Tagged in: UFC

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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Calvin Kattar-Arnold Allen featherweight bout close for Oct. 29 UFC Fight Night

The UFC is finalizing a featherweight main event between Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen for a UFC Fight Night on Oct. 29, UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Wednesday.

fight agreements have not been signed, but the 145-pound contest is close to being official, sources told ESPN. The UFC Fight Night will take place inside the Apex facility in Las Vegas. Kattar (23-6) is coming off a razor-thin split-decision loss to Josh Emmett in June.

The Massachusetts native will look to close out 2022 on a high note after taking much of 2021 off. He picked up an impressive five-round victory over Giga Chikadze in January before coming up short versus Emmett.

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Kattar will face a surging opponent in Allen (18-1), who is 9-0 in the UFC dating back to 2015.

Fighting out of Suffolk, England, Allen is coming off a first-round TKO over fan favorite Dan Hooker in March. It was Allen’s highest-profile win inside the Octagon and came in front of a sellout crowd in London.

Kattar and Allen are the Nos. 5 and 6 featherweights in the world, according to the UFC’s official rankings. Current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (25-1) does not have his next title defense scheduled.

He is coming off a victory over Max Holloway in July and is already back to training, according to sources. He has volunteered to be a backup for a lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev in October.

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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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UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has hand surgery, is targeting July return

The best MMA fighter in the world went under the knife Monday.

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman had surgery to repair a ligament in his hand, Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA confirmed to ESPN. UFC president Dana White posted a gruesome photo of the operation on social media.

Abdelaziz stated Usman is targeting a return for International Fight Week, the UFC’s big annual summer celebration in Las Vegas. UFC 276, the culmination of this year’s festivities, is arranged for July 2 at T-Mobile Arena. Abdelaziz would not say which hand Usman had surgery on.

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White has said that Usman’s next title defense likely will come versus top contender Leon Edwards, who is coming off a win over Nate Diaz last June.

ESPN has Usman ranked as the top pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world.

Usman (20-1) is putting together one of the best resumes in UFC history. The Nigeria native, who grew up in Texas, has won 15 consecutive fights, one off the UFC record winning streak held by former middleweight champion and all-time great Anderson Silva. Usman, 34, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Colby Covington at UFC 268 last November.

Usman has been welterweight champion since 2019, collecting five title defenses.

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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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Jorge Masvidal-Colby Covington to headline UFC 272 on March 5

A welterweight grudge match between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington will headline UFC 272 on March 5, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN on Tuesday.

Contracts have not been signed for the 170-pound scrap, but the fight is nearly finalized, per Campbell. The UFC 272 pay-per-view will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The match will be a five-round, nontitle bout.

“He better f—ing show up,” Covington stated in a text message to ESPN Tuesday.

The UFC initially targeted featherweight and bantamweight title fights for the event, however those bouts are no longer on the March 5 date. Part of that was due to an injury to featherweight challenger Max Holloway.

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Masvidal (35-15) is one of the UFC’s most popular figures.

He has not fought since he suffered a knockout loss to Kamaru Usman in a welterweight championship fight at UFC 261 last April. Masvidal’s past two fights have been versus Usman. He also lost to the champ via unanimous decision in July 2020.

Covington (16-3) is also coming off a failed title bid against Usman in his last fight. The 33-year-old also has lost twice to Usman, both via decision. His most recent victory came against Tyron Woodley in September.

Masvidal and Covington trained together at American Top Team in South Florida, and even lived together for a period of time. The two had a falling out in 2018, and Covington left ATT in 2020. Both welterweights still fight out of the Miami area.

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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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