UFC Fight Night 123 salaries: Ex-WSOF champ Marlon Moraes leads $866k payroll

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Former WSOF bantamweight champ Marlon Moraes took home a big win at UFC Fight Night 123, and he also notched the biggest pay day of the event.

Moraes (20-5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) took home a disclosed payout of $146,000 for his knockout of Aljamain Sterling (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC).

MMAjunkie today requested and received the list of official disclosed paydays from the California State Athletic Commission.

UFC Fight Night 123 took place Saturday at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and it aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, Brian Ortega (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) upset veteran Cub Swanson (25-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC) with a second-round guillotine choke.

The total disclosed payout for the event was $866,000.

The full list of UFC Fight Night 123 payouts included:

Brian Ortega: $58,000 (includes $29,000 win bonus)
def. Cub Swanson: $76,000

Gabriel Benitez: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Jason Knight: $31,000

Marlon Moraes : $146,000 (includes $ win bonus)
def. Aljamain Sterling: $36,000

Scott Holtzman: $40,000 (includes $ win bonus)
def. Darrell Horcher: $15,000

Eryk Anders: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Markus Perez: $12,000

Benito Lopez: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Albert Morales: $15,000

Alexis Davis: $64,000 (includes $32,000 win bonus)
def. Liz Carmouche: $30,000

Andre Soukhamthath: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Luke Sanders: $12,000

Alex Perez: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Carls John de Tomas: $10,000

Frankie Saenz: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Merab Dvalishvili: $10,000

Alejandro Perez: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. Iuri Alcantara: $39,000

Davi Ramos: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Chris Gruetzemacher: $12,000

Trevin Giles: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Antonio Braga Neto: $10,000

Now, the usual disclaimer: The figures do not include deductions for items such as insurance, licenses and taxes. Additionally, the figures do not include money paid by sponsors, including the official UFC Athlete Outfitting sponsorship program pay. They also do not include any other “locker room” or special discretionary bonuses the UFC often pays.

For example, as previously reported, UFC officials handed out additional $50,000 UFC Fight Night 123 fight-night bonuses to Ortega and Swanson for “Fight of the Night” and Ortega and Moraes for “Performance of the Night.” By doubling up, Ortega earned $100,000 total in fight-night bonuses.

In other words, the above figures are simply base salaries reported to the commission and do not reflect entire compensation packages for the event.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Fresno's Benito Lopez sorry about weigh-in shove but plans to appeal CSAC fine

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FRESNO, Calif. – Benito Lopez is sorry for shoving Albert Morales during weigh-ins for their UFC Fight Night 123 encounter, but he will try to appeal the penalty he got for it.

Lopez (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned a unanimous-decision victory over Morales (7-3-1 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) when the two met inside the cage on Saturday. But that was only the last chapter of a feud that Lopez said started when they were first set to fight, about two years ago. A concussion forced Lopez out of the bout, but the rivalry lingered.

Things came to a boiling point on Friday, when a scream by Morales led to a push by Lopez. The physical reaction got Lopez a 10 percent fine of his $10,000 show money ($1,000), which the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) will keep.

Lopez acknowledges his role on the scuffle, but he’s not about to simply take the punishment.

“Honestly, it was probably my fault for pushing him,” Lopez said after the FS1-televised main-card bout at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. “But he did scream in my face, when we were face to face. It really pissed me off. We already had bad blood, so it is what it is.

“Yeah, it’s unfortunate. It sucks. On social media it kind of went a little viral, and all the MMA sites and all the fans have my back on it. And we’re going to try to appeal it and see what happens. I’m sorry, California State Athletic Commission for doing that. It won’t happen again.”

Here’s the shove (via Twitter):

As for the bad blood with “The Warrior”? It seems slugging it out for three rounds in a battle that left Lopez with an apparently broken nose is the type of thing that can really bring people together.

“It’s like, how can you (share) blood sweat and tears with someone, and go to war, and still be mad?” Lopez said. “I felt his best, and he felt my best. Nothing but respect for him. He’s a true warrior. His nickname does him justice.”

Here’s the post-fight embrace (via Twitter):

Other than burying a beef, Lopez did something else on Saturday: He added a UFC win to his still-unbeaten record. And doing it after a Dana White’s Contender Series 7 win, with an exciting back-and-forth battle, is certainly one way to get your name out there.

But while his two most high-profile wins yet came from decisions, Lopez said not to get too used to that.

“I like to go in there and knock someone out in the first 10 seconds,” Lopez said. “That’s the kind of fights I like to be in. It didn’t go that way. It was a war. It is what it is. I’m confident I’ll be back stronger than ever and I’ll get back to my finishing ways.”

To hear more from Lopez, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 123 Athlete Outfitting pay: Cub Swanson only $20,000 recipient

FRESNO, Calif. – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $117,500.

UFC Fight Night 123 took place at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was Cub Swanson (25-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC), who suffered a submission loss to Brian Ortega (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in the event headliner, but received a $20,000 for his 20-plus fight UFC/WEC tenure.

The full UFC Fight Night 123 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Brian Ortega: $5,000
def. Cub Swanson: $20,000

Gabriel Benitez: $5,000
def. Jason Knight: $5,000

Marlon Moraes: $2,500
def. Aljamain Sterling: $5,000

Scott Holtzman: $5,000
def. Darrell Horcher: $2,500

Eryk Anders: $2,500
def. Markus Perez: $2,500

Benito Lopez: $2,500
def. Albert Morales: $2,500

Alexis Davis: $5,000
def. Liz Carmouche: $5,000

Andre Soukhamthath: $2,500
def. Luke Sanders: $2,500

Alex Perez: $2,500
def. Carls John de Tomas: $2,500

Frankie Saenz: $5,000
def. Merab Dvalishvili: $2,500

Alejandro Perez: $5,000
def. Iuri Alcantara: $15,000

Davi Ramos: $2,500
def. Chris Gruetzemacher: $2,500

Trevin Giles: $2,500
def. Antonio Braga Neto: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $5,965,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $16,288,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 123

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno, Calif., went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Brian Ortega def. Cub Swanson via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:22

Brian Ortega: “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX

Cub Swanson: “Wake N Bake/4AM” by Machine Gun Kelly/2 Chainz

Gabriel Benitez def. Jason Knight via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)

Jason Knight: “Mama Said Knock You Out” by L.L. Cool J

Gabriel Benitez: “Tierra Santa” by Mejor Morir en pie

Marlon Moraes def. Aljamain Sterling via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 1:07

Aljamain Sterling: “InfraRed” by Vybz Kartel & Masicka

Marlon Moraes: “Coming Home” by Diddy Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey

Scott Holtzman def. Darrell Horcher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Scott Holtzman: “Nothin’ But a Good Time” by Poison

Darrell Horcher: “Miracle” by Nonpoint

Eryk Anders def. Markus Perez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 29-28)

Eryk Anders: “Set it Off” by Lil’ Boosie

Markus Perez: “Ecstacy of Gold (Bandini Remix)” by Ennio Morricone

Benito Lopez def. Albert Morales via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Benito Lopez: “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.

Albert Morales: “Belizean Warrior” by Fuego

Alexis Davis def. Liz Carmouche via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Alexis Davis: “The Mission” by Puscifer

Liz Carmouche: “Satisfaction” by Benny Enassi

Andre Soukhamthath def. Luke Sanders via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:06

Andre Soukhamthath: “All of the Above” by Maino feat. T-Pain

Luke Sanders: “Hair of the Dog” by Nazareth

Alex Perez def. Carls John de Tomas via submission (D’arce choke) – Round 2, 1:54

Alex Perez: “Bad Mother(expletive)” by MGK

Carls John de Tomas: “Noypi” by Bamboo

Frankie Saenz def. Merab Dvalishvili via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Frankie Saenz: “Calm Like a Bomb” by Rage Against The Machine

Merab Dvalishvili: “Chveni Samshoblo” by Jgufi Bano

N/A
Alejandro Perez def. Iuri Alcantara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Alejandro Perez: “Originala” by Movimiento Original

Iuri Alcantara: “El Rey” by Vincente Fernandez

Davi Ramos def. Chris Gruetzemacher via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 0:50

Davi Ramos: “Till I Collapse” by Eminem

Chris Gruetzemacher: “Till It’s Gone” by Yelawolf

Trevin Giles def. Antonio Braga Neto via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:27

Trevin Giles: “Wait a Minute” by Phresher

Antonio Braga Neto: “Without Me” by Eminem

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 123 results: Benito Lopez takes decision from Albert Morales in high-flying scrap

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Benito Lopez and Albert Morales took turns dropping each other in the first round, then battered one another all the way to the finish for a thrilling back-and-forth brawl.

But once the judges had their say, it was Lopez (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) who took the unanimous decision, beating Morales (7-3-1 MMA, 1-3-1 UFC) with scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28.

The bantamweight bout opened up the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 123 event at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

This grudge match got off to a swift start, as both men flew at one another in the opening seconds. Morales struck first, dropping Lopez with a stiff left, only to get dropped himself by a flying knee moments later.

But after getting briefly stuck in a mounted guillotine, Morales escaped and controlled Lopez against the fence for the remainder of the first, peppering him with occasional short strikes.

Lopez focused his efforts on battling the body of Morales in the next frame, hammering him with kicks to the ribs and the liver, but somehow without slowing him down. By the third, Morales was still charging forward, looking to hurt Lopez right up until the final horn, and even landing a blistering left to the nose to end the round.

But when the fight went to the scorecards, all three judges had it for Lopez, giving him the win over his rival in an instantly memorable clash of bantamweights.

With the win in his UFC debut, Lopez maintains his perfect record as a professional. Morales has now lost two straight, and three of his last four.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 123 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Fresno.)

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Benito Lopez fined 10 percent for UFC-Fresno weigh-ins shove; CSAC to keep money

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FRESNO, Calif. – Benito Lopez pushed his opponent during today’s UFC Fight Night 123 weigh-ins ceremony, and the California State Athletic Commission has pushed back.

UFC officials confirmed with MMAjunkie that Lopez has been fined 10 percent of his $10,000 show money for shoving Albert Morales during their face-off at Fresno Convention Center. Unlike when a fighter misses weight, Lopez’s deducted purse money won’t be paid to Morales and instead will go to the CSAC.

As the two fighters squared off for an intense staredown, Morales suddenly yelled “boo” in Lopez’s face. Lopez’s reaction was to give Morales a hard push; Morales didn’t retaliate.

Lopez, who is making his official UFC debut after an August win on Dana White’s Contender Series, will lose $1,000 as a result of his actions. He could earn an extra $10,000 with a win.

Lopez (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Morales (7-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) is set to kick off the FS1-televised main card of UFC Fight Night 123, which takes place Saturday at Save Mart Center. Early prelims will streak on UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 123 staff picks: Who's the runaway choice between Cub Swanson, Brian Ortega?

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Swanson
vs.
Ortega
Benitez
vs.
Knight
Moraes
vs.
Sterling
Holtzman
vs.
Horcher
Anders
vs.
Perez
Lopez
vs.
Morales
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 120-81
swanson2017
Swanson
(64%)
knight2017
Knight
(92%)
sterling2017
Sterling
(51%)
horcher2017
Horcher
(55%)
anders2017
Anders
(73%)
blopez2017
Lopez
(58%)
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 127-74
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
mmoraes2017
Moraes
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
blopez2017
Lopez
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 126-75
trophy copy 2015 Champion
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
sterling2017
Sterling
horcher2017
Horcher
anders2017
Anders
amorales2017
Morales
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 126-75
ortega2017
Ortega
knight2017
Knight
mmoraes2017
Moraes
horcher2017
Horcher
anders2017
Anders
blopez2017
Lopez
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 125-76
trophy copy 2016 Champion
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
mmoraes2017
Moraes
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
amorales2017
Morales
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 124-77
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
sterling2017
Sterling
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
amorales2017
Morales
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 119-82
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
mmoraes2017
Moraes
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
blopez2017
Lopez
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 118-83
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
mmoraes2017
Moraes
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
amorales2017
Morales
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 117-84
trophy copy 2014 Champion
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
mmoraes2017
Moraes
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
blopez2017
Lopez
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 117-84
swanson2017
Swanson
knight2017
Knight
sterling2017
Sterling
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
amorales2017
Morales
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 115-86
ortega2017
Ortega
knight2017
Knight
sterling2017
Sterling
holtzman2017
Holtzman
anders2017
Anders
blopez2017
Lopez

The UFC has set up camp in Fresno, Calif., this week for the first time, and a featherweight barnburner headlines the show.

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place Saturday at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, Cub Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC) will try to hand Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) the first loss of his pro career. Swanson is going after his fifth straight win, and he’s the pick of eight of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts – even though Ortega is a mild betting favorite.

In the co-feature, Gabriel Benitez (19-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) meets Jason Knight (20-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in another featherweight clash. Knight is a 3-1 favorite and one of two unanimous picks on the main card. The other unanimous choice comes in the form of middleweight Eryk Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who is a 3-0 favorite against Markus Perez (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a battle of unbeatens. Anders has all 10 of our pickers siding with him.

Also on the main card, former WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) meets Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC). In a close one, it’s Moraes with a 6-4 edge in the picks. Lightweight Scott Holtzman (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) goes after his first UFC winning streak when he meets Darrell Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC), and Holtzman has an 8-2 edge. And to open the main card, Benito Lopez (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meets Albert Morales (7-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) in a bantamweight bout that is deadlocked at 5-5.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Swanson, Knight, Sterling, Horcher, Anders and Lopez are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 123 with a crucial fight for Cub Swanson

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The UFC visits Fresno, Calif., on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 123. Headlining the card is a potential featherweight title eliminator between long-time 145-pound competitor Cub Swanson and the fast-rising Brian Ortega.

Swanson was close to a shot at then-champion Jose Aldo in 2014, but a submission loss to Frankie Edgar knocked Swanson out of the title picture. Now, with a four-fight winning streak to his name, Swanson hopes a win over Ortega will earn him his longed-for title fight.

Ortega debuted with the UFC a few months before Swanson’s loss to Edgar. When he joined the UFC the Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt was 8-0. He remains unbeaten with four consecutive third-round submission wins with the UFC.

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place at Save Mart Center, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Risk vs. reward

Since he joined the WEC/UFC in 2007, Swanson has won nine fight-night bonuses, including “Fight of the Night” in his two most recent bouts. He enters UFC Fight Night 123 with a contract that expires when his fight against Brian Ortega comes to an end.

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Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC), who is the No. 6 ranked featherweight in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings, is taking a calculated risk in fighting out his deal against Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC), a rising star who is one spot below him in the rankings. If the 34-year-old Swanson hands his 26-year-old opponent the first loss of his career, he figures his worth to the company should be at an all-time high. If that is the case, Swanson should be rewarded handsomely.

If he’s wrong, things could get a little dicey, just ask Stevie Ray, who fought out his contract, and lost, in July. Ray is still waiting to negotiate a new deal with the promotion.

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2. A fan favorite returns

Jason Knight was on a four-fight winning streak when he decided to step in as an injury replacement against featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas. It was a gutsy move, but not an especially shocking one. During his stint with the UFC, the Mississippian has become a fan favorite for his take no prisoners approach to fighting.

Knight’s gamble did not pay off. Lamas stopped him via strikes in the first round. The defeat did not hurt Knight’s standing in the rankings. He remains an honorable mention. Nor did the loss hurt Knight (20-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in the eyes of the UFC. His fight against Gabriel Benitez (19-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is his first co-main event bout with the promotion.

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The unranked Benitez, who is coming off a loss to Enrique Barzola, is a significant underdog in this matchup. Benitez is a powerful, but limited striker, who is susceptible to takedowns.

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3. Not a bad consolation prize

When former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was pulled from his scheduled bout against Jimmie Rivera, both Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling campaigned for the open spot. Neither received the nod. John Lineker will face Rivera at UFC 219.

Instead, the UFC opted to give Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who is ranked No. 6 in the division, a shot at the No. 12 ranked Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) after the UFC pulled Sterling’s original opponent, Rani Yahya from UFC Fight Night 123 due to injury.

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While neither fighter received his wish to fight Rivera in what could have been a bantamweight title eliminator, a win here might put the victor one or two fights away from a shot at the title.

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4. Former champions meet

Eryk Anders

All signs indicate Eryk Anders is a fighter to watch in the middleweight division. The former University of Alabama linebacker began competing in MMA a little more than two years ago and he’s already unbeaten in nine fights. His two most recent bouts took place in a span of 29 days. He won the LFA middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory in June. He followed that with a first-round knockout of 17-fight UFC veteran Rafael Natal.

Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) faces unbeaten Markus Perez at UFC Fight Night 123. Perez (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) steps into his UFC debut on short notice. Like Anders, he enters his first UFC bout after winning the LFA middleweight title. Perez won the title via first-round submission.

5. Watch the pace

Benito Lopez

Benito Lopez was 7-0 with five consecutive first-round stoppage victories to his name when he appeared on the Dana White’s Contender Series 7 card. The 23-year-old didn’t get a finish that night, but his split decision win over Steven Peterson earned him a UFC contract. The Team Alpha Male product faces a tough test in Albert Morales in this bantamweight contest.

During the Peterson fight it was plain to see how Lopez racked up those first-round finishes. He was relentless in his striking attack, which included a nice mix of kicks and knees. The drawback of Lopez’s fast pace was that he faded as the fight progressed.

The 26-year-old Morales might only have one win in the UFC, a split decision over Andre Soukhamthath, but he was 6-0 with five finishes before he joined the promotion. Like Lopez (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Morales (7-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) employs a fast-paced striking attack.

6. Welcome to the flyweight division

Two former women’s bantamweight title contenders drop to flyweight for a rematch at UFC Fight Night 123. In their first meeting, Alexis Davis, who is ranked No. 12 at 135 pounds defeated Liz Carmouche, who is the No. 14 ranked bantamweight, by unanimous decision.

Neither fighter has been very active since they faced off in 2013. Davis (18-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has fought five times since that bout, while Carmouche (11-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has stepped into the cage three times.

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In a division with a newly crowned champion, and a handful of bantamweight and strawweight fighters looking to make the move to 125 pounds, this is an important fight for these two 33-year-old veterans. An impressive performance will go a long way toward establishing the victor in the still-developing division.

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7. In search of a UFC bantamweight win

Andre Soukhamthath

Luke Sanders faces Andre Soukhamthath in a battle between two fighters who held bantamweight titles outside the UFC. Sanders (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) held the RFA title, while Soukhamthath (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) was the CES champion. Neither fighter has a win at 135 pounds in the UFC.

Sanders is a powerful and aggressive fighter who was on his way to a stoppage victory over Iuri Alcantara before delivering an illegal knee to his opponent’s head during his most recent fight. The break in the action gave Alcantara new life. He took advantage of the opportunity and submitted Sanders in the second round.

Soukhamthath has dropped both his UFC outings by split decision. His most recent defeat came against Alejandro Perez at UFC Fight Night 114. Soukhamthath has power in his hands, but he’s not nearly as active or aggressive as Sanders.

8. The new guy

Whenever a new addition joins the flyweight division, it’s worth taking a look at that fighter. At UFC Fight Night 123, that fighter is Alex Perez.

Perez (18-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) earned his UFC contract with an impressive first-round submission win over Kevin Gray on the Dana White Contender Series 5 card. The victory extended the 25-year-old’s winning streak to five straight. The former Tachi Palace champ has a very well-rounded game. With 22 fights on his record, he brings a wealth of experience into his fight against Carls John de Tomas (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

At 21, De Tomas is one of the youngest fighters in the UFC. With just seven fights on his record, six of which came with the Universal Reality Combat Championship promotion in the Philippines, he’ll have a distinct experience disadvantage in this matchup.

De Tomas enters this bout after a loss to Naomi Inoue at UFC Fight Night 111. A late change from the California State Athletic Commission moved this fight to a bantamweight contest.

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9. A tough first test

Frankie Saenz

Merab Dvalishvili signed with the UFC on the strength of a highlight-reel 15-second knockout win over Raufeon Stots at Ring of Combat 59. The stoppage was Dvalishvili’s first defense of the ROC bantamweight title. The win was the sixth straight victory for the Serra-Longo fighter.

Dvalishvili (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faces Frankie Saenz. Saenz (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) was on a seven-fight winning streak before he dropped a decision to Urijah Faber at UFC 194. The 37-year-old has since lost two more fights and is likely fighting for his UFC life in Fresno.

Despite his losing skid, Saenz is going to be a tough fight for the debuting Dvalishvili.

10. It’s been a minute

Trevin Giles

Trevin Giles fights in his second curtain jerker at UFC Fight Night 123. If this fight goes as well as his first did, don’t expect him to fight so early on the prelims in the future.

Giles began his UFC career with a second-round knockout win over James Bochnovic at UFC 213. Giles showed good composure in his UFC debut. His ground striking was powerful and accurate. The 25-year-old landed 30 of his 37 attempted ground strikes. It was that work on the mat that earned him the knockout win.

Giles drops from light heavyweight to middleweight for his matchup against Antonio Braga Neto. Giles (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) might not want to test Neto (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on the ground. The 30-year-old is a jiu-jitsu world champion. Neto’s most recent bout was a June 2014 decision loss to Clint Hester. Giles turned pro in January of that year. He has fought eight times since Neto’s most recent outing.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Fresno main-card breakdown: Moraes-Sterling, Holtzman-Horcher and more

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC 218’s main-card bouts. Today, we look at the first four fights on the main card.

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place Saturday at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

ALSO SEE:

* * * *

Marlon Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs. Reach: 67″
  • Last fight: Decision win over John Dodson (Nov. 11, 2017)
  • Camp: Ricardo Almeida BJJ (New Jersey)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA title
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt
+ Multiple muay Thai accolades
+ 8 KO victories
+ 5 submission wins
+ 10 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Consistent pace and pressure
+ Excellent feints and footwork
^ Pivots, lateral movement, distancing
+ Accurate shot selection
^ Coming forward and off of the counter
+ Dynamic and dangerous kicker
+ Underrated wrestling ability
^ Strong hips and positional awareness
+ Good transitional grappler
^ Solid scrambling and submissions

Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 28 Weight: 135 lbs. Reach: 71″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Renan Barao (July 29, 2017)
  • Camp: Serra-Longo MMA (Long Island, NY)
  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA titles
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt
+ 2x All-American wrestler
+ 2 KO victories
+ 6 submission wins
+ 3 first-round finishes
+ Solid pace and pressure
+ Tricky feints and footwork
^ Variates looks and levels
+ Improved boxing
+ Dynamic kicking attack
^ Functional from both sides
+ Superb wrestling ability
+ Diverse takedown game
^ Chains trips, singles and double-legs
+ Excellent transitional grappler
^ Creative flow/positionally aware

Summary:

In a fun bantamweight fight, Marlon Moraes meets Aljamain Sterling.

After fighting just four weeks ago, Moraes is making a quick turnaround to competition to step in for an injured Rani Yahya. Coming off two tightly contested split-decision results, I suspect Moraes is looking to remind the masses of his standing at 135 pounds.

Sterling, who has had lofty expectations put upon him since entering the organization, has also been trying to put space in between him and close scorecards. And after a clean victory over the former champ Renan Barao, Sterling is seeking to make another statement here.

In recent outings, the product of the Serra-Longo fight team has shown to make measurable strides in his striking game.

With his funk-style of wrestling following him into his striking endeavors, Sterling would bust out of the gates as an awkward stick-and-move stylist. But after a few years of valuable lessons and experiences, we have seen Sterling get much more comfortable in expressing his growth as of late.

Continually switching his stances while moving laterally, Sterling makes himself hard to read. Incorporating his fair share of feints, Sterling works his way into the fight behind a wall of dynamic kicking variety.

From his snapping front kicks and traditional teeps to his Thai kicks parlayed into sidekicks, Sterling can execute attacks soundly from either stance. Addressing the criticisms of his game at boxing range, Sterling has shown upgrades to his pocket presence.

Attaching more purpose (as well as punches) to his trunk movements, Sterling will slip strikes to fire back return offerings of his own. That said, Sterling still tends to keep his hands low, which make striking exchanges as compelling as they are dangerous given who he is facing.

Enter Moraes.

A former champion in the now-defunct WSOF, Moraes has also had high hopes put upon him since his arrival to the big show. A well-versed striker who came up training with Edson Barboza from a young age, it is not hard to see why so many are excited about Moraes.

A fighter whose feet you seldom find out of position, Moraes keeps an excellent balance to his attack and approach. Carrying a speed advantage over most of his contemporaries, Moraes stays light on his toes while always ready to engage.

Working behind a healthy dose of feints, the Brazilian will prod with his jab to initiate exchanges. Typically looking to land his patented leg kicks, Moraes will also mix in switch-kicks to the body as well as head kicks to keep his opposition honest.

What is most impressive about Moraes’ kicking ability is the fact that he maintains his balance and defensive hand-position while executing his assaults. These attributes also make it easier for Moraes to counter, as he seemingly keeps his right cross and check-hooks at the ready.

Still, Moraes is not beyond having his kicks caught and countered himself, as that may be something worth watching for considering the dynamic of this matchup.

The longer this fight stays standing, Moraes should have the decided edge on paper; which is why I suspect that Sterling will be changing gears and getting back to his wrestling roots for this one.

Sterling, a two-time All-American wrestler, has a diverse array of takedowns in his arsenal. From reactive shots in the open to his chaining ability in the clinch, Sterling will pose some interesting threats.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Moraes fairs in this style of matchup.

Whether it be by destiny or design, Moraes has not had a lot of opponents push a grappling-heavy agenda in recent bouts. Nevertheless, the Brazilian still shows an underrated wrestling game that has only improved since moving shop to the United States.

Following Barboza to train with Mark Henry and company in New Jersey, Moraes appears even more comfortable inside of the scramble – as I’m sure training with fighters like Frankie Edgar helps. Moraes also has fast feet and hips, which come in handy for shutting down many of the shot attempts thrown his way.

When he is taken down, Moraes is quick to threaten with a submission or scramble back to his feet. But he will need to extra careful in those spaces with Sterling, who typically makes his money in transit.

Once touching down on the mat, Sterling’s funky flow comes to life. Melding his wrestling base into his innovative jiu-jitsu, Sterling will combine things like chair-sits to leg weaves and rides, seamlessly climbing the walls of his opponent’s defenses.

Not afraid to jump on a back, Sterling has also shown to be content in punishing opponent’s positionally, landing solid ground strikes when submissions are not available. Should the Serra-Longo fighter get his game going on the floor, then it could be a rough night for his Brazilian counterpart.

Despite the short-notice intangibles, the oddsmakers and public are slightly favoring Moraes at -140 with Sterling +120 as of this writing.

As one of the more vocal supporters of Moraes’ game, I can certainly see why. He should carry a sizeable striking edge to go along with his speed, and I could see his shot selection and accuracy either severely hurting Sterling or taking him off of his game.

However, the quick turnaround from a competitive three-round fight makes me uneasy. Not so much for Moraes’ health, but more so for the performance considering what we have seen in these scenarios before. Furthermore, there is not enough evidence – at least for my liking – to suggest that Sterling won’t be a bad matchup for the Brazilian (which he just might be).

Sterling’s wrestling base and unique style could prove frustrating for Moraes, whose displayed moments of frustration in his last two bouts. If the Brazilian fails to take Sterling off of his game or ends up on the floor early, then I feel that the more likely outcome here is the Long Island resident getting his hand raised after what should be a competitive affair.

Official pick: Sterling by decision

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 123 pre-event facts: A look at Brian Ortega's historic stoppage streak

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

The UFC’s final “Fight Night” of the year occurs Saturday with UFC Fight Night 123, which takes place at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

A clash of featherweight contenders goes down in the main event. Cub Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC), one of the most decorated fighters in divisional history, looks to extend his winning streak and earn a title shot while also completing the final fight on his current UFC contract when he takes on unbeaten rising start Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).

The headlining matchup caps off a 13-fight lineup, which marks the UFC’s debut in Fresno. For more on the numbers behind the card, check below for 35 pre-event facts about UFC Fight Night 123.

* * * *

Main event

Cub Swanson

Swanson competes in his 22nd UFC/WEC featherweight bout, the most appearances in combined divisional history.

Swanson’s four-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Max Holloway (11) and Darren Elkins (five).

Swanson’s 15 victories in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are second most in combined divisional history behind Jose Aldo (16).

Swanson’s 10 victories in UFC featherweight competition are third most in divisional history behind Holloway (14) and Darren Elkins (12).

Swanson’s six stoppage victories in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are tied for fourth most in the combined divisional history behind Holloway (nine), Aldo (nine) and Urijah Faber (seven).

Swanson’s past five victories have come by decision. He hasn’t earned a stoppage since July 2013.

Cub Swanson

Swanson’s six knockdowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Holloway (seven).

Swanson and Artem Lobov combined for 332 signifiant strikes landed at UFC Fight Night 108, the second most ever in a UFC fight behind the 334 between Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone and UFC 141.

Swanson’s 209 significant strikes landed against Lobov are the single-fight record for a UFC/WEC featherweight bout.

Swanson’s 10 fight-night bonuses for UFC/WEC featherweight bouts are the most in combined divisional history.

Swanson’s six fight-night bonuses for UFC featherweight bouts are tied with Conor McGregor and Charles Oliveira for the most in divisional history.

Brian Ortega

Ortega’s 13-fight MMA winning streak is the longest among active UFC featherweights.

Ortega’s four-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Holloway (11) and Elkins (five).

Ortega has earned all four of his UFC victories by stoppage.

Ortega’s four-fight stoppage streak in UFC featherweight bouts is the longest active streak in the division.

Ortega is the only fighter UFC history to earn four consecutive third-round stoppage victories.

Remaining main card

Gabriel Benitez (19-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has earned 16 of his 19 career victories by stoppage. Both of his UFC stoppage wins are by submission.

Benitez defends 70.7 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC featherweight competition, the best rate among active fighters in the division.

Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) absorbs just 1.34 significant strikes per minute in UFC bantamweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.

Marlon Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) competes in his second UFC bout in a 28-day stretch. He defeated John Dodson at UFC Fight Night 120 this past month.

Moraes has fought to a split decision in both of his UFC appearances.

Scott Holtzman (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his five-fight UFC career. He was victorious in his most recent bout.

Albert Morales (7-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) has just one victory in his past four fights.

Preliminary card

Alexis Davis

Alexis Davis (18-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) returns to the flyweight division for the first time since November 2010. She spent her previous seven UFC fights at bantamweight.

Davis is 1-1 since she returned from a nearly two-year layoff in December 2016.

Davis has alternated wins and losses over her past five UFC appearances.

Davis has earned four of her five UFC victories by decision.

Alexis Davis and Liz Carmouche

Davis faces Liz Carmouche (11-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in a rematch of a fight she won by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 31 in November 2013.

Carmouche drops to the flyweight division for the first time in her career. She spent her previous 16 fights at bantamweight.

Carmouche is 5-5 in her past 10 professional bouts.

Andre Soukhamthath (11-5 MMA, 0-3 UFC) has suffered all six of his career losses by decision. Both of his UFC losses are by split decision.

Iuri Alcantara (34-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is 7-4 with one no-contest since he dropped to the UFC bantamweight division in January 2013.

Iuri Alcantara

Alcantara defeated Sanders at UFC 209 despite a -107 total strike differential (134 to 27), the second-largest deficit for a winner by stoppage in UFC history behind A. Silva’s comeback against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 (-256).

Chris Gruetzemacher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) returns to the UFC lightweight division after a one-fight stint at featherweight.

Antonio Braga Neto (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) returns to MMA competition for the first time since June 2014. He hasn’t earned a victory since June 2013.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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