Why is Georges St-Pierre a big deal? 5 fights that defined a UFC legend


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Take heed, fight fans. The return of Georges St-Pierre in a middleweight title fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 217 on Saturday is nigh at hand.

If, like me, you’re wondering why that doesn’t seem like a bigger deal to more people, maybe it’s time to consider a lot has changed in the four years since St-Pierre last fought, and those changes might include some serious shifts in the fanbase.

For instance, you could have first discovered an interest in MMA midway through your freshman year, gotten gradually more into it during your sophomore and junior years, then graduated as a wise and haggard senior all without ever having actually lived through a GSP fight.

You could have watched every moment of the last 161 UFC events, which would have taken roughly 1,000 hours of your life, and still never have seen the former longstanding welterweight champion in action.

What’s it to you if he’s coming back now? And if he’s so great, why doesn’t he have a bunch of fight-ending highlights floating around the internet? There’s not a single clip of him yelling at someone while throwing an energy drink at the guy’s head, so how important could he be?

All fair points (kind of). So here, let’s look back at the defining moments that made St-Pierre an MMA great – even if we have to peer into the non-HD vault of UFC fight footage to do it.

1. St-Pierre vs. Sean Sherk, UFC 56

It’s crazy to think GSP got his first crack at the UFC title in just his third fight with the promotion, and his eighth pro fight overall. What’s even crazier is that he lost, getting armbarred by Matt Hughes for the first loss of his career in a battle for the vacant 170-pound title belt.

It was a crushing blow for the 23 year-old St-Pierre, but a year later he was back near the top of the welterweight division, having reeled off four wins in a row. The last came against Sean Sherk, who would later become UFC lightweight champ, but on that night he was little more than a punching bag for a bigger, stronger GSP.

But what was really notable about the fight was what came after. During a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, St-Pierre literally got down on his knees and begged “UFC management” for another chance at the title. It succeeded in helping him stand out, especially since the very next fight on the card saw the champion Hughes defeat Joe Riggs via submission.

2. St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes II, UFC 65

In his rematch with the champion, St-Pierre vowed that he wouldn’t make the same mistake he did in the first fight. That mistake? “I gave him too much respect,” St-Pierre said.

He was already on the path to avoiding that error some two months before the fight, when he showed up at Hughes’ title defense against B.J. Penn at UFC 63 (a spot that was supposed to be St-Pierre’s before injury forced him out of the fight) and hugged the victorious champion before dropping one of his most famous lines.

“I’m very glad you won that fight, Matt,” St-Pierre said into the microphone. “But I’m not impressed with your performance.”

By St-Pierre standards, it was blisteringly severe trash talk. He would meet Hughes in the rematch two months later, and this time it was a different St-Pierre who showed up. Confident, aggressive, he attacked the champion with a diverse striking attack, dropping him with help from his signature Superman punch late in the first, then finishing him with a head kick followed by ground-and-pound early in the second.

At the time it felt like a monumental shift. After two long stints as champ, the first interrupted only briefly by a loss to Penn, Hughes felt like the welterweight champion of record for many MMA fans. Seeing him so easily dethroned seemed to mark the beginning of a new era – one that would continue for the better part of the next seven years, with only one brief pause …

Georges St-Pierre got revenge on Matt Serra but not before one of the most stunning upsets in MMA history.

3. St-Pierre vs. Matt Serra, UFC 69

Any conversation about the biggest upsets in MMA history must inevitably include GSP’s first fight with Serra, who came into the bout as a roughly 8-1 underdog and left as the UFC welterweight champion. This was the unthinkable in action. Serra had earned the shot by winning the welterweight division of a “comeback” season on “The Ultimate Fighter.” Coming into the bout, he seemed less like a threatening challenger and more like a man in possession of a certain kind of lottery ticket.

That all changed when Serra’s right hand found the sweet spot just behind St-Pierre’s ear. Soon the 13-1 favorite was stumbling like a newborn fawn, and Serra was swarming in for more. When the fight was finally stopped and the belt strapped around his waist, even Serra seemed to be in a state of shock.

As for GSP, he became obsessed with, in his words, “revenge.” He wanted nothing more than to beat Serra and reclaim his title. As he would later tell it, a sports psychiatrist he was working with compared his single-minded focus to a brick that was weighing him down day after day.

“He made me get a brick, and I wrote ‘Matt Serra’ on it, and he said, ‘When you are ready to release that brick and look to the future, you’re going to take this brick and throw it into the river.’ It sounds stupid, but that’s what I did,” St-Pierre said. “I think it helped me to release a lot of the negative energy that I had. Instead of focusing, I kept my eyes off of the goal. So now I’m focused again on the goal. I think this helped me a lot.”

After a decision win over Josh Koscheck, followed by a submission over Hughes in the rubber match for an interim title, St-Pierre got another shot at Serra almost exactly one year after their first fight. This time GSP took no chances. After touching gloves to start the fight, he immediately took Serra down and then began a systematic destruction that finally ended with a barrage of knees to the body of a downed and exhausted Serra late in the second round. He had avenged his only loss as champion. And he has yet to lose again.

Georges St-Pierre dominated B.J. Penn at UFC 94.

4. St-Pierre vs. B.J. Penn, UFC 94

GSP’s path to winning the title in the first place had gone straight through another former champion in Penn, who he narrowly defeated via split decision after being bloodied early on in a three-round fight at UFC 58. After Penn’s follow-up loss to Hughes, he returned to lightweight, where he soon won the vacant title before defending it against Sherk, who’d been stripped of the belt after testing positive for steroids in 2007.

But Penn couldn’t seem to forget about St-Pierre, and soon he was talking about going back up in weight for a champion-vs.-champion clash with the welterweight titleholder. The UFC apparently liked the idea enough to put more promotional muscle than usual behind the bout, including a new preview show called “UFC Primetime,” which showed both men’s preparations (though it also led to some criticism of Penn’s training habits and work ethic).

St-Pierre would dominate Penn in the fight, eventually forcing a corner stoppage at the end of the fourth round, but controversy soon followed. Penn and his team pointed toward a moment earlier in the fight, when one of GSP’s coaches – muay thai specialist and general guru Phil Nurse – appeared to rub Vaseline on St-Pierre’s chest between rounds.

Penn took his complaint to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which heard from just about everyone – including Penn’s mother – in a hearing on the matter. St-Pierre and his team insisted that any violation of the rules was accidental, but for a time the accusation threatened to stick to the champion. Other previous opponents popped up with complaints that GSP felt “greasy” during their fights, though it was hard to tell what was serious accusation and what was just sour grapes.

Ultimately, the NSAC took no action against St-Pierre, and Penn had to live with the lopsided loss. Though St-Pierre would go on to defend his title seven more times, the victory over Penn was his last stoppage win to date.

Georges St-Pierre eked out a controversial win over Johny Hednricks at UFC 167.

5. St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks, UFC 167

After going to his “dark place” to beat Nick Diaz in March 2013, St-Pierre returned in November to face a dangerous contender on a six-fight winning streak. Hendricks made for an interesting opponent because he seemed to pose a new kind of challenge for St-Pierre. His background as an NCAA national champion wrestler meant he wouldn’t be as easy to take down as past opponents like Diaz and Carlos Condit, and his string of knockout victories suggested he could hurt the champion on the feet.

In a lot of ways, Hendricks lived up to those promises. Over five close rounds, Hendricks seemed to hurt St-Pierre with strikes at several points, leaving his already bruise-prone face looking like a lump of spoiled fruit by the end.

Georges St-Pierre after UFC 167.

Still, two of the three judges saw it for St-Pierre, surprising many fans and fellow fighters who thought Hendricks had done enough to take the title. In the cage after the win, GSP threw more fuel on the fire. He was “stepping away” from the sport of MMA, he told Rogan. He refused to explain why, or to say if or when he might return.

At the ensuing post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White was livid. Much of his ire was directed at the judges and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which he called “atrocious” and in need of an intervention from the governor’s office.

But as White ranted and raved – all before St-Pierre had arrived – he also complained about St-Pierre’s post-fight comments.

“He didn’t say he was going to retire,” White said of GSP. “He said, ‘I’m going to take some time off.’ You don’t just say, ‘Hey I’m going to take some time off, maybe I’ll be back, maybe I won’t.’ You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company, and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again, unless you’re going to retire.”

St-Pierre, however, was resolute. He’d made up his mind. Having his boss scream at him while he was out of the room didn’t seem to soften his stance any.

“I’ve being fighting for a very long time at a high level,” St-Pierre said. “It’s a lot of pressure. I’ve decided I need to take time off. I vacated my title for the respect of other competitors. One day, when I feel like it, I might come back. But right now, I need a break.”

And that was the last we saw of him in the UFC. Until now.

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter Mailbag: On why UFC 214 is suddenly stacked, Felice Herrig's complaint and more

UFC 214 just got even more exciting. Is that at least partially because a few of its primary elements are slightly unreliable? Plus, where can Johny Hendricks go from here? And is there a single good reason for B.J. Penn to fight again?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

Let’s deal with the facts here. UFC 214 is headlined by Jon Jones fighting to reclaim his light heavyweight title. Further down the card, you’ve got Cristiane Justino fighting a replacement from another organization and weight class. So yeah, you can bet your Butterfinger the Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia welterweight title fight is something of a backup.

Can you blame the UFC if that’s the idea? Jones has proven to be unreliable. Justino has a way of reminding opponents of some very important task they need to run off and complete. The lesson the UFC learned from injury-ravaged years past is that you’d better have a Plan B if you want to sell pay-per-views.

And really, this is a pretty good one. Now UFC 214 could withstand some hits. It’s not like some other cards we’ve seen, where we’re never more than one tweaked knee from canceling the whole thing. You want to have a big fight card in the middle of the summer? This is how you do it. Now let’s just everybody try to stay healthy until then.

Tonya Evinger is skilled and ornery enough that you can never count her out completely. That said, this is a tough one. Usually Evinger wins with a style of grappling that looks like what your big sister would have done to you if she were a black belt. It’s not the flashiest or the slickest ground game you’ve ever seen, but it is mean and relentless.

Thing is, I don’t know how that’s going to work against Cristiane Justino. “Cyborg” will be bigger and stronger than Evinger, and it’s not as if she’s a novice on the ground. You’re not just going to bully that woman, and I doubt Evinger wants to stand there and trade punches with her for too long.

Credit to Evinger for taking the fight, especially since we just saw a champion literally give up the belt without a fight just to avoid it. But she’s going to have a tough night of work on July 29.

It’s somewhere in between. The California State Athletic Commission, led by executive director Andy Foster, himself a former professional MMA fighter, has made this issue a priority of late. The CSAC has been uncommonly proactive about trying to mitigate the dangers of extreme weight-cutting in MMA, and this is a part of that effort.

It’s an admirable one, too. If we actually want to do something about this problem, regulators can’t keep turning a blind eye for the sake of getting along with promoters. The question is whether or not one commission can spur a change throughout the entire sport.

That’s the problem with the state commission approach to regulating this sport. Standards differ between athletic commissions, sometimes greatly. So does funding and experience and the level of professionalism. Just ask Cortney Casey about her experiences with Texas, and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m glad to see California flexing its regulator muscle in the name of athlete health and safety. But what happens if Renan Barao wants to fight at bantamweight in Brazil next? Or in Pennsylvania? Or in Florida? I like what California is trying to do, but it can’t do it alone.

I won’t speculate on what the goal was in having Tony Ferguson sit at the FOX Sports desk and grill a potential future opponent on TV, but I can tell you what the pros and cons of the situation were in the end. You ready?

Pro: Now there’s some heat between Ferguson and Kevin Lee, which might prove handy in promoting a fight between them soon.

Con: Remember that part where Lee asked if they could “put a real journalist on” rather than having a fellow fighter masquerade as one for the sake of that interview? Turned out the answer was no, they couldn’t. Which, if I’m a viewer, really serves to remind me what I’m actually watching here.

You know how pro wrestling used to have those shows within the show, where it looked like a real news desk with two or three pundits talking and doing “interviews,” but in reality everyone was working for the wrestling promoter and their job was to push these narratives along? This felt a lot like that.

It was another reminder that we’re dealing with state-run TV here. And I guess that’s fine if that’s how FOX Sports (which just axed all its writers, thereby giving up the claim that it was still pursuing actual sports journalism, even if it was only online) and the UFC want to play.

Just seems like a bummer for fans, because this is pretty much the only TV show left in America that’s focused solely on this sport, and you can’t even watch it without being reminded that it’s all one big commercial.

It might be a valid complaint, but I can’t help but wish it had come from someone else.

Right now, Felice Herrig is a better fighter than she’s ever been. She’s won three straight in the UFC, and her last two victories came against undefeated opponents. But she feels like the promotional push from the UFC isn’t there, in part because it would rather focus on the young and the beautiful, regardless of what their records look like.

There’s something to that criticism, but I can recall a time not so long ago when Herrig was on the other end of it. She seemed content to exploit that dynamic and ignore the criticism from it before she was in the UFC. Now that she’s there and winning fights, it seems like she’s changed her mind.

The fight game is a sales business at heart, and everyone in it sells what they can. I’m not going to criticize Herrig for using sex appeal to market herself earlier in her career, but I would expect her to be a little more understanding when other people – whether it’s younger fighters or the UFC itself – do the same. Now that she’s stacking up meaningful wins, maybe the thing for her to do is focus on where that can take her.

I read that Johny Hendricks blamed his latest weigh-in miss on a fever, and I have no real reason to doubt that he’s telling the truth. If he hadn’t missed weight all those other times, people might be inclined to cut him some slack on this one.

Hendricks’ career decline is one of the sharpest we’ve ever seen in this sport. It’s not just one bad night here or there. This is a habitual thing for him now, and he’s already been given more latitude than lots of other fighters have gotten.

The trouble is that, as a former champion, the UFC is going to expect him to fight someone with a name. There aren’t any easy ones waiting for him out there. He has to know that. Maybe the thing for him to do now is be honest about himself about what it’s going to take to be ready for it.

I think the punishment for watching those fights was contained in the fights themselves. If not, I sure wish we’d known in advance what kind of trade we were making. I think most of us would have chosen to keep Donald Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler intact. But maybe this pairing is too glorious to ever pass out of the realm of fantasy and into reality.

Up until recently I would have answered the first part of this question with Justin Gaethje. Now the UFC’s scooped him up, and it’s not hard to see why, since the guy has an exciting style that seems designed to make sure no one leaves the cage without a headache – including the referee if he gets too close to the backflip celebration.

If I can’t say Gaethje anymore, guess I have to go with the obvious choice: Baruto.

As for who I like to write about the most, I can’t say I’m familiar with this McDoogle fellow you mentioned. There’s a fighter by the name of Conor McGregor who fans seem to really like to read about. Then there are fighters whose honesty and intelligence and willingness to engage in self-reflection makes them interesting interview subjects.

But honestly, I like talking to the fighters who are at least a few years removed from active careers. I did a lot of it for this story on PRIDE a few months ago, and it reminded me that you get a different perspective from people who can stand at a certain point removed from it all. They’re also more likely to tell you the truth, if only because there are fewer people around who can punish them for it.

I can give you several bad ones.

– Maybe B.J. Penn feels like he doesn’t know who he is if he’s not a fighter.
– Maybe he can’t stand the thought of going out on this terrible losing streak.
– Maybe he feels like he needs the training to keep his life together, and he can’t stay motivated for the training without the promise of a fight at the end.
– Maybe he likes the paychecks and the attention and the adrenaline rush.

All of those are understandable to some extent, but not one is a good enough reason to keep going in a sport this brutal and unforgiving.

I’m with you. Michael Chiesa is an exciting fighter and a likable guy, and I think there are plenty of other fights available for him in possibly the most talent-rich division in all of MMA. Pick a name out of a hat. Is it someone good? Probably. Will that person rile you up by merely mentioning  you have a mother? Maybe. And we’re off. It beats waiting half a year to fight a guy you just fought.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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

The Speed Bag: Nik Lentz, what are you trying to accomplish with these B.J. Penn tweets?

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

To watch B.J. Penn, who used to be so good, go out and look so normal in a majority-decision loss to Dennis Siever at UFC Fight Night 112, was sad. Even sadder, though, might’ve been Nik Lentz afterward.

The UFC lightweight, in a a continued effort to start beefing with Penn, took to Twitter to gloat – gloat! – about the 38-year-old UFC legend losing his fifth fight in a row.

Not only is kicking Penn while he’s down just downright mean; it’s a bad idea for two reasons. All it does is make Lentz look desperate for attention, No. 1. And, No. 2, even if he succeeds in getting a fight with Penn, who is obviously on the decline in the twilight of his career, what good comes out of winning a fight against a guy who is no better than a shell of himself?

Check out the video above for my complete thoughts on this.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 salaries: B.J. Penn earns highest purse despite tough loss

B.J. Penn took a loss at UFC Fight Night 112, but he earned the most money of any fighter on the card.

Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) earned $150,000 for his majority-decision defeat to Dennis Siever this past Sunday. Penn knocked down Siever (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) in the second round and had a chance to come away with the win then and there. It was a close fight that, had it gone the other way, would’ve resulted in another $150,000 for Penn. Siever, fighting for the first time in two years, took home $39,000 for showing and earned another $39,000 for the win.

MMAjunkie today obtained the disclosed payouts from the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, which oversaw UFC Fight Night 112 on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla, which aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, Kevin Lee took home $44,000 for showing and another $44,000 for the win over Michael Chiesa. As previously reported, the submission victory also earned Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus, bringing his total earnings to $138,000. Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) earned $36,000 for the fight and lost out on another possible $36,000 thanks to the controversial finish.

Elsewhere on the main card, former champion Johny Hendricks earned $100,000 for showing and stood to earn another $100,000 for the win, which didn’t happen as Tom Boetsch finished him in the first round. Boetch earned $67,000 to show, $67,000 to win and also received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Felice Herrig earned $25,000 for showing and another $25,000 winning. Her opponent, Justine Kish, took home $14,000 for showing.

For his UFC debut, Dominick Reyes earned $12,000 for showing and $12,000 for his impressive victory in addition to his $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

The total disclosed payout for UFC Fight Night 112 was $1,225,000.

The full list of UFC Fight Night 112 salaries included:

Kevin Lee: $88,000 (includes $44,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Chiesa $36,000

Tom Boetsch: $134,000 (includes $67,000 win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks $100,000

Felice Herrig: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Justine Kish $14,000

Dominick Reyes: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Joachim Christensen $16,000

Tim Means: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Garcia $31,000

Dennis Siever: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. B.J. Penn: $150,000

Clay Guida: $110,000 (includes $55,000 win bonus)
def. Erik Koch: $24,000

Marvin Vettori: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Vitor Miranda: $18,000

Carla Esparza: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Maryna Moroz: $23,000

Darrell Horcher: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Devin Powell: $10,000

Jared Gordon: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Michel Quinones: $10,000

Tony Martin: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Johnny Case: $23,000

Jeremy Kimball: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Stansbury: $12,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Oklahoma City's 10 memorable moments, with controversy and comebacks, good and bad

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 fight card was supposed to set up the victor for a matchup against a top contender in the lightweight division. That could still happen – after all, Kevin Lee did earn a first-round submission win over Michael Chiesa, but the level of controversy surrounding the stoppage, and more precisely the man who made the call, referee Mario Yamasaki, might prevent Lee from getting that immediate jump up in competition.

The co-main event had no such drama. In that bout, Tim Boetsch put Johny Hendricks away with a head kick and punches, earning himself a TKO victory early in the second round.

UFC Fight Night 112 took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. You got yourself a situation there, UFC

Before his bout against Chiesa, Lee claimed he was the better fighter in every respect. Controversial stoppage aside, Lee backed up those words at UFC Fight Night 112. Chiesa had opportunities early, missing a takedown and briefly working for a couple of submissions. However, Chiesa failed to stick any of his offense, and when Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) gave up his back, Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) took control, securing a body lock and a rear-naked choke.

Lee appeared to have the choke in deep, and as the clock ticked down, Yamasaki waved off the fight at the 4:37 mark of Round 1. The problem with that was Chiesa had not tapped nor lost consciousness, and Chiesa immediately protested the stoppage.

It was a messy ending to an important lightweight bout. While Lee, an honorable mention in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings before the fight, did get the win, the UFC has some thinking to do about what’s next for him and Chiesa, who was ranked No. 9 before his controversial defeat.

2. Everybody’s talkin’

Chiesa didn’t have much to say regarding Yamasaki during his time on the mic with UFC commentator Jon Anik, but during his backstage chat with the media, Chiesa was less reserved.

“This is the main event – that is JV bull(expletive),” Chiesa said. “That guy (Yamasaki) is too focused on being some kind of playboy in front of the cameras, making his little heart logos. Maybe he should go back and read the (expletive) rule book.”


UFC President Dana White also got involved, taking to Instagram to let his feelings be known.

Instagram Photo

For his part, Lee didn’t see the issue.

“Mario’s a very experienced ref,” Lee said. “Mario saw it and stopped the fight. If he wouldn’t have, there was still 45 seconds left in the fight. I don’t see what the controversy is about. It wasn’t like I was going to let go.”


Chiesa, Lee and White weren’t the only ones offering opinions on the stoppage, social media was alive with opinions following the bout.

3. Something has to change

If Hendricks plans to succeed at middleweight, he’s going to need to add to his arsenal – and make weight. After coming in two pounds heavy, the former welterweight champion was largely ineffective against Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC). “The Barbarian” used kicks to prevent Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) from setting up and landing his patented overhand left.

Not only did those kicks stop Hendricks from establishing his offense, but they also ended the fight. Early in Round 2, Boetsch stunned Hendricks with a head kick and then swarmed, finishing him with punches against the cage.

The “Performance of the Night”-winning stoppage earned Boetsch his third TKO win in his last four outings. As for Hendricks, not only has he missed weight three times in his last four fights, but he is 1-3 in those contests and 3-6 dating back to November 2013.


4. Speaking up

Felice Herrig is on the best run of her UFC career. Her unanimous decision win over Justine Kish was her third straight victory and second straight win over a formerly undefeated opponent. Despite her winning streak, Herrig is feeling under-appreciated.

“Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I just feel like I’m not young and beautiful for the UFC to want to promote me,” she said. “It’s sad because I’ve really worked hard to be here. It’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through and just got to the UFC at the right time, and they’re now getting all these opportunities.

“I’ve seen how hard I’ve worked to get here, and it just doesn’t matter because I just feel I’m not pretty enough, and I’m not getting any younger.”

After her last win, Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) called for a fight against either Michelle Waterson or Paige VanZant. She didn’t call out another fighter after defeating Kish (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), but based on her winning streak, Herrig should get a top 15 strawweight opponent in her next outing.


5. Remember, a sense of humor is important

Kish was close to being choked out by Herrig in the third round, but Kish fought through the choke, using muscle and force of will more than technique to break free from the submission hold. However, Kish paid a price for her efforts, something she acknowledged on social media following the fight.

6. A good June

Dominick Reyes has had a good month. On June 2, fighting for LFA, he delivered a highlight-reel knockout which earned him a short notice call up from the UFC. In his debut with the promotion, Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) wrapped things up quickly, blasting Joachim Christensen with a straight left that put Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) on the mat, forcing the referee to wave off the fight 29 seconds into the first round.

Reyes absorbed just one strike during the light heavyweight fight while landing 13 of the 16 he threw.

As debuts go, things could not have gone much better for Reyes, who earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts.


7. Struggles continue

B.J. Penn almost had his first win since his November 2010 KO of Matt Hughes. Penn dropped Dennis Siver in the second round of their featherweight contest, but he was unable to get the finish, and instead of turning up the heat in the third round, Penn came out flat. Actually, flat might be too kind. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) looked like he just wanted to survive the final five minutes of the fight, throwing a paltry 27 strikes to Siver’s 117 in the last round. In the end, Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC), fighting for the first time in two years, got the majority decision win, handing Penn his fifth straight defeat.

Before the fight, Penn told MMAjunkie, “We’re going to take this as far as it can go,” which leads to the question, has Penn reached the end of the line?


8. Back on track

Where Penn struggled at UFC Fight Night 112, another long-tenured UFC combatant showed he has some fight left in him. Clay Guida, competing at lightweight for the first time in five years, earned a unanimous decision victory over Erik Koch.

Guida looked excellent in his return to 155. His cardio was off the charts as usual, and his striking and defense were impressive, but where he excelled was in his pressure and takedown game. Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) forced Koch (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) to the cage for a prolonged period in the first round and controlled the fight on the mat for most of the second and third round.

Guida was never close to getting a finish, but he looked good, and he should get a step up in completion in his next outing.


9. A major comeback

Darrell Horcher’s run in the UFC has spanned 14 eventful months. In April 2016 he was called in on short notice duty to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. Unsurprisingly he lost that fight. One month later he was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him with a cringeworthy list of injuries.

Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was told he would never fight again, but he did, earning a split decision over Devin Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) in a lightweight contest at UFC Fight Night 112.

“It was so emotional for me to get back,” Horcher told MMAjunkie. “I fought so hard to be here. It was a long year and what I’ve come from, most would people say a year is very short. And if you look at it on paper it is, but for me it was very hard. I pushed myself to do this, to come back, to get a win.”


10. Give him a call

The one misstep Jared Gordon made in his UFC debut came on the scale, where he missed the featherweight limit by four pounds. Gordon is a well-rounded fighter who was comfortable wherever his fight went against Michel Quinones. On the feet Gordon (11-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was aggressive, using pressure to close distance and not allow Quinones (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) the space he needed to mount any offense. On the ground Gordon was just as good, coupling a heavy top game with effective ground strikes, which earned him the second-round TKO.

After the fight, the former Cage Fury champion, who has struggled with substance abuse issues, let fans know they could reach out to him if need be.

“If you have any problems or anything, you can contact me on Twitter, (or) Instagram and I will take my day to talk to you guys,” Gordon told Anik.


For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Nik Lentz blasts old rival B.J. Penn, labels him a 'walking punchline'

UFC lightweight Nik Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC) apparently has absolutely no problem with kicking a man when he’s down – at least if that man happens to be B.J. Penn(16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC).

Penn suffered a majority decision loss to Dennis Siver at this past weekend’s UFC 112 event, and today, Lentz took to social media to rub a little salt in his old rival’s wound.

Lentz and Penn’s rivalry dates back a few years, with “The Carny” even at one point turning to poetry to slam the UFC Hall of Famer. Penn later offered a formal challenge to Lentz to meet in the octagon, though the bout never came to fruition.

Instagram Photo

Lentz was in action most recently in February, losing a unanimous decision to Islam Makhachev at UFC 208.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dennis Siver explains why getting knocked down by B.J. Penn was actually a good thing

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

OKLAHOMA CITY – Most fighters would argue that getting knocked down is not exactly something you welcome during a scrap.

Not Dennis Siver, though. After taking a majority decision over former two-division champ B.J. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) on Sunday, Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) said the right hand that sent him straight to the canvas in the second round of their featherweight encounter turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“Actually, it was good for me,” Siver said through an interpreter after the FS1-televised main-card scrap at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. “Of course I got knocked down by B.J., but I could recover on the ground. Because B.J. was active, and I was passive. My break got even longer from just laying there and holding him. So, actually, it was good for me. Played out well.”

The win snapped a two-fight skid and a two-year layoff for Siver, who was coming off a decision loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri and a knockout defeat to current lightweight champion Conor McGregor. While the result provided him with some relief, the 38-fighter is now focused on getting back to his family before making any plans for his octagon future.

Penn’s next steps, in turn, seems a lot murkier now. While he did show flashes of his old self during Sunday’s affair, the fact is that the 38-year-old UFC Hall of Famer is currently riding a five-fight skid. He has not won since a 2010 knockout of Matt Hughes, which he followed up with a draw against Jon Fitch.

In spite of Penn’s current downswing, Siver does feel a special sense of accomplishment in beating such a big name.

“It fulfills my dreams, actually,” Siver said. “You don’t fight a legend like B.J. Penn every day. It feels awesome.”

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

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 medical suspensions: Chiesa, Boetsch, Herrig get 180-day terms

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Six fighters from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event face mandatory medical suspensions that could stretch up to six months.

MMAjunkie today requested and obtained the list of suspensions from the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, which oversaw the event.

UFC Fight Night 112 took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., and the main card aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Headliner Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who suffered a controversial first-round submission loss to lightweight Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), was among the fighters receiving 180-day terms.

The full list of medical suspensions included:

  • Michael Chiesa: suspended 180 days due to a possible left-shoulder injury, though a doctor can clear him early; regardless, 30 days with no contact for 21 days due to a scalp laceration
  • Tim Boetsch: suspended 180 days due to possible right-foot and shin injuries, though a doctor can clear him early
  • Johny Hendricks: suspended for 30 days with no contact for 21 days for precautionary reasons
  • Felice Herrig: suspended 180 days due to a possible left-wrist injury, though a doctor can clear her early; regardless, 30 days with no contact for 21 days for precautionary reasons
  • Justine Kish: suspended for 30 days with no contact for 21 days due to a left-eyebrow laceration
  • Joachim Christensen: suspended for 45 days with no contact for 30 days for precautionary reasons
  • B.J. Penn: suspended for 45 days with no contact for 30 days for precautionary reasons
  • Marvin Vettori: suspended for 30 days with no contact for 21 days for precautionary reasons
  • Vitor Miranda: suspended 180 days due to a possible right-ankle injury, though a doctor can clear him early; regardless, 30 days with no contact for 21 days due to left-ear and nasal lacerations
  • Devin Powell: suspended 180 days due to possible left-ankle injury, though a doctor can clear him early
  • Michel Quinones: suspended for 45 days with no contact for 30 days for precautionary reasons
  • Johnny Case: suspended 180 days due to a possible hand, foot/ankle and nose injuries, though a doctor can clear him early; regardless, 60 days with no contact for 45 days due to a left-orbital laceration
  • Tony Martin: suspended for 30 days with no contact for 21 days for precautionary reasons
  • Josh Stansbury: suspended for 45 days with no contact for 30 days for precautionary reasons

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 post-event facts: Don't let controversy overshadow Kevin Lee's success

The UFC’s return to Oklahoma City, Okla., provided plenty of fight time, with eight of the 13 fights on Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 lineup at Chesapeake Energy Arena going to a decision.

Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) didn’t need the scorecards to win the lightweight main event against Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), but he could have used better officiating; his first-round submission win was overshadowed by a premature stoppage from referee Mario Yamasaki.

Nevertheless, “The Motown Phenom” got another notable win, helping advance his status in the UFC lightweight division. For more on the numbers to come out of Sunday’s event, check out 50 post-event facts from UFC Fight Night 112.

* * * *


Clay Guida

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $182,500.

Debuting fighters went 2-1 at the event.

Lee, Tim Boetsch, Dominick Reyes and Jeremy Kimball earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 112 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 112 drew an announced attendance of 7,605 for a live gate of $549,302.

Betting favorites went 9-4 on the card.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:21:37.

Main card

Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee

Lee’s five-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is tied with Al Iaquinta for the third longest active streak in the division behind Tony Ferguson (nine) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (seven).

Lee’s nine UFC victories since 2012 in lightweight competition are most in the division.

Lee has earned eight of his nine career stoppage victories by submission.

Lee’s three-fight submission streak in UFC competition is the longest among active fighters.

Michael Chiesa

Lee has earned his past four victories by stoppage.

Lee has completed at least one takedown against 10 of his 11 UFC opponents.

Lee’s 25 takedowns since 2014 in UFC lightweight competition are most in the division.

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

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

Tim Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) improved to 3-1 since he returned to the UFC middleweight division in July 2016.

Tim Boetsch

Boetsch has earned his past four UFC victories by stoppage.

Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) fell to 1-1 since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in February.

Hendricks fell to 1-4 in his past five fights.

Hendricks has suffered both of his career stoppage losses by knockout.

Felice Herrig

Felice Herrig’s (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Herrig’s three-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Herrig has earned eight of her 13 career victories by decision.

Justine Kish (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had her six-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of her career.

Dominick Reyes

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

Reyes’ 29-second victory marked the second fastest stoppage by any debuting light heavyweight in UFC history behind Ryan Jimmo’s seven-second win at UFC 149.

Joachim Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Tim Means (27-8-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC) improved to 7-3 (with one no-contest) since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in May 2014.

Dennis Siver

Dennis Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) returned to competition after a more than two-year layoff and earned his first victory since October 2014.

Siver improved to 4-3 (with one no-contest) since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in April 2012.

Siver has earned his past six UFC victories by decision. He hasn’t earned a stoppage victory since November 2010.

B.J. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) suffered his fifth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2010.

B.J. Penn

Penn fell to 1-7-1 in his past nine UFC appearances dating back to April 2010.

Penn fell to 0-3 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in July 2014.

Penn has been outlanded 747 to 312 in significant strikes during his past nine UFC fights.

Penn has suffered eight of his 12 career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Clay Guida

Clay Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC lightweight division. He earned his first victory in the weight class since June 2011.

Guida’s 63 takedowns landed in UFC competition are fifth most in company history behind Georges St-Pierre (87), Gleison Tibau (84), Frankie Edgar (67) and Demetrious Johnson (65).

Guida has attempted 172 takedowns during his UFC career, third most in company history behind Demian Maia (189) and Edgar (189).

Erik Koch (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) fell to 2-4 in his past six UFC appearances.

Koch fell to 2-2 since returning to the UFC lightweight division in February 2014.

Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) improved to 2-1 since losing the UFC strawweight title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March 2015.

Esparza has completed at least one takedown against all five of her UFC opponents.

Esparza has completed 16 takedowns in her three UFC victories.

Maryna Moroz (8-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has suffered both of her career losses by decision.

Devin Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by decision.

Michel Quinones (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his five-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since November 2012.

Quinones suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Johnny Case (22-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Jeremy Kimball

Case suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Kimball (15-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has earned 12 of his 15 career victories by stoppage.

Josh Stansbury (8-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, 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

Glory days are over for B.J. Penn and Fedor Emelianenko, so why won't anyone tell them?

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, UFC

The circumstances alone tell you how far B.J. Penn has fallen. Sunday night, a relatively lackluster UFC Fight Night event on cable TV, and he’s there opening the main-card portion of the show against a journeyman fighter coming off a two-year layoff.

Even worse, he loses.

This is the reality now for Penn. The UFC keeps giving him more chances to turn things around, lowering the bar each time he fails to clear it, and Penn keeps finding new ways to trip over it. This one – a majority decision loss to Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City< Okla. – wasn’t even as bad as some of the others.

He didn’t get knocked out. He didn’t get embarrassed. In fact, he came closer to winning than he has in at least six years. A solid right hand put Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) down in the second round, and a few followup strikes from Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) threatened to finish him off.

But when Siver didn’t roll over and quit, Penn faced a real problem. Whatever he had, he’d just spent. Siver came out for the third round looking to do some work whereas Penn looked like he’d rather go home. Surviving seemed like enough for him then, and he barely accomplished that.

Put that in perspective, would you? The great B.J. Penn, a former two-division champ, one of the best lightweights in UFC history, and now he’s lucky to survive three rounds with an aging and rusty Dennis Siver. If he can’t do any better than that, why do it at all?

It’s a question you could just as easily put to Fedor Emelianenko, another ghost from MMA’s past who added to his list of losses this past weekend. Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA)  got put to sleep by Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) at Bellator NYC on Saturday night, which was his reward for being the slower party in the immediate aftermath of a rare double knockdown.

While Penn’s latest loss added to the worst losing streak of his career, Emelianenko’s snapped an actual winning streak. You know, sort of. Fighting in a string of smaller promotions in recent years has given Emelianenko the advantage of the friendliest possible matchmaking, along with some friendly judging to serve as an extra safety net.

It wasn’t until he signed with Bellator that he was forced to fight a real heavyweight for the first time in several years, and it ended with him laid out on the mat a little over a minute into the fight. Like Penn, he now finds himself a long way from the glory days of 2009.

And those days, they aren’t coming back. Not for Emelianenko and not for Penn. They must know that on some level, but they keep at it because they can. They can still pocket a paycheck for it. There are enough people for whom their names still mean something.

They have not yet been forcibly ejected from the sport, which means that as long they’re willing to take the beatings, they still have a home here. The pain and the public embarrassment is the rent they pay. As long as they regard it as a fair exchange, and as long as no one close to them can convince them to stop making it, here we are.

This is nothing new in combat sports, but that doesn’t make it fun to sit through. The current climate rewards name brands and nostalgia over actual skill and talent, meaning it’s never been a better time to be a past-his-prime fighter willing to trade what’s left of his reputation and brain cells for a few more nights in the cage.

Of course, another way of looking at it is that it’s never been a worse time to be one of those fighters, since those late career letdowns don’t come for free. There’s a price to be paid, and it’s not just in cable bills and pay-per-view dollars.

Penn and Emelianenko both seem eager to keep paying it, even if they might not know for years what the final bill comes to. The rest of us, we seem strangely addicted to this specific brand of sadness. We want to see fighters we know, even when it’s painfully apparent that the name is all that’s left of the man. We get that jolt of recognition, followed by the depressing reminder of their ongoing and inevitable deterioration.

Eventually, maybe we’ll decide it’s not such a good trade. Then again, we keep waiting for guys like Penn and Emelianenko to decide the same thing. So far neither one of us is truly ready to quit.

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and UFC Fight Night 112, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie