Trio of fights added to UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis

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The fight card for the UFC’s debut event in St. Louis has three new additions.

The UFC Fight Night 124 matchups include welterweights Zak Cummings (21-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) vs. Thiago Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC), lightweights Marco Polo Reyes (7-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) vs. Matt Frevola (6-0 MMA, UFC), and lightweights James Krause (24-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Alex White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC).

UFC Fight Night 124 takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Cummings, a 33-year-old wrestler based out of Missouri, looks for the first three-fight winning streak of his UFC career following recent submissions wins over Alexander Yakovlev and Nathan Coy. He meets former title challenger Alves, a 34-year-old Brazilian who recently halted a two-fight skid with a decision victory over Patrick Cote in April. A subsequent booking with Mike Perry was scrapped in September after a hurricane forced Alves to pull out of the fight.

Reyes, a 33-year-old Mexican fighter, was on a four-fight winning streak before a recent TKO loss to James Vick. He now meets Frevola, a 27-year-old promotional newcomer who submitted Jose Flores at DWCS 8 in August.

Krause, 31, recently moved from lightweight to welterweight to score a decision victory over Tom Gallicchio for his third straight win. He takes on White, a 29-year-old Missouri native who recently score a TKO victory over Mitch Clarke for his second victory in three fights.

The latest UFC Fight Night 124 card now includes:

  • Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
  • Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings
  • Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
  • James Krause vs. Alex White

For more on UFC Fight Night 124, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215's Alex White doesn't mind Mitch Clarke stole a little of his thunder


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EDMONTON – Alex White earned his first win as a UFC lightweight at UFC 215, getting back in the win column in an octagon career marked by long stretches of inactivity.

Definitely a thing to applaud, but White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) found most of that going toward the opponent he beat, Mitch Clarke(11-5 MMA, 2-5 UFC), who bid farewell to his hometown crowd in Edmonton by laying his gloves on the canvas.

The retirement was kind of a thunder-stealer.

White, as it turns out, doesn’t mind too much. He can’t bring himself to be mad at a guy like Clarke.

“He knows what he’s doing,” White said backstage after earning a second-round TKO in the FS1-televised prelims at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canda. “He’s a respectful guy – probably one of most respectful opponents I’ve went against.

“We tried to make the best out of our camps, so he knew what he was walking into.”

That’s not to say White knew what was coming after he hand his hand raised. It’s not like he could check in on Clarke as he was slamming elbows into the side of his head. As far as he could tell, Clarke was in the fight.

“During a fight, you can’t feel compassion,” he said. “So I just try to do my game. After the fight, I felt compassion for him.”

But another thing he’s feeling is elation. Even very recently, White said he struggled to put his all into the sport of MMA. The UFC came calling with fights, and he wasn’t in shape. Something clicked, though, and he put himself in the position to accept Saturday’s bout.

Now, he doesn’t plan on turning back. If he has to retire a few more folks, so be it.

“I lacked the fire under my butt,” he said. “And just the past year, I rekindled it, and I kind of want to make a career out of it. I want to put everything I have into this.”

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

And for complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC 215 post-event facts: Which fighter tied an 11-year-old UFC record?


Filed under: News, UFC

The UFC made a successful debut in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday with UFC 215, which took place at Rogers Place with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The 11-fight card was capped off by a razor-thin title defense from UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who edged rival Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) by split decision in their anticipated title rematch.

Nunes’ victory continued to raise her profile in the divisional record books, but she wasn’t the only fighter on the card to make some history. For more, check below for 35 post-even facts to come out of UFC 215.

* * * *


Amanda Nunes

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $185,000.

Rafael dos Anjos, Henry Cejudo, Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez earned $50,000 UFC 215 fight-night bonuses.

Debuting fighters went 1-0 on the card.

UFC 215 drew an announced attendance of 16,232 for a live gate of $2,028,307.14.

Betting favorites went 6-5 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:06:50.

Main card

Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko

Nunes’ six-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Nunes’ eight victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Shevchenko has suffered both of her UFC losses to Nunes.

Shevchenko has suffered both of her UFC losses by decision.

Shevchenko failed to complete a takedown in a fight for the first time in her UFC career.

Rafael dos Anjos

Dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) improved to 2-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in June 2017.

Dos Anjos earned his first submission victory since May 15, 2012 – a span of 1,943 days (more than five years) and 14 fights.

Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) has suffered four of his six career losses by submission.

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) earned the first stoppage victory of his UFC career.

Wilson Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) fell to 5-3 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in August 2014.

Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his six-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) improved to 6-5 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in May 2013.

Jeremy Stephens

Stephens has earned four of his six featherweight victories by decision.

Stephens’ five knockdowns landed tied the single-fight UFC record set by Forrest Petz vs. Sammy Morgan at UFC Fight Night 6 in 2006.

Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He’s 1-5 in his past six bouts overall and hasn’t earned a victory since October 2013.

Melendez was unsuccessful in his UFC featherweight debut. He hasn’t earned a victory in the weight class since August 2005.

Melendez has suffered six of his seven career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Ketlen Vieira and Sara McMann

Ketlen Vieira’s (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) three-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Nunes (six) and Raquel Pennington (four).

Sara McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) has suffered three of her four career losses by stoppage.

Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has suffered both of her career stoppage losses by submission.

Gavin Tucker (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 10-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Mitch Clarke

Mitch Clarke (11-5 MMA, 2-5 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career.

Clarke retired from MMA following his defeat.

Alex White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) improved to 1-1 since he moved up to the UFC lightweight division in January.

White has earned 10 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Luis Henrique (10-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Henrique failed to complete a takedown for the first time in his UFC career.

Kajan Johnson

Kajan Johnson (22-11-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) earned his first knockout victory since Nov. 6, 2009 – a span of 2,864 days (nearly eight years) and seven fights.

Adriano Martins (28-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has suffered both of his UFC stoppage losses by knockout.

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events 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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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 Athlete Outfitting pay: 2017 payout total passes $4 million

EDMONTON – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC 215 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $185,000.

UFC 215 took place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who as a titleholder earned a maximum program payout of $40,000. “The Lioness” earned a split-decision victory over Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the main event.

With UFC 215 in the books, the UFC’s 2017 annual outfitting payout pushed past $4 million.

The full UFC 215 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Amanda Nunes: $40,000
def. Valentina Shevchenko: $30,000

Rafael dos Anjos: $20,000
def. Neil Magny: $15,000

Henry Cejudo: $5,000
def. Wilson Reis: $5,000

Ilir Latifi: $5,000
def. Tyson Pedro: $2,500

Jeremy Stephens: $20,000
def. Gilbert Melendez: $5,000

Ketlen Vieira: $2,500
def. Sara McMann: $5,000

Sarah Moras: $2,500
def. Ashlee Evans-Smith: $2,500

Rick Glenn: $2,500
def. Gavin Tucker: $2,500

Alex White: $5,000
def. Mitch Clarke: $5,000

Arjan Bhullar: $2,500
def. Luis Henrique: $2,500

Kajan Johnson: $2,500
def. Adriano Martins: $5,000

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.

Year-to-date total: $4,050,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,373,000

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mitch Clarke gave a very Canadian retirement speech after UFC 215 loss

Mitch Clarke took an absolute pummeling at the hands of Alex White at UFC 215, which meant that when he went to address the crowd after his second-round TKO loss, he had to look out at them through two eyes that were both nearly swollen shut.

Despite the blood and the evident bruises, Clarke still managed a retirement speech that was as about as gracious and polite – and, let’s just say it, Canadian – as any we’ve ever heard in the UFC (via Twitter):

Clarke (11-5 MMA, 2-5 UFC) began by thanking commentators Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier for praising his toughness while he was busy eating a torrent of elbows from White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) early in the second (and it really was a sight to behold), then admitting that basically his entire MMA career had been built on being tough enough to overcome some athletic deficiencies. That’s when he told us his career was actually over.

“It was an absolute pleasure to fight in front of my adopted hometown of Edmonton,” Clarke said. “And although I did not get the result I wanted, it was an absolute pleasure to have my last professional fight here in Edmonton.”

If you want to know how beloved Clarke is for his willingness to take five to land one, just listen to the lamentation of the crowd when he makes the announcement. Clearly, this is a guy who will be missed on the Canadian scene.

Then again, he did specify that it would be his last “professional” fight. So maybe Clarke will see you on the streets later, where he will no doubt be very polite even as the fists are flying.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events 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

UFC 215 results: Alex White picks apart, devastates Mitch Clarke on the feet

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In his second fight in the UFC’s lightweight division, former featherweight Alex White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) shined, dominating Mitch Clarke (11-5 MMA, 2-5 UFC) on the feet en route to a second-round stoppage.

The lightweight bout kicked off today’s UFC 215 prelims, which took place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and aired on FS1.

The two wasted little time engaging, pushing a high pace from the start. It was back-and-forth on the feet to start before Clarke gained a brief Thai clinch and scored with knees inside. However, White looked comfortable as he punched his way free and then looked to land with crisp straights on the outside. White’s punches added up as the round wore on, and he was able to keep upright when Clarke tried to get the fight to the floor.

Striking from southpaw, White’s straight left and right hook were on point early in the second. Clarke wasn’t intimidated, firing back in the pocket, but White’s punches were clearly the more effective blows. With Clarke looking to move inside, White unleashed a barrage of brutal elbows inside that busted his opponent open and left him clearly wobbled. A knee to the body sent Clarke to the floor, but White refused to follow. Back on the feet, a composed White patiently picked his shots, absolutely destroying Clarke with pinpoint strikes. Clarke showed incredible heart, even as blood rushed down his face, but White simply wouldn’t stop the assault. A straight shot sent Clarke again to the floor, and another punch earned a merciful stoppage.

White improves to 2-1 in his past three outings, while Clarke has suffered three consecutive defeats, and the Canadian announced his decision to retire after the fight.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 215 results include:

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC 215 (*sigh* – even without Demetrious Johnson's shot at history)


Filed under: News, UFC

It’s funny how fast things can change in the UFC. One day flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is headlining UFC 215, an event where he has the opportunity to break the all-time record for consecutive UFC title defenses. The next day women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes is fighting in the main event.

This despite the fact UFC President Dana White recently said Nunes would not get the chance to headline another fight card.

A viral illness to Johnson’s opponent, Ray Borg, is the reason behind the change. Borg was ruled unfit to compete by the UFC medical team less than 12 hours before weigh-ins.

In the new main event, Nunes, the only woman not named Ronda Rousey to successfully defend the women’s bantamweight title, puts her belt on the line against top-ranked contender Valentina Shevchenko. Coincidentally, this matchup was rebooked for UFC 215 after Nunes withdrew from UFC 213 after weigh-ins for health reasons.

The welterweight fight between Neil Magny and former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is the new co-main event.

UFC 215 takes place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Something to prove

UFC President Dana White was unhappy with Nunes when she withdrew from her UFC 213 fight against Shevchenko the morning of the event. Some fans think Nunes, No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s bantamweight rankings, withdrew from the fight not due to chronic sinusitis, but because she was afraid of Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC). No. 2-ranked Shevchenko accused Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) of “backing out because of a flubbed weight cut. The thing about all that is, Nunes doesn’t care.

“Honestly, I don’t really worry about what people think,” Nunes said during a recent conference call.

Despite her claim, one wonders, does Nunes have a point to prove? And if she does, is Nunes going to put herself at risk by being ultra-aggressive against Shevchenko?

Nunes has fought three full rounds on only two occasions; she’s never gone five. Nunes lost one of her three-round bouts, and in the other, against Shevchenko, she faded, leaving everyone to wonder if Shevchenko would have won had the fight been a five-rounder. With Nunes defending her title in this bout, we could get an answer to that question.

2. Looking up

After 34 lightweight fights, former 155-pound champion dos Anjos moved to welterweight. In his 170-pound debut, he earned a unanimous-decision win over former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine. After his victory, dos Anjos said he wanted to work his way up the rankings. He gets his wish at UFC 215 where he meets No. 10-ranked Magny.

Where dos Anjos and Saffiedine were close in height and reach, that’s not the case with Magny. Magny (19-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) has a 10-inch reach advantage and a 7-inch height advantage over dos Anjos (26-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC).

Dos Anjos wanted a test, and he gets one in Magny. If he can deal with the lanky Magny, who’s coming off a win over former champion Johny Hendricks, expect dos Anjos to ask for a top-five opponent in his next outing.

3. Stay in the mix

Two recent victims of “Mighty” Johnson, Henry Cejudo and Wilson Reis, meet in an important flyweight bout.

No. 8-ranked Reis (22-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) was on a three-fight winning streak before a submission loss to Johnson. Cejudo (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), currently ranked No. 3 in the division, was a perfect 10-0 before his April 2016 TKO loss to Johnson.

Reis hasn’t fought since losing to Johnson. Cejudo is currently on a two-fight skid after dropping a split decision to perennial top contender Joseph Benavidez in December.

The winner of this fight should stay in the mix for another shot at the flyweight title. The loser could find himself relegated to gatekeeper, testing the next generation of 125-pounders – fighters such as Sergio Pettis, Brandon Moreno, Ben Nguyen and Alexandre Pantoja.

4. Getting things done fast

Tyson Pedro has been a wrecking machine since turning pro in 2013. He’s ended all six of his bouts, including two with the UFC, in the first round. At UFC 215, he faces Ilir Latifi, who has 18 fights on his record.

Pedro, an honorable mention in the light heavyweight rankings, has looked good during his limited octagon time. He displayed sound submission skills in his win over Khalil Rountree and vicious ground strikes when he knocked out Paul Craig.

Latifi will be at a height and reach disadvantage in this contest. That has not been an issue for him in the past. He’s knocked out fighters nearly as tall as Pedro (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and submitted taller opponents. Latifi (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is not the most active striker, but his one-punch knockout power makes up for his low output. Like Pedro, Latifi tends to get things done quickly after racking up eight career first-round stoppages, with four of those coming in the UFC.

5. Trying something new

Things have not gone well for former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez since he joined the UFC. His record with the promotion is 1-4, he was suspended for a failed drug test, and he’s fought only three times in the past 33 months. At UFC 215, Melendez makes the drop to featherweight in the hope of making a title run.

Melendez’s opponent is another former lightweight, Jeremy Stephens. The vet made his drop in 2013. Since then, he’s gone 5-5, and he’s 2-3 in his past five outings.

Stephens (25-14 MMA, 12-13 UFC) is one of the more powerful punchers in the division, but as we saw in his recent loss to Renato Moicano, if his opponent stays in motion and out of range, Stephens can become ineffective and frustrated. Melendez (22-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) could follow Moicano’s blueprint, but on the other hand, Melendez has never been afraid to brawl.

6. No takedowns allowed

Former women’s bantamweight title challenger Sara McMann is on the best run of her UFC career., She’s an accomplished wrestler who’s won three straight, with her two most recent wins being her first two submission victories with the UFC. Currently ranked No. 9 in the division, McMann looks to extend her winning streak against No. 15-ranked, and unbeaten, Ketlen Vieira.

McMann has opened up her striking and relied less on her wrestling as of late. That could come in handy; Vieira (8-0 MMA. 2-0 UFC), like McMann (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC), has defended all of her opponents’ takedown attempts.

Vieira is a black belt in judo. She also has an aggressive striking game that progressed exponentially between her first and second UFC fights.

If this one stays off the mat, it could be a barnburner of a striking battle.

7. Let’s see the second act

Gavin Tucker

Gavin Tucker’s UFC debut against Sam Sicilia couldn’t have gone better. Tucker entered the fight with an unbeaten record, but there were questions about his ability to face UFC-level talent.

Tucker displayed fantastic speed, movement and footwork against Sicilia. On more than one occasion, UFC commentator Brian Stann compared Tucker to bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. Tucker dominated Sicilia. In fact, by the third round, he was more or less clowning Sicilia.

Tucker (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who established himself as a featherweight to watch with that decision win, faces tough as nails Rick Glenn in Edmonton. Glenn (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is coming off a split-decision win over Phillipe Nover.

8. Turn it around

Mitch Clarke and Alex White both entered the UFC with unbeaten records. Clarke (11-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC) built a 9-0 record on the Canadian MMA circuit. White (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was 9-0, fighting almost exclusively in Missouri.

Since joining the UFC, the fortunes of these two lightweights have changed. Clarke’s UFC record stands at 2-4 while White is 2-3.

Fighting in one of the deepest divisions, these two need to get back in the win column in a bad way.

Clarke might be under more pressure in this fight. The matchup against White is an opportunity for him to fight in front of his hometown fans for the first time under the UFC banner. It also marks the first time he’s had the chance to compete in more than a year due to knee injuries.

9. The lone debut

Luis Henrique

Arjan Bhullar is the only fighter making his promotional debut at UFC 215. He represented Canada in freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Olympics. After his wrestling career ended, he transitioned to MMA. He captured the Battlefield Fight League heavyweight title in his third pro fight.

Bhullar was the first Indian to represent Canada in freestyle wrestling at the Olympics. He is now the first fighter of South Asian descent to fight in the UFC. It would be an understatement to say Bhullar (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) feels a sense of pride and responsibility heading into his bout against Luis Henrique (10-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC).

10. A big favorite

Adriano Martins enters his lightweight bout against Kajan Johnson as more than a 4-1 favorite. The former Jungle Fight champion is a tremendous striking threat. The problem with Martins is, though he has one-punch knockout power, he’s not very active. He lands just 1.85 significant strikes per minute. That inactivity might have been the reason he dropped a split decision to Leonardo Santos in his most recent fight.

If Martins (28-8 MMA, 4-2 UFC) wants to face higher level competition, as he did early in his UFC run, he needs to up his aggression or score a fourth fight-night bonus award. The latter might be a possibility because the active Johnson (21-12-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will provide Martins opportunities to land big counterstrikes.

Johnson has not fought since he earned a decision over Naoyuki Kotani in September 2015.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

After main-event scratch, Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis elevated to UFC 215 PPV lineup

The UFC flyweight championship fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg may be off UFC 215, but viewers of the pay-per-view will still get a matchup between two elite members of the 125-pound division.

After Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) was forced to withdraw from the UFC 215 headliner against Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) on short notice due to a “viral illness,” a matchup between former flyweight title challengers Henry Cejudo (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Wilson Reis (22-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has been elevated to the pay-per-view main card.

UFC officials announced the change in a statement late Thursday.

UFC 215 takes place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Cejudo vs. Borg was originally tapped to air on the televised FS1 prelims. Instead, a lightweight fight between Mitch Clarke (11-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC) and Alex White (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has been bumped up from the UFC Fight Pass-streamed portion of the event.

With all the changes, the UFC 215 lineup is set as follows:

Main card (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko – for women’s bantamweight title
  • Rafael dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis
  • Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
  • Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens

Preliminary (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Sarah Moras
  • Rick Glenn vs. Gavin Tucker
  • Mitch Clarke vs. Alex White

Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Arjan Bhullar vs. Luis Henrique
  • Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

In-depth main-card breakdown: 'UFC 215: Johnson vs. Borg'


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC 215’s main-card bouts.

UFC 215 takes place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC)

Demetrious Johnson

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 66″
  • Last fight: Submission win over Wilson Reis (April 15, 2017)
  • Camp: AMC Pankration (Kirkland, Wash.)
  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+ UFC flyweight champion
+ Amateur MMA tites
+ 5 KO wins
+ 9 submission victories
+ 9 first-round finishes
+ Relentless pace and pressure
+ Incredible speed
+ Superb footwork
^ Finds and creates angles
+ Diverse arsenal of attack
^ Variates timing and techniques
+ Adjusts well throughout fight
+ Creative clinch game
^ Stifles, strikes, sets up takedowns
+ Excellent transitional grappler
+ Never slows / recovers well

Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)

Ray Borg

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 30 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 63″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Jussier Formiga (March 11, 2016)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/Kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA title
+ Wrestling base
+ 1 KO victory
+ 6 submission wins
+ 4 first-round finishes
+ Aggressive pace and pressure
+ Improved overall striking
^ Defensively and offensively
+ Excellent takedown ability
^ Solid level changes and chains
+ Superb scrambler / transitional grappler
^ Always looks for back
+ Works well from topside
^ Floats and rides smoothly
+ Effective ground striker
^ Dangerous elbows


The main event for UFC 215 is a title fight in the flyweight division as Demetrious Johnson takes on Ray Borg.

Considered by many to be the sport’s best pound-for-pound tactician,“Mighty Mouse” Johnson has continued to display dominance amongst his contemporaries. Currently tied with Anderson Silva for most title defenses in UFC history (10), Johnson will attempt to further cement his name in the history books of MMA.

Seeking to spoil the party is “The Tazmexican Devil” Borg, the division’s No. 3-ranked contender (according to the UFC), who has long-been considered a dark horse by many. Now, tasked with his tallest order to date, Borg will attempt to upset the oddsmakers as he goes trophy hunting at the highest level.

Starting off on the feet, I suspect the champion, Johnson, will have his biggest on-paper advantages, as I see his speed and footwork playing his most crucial role for success. Since entering the organization in 2011, we have seen steady but tangible improvements from Johnson.

Demonstrating a preternatural sense of range, Johnson has been able to apply his speed to techniques, as he finds angles beautifully from both stances. Not only can the champion fight from each side, but he can also shift smoothly between southpaw and orthodox as he attacks in combination.

Still, Johnson will need to respect what is coming back at him, as Borg will have offense of his own to offer. A quick, explosive striker himself, the New Mexican native has been steadily sharpening his game under the care of Brandon Gibson and the rest of the staff at Jackson-Wink MMA.

Demonstrating improvements to his head movement and footwork, Borg can now better facilitate the strikes that he likes to throw. And considering that Borg throws sharp hooks and uppercuts with an occasional flying knee, he could come up big against an opponent who is consistently dipping and/or changing his level.

Regardless of how striking stanzas play out, I believe that the clinch battles will be the make-or-break point of this matchup, making it a key junction for both men.

Despite the clinch being a gateway for Borg to get this fight to the floor, it is also a pathway that can be deceptive to pass through considering the clinching acumen of the champion. A flow master and multi-tasker, there is no better examples of Johnson’s brilliance than when watching the evolution of his game inside of the clinch.

After being dropped in his first fight with John Dodson, Johnson intelligently adjusted by taking the fight into the clinch. Using a myriad of grips to trips, or strikes into high-crotch hikes, Johnson has developed quite the taste for breaking his opponents in close.

Since then, we have only seen these skills sharpened as we witnessed the champion dismember an Olympic wrestler within his comfort of the clinch, using brutal knees to break down his opposition.

Nevertheless, Johnson cannot afford to be caught sleeping or shifting gears in this space, as Borg is no slouch in tight. An excellent chain wrestler himself, Borg is relentless in his pursuit of the takedown, creatively utilizing his opponent’s levers against them.

Even if Borg fails to ground the champion, he could still create problems by simply doing enough to open up a scramble opportunity – a space the New Mexican native has proven to thrive within.

As his nickname would indicate, Borg is a ravenous scrambler who looks to snatch up submissions and positions in transit. That said, Borg’s game will need to be air-tight, as Johnson has shown that he can play the role of an escape artist when necessary.

Staying calm and composed at all times, Johnson typically uses textbook techniques to get out of very troublesome spots. Often utilizing a single-leg to lever himself to safety and or control a scramble, the champion will usually reverse position or break away with success.

The potential problem – in my opinion – is that the process of turtling out or into your opponent traditionally gives way to back-takes and front-headlocks, positions that are arguably Borg’s best spots.

Working well from the front-headlock, Borg has displayed an array of submission and positional threats as he sets up the back mount well from here. And given the success both Ian McCall and Tim Elliot had against Johnson from the front headlock, I would not be surprised to see Borg force the issue should he end up there.

Ultimately, it is hard to see either man easily getting ahead of the other on the mat without having to earn it first. Although the oddsmakers are not giving the challenger much of a chance at +800 odds, let’s not forget that there was a time where Borg was one of the few fighters pulling -800 lines in his favor.

Still, the numbers do arguably reflect the task at hand as the New Mexican native will need to venture deep into the woods to get his kill. And though I do not doubt Borg’s belief in himself for a second, it is hard to go against the best all-terrain fighter in the sport, as I see Johnson doing the bulk of his damage standing and in the clinch, frustrating the title challenger as he finds his finish in the later rounds.

Official pick: Johnson by decision

Official outcome: To be determined

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

UFC 215 lineup set with 2 title fights in Edmonton, including Demetrious Johnson's quest for record


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The lineup is set for the UFC’s return trip to Canada next month, including a pair of title fights at the top of the bill.

The card features a dozen fights on Sept. 9 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following four prelims on FS1 and three on UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) looks for his record 11th consecutive title defense when he takes on challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

Johnson, who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings (and No. 2 pound-for-pound), will break middleweight great Anderson Silva’s longstanding title-defense record if victorious. “Mighty Mouse” currently is as much as a 12-1 favorite at some online sports books to beat No. 5 Borg, who’s won two straight and five of his past six – though he missed weight on two occasions.

In the co-headliner, women’s bantamweight titleholder and No. 1-ranked female 135-pounder Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) rematches No. 2 Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC). Nunes, who took the title from Miesha Tate during her current five-fight winning streak, also defeated No. 2-ranked Shevchenko via unanimous decision during her run. Shevchenko has since rebounded with wins over ex-champ Holly Holm (decision) and Julianna Pena (submission).

To fill out the main card, former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos (26-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC) fights at welterweight for the second time when he meets Neil Magny (19-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC); Ilir Latifi (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) takes on Tyson Pedro (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at light heavyweight; and former Strikeforce lightweight champ and two-time UFC title challenger Gilbert Melendez (22-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) moves to featherweight to fight fellow veteran Jeremy Stephens (25-14 MMA, 12-13 UFC) to open up the pay-per-view portion.

The featured bout on the FS1-broadcast prelims is a women’s bantamweight fight between former title challenger and Olympic medalist Sara McMann (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) and Ketlen Vieira (8-0 MMA. 2-0 UFC). McMann will be fighting for the first time since moving her training camp to the esteemed Team Alpha Male in California.

The featured bout on the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card is a lightweight matchup between Mitch Clarke (11-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC) and Alex White (11-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC). Clarke is based in Edmonton and gets a fight in front of his home fans.

The complete UFC 215 lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view)

  • Champ Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg – for flyweight title
  • Champ Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko – for women’s bantamweight title
  • Rafael dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny
  • Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
  • Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens


PRELIMINARY CARD (6:30 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Pass)

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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