All posts by Ken Pishna

Daniel Cormier Pleads with Fans to Lay Off of Jon Jones

Newly reinstated UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier couldn’t be more grateful to his supporters, but he’d appreciate it if fans would lay off of Jon Jones.

Cormier has been riding a roller coaster of emotion ever since he lost the belt to Jones at UFC 214 on July 29. At first, he was dealing with the disappointment of a second loss to Jones. Then, he had to deal with the fact that Jones was flagged for an anti-doping violation after having tested positive for steroids.

Now, Cormier is on the upswing. After the result of Jones’ drug test was confirmed by a second sample and the outcome of their bout changed to a no contest, the UFC treated the matter as if the fight never happened and reinstated Cormier as the rightful UFC light heavyweight champion.

Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones“Life can be such a roller coaster. I think sometimes you have to just take a moment and breathe it in. You never know what’s gonna come your way. You try and handle it the best way you can. One thing that has been amazing is the support from you the fans. I have never felt so much love,” Cormier wrote on his Instagram account on Friday.

“It’s crazy because this all happened when I lost.”

As appreciative as he is for the support fans have shown him, Cormier pleaded with them not to pile on to Jones’ woes.

“Guys, now I call upon you to take a breath, lay off of Jones. Let him and his team figure out what’s going on and what happened. I was down and some may have kicked me, but the majority of you showed compassion and love,” Cormier continued.

TRENDING > Michael Bisping Believes Jon Jones Should Be Banned for Life

“After the fight, Jones showed compassion, regardless of what has happened as humans, we must show compassion. Jon is not on this ride alone, remember this man has a family. Let’s respect that. You don’t show your support for me by hurting others. Again, I thank you for your unbelievable support and I trust that you guys will come through again.”

If Jones’ violation is upheld, his career could be facing a death sentence. It’s quite possible that he could be handed a four-year suspension. At 30 years of age, it would be the most difficult challenge of his career for Jones to attempt to return to the Octagon after four years on the sideline.

 

Life can be such a roller coaster. I think sometimes you have to just take a moment and breathe it in. You never know what’s gonna come your way. You try and handle it the best way you can. One thing that has been amazing is the support from you the fans. I have never felt so much love. It’s crazy because this all happened when I lost. Guys now I call upon you to take a breathe, lay off of Jones. Let him and his team figure out what’s going on and what happened. I was down and some may have kicked me but the majority of you showed compassion and love. After the fight Jones showed compassion, regardless of what has happened as humans we must show compassion. Jon is not on this ride alone, remember this man has a family. Let’s respect that. You don’t show ur support for me by hurting others. Again I thank you for ur unbelievable support and I trust that you guys will come thru again. DC @layziethesavage

A post shared by Daniel “DC” Cormier (@dc_mma) on Sep 15, 2017 at 12:07pm PDT

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Source: MMA Weekly

Luke Rockhold Rips Georges St-Pierre for UFC Middleweight Title Fight

A lot of people are looking forward to Michael Bisping putting his UFC middleweight title on the line against Georges St-Pierre. Luke Rockhold is not one of those people.

St-Pierre will return to the Octagon following a four-year hiatus when he meets Bisping in the UFC 217 main event on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Canadian is getting an immediate crack at the belt. 

Most people wouldn’t argue that St-Pierre deserves an immediate title shot upon his return, especially following the Hall of Fame type career that he has already forged. Had he returned at welterweight, where he ruled the roost for years, and received an immediate title shot, nary a soul would have batted an eye. At middleweight, however, it’s another story altogether.

Luke Rockhold - UFC 199There is plenty of room for argument about the legitimacy of St-Pierre receiving a title shot in a division in which he has never fought. That’s where Rockhold comes in.

Though he tried to avoid even talking about the Bisping vs. St-Pierre fight, Rockhold is a former middleweight champion and his opinion carries some weight.

“I’ve got no opinion on that fight.”

His teammate, Daniel Cormier, who was co-hosting UFC Tonight on Wednesday night, pinned the question on Rockhold, demanding a response.

“I think Bisping wins the fight. I think GSP is an inflated 155-pounder,” said Rockhold, and at that point, he wasn’t to be held back.

“He has no business being in the middleweight division. I think he’s small. I think he’s weak. I think he’s going to get crushed. I think he needs to get the hell out (of the division).”

TRENDING > Daniel Cormier Reinstated as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

St-Pierre, however, has not taken this endeavor lightly. He knows that he can’t just come back at the size he was and expect to compete against the top end of a higher weight class nor can he simply add a few pounds to his frame.

“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. It is perfect timing,” he said in a UFC interview on Facebook Live, explaining that he has spent several months building his body up to handle the heavier weight class.

He, as well as everyone else, will find out on Nov. 4 if it has been enough or if Rockhold’s criticism is justified.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Jesse Taylor Popped for Potential UFC Anti-Doping Violation

Jesse Taylor made a miraculous turnaround in his mixed martial arts career only to have it once again shrouded in a cloud of doubt after he was flagged for a potential UFC anti-doping violation.

UFC officials on Wednesday revealed that they were notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that Taylor was informed of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on Aug. 22, 2017. The statement gives no specific details on the nature of the violation.

Because of the proximity to Taylor’s upcoming scheduled bout at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney, Australia, on Nov. 18, against Belal Muhammad, Taylor has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement.

Jesse Taylor TUF 25 Finale winnerThe anti-doping violation is a big blow to Taylor, who has already traveled a long road of redemption to make his way back to the UFC.

Taylor was a finalist on Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter. Prior to the Finale, however, he was caught busting out the window of a rented limousine after being kicked out of a hotel for reportedly harassing female patrons and confronting hotel security. He was subsequently pulled from the Finale by UFC president Dana White. Taylor later had one fight in the UFC, which he lost to CB Dollaway, before making his promotional exit.

TRENDING > Jon Jones’ Win Against Daniel Cormier Overturned Due to Failed Drug Test

After years of fighting for various promotions around the globe, Taylor made his way back to the Octagon via the 25th season of The Ultimate Fighter entitled redemption. Taylor again made his way to the finals, this time defeating Dhiego Lima.

Now, however, his road to redemption is taking a slight detour, pending the outcome of his potential anti-doping violation.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Georges St-Pierre Admits Pressure Drove Him Out of the UFC

When Georges St-Pierre walked away from mixed martial arts four years ago, it wasn’t because his body was broken and he needed to heal. He had his health issues, but it was the black cloud hanging over his head that drove him away.

Now, as he prepares to step back in the Octagon at would should be the UFC’s biggest event of the year, St-Pierre is prepared to let all of the anxiety melt away and enjoy the moment, something he was unable to do earlier in his career.

“When I left, it wasn’t because of damage,” St-Pierre told Newsday. “It was more mental. More anxiety, nervousness. I couldn’t sleep well. I felt like I was claustrophobic. Too much pressure.”

St-Pierre was just 23 years of age when he first fought Matt Hughes for the UFC welterweight championship. He was unsuccessful, losing to an armbar with just 1 tick left on the clock in the first round of their fight, but he built upon the disappointment, reeling off five consecutive victories before challenging Hughes again and taking the belt.

He then lost the strap just one fight later, being upset by Matt Serra. But he learned from that loss as well. Though the pressure constantly swirled around him, St-Pierre was always a technical, thinking fighter. He was constantly learning, evolving, and improving.

After the loss to Serra, St-Pierre would not lose again. 

Georges St-PierreIn a 12-fight run, the Canadian chalked up wins over the likes of Hughes and Serra, BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Johny Hendricks, and others. He sits behind only Anderson Silva and Demetrious Johnson in the record books with nine consecutive title defenses.

But the pressure he felt, coupled with some outside-of-the-cage issues drove him into a self-proclaimed sabbatical that is on the cusp of four years.

“I had a problem at that time, too, a personal problem (when I walked away),” he continued. “It’s like a bag of bricks that you carry that you don’t have time to empty your bag. It piled up on each other. Now I had time off, I had time to empty my bag. Now I come back light.”

Lighter in spirit perhaps; heavier in body. 

After ruling the roost at welterweight for years, St-Pierre will return at middleweight to challenge champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York

You’d think with the magnitude of the event and the challenge of moving up in weight, the mental pressure would be back, but St-Pierre hasn’t put any of it on display in his recent interviews. In fact, he has indicated that he’s feeling better than ever and has made the necessary preparations to handle the weighty demands on his body, as well as his mind.

TRENDING > Jon Jones ‘B’ Sample Returns Same Positive Result for Steroids

“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. It’s perfect timing,” he said in a UFC interview on Facebook Live, explaining that he has spent several months building his body up to handle the heavier weight class.

It’s something he’s long wanted to do; to step back in the Octagon for another marquee moment. But he’s not sure how long it will last. St-Pierre could be one-and-done or he could have a couple more fights left in him, but don’t get too used to having him around. Win or lose, he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome.

“It’s always depending on how it’s going to happen. How I will feel. I have no desire to hang out in the sport too long like a lot of guys did in the past,” he explained.

“A lot of great boxer, some of the greatest fighter as well, they hang out too long. I have no desire to do the same thing. If I come back, it’s because I believe you guys haven’t seen the best out of me yet.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Rafael Dos Anjos Calls Out Tyron Woodley, the UFC Champ Responds

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos has been nothing short of stellar since he moved up to the welterweight division. On Saturday night at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Dos Anjos won his second consecutive bout at 170 pounds. He submitted Neil Magny, a fighter believing he was on the cusp of a title shot, late in the first round. That followed a unanimous decision victory over former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine over the summer.

Dos Anjos’ primary reason for moving up in weight was to stop putting so much hardship on his body. Feeling like he was reducing the number of years he might have left on this Earth by putting his body through so much, Dos Anjos opted to fight at a more comfortable weight, and it is paying dividends. 

Now, not only does he have his family’s future in mind, he’s also looking to a possible return to championship glory. Dos Anjos was the back-up plan if Demian Maia wouldn’t have fought current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley recently, and so he’s now ready to move up to the top spot and get his shot at the belt.

Rafael dos Anjos and Tyron Woodley“I feel like I am the only guy that can be a threat for Tyron. But I’m coming, I come for the belt,” Dos Anjos said on FS1 after the fight, before sending a direct message to the champ.

“Tyron, I respect you a lot. You defend the title over three times in one year, but man, I’m coming, I’m coming for that belt.”

In the FS1 studio when Dos Anjos made his comments, Woodley, while admitting that the Brazilian was a legitimate contender, didn’t appear to feel threatened.

“Everybody think they have the solution to beat me, but I think I’m the most well rounded fighter. I punch the hardest in the UFC out of all the fighters.”

TRENDING > Did Judges Get Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko Right? (UFC 215 Fight Highlights)

(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

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Henry Cejudo Scores Big KO Over Wilson Reis to Remain in Title Contention (UFC 215 Results)

Despite having lost his last two fights, Henry Cejudo immediately returned to title contention with a big knockout victory over Wilson Reis on Saturday at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Cejudo had lost in his attempt to wrest the UFC flyweight belt from Demetrious Johnson two fights ago. He followed that with an exciting fight, but a loss, to Joseph Benavidez. Those being the only two fighters ranked above him, Cejudo didn’t have far to go to get back in title contention, he merely had to put on an impressive performance, which is exactly what he did in Edmonton.

Coming off of a loss to Johnson himself, Reis was also looking to remain relevant in title talks, but Cejudo would have none of it.

Henry Cejudo UFC 197 Open WorkoutCejudo started the fight strong, lighting up Reis on the feet from the opening bell. He used his boxing with a newfound confidence, but also mixed in an assortment of kicks to put Reis on the backfoot early.

As the opening round wore on, Cejudo mixed in a Thai clinch followed by hard knees, but everything, whether kicks or knees, was followed by punch combinations. It was an array of strikes that we had yet seen from Cejudo in his young MMA career.

“I’ve been only fighting for four years man. I’m just scratching the surface,” he later admitted.

As good as he looked in round one, Cejudo immediately stepped it up a notch in round two, not giving Reis time to think, let alone institute any offense of his own. 

RELATED > UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 Live Results and Fight Stats

Cejudo moved in and quickly dropped Reis with a straight right. Swarming his downed opponent, Cejudo followed with several well placed right hands to finish the job just 25 seconds into round two.

The victory moves Cejudo to 11-2 and places him well for another shot at Johnson, if the champ is able to get past Ray Borg, once their fight, which had been slated for UFC 215, is rescheduled.

 

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Source: MMA Weekly

Conor McGregor’s Coach Doubts Another 2017 Fight, but Has Eyes on Next Opponent

Everyone is expecting Conor McGregor to return to the Octagon following his foray into boxing with Floyd Mayweather. So far, however, we have no answer to who, where, or when. 

Mayweather vs. McGregor, despite not reaching record levels at the gate, will still go down as the biggest combat sports event of 2017. By all accounts, it will also be a massive financial success, adding hefty amounts of greenbacks to McGregor and Mayweather’s bottom lines.

McGregor’s disclosed $30 million purse for the Mayweather bout was ten times that of his biggest UFC payday. So it’s certainly not going to be business as usual when he returns to the Octagon. 

Though he indicated that he’d like to fight again by the end of 2017, his coach, John Kavanagh, doesn’t think the timing is quite right for such a quick rebound following the Mayweather vs. McGregor monster.

“As for what’s next, we’re currently taking a bit of down time after a fairly exhausting few months. Conor is in Ibiza for a friend’s wedding, I’m in Florida with my fiancée Orlagh, and we haven’t looked too far beyond that,” Kavanagh wrote in his column for Irish news outlet The42.

“We’re just going to switch off, let our minds settle, and we’ll make a decision on the next step when the time is right.

“It’s probably a little late in the day to realistically expect another fight before the end of the year, because even after this hiatus is over, a lot goes into the planning and execution of a training camp at our level. I find it hard to envisage another fight in 2017,” he continued.

“Then again, knowing Conor, I could get a text message tonight telling me otherwise. He’s difficult to predict.”

Though it would seem as simple as lining up an opponent for McGregor and plastering a date on the fight, it’s never that simple in the fight world. And now that the global spotlight on McGregor has intensified following his fight with Mayweather, there are likely going to be additional complications.

While UFC president Dana White has steadfastly insisted that he enjoys working with McGregor, he also is well aware that the Irishman’s drawing power has likely been magnified with his jump into the boxing world. There will likely be further negotiations on McGregor’s UFC contract, as well as dealing with whomever is his next opponent, particularly if that opponent is the one that Kavanagh has his sights set on.

“I’ve said for a long time that the Nate Diaz trilogy fight at lightweight is what I’d personally like to see next. That still needs to be put to bed,” said McGregor’s coach and longtime friend. One of Diaz’s coaches recently indicated that his fighter should command $20 to $30 million for a trilogy with McGregor.

Kavanagh realizes that there is an interim lightweight title fight on the offing at UFC 216 in October, when Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee square off, but McGregor has long been a fighter chasing history, and taking on the winner of Ferguson vs. Lee doesn’t have the historical feel as does a trilogy bout with Diaz.

TRENDING > Urijah Faber, Cody Garbrandt Accuse T.J. Dillashaw of ‘Cheap Shotting’ Teammates in Practice

“To be completely honest, I didn’t actually know who Kevin was until very recently. Tony is a solid fighter, but he doesn’t have the kind of appeal that would get your blood racing, particularly in the context of coming from the excitement of the Nate Diaz rematch, the historical significance of beating Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden, and the novelty of facing the greatest boxer of his generation.”

McGregor has yet to make much further comment about his fighting future other than to say that he does intend to fight again. So for now, we sit and we wait, and the legions of UFC fighters yearning for an eight-figure payday continue to shout Conor McGregor’s name.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Alistair Overeem Would Say Yes If Asked to Fight Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou was looking at his fight with former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 215 as a steppingstone to a shot at current champion Stipe Miocic. Even best-laid plans often go awry.

Such is what happened with Ngannou’s plans when dos Santos was pulled from the fight card due to a potential anti-doping violation. It won’t happen at UFC 215, but Alistair Overeem may step in to save the day for the rising heavyweight contender.

Dos Santos was pulled from the fight card after an out-of-competition sample collected on Aug. 10 was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation. The promotion tried to line up another opponent and keep Ngannou on the Edmonton fight card slated for Sept. 9, but was unsuccessful in securing anyone that made sense for him.

Alistair Overeem - UFC 213Overeem is currently a fighter without a fight, but he also just became a father for the third time and has been dedicating time to his family. He is, however, willing to face Ngannou, despite the fact that he is ranked higher than the Cameroonian-French fighter and has more to risk. 

“Francis is a very strong guy and he’s doing really good,” Overeem said of Ngannou at a fan question and answer session in Rotterdam when asked about a potential bout.

“I’m thinking November, December. I just became a dad again for the third time, so first things first, last month was family time, ever since my fight with Werdum. But yeah, I’m open. If the UFC call me and say lets do this, then I’ll certainly say yes.”

TRENDING > Could Nate Diaz Command $20-to-$30 Million Payday for Conor McGregor Trilogy?

With Ngannou currently sitting at No. 4 in the UFC heavyweight rankings and Overeem at No. 1 behind the champion, many would question the sense in Overeem risking his position. He doesn’t see it that way, however. Theoretically, he should be next to challenge Miocic, but Overeem relishes the challenge before him, seeing it as a powerful motivator.

“I don’t really pay attention to the rankings,” Overeem said. “I think he’s five and I’m number one. It is what it is. I see that as an opponent. He’s a big guy; he’s a strong guy. I think he’s bigger than me. He’s a challenge and I just see it as a motivation; somebody trying to take something away from me.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Yana Kunitskaya Picture Perfect in Claiming Bantamweight Belt (Invicta FC 25 Results & Highlights)

It’s been a wild road to the title for Yana Kunitskaya, but she put on a picture-perfect performance at Invicta FC 25 on Thursday night to lay claim to the bantamweight belt at Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, Calif.

From the opening bell, Kunitskaya was quick to engage, stuffing Raquel Pa’aluhi’s takedown attempts and putting her on the fence, repeatedly. Kunitskaya made the Hawaiian wear her weight early, while mixing in an array of strikes.

As the rounds wore on, Kunitskaya kept employing her strategy of stuffing Pa’aluhi’s takedowns and planting her on the fence in the clinch. What changed, however, was that Kunitskaya did more damage with her knees to Pa’aluhi’s body. Realizing that she was wearing her opponent down, Kunitskaya separated more quickly from the clinch and started to put her jab and front kick to work in the center of the cage.

Pa’aluhi, bloodied and tiring, put her heart on full display, never once looking like she would fold. Though she looked frustrated at times, being mostly unable to secure the takedown and put the fight where she wanted it, Pa’aluhi kept firing, trying to find a way to turn the tide.

Kunitskaya, however, was fighting in the Matrix on Thursday night. She seemed to slipped away even before Pa’aluhi began her moves. She landed multiple strikes in a blur, truly looking as if she was enjoying her moment.

It paid off, as Kunitskaya was awarded all five rounds by the judges, capturing the Invicta bantamweight championship.

Kunitskaya held the belt briefly after stepping into the Invicta cage late last year by submitting Tonya Evinger, but the result was changed to a no contest due to a questionable call by the referee. The two rematched with Evinger submitting Kunitskaya minus any doubts.

Yana KunitskayaThis time, there is no controversy swirling around Kunitskaya and she can lay clear claim to the bantamweight belt that Evinger vacated when she stepped over to the UFC’s Octagon.

The Brazilian Gangster, Livia Renata Souza, a former Invicta FC strawweight champion, put on a strong performance against the previously undefeated Janaisa Morandin in the co-main event, likely putting herself in a title fight in her next bout.

Though Morandin was strong with her striking on the feet, she couldn’t keep the fight there. As soon as she started landing with heavy combinations, Souza planted her on the canvas and unleashed a strong ground-and-pound strategy. 

Morandin stayed aggressive off of her back throughout, but couldn’t mount enough offense to turn the tide. All three rounds played out in a similar fashion, with Morandin wearing the effects of Souza’s ground assault on her face at the end of the fight. 

The judges awarded Souza a unanimous decision victory.

“It’s a hard camp. My father died a few weeks (ago). I can’t talk, I’m sorry, I’m so emotional,” Souza said after the fight, but rest assured she will regroup and look to earn back the belt she once wore around her waist. The strawweight championship has sat vacant since champion Angela Hill returned to the UFC.

  • Fight of the Night: Livia Renata Souza and Janaisa Morandin
  • Performance of the Night: Yana Kunitskaya
  • Performance of the Night: Yaya Rincón

Invicta FC 25: Kunitskaya vs. Pa’aluhi Results

  • Yana Kunitskaya def. Raquel Pa’aluhi by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • Livia Renata Souza def. Janaisa Morandin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Alexa Conners def. Katharina Lehner by TKO (punches) at 4:21, R1
  • Kali Robbins def. Sharon Jacobson via submission (armbar) at 0:42, R1
  • Shino VanHoose def. Alyse Anderson by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Sarah Kleczka def. Amberlynn Orr via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Yaya Rincon vs. Courtney Kingvia TKO (strikes) at 3:41, R2
  • Cheri Muraski def. Tracy Cortez via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:42, R2
  • Jillian DeCoursey def. Ashley Medina via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

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Source: MMA Weekly