Thiago 'Marreta' Santos meets Anthony Smith at UFC Fight Night 125 in Belem, Brazil

The UFC’s first event in Belem, Brazil, appears to have another fight set for the lineup.

Brazilian Thiago “Marreta” Santos (16-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) will take on American Anthony Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in a middleweight bout at UFC Fight Night 125. The matchup was announced by Santos on his Twitter account after an initial report from Brazilian news outlet Combate. UFC officials have not yet made a formal announcement of the booking.

UFC Fight Night 125 takes place Feb. 3 at Mangueirinho Gymnasium in Belem, Para, Brazil. The card is likely to air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Thiago “Marreta” Santos

Santos has won three straight fights, including a bonus-winning knockout of Jack Marshman at UFC Fight Night 105 earlier this year. That got him back on track after a two-fight skid that saw him knocked out by Gegard Mousasi and submitted by Eric Spicely in an upset.

But after beating Marshman to rebound, he also stopped Gerald Meerschaert at UFC 213 in July and a month ago took out Jack Hermansson with just one second left in the first round for a TKo at UFC Fight Night 119 in Brazil.

Like Santos, Smith has won three straight fights, all by knockout, and is 4-1 since returning to the UFC in early 2016. After he was cut loose after a lone loss in the UFC in 2013 after the merger with Strikeforce, “Lionheart” went 7-1 with a pair of wins for Bellator and won the CFFC middleweight title.

That got him another UFC shot, and he took advantage with a decision win over Leonardo Augusto Guimares at UFC Fight Night 83. After a decision loss to Cezar Ferreira, his past year has been fantastic. He had a bonus-winning TKO of Elvis Mutapcic in December 2016, then a knockout of Andrew Sanchez. And in September, he stopped former Bellator champ Hector Lombard with a third-round TKO.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Fabricio Werdum and UFC Fight Night 121's other winning fighters?


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The octagon doesn’t touch down in Sydney very often, but UFC Fight Night 121 provided plenty of cage time for the Australian fans. All six main-card bouts went to a decision on Saturday’s FS1-televised lineup at Qudos Bank Arena.

Former UFC heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC) even went all five rounds in the main event, dominating Marcin Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) to a unanimous decision to strengthen his argument for another shot at the title he lost in May 2016.

Prior to the headliner, Jessica-Rose Clark (8-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Belal Muhammad (13-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Jake Matthews (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) edged their respective opponents by split decision, while Elias Theodorou (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Alex Volkanovski (16-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) earned unanimous nods on the scorecards.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 121’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Alex Volkanovski

Jeremy Kennedy

Should fight: Jeremy Kennedy
Why they should fight: Volkanovski continued to thrive since joining the UFC roster when he improved to 3-0 under inside the octagon with an utterly dominant performance against short-notice promotional newcomer Shane Young.

Volkanovski had his way with Young en route to a unanimous decision victory and now has won 16 of his 17 career fights. The Australian could be major problem in the featherweight division, but he needs tougher opponents in order to prove exactly where he stands among the best.

Once upon a time, before multiple injury changes, Volkanovski was scheduled to fight Kennedy (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) at the event. The Canadian was forced to withdraw due to a back injury, but if his recovery is on track for a return early next year, it would be interesting to see how the unbeaten fighter approached Volkanovski, who has been a tough riddle to solve.

Elias Theodorou

Anthony Smith

Should fight: Anthony Smith
Why they should fight: “Ultimate Fighter: Nations” winner Theodorou picked up a unanimous decision win over fellow cast member Dan Kelly, much to the dismay of the Australian crowd.

Every time Theodorou has experienced a setback he’s rebounded with a win, and following a defeat to Brad Tavares in July, he did that again by outpointing Kelly over the course of three rounds of middleweight action.

There’s definitely something to be desired with Theodorou’s style visually, but on paper it’s proven effective. He’s won six of eight UFC fights so far and has some notable wins to his credit within that record. The Canadian will surely want to keep the balling rolling, and there’s no shortage of tough competition at 185 pounds.

Theodorou’s faults have come against opponents capable of out-striking him. There’s no guarantee Smith (27-13 MMA, 4-2 UFC) would be able to do that, but “Lionheart’s” height, size and strength has the potential to give Theodorou all sorts of problems.

Jake Matthews

Shinsho Anzai

Should fight: Shinsho Anzai
Why they should fight: It was a bumpy return back to the UFC welterweight division, but ultimately Matthews managed to get his hands raised with a split-decision victory over a gritty Bojan Velickovic.

After a hot start to his UFC career, Matthews has had some struggles of late. He hoped a change in weight class would bring out his best, but he just scratched by against Velickovic in a rather unimpressive manner. The upside for the Aussie, though, is the fact he’s still young at just 23.

Matthews has been given few easy fights to this point, and that’s unlikely to change going forward. Anzai (10-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is a tough and durable opponent who has back-to-back wins on his UFC record. The Japanese fighter is on approximately the same level of Matthews in the division, so there’s no reason not to pit them against each other.

Belal Muhammad

Warlley Alves

Should fight: Warlley Alves
Why they should fight: Muhammad picked up the biggest victory of her career when he outworked and edged UFC veteran Tim Means by split decision in the card’s featured bout.

Muhammad has shown some solid skills each time he’s stepped in the octagon. He dropped two of his first three fights with the promotion, but since has reeled off three-straight, with the win over Means being the most meaningful yet.

The only thing holding Muhammad back at this point is his low rate of stoppage victories. He need a big finish to take things to the next level, and a fight with an ulna-aggressive, powerful foe like Alves (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) would give him every opportunity to make that happen.

Jessica-Rose Clark

Joanne Calderwood

Should fight: Joanne Calderwood
Why they should fight: After making her UFC debut on just 11 days’ notice against a veteran of the octagon, Clark now finds herself with a winning record inside the octagon and high aspirations for the future in the women’s flyweight division.

Clark may have missed weight, but still picked up a split-decision win over Bec Rawlings to announce her arrival in the UFC. The circumstances were far from ideal, but Clark made the most of them and already has big aspirations for her future, such as fighting for the title.

The women’s 125-pound division is still in its infancy in the UFC. Clark has intentions of being a significant part of the weight class, but will have to see how “The Ultimate Fighter 26” tournament, which will crown the inaugural champion, shakes out.

In the meantime, Clark should look to fight an opponent who is not part of “TUF 26.” Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) was originally supposed to face Rawlings at the event but was forced to withdraw on short notice. Clark filled in for her, now she should fight against her.

Fabricio Werdum

Should fight: Alexander Volkov
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Werdum should fight Volkov (29-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Calling all ranked athletes at 185, 205: Anthony Smith wants a good fight


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After picking up the biggest win of his career, Anthony Smith is looking to repeat the feat, and he’s taking suitors in two divisions.

“I just think there’s some big options for some exciting matchups at 205 (pounds),” Smith told MMAjunkie. “I think that 205 is getting a little bit dry; 185 is a shark tank. There’s plenty of guys there. I think that there’s some exciting matchups at 205. That said, if (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard gets ahold of my manager and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got this exciting matchup at 185,’ hey, I’m down. I’m in.”

Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) competed at middleweight on Saturday night, where he took on fellow veteran Hector Lombard (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) on the FS1-broadcast main card of UFC Fight Night 116 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Smith started slow, dropping the first two rounds to Lombard on all three judges’ cards, but he gathered himself before the third and came out firing, eventually scoring a crisp combination that sent his opponent crashing to the canvas.

The compact, powerful Lombard is notoriously dangerous in the opening frame, and Smith said he knew that was the time to be cautious but believes he may have leaned a little too far in that direction.

“Hector’s so good in the first round,” Smith said. “He’s so dangerous. He’s explosive. He’s powerful. He’s everything you want to be as a fighter. He just can’t hang. It was a tough first round, but at the end of the first round, my conditioning felt good. I wasn’t as tired as I expected to be, and he didn’t hit nearly as hard as I expected him to.

“I think I gave him a whole lot more respect for his power because there was a couple times where he hit me clean, and it didn’t even shake me. I think I overestimated his power, and I overestimated his will.”

Smith admits he underestimated Lombard’s ability to score with low kicks, a wrinkle in his opponent’s attack “Lionheart” wasn’t expected, but he believes he eventually made the proper adjustments.

“I just had to force him to work,” Lombard said. “I wasn’t as busy as I wanted to be. I didn’t combo up and throw as much volume and stuff. I mean, I’m always my worst critic. I’ll take a ‘W,’ but I could have done better.”

Still, Smith now stands at an impressive 11-1 in his past 12 fights, a run that includes three consecutive UFC victories. And with that, Smith said it’s time for the sport’s top fighters, who he’s been calling out for years, give him a chance to prove his worth – and he’s willing to do it at middleweight or light heavyweight.

“I want to keep my options open, but I also want exciting fights,” Smith said. “I want big names, and at this point I think I deserve it.”

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

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Luke Rockhold and UFC Fight Night 116's other winning fighters?


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Former champ Luke Rockhold returned to the UFC middleweight title contender mix on Saturday when he put a thorough beating on David Branch in the UFC Fight Night 116 main event.

Rockhold’s (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) ground game was far too much for Branch (21-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to handle in the FS1-televised headliner, which took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. He battered his opponent with strikes for the second-round stoppage, putting Rockhold back in the queue of 185-pound contenders.

The finish in the main event concluded a main card where five of six fights ended inside the distance. Mike Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Anthony Smith (27-13 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Gregor Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and Kamaru Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) all stopped their opponents in exciting fashion, while Justin Ledet (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was alone in winning on the scorecards.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 116’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Justin Ledet

Should fight: Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
Why they should fight: In what was arguably the most forgettable bout on the card, Ledet made a successful return from a lengthy layoff with a split-decision victory over short-notice UFC newcomer Zu Anyanwu.

Ledet essentially jabbed his way to a win on the scorecards, giving him a win that pushed him to 3-0 in the UFC heavyweight division. Ledet has shown flashes of brilliance in his fights, but his performance against Anyanwu did not provide much excitement for his next trip to the octagon.

Perhaps Ledet deserves a bit of slack for having to change to a new opponent on short notice. Because of that, he should get the fight he was originally intended for against Sosnovskiy (10-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). The pair has already been booked to fight twice, but each time it’s fallen through. It’s possible it’s time to just move on from the fight, but given they’ve already trained to face off so many times, it would be interesting to see how it plays out.

Kamaru Usman

Santiago Ponzinibbio

Should fight: Santiago Ponzinibbio
Why they should fight: Usman has been nothing short of sensational since making his UFC debut, and Sergio Moraes was the next victim in his run toward the top of the welterweight division, courtesy of a first-round knockout.

Usman made some bold statements about where he sees himself among the contenders at 170 pounds, and he’s already taken aim at current champion Tyron Woodley. He’s not going to get that fight next, but if he continues to knock people out in a similar fashion to Moraes, it won’t be long until he’s fighting for UFC gold.

By adding dangerous striking to his already existing standout wrestling game, Usman is evolving into a threat on multiple levels. There aren’t many who will be capable of stopping his game, but Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) could be equipped to handle it.

The Argentinian is riding the second-longest UFC winning streak in his division behind Usman following his knockout of Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night 113 in July, and a matchup between the two streaking fighters could have a big impact on the future of the weight class.

Gregor Gillespie

Vinc Pichel

Should fight: Vinc Pichel
Why they should fight: Highly regarded lightweight prospect Gillespie had another promising performance early in his career when he submitted Jason Gonzalez in the “Fight of the Night.”

Gillespie improved his record to 10-0 when he came out on the top of a back-and-forth war by submitting Gonzalez with an arm-triangle choke in the second round. “The Gift” has strong wrestling and improving striking, and at 30, still has a lot of upside as someone to watch at 155 pounds.

Gillespie’s first three UFC performances have come against opponents with limited UFC experience. It’s time for that to change, and Pichel (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is someone who has been around the promotion for several years on top of appearing on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.

Pichel is riding a three-fight winning streak with his most recent octagon appearance being a first-round knockout of Damien Brown at UFC Fight Night 110 in June. If he could hand Gillespie his first loss, he would make a big statement that he’s not going to be pushed around by anyone with hype.

Anthony Smith

Uriah Hall

Should fight: Uriah Hall
Why they should fight: The second coming of Smith in the UFC took another memorable step forward when “The Lionheart” scored yet another come-from-behind knockout victory, this time at the expense of Hector Lombard.

After falling behind on the scorecards in the middleweight fight, Smith landed a fight-ending combination of strikes to extend the former Bellator champ’s losing skid to four fights. Smith said prior to the bout that he needed to get past Lombard to prove his worth, and he did just that.

Smith was arguably released prematurely during his first UFC stint in 2013. He’s put together a 4-1 run since coming back this past year, and his maturity is evident. Smith should be in for another noteworthy fight, and Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) fits the description.

Hall scored a massive knockout win of his own against Krzysztof Jotko on the preliminary card, helping him bounce back from a three-fight drought. “Primetime” is a lethal striker when he’s on, and if he shows up on point, Smith would surely have his hands full.

Mike Perry

Thiago Alves

Should fight: Thiago Alves
Why they should fight: Perry did his job against an overmatched short-notice replacement when he scored a 79-second knockout of UFC newcomer Alex Reyes.

Originally meant to fight Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC), “Platinum” had no hesitation in taking another matchup when the former UFC title challenger pulled out on three days’ notice. Perry delivered another violent finish due to strikes, and afterward he called out former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler to a future matchup.

Perry deserves credit for aiming high, but it’s likely much bigger fights are in Lawler’s immediate future. Because of that, rebooking the showdown with Alves seems much more realistic. It still makes sense despite Perry’s win, and facing “The Pitbull” still represents the most high-profile fight of his career.

Luke Rockhold

Should fight: Yoel Romero
Why they should fight:
Watch the video above to see why Rockhold should fight Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 116 post-event facts: Mike Perry's power gaining a reputation

The return of Luke Rockhold was a triumphant one on Saturday when the former UFC middleweight champion defeated David Branch in the UFC Fight Night 116 main event.

After a more than 15-month layoff, Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) added another stoppage to his historically illustrious resume in the 185-pound division when he forced Branch (21-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to tap out to strikes in the second round on the FS1-televised fight card at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Rockhold’s victory capped off an event which featured eight stoppages out of 10 fights. For more on the numbers behind the card, check below for 40 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 116.

* * * *


The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $92,500.

Debuting fighters went 0-2 at the event.

Mike Perry, Uriah Hall, Gregor Gillespie and Jason Gonzalez earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 116 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 116 drew an announced attendance of 7,005 for a live gate of $396,190.75.

Betting favorites went 7-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 10-bout card was 1:20:40.

Main card

David Branch and Luke Rockhold

Rockhold has earned 14 of his 16 career victories by stoppage. That includes all six of his wins under the UFC banner.

Rockhold’s 13 stoppage victories in UFC/Strikeforce middleweight competition are the most in combined divisional history.

Branch had his 11-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since May 2012.

Branch fell to 1-1 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in March 2017.

Branch fell to 13-2 since his original release from the UFC in March 2011.

Branch absorbed 58 significant strikes in his loss. He had absorbed just 56 significant strikes in his previous five UFC appearances combined.

Branch suffered his first knockout loss since July 3, 2010 – a span of 2,632 days (more than seven years) and 18 fights.

Mike Perry

Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has earned all of his career victories by knockout. He’s earned seven of those wins in Round 1.

Perry has landed seven knockdowns in five UFC appearances.

Perry averages 2.58 knockdowns per 15 minutes of fighting in UFC competition, the third-highest rate in company history.

Alex Reyes (12-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his 10-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since November 2007.

Reyes suffered his first knockout loss since his MMA debut on Sept. 15, 2007 – a span of 3,654 days (10 years) and 14 fights.

Hector Lombard and Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith (27-13 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is 4-1 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2016.

Smith improved to 11-2 since his original release from the UFC in June 2013.

Smith has earned 25 of his 28 career victories by stoppage.

Smith has earned all three of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Hector Lombard’s (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) four-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He’s on a five-fight winless skid and hasn’t earned a victory since March 2014.

Lombard fell to 0-3 since he returned to the UFC middleweight division in June 2016. He hasn’t earned his first victory in the weight class since December 2012.

Lombard has suffered all three of his career stoppage losses by knockout.

Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Gonzalez (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by stoppage.

Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to 10 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since May 2013.

Usman’s six-fight UFC winning streak in welterweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Usman did not attempt a takedown for the first time in his UFC career.

Sergio Moraes (12-3-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) suffered his first knockout loss since Oct. 17, 2009 – a span of 2,891 days (nearly eight year) and 10 fights.

Justin Ledet (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) improved to 4-0 with one no-contest since he returned to MMA competition after a nearly four-year layoff.

Ledet’s three-fight UFC winning streak in heavyweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Stipe Miocic (five) and Francis Ngannou (five).

Preliminary card

Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has completed at least one takedown against seven of his eight UFC opponents.

Anthony Hamilton (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss, the longest skid of his career.

Hamilton has suffered five of his six UFC losses by stoppage.

Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since September 2015.

Hall has earned 11 of his 13 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his six UFC victories.

Krzysztof Jotko (19-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Gilbert Burns (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Jason Saggo (12-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, 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: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch Anthony Smith's emotional 3rd-round finish of Hector Lombard

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Anthony Smith entered the cage with Hector Lombard with a chip on his shoulder.

That much was evident in the UFC Fight Night 116 clash, which took place Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on the FS1-televised main card. Despite the apparent emotion, Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) wasn’t exactly quick out of the gate. But in the third round, Smith came alive and scored an impressive stoppage of Lombard (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) in what represents the biggest win of his career.

Check out the end of the fight above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 116


Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

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 116 in Pittsburgh, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Luke Rockhold def. David Branch via submission (strikes) – Round 2, 4:05

Luke Rockhold: “The Rain” by DMX

David Branch: “The 3 Lyrical Ps” by Sean Price

Mike Perry def. Alex Reyes via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 1:19

Mike Perry: “Welcome Back” by Young Jeezy

Alex Reyes: “Alpha Omega” by Machine Gun Kelly

Anthony Smith def. Hector Lombard via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:33

Anthony Smith: “I’m Gonna Make It” by Sanders Bohlke

Hector Lombard: “Victory” by The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy

Gregor Gillespie def. Jason Gonzalez via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:11

Gregor Gillespie: “Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash

Jason Gonzalez: “Hail Mary” by Tupac

Kamaru Usman def. Sergio Moraes via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:48

Kamaru Usman: “Wo!!” by Olamide

Sergio Moraes: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Justin Ledet def. Zu Anyanwu via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Justin Ledet: “The Moon and The Sky” by Sade

Zu Anyanwu: “Valley of Death” by Rick Ross

Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Tony Martin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier: “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy

Tony Martin: “Last Breath” by Future

Daniel Spitz def. Anthony Hamilton via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:24

Daniel Spitz: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

Anthony Hamilton: “Only Fear of Death” by Tupac

Uriah Hall def. Krzysztof Jotko via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 2:25

Uriah Hall: “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J

Krzysztof Jotko: “Streets of Siam” by Stan Bush

Gilbert Burns def. Jason Saggo via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 4:55

Gilbert Burns: “Medley” by Buchecha

Jason Saggo: “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, 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 Fight Night 116 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total nears $14.5 million


Filed under: News, UFC

PITTSBURGH – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $95,000.

UFC Fight Night 116 took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way were middleweights Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Uriah Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC), who each received a third-tier payout total of $10,000. Rockhold defeated David Branch in the main event, while Hall beat Krzysztof Jotko on the prelims.

The full UFC Fight Night 116 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Luke Rockhold: $10,000
def. David Branch: $5,000

Mike Perry: $5,000
def. Alex Reyes: $2,500

Anthony Smith: $5,000
def. Hector Lombard: $5,000

Gregor Gillespie: $2,500
def. Jason Gonzalez: $2,500

Kamaru Usman: $5,000
def. Sergio Moraes: $5,000

Justin Ledet: $2,500
def. Zu Anyanwu: $2,500

Olivier Aubin-Mercier: $5,000
def. Tony Martin: $5,000

Daniel Spitz: $2,500
def. Anthony Hamilton: $5,000

Uriah Hall: $10,000
def. Krzysztof Jotko: $5,000

Gilbert Burns: $5,000
def. Jason Saggo: $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.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $4,145,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,468,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Pittsburgh results: Anthony Smith starts slow but blasts Hector Lombard in 3rd

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Anthony Smith didn’t exactly inspire for the opening two rounds of his clash with Hector Lombard, but he turned it on in the third.

The middleweight contest took place on the FS1-televised main card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Smith came out looking to use his range, but Lombard was aggressive in return, moving past his opponent’s long limbs. A Lombard flurry briefly sent his opponent to his knees, but Smith patiently covered and worked his way back to his feet while avoiding any further damage. Smith was patient on the restart, and Lombard took advantage by chopping the legs with a few powerful blows. Huge punches came shortly after, with Lombard showing aggression. Lombard continued to chop at the legs until the bell, setting the tone to the end.

Lombard continued working the legs in the second, and Smith just wasn’t using his massive reach advantage with much success. While Lombard’s cardio has been questioned at times, it was Smith who was visibly slowing and less active than his opponent. Lombard eventually moved into the clinch, slipping around to the back and driving in a few knees while Smith worked to break the grip. Once they separated, Smith finally came alive, and a late right hand did seem to stagger Lombard a bit, but it was too little, too late.

Smith yelled at Lombard between rounds, and it seemed to bring the taller fighter alive to start the third, finally turning up the volume a bit. Smith dropped his hands a bit and started to get loose, and a big right hand sent Lombard to the floor. The flush blow was a game-ender, with referee Dan Miragliotta immediately calling a halt to the action at the 2:33 mark of the final round.

Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) improves to 11-1 in his past 12 outings. Lombard (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) has dropped four consecutive contests.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 116 results include:

For more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

10 reasons to watch UFC-Pittsburgh, including a clear gameplan, and a clear moment to shine

Two former champions with something to prove face off in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116.

In one corner, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns to action for the first time since losing his title to Michael Bisping in June 2016. Opposite Rockhold, former two-division WSOF champ David Branch looks to rebound from a lackluster split-decision win over Krzysztof Jotko in May.

Rockhold is anxious to get back to action and put the Bisping loss behind him.

“I’m (expletive) tired of waiting,” Rockhold told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’m not (expletive) around. I’m tired of this (expletive). I’m tired of talking about it. I’m coming with a vengeance.”

Branch is also motivated to return to the octagon.

“Yo, Lucas, man – the (expletive) is you talking, man? Huh? I heard your little punk-ass (expletive) interview on Ariel Helwani,” Branch said in a Twitter video. “Hmm? Mother(expletive), what the (expletive) is you talking about, man? I ain’t lost a fight in five mother(expletive) years. You can’t box, and you ain’t got no (expletive) chin. You getting in a mother(expletive) cage with me? You stupid? Man, you cold fronting man. I’m going to beat you like you stole something. Watch what I do to this mother(expletive).”

In the co-main event, rising welterweight powerhouse Mike Perry looks to add a fourth knockout win to his UFC record against late replacement Alex Reyes.

UFC Fight Night 116 takes place Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, and it airs on FS1.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Don’t look back

After losing to Bisping, Rockhold fell to No. 2 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings. In those same rankings, Branch was at No. 11, while then up-and-coming Robert Whittaker held the No. 12 spot.

Today, Whittaker is the interim champion and ranked No. 2, Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is No. 4, and Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) comes in at No. 7.

Neither Rockhold nor Branch were happy with their most recent performances. After his loss, Rockhold said he took Bisping “for granted.” Branch, who returned to the UFC after six years outside the organization, said he felt he performed at “about 20 percent” of his capabilities in the Jotko fight.


Expect Rockhold and Branch to be very motivated to put their recent disappointments behind them.


2. You know the gameplan

Three days before UFC Fight Night 116, Thiago Alves withdrew from his fight against Perry. A few hours after news broke that Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC) was out, Reyes (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) agreed to face Perry (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

The good thing for Reyes, who usually fights at lightweight, is he knows precisely what Perry brings to this contest. Perry’s gameplan is to walk forward, take whatever his opponent has to offer and come back with strikes of his own. Defense is an afterthought when it comes to Perry, whose throwback style has made him a fun fighter to watch, despite some questionable behavior outside the cage.

Between them, these two have only heard the final bell twice. All of Perry’s wins have come by knockout, while Reyes has 12 consecutive stoppage victories.


3. Big name hunting

Anthony Smith had a one-fight stint in the UFC in 2013. He lost that bout by submission. After his release, Smith ran up a 7-1 record and claimed the Victory FC middleweight title with a TKO win over former UFC fighter Josh Neer.

Now back in the UFC, Smith is 3-1 with knockout victories in his two most recent fights.

Smith (27-12 MMA, 3-2 UFC) gets the biggest opportunity of his career in Pittsburgh, where he faces former Bellator middleweight champion, Hector Lombard (34-5-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who is currently on the worst run of his career. He’s lost three straight since he served a one-year suspension after he tested positive for desoxymethyltestosterone, a designer steroid.

Smith and Lombard are both powerful punchers, combining for 32 knockout victories. The key to this fight may be Smith’s seven-inch height and five-inch reach advantages. If Smith uses those physical assets effectively, he has a chance to extend Lombard’s losing skid.


4. More than a wrestler

Gregor Gillespie is a former four-time All-American wrestler. That background showed in his UFC debut. In that bout, Gillespie attempted 19 takedowns on his way to a decision win over Glaico Franca. In his second UFC contest, Gillespie didn’t need to attempt any takedowns: He knocked out Andrew Holbrook in 21 seconds.

The unbeaten Gillespie (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) faces Jason Gonzalez in Pittsburgh. Gonzalez (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) earned a submission victory over J.C. Cottrell in his most recent outing.

The odds indicate this lightweight matchup should be a showcase fight for Gillespie. Gillespie, the self-proclaimed, “best fisherman in MMA,” has been working a lot on his striking. Expect Gillespie to showcase his development in that department. If his striking fails, Gillespie can always rely on his high-level wrestling.

5. Overflowing with confidence

Five fights into his UFC career, Kamaru Usman thinks he is “one of the top two, top three best in the world right now.” Before he gets the opportunity to prove that, Usman (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) must get past Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Sergio Moraes (12-2-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC).

The ultra-confident Usman is a well-rounded fighter despite his limited experience. Usman has excellent takedowns, and his strength allows him to control opponents both against the cage and on the mat with relative ease. The one knock against Usman is his four straight decision victories. However, Usman has shown significant progress in his striking, so finishes might be on the way for the rankings honorable mention.

If Moraes, unbeaten in seven fights as a UFC welterweight, does manage to defeat Usman, it will be the biggest upset of the night.


6. From snubbed to signee

UFC president Dana White passed on signing heavyweight Zu Anyanwu after he saw Anyanwu earn a TKO win during the filming of an episode of “Lookin’ for a Fight.” White also passed on Anyanwu after he stopped Greg Rebello on a “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” card. Despite those snubs, the UFC signed Anyanwu this week to step in to face Justin Ledet as a late replacement.

Anyanwu (14-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the winner of seven of his last eight fights, has his work cut out for him against the unbeaten Ledet (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who has gone the distance once in his career.

Ledet, a promising young heavyweight, submitted Mark Godbeer in November. Ledet’s long break between fights was due to an injury and a four-month USADA suspension.

7. Looking for a breakthrough

The bout between Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Tony Martin is an excellent matchup between two unranked lightweights. Aubin-Mercier has a strong ground game. He has eight submission wins, seven via rear-naked choke. However, Martin’s (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) reach advantage and striking may present a problem for Aubin-Mercier (9-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

Aubin-Mercier and Martin have both shown progress in their recent fights. Martin might have a slight edge in his overall MMA game thanks to his recent strides in the striking department. Aubin-Mercier has the advantage on the ground, but he may find it difficult to get Martin to the mat.


8. Let’s try it with a full camp

Daniel Spitz took a short notice fight against Mark Godbeer at UFC 209. The lanky Spitz looked good early, but as the fight progressed, he ran out of gas and ended up on the wrong side of a decision.

At UFC Fight Night 116, the largely unproven Spitz gets a chance to show what he can accomplish with a full camp behind him.

Spitz (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) faces Anthony Hamilton in this heavyweight bout. Hamilton (15-7 MMA, 3-5 UFC) has been on the losing end of two consecutive “Performance of the Night” fights. Hamilton has solid wrestling, but his striking can be over-aggressive and sloppy at times. With a UFC record of 3-5, it’s going to be interesting to see how Hamilton approaches a fight against an opponent who has a massive experience disadvantage.

9. Time to get it right

Uriah Hall has been one of the more enigmatic UFC fighters. At times Hall has looked like a world-beater; on other occasions he’s been average, at best. Currently mired in a three-fight losing streak, and with a 2-4 record dating back to mid-2015, Hall has never been in a worse position.

That said, Hall has handled his losing skid with aplomb.

“I have a lot of kids that are looking up to me, so what kind of example would I set by just quitting? I’m going to keep doing it until I get it,” Hall told MMAjunkie after his most recent loss. “I’m going to fail sometimes, but I’m going to keep doing it until I get it.”

Hall (12-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) faces No. 9-ranked Krzysztof Jotko in this middleweight bout. Jotko (19-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) lost a split decision to David Branch in his most recent fight.

10. Hard times

Gilbert Burns began his UFC career with three victories. Burns, a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, earned “Performance of the Night” bonuses in two of those bouts. Those wins gave Burns a record of 11-0 and earned him some buzz in the lightweight division, but things have not gone well for Burns recently. He’s dropped two of his past three fights. Both of those losses came at the hands of strikers.

The good thing for Burns is that he faces fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jason Saggo in Pittsburgh. Like Burns (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Saggo (12-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) lost his last fight.

This is Burns’ first bout in a year. It would not be a surprise if Burns used that time to shore up his striking game and his takedown skills. A win over Saggo won’t reestablish Burns as a fighter to watch, but it will be a step in the right direction.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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