Having a bad day? These pics of kids getting a cool MMA masterclass from UFC fighters in Rio should help

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As far as MMA introductions go, it’s hard to top the masterclass a group happy-looking children and teenagers from social projects in Rio de Janeiro got this past Saturday.

As part of the celebrations of the one-year anniversary the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio, former PRIDE heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was joined by six active UFC fighters in teaching the free class, held at the venue that hosted basketball competitions at the Olympics.

Former strawweight title challenger Jessica Andrade, flyweight Alexandre Pantoja, lightweight Alan Patrick, strawweight Poliana Botelho and middleweights Vitor Miranda and Thiago “Marreta” Santos all shared some knowledge.

“Social actions like these bring the children closer to martial arts and work as motivation for them to follow this path, as many have little access to sports,” Nogueira stated. “I believe that, by allowing direct access with idols such as UFC fighters, we help both the self-esteem and the development of these children.

“I’ve been working with this for a while and I understand how much the engagement between sports and social projects benefits the future of or country.”

Did the kids enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience? Check out the photos in the gallery above and decide for yourself.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Justin Gaethje and TUF 25 Finale's other winning fighters?

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Former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje put on another masterpiece of violence on Friday at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, living up to the hype in every way imaginable in his main event bout with Michael Johnson.

Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) delivered arguably the most memorable performance of his career when he stopped Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) with strikes in the second round of the lightweight bout, which aired on FS1 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Early prelims streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Although Gaethje’s victory was the most significant on the card, several others earned important wins, as well, including new “TUF 25: Redemption” champ Jesse Taylor (31-15 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who closed the door on the latest season of the reality series with a submission finish in the co-headliner.

Also on the main card, Drakkar Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Jared Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), Brad Tavares (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Jordan Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) added another tally to their win columns.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jordan Johnson

Darren Stewart

Should fight: Darren Stewart
Why they should fight: Some intriguing new blood has revealed itself in the UFC lightweight heavyweight in recent months, and Johnson is certainly part of that group after his unanimous decision win over Marcel Fortuna.

Johnson admitted his performance lacked in significant action, but considering his inexperience in the sport, 15 minutes of hard-fought time in the octagon can’t hurt his development. Johnson brings a solid wrestling pedigree and a growing striking game into his fights, and if he keeps adding to his skillset, there’s a promising future ahead.

The undefeated 28-year-old needs several more fights against a somewhat even level of competition before he gains consideration for a truly noteworthy matchup, and with same number of pro fights, Stewart (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) would be a fair booking for both.

Brad Tavares

Sam Alvey

Should fight: Winner of Sam Alvey vs. Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 114
Why they should fight: More than seven years after making his UFC debut, Tavares added a 10th octagon victory to his resume when he defeated fan-favorite Elias Theodorou by unanimous decision.

Tavares was just a step ahead of “The Ultimate Fighter: Nations” winner Theodorou throughout the middleweight bout, and it led to his third victory in his past four fights. The Hawaiian has only lost to notable names throughout his UFC tenure, and even then, he makes his opponents work hard for it.

Still just 29, Tavares has potential to make noise at 185 pounds and has once again put himself in position to do just that. The winner of the UFC Fight Night 114 bout between Alvey (30-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Evans (19-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) on Aug. 5 isn’t ranked or on a big winning streak, but he will carry name value, which could help an underrated fighter like Tavares get more attention.

Jared Cannonier

Gokhan Saki

Should fight: Gokhan Saki
Why they should fight: Cannonier did what he was supposed to against an opponent who stepped in as an injury replacement on just three days’ notice when he defeated UFC newcomer Nick Roehrick by third-round TKO.

Cannonier’s vast striking arsenal was way too much for Roehrick to handle with essentially no preparation time. It was an important, confidence-building performance after Cannonier was blown out of the water against Glover Teixeira in his biggest fight to date at UFC 208 in February.

To make things even better, Cannonier came to his post-fight interview with a plan in mind. In an outside-the-box callout, he offered to welcome world renowned kickboxing champion Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who signed with the promotion earlier this year.

The callout was met with instant excitement, and despite the fact Saki has essentially no MMA experience, he said he wants tough fights right away. Cannonier will oblige in exactly the type of fight the Dutch striker wants, and there’s no doubt it would be a fan-pleasing affair. Moreover, Saki said he’s interested.

Drakkar Klose

Alan Patrick

Should fight: Alan Patrick
Why they should fight: The most heated grudge match on the card went in favor of Klose when he surprised highly touted prospect Marc Diakiese with a split-decision win.

There was a ton of tension and trash talk between the competitors prior to their encounter. Most expected it to be another showcase fight for Diakiese, but Klose had other plans and put in a superior work rate to hand the Brit his first career loss.

Klose’s confidence and relentless style will likely aid him to a successful UFC career, and while it’s not to discredit his performance, one of the primary narratives coming out of the fight is whether there was too much hype behind Diakiese.

He should get a chance to prove that’s not the case, though, and in the loaded 155-pound division, there’s no shortage of fighters capable revealing how good Klose really is. Patrick (14-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is coming off consecutive wins and has been tested over his multiple years as a UFC fighter. His mix of his experience and skillset would help further reveal Klose’s ceiling.

Jesse Taylor

Belal Muhammad

Should fight: Belal Muhammad
Why they should fight: Taylor completed the ultimate redemption story when he captured “The Ultimate Fighter 25” crown with a second-round submission of Dhiego Lima to claim a $290,000 prize.

Taylor’s journey from getting kicked off Season 7 of “TUF” just before the finals due to some careless antics to winning Season 25 is well documented, and his journey is nothing short of impressive.

“JT-Money” wants to make his mark on the UFC roster, but in a deep welterweight division it’s not going to be easy. Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) scored a quality decision win over Jordan Mein at UFC 213 the night after Taylor’s performance, and his game would be an interesting test for the latest “TUF” winner.

Justin Gaethje

Should fight: Al Iaquinta
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Gaethje should fight Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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