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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Wieczorek: $2,500
def. Anthony Hamilton: $5,000

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $5,445,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $15,768,000

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 121 results: Jake Matthews takes split from Bojan Velickovic in return to 170

Jake Matthews was hoping to be rejuvenated in his return to welterweight, and his first UFC fight in the division. But Bojan Velickovic made it a struggle throughout.

Matthews (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) took a split decision from Velickovic (15-6-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC) with a pair of 29-28 scores; Velickovic had one 29-28 of his own. Velickovic outstruck Matthews by plenty, but Matthews’ time on top in the first round appeared to be enough to edge things out – despite Velickovic’s disbelief when the decision was read.

The welterweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Matthews closed the distance 20 seconds in and tied up Velickovic for a takedown. When it wasn’t coming, he had to eat some elbows and short punches from Velickovic. But Matthews stayed after the single – and kept paying the price with body shots and short punches to the face. Finally, nearly two minutes in, Matthews got the takedown.

Velickovic got back to his feet quickly, but Matthews stayed glued to him. He wanted the fight on the ground again, but still ate short punches from Velickovic trying to get it. With 75 seconds left, he got it and went to work on top in half-guard. Velickovic went after a heel hook, but Matthews spun out of it near the end of the round.

Velickovic tried a jumping knee 30 seconds in and it connected. Matthews went for a defensive takedown, but Velickovic wrapped up a guillotine choke, and a tight one. Matthews popped his head out, but had to deal with Velickovic on top in mount with a full four minutes to work with. Velickovic took Matthews’ back and tried to get a rear-naked choke. He worked Matthews oer with punches, then pulled him back. Matthews stayed defensive and tried to shake Velickovic off his back, and with 100 seconds left he finally broke away and got back to his feet.

Matthews cracked Velickovic with a right elbow, but Velickovic tied up Matthews’ head nad landed a knee. With a minute left, they broke and Matthews lunged forward with a right and left. But he looked tired, and Velickovic seemed filled with energy. Matthews clipped Velickovic with a right hand with 20 seconds left, then a left right after. But they probably weren’t enough to steal the round back.

Matthews landed a few punches early in the third, then got a single leg and drove Velickovic to the canvas for his most definitive takedown of the fight. Velickovic worked his way out and back to his feet, but went after a takedown of his own and got it. Velickovic took Matthews’ back and worked punches. He then went after a rear-naked choke right in front of Matthews’ corner.

Matthews tried to shake Velickovic off and finally did with two minutes left. Matthews started working short punches from up top, but they all may have been too little, too late. Velickovic worked for a late kimura, but it wasn’t there. Matthews took Velickovic’s back late and went after a rear-naked choke of his own. But he lost the position and Velickovic took top position for a moment before one last reversal.

Matthews snapped a two-fight skid and won in his return to the welterweight division. Velickovic lost for the second straight time and has dropped three of his past four.

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
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

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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Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

Jake Matthews announces return to welterweight for fight vs. Bojan Velickovic at UFC-Sydney

Jake Matthews will fight in front of his home fans again, and he’ll do so in his original weight class.

Matthews (10-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) will move back up to welterweight to fight Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 121 next month. The Australian announced his move from lightweight and the fight booking to Australia’s Herald Sun. The UFC has not yet made a formal announcement of the booking.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Nov. 18 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The event airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Matthews started his career at welterweight for his first six fights, all of which came in his native Australia. But he dropped to lightweight for an opportunity to sign with the UFC, where he won four of his first five fights with the promotion – all by stoppage.

But in July 2016 at the TUF 23 Finale, he was stopped with a first-round TKO by Kevin Lee, and later that year, in November, he dropped a split decision to Andrew Holbrook, who was the biggest underdog at UFC Fight Night 101, giving him the first losing skid of his career. When he steps in the cage against Velickovic, it will be his first fight in a year.

Bojan Velickovic

Velickovic will try to get back on track after a decision loss to Darren Till in September in the Netherlands. That erased the good memory of a bonus-winning knockout of Nico Musoke in Sweden in May, which was his first win in more than a year.

The latest UFC Fight Night 121 card includes:

  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Humberto Bandenay vs. Alex Volkanovski
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
  • Jenel Lausa vs. Eric Shelton
  • Alex Chambers vs. Nadia Kassem
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 115, including multiple Eminem selections

While it take intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 115 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Alexander Volkov def. Stefan Struve via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:30

Alexander Volkov: “Mother Winter” by 25/17

Stefan Struve: “He’s a Pirate (Tiesto Remix)” by Klaus BadeIt

Siyar Bahadurzada def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:10

Siyar Bahadurzada: “All The Way” by Fat Joe

Rob Wilkinson: “Wrist” by Logic feat. Pusha T

Marion Reneau def. Talita de Oliveira via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:54

Marion Reneau: “X Rated” by Excision

Talita Oliveira: “Bate Pesadao” by Pregador Luo

Leon Edwards def. Bryan Barberena via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Leon Edwards: “1942 Flows” by Meek Mill

Bryan Barberena: “Outsiders” by Eric Church

Darren Till def. Bojan Velickovic via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Darren Till: “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

Bojan Velickovic: “Run This Town” by Jay-Z feat. Rihanna

Mairbek Taisumov def. Felipe Silva via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:24

Mairbek Taisumov: “Kunta Mayan” by Nasheed

Felipe Silva: “Burning Heart” by Survivor


Michel Prazeres def. Mads Burnell via submission (north-south choke) – Round 3, 1:26

Michel Prazeres: “Nego Drama (Ao Vivo)” by Racionais MC’s

Mads Burnell: “B.M.F.” by Rick Ross feat. Styles P

Rustam Khabilov def. Desmond Green via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Rustam Khabilov: “Extreme Ways” by Moby

Desmond Green: “Last Breathe” by Future

Aleksandar Rakic def. Francimar Barroso via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Aleksandar Rakic: “Ready for War” by 50 Cent

Francimar Barroso: “Go To Sleep” by Eminem

Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Mike Santiago via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:22

Zabit Magomedsharipov: “Era” by Enea Volare Mezzo

Mike Santiago: “Bantering” by Skrillex

Abdul-Kerim Edilov def. Bojan Mihajlovic via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:32

Abdul-Kerim Edilov: “Forward Ahmat” by Rizavdi Ismailov

N/A

Bojan Mihajlovic: “Love My Life” by Robbie Williams

Thibault Gouti def. Andrew Holbrook via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:28

Thibault Gouti: “Without Me” by Eminem

Andrew Holbrook: “Let’s Go (Ricky Luna Remix)” by Yelawolf & Busta Rhymes

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC 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, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 115 post-event facts: A late finish, a KO streak, a rare sub and more

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The UFC’s return to the Netherlands was a hit on Saturday with UFC Fight Night 115, which took place at Ahoy Rotterdam and streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Alexander Volkov (29-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) capped off a card that featured eight stoppages in 12 fights when he put away Stefan Struve (28-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC) with a third-round TKO to move further up the UFC heavyweight ranks.

Volkov was one of multiple fighters who earned a big finish at an event with some worthwhile footnotes. For more on the numbers behind the first of four UFC events in September, check below for 50 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 115.

* * * *

General

Alexander Volkov

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $90,000.

Debuting fighters went 3-4 at the event.

Volkov, Struve, Mairbek Taisumov and Zabit Magomedsharipov earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 115 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 115 drew an announced attendance of 10,224 for an estimated live gate of $900,000.

Betting favorites went 11-1 on the card.

Total fight time for the 12-bout card was 2:10:46.

Main card

Alexander Volkov

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

Volkov is 5-0 since his final Bellator bout in June 2015.

Volkov has earned 22 of his 29 career victories by stoppage.

Struve fell to 1-1 in UFC main events.

Struve has suffered all six of his UFC stoppage losses by knockout.

Struve’s six fight-night bonuses for UFC heavyweight fights are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Miocic (eight), Mark Hunt (seven) and Travis Browne (seven).

Siyar Bahadurzada

Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) earned consecutive victories for the first time in his UFC career.

Bahadurzada has earned six of his past seven victories by knockout.

Rob Wilkinson (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his 11-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Marion Reneau (8-3-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC), 40, became the oldest female fighter to earn a UFC victory.

Reneau has earned seven of her eight career victories by stoppage.

Reneau’s victory at the 4:54 mark of Round 3 marked the latest stoppage in a three-round UFC women’s bantamweight fight.

Talita Oliveira (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of her career.

Leon Edwards

Leon Edwards’ (14-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak in welterweight competition is tied with Santiago Ponzinibbio and Colby Covington for the second longest active streak in the division behind Kamaru Usman (five).

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

Bryan Barberena (13-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) fell to 3-2 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in January 2016.

Barberena has suffered all three of his UFC losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Darren Till

Darren Till’s (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC) 16-fight undefeated streak in MMA competition is tied for fifth longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24), Jimmie Rivera (20), Cris Cyborg (19) and Justin Gaethje (18).

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.

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

Taisumov’s (26-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) five-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Tony Ferguson (nine) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (seven).

Taisumov has earned 24 of his 26 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his six wins under the UFC banner.

Taisumov became the first lightweight in UFC history to earn five consecutive knockout victories.

Taisumov’s five-fight UFC stoppage streak is tied with Francis Ngannou and Miocic for longest among active fighters in the organization.

Taisumov’s five-fight UFC knockout streak is tied for second longest in UFC history behind Chuck Liddell (seven).

Taisumov’s five knockout victories in UFC lightweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Melvin Guillard (seven), Edson Barboza (six) and B.J. Penn (six).

Felipe Silva (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his eight-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Michel Prazeres

Michel Prazeres’ (23-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) five-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Ferguson (nine) and Nurmagomedov (seven).

Prazeres became the first fighter in UFC history to earn two north-south choke submission victories. He has two of the five such finishes overall in UFC history.

Prazeres has completed 35 takedowns in his nine UFC appearances. He’s landed at least one takedown against all nine of his UFC opponents.

Mads Burnell (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Rustam Khabilov

Rustam Khabilov’s (22-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) five-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Ferguson (nine) and Nurmagomedov (seven).

Khabilov has earned six of his eight UFC victories by decision.

Aleksandar Rakic (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to nine fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since his MMA debut in October 2011.

Rakic earned the first decision victory of his career.

Zabit Magomedsharipov

Magomedsharipov (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to nine fights. He hans’t suffered a defeat since April 2013.

Magomedsharipov has earned 11 of his 13 career victories by stoppage.

Mike Santiago (19-10 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his nine-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since January 2014.

Santiago has suffered nine of his 10 carer losses by stoppage. Eight of those defeats have come by submission.

Abdul-Kerim Edilov

Abdul-Kerim Edilov (17-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) extended his career-high winning streak to 11 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since April 2013.

Edilov has earned 16 of his 17 career victories by stoppage.

Edilov out-landed his opponent 77-1 in significant strikes.

Bojan Mihajlovic (10-6 MMA, 0-3 UFC) has suffered all three of his UFC losses by knockout.

Thibault Gouti

Thibault Gouti (12-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since November 2015.

Gouti has earned 10 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Andrew Holbrook (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by knockout.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, 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

UFC-Rotterdam Athlete Outfitting pay: Stefan Struve tops payout scale despite loss

Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 113 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $90,000.

UFC Fight Night 115 took place at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The card streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was headliner Stefan Struve (28-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC), who received $15,000 for his 19th UFC appearance, which was a third-round TKO loss to Alexander Volkov (29-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

The full UFC Fight Night 115 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Alexander Volkov: $2,500
def. Stefan Struve: $15,000

Siyar Bahadurzada: $2,500
def. Rob Wilkinson: $2,500

Marion Reneau: $5,000
def. Talita Oliveira: $2,500

Leon Edwards: $5,000
def. Bryan Barberena: $5,000

Darren Till: $2,500
def. Bojan Velickovic: $2,500

Mairbek Taisumov: $5,000
def. Felipe Silva: $2,500

Michel Prazeres: $5,000
def. Mads Burnell: $2,500

Rustam Khabilov: $5,000
def. Desmond Green: $2,500

Aleksandar Rakic: $2,500
def. Francimar Barroso: $5,000

Zabit Magomedsharipov: $2,500
def. Mike Santiago: $2,500

Abdul-Kerim Edilov: $2,500
def. Bojan Mihajlovic: $2,500

Thibault Gouti: $2,500
def. Andrew Holbrook: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $3,865,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,188,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie