UFC Fight Night 121 post-event facts: A long night leads to a dubious new record

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_WxFOqz5X_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/WxFOqz5X.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The UFC’s latest trip to Australia took place Saturday with UFC Fight Night 121, which went down at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The heavyweight headliner saw Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC) defeat Marcin Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) by unanimous decision, concluding a 13-fight card that featured 10 fights decided by the scorecards.

It was a lengthy night of fights, but nevertheless the UFC’s 11th event “Down Under” produced some notable results. For more on the numbers to come out of Saturday’s lineup, check below for 45 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 121.

* * * *

General

Allphones Arena (now Qudos Bank Arena)

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $122,500.

Debuting fighters went 4-1 at the event.

Nik Lentz, Tai Tuivasa and Damien Brown earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 121 fight-night bonuses. Frank Camacho’s $50,000 bonus was withheld because he missed weight.

UFC Fight Night 121 drew an announced attendance of 10,021. No live gate was revealed for the event.

Betting favorites went 10-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 3:04:18, the longest in the UFC’s 418-event history.

UFC Fight Night 121 featured 10 decisions, tied for the most on a single card in UFC history.

Main card

Fabricio Werdum

Werdum earned his second UFC victory in a 42-day stretch.

Werdum improved to 9-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2012.

Tybura has suffered both of his UFC losses by decision.

Jessica-Rose Clark (8-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) improved to 3-3 (with one no-contest) in her past seven fights.

Bec Rawlings’ (7-7 MMA, 2-4 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since March 2016.

Rawlings was unsuccessful in her UFC women’s flyweight debut.

Rawlings has suffered five of her seven career losses by decision.

Belal Muhammad

Belal Muhammad (13-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has earned nine of his 13 career victories by decision. That includes three of his four UFC wins.

Tim Means (27-9-1 MMA, 9-6 UFC) fell to 7-4 (with one no-contest) since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in May 2014.

Means has suffered four of his six UFC losses by decision.

Jake Matthews (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC welterweight division.

Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC) fell to 1-3-1 since he dropped to the UFC welterweight division in July 2016.

Velickovic has suffered all six of his career losses by decision.

Elias Theodorou

Elias Theodorou (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has earned four of his six UFC victories by decision.

Theodorou failed to complete a takedown in a winning performance for the first time in his UFC career.

Daniel Kelly (13-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

Kelly suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Alex Volkanovski (16-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to 13 consecutive fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since May 2013.

Shane Young (11-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Ryan Benoit

Ryan Benoit (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past nine fights.

Benoit has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Benoit earned just the second knockout victory stemming from a head kick in UFC flyweight history. Louis Smolka also accomplished the feat.

Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Nik Lentz

Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) improved to 3-1 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in December 2015.

Lentz earned his first submission victory since March 26, 2011 – a span of 2,429 days (more than six years) and 13 fights.

Lentz’s 18 guillotine choke submission attempts in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Will Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

Brooks has suffered all four of his career losses by stoppage.

Tai Tuivasa

Tuivasa (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned all six of his career victories by stoppage.

Tuivasa has earned all of his career victories by knockout.

Tuivasa earned just the second knockout victory stemming from a flying knee in UFC heavyweight history. Werdum also accomplished the feat.

Rashad Coulter (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

Coulter has suffered all three of his career losses by stoppage.

Frank Camacho

Camacho (21-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was successful in his UFC lightweight debut.

Nadia Kassem (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned the first decision victory of her career.

Alex Chambers (5-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of her career.

Jenel Lausa (7-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered both of his UFC losses by decision.

Adam Wieczorek (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to eight fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since November 2011.

Wieczorek earned the first decision victory of his career.

Anthony Hamilton’s (15-9 MMA, 3-7 UFC) four-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, 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.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/TbN2uvtugmxi8DnzN2s9QC/285633”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Werdum def. Tybura”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Ryan Benoit is all messed up after that brutal head-kick KO win at UFC-Sydney

Ryan Benoit may have scored a spectacular knockout victory at UFC Fight Night 121, but he didn’t leave the octagon without some battle wounds.

Benoit (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) delivered a highlight reel knockout in Saturday’s featured preliminary bout when he starched Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) with a third-round head kick in their flyweight bout, which took place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

It was a frustrating outing for Benoit, who for the overwhelming majority of the nearly 13-minute fight was forced to chase Mokhtarian around the octagon. Mokhtarian was using a movement-heavy style of fighting, but eventually Benoit tagged him with a kick and put the lights out.

Although it was a sensational win, Benoit was unable to speak to the media afterward because of damage sustained to his hand early in the fight. He provided an update from the hospital, though, and evidently it wasn’t just his hand that was worse for war.

Benoit shared a photo on social media that not only showed his hand wrapped up, but his foot, as well (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Sticks and stones will break your bones…. how come momma never told me that a super tough opponent with a strong chin and head will also (heal). Traveling across the world and changing time zones is no joke this week was a grind and tough adjusting to the jet lag and prepping for a midday fight. The 🇦🇺 people have been great. Time to rest up and heal up. Be back soon 🇺🇸

Benoit was one of the few fighters on the UFC Fight Night 121 card to finish his bout inside the distance. Unfortunately, “Baby Face” was ineligible for a fight-night bonus due to the fact he missed weight by three pounds. He has yet to address why he came in overweight.

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

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

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/NLVFqU78hRS8oZHFwAo5mH/285664”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Benoit def. Mokhtarian”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 121 Athlete Outfitting pay: Yearly payout approaches $5.5 million

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_WxFOqz5X_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/WxFOqz5X.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, UFC

SYDNEY – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $122,500.

UFC Fight Night 121 took place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Three fighters led with the way with $15,000 payouts, including former UFC champ Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC), who earned a unanimous-decision victory in the main event.

The full UFC Fight Night 121 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Fabricio Werdum: $15,000
def. Marcin Tybura: $2,500

Jessica-Rose Clark: $2,500
def. Bec Rawlings: $5,000

Belal Muhammad: $5,000
def. Tim Means: $15,000

Jake Matthews: $5,000
def. Bojan Velickovic: $5,000

Elias Theodorou: $5,000
def. Daniel Kelly: $5,000

Alex Volkanovski: $2,500
def. Shane Young: $2,500

Ryan Benoit: $5,000
def. Ashkan Mokhtarian: $2,500

Nik Lentz: $15,000
def. Will Brooks: $2,500

Tai Tuivasa: $2,500
def. Rashad Coulter: $2,500

Frank Camacho: $2,500
def. Damien Brown: $2,500

Nadia Kassem: $2,500
def. Alex Chambers: $2,500

Eric Shelton: $2,500
def. Jenel Lausa: $2,500

Adam Wieczorek: $2,500
def. Anthony Hamilton: $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: $5,445,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $15,768,000

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

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/TbN2uvtugmxi8DnzN2s9QC/285566”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Werdum def. Tybura”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC-Sydney with well-timed AC/DC (RIP, Malcolm Young)

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_WxFOqz5X_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/WxFOqz5X.json”,”ph”:2}
);

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 121 in Sydney went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Fabricio Werdum def. Marcin Tybura via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)

Fabricio Werdum: “Akhmat Fight Club” by Sharpuddi Ismailov

Marcin Tybura: “40:1” by Sabaton

Jessica-Rose Clark def. Bec Rawlings via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Jessica-Rose Clark: “Only One” by John Butler Trio

Bec Rawlings: “Natural Born Killaz” by Dr. Dre feat. Ice Cube

Belal Muhammad def. Tim Means via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Belal Muhammad: “We Ready” by Archie Eversole

Tim Means: “Ladies and Gentleman” by Saliva

Jake Matthews def. Bojan Velickovic via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Jake Matthews: “Hard as a Rock” by AC/DC

Bojan Velickovic: “I Lived” by OneRepublic

Elias Theodorou def. Daniel Kelly via unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Elias Theodorou: “Don’t Forget Me” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Daniel Kelly: “Most People I Know” by Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs

Alex Volkanovski def. Shane Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Alex Volkanovski: “Game of Thrones” theme (Violin Rock Cover) by Jason Yang & Roger Lima

Shane Young: “Dedicated To” by Home Brew

Ryan Benoit def. Ashkan Mokhtarian via knockout (head kick) – Round 3, 2:38

Ryan Benoit: “What They Want” by Russ

Ashkan Mokhtarian: “Can’t See Me” by Tupac

Nik Lentz def. Will Brooks via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 2:05

Nik Lentz: “Greatest Show Unearthed” by Creature Feature

Will Brooks: “I’m Ill” by Red Cafe feat. Fabolous

Tai Tuivasa def. Rashad Coulter via knockout (flying knee) – Round 1, 4:35

Tai Tuivasa: “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Rashad Coulter: “Worth” by Anthony Brown

Frank Camacho def. Damien Brown via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Frank Camacho: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Damien Brown: “Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch

Nadia Kassem def. Alex Chambers via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)

Nadia Kassem: “I Rep That West” by Ice Cube

Alex Chambers: “The Greatest” by Sia feat. Kendrick Lamar

Eric Shelton def. Jenel Lausa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)

Eric Shelton: “Bout 2 Blow” by Empire Cast feat. Yazz & Timberland

Jenel Lausa: “Bebot” by The Black Eyed Peas

Adam Wieczorek def. Anthony Hamilton via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Adam Wieczorek: “Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil

Anthony Hamilton: “Last Breath” by Future

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

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

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/gknUjDqNbotydkfEA7Ss5U/285569”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Theodorou def. Kelly”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 121 video highlights: Ryan Benoit KOs Ashkan Mokhtarian

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Ryan Benoit seemed frustrated through much of his fight against Ashkan Mokhtarian, who did plenty of circling when he wasn’t landing his left hand. But Benoit capitalized when he needed to.

Benoit (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) knocked Mokhtarian (13-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) out with a head kick in the third round – when he potentially was down a pair of rounds on the scorecards. The end came at the 2:38 mark of the final frame.

The catchweight bout (Benoit missed the flyweight limit) closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FS1.

Check out the finish in the highlights video clip above.

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

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/NLVFqU78hRS8oZHFwAo5mH/285579”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Benoit def. Mokhtarian”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Sydney prelims brought some violent fights and finishes – and one pretty slick one

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_6w983HaO_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/6w983HaO.json”,”ph”:2}
);

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

The UFC Fight Night 121 prelims brought some memorable action, even if some of it was so violent that those involved may not remember it all.

Fortunately, it was all captured on film, from the sudden fight-ending strikes to the back-and-forth battles.

The best example of the latter came in the form of the 160-pound catchweight bout between Frank Camacho and Damien Brown. After a near rear-naked choke finish early on, both men settled into a wild stand-up scrap that thrilled the Sydney crowd right up until the final horn.

Camacho would come away with the split-decision victory, much to Brown’s dismay, but how could anyone be too disappointed after a fight like that – one worthy of “Fight of the Night?”

As for the “performance” bonuses, heavyweight Tai Tuivasa made his case in the very next fight with a flying knee knockout of Rashad Coulter, followed by a right hand that – thankfully – just missed the chin of the downed Coulter.

Not to be outdone, flyweight Ryan Benoit tried to atone for his failed weight cut with a blistering head-kick knockout of Ashkan Mokhtarian in the third round. Despite eating a couple hard lefts earlier in the fight, Benoit proved that all it takes is one well placed shot to decide the matter beyond doubt.

But it wasn’t all knockouts. Despite getting bloodied up on the feet early, Nik Lentz rebounded with a guillotine choke to force the tap from Will Brooks in lightweight action.

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

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

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_GlCUfNHa_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/GlCUfNHa.json”,”ph”:2}
);

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

UFC Fight Night 121 results: Patient Ryan Benoit KOs Ashkan Mokhtarian with head kick in third

Ryan Benoit seemed frustrated through much of his fight against Ashkan Mokhtarian, who did plenty of circling when he wasn’t landing his left hand. But Benoit capitalized when he needed to.

Benoit (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) knocked Mokhtarian (13-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) out with a head kick in the third round – when he potentially was down a pair of rounds on the scorecards. The end came at the 2:38 mark of the final frame.

The catchweight bout (Benoit missed the flyweight limit) closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FS1.

Mokhtarian circled back and forth on the outside. Benoit stayed in the middle. The two looked for openings, and 45 seconds in Mokhtarian threw a left hand. Another one drilled Benoit and wobbled him. Mokhtarian immediately moved in and tried to take Benoit down, but couldnt’ get him to the canvas. Benoit broke things off, but Mokhtarian landed another left, then again drove in, but Benoit pushed off. Mokhtarian went back to circling outside, but ate a body kick from Benoit.

Mokhtarian pumped a jab out, then continued to circle left and right and back again. With two minutes left, Mokhtarian tried a pair of inside leg kicks, then a third and fourth. Benoit started to grow tired of Mokhtarian’s circling strategy, and that forced him to get more aggressive. He landed a pair of punches just before the horn.

Benoit missed with a looping left hand early, but landed not long after that as a counter to a Mokhtarian right. Benoit landed a head kick that appeared to briefly stun Mokhtarian, but Mokhtarian landed one of his own not long after. Benoit pumped a right jab out, then had to back away from a Mokhtarian combination. Mokhtarian was on the money with a right, then a left back in the middle. Benoit threw anotehr high kick, but it was mostly blocked by Mokhtarian.

With two minutes left, Mokhtarian just missed a left uppercut and continued to throw big. With 90 seconds left, Mokhtarian again caught Benoit with a heavy left hand. Benoit stayed on his feet and tried to return fire with a kick. Benoit seemed to hurt Mokhtarian a little with a right, then tried to chase him down. With 30 seconds left, Mokhtarian threw a spinning back fist that just missed. And with 10 seconds left, he landed a takedown and got a few punches in before the horn to tighten the round up.

Benoit came out aggressively in the third, but 30 seconds in Mokhtarian landed another left hand. Benoit drilled Mokhtarian with a low kick a miute in, then faked a couple more. Mokhtarian landed a left, but a Benoit counter right was more crisp. So was one right after it, but it was met with a spinning back fist from Mokhtarian. Benoit’s percentages may have been better, but it was Mokhtarian landing the bigger punches.

But then out of nowhere, midway through the round, Benoit threw up a head kick and it was on the money. He drilled Mokhtarian with the right kick and put him instantly on the canvas. Benoit dropped down to finish the job, but the referee was quickly in to make the stoppage official.

Benoit’s up-and-down UFC run continued with the return to the win column. He has alternated wins and losses for his past nine fights, including six in the UFC. Mokhtarian lost for the second straight time, both in the UFC, after signing with the promotion on a six-fight winning streak. He now is on a losing skid for the first time in his pro career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 121 results include:

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

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

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

Flyweight Ryan Benoit explains 'Navy SEAL' approach to UFC Fight Night 121 preparations

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_G8pq9aC8_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/G8pq9aC8.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Ryan Benoit’s next opponent might be only 0-1 in the octagon, but he refuses to reduce him to that.

Benoit (9-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) meets Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 121 event while looking to get back on the winning path after a split-decision loss to Brandon Moreno last December. And while Mokhtarian’s only octagon showing had him dropping a unanimous nod to John Moraga, Benoit refuses to see anything less than a very tough guy on the opposite corner.

“First fight in the UFC – you definitely get those UFC jitters, and things are going to throw you off,” Benoit told MMAjunkie Radio. “So I give him the benefit of the doubt in that situation. I’m preparing for this guy like he’s the best striker on the planet – (like he’s) the best grappler on the planet.

“I think this is by far the most in shape I’ve been for a fight. This is the most prepared I’ve been for a fight, mentally.”

The flyweight bout is set to close out the FS1-one televised preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 121, which takes place on Sunday (but airs in the U.S. on Saturday due to time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

Benoit knows firsthand what it’s like to come up short in your first octagon outing. After all, he was the one on the losing end of a rear-naked choke in his debut – a “Fight of the Night” affair against Josh Sampo in 2013. Benoit has since alternated wins – over Sergio Pettis and Fredy Serrano – and losses – to Sampo, Moreno and Ben Nguyen.

As he looks to get back on track, Benoit feels “phenomenal.” Since he started doing part of his training out of Las Vegas, where he works alongside coach Ricky Lundell, the Texas native started really seeing what the city can offer to high-level fighters.

“There’s an unlimited amount of sparring partners,” Benoit said. “There’s an unlimited amount of trainers and gyms and coaches out here. This is where you have to be if you want to make it.”

Other than that, the flyweight can attribute his shift in mentality to a change made for this particular camp. Benoit, who was used to having his family close during training, stepped away from them for a little longer this time around. That type of distancing, Benoit ponders, has different results on different fighters.

So how did it go for him?

“It just turned me into an absolute killing machine,” Benoit said. “It kind of brought out some different stuff in me. And put like a different type of focus in me. I kind of go back to Navy SEAL kind of training – is that these guys don’t get to talk to their family.

“They don’t speak to their family. They’re completely isolated, just with the brothers and the guys that they’re around. And they go to war and perform at their best that way.

“So I kind of tried to put myself in this Navy SEAL mind frame, to where everything is going to be hard. And I’m here for a purpose. And I’m not going to let any distractions, emotion or anything get in my way. Try to control my emotions and try to put them into hard work. And I’m very focused on the process right now.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/3Vn5zNSJUzTCeKMrMD6wW5/285060”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Ryan Benoit”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Ahead of UFC Fight Night 121, try to not be moved by the Mokhtarian brothers' passion

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_tHqoSbkT_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/tHqoSbkT.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – It’s somewhat of a family affair for the Mokhtarians at UFC Fight Night 121.

When he enters the octagon at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney to meet Ryan Benoit (9-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC), Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will have his brother, Suman, on his corner. Suman (8-0 MMA) not only is a fellow MMA fighter and the head coach of Australian Top Team, he’s also the person who, at 16, gave Ashkan the wake-up call he needed to turn his turbulent life around.

So, as he looks to rebound from a UFC debut loss to John Moraga, Ashkan must give credit where it’s due.

“I can’t see myself losing,” Mokhtarian told reporters in a lengthy, passionate chat ahead of the FS1-televised preliminary card bout. “I hope (Benoit) brings the fight, because I’m there to fight. I’ve got the best coaches. I’ve got the best support crew. I can’t ask for anything more. It’s not just a coach I have next to me: I have my right hand man. I have my brother.

“When I have an insecurity, when I have something that I’m worried about, I look at him with full confidence that he’s going to give me the upmost truth. And there’s where I believe most of my confidence and most of my victories come from.”

Ashkan means the “next to me” bit literally – as he stood in front of the cameras after this week’s open workouts, his brother was by his side. Suman, it turns out, will be cornering another Australian Top Team member that night: his girlfriend, Nadia Kassem.

Kassem (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes her UFC debut opposite Alex Chambers (5-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in a strawweight bout in the UFC Fight Pass-streamed preliminary portion of the evening.

When brought into the conversation by reporters, Suman is clear in that the occasion is not about him – rather, it’s about Ashkan and Kassem. But, once he gets started, it’s hard to miss a somewhat familiar impassioned tone.

“Obviously it’s a bit stressful – I’ve got my brother and my girlfriend on the same card,” Suman said. “But, just like my brother, when the bright lights are on him, usually he’s going to come to perform. I think I’ve had to step my game up, like my brother says, as a father, a husband, as boyfriend, as a coach, as a brother, I had to step up as well. It’s made us all better people, together.

“In a time like this – my brother can be selfish, my girlfriend can be selfish, I can be selfish. But in times like that, in times when we fight, when we make up, it kind of makes us all better. And it drives us all to be just a little bit hungrier.”

Mokhtarian and Kassem might be the only two representatives of Australian Top Team in the UFC for now. But like Ashkan, who believes soon it will be his brother up there, Suman is fully confident that this is just the beginning of what the team is going to accomplish.

“Don’t be surprised if next year you see five, six of us in the UFC,” Suman said.

To hear Ashkan and Suman Mokhtarian’s full speeches, which we highly recommend, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/ZkLHRhuNi83Wo6UDdSFgN7/285087”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Moraga def. Mokhtarian”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC-Sydney, none of which include hotel drama

The UFC is in Australia on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 121. Headlining the event is a heavyweight scrap between former champion Fabricio Werdum and Marcin Tybura.

Werdum steps into the octagon having fought 42 days ago at UFC 216. He defeated Walt Harris via first-round submission on that card. Werdum got the nod for the Australia card after the UFC pulled Tybura’s original opponent, Mark Hunt, from the event over medical concerns. Tybura’s most recent fight was in June. He earned a decision over former champion Andrei Arlovski in that contest. There’s no doubt two consecutive wins over former champs would boost his status in the division.

In the co-main event, two Australian fighters meet when Bec Rawlings welcomes UFC newcomer Jessica-Rose Clark to the octagon.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Sunday (but airs live on Saturday in North America due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. The race is on

With heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic unbooked for his next title defense, the rest of the division is left to jockey for position to be that next opponent. That includes the man Miocic took the title from, Werdum.

Werdum, currently, ranked No. 3 in the division according to the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, has his work cut out for him in that regard since he’s gone 2-1 since his loss to Miocic. Knowing that, Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) seems to be taking the volume route back to title consideration. He faces Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in Sydney a few weeks removed from his recent win over Harris.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_aF05arMN_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/aF05arMN.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Tybura, the man who hopes to play spoiler to Werdum’s plan, is currently an honorable mention in the rankings.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_8E0ijDBi_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/8E0ijDBi.json”,”ph”:2}
);

2. Moving on up

Rawlings is under pressure heading into her first flyweight bout. She’s 2-3 since she joined the UFC, with losses in her past two outings. Rawlings was also one-and-a-half pounds overweight ahead of her most recent fight, a decision loss to Tecia Torres.

Rawlings’ (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) opponent, Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), steps in as a late injury replacement for Joanne Calderwood.

While Clark might be an unknown quantity, don’t expect her to wilt under the bright lights of the UFC. In her two most recent fights, she faced former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman and veteran Carina Damm. She lost to Kaufman and defeated Damm; both fights went the distance.

Clark mostly throws power punches and heavy low kicks with an occasional combination. She struggles if the fight hits the ground and she ends up in bottom position. Expect her to try and keep this one standing.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_JHY59fqF_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/JHY59fqF.json”,”ph”:2}
);

3. The repairs are complete

It’s no surprise to see Australia-born Jake Matthews on this card. The 23-year-old has fought seven times for the UFC. Six of those outings took place in his home country or in nearby New Zealand. However, Matthews enters this fight on a two-fight losing skid. His most recent defeat was a November 2016 split-decision loss to Andrew Holbrook.

Healed up after undergoing surgery on both hips, Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) moves back to welterweight, where he began his MMA career, for this fight against Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC). Like Matthews, the Serbian is coming off a loss. He dropped a unanimous decision to Darren Till in his most recent bout.

Early in his career, it seemed the UFC had Matthews pegged as a promotable fighter for its Australian market. His losing skid seems to have dampened that enthusiasm, as he dropped from the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 101 to the middle of the main card in Sydney.

If the added weight and repaired hips get Matthews back in the win column, expect the promotion’s interest in him to revive.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_o5VfPfln_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/o5VfPfln.json”,”ph”:2}
);

4. Work with what you’ve got

Daniel Kelly doesn’t have the chiseled body of many UFC fighters. The 40-year-old Australian’s knees appear to be held together by braces and tape. He’s been an underdog in almost all of his UFC fights.

Despite these apparent shortcomings, Kelly went unbeaten between November 2015 and March 2017. His most prominent win was a unanimous-decision victory over former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 209. Kelly’s feel-good story then ended in June, when Derek Brunson knocked him out.

Kelly’s opponent, Elias Theodorou, is also coming off a loss. The 29-year-old Canadian dropped a decision to Brad Tavares in July.

Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is a four-time Olympian in judo, so expect him to try to work from the clinch against his younger opponent. As for Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), he’s one of the more cerebral fighters at middleweight. He crafts a gameplan specific to his opponents, and he generally sticks with that approach.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_Alw0qm5z_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/Alw0qm5z.json”,”ph”:2}
);

5. High expectations

Alex Volkanovski could become the next big thing out of Australia. He joined the UFC in 2016 with a record of 13-1 and a long list of titles from smaller MMA promotions. Now 2-0 with the UFC, he faces Shane Young at featherweight.

Volkanovski is a powerful striker with good takedown skills, but he excels on the ground. When he gets his opponent to the mat, the Australian likes to posture up and rain down heavy ground strikes. Those ground strikes earned him a second-round TKO in his UFC debut.

Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is the third scheduled opponent for Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) for this card. The New Zealand-born fighter’s two previously booked opponents withdrew due to injury. Young, who is on a five-fight winning streak, stepped up on less than a weeks’ notice to take this fight.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_Z1DwBigK_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/Z1DwBigK.json”,”ph”:2}
);

6. Looking for a foothold

Ryan Benoit has struggled since joining the UFC’s flyweight division in 2013. He’s alternated wins and losses and been unable to generate any momentum, even with a knockout of Sergio Pettis in 2015. His most recent fight was a split-decision loss to Brandon Moreno.

Benoit (9-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) faces Ashkan Mokhtarian in Sydney. Mokhtarian (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) debuted with the UFC in June. He entered that fight against John Moraga with 12 career stoppage victories. The Iranian-born fighter left that matchup with his second career loss.

Like Mokhtarian, when Benoit does win, it’s usually via stoppage. He has seven knockouts and one submission in his eight victories. With their recent losses, expect both of these men to do their best to avoid a second consecutive defeat.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_tHqoSbkT_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/tHqoSbkT.json”,”ph”:2}
);

7. Back meet wall

Will Brooks joined the UFC’s lightweight division with a lot of hype. Before he signed with the promotion, the former Bellator champion ran off eight straight wins. He won his UFC debut, but Brooks has since been stopped in his two most recent bouts by unranked fighters.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_vR7EZYcz_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/vR7EZYcz.json”,”ph”:2}
);

To date, Brooks’ performances with the UFC have been uninspired. That could change when he faces Nik Lentz, who is also coming off a loss. If you recall, the UFC pulled Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC) from his scheduled fight against Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at UFC 216 due to “medical issues” on weigh-in day. Brooks had already made weight for the lightweight bout before the promotion scratched the contest. No fighter wants to go through camp and a weight cut only to do the same thing a month later.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_qgeTkTkc_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/qgeTkTkc.json”,”ph”:2}
);

8. Let’s try this in a different hemisphere

Anthony Hamilton and Adam Wieczorek were set to face off at UFC Fight Night 118. However, the heavyweight bout was scratched the day before the event due to security concerns inside Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The UFC made that decision after both fighters made weight at the official weigh-ins. The two now meet more than 9,750 miles away in Sydney.

Wieczorek (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who makes his UFC debut on this card, is on a seven-fight winning streak. Each of his victories have come by way of stoppage. Wieczorek’s sole loss was a 2011 decision defeat to Tybura. Hamilton (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) briefly toyed with retirement after his most recent fight, his third consecutive first-round stoppage defeat.

9. In a hurry

Nadia Kassem has just four fights to her name. Kassem, who recently turned 22, won each of those bouts by first round knockout. Three of those stoppages came in under 30 seconds. Nicknamed “187,” Kassem’s longest outing was her most recent, when she nearly hit the 90-second mark. Her total fight time is 2:22.

Kassem (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) meets fellow Aussie Alex Chambers in this strawweight contest. The 39-year-old Chambers (5-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has not fought since Paige VanZant submitted her in September 2015. Her opponent has fought three times since then.

Expect Kassem to come out fast and test Chambers’ cage readiness after such a long time away.

10. KO kings

Expect action in the heavyweight opener. Neither Rashad Coulter nor his opponent Tai Tuivasa have ever gone the distance. All eight of Coulter’s (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) wins have come by knockout, while Tuivasa (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has five first-round KO victories in five professional fights.

The 24-year-old Tuivasa, who makes his UFC debut in his home country, is a former rugby player. He left that sport five years ago to focus on boxing and MMA. He’s a training partner of Mark Hunt, who he cornered at UFC 209. His brother-in-law is UFC competitor Tyson Pedro.

Tuivasa has been sidelined for more than a year. He underwent knee surgery following his October 2016 win over former UFC fighter James McSweeney. Coulter’s most recent fight, his UFC debut, ended in a second-round knockout loss to Chase Sherman. Coulter displayed an incredibly durable chin in that “Fight of the Night” bonus-winning performance.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_u8HaNp2L_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/u8HaNp2L.json”,”ph”:2}
);

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/nGLZcDFY7c2f2BPH9oQDBd/284984”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Fabricio Werdum”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie