes to his strategy and approach to fighting without sacrificing any of his highlight-reel finishes.

It was more of the same at UFC 249 as he attacked Ferguson with devastating power behind his punches while refusing to engage in the wild exchanges that cost him so dearly in many past fights.

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“I had to lose to change,” Gaethje stated. “Can’t fix what’s not broken. I was getting hit too much, and I was having too much fun. At this level you absolutely cannot do that.”

While Ferguson did manage to put Gaethje down briefly at the end of the second round with a staggering uppercut, the former Ultimate Fighter winner failed to mount much offense over 25 minutes. He did display incredible durability, though, as he absorbed punches that would have likely knocked out every other lightweight on the roster.

Gaethje’s controlled aggression continued to add to his significant strike total as he cut up Ferguson’s face and left him a bloody mess by the fifth round. It was a stiff jab late in the fight that rattled Ferguson for the final time, and as he wobbled backwards toward the cage shaking his head, that forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.

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Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm

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When: Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10 p.m. ET

Long-dominant women’s bantamweight championRonda Rousey (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) looks for her seventh consecutive title defense when she takes on former boxing champion and undefeated MMA contender Holly Holm (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC). Rousey, a hefty 16-1 favorite heading into Saturday’s fight, is ranked No. 1 in the NOS Energy Drink MMA women’s bantamweight rankings, and Holm is No. 9

Rousey is 12-0-0 and her last fight — a TKO over Bethe Correia on Aug. 1 — lasted just 34 seconds. The much-anticipated Rousey-Holm bout will be held at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia

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A crowd of over 60,000 is predicted to turn out for the occasion and Rousey admits if she’s ever going to break the record, it’s in Melbourne.

“I’m very conscious of it,” Rousey told foxsports.com.au of the attendance record.

“It’s an ambitious goal but Australia’s the perfect place to try and do that. The people have a real appreciation for fighting that is unrivalled. They have the ability to come and show their support for a historic event.”

Both women are undefeated in their MMA careers, which has rocketed Rousey to superstardom and made Holm a credible opponent to Rousey’s dominant reign at the top. This will be a classic grappler vs. striker match, which should it make it interesting.

The co-headliner is a UFC strawweight championship bout, as queen of the division Joanna Jedrzejczyk meets up with contender Valerie Letourneau. Letourneau skyrocketed up the rankings and surprisingly snatched this title shot against the Polish champion. Jedrzejczyk is undefeated and has looked nothing short of spectacular thus far in her UFC career.

The card also features a rematch of a barnburner from not long ago when Mark Hunt takes on Antonio Silva. Then you have names like Robert Whittaker, Uriah Hall and Stefan Struve. It looks to be an exciting night that will go down in the books as one of the best in 2015.

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Miesha Tate Still Disappointed

Miesha TateMiesha Tate is no longer certain that her dream of winning a world championship in mixed martial arts is attainable, and that feeling has her at a major crossroads.

It’s been two months since UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey announced on “Good Morning America” her that next opponent would be Holly Holm — not Tate, who had been publicly guaranteed the next shot by UFC president Dana White after her win against Jessica Eye the previous month.

Either way, Tate knows in her heart that she is the true number one contender for Rousey even if others don’t think she is due to her losing to Rousey twice.

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“I understand why they want to make the Rousey-Holly fight but that doesn’t change the way they handled it,” Tate told ESPN. “I think it happened the way it did because they didn’t want to risk the information getting out, but in a way, that’s also insulting to me. I’ve been fighting for a long time and I’ve proven my character. I’m a professional and I can separate my disappointment from my actions.

“I don’t think the UFC did this to be malicious, but I also don’t think they gave me any consideration. This was another day in the office to them but to me it’s like, ‘you just ruined my life,’ and I feel like they need to understand that a little.”

She feels that she deserves to fight Rousey for a third time and is worried that the UFC sees her as a gatekeeper in the division.

“I fear that they want me to fight all the other top girls and the connotation is that if they beat me, they get a title but if I beat them, it’s ‘bring on the next one.’ Essentially, I feel like they have deemed me as a gatekeeper and that’s fine for awhile because I put myself there. I won and lost those fights. But there has to be some light at the end of that tunnel. If there’s not, what is my future in this sport?”

“It’s a very fine line,” Tate said. “All I can say is I don’t want it to go in that direction but anything is a possibility. If it’s clear there’s no way for me to get a title shot as long as Ronda has the belt, then I don’t know. I suppose I have to look at my options. And that’s not saying I will retire, but it’s something I’d have to think about.”

Tate made it clear that she is a company person as she has shown that in the past, but also made it clear that will stand up for what she believes in and will not let the UFC bully her around.

“When push comes to shove, I will stand my ground,” Tate says. “I’m a company woman. I went to Japan and fought on Fight Pass for relatively low exposure. I fought Sara McMann when nobody wanted to fight her. I make myself as available as possible. But there comes a point when I can not sacrifice what I believe in my heart to be right.

“I’m not saying the UFC is trying to bully me, but if they really want something and they get it in their head, that’s all they want and for me it’s not that simple. When I don’t feel right about something or if my heart’s not into it, I’m not going to do it.”

Tate (17-5) is currently on a four-fight winning streak. In her last six bouts, she’s 4-2. She is scheduled to fight Amanda Nunes (11-4), who is 4-1 in her last five bouts and is currently on a two-fight winning streak, at a to be determined event in December.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: espn.go.com

Brye Anne Russillo Says There Are Two Big Things Getting In The Way Of Success In The Cage

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Brye Anne Russillo is gearing up to fight Paige Lian on Oct. 3 but she’s not happy about it! Brye says she was bumped up a weight class because her Breasts weigh 12 pounds

In a perfect world, amateur MMA fighter Brye Anne Russillo would like to fight in a much lighter weight class. She’s slated to take part in a 150-pound Aggressive Combat Championships fight against a fellow fighter namedPaige Lian in Queens, N.Y. on Saturday night.

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She is slated to fight Paige Lian on Saturday for the 150-pound title in the Aggressive Combat Championships in Queens.

It took Russillo’s team more than three months to agree to the bout at the Queens Theatre because she normally fights at 145 pounds, 10 pounds less than Lian’s typical weight.

In her first fight, at the Extreme Cage Fighting promotion in Astoria, she won by TKO after shattering her opponent’s shin.

She lost her second fight, in Delaware, by TKO to a fighter she later called the toughest woman she ever met.

“I’m doing the best I can,” said Russillo, who has a 6-year-old daughter.

“I’m a single mom who later in life decided to try and get back in shape. I’ve been a career bartender for 12 years. I was drinking a lot and partying while I was at work. Now I train and don’t drink, and I’m actively trying to better my life.

 

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Chris Weidman Wants To Fight Jon Jones

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Super fights are a constant talking point in the sport of mixed-martial-arts, he fans love pondering the idea of two of the sports’ all-time greats going at it, and while none of the aforementioned fights have happened, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman plans on making a super fight with the former UFC light heavyweight champion before he retires.

Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Middleweight champion, is adamant he will not leave mixed martial arts (MMA) without fighting former Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.

Because much like wanting to test himself against former 185-pound king Anderson Silva, Weidman wants to take on the best and take them out.

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Weidman recently spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and talked about his desire to eventually move up to the light heavyweight division:

“I feel like there’s a plan for me and I know this is a big fight for me. I’m going to retire undefeated and I will be named the greatest of all time. At some point, I don’t know when it’s going to happen… But in order to do that, I’m going to go up to 205 and beat whoever everybody thinks is the best up there. That is gonna happen. I’m really excited for that, but first I have to beat everybody at 185. I think Luke is a great fight to have.”

“I could get up, if I wanted to, if I eat a little bit, lift a little bit, maybe get up to 225 pretty easy. Not easy, but I could get up there.”

When Jon Jones’ name was thrown in as a potential candidate, Weidman sounded as though a “superfight” with the 205 lb champion-in-exile has been on his mind for a while(transcription via MMAFighting):

“I know for a fact, I’m not leaving this sport without fighting Jon. Unless he’s not coming back at all. But if he’s there, and I’m here, people are going to want to see it happen. And I want to see it happen.”

“That’s nothing against Jon. It’s just because I’m a competitor. I want to fight the best possible people. I want to have the biggest challenges in front of me and conquer them.”

“He’s an amazing athlete and he’s accomplished so much. So I hope he gets his stuff together and he comes back.”

Jon Jones is currently serving an indefinite suspension, which was given to him by the UFC after Jones’ alleged involvement in a hit-and-run back in April. Jones allegedly got into a car accident with a pregnant woman after running a red light, and fled the scene of the accident on foot.

Once all those issues are behind him, there is still no guarantee that Jones returns to action again.

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Floyd Mayweather and MMA

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Floyd Mayweather seems to have a hard time keeping his name out of the mixed martial arts landscape.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. spoke to the media following the press conference of his final bout, and he was asked about Mixed Martial Arts, and whether he would fight a top star like Ronda Rousey

His immediate response to the reporter: ‘You’re a comedian!’

When asked about fighting MMA fighters in general, he responded:

“I’m in the $100 million business, not the $100,000 business,” Floyd states. “I shouldn’t even be stooping to certain levels, because it doesn’t make any sense.”

“People that’s in MMA, I wish them nothing but the best. I don’t have anything negative to say about them. The hand I was dealt in life, I was dealt a royal flush and I just have to be thankful and appreciative of the hand I was dealt,” he continues. “I don’t have anything negative to say about anyone. I wish everyone of them nothing but the best.”

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WBC/WBA welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. has no idea why the critics are all over him for selecting Andre Berto as the opponent for his September 12th Showtime Pay-Per-View card from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The bigger issue with the Berto fight is that fact Mayweather claims it’s going to be the final bout of his pro career. Many in the industry don’t believe him, but if that’s the case than most would have rather seen him face Amir Khan or Keith Thurman.

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