Bellator 183 winner Goiti Yamauchi on his speak-the-truth vision to become lightweight champ

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Going into his lightweight fight against Adam Piccolotti at Bellator 183 eight days ago, Goiti Yamauchi didn’t show much regard for his opponent’s skills.

And that confidence in himself came in spite of the fact Piccolotti (9-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) came into the fight with Yamauchi (22-3 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) unbeaten. But Yamauchi backed up his talk with a second-round submission win at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., and put himself right in the mix at 155 pounds with his third wins since moving to the division.

“I always respect all fighters who step into the cage with me, or against anyone else,” Yamauchi told MMAjunkie. “But we’re not here to exchange caresses. We’re here to speak the truth. Everything that comes out of my mouth I feel from the bottom of my heart. He also said some things about me. He said I was too small for the division. He underestimated me. I said it would be easy – and that’s what I did.”

The submission win was Yamauchi’s sixth tapout victory in the eight times he’s had his hand raised under the Bellator banner. Was it enough to get a title shot?

Current champ Brent Primus is waiting for his wife to have a baby. The man he upset for the belt, Michael Chandler, is a prime candidate for an immediate rematch if ever there was one, it would seem.

So Yamauchi knows he may be playing a waiting game.

“I don’t get involved in Bellator’s politics when it comes to picking opponents,” he said. “Adam Piccolotti was supposed to face Brent Primus. Adam got hurt and Primus got his title shot. Both (Bellator 183 headliners) Patricky Freire and Ben Henderson were already sent to the back of the line (with title losses). I don’t know what will happen, honestly. They’re close to the top, so they may get another chance. I’m not sure.”

But regardless of whom Bellator puts in front of him, Yamauchi said he’s focused on a singular goal, and that’s getting a title shot of his own – and winning the belt.

And that might mean playing a little hardball when it comes to contract negotiations, and even taking a fight in Japan, the way another Bellator fighter, Brennan Ward, did nearly two years ago.

“I expect great fights ahead of me,” Yamauchi said. “I expect to fight for the title with one more good win, so I can prove I’m ready. My focus is to be the Bellator champion. I want to be the best in the world. That’s why I’m in this sport – to be the best. I’m not here on a whim or to show off. I’ll await the best offer after negotiations are done.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie's 'KO of the Month' in virtual reality (as Mauro Ranallo goes bananas)

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

Dann StuppIf you judge knockouts simply by Bellator broadcaster Mauro Ranallo’s reaction, you know this was a good one.

And thankfully, fight fans can watch it – Aaron Pico (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA)’s blistering first-round knockout of featherweight Justin Linn (7-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) at Bellator 183 – in virtual reality, thanks to Bellator.

Check it out above. Even without a VR device, you can get a 360-degree look at the powerful one-punch KO and the immediate aftermath, including Ranallo’s priceless reaction as he and Jimmy Smith talk us through the finish from cageside.

The big knockout, which took place Sept. 24 and aired on Spike from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., was MMAjunkie’s “Knockout of the Month” for September and beat out four other dazzling finalists.

Here’s a better look at the knockout itself (via Instagram):

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It was quite the first pro win for 21-year-old Pico, a standout freestyle wrestler who suffered a crushing 24-second loss via submission to lightweight Zach Freeman in June.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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

MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for September: A prospect shows what he can do

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best knockouts from September. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Knockout of the Month” award for September.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Mairbek Taisumov def. Felipe Silva at UFC Fight Night 115

After nearly 17 months away from competition, Mairbek Taisumov (27-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) returned with an incredible finish, needing just one shot to hand Felipe Silva (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) his first loss in their lightweight clash.

A few exchanges from both men showed their skills before Taisumov landed an absolute stunner. With Silva charging forward with a combination, Taisumov slipped a big right and landed one of is own directly on the button, face-planting his opponent in a devastating one-punch finish.

Alex Lohore def. Nathan Jones at BAMMA 31

Alex Lohore (13-1) needed less than a round to destroy Nathan Jones (11-6) and win the BAMMA welterweight championship. After staggering his opponent with some strikes, Lohore’s pressure forced Jones into a sloppy, telegraphed takedown attempt.

That was the last move Jones would make. He was greeted by a perfectly timed knee from Lohore that slumped his limp body against the canvas.

Kamaru Usman def. Sergio Moraes at UFC Fight Night 116

Kamaru Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) scored the biggest win of his burgeoning career, devastating Sergio Moraes (12-3-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) with a crushing blow for a sixth consecutive victory to start his UFC welterweight tenure.

Usman was on point from the start, wobbling Moraes with a low kick and then dropping him briefly with a right hand. Unsurprisingly, Usman refused to follow to the floor, and Moraes crawled back to his feet and looked to brawl. Haymakers followed, but Usman slipped well and scored a beautiful finish with a destructive straight right to the chin. Moraes crashed to the canvas, and Usman landed one hammerfist to an already vanquished foe.

Sabina Mazo def. Linsey Williams at LFA 23

Five months after a vicious head-kick knockout earned Sabina Mazo (4-0) viral backing, she repeated the feat with another crushing kick, this time against Linsey Williams (0-2).

Mazo used another high kick to the dome to score another first-round knockout. This time, it was a finish of Williams, who was left sprawled out on the canvas after Mazo’s right foot whipped up and caught her flush on the chin.

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Aaron Pico def. Justin Linn via punch at Bellator 183

Want to make people forget about your embarrassing debut? Send your next opponent crashing to the canvas. Aaron Pico (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) did just that.

Things didn’t quite go as planned for Pico’s coming out party in June. But they couldn’t have gone any better for his follow up, because Pico manhandled Justin Linn (7-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) on the mat before a perfectly placed left hook knocked his opponent out cold.

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* * * *

The Winner: Aaron Pico

Pico’s second Bellator fight went much better than his first. Not only did he win at Bellator 183, but he picked up a highlight-reel knockout in the opening round.

Pico, who was competing just a few days shy of his 21st birthday at the event, knocked Linn out cold with a picture-perfect left hook at the 3:45 mark of Round 1, giving him the first victory of his MMA career.

After going into his debut fight as arguably the most hyped prospect in the sport’s history, Pico stumbled badly in the form of a 24-second submission loss to Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC in June. Pico kept his head held high after the stunning defeat and bounced back with a much better performance against Linn.

After a brief standup exchange, Pico shot for a takedown on Linn and got it with ease. They stayed on the ground for a short while before Pico stood up and the action returned to the feet, and from there it got really good.

Pico stood toe-to-toe with Linn, eating some hard shots in the process. He waited for his moment to strike with the fight-ending shot, and when it arrived, he planted a mean left hook to the chin of his opponent. Linn went down in a heap, and Pico celebrated the ideal birthday moment.

“I’m really happy right now – really happy,” Pico said in his post-fight interview. “It’s a proud moment to get my first victory, something I’ll always remember on my 21st birthday.”

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

Bellator fighters sound off on promotion's lack of fight-night bonuses – and what they could mean

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

With the promotion continuing to grow, some Bellator fighters are picking back up the rallying cry for some extra financial love.

The UFC, Bellator’s top competitor, long has had a fight-night bonus structure in place. That promotion used to have fluctuating bonus amounts, typically from $40,000 for smaller shows up to $70,000 for bigger pay-per-views. And for its blockbuster UFC 129 card in Toronto, the bonuses were $129,000.

These days, the UFC has settled into a flat $50,000 bonus structure for each show and hands out four – two performance bonuses, plus a “Fight of the Night.” Absent a compelling best fight, sometimes two extra performance bonuses will take its place.

But Bellator doesn’t have a formal fight-night bonus system, and it’s something some of its fighters would, naturally, love to see in place.

“I think Bellator is overdue in establishing ‘of the night’ bonuses,” featherweight champion Patricio Freire (26-4 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) told MMAjunkie. “(Former CEO) Bjorn Rebney talked about it. (Current President) Scott Coker talks about it. Bellator has the best event production in North America, and most of its fights are exciting. It’s rare to see someone fight not to lose in Bellator. Imagine knowing that if you put on a show, you get to keep your job, plus there’s a financial incentive to go above and beyond – a bonus for fight, knockout, or submission of the night.”

His brother Patricky Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) agrees. And with seven of his 11 Bellator wins by knockout, he thinks a bonus system would’ve gone a long way for his personal finances.

“I believe Bellator should have done this already,” he said. “Bellator has the structure and the ability to do so. I think it would make the organization shine even more. It would make the fighters even more motivated. A lot of people ask me about that. I see smaller promotions that already offer submission, knockout, or fight-of-the-night bonuses. It would be the cherry on top. It would be exciting.

“If this had been in place when I signed up, I think I’d have a lot of money put away by now. Modesty aside, I think I would have earned several bonuses.”

Patricio believes if Bellator started up a bonus system, it also would work as a lure to bring talent over from organizations like the UFC. Bellator has made quite a few high-profile signings of UFC free agents in the past couple years.

Former UFC and WEC lightweight champ Benson Henderson, whom Patricky just beat in the Bellator 183 main event, won four bonuses in the UFC and another three in the WEC. He came to Bellator in early 2016 as a free agent

“A free agent in the UFC, who is known for earning bonuses, if he finds out that’s also a possibility in Bellator, wouldn’t that be extra incentive to come over?” Patricio asked. “I think Bellator should add all these kinds of bonuses – for finishes and best fight of the night. The funding is there. Bellator belongs to a gigantic conglomerate. It will be another step in the growth of the organization.”

Goiti Yamauchi

Goiti Yamauchi (22-3 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) submitted Adam Piccolotti in the first round at Bellator 183 and has seven of his eight Bellator wins by stoppage with six submissions.

“A bonus system would be great,” Yamauchi said. “It’s further incentive for fighters who are aggressive. Of my eight victories in Bellator, only one was a decision. It proves that I don’t back down and I always look for a finish. It would be a great incentive for fighters like me. I think the fans are there to see that sort of fight. I think that’s what I bring.

“I think I missed out on a few possible bonuses, but that’s no problem. Everything will work out in the end.”

The promotion returns next week for Bellator 184 on Oct. 6 in Thackerville, Okla.

For more on Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Bellator's Douglas Lima, Paul Daley

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Douglas Lima and Paul Daley.

Lima, Bellator’s welterweight champion, will talk about his upcoming title defense against former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald in January in Los Angeles. Daley, also a Bellator welterweight, will talk about his knockout of Lorenz Larkin this past Saturday at Bellator 183, which gave him 30 knockouts in his 40 career wins.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

The MMA Road Show with John Morgan No. 131 – Las Vegas: UFC, Bellator recap, featuring Carano, Werdum, Ferguson

Episode No. 131 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

John Morgan and Cold Coffee are back together in Las Vegas and recapping their weeks at UFC Fight Night 117, Bellator 183 and Bellator Kickboxing 7. As they recap their weekends on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean, Morgan also shares his interview with Gina Carano, not to mention the wild scene that unfolded in Los Angeles with Fabricio Werdum and Tony Ferguson, as well as the latest headlines in MMA.

Listen below, or check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.

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

Bellator 183 salaries: Patricky Freire earns event-best $110,000

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Patricky Freire earned the largest disclosed payday at this past weekend’s Bellator 183 event.

Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) topped former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) via split decision. Freire earned $110,000 – $45,000 of which was a win bonus – as his disclosed payday. Henderson picked up $50,000.

MMAjunkie obtained the list of disclosed paydays from the California State Athletic Commission, which oversaw the Sept. 23 event. Bellator 183 took place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., and the main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

In the co-main event, Paul Daley (40-15-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) topped welterweight rival Lorenz Larkin (18-7 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) with a big left hand. Daley earned a flat payday of $50,000 while Larkin got $40,000.

The total disclosed payout for the event was $513,500.

The full list of Bellator 183 paydays included:

Patricky Freire: $110,000 (includes $45,000 win bonus)
def. Benson Henderson: $50,000

Paul Daley: $50,000 (no win bonus)
def. Lorenz Larkin: $40,000

Roy Nelson: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Javy Ayala: $50,000

Aaron Pico: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Linn: $4,000

Goiti Yamauchi: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Adam Piccolotti: $18,000

Tony Johnson: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Mike Ortega: $1,500

Kaytlin Neil: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. Brooke Mayo: $3,000

Brandon Laroco: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Gaston Bolanos: $4,000

Jaimelene Nievera: $3,000 (includes $1,500 win bonus)
def. Corina Herrera: $1,500

Fernando Gonzalez: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Lopez: $2,500

Ricardo Vasquez: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Tenedora: $1,500

J.J. Okanovich: $4,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus)
def. Luis Jauregui: $1,500

Daniel Gonzalez: $2,000 (includes $1,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Castrejon: $1,000

Now, the usual disclaimer: The figures do not include deductions for items such as insurance, licenses and taxes. Additionally, the figures do not include money paid by sponsors. They also do not include any other “locker room” or special discretionary bonuses Bellator sometimes pays.

In other words, the above figures are simply base salaries reported to the commission and do not reflect entire compensation packages for the event.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the night.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bizarre Bellator title triangle: Michael Chandler, Patricky Freire, Brent Primus battle on social media

Bellator’s lightweight title picture is a little complicated right now. But it’s been amusing to watch its main players trying to figure it out.

After a weird injury put an anti-climatic end to their Bellator NYC title encounter, a rematch seemed inevitable for champ Brent Primus and ex-champ Michael Chandler. But then Bellator 183 happened – and, with a win over former UFC champion and Bellator title challenger Benson Henderson, Patricky Freire crashed the party.

And then they all started airing some grievances on social media.

Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) thinks he deserves a shot before Chandler – with whom he also welcome a rematch. Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), who actually has his eye on another Bellator division, apparently thinks both Primus and Freire are lame. And Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA), who doesn’t think the Earth is flat but does like puppies, would be OK with fighting either.

Confusing, we know, but we’ll walk you through it.

Before the meeting with Henderson even took place, Freire told MMAjunkie that he’d already had two appointments with Primus agreed to – and that the now-champ had avoided him twice.

Primus, however, politely disputed that account later – not without first congratulating Freire on his win. To which an equally polite Freire replied, leading Primus to gush about being a parent while at the same time sort of agreeing to hit another man in the face.

The atypically nice exchange wasn’t lost on Chandler, who wasn’t about to let this unfold without making his presence known. But, you know, in a somewhat less friendly manner than the two.

First, he talked to them directly.

And then Chandler made a separate post to air his feelings on the way the other two lightweights handled their business.

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Freire wasn’t about to extend Chandler, who knocked him out in a Bellator 157 co-headliner for the vacant 155-pound title, the same courtesy directed toward Primus. So he challenged the “pathetic” former champion to a rematch –  date suggestion included.

Primus also went out of his way to issue Chandler a response. After some shade about the former titleholder and the controversial leg injury (which, by the way, is a whole separate conversation) that put an end to their recent title match, the champ went on to clarify his stances on relevant matters such as: The shape of our planet, respect in martial arts and, most importantly, puppies.

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That particular three-way beef seems to be on hold for now, but not before some unsuspicious victims got caught in the cross-fire.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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

Lorenz Larkin congratulates Paul Daley for Bellator 183 KO, but wants rematch

Lorenz Larkin is not throwing himself a pity party after his knockout loss to Paul Daley at Bellator 183 this past Saturday, but he does want a second chance.

Larkin (18-7 MMA, 0-2 BMMA), who made no secret of his disdain for Daley (40-15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) ahead of their welterweight bout at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., encountered another setback early in his Bellator run when he succumbed to a second-round knockout loss at the hands of “Semtex.”

When two strikers the caliber of Larkin and Daley opt to trade blows, it’s a roll of the dice over who could go down first. At Bellator 183 it was Larkin, and while disappointing to lose a fight to someone he dislikes so much, “The Monsoon” is taking it in stride (via Instagram):

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Hey you win some and lose some and in this sport you can be on top of the world one minute and feel like a piece of shit the next but hey thats the fight game hat’s off to Daley hopefully you will let me run it back in the future

Regardless of Larkin’s positive attitude, it’s obvious his Bellator run has been less than ideal so far. After falling short of the welterweight title against Douglas Lima in his debut at Bellator NYC in June, Larkin came back for the bout with Daley, which did not go his way, either.

The outcome marked just the second time in Larkin’s career that he’s been stopped with strikes. And while he knows it’s unlikely for the immediate future, he hopes for the chance to eventually redeem himself in a rematch with Daley.

For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 183 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Saturday’s Bellator 183 event at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

* * * *

The defeated

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The victorious

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For complete coverage of Bellator 183, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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