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 Fight Night 123 post-event facts: Brian Ortega proving to be one of UFC's best finishers

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Brian Ortega continued to make his presence felt in the UFC featherweight division on Saturday when he turned from prospect to contender with a victory over Cub Swanson in the UFC Fight Night 123 main event.

Ortega (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) added to his perfect record when he locked up a fight-ending second-round submission on Swanson (25-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC) in their headlining bout, which took place at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

It hasn’t taken long, but “T-City” has already made a mark in the UFC record books. For more on the numbers behind his performance, as well as other figures and footnotes to come from the UFC’s final “Fight Night” event of the year, check below for 50 post-event facts from UFC Fight Night 123.

* * * *

General

Save Mart Center

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $117,500.

Debuting fighters went 2-2 at the event.

Swanson and Marlon Moraes earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 123 fight-night bonuses. Ortega received two bonuses worth $100,000 total.

UFC Fight Night 123 drew an announced attendance of 7,605 for a live gate of $568,290.

Betting favorites went 8-5 on the card.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:25:46.

Main card

Brian Ortega

Ortega’s 14-fight MMA unbeaten streak is the longest among active UFC featherweights.

Ortega’s five-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is tied with Darren Elkins for the second longest active streak in the division behind champ Max Holloway (11).

Ortega has earned eight of his 13 career victories by stoppage. That includes all five of his UFC wins.

Ortega’s five-fight stoppage streak in UFC competition is tied with heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic and Mairbek Taisumov for the second longest active streak in the company behind Francis Ngannou (six).

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

Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega

Swanson had his four-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since April 2015.

Swanson has suffered seven of his eight career losses by stoppage.

Swanson has suffered all four of his UFC losses by submission.

Swanson’s 11 fight-night bonuses for UFC/WEC featherweight bouts are the most in combined divisional history.

Swanson’s seven fight-night bonuses in UFC featherweight bouts are the most in divisional history.

Gabriel Benitez (20-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past five fights.

Jason Knight (20-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

Knight has suffered three of his career four losses by decision.

Marlon Moraes

Moraes (20-5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) earned his second UFC victory in a 28-day span. He defeated John Dodson at UFC Fight Night 120 this past month.

Aljamain Sterling (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Scott Holtzman (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) earned consecutive victories for the first time in his UFC career.

Holtzman has earned six of his past eight victories by decision.

Markus Perez (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his nine-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Preliminary card

Alexis Davis

Alexis Davis (19-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) was successful in her UFC flyweight debut. It was her first fight in the weight class since November 2010.

Davis improved to 2-1 since she returned from a nearly two-year layoff in December 2016.

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

Liz Carmouche (11-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC) was unsuccessful in her UFC flyweight debut.

Carmouche fell to 5-6 in her past 11 professional bouts.

Carmouche has suffered four of her six career losses by decision.

Andre Soukhamthath

Andre Soukhamthath (12-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Luke Sanders (11-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered consecutive losses after starting his career on an 11-fight winning streak.

Sanders suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Carls John de Tomas (6-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered consecutive losses after starting his career on a six-fight winning streak.

De Thomas suffered the first stoppage loss of his career.

Frankie Saenz

Frankie Saenz (12-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has earned all four of his UFC victories by decision.

Merab Dvalishvili (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by decision.

Dvalishvili’s 11 takedowns landed tied the single-fight UFC/WEC bantamweight record.

Dvalishvili’s 11 takedowns landed tied the single-fight UFC record for most in a loss.

Iuri Alcantara (34-9 MMA, 9-6 UFC) fell to 7-5 with one no-contest since he dropped to the UFC bantamweight division in January 2013.

Alcantara has suffered five of his six UFC losses by decision.

Davi Ramos

Davi Ramos (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned six of his seven career victories by stoppage.

Ramos earned his first submission victory since Nov. 15, 2013 – a span of 1,485 days (more than four years) and five fights.

Chris Gruetzemacher (13-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) was unsuccessful in his return to the UFC lightweight division. He fell to 1-1 in UFC lightweight competition.

Gruetzemacher suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.

Gruetzemacher has suffered all three of his career losses by submission.

Trevin Giles

Trevin Giles (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was successful in his UFC middleweight debut.

Giles has earned 10 of his 11 career victories by stoppage.

Antonio Braga Neto (9-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) was unsuccessful in his return to MMA competition following a three-and-a-half year layoff.

Braga Neto suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, 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.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Alexis Davis isn't getting big-headed about hematoma-inducing UFC-Fresno win

Dann StuppAlexis Davis knew it was a close fight, and she’s now 2-0 over Liz Carmouche, but she’s not exactly crowing about the victory.

In Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123 featured preliminary-card bout, which aired on FS1 from Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., Davis (19-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) edged out a narrow victory over fellow ex-bantamweight title challenger Carmouche (11-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC) in a flyweight fight.

The victory came via 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 scores, and Davis knew the decision could’ve gone either way.

“You never know,” Davis, who was No. 12 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s bantamweight rankings before her drop to flyweight, told MMAjunkie after the victory. “Regardless if you thought you won, you just don’t know when it comes to the judges.

“You know, I was happy. Like, you saw me with a big smile on my face. I had a good time. I had a good fight. That’s just what we do because we love it.”

However, the win did come with some baggage – and it was nearly suitcase-sized and bulging from her forehead. The nasty hematoma probably churned a few stomachs, but for Davis, who’s now on a 3-1 run and looking for a title shot in the UFC’s newly minted women’s 125-pound division, it’s nothing too concerning. In fact, she jokingly modeled the growth afterward.

“It’s a new look,” said Davis, pointing to the hematoma. “It’s a new look. …

“I don’t (do well when I) get hit in the temple. It never really turns out that well for me.”

Check out the full interview above.

And 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.

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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: Alexis Davis takes split from Liz Carmouche in flyweight rematch

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The UFC’s brand-new women’s flyweight division has its first official veteran contender: Alexis Davis.

Davis (19-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) took a split decision from Liz Carmouche (11-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC) in a rematch between a pair of former bantamweight title contenders. She won with a pair of 29-28 scores to make her 2-0 against Carmouche, inluding their first UFC bout in 2013.

The women’s flyweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 123 event at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on FS1.

Davis landed a right out of the gate, and Carmouche fired back with a kick of the middle. When Davis tied her up, Carmouche peppered her with short uppercuts. The two battled for position along the fence. With three minutes left, referee Frank Trigg split the two up to see more action. Shortly after that, Carmouche got a trip takedown and brought the fight to the canvas. There, she looked for a guillotine choke with Davis up against the fence. She couldn’t get anything done, and staying on the canvas allowed Davis to lock in a tight armbar in the final 40 seconds. Carmouche survived it, but it was a solid rally from Davis late.

The two traded kicks in the second, and Davis was able to use one to trip Carmouche to the canvas. Davis quickly followed her to the canvas and got on top in Carmouche’s guard. Davis stayed just busy enough to keep Trigg from standing them up, and it kept Carmouche mostly defensive until 50 seconds were left in the round. By then, Trigg had seen enough of the position and put them back on the feet. Carmouche fired away aggressively, hoping to land a shot that could steal the round. She got a late takedown just before the horn to go to the third.

Carmouche came out firing inte the third, likely believing she was down two rounds. And 45 seconds in, she put together a big combination against Davis, popping her head back. But Carmouche elected to take Davis down rather than stay after the finish on the feet. It allowed Davis to try for a triangle choke, but if nothing else it kept Carmouche from landing the kind of punches that could end the fight – the kind she landed moments earlier.

Davis worked for an armbar and got it, but Carmouche slammed her way out of it and got to side control. Davis tried to turn away and appeared to be tiring out, but she recovered to full guard with 90 seconds left. Davis was able to reverse position late and battered Carmouche until the horn.

Davis won for the second straight time. Carmouche had a two-fight winning streak snapped.

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

Alexis Davis sees plenty of value in new flyweight rematch with Liz Carmouche at UFC-Fresno

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Filed under: News, UFC

FRESNO, Calif. – Just like her Saturday opponent at UFC Fight Night 123, Alexis Davis is hoping her move to the new flyweight division serves as a revival of sorts.

Davis (18-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) fights Liz Carmouche (11-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to close out the prelims at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. Their fight airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Both women are making the drop from their longtime bantamweight home now that the UFC has ushered in the 125-pound weight class. It’s been only a week since new champion Nicco Montano was crowned at the TUF 26 Finale.

There is plenty of new blood in the division thanks to Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but there also will be established fighters like Davis and Carmouche, both former 135-pound title challengers, moving down, as well as strawweights moving up.

“It’s great for the fans, and we put on a good show last time,” Davis told MMAjunkie earlier this week. “I’m a huge fan of hers. I see her outside and (she’s) a great person. But I think this is really good for the division. … I think it’s a great way to showcase the new division. This division’s just starting out, and some fans are probably pretty new, too, and probably haven’t seen the previous fight.”

The previous fight was a unanimous decision win for Davis more than four years ago. Carmouche said Davis can expect a completely different opponent from who she saw in that bout.

But what remains to be seen is how the weight difference will affect each of them. Davis said when she was fighting at bantamweight, cutting weight wasn’t really an issue. It even afforded her a dieting lifestyle not enjoyed by many fighters. Now, likely, times have changed.

“I could get away with a lot at bantamweight, so I just had to restrict some of my cheat meals a little more,” she said. “I think before the Cindy (Dandois) fight, like two weeks before I was eating onion rings and chili-cheese fries – but I could do it. I could get away with it. It’s probably better for me (at flyweight), anyway.”

Davis said she’d like to be more active in 2018. Her fight Saturday will be her second in 2017, but 2016 and 2015 featured just one fight each year. (It’s worth noting she took nearly 20 months off when she gave birth.)

But with a new division, and the opportunity to rise through the ranks quickly, Davis sees plenty of potential.

“I’ve been wanting to drop down for a while, and obviously they didn’t have those opportunities then,” she said. “So it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do. … I’m happy. I think it’s going to be a good division for a lot of women.”

For more from Davis, check out the full video interview above.

And 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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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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Here's the official lineup for Saturday's UFC Fight Night 123 event in Fresno

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The 13-bout lineup is set for Saturday’s UFC debut in Fresno.

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

The headliner features a pair of featherweight contenders – both of whom are California natives. Cub Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC), who’s No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, looks to solidify his case for a title shot when he meets No. 7-ranked Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).

The California natives, who have combined for 23 stoppages in 37 career victories, are both on winning streaks. Swanson has won four straight since back-to-back submission losses to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway in 2015. Ortega, meanwhile, has posted four straight stoppage wins since a no-contest with Mike De La Torre in 2014 due to a failed drug test.

In the co-headliner, Jason Knight (20-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) – aka “Mississippi Mean” (and “Hick Diaz”) – looks to rebound from a recent loss to perennial contender Ricardo Lamas when he meets Mexican featherweight and “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 1” semifinalist Gabriel Benitez (19-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC).

Rounding out the main card are No. 6 bantamweight Marlon Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. No. 12 Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), lightweights Scott Holtzman (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Darrell Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC), middleweights Eryk Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Markus Perez (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), and bantamweights Benito Lopez (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Albert Morales (7-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC).

Closing out the preliminary card is a bout between former women’s bantamweight title challengers Liz Carmouche (11-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and Alexis Davis (18-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who meet at flyweight.

The full UFC Fight Night 123 card includes:

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

  • Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
  • Gabriel Benitez vs. Jason Knight
  • Marlon Moraes vs. Aljamain Sterling
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
  • Eryk Anders vs. Markus Perez
  • Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

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

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie