Still undefeated, Bellator 185's Jordan Young plans move to 205 pounds

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Jordan Young extended his unbeaten streak a week ago at Bellator 185, tapping Alec Hooben with a triangle choke inside three minutes.

So far, only two of Young’s professional opponents have made it out of the first round. That doesn’t seem like the condition for a career change. But apparently, he’s ready for one.

“I think that the next move for me is you’ll see me at light heavyweight,” Young (8-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) told MMAjunkie after submitting Hooben (5-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). “That’s a big move for me.”

Indeed it is. The gap between middleweight and light heavyweight is the second largest in MMA with 20 pounds separating the divisions. Typically, fighters move down to capitalize on height and reach advantages against smaller fighters. But for the 22-year-old Young, it’s a necessary move as he gets older and picks up more muscle.

His fight against Hooben was supposed to be at a catchweight of 195 pounds, but Young wound up hitting 200 pounds on the scale on weigh-in day.

At 6-foot-4, his frame doesn’t present an obvious disadvantage against taller and heavier opponents.

“There was a time in my career where I was fighting at 170 pounds, so as I grow up and mature … I’m getting bigger and stronger every day,” he said. “The (weight) cuts, they were definitely tough. I think with my build, 205 will be a healthier choice going forward.”

It will also be a smarter choice if longevity is what Jordan seeks. Fighters who cut large amounts of weight often meet diminishing returns as they get older. Drops that were once easy become difficult as a body’s metabolism grows less efficient and struggles with the effects of dehydration.

There are dozens of examples of veteran fighters whose bodies simply gave out during a weight cut, prompting a last-minute scratch from a fight card. Young doesn’t want to be one while he’s on his way up the MMA ladder.

While he was targeting a showdown with Bellator middleweight Chris Honeycutt (10-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) after a tumultuous training camp, Young is eyeing bigger targets the next time he steps in the cage.

Hear more from the unbeaten Young in the video above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

'Robbed' against Mousasi, Shlemenko also wants 5-round non-title Bellator headliners

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos

Count Alexander Shlemenko among those who would like to see Bellator adopt five-round fights for non-title Bellator headliners.

Granted, he’s a bit of a biased party.

This past Friday at Bellator 185, Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) suffered a narrow unanimous-decision loss to to big-show vet Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in the Spike-televised headliner at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

“I would like to say Gegard Mousasi is a very strong, very experienced fighter,” Shlemenko told MMAjunkie Radio through an interpreter. “That’s why it was really difficult to finish him, to knock him out. But I still think that I beat him and I got robbed by this judges’ decision.”

He wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Shlemenko, whose manager said he plans to appeal the loss, was a major underdog to 8-1 favorite Mousasi, who made his promotional debut following a long run with the UFC and Strikeforce. After the fight, folks throughout the industry panned the decision.

Shlemenko heard from many of them.

“(Bellator commentator) Jimmy Smith, even during the fight, he gave me the victory, 29-28, and we agree with that,” he said.

After the fight, Bellator President Scott Coker mentioned the possibility of Bellator scheduling its non-title headliners for five rounds, which the UFC currently does.

Shlemenko, though, said he expressed his support for the idea even before the controversial decision, which saw seven of 11 media outlets score it for the 33-year-old Russian, via MMADecisions.com.

“In one of the interviews prior to my fight with Gegard, I said I wanted this fight to be a five-round fight,” Shlemenko said. “But unfortunately, Bellator doesn’t have such a rule. Their main events are just three rounds if it’s not a title fight. So I think yes, I would love to fight in five-round fights.

“I think it would be a great idea if Bellator would have main events of five rounds, and if this fight against Gegard was a five-round fight, I’m quite confident Gegard wouldn’t have survived. He wouldn’t have seen the end of the fight.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2549 with Andre Fili and Alexander Shlemenko

Stream or download Monday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Andre Fili and Alexander Shlemenko.

Fili, still in Poland, phoned in to talk about his big win over Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night 118. Shlemenko, who was defeated by Gegard Mousasi this past Friday at Bellator 185, voiced his displeasure in the decision rendered by the judges and would like an immediate rematch.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

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

Alexander Shlemenko to appeal Bellator 185 loss to Gegard Mousasi, manager says

Former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko plans to contest his unanimous-decision loss to Gegard Mousasi in the headliner of this past Friday’s Bellator 185.

Shlemenko’s (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) manager, Alexey Zhernakov, today told MMAjunkie he believes judges scored the fight incorrectly and wants the outcome reversed, whether the bout is re-scored or declared a no-contest. He also welcomed a rematch with Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).

“In our opinion, this fight is a career-turning point,” Zhernakov said. “We think he did good enough in this fight to get a win and with a fighter who’s ranked No. 4 in the world. He was a UFC contender. (A win) would mean a lot in developing Shlemenko’s career, so this fight is important – very important to him.”

Mousasi’s manager, Nima Safapour, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mousasi earned unanimous scores of 29-28 in the Spike-televised fight at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The former Strikeforce champ and top UFC middleweight contender frequently took down Shlemenko and threatened chokes from back control despite a broken orbital bone to his left eye. The decision was widely booed by the crowd.

Zhernakov’s request for a reversal might not be feasible. According to Mike Mazzulli, who heads the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulations that regulated Bellator 185, there is no formal process in place to appeal controversial decisions.

“I stand behind my officials 100 percent, and there is nothing in my rules or regulations that would require or allow the decision to be appealed,” Mazzulli said.

The bout was scored by veteran judges Doug Crosby, Derek Cleary and John English. Crosby is no stranger to controversy as an MMA judge, drawing an accusation of conflict of interest for scoring a fight involving a camp with whom he’d shared a long-standing feud. He was also widely maligned for his scorecard for Frankie Edgar in Edgar’s first title bout against B.J. Penn at UFC 112.

Zhernakov took no issue with the scoring in the first round, noting Mousasi nearly finished Shlemenko with a choke. But he argued that Shlemenko did more damage in the later rounds, negating Mousasi’s control on the ground with punches and kicks.

“Round No. 3, he won with probably a 10-8, because it was judged by the recent changes in the rules,” Zhernakov said. “But Round No. 2 is what we’re talking about. According to statistics, he won the second round, because for three-and-a-half minutes, he was dominating. And by dominating, he was landing significant shots. The damage was on his side.”

The manager said he would speak today to Mazzulli about the next steps to take. He plans to speak to Bellator to voice his concerns about the bout and his plan of action.

In a text message to MMAjunkie, Bellator President Scott Coker scored the first round for Mousasi and the third for Shlemenko. He declined to outline the promotion’s plan in the wake of Mousasi’s win, though the bout was widely characterized as a title eliminator for the winner of an upcoming title fight between champ Rafael Carvalho and Alessio Sakara at Bellator 190.

“We have to wait and see what happens in December and how long Gegard is out for,” Coker wrote. “We’ll know more in a week.”

Mousasi’s win extended his current winning streak to six and certified a successful transition to Bellator after riding out his UFC contract. Prior to the fight, he planned to face champ Carvalho and then pursue a belt at light heavyweight, where his weight cut was more manageable.

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events 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 guests Andre Fili, Alexander Shlemenko

Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Andre Fili and Alexander Shlemenko.

Fili is coming off a win over Artem Lobov on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 118 and will discuss the fight, as well as the potential distraction of dealing with Conor McGregor cageside acting like an unofficial cornerman. Shlemenko is coming off a close loss to Gegard Mousasi on Friday at Bellator 185 and will give his thoughts on the fight.

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 YouTubepages. 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, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 185 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 Friday’s and Bellator 185 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., 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 185, 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: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 185 post-event facts: Heather Hardy suffers 1st combat sports loss

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The Bellator 185 main event came down to the wire when latest UFC crossover Gegard Mousasi narrowly escaped with a victory over Alexander Shlemenko in Friday’s headliner.

Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) earned a unanimous-decision win over Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) in the Spike-televised middleweight main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., giving him his first win since parting ways with the UFC earlier this year.

Mousasi’s victory closed out of a five-fight main card, which saw three contests decided by the scorecards. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 185.

* * * *

General

Debuting fighters went 3-3 at the event.

Betting favorites went 3-2 on the main card.

Betting favorites fell to 11-4 (with one even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the five-bout main card was 59:27.

* * * *

Main card

Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 185. (Dave Mandel, USA TODAY Sports)

Mousasi was successful in his Bellator debut. He’s earned victories in 17 different organizations during his career.

Mousasi’s six-fight winning streak is his longest since December 2009.

Mousasi improved to 9-1 in his past 10 fights.

Shlemenko had his seven-fight unbeaten streak snapped for his first defeat since September 2014.

Alexander Shlemenko (blue gloves) fight Gegard Mousasi (red gloves) during Bellator 185. (Dave Mandel, USA TODAY Sports)

Shlemenko fell to 1-3 (with one no-contest) in his past five Bellator appearances.

Shlemenko suffered his first decision loss since Oct. 28, 2010 – a span of 2,549 days (nearly seven years) and 23 fights.

Neiman Gracie (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) improved to 4-0 since he dropped to the welterweight division in February 2015.

Gracie has earned six of his seven career victories by stoppage. All of those wins are by submission.

Zak Bucia (18-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Kristina Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) was successful in her pro debut.

Kristina Williams (blue gloves) fights Heather Hardy (red gloves) during Bellator 185. (Dave Mandel, USA TODAY Sports)

Heather Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) suffered the first loss in 23 fights of MMA and boxing combined competition.

Ryan Quinn (14-7-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) has earned five of his eight Bellator victories by decision.

Marcus Surin (4-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) had his four-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Lisa Blaine (2-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) earned the first decision victory of her career.

Ana Julaton (2-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since December 2014.

Julaton has suffered all three of her career losses by decision.

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

You know what to expect from Bellator's Neiman Gracie (you can blame his wife)

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Neiman Gracie knows what he’s going to do. His opponents know. We all know. Don’t like it? Blame his wife.

In Friday’s Bellator 185 co-headliner, Gracie (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) picked up a second-round submission victory over short-notice opponent and fellow welterweight Zak Bucia (18-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

The undefeated 28-year-old Brazilian, who’s the great-grandson of Carlos Gracie, is obviously a jiu-jitsu specialist. In fact, it was a second-round neck crank that earned him his win in the Spike-televised bout at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

With his latest victory, Gracie hopes to fight again as early as December. And what’s he going to do in his next bout? The usual.

“I’m going to go for a takedown and try to get my choke, you know?” he said. “It’s safe.

“And I still got to look good. Otherwise, my wife will be mad at me.”

Bucia proved harder to submit than some of his previous WSOF and Bellator opponents. Gracie was appreciative of both the challenge and Bucia’s willingness to take the fight as a replacement for Javier Torres on just a few days’ notice.

“Man, I thank him for taking the fight because he’s a warrior – to take this fight on short notice,” Gracie said. “My other opponent, he got injured, I think, and he backed off the fight with a week’s notice.

“This camp was the craziest camp I ever had because I got hurt so many times. And I thought about leaving the fight too, but once I sign a fight, I never back down. I’ve never done that before. I hurt my back. I hurt my knees. Crazy things happened. I got punched in my ear. My ear got cut … and was the size of a baseball, and I kept training and training.”

Gracie, though, thinks he’ll be cleared to fight again quickly, which is why he’s targeting one more bout before year’s end.

“I want to do this more and more,” he said. “Like I said before, all I do is eat, sleep and train. So, why not fight more?

“Plus I’m having a kid. So I need to make money.”

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2548 with Bellator President Scott Coker

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guest Scott Coker.

Coker, Bellator MMA president, talked about his upcoming fight cards and the importance of some matchups as they relate to title pictures.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

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

After bloody upset of Heather Hardy, Kristina Williams 'did herself a lot of good'

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Kristina Williams may have been relatively unknown prior to Friday night, but a nationally televised pro debut and major upset quickly fixed that.

On Friday’s Bellator 185 main card at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) blasted undefeated pro boxer Heather Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) with a flush shin to the face in the Spike-televised bout.

The blood gushed immediately, and it ultimately set up a second-round TKO victory due to a doctor’s stoppage.

“To have someone come out and perform the way she did under this scenario – having a crowed arena, live TV and fighting Heather Hardy – I think she did herself a lot of good as far as building her brand, building her name and building some great fights ahead for her,” Bellator President Scott Coker said.

Despite a handful of amateur MMA bouts, as well as some boxing and kickboxing experience, Williams, a 28-year-old flyweight from Oklahoma, was a heavy underdog heading into the bout. Hardy, who was more than a 4-1 favorite, had the experience on paper. With a 20-0 pro-boxing record and an MMA-debut win over Alice Yauger at Bellator 180 in June, 35-year-old “Heat” could have been an intimidating force for many opponents.

Just not Williams.

“I was a little bit nervous, but once I got in there, I’m really comfortable in the cage,” she said. “Like I’ve said before, that’s where I like to be.

” … After the first minute or two, I knew the game plan was going to work because she kept coming (forward) and doing the same thing. I just fell into a comfort zone and started staying with the game plan.”

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Did she feel disrespected by the odds and the pre-fight hype that was centered around Hardy, who quickly became a fan favorite after her Bellator debut earlier this year?

“I really didn’t have a chip on my shoulder,” Williams said. “I mean, I’m an amateur coming in. I was really grateful to get this fight, so I was just ready to prove myself.”

And that’s what she did, according to Coker, who was impressed by the newcomer’s poise.

“When I look at her performance, she wasn’t nervous,” Coker sad. “She wasn’t tired, she wasn’t intimidated by Heather at all, and she was here to fight. And she fought a tough fight.

“Heather was there doing her thing and trying to catch her. She just got out-kicked tonight, I think. That’s what it was, a kickboxing (match). And her system was working well, and for Heather, she just got caught a couple times with those kicks, and that was it.”

So, what’s next for Williams?

“I don’t think you put her in the title mix, but you have to put her (against) someone who has a lot of potential,” Coker said. “We’ll get her some more fights, see how she does, and then we’ll see how we do.”

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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