UFC-Sydney staff picks: Who got unanimous nods in Australia?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Werdum
vs.
Tybura
Clark
vs.
Rawlings
Means
vs.
Muhammad
Matthews
vs.
Velickovic
Kelly
vs.
Theodorou
Volkanovski
vs.
Young
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 112-74
werdum2017
Werdum
(79%)
rawlings2017
Rawlings
(62%)
means2017
Means
(66%)
matthews2017
Matthews
(66%)
theodorou2017
Theodorou
(64%)
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
(88%)
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 117-69
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 116-70
trophy copy 2015 Champion
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 115-71
werdum2017
Werdum
jroseclark2017
Clark
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 115-71
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 115-71
trophy copy 2016 Champion
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 110-76
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
kelly2017
Kelly
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 109-77
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
kelly2017
Kelly
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 108-78
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
muhammad2017
Muhammad
matthews2017
Matthews
kelly2017
Kelly
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 106-80
trophy copy 2014 Champion
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
means2017
Means
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 106-80
werdum2017
Werdum
rawlings2017
Rawlings
muhammad2017
Muhammad
matthews2017
Matthews
theodorou2017
Theodorou
volkanovski2017
Volkanovski

The UFC is back in Australia this week and one of the world’s great destination cities: Sydney.

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.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) takes on Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who is filling in for Mark Hunt. Werdum is more than a 3-1 favorite, and he’s also one of a pair of unanimous picks on the main card from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts.

Also a unanimous pick, welterweight Jake Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) fights in front of his home fans in Australia and is a 10-0 choice over Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC). The other unanimous pick comes in the fight that opens the main card. Australian featherweight Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is as much as an 8-1 favorite over short-notice replacement Shane Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), and to little surprise is a 10-0 pick from our staff.

In the co-feature, a pair of Australian women battle at flyweight when another short-notice fighter, Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), takes on Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC). The oddsmakers have the fight as a close one, with Rawlings just a slight favorite. But she’s a 9-1 overwhelming choice from our pickers.

Also on the main card, Tim Means (27-8-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is an 8-2 choice over Belal Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in their welterweight fight. And Canada’s Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a 7-3 pick over Australia’s own Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in their middleweight fight.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Werdum, Rawlings, Means, Matthews, Theodorou and Volkanovski are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

UFC-Sydney in-depth breakdown: Stylistic matchups, fight picks, best bets and fantasy studs

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 121’s main-card bouts.

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.

Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 40 Weight: 242 lbs. Reach: 77″
  • Last fight: Submission win over Walt Harris (Oct. 7, 2017)
  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Former UFC heavyweight champion
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ 6 KO victories
+ 11 submission wins
+ 10 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Dynamic attack arsenal
+ Deceptively effective showman
^ Baits/taunts opposition into game
+ Dangerous from Thai plum
+/- Aggressive in exchanges
^ Counter availabilities
+ Superb submission and ground game
+ Excellent sweeps and scrambles
+ Thrives and capitalizes in chaos

Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 32 Weight: 243 lbs. Reach: 78″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Andrei Arlovski (June 6, 2017)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Multiple heavyweight MMA titles
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt
+ 7 KO victories
+ 6 submission wins
+ 9 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Improved striking combinations
^ Good economy of movement
+ Accurate kicks and knees
^ Works well off of lead leg
+ Strong inside of the clinch
^ Sneaky elbows and solid defense
+ Underrated wrestling ability
^ Well-timed takedowns
+ Excellent transitional grappler
^ Floats, rides, finds way to back

Summary:

The main event in Sydney features a heavyweight showdown between Fabricio Werdum and Marcin Tybura.

Coming off of an impromptu matchup against Walt Harris last month, Werdum, the former champion, will step in for Mark Hunt and attempt to take out another young gun.

Seeking to stop the Brazilian is Tybura, a Polish prospect who is riding a three-fight winning streak, most recently defeating another former champ in Andrei Arlovski.

Despite being criticized early on for his lack of striking presence, Tybura has steadily developed a kickboxing game since coming into the UFC.

Actively prodding with a jab, Tybura will casually add in his right hand, variating between casting punches or hammerfists. Like many Eastern European and Russian kickboxers, Tybura typically punctuates combinations with kicks off of his lead leg.

When using strikes to mask his clinch entries, Tybura has shown a good sense about where potential danger may be coming from, as he now does a better job of moving his head appropriately with his punches. And considering that the Pole has spent this training camp stateside at Jackson-Wink MMA, I can only imagine that his game has continued to grow.

But regardless of Tybura’s potential growth, his counterpart – though a grappling champion – may be his stiffest striking test to date.

Under the care of Rafael Cordeiro, Werdum has steadily parlayed his sporadic showmanship into more of a pressure-fighting process. Putting together his punches more fluidly, the Brazilian will finish his combinations with hard kicks or knees in the clinch.

However, when not throwing in combination, he has a tendency to throw his kicks naked and without setup, as Werdum has been dropped in four of his last nine outings due to right hands finding their mark. That said, many of the former champion’s falls may have been arguable flops given that he is known for his in-cage baits and showmanship.

Akin to a basketball player trying to draw an offensive foul, Werdum will deceptively roll with punches as he relinquishes to his back. Although this may not win Werdum favor with the fans and judges, there is a method to his madness.

Presenting the ambush known as his guard game, Werdum offers up a unique predicament to all who approach.

As we’ve seen time-and-time-again, the Brazilian can submit world champions here – but more importantly, he creates situations to sweep and scramble his way topside, often utilizing deep-half and X-guard variations to escape out the back door.

If Werdum’s opposition decides not to pursue him into deep waters, then they inherently let him off the hook if he is in fact hurt, or give him a breather to recover at the very least. This tactic has stifled the best of killer instincts and has allowed the former champion back into many of fights.

Nevertheless, Werdum cannot get too comfortable in his comfort zone, as Tybura is no novice.

An accomplished brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Tybura has translated his grappling game seamlessly into MMA. Doing his best work when on top, the Pole utilizes positioning fundamentals and shoulder pressure to help persuade opposition into giving their back.

Once Tybura can establish some form of mount, he will quickly get to work with strikes to help set up his submission efforts. And though this type of route is highly unlikely against a competitor the caliber of Werdum, Tybura still has the skills to perhaps strategically score points on top, making any potential grappling stanzas even more compelling.

If neither man is successful in getting to the mat on their terms, then crucial parts of this contest will take place in the clinch.

Inside of close quarters, Tybura offers slick elbows off of forearm frames and a solid awareness of hip positioning and underhooks. Still, I side with Werdum in this space, as the Brazilian has developed a devastating Thai clinch since his second run with the promotion.

Currently, the oddsmakers and public have Werdum pegged as the clear favorite to win. But as recent UFC cards have proven, 3-1 odds in a heavyweight matchup can be a tricky and treacherous thing.

Even though Werdum is the better on-paper fighter who has a higher finishing potential both standing and on the floor, I could easily see a scenario where Tybura catches him at the end of a combination. The problem – in my opinion – is that Tybura ultimately allows for too much of the fight’s flow to be decided by his opponent.

For this reason, Tybura can be subject to making fights closer than they arguably should, as he often finds himself stuck against the fence and or short on initiative (and possibly gas). Should Tybura allow for Werdum to establish his pressure and presence, then I see the former champion steadily picking apart the Pole on the feet, and eventually finding his finish on the floor.

Official pick: Werdum inside the distance

Official outcome: To be determined

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

Bec Rawlings feeling like a different fighter with no need to worry about a stupid weight cut

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – Bec Rawlings had been itching for the UFC to add a women’s flyweight division for a while. This week, she finally gets to take advantage of her wish.

Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) meets fellow Australian fighter and UFC newcomer Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 121 in front of their home-country fans. After missing the strawweight limit in her most recent fight, Rawlings is glad the days dropping an extra 10 pounds are over.

“Last week, I felt awesome – I had so much energy,” Rawlings told MMAjunkie this week in Sydney. “I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel right. Something feels wrong.’ My coach was like, ‘Yeah, you’re in good shape, and you’re healthy.’ It’s an amazing feeling that I can just focus on open workouts, focus on the media and my fight, and not have to worry about a stupid weight cut.”

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.

Rawlings will be trying to rebound from back-to-back losses to Paige VanZant and Tecia Torres, for whom she missed weight in February at UFC Fight Night 104.

She also will have to deal with a short-notice opponent in Clark, who took the fight a little more than a week ago after Rawlings’ original opponent, Joanne Calderwood, pulled out with an injury.

But Rawlings thinks Clark will bring it – and knows that a pair of Aussie women fighting in front of their home fans could turn in something special.

“The energy from the Australian crowd, it just feels like home,” Rawlings said. “It just gives you a different feeling and makes you want to work even harder out there.

” … It’s annoying getting last-minute changes, but her style is somewhat the same as Joanne. Joanne is somewhat technical, whereas Jess – she’s a tough Aussie. You look at all Aussie girl fighters – we’re tough, we’ve got heart. She’s skillful, and she’s tough, so it’s going to be a hard fight for me. But I’m confident I’m going to win.”

For more from Rawlings, check out the video above.

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

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UFC Fight Night 121 pre-event facts: Fabricio Werdum brings big numbers

The UFC returns to Australia this weekend with UFC Fight Night 121, which takes place Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) makes a quick turnaround from a win at UFC 216 in October when he steps in for Mark Hunt against Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the headliner.

The card has experienced a number of changes on top of the main event, but nevertheless some notable names are still set to compete. For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s 11th fight card in Australia, check below for 40 pre-event facts for UFC Fight Night 121.

* * * *

Main event

Werdum, 40, is the oldest of the 26 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Werdum, 40, is the second oldest active fighter in UFC heavyweight division behind Mark Hunt (43).

Werdum competes in his second UFC bout in a 42-day stretch. He defeated Walt Harris at UFC 216 in October.

Werdum’s 42-day turnaround between fights is the shortest of his more than 15-year career.

Werdum is 8-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2012.

Werdum has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by stoppage.

Marcin Tybura.

Werdum’s 65-second victory over Harris at UFC 216 was the fastest of his career.

Werdum’s five submission victories in UFC/Strikeforce heavyweight competition are tied for second most in combined divisional history behind Frank Mir (eight).

Tybura competes is in his second consecutive fight against a former UFC heavyweight champion. He defeated Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 111 in June.

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

Tybura has earned 13 of his 16 career victories by stoppage.

Tybura has earned both of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Co-main event

Bec Rawlings.

Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) makes her official debut in the UFC women’s flyweight division. She missed weight twice in the strawweight division.

Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes her UFC debut on short notice with just two victories in her past six fights dating back to June 2015.

Remaining main card

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

Means has earned 22 of his 27 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his nine UFC wins.

Means’ four stoppage victories since 2015 in UFC welterweight competition are tied with Donald Cerrone for second most in the division behind Vicente Luque (five).

Belal Muhammad.

Belal Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has earned eight of his 12 career victories by decision.

Jake Matthews(10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) moves up to the UFC welterweight division after spending his entire octagon tenure at lightweight.

Matthews enters the event with back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since March 2016.

Bojan Velickovic (15-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) fell to 1-2-1 since he dropped to the UFC welterweight division in July 2016.

Elias Theodorou.

Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has completed at least one takedown in six of his seven UFC appearances.

Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has won as the underdog in five of his six UFC victories.

Kelly has earned four of his six UFC victories by decision.

Kelly defends 65.2 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC middleweight competition, the third highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Thiago Santos (66.7 percent) and Michael Bisping (65.9 percent).

Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) enters the event on a 12-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since May 2013.

Preliminary card

Ryan Benoit (9-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past eight fights. He suffered a loss in his most recent bout at the TUF 24 Finale in December.

Will Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) enters the event with back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

Nik Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC) is 2-1 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in December 2015.

Lentz has landed two or more takedowns against 14 of his 18 UFC opponents.

Lentz’s 17 guillotine choke submission attempts in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Anthony Hamilton.

Anthony Hamilton’s (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He’s 1-4 in his past five fights overall and hasn’t earned a victory since July 2016.

Hamilton’s average fight time of 5:19 in UFC heavyweight competition is second shortest among active fighters in the weight class behind Francis Ngannou (4:35).

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

Hamilton’s 14-second knockout of Damian Grabowski at UFC 201 is the second fastest in UFC heavyweight history. Only Todd Duffee’s seven-second knockout at UFC 102 was faster.

Adam Wieczorek (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut on a seven-fight winning streak. He hans’t suffered a defeat since November 2011.

Frank Camacho (20-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) drops to the UFC lightweight division after losing a welterweight bout in his debut.

Alex Chambers.

Alex Chambers(5-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), 39, is the second oldest active female on the UFC roster behind Marion Reneau (40).

Chambers returns to competition for the first time since Sept. 5, 2015. The 805-day layoff is the longest of her more than seven-year career.

Chambers’ submission of Kailin Curran at 3:15 of Round 3 at UFC Fight Night 65 stands as the latest third latest submission in a three-round UFC strawweight fight.

Chambers defeated Curran despite being outlanded by 37 significant strikes, the biggest deficit for a stoppage in a UFC strawweight fight.

Nadia Kassem (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), 21, is the youngest of the 26 fighters scheduled to compete at the event. She’s 18 years the junior of her opponent.

Rashad Coulter (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has earned all nine of his career victories by knockout. That includes six wins in Round 1.

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

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 event in Australia.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC Fight Night 121 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. 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.

* * * *

Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura

Records: Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC), Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC)
Past five: Werdum 3-2, Tybura 4-1
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Werdum No. 3, Tybura honorable mention
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Werdum -360, Tybura +300

Take Our Poll
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Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Bec Rawlings

Records: Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC)
Past five: Rawling 2-3, Clark 2-2 (one no-contest)
Division: Women’s flyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Rawlings -150, Clark +130

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Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad

Records: Tim Means (27-8-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC), Belal Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Past five: Means 3-1 (one no-contest), Muhammad 3-2
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Means -260, Muhammad +220

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Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic

Records: Jake Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC), Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC)
Past five: Matthews 2-3, Velickovic 2-2-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Matthews -150, Velickovic +130

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Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou

Records: Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
Past five: Kelly 4-1, Theodorou 3-2
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Theodorou -260, Kelly +200

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Alex Volkanovski vs. Shane Young

Records: Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Shane Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Volkanovski 5-0, Young 5-0
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/13/17): Theodorou -260, Young +200

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

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Rawlings announces Calderwood out, newcomer Jessica-Rose Clark in at UFC-Sydney

Injury has forced Joanna Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) out of next week’s UFC Fight Night 121 event, according to her intended opponent, Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC).

“Rowdy” took to social media to announced that with Calderwood out, she’ll now face promotional newcomer and fellow Aussie Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 121, which takes place Nov. 19 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Due to the time change, the card airs in the U.S. on Nov. 18, with the majority airing on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Promotion officials have yet to confirm the change.

Rawlings looks to recover from back-to-back losses. “Rowdy” Bec got got her UFC shot courtesy of “The Ultimate Fighter 20.” On the show’s live finale, she dropped a decision to Heather Jo Clark. But she bounced back with consecutive wins in her home country of Australia – a submission of Lisa Ellis in 2015 and a decision over Seo Hee Hamm in 2016.

Those wins earned her a step up in competition. But against Paige VanZant in the UFC on FOX 21 co-main event, she was caught with a head kick early in the second round. And against Tecia Torres at UFC Fight Night 104 in February, she missed the strawweight limit at weigh-ins, then lost a decision on fight night.

Meanwhile, Clark had been preparing for a Dec. 8 bout with Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 26. She saw live action most recently in August, taking a split-decision win over Carina Damm at Titan FC 45. Prior to the win, “Jessy Jess” had dropped back-to-back decisions to Sarah Kaufman and Pam Sorenson.

With the change, UFC Fight Night 121 now includes:

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

  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Alex Volkanovski vs. opponent TBA

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Calderwood vs. Rawlings, Kennedy vs. Volkanovski set for UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney

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The UFC’s return to the “Land Down Under” has another pair of fights headed for the card.

Joanne Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) will take on Australia’s own Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in the newly created women’s flyweight division at UFC Fight Night 121. UFC officials announced the booking following an initial report from the Brisbane Times.

And according to a report from E. Spencer Kyte in The Province, Canadian featherweight Jeremy Kennedy (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will fight Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on the card. UFC officials have not made a formal announcement of that booking.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Nov. 19 (but airs in the U.S. on Nov. 18 due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It’s expected to air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

After talking about her struggles to make 115 pounds for years, and after missing the strawweight limit her most recent time out against Cynthia Valvillo, Calderwood finally gets to fight at 125 on a likely permanent basis. After starting her career a perfect 8-0, she came to the UFC by way of Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” On the show, she lost to eventual runner-up Rose Namajunas in the semifinals.

Still, she won three of her first four in the UFC, including a “Fight of the Night” decision over Cortney Casey, and a TKO of Valerie Letourneau in a special flyweight fight in June 2016, well before the UFC officially brought the division in. But at UFC 203 nearly a year ago, she was submitted by Jessica Andrade. And at UFC Fight Night 113 in July in front of her home fans, she missed weight and lost a decision to Calvillo.

Bec Rawlings

Rawlings has back-to-back losses, as well. Like Calderwood, she got her UFC shot courtesy of “TUF 20.” On the show’s live finale, she dropped a decision to Heather Jo Clark. But she bounced back with consecutive wins in her home country of Australia – a submission of Lisa Ellis in 2015 and a decision over Seo Hee Hamm in 2016.

Those wins earned her a step up in competition. But against Paige VanZant in the UFC on FOX 21 co-main event a year ago, she was caught with a head kick early in the second round. And against Tecia Torres at UFC Fight Night 104 in February, she missed the strawweight limit at weigh-ins, then lost a decision on fight night.

Jeremy Kennedy

Kennedy will put his unblemished record on the line in hostile territory. He started his UFC run at lightweight a year ago and took a unanimous decision from Alessandro Ricci. He then returned to featherweight, where he has decision wins over Rony Jason in Brazil and Kyle Bochniak in July in New York.

Strangely enough, it will be the third straight time Kennedy will go into his opponent’s home base to fight. His UFC debut came in front of his own home fans in British Columbia. But since then, he’s had to fight Jason in Brazil, Bochniak on Long Island, and now Volkanovski in Australia.

Alex Volkanovski

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

With the additions, UFC Fight Night 121 now includes:

  • Mark Hunt vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
  • Belal Muhammad vs. Jesse Taylor
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Jeremy Kennedy vs. Alex Volkanovski

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC's Bec Rawlings reveals horrific picture of fractured femur and shin gash on Instagram

Turn away now if you’re squeamish.

Injuries are a common part of the sports world. MMA, naturally, is even more prone to damaging the human body given the amount of physical contact.

Not all injuries happen inside the cage or training room, though. UFC strawweight (and soon to be flyweight) Bec Rawlings (7-6 MMA, 2-4 UFC) provided a stern reminder of that when she revealed a grotesque cut to her shin, which apparently came outside of a fighting environment.

Her post said she fractured her femur, as well as dislocated a toe.

This one is not for the faint of heart (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Rawlings is not currently scheduled for a fight, but plans to move up to the UFC’s newly introduced 125-pound division when the opportunity arises. She is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Tecia Torres at UFC Fight Night 104 in February.

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

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

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