Alexander Volkanovski gets third different opponent for UFC Fight Night 121

The UFC found a way to keep Alexander Volkanovski on UFC Fight Night 121.

The promotion today announced that Volkanovski, after losing two previous opponents, is set to face newcomer Shane Young on Saturday in an FS1-televised featherweight bout, which takes place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) originally was supposed to fight Jeremy Kennedy, but Kennedy dropped out last month because of a back injury. Humberto Bandenay replaced Kennedy, but Bandenay was forced to withdraw last week also because of injury, leaving Volkanovski’s status in limbo.

As it turns out, the UFC has found one final replacement in the 24-year-old Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) from New Zealand. He’ll make his UFC debut on a five-fight winning streak, each bout with a different promotion.

Australia’s Volkanovski ran his winning streak to 12 fights in June when he took a unanimous decision from Mizuto Hirota at UFC Fight Night 110 in New Zealand. His UFC debut came in November 2016 in his home country when he stopped Yusuke Kasuya with a second-round TKO in a lightweight fight. Of his 15 career wins, a dozen have come by stoppage.

With the booking, UFC Fight Night 121 lineup is set as follows:

MAIN CARD (FS1, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Alex Volkanovski vs. Shane Young


  • Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
  • Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Damien Brown vs. Frank Camacho

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

  • Alex Chambers vs. Nadia Kassem
  • Jenel Lausa vs. Eric Shelton
  • Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa

Fore more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumorssection of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Auckland's 10 memorable moments, including Derrick Lewis' bombshell

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UFC Fight Night 110 started off slowly. The first four fights went the distance, but when things picked up steam, the card moved along rather nicely with all but one of the final six bouts ending in a finish. Those finishes included the heavyweight main event between Mark Hunt and Derrick Lewis.

Lewis entered the FS1-televised headliner on a six-fight winning streak, but despite his best efforts, he was unable to extend that streak to seven, and instead, he tasted defeat for the first time in almost two years. During the four-round contest, Lewis went deep into his bag of tricks, attempting high kicks, flying knees and even thinking about a spinning kick, but Hunt calmly took everything he had to offer. And when his opponent’s gas tank hit empty, Hunt closed the deal with strikes against the fence.

In the co-main event, another winning streak came to a close as fan favorite Daniel Kelly fell to Derek Brunson via knockout in less than 90 seconds.

UFC Fight Night 110 took place Saturday at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. Sticking around

The Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) and Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) bout lasted longer than many expected, grinding along until late in the fourth round. The end came when an exhausted Lewis put his hands on his hips and backed into the fence, where Hunt delivered a few strikes before referee Marc Goddard waved off the contest.

The finish was more whimper than bang, but it showed that even at 43, Hunt remains a force in the UFC heavyweight division.

After his victory, Hunt, the oldest fighter in the UFC, said he plans on sticking around until he fights out the reported six-fight deal he signed in April 2016.

“I like to get beat up,” Hunt told MMAjunkie. “Shucks, there’s nothing else I’m good at. But I’ve got a couple of fights I want to finish. Why not see the contract out and then retire?”


2. Somebody’s watching me

“It’s probably my last fight,” Lewis told UFC commentator Brian Stann after his loss to Hunt. “I’m getting married next week, and I don’t like to put my family through this. That will be my last fight.”

We all know MMA retirements have a tendency not to last, especially when they come seconds after a loss in a big fight. That didn’t stop two of Lewis’ fellow UFC heavyweights from commenting on his possible retirement via social media.

Travis Browne, whom Lewis knocked out in February, questioned Lewis’ heart in an Instagram post and offered to run back their fight, while up and coming Francis Ngannou tweeted that Hunt beat Lewis “like a baby.”

3. Back on track

Between August 2014 and September 2016, Brunson ran off five straight middleweight wins, with four victories coming via first-round knockout. Brunson’s stock took a hit after he dropped his next two fights, losing to Robert Whittaker and Anderson Silva. Expect a market correction when it comes to Brunson (17-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) after his first-round knockout win over Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC).

Brunson faced criticism for his style in the Whittaker and Silva fights. He was reckless against Whittaker and not aggressive enough against Silva. Brunson found a middle ground vs. Kelly by throwing out jabs and kicks to measure distance and timing, and when he saw an opening, he threw a hard left that dropped Kelly. A few hammerfists later, Brunson was back in the win column while bringing an abrupt end to Kelly’s four-fight winning streak.


4. Move pays off

Dan Hooker joined the UFC’s featherweight division following a run as the Australian Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder. Three years into his UFC tenure, Hooker’s record stood at 3-3, and he decided to give lightweight another shot, starting at UFC Fight Night 110. That move paid off in a big way.

Moments after his corner implored their fighter to find his range, Hooker (14-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC) connected with a knee to the chin that sent Ross Pearson (19-14 MMA, 11-11 UFC) to the mat while simultaneously launching his mouthpiece into the air. That perfectly timed strike, which ended the fight at the 3:02 mark of Round 2, earned Hooker a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

After the contest, Hooker told MMAjunkie he will be sticking around at lightweight.


5. Say goodnight

Ion Cutelaba was a bit belligerent at the weigh-in, where he refused to shake the hand of light-heavyweight opponent Henrique da Silva and lunging toward him. Cutelaba (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) upped his aggression on fight night, marching across the cage during introductions and dragging his thumb across his throat as he got in da Silva’s (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) face.

Cutelaba backed up his pugnaciousness once the fight began, throwing his punches with fight-ending intentions. Cutelaba knocked down da Silva early and didn’t let up once his opponent was hurt. He landed heavy rights from inside da Silva’s guard and ended the fight in 22 seconds.

After the victory, Cutelaba told Stann he was in a hurry to end the contest so he could say goodnight to his infant daughter, who was home in Moldova.


6. That’ll change your mood

Ben Nguyen was bummed out when he lost his chance to face Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 110. After his “Performance of the Night” winning effort against late replacement Tim Elliott, Nguyen’s mood improved significantly.

Nguyen’s aggressive striking had Elliott (14-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) looking for takedowns early. After some scrambling on the mat, Nguyen (17-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) slipped in the hooks and sank in a rear-naked choke that ended the flyweight fight in 49 seconds. The loss was Elliott’s first submission defeat since Benavidez stopped him via guillotine choke in April 2014.

The quick stoppage will keep Nguyen in the mix to face a top-five opponent in his next outing, maybe even Benavidez if he heals up in time for that booking.


7. No power outage

Alexander Volkanovski displayed some mean ground and pound in his UFC debut in November, earning a second-round TKO win over Yusuke Kasuya in a lightweight bout. Volkanovski dropped to featherweight for his UFC Fight Night 110 fight against Mizuto Hirota, and he brought his heavy hands with him.

Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was dominant in every facet of this fight, cruising to a unanimous-decision win over Hirota (14-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC). While he wasn’t able to get the finish, it wasn’t for lack of trying, as Volkanovski came close to ending Hirota’s night in the first round after knocking him down with a right and following up with ground strikes.

The win puts Volkanovski’s winning streak at 12, with 10 stoppages.


8. Rust? What rust?

Most UFC fighters don’t go more than three years between fights, but that’s the situation Vinc Pichel found himself in heading into UFC Fight Night 110. Pichel, who had been sidelined by what he called a “steamroll ball of (expletive)” since his May 2014 win over Anthony Njokuani, stepped into his lightweight fight against Damien Brown anxious to prove he still belonged in the UFC. He did just that.

Brown’s (16-10 MMA, 2-2 UFC) game plan was to pressure Pichel (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), and for most of the first round he was successful. He put Pichel on his heels. But with less than 90 seconds left in the first stanza, Pichel, backing into the fence, delivered a crisp combination that brought the fight to an abrupt end.

After the fight, Pichel informed the division of his plans.

“I ain’t stopping,” Pichel told Stann, “I’m going to go on a rampage.”


9. He needed that

John Moraga knew he was facing questions heading into his flyweight matchup with Ashkan Mokhtarian. The former title contender hadn’t won a fight in more than two years and was in the midst of a three-fight losing streak. Had Moraga (17-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) lost to Mokhtarian (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a UFC newcomer, his run with the promotion would have likely come to an end.

Moraga put on a clinic against the overmatched Mokhtarian, dominating the fight in every way and earning a unanimous decision. Now back in the win column, Moraga is sure to be tested by tougher competition the next time he steps into the octagon.


10. That’s better

J.J. Aldrich came into her second UFC fight with a full camp behind her, and it showed. Aldrich represented herself much better against Chanmi Jeon than she did in her short notice debut vs. Juliana Lima.

Aldrich (5-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) pressured Jeon (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) throughout the strawweight fight, showing solid technical striking ability on her way to a unanimous-decision win.


For more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 110 results: Alex Volkanovski cruises to unanimous-decision win vs. Mizuto Hirota

Alexander Volkanovski hit Mizuto Hirota with everything he had but just couldn’t put him away.

After rocking Hirota (14-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) early and late and dominating the fight with his pace and pressure, Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was the clear winner when the fight went to the scorecards, with every judge scoring it 30-27 to give Volkanovski the unanimous decision.

The featherweight bout opened today’s UFC Fight Night 110 main card, which took place at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Volkanovski nearly finished Hirota early in this fight after catching him with a hard right hand as Hirota exited a clinch in the opening minutes of the first round. That punch put Hirota down and Volkanovski followed to deliver some heavy strikes on the mat, but somehow Hirota collected his wits and battled back.

Unfortunately for him, however, Hirota couldn’t seem to close those holes in his striking defense that Volkanovski exploited early. Over and over he was caught with stiff punches off the clinch, and Volkanovski continued to pressure him against the fence, deftly mixing in takedowns with his sharp striking.

That kept Hirota on the defensive for most of the fight, so that even an attempt at a late rally as Volkanovski slowed down in the third came up short. After three rounds of total control and near finishes, Volkanovski was the easy pick for a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards, with Hirota having to content himself on surviving a fight that saw him take numerous heavy blows to the head.

With his second UFC victory in as many fights, Volkanovski has now won 12 straight fights. Hirota loses for the first time since 2013.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 110 results:

For more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 110, with a behemoth of a heavyweight headliner

Filed under: News, UFC

The majority of the UFC’s top heavyweight talent doesn’t come all that close to hitting the maximum allowable weight limit for the division. For instance, champion Stipe Miocic checked in at 246 pounds for his latest title defense, which came against former champ Junior Dos Santos, who tipped the scales at 245.

The headliners in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 110 main event, on the other hand, are the exception to that rule. Both Derrick Lewis and Mark Hunt came in at the 265-pound limit.

These are big dudes who do big-dude damage when they step into the octagon.

Combined, Lewis and Hunt have gone the distance three times in their UFC careers, so it’s probably safe to assume only one of these two behemoths is going to be standing at the conclusion of this fight.

In the co-main event, perennial underdog Daniel Kelly looks to extend his unlikely winning streak against Derek Brunson, who hopes to end a two-fight skid.

UFC Fight Night 110 takes place at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. A beastly streak

Since losing to Shawn Jordan in June 2015, Lewis has won six straight fights, which gives him the longest active winning streak in the UFC’s heavyweight division. That streak, and the fact that five of those wins have come via knockout, have Lewis ranked No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings. At UFC Fight Night 110, he faces No. 11 Hunt (12-11-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC), who has put together a 2-1 record with one no-contest during Lewis’ (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) winning streak.


This is a fight that could put Lewis in line for a title shot. With the future of former champion Cain Velasquez still up in the air, the division needs a marketable opponent for Miocic’s next title fight, and Lewis fits the bill. As for Hunt, despite his ongoing legal battles with the UFC and company president Dana White, he remains a fan favorite, and a win in his home country would be huge for Hunt and the UFC’s future in the New Zealand/Australia market.


2. Finding the right balance

Kelly, the man seemingly held together with reinforced box tape, is in the midst of a four-fight winning streak, which includes a split-decision victory over former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. At UFC Fight Night 110, Kelly (13-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), an honorable mention in the middleweight rankings, tries to break into the top 15 when he faces No. 12 Brunson (16-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC).


Meanwhile, Brunson looks to avoid the first three-fight skid of his career. Brunson needs to find a balance between the ultra-aggressive style that cost him in a TKO loss against Robert Whittaker and the more passive game plan he used while dropping a close decision to Anderson Silva.


3. A former ‘TUF’ winner feels the heat

Dan Hooker did his best to keep his most recent opponent, Jason Knight, at distance. But Knight had none of that and pushed forward and left Hooker (13-7 MMA, 3-3 UFC) unable to mount any sustained offense. Hooker, who lost to Knight via decision, could have better luck when he moves up to lightweight to fight Ross Pearson (19-13 MMA, 11-10 UFC), who likes to be the aggressor in his fights, albeit at a more controlled pace than Knight.


The stakes are high for Pearson, and that could change the way he approaches the bout. He’s 1-4 in his last five fights and could be fighting for his UFC spot against Hooker, who has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC in 2014.


4. Short notice, big fight

Tim Elliott washed out of the UFC in 2015 after going 2-4. Shortly after his release, he won the Titan FC flyweight title and defended it twice. Elliott then joined Season 24 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” winning that competition to earn a shot at flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

Elliott took Johnson five rounds, dropping a unanimous decision. He followed that loss with a “Fight of the Night” decision victory over Louis Smolka in April. Despite earning a $50,000 bonus, Elliott was disappointed with his performance.


Now ranked No. 15 in the division, Elliott (14-7-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) steps in on short notice to face Ben Nguyen, an honorable mention in the rankings. Nguyen (17-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was originally booked to face No. 2 Joseph Benavidez before an injury knocked the formr title challenger from the event. Nguyen is coming off a decision win over Geane Herrera.


5. Looking for a repeat performance

There was a lot to like about Alexander Volkanovski’s UFC debut. He displayed good clinch work and strong takedowns, but where he stood out was his striking, especially on the ground. Volkanovski earned a second-round TKO win over Yusuke Kasuya in November thanks to those strikes.

It was his sixth straight stoppage and 11th consecutive victory. At UFC Fight Night 110, Volkanovski (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) gets to test himself against a fighter with a similar style in former DEEP lightweight champion Mizuto Hirota (18-7-2 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC), who is coming off a win over Cole Miller.


6. Been a long, long time

Vinc Pichel’s last fight was so long ago, his last two opponents are no longer with the UFC.

In his first fight since May 2014, Pichel faces Damien Brown at lightweight. Injuries inside and outside the cage have kept Pichel (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on the shelf. Before his prolonged absence, he was on a two-fight winning streak. Brown (17-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who did not debut with the UFC until March 2016, is 2-1 with the promotion and most recently earned a split-decision win over Jon Tuck.



7. Staying alive

In 2013, John Moraga, then ranked in the top five in the flyweight division, fought champion Johnson, who won by submission in the fifth round. Since then, Moraga has gone 3-4, losing his last three fights by decision. Currently ranked No. 12, Moraga is likely more worried about getting back in the win column than he is about his rankings.


Moraga (16-6 MMA, 5-5 UFC) welcomes Ashkan Mokhtarian to the UFC. Mokhtarian (13-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) enters the UFC with 12 finishes in his 13 victories.

8. Tough test in debut

Luke Jumeau’s last two losses came back in 2013 to Li Jingliang and Jake Matthews before they each made the jump to the UFC. Since those submission defeats, Jumeau has run off six straight wins, most recently earning a TKO over former UFC fighter Vik Grujic.

Jumeau spent most of the first round of the Grujic matchup fighting off a rear-naked choke. He ended the contest in the second round after a left to the back of Grujic’s head ended the fight in a somewhat controversial TKO stoppage.

Jumeau has his work cut out for him in his UFC debut, where he meets Dominque Steele. Jumeau (12-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) tends to fight flatfooted while throwing single strikes. Grujic also easily took him to the mat. This welterweight bout could allow Steele (14-8 MMA, 1-3 UFC) to continue to work on his developing striking while going back to his wrestling base if he finds trouble on the feet. Steele is on a two-fight losing skid, most recently dropping a decision to Court McGee.


9. You’re the next contestant

Chan-Mi Jeon is the latest entrant in the when-the-UFC-calls-you-say-yes sweepstakes, agreeing to face strawweight J.J. Aldrich on short notice. The 19-year-old Jeon has very limited MMA experience against opponents you’ve heard of, with the exception being her recent win over 44-year-old Megumi Yabushita, whom she defeated in September.

Against her overmatched competition, Jeon (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has looked good, racking up four knockout victories. But does she have a chance to upset Aldrich (4-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC)? Sure, but the more likely outcome is that Jeon will learn what she needs to work on to compete in the UFC.

Aldrich enters the fight coming off a decision loss to Juliana Lima.

10. Short notice, bright prospects

If you were paying attention, you’d know that up until May 31, only 10 fights were announced for UFC Fight Night 110. The number increased to 12 that day, when a main-card bout between light heavyweights Ion Cutelaba (12-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Henrique da Silva (12-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and a lightweight prelim matchup of Dong Hyun Kim (14-8 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Thibault Gouti (11-3 MMA, 0-3 UFC) were added to the card.

Despite some late shuffling to get the card finalized and announced, UFC Fight Night 110 could have a major impact on the organization’s future plans in Australia and New Zealand, where UFC executives are bullish on the market.


If the crowd and the local fighters deliver at UFC Fight Night 110, expect the organization to return Oceania a little more often.

For more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Alexander Volkanovski wants to be a name you should remember after UFC-Auckland

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Alexander Volkanovski was looking dapper, sporting a bow tie during UFC Fight Night 110 media day. Perhaps it’s a sign that he’s got his eye on the future – which is not to say that he isn’t focused on the moment.

After an impressive UFC debut in November resulted in a TKO victory over Yusuke Kasuya, Volkanovski (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is set to take on Mizuto Hirota in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 110 main-card opener on FS1 from Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. In the 36-year-old Hirota (18-7-2 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC), Volkanovski knows he’ll be up against a proven veteran but simply likes his chances of earning a 12th win in a row.

“The way he fights, I really don’t think that will work for him,” Volkanovski said. “He’s a pressure fighter, and so am I. I think I’m going to be too strong and a bit too technical for him. But, I mean, he’s obviously a veteran, been around the sport. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s seen and done it all. But I just feel like I’m on another level, and I’ve really got something to prove.”

And that’s the 28-year-old’s motivation. During his 11-fight winning, Volkanovski has finished all but one opponent. With this being just his second UFC fight, he understands that simply winning isn’t how he’ll make a name for himself in the featherweight division.

“The record is a big part of how I got to the UFC, but performance is everything,” Volkanovski said. “So I’m going to go out there, set a statement and capitalize on the moment.”

To hear more from Volkanovski, check out our interview above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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