All posts by Ken Pishna

Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg and Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko Top UFC 215

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will pull into Edmonton for the first on Sept. 9 with two title fights on tap.

UFC 215 will be headlined by flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson putting his belt on the line against Ray Borg. Joining them on the card is a rescheduled title defense for Amanda Nunes, as she will face Valentina Shevchenko. UFC officials announced the two title fights on Thursday.

Johnson (26-2-1) has been mired in the midst of a contentious situation with UFC president Dana White after “Mighty Mouse” refused to accept a fight with TJ Dillashaw in a battle for his flyweight belt. Moving on from that situation, Johnson, who is tied with Anderson Silva for most UFC title defenses, will attempt to break his deadlock with Silva by winning his thirteenth consecutive bout.

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Borg (11-2) faces a difficult task in trying to dethrone Johnson. He is 6-2 inside the Octagon, having lost decision to Justin Scoggins and Dustin Ortiz. Borg enters the fight with Johnson coming off of back-to-back victories over Louis Smolka and Jussier Formiga.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko UFC KickoffThe bout between Nunes (14-4) and Shevchenko (14-2) is a rescheduling of the rematch that had been intended to headline UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas. Though they made it all the way to the day of the fight, Nunes wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital to get checked out. UFC president Dana White said that the doctors had physically cleared her, but Nunes still felt too ill to step in the Octagon.

Nunes defeated Shevchenko via unanimous decision last year at UFC 196. This time, however, she will be putting her belt on the line as Shevchenko attempts to avenge her only UFC loss.

Other UFC 215 bouts announced or confirmed on Thursday include:

  • Junior Dos Santos (18-5) vs. Francis Ngannou (10-1)
  • Jeremy Stephens (25-13) vs. Gilbert Melendez (22-6)
  • Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs. Wilson Reis (22-7)
  • Ilir Latifi (13-5, 1NC) vs. Tyson Pedro (6-0)
  • Sara McMann (11-3) vs. Ketlen Vieira (8-0)
  • Gavin Tucker (10-0) vs. Rick Glenn (19-4-1)
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-2) vs.  Sarah Moras (4-3)
  • Arjan Bhullar (6-0) vs. Luis Henrique (10-3 1NC)
  • Kajan Johnson (21-12-1) vs. Adriano Martins (28-8)

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Source: MMA Weekly

U.S. Senator Who Tried to Stop MMA Diagnosed with Brain Tumor

Senator John McCain of Arizona, once a major opponent of mixed martial arts, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The diagnosis was made at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, following a craniotomy to remove a blood clot above his left eye, according to Fox News.

The report noted that McCain and his family are reviewing further options with his doctors, which might include a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

“Further consultations with Senator McCain’s Mayo Clinic care team will indicate when he will return to the United States Senate,” the 80-year-old senator’s office said in a statement.

Jon Jones and John McCainIn the mixed martial arts world, McCain is famous for trying to ban the sport in the late 1990s, calling it “human cockfighting.” He eventually got 36 states to sign on to his call for a ban, leaving it to survive via the grass roots via local events, UFC availability only on satellite pay-per-view, and the internet. That, however, was 20 years ago, when the sport took on a much different shape than its current iteration.

In the late 1990s, the UFC still operated under just two weight classes, had very few rules, and drug testing was non-existent.

As MMA underwent a transformation – largely because of McCain’s opposition to it – so did McCain’s view of the sport.

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While he has never purported to be a fan of MMA, Fox Sports reported in 2014 on McCain’s support for a brain study that included MMA. Also lending his support to the study was then UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who, after noting that McCain had told UFC fighter Jon Jones that he would be purchasing Jones’ upcoming title defense on pay-per-view, admitted that McCain was a necessary driver for the survival of MMA.

“I have to give him credit,” Fertitta said. “Without him doing what he did back in the ’90s to force regulation, this sport would be dead. It wouldn’t exist. Honestly, for all the negatives he caused, he actually allowed the sport to foster and grow.”

 

Chilling with my hitta my hitta…. John McCain

A post shared by Jon Bones Jones (@jonnybones) on Feb 4, 2014 at 9:53am PST

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Anderson Silva Not Retired Yet, Calls for Nick Diaz Rematch

Anderson Silva was on the brink of retirement a couple of months ago – or at least threatening it – but it appears the former UFC middleweight kingpin hasn’t yet decided to hang up his gloves. 

Silva on Monday took to his Instagram account to call for a rematch with Nick Diaz. That’s a far cry from what he was saying in May when his expected participation on the UFC 212 fight card in June fell apart.

The former middleweight champion had been slated to face Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212 in Rio. Gastelum, however, was pulled from the fight when the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) suspended him for testing positive to marijuana in relation to his fight with Vitor Belfort in March.

Following Gastelum’s removal, Silva demanded a fight with Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight championship. Silva had just come off of a decision win over Derek Brunson, while Romero was the top contender for Michael Bisping’s belt. UFC president Dana White refused, leaving Silva feeling slighted. He did an interview on The MMA Hour, seemingly laying down an ultimatum.

“I save all time the UFC,” he explained. “I’m far too old and I’m done, bro. I’m sorry. I know I need to respect my fans; I respect my fans. I’m sorry guys. I love my sport. I love fight. Fight is my life. But it’s too much bull(expletive).

“This fight, me and Yoel Romero, no happen. I’m done.”

Silva appears to have altered his thinking, putting out a call to Diaz, who hasn’t set foot in the Octagon since he fought Silva at UFC 183 two-and-a-half years ago. Silva had initially won the fight via decision, but the result was changed to a no contest after both fighters failed their respective drug tests.

“I believe this was one of the best fights in the history of this sport. With all my respect Nick. Let’s show how it’s done,” wrote Silva on Monday. “I will wait your reply, maximum respect to the Diaz family.”

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Diaz long ago moved away from chasing titles to looking for “big money” fights. Despite neither he nor Silva being immediately relevant to the UFC title picture, a rematch between two of the most popular fighters in the sport would surely be big business for them and the UFC. 

But is Diaz out there, listening, ready to return? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Conor McGregor’s Father: Mayweather Doesn’t Have Much to Cause Conor Any Difficulty

It’s not difficult to see where Conor McGregor gets his self confidence. Yes, success breeds an increased sense of self worth, but initial success generally comes from some form of confidence in the first place.

McGregor’s confidence appears to come, at least in part, from his father, who has an unwavering belief that his son will knock undefeated former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather out cold on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

The intrigue of the bout for most onlookers is the “what if” factor: what if McGregor can stand toe-to-toe for 12 rounds, what if McGregor can force Mayweather to make a mistake, what if McGregor knocks Mayweather out cold?

On paper, however, most pundits don’t think McGregor stands much more than a puncher’s chance of beating Mayweather, let alone surviving the full 12 rounds for which the bout is slated. 

McGregor’s father, Tony, has the same confidence his son exudes. He believes that Conor has the tools and the wherewithal to send shockwaves crashing through the crust of the Earth.

“The boxing community, they wrote Conor off. No one in the boxing world is giving him a chance. I think what Conor is gonna do on Aug. 26 in T-Mobile Arena is nothing short of a seismic shock,” Tony McGregor said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “It’s going to reverberate through the whole unarmed combat world. While Mayweather was the best fighter in the world – no one can take that away from him – on the twenty-sixth of August, he’s going to be the second best fighter in the world.”

McGregor has prognosticated that he will finish Mayweather inside of four rounds. His father isn’t about to disagree.

“He’s not called Mystic Mac for nothing. He predicts it and he produces it,” Tony said confidently.

“He’s prepared well. He knows his opponent. Boxing, by the way, was his first discipline as a young boy. That’s how he has that stand-up power,” he continued.

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“I don’t think Mayweather has too much to cause Conor any difficulty. I don’t think he has the power. He has a lot of defensive moves. Conor can them out too, wear him down. He has that kinetic energy. And when Conor connects, I think Mayweather is going to fold.

“He says four, I’m sticking with four also.”

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Cynthia Calvillo Scores Biggest Win of Her Career at UFC Glasgow

Rising strawweight prospect Cynthia Calvillo earned a hard fought victory over seasoned veteran Joanne Calderwood on the Scottish fighter’s home turf at UFC Fight Night 113 on Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland.

Calderwood got off to a blistering 9-0 start to her professional career, but dropped two of her four previous fight entering the bout with Calvillo, who was on a 5-0 tear coming into what was expected to be the toughest fight of her young career… and it was.

Getting the victory wasn’t without taking some bumps and bruises from Calderwood.

Calderwood controlled most of the action in the opening round, attacking Calvillo’s lead leg and working to establish her jab, while Calvillo was mostly relegated to a couple body shots until late in the round. 

Joanne Calderwood and Cynthia Calvillo pulled apart in GlasgowIn the waning minute of the round, Calvillo scored a takedown and took Calderwood’s back, searching for a rear-naked choke. Before should could sink it, the Scot scrambled into Calvillo’s guard, but Calvillo immediately attacked for an armbar. She couldn’t lock it out before time ran out.

The second round was again controlled mostly by Calderwood, who continued to keep Calvillo at kicking range, attacking with leg kicks and front kicks. Calvillo, however, started scoring with a straight right to the body followed by a left hook, which she landed at least twice, bloodying Calderwood’s nose with the first one.

The final frame was another close one with Calderwood continuing to control the action for the better part of the round, still maintaining kicking distance, but Calvillo did a better job with her striking, often scoring in quick bursts. 

Though Calvillo was stuffed on her first couple takedown attempts in the round, she grabbed Calderwood’s leg and tripped her to the canvas in the final minute of the fight. She acted quickly, taking Calderwood’s back and sinking a rear-naked choke, but she couldn’t cinch it down tight enough to finish the fight before time ran out.

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The judge’s, however, gave Calvillo’s aggressive attempts at finishing the fight heavy credence, awarding her a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.

“This is a fight, I did what I needed to win. Yes, this is MMA. I’m not here to play her game. This is my game, my cage, I’m gonna win it how I want it. This is how I do it,” said Calvillo after the fight, not offering any apologies for not being able to finish the fight.

“She was a bigger opponent, I needed to do what I needed to win.”

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Conor McGregor Says He Will Knock Floyd Mayweather Out Within 4 Rounds

Almost nobody expects UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor to beat Floyd Mayweather when they step into the squared circle in August… nobody accept McGregor that is.

In fact, McGregor intends to knock Mayweather out inside of four rounds.

McGregor and UFC president Dana White are preparing to embark on a world press tour alongside Mayweather to promote the bout. It’s a whirlwind that begins in Los Angeles on Tuesday and covers Toronto, New York, and London in the ensuing three days.

McGregor, flying in from Ireland, and White, arriving from Las Vegas, met on the tarmac when they landed at the same time on Monday in Los Angeles.

“I was waiting for him to get out of the plane,” White recounted on Monday’s edition of “Speak for Yourself” on FS1. “He gets off, flight from Ireland, looks like he was just fitted at Armani. Walks off the plane and he says, ‘I will knock this man out within four rounds.’”

To have any chance at all against one of the greatest technical boxers in the history of pugilism, McGregor is going to need that brash confidence he is known for. Of course, that alone doesn’t get the job done, but as most pundits and oddsmakers alike are estimating, it will take a quick knockout for the Irish power puncher to win the fight. Otherwise, Mayweather is likely to dance around him and pick him apart for 12 rounds.

Conor McGregor UFC 194 open workouts boxingRegardless of how lopsided the fight appears on paper – and no doubt about it, this fight is lopsided – White isn’t buying into the criticism of the likes of competing promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who thinks that the spectacle of a 49-0 Mayweather versus a debuting McGregor is bad for boxing.

“I think this is a good fight for combat sports. Other people out there – Oscar De La Hoya – are saying that this thing will be bad for boxing. Yet, he wanted to do (boxer Canelo Alvarez) vs. McGregor, let’s put that out there. This is great for combat sports,” said White.

“It’s like when Floyd and Manny (Pacquiao) had that huge fight and pulled that massive number. First of all, you look at that and good for them, number one. Number two, that shows me the bar. That shows me where the bar can be set with the right fight at the right place at the right time.”

Make no mistake about it, despite all of the criticism that Mayweather vs. McGregor draws, it’s getting talked about like no other fight before it. What could drive it to be an even bigger fight than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao isn’t simply the crossover of boxing and mixed martial arts audiences, it’s the curious onlookers from outside of both sports that simply can’t look away.

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It is that spectacle that is likely to drive the bout to record numbers unseen in combat sports history, and White knows it.

“Am I saying that this is going to be the greatest boxing match in the history of the world? I am not,” he admitted. “But two men are going at it, they’re gonna fight, and we’ll see what happens.”

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Max Holloway Expected to Defend UFC Belt Against Frankie Edgar

Max Holloway recently unified the UFC featherweight title, besting Jose Aldo at UFC 212 in June. Now, his first title defense is taking shape.

UFC president Dana White told Hawaiian TV station KHON2 that Holloway is expected to put his belt on the line against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed that the fight has been agreed to, but also noted that Holloway is still negotiating a new deal with the UFC, which is holding up the fight’s finalization.

Though the details are still in flux, White expects that Holloway and Edgar will meet before the end of the year.

“We’re looking at Frankie Edgar (to fight Holloway), but we don’t know where,” said White before adding that he absolutely intends for the fight to take place in 2016.

One other thing he was definitive about: the fight will not take place in Hawaii. While Holloway and other Hawaiian fighters, as well as a plethora of Hawaiian fight fans, have been lobbying for a UFC event in the U.S.’s youngest state, White doesn’t see a viable venue.

“If Hawaii had an arena, we’d have been there already,” said White. 

The problem is that any card in Hawaii would be a costly endeavor and the only venue that is large enough is Aloha Stadium, which is outside. With the likelihood of rain, the UFC won’t risk a significant event there. 

So Hawaiians will have to settle for Holloway defending his belt elsewhere for the near term, including the expected upcoming bout with Edgar. 

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Holloway (18-3) has been golden over the past few years, notching 11 consecutive victories since losing a decision to Conor McGregor in 2013. He has finished all but three of those opponents, including a spectacular third-round stoppage of Aldo. 

Edgar (22-5-1) has also been impressive in recent years, defeating everyone put in front of him that wasn’t named Jose Aldo. Though he dropped a decision to the former champion as recently as last year, Edgar has since won back-to-back bouts against Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez, forcing his way back into the title mix. 

(Damon Martin contributed to this article.)

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Source: MMA Weekly

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Reveals UFC 213 Fight Hung Up Over Pregnancy Test

Joanna Jedrzejczyk UFC 213When UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk learned on Saturday that bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes had dropped out of her UFC 213 headlining bout due to illness, she immediately got on the phone to UFC president Dana White.

There was no hesitation. There were no stipulations. She simply offered to step up on just a few hours of notice to fight one of the top bantamweight fighters in the world, Valentina Shevchenko.

Jedrzejczyk insisted that it was no joke and that there was nothing personal in her motivation to fight Shevchenko in the Octagon. It certainly didn’t hurt, however, that she had previously lost to Shevchenko three times under Muay Thai rules. 

“It was not only for fun or for PR. I was really willing to fight,” Jedrzejczyk said in a backstage scrum at UFC 213. “There is not bad blood between me and Valentina Shevchenko. It was only for the fans to have the rest of the show.”

Though she had the moxie to step up on such short notice, time simply didn’t allow for Jedrzejczyk to do it. The Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t have the time to go through the approval process, primarily due to the medical requirements; one in particular, according to Jedrzejczyk. 

“It was very close actually. It was about a pregnancy test. It was not enough time to get the result they need. They needed 72 hours.”

The fight didn’t get booked for UFC 213, but considering the willingness of both women to meet in the Octagon, and the desire of each to fight in the soon to emerge women’s 125-pound flyweight division, it isn’t out of the question that the fight could be made down the road. 

For now, however, UFC president Dana White said that he is hoping to rebook Nunes vs. Shevchenko for UFC 215 in September.

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UFC Statement on Amanda Nunes Cancellation; Fight Card Shuffled

In a spectacular stroke of bad fortune, UFC 213 lost its main event with mere hours until fight time.

MMAWeekly.com initially confirmed that bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes had gone to the hospital due to illness. Although every attempt was made to keep the fight intact, she felt too ill to fight, and it was later confirmed by multiple sources that her fight with Valentina Shevchenko had been canceled.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko UFC 213 FaceoffThe UFC issued a statement to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, confirming the removal of the Nunes vs. Shevchenko bout. With the fight’s cancellation, UFC officials moved swiftly to reorganize the fight card. 

The original co-main event between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker for the interim middleweight championship will now serve as headliner. As of the time of publication, it was expected that a heavyweight trilogy bout between Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem would take the co-main event slot.

Also part of the shuffling, a preliminary bout between Rob Font and Douglas Silva de Andrade has been upgraded to the main card.

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The UFC’s statement on the UFC 213 fight card shake-up:

“Due to illness, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has been removed from her UFC 213 title defense against Valentina Shevchenko.

UFC 213, which is now headlined by the interim UFC middleweight championship bout between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker, will proceed as scheduled with 11 bouts at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Moving to the Pay-Per-View main card is the bantamweight bout between Rob Font and Douglas Silva de Andrade.

With the removal of Nunes vs. Shevchenko, customers may request a full refund of purchased tickets at point of sale.”

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Justin Gaethje Survives Near Finish to Stop Michael Johnson with Knees (TUF 25 Finale Results)

Justin Gaethje wanted to make an immediate splash in his Octagon debut. He did precisely that by returning from the brink of defeat to take out Michael Johnson at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale on Friday in Las Vegas.

Gaethje entered the Octagon wanting to prove his worth as the undefeated former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion, while Johnson wanted to spoil his welcoming party and get back on track after losing three of his four most recent bouts.

While both men gave it everything they had and then some, it was Gaethje that achieved his goal and showed that he deserves to be an immediate contender for the lightweight title currently wrapped around Conor McGregor’s waist.

Gaethje and Johnson went at it from the opening bell, meeting in the center of the Octagon and unloading on each other. 

They’re respective strategies quickly became apparent. Johnson was trying to take the fight to Gaethje with his punches, attacking with frequent combinations to the head and the body. Gaethje used a more varied attack. The former WSOF champ attacked Johnson’s legs through the entire fight, setting up numerous power punches.

Just as the leg kicks appeared to be taking the steam out of Johnson late in the first round, Johnson landed a right hook followed by a left hand that staggered Gaethje. Johnson swarmed, unloading with punches.

They went briefly to the canvas, but quickly returned to their feet. Johnson pressed Gaethje to the cage, unloading until time ran out in the round.

Michael Johnson vs Justin Gaethje TUF 25 Finale weighGaethje recovered well in between rounds and began the second stanza the same as the first, pressing forward, attacking with a combination of leg kicks and punches.

Johnson, however, caught Gaethje early with another right hand that again staggered him. Johnson kept pressing with punches and knees, forcing Gaethje’s back to the cage. As he appeared to be wavering on the precipice of defeat, Gaethje answered with an elbow and knee of his own. He was still rocked, but kept moving forward. 

The pace finally slowed for a moment, but then Gaethje landed an uppercut that wobbled Johnson. He kept plowing forward, unloading with several more uppercuts, backing Johnson to the fence, where he landed leg kicks and elbows at will, sending Johnson to the canvas. 

Instead of following him down, Gaethje forced Johnson to return to his feet. Johnson was wobbled; his legs giving out from all of the leg kicks and his head floating around somewhere above the Octagon. Gaethje kept the pressure on, unloading with punches and kicks, again dropping Johnson and forcing him to stand.

The end came when Gaethje drove a knee into Johnson’s solar plexus, driving him backward. Gaethje followed with more knees until referee Big John McCarthy stepped in to stop the fight. 

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If you’ve ever watched any of Gaethje’s other fights, this was nothing new. He’s known to bring excitement, and he’s known for fighting back from the brink. 

Now at 18-0, the UFC is going to be hard pressed to deny him immediately jumping into the deep end of the division.

“Who’s next? Who’s next? Where is my equal at? I want to meet him right now,” Gaethje yelled into the microphone in his post-fight interview with Brian Stann. 

“You cannot break me, I promise you. Drop me all you want. You better to put me to sleep or else I’m coming for your head, I’m coming for your legs, I’m coming for your body. Who is next?

“Where’s my equal at? I’m 18-0 with 15 knockouts. Where is my equal? That’s what I want. Where is he?”

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Source: MMA Weekly