Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Kevin Lee, Ray Borg and UFC 216's losing fighters?

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 216’s winning fighters?)

UFC 216 will go down as event to forget for some, because all four main card losers were put away in the distance on the pay-per-view lineup at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

After the opening between Evan Dunham and Beneil Dariush went to a draw, each subsequent fight saw the loser forced to tap out, including Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in his interim lightweight title headlining bout with Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) as well Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in his first UFC title bout with Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC).

Prior to the championship bouts, Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC) and Kalindra Faria (18-6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) were put away by there respective opponents in less than three minutes each.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 216’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Kalindra Faria

Should fight: “The Ultimate Fighter 26” cast member
Why they should fight: Faria’s UFC debut came under less than ideal circumstances. After being booked or short notice then having her opponent switched on even shorter notice, the Brazilian fell short against Mara Romero Borella with a first-round submission loss.

Faria is one of the most established veterans of the women’s flyweight division, and although the UFC debut didn’t go her way, she’s still a promising member of the organization’s newest weight class.

The Brazilian would have liked her octagon career to begin under better circumstances, but Faria will certainly get another chance to prove herself. The infancy of the 125-pound division makes it difficult to judge who her next fight should be, but a matchup with someone who does well on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which will crown the division’s inaugural champion, would be fitting.

Walt Harris

Should fight: Mark Godbeer
Why they should fight: Opportunity knocked and Harris answered, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to charge through the door. After Derrick Lewis fell off the card just before it was scheduled to begin, Harris stepped in to take on a huge task in Fabricio Werdum. To the surprise of almost no one, it didn’t go his way.

Harris had never fought anyone close to Werdum’s caliber, and it showed. He was quickly taken down and submitted within 65 seconds. Instead of getting down on a high-profile loss, though, “The Big Ticket” took it all as a learning experience to get better.

Before the last-minute scramble Harris was booked to fight Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on the card. It would be fair to both sides to put that matchup back together considering both men put in an entire training camp for each other but never got to put it to use.

Ray Borg

Should fight: Brandon Moreno
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Borg should fight Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) next.

Kevin Lee

Should fight: Al Iaquinta
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Lee should rematch Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Valentina Shevchenko and UFC 215's other losing fighters?

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Filed under: News, UFC

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 215’s winning fighters?)

UFC 215 took place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with a five-fight pay-pay-per-view main card.

Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) fell short of claiming the UFC women’s bantamweight title in the headliner when she suffered a split-decision loss to Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) to experience her second UFC blemish, both of which have come against “The Lioness.”

Some other fighters suffered notable losses, as well, with Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) and Wilson Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) suffering stoppage losses, and Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) falling short on the scorecards.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 215’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Gilbert Melendez

Jason Knight

Should fight: Jason Knight
Why they should fight: Melendez’s experimental drop to the featherweight division didn’t go according to plan against Jeremy Stephens, and now the former Strikeforce champion is sitting on a four-fight losing skid and is winless over a nearly four-year period.

Although he’s had two title shots and a “Fight of the Year” contender with Diego Sanchez in 2013, Melendez’s run in the UFC can likely be summed up as disappointing, especially when considering only the number of wins and losses.

At 35, it remains to be seen if Melendez will want to continue to fight much longer, especially with ownership of his own gym and an analyst gig with ESPN. Assuming he wants to continue, and stay at featherweight, a number of interesting fights are available in the division.

A slugger such as Knight (20-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) could potentially bring out the best in Melendez, and if it went the other way, Knight would add a legitimate name to his resume following a knockout loss to Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214 in July.

Tyson Pedro

Gian Villante

Should fight: Gian Villante
Why they should fight: Pedro experienced the first defeat of his career when he fell short with a unanimous-decision loss to Swedish powerhouse Ilir Latifi.

After a six-fight winning streak to begin his career, Pedro couldn’t rise to the level of his most elite opponent to date, and that shows he’s not quite ready for the higher-tier fighters in the light-heavyweight division.

A matchup with Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) wouldn’t be a big step back from Latifi, but he would present a winnable fight for the Australian that would also afford him a chance to add a notable name to his resume.

Wilson Reis

Brandon Moreno

Should fight: Brandon Moreno
Why they should fight: After being handed a brutal beatdown at the hands of flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson earlier this year, Reis took an even more one-sided loss when Henry Cejudo knocked him out cold in the matchup of former title challengers.

Reis was unable to accomplish anything in just over a round of cage time with Cejudo, and he got picked apart and ultimately finished with a series of second-round strikes. It’s unfamiliar territory for the Brazilian, who had never been finished in the UFC prior to this current skid.

Given the nature of his past two fights, it would probably be in Reis’ best interest to take a little time off. Once he’s recovered and recharged, though, a bout with fellow grappling specialist Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) would be as compelling as any other available option at 125 pounds.

Neil Magny

Gunnar Nelson

Should fight: Gunnar Nelson
Why they should fight: After sitting out for eight months, Magny suffered a setback in his return to the octagon in the form of a first-round submission loss to former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.

Magny has been stellar over the past few years, but in recent fights, he’s run into some issues that have prevented him from getting his hand raised. The American will need to make some adjustments in order to reach greater heights in the division, but many compelling matchups remain.

Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) dangerous ground game and evolving striking would clash well with Magny’s versatile offense and defense. Both men would enter the fight off a loss, meaning even greater stakes and risk when they share the octagon.

Valentina Shevchenko

Should fight: Sara McMann
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Shevchenko should fight McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) next after her title-fight loss.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 114 post-event facts: Overlooked card proves heavy on history

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The UFC’s lone August event delivered on Saturday when UFC Fight Night 114 took place at Mexico City Arena in Mexico.

The FS1-televised card, which followed early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, was headlined by a flyweight fight that saw Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) defeat fellow rising star Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) by unanimous decision.

Although the main event went the distance, there was plenty of action out of the gates. A record-tying seven fights ended in the first round. For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s fifth event in Mexico, check below for 45 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 114.

* * * *

General

UFC Fight Night 114’s seven first-round stoppage results tied six other events (UFC 146, The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale and UFC Fight Night 14, 32, 68) for the most in history.

The Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $117,500.

Debuting fighters went 2-1 at the event.

Niko Price, Humberto Bandenay, Alejandro Perez and Dustin Ortiz earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 114 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 114 drew an announced attendance of 10,172. No live gate was announced.

Betting favorites went 8-4 on the card.

Total fight time for the 12-bout card was 1:39:13, the shortest of the UFC’s 23 events so far this year.

Main card

Sergio Pettis

Pettis improved to 4-1 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in March 2015.

Pettis’ four-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind champ Demetrious Johnson (12) and Joseph Benavidez (six).

Pettis has earned all seven of his UFC victories by decision.

Moreno had his 11-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since July 2012.

Moreno has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Alexa Grasso

Alexa Grasso (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned both of her UFC victories by decision.

Randa Markos (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over her past 10 career bouts.

Markos has completed at least one takedown against six of her seven UFC opponents.

Price (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned nine of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Humberto Bandenay

Bandenay (14-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned his third victory of 2017.

Bandenay has earned 11 of his 14 career victories by stoppage.

Bandenay’s 26-second victory was the third fastest debut of any featherweight in UFC history. Only Makwan Amirkhani (8 seconds) and Dooho Choi (18 seconds) had quicker debuts.

Martin Bravo (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 11-fight winning streak snapped for his first career defeat.

Sam Alvey’s (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) eight victories since 2014 in UFC middleweight competition are tied with Gegard Mousasi for most in the division.

Rashad Evans

Rashad Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss, extending the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2013.

Evans fell to 0-2 since he dropped to the middleweight division in March.

Evans has suffered five of his seven career losses by decision.

Andre Soukhamthath (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered all five of his career losses by decision.

Soukhamthath became the first fighter in UFC history to suffer a decision loss despite scoring three knockdowns of his opponent.

Preliminary card

Jack Hermansson

Jack Hermansson (16-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has earned 13 of his 16 career victories by stoppage.

Hermansson has earned both of his UFC stoppage victories by first-round knockout.

Brad Scott (11-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) has earned all of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Ortiz’s 15-second knockout victory was the fastest stoppage in UFC flyweight history.

Ortiz’s three knockout victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind John Lineker (four).

Hector Sandoval (14-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by stoppage.

Rani Yahya

Rani Yahya (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC) has earned 18 of his 24 career victories by submission. He’s finished 12 of those wins in Round 1.

Yahya’s six submission victories in UFC/WEC bantamweight competition are the second most in combined divisional history behind Urijah Faber (seven).

Henry Briones (16-7-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss, extending the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2014.

Briones suffered his first submission loss since Feb. 23, 2008 – a span of 3,451 days (more than nine years) and 19 fights.

Jose Quinonez’s (6-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) three-fight UFC winning streak in bantamweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind champ Cody Garbrandt (five) and Jimmie Rivera (five).

Diego Rivas (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his seven-fight winning streak snapped for his first career defeat.

Joseph Morales (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned seven of his nine career victories by stoppage.

Roberto Sanchez (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his seven-fight winning streak snapped for his first career defeat.

Jordan Rinaldi

Jordan Rinaldi (13-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) earned just the fourth Von Flue choke submission victory in UFC history. He joins Ovince Saint Preux (two) and Jason Von Flue (one) as fighters to accomplish the feat.

Alvaro Herrera (9-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) was unsuccessful in his UFC lightweight debut.

Herrera fell to 1-2 since he returned from a more than three-year layoff in August 2016.

Herrera has suffered all five of his career losses by stoppage.

Herrera has suffered both of his UFC losses by submission.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, 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.

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

UFC Fight Night 114 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total passes $14 million

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Filed under: News, UFC

MEXICO CITY – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 114 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $117,500.

UFC Fight Night 114 took place at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC), who suffered a split-decision loss to Sam Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) on the main card. “Suga” received $20,000 for his 22nd octagon appearance, the highest non-title payout possible.

The full UFC Fight Night 114 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Sergio Pettis: $5,000
def. Brandon Moreno: $2,500

Alexa Grasso: $2,500
def. Randa Markos: $5,000

Niko Price: $2,500
def. Alan Jouban: $5,000

Humberto Bandenay: $2,500
def. Martin Bravo: $2,500

Sam Alvey: $10,000
def. Rashad Evans: $20,000

Alejandro Perez: $5,000
def. Andre Soukhamthath: $2,500

Jack Hermansson: $2,500
def. Bradley Scott: $5,000

Dustin Ortiz: $10,000
def. Hector Sandoval: $2,500

Rani Yahya: $15,000
def. Henry Briones: $2,500

Jose Quinonez: $2,500
def. Diego Rivas: $2,500

Joseph Morales: $2,500
def. Roberto Sanchez: $2,500

Jordan Rinaldi: $2,500
def. Alvaro Herrera: $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: $3,775,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,098,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 114 video highlights: Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno

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After getting dominated in the first round, Sergio Pettis shut down Brandon Moreno’s takedown and took over on his feet.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) soundly outstruck Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) from the second frame into championship rounds to take home a unanimous decision via scores of 49-46 and 48-46 twice.

The flyweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 114 event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Twitter reacts to Sergio Pettis' victory over Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114

A new contender in the UFC flyweight division was decided Saturday when Sergio Pettis defeated Brandon Moreno in the UFC Fight Night 114 headliner.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) earned his fourth consecutive victory at 125 pounds when he defeated Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) by unanimous decision in the FS1-televised main event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. Early prelims streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Pettis’ victory over Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114.

* * * *

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, 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, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 114 results: Sergio Pettis outstrikes Brandon Moreno, earns unanimous decision

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After getting dominated in the first round, Sergio Pettis shut down Brandon Moreno’s takedown and took over on his feet.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) soundly outstruck Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) from the second frame into championship rounds to take home a unanimous decision via scores of 49-46 and 48-46 twice.

“I definitely had to face some adversity,” Pettis said afterward. “He came out there and put me in a very dangerous position. I had four rounds to prove I was a better man, and I did it.”

The flyweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 114 event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Moreno, No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, came in hoping to get a big win in front of his native Mexico and gave the crowd high hopes early. A kick from Pettis allowed him to take the fight to the mat, and he quickly scrambled to back control, where he set up a choke. Unable to free himself, Pettis spent the opening frame fighting Moreno’s hands and biding his time.

Pettis had the opportunity to give Moreno the same treatment in the second round when he caught a kick. Instead, he stood back and settled in with striking. Moreno took him back down but was forced to retreat after Pettis used a triangle choke to initiate a scramble.

A little too loose for his own good, Moreno took several hard right hands as he channeled martial arts movies with his movement and left his head blatantly exposed. Pettis figured out he could land kicks as Moreno circled away, and head kicks started to land.

Pettis did his best work in the third frame, picking apart Moreno on the feet and opening a cut with a head kick. Gone was the smile on Moreno’s face as he bled and met diminishing returns with takedown attempts.

“His standup surprised me a lot,” Pettis said. “He gave me a different look. Kind of made me question my look, like an open style I had to adjust to.”

By the fourth round, Pettis no longer needed to fear the takedown. Moreno tried to make up some ground on the feet and instead caught more shots to the dome as sharp combinations cut off his wide attacks.

Told the fight was even by his corner, Moreno charged into a takedown in the final frame. He had his moment, yet he was unable to land any significant offense, and Pettis escaped to his feet, where he continued to control the stand-up action.

“I noticed he had his left hand down a lot, so I kept poking him with that jab,” Pettis said afterward. “He kept circling toward my left low kick, and I’ve got a funky switch-kick that I was catching him with. I just had to adjust my style, and it all worked out.”

Asked whom he’d like to take on next after taking out a fellow up-and-comer, Pettis deferred to the UFC in lieu of a title shot.

“I’ve got to wait for the higher powers to tell me what I want,” he said. “Obviously, I’d like a title shot, but there’s a lot of things I need to polish up to get there.”

UFC Fight Night 114 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

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

Who ya got?! Fighters weigh in on Brandon Moreno vs. Sergio Pettis at UFC Fight Night 114

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MEXICO CITY – Flyweights are on display when the UFC returns to Mexico on Saturday, including a home-grown fan favorite in the main event.

UFC Fight Night 114 takes place at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

In the headliner, Mexico’s own Brandon Moreno (14-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) takes on Sergio Pettis (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in a crucial fight for the 125-pound title picture. Moreno is a slight favorite on his home turf.

Our staff picks are in. But who are some of the other fighters on the UFC Fight Night 114 card picking in the main event?

Check out the video above to get their picks.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 114 staff picks: Brandon Moreno, Alexa Grasso big picking faves on home turf

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Pettis
vs.
Moreno
Grasso
vs.
Markos
Jouban
vs.
Price
Bandenay
vs.
Bravo
Alvey
vs.
Evans
Perez
vs.
Soukhamthath
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 70-55
moreno2017
Moreno
(60%)
grasso2017
Grasso
(66%)
jouban2017
Jouban
(65%)
bravo2017
Bravo
(83%)
alvey2017
Alvey
(55%)
aperez2017
Perez
(73%)
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 81-49
trophy copy 2015 Champion
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
soukhamthath2017
Soukhamthath
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 80-50
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
price2017
Price
Bandenay revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 80-50
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
alvey2017
Alvey
soukhamthath2017
Soukhamthath
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 79-51
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 78-52
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 76-54
trophy copy 2016 Champion
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
price2017
Price
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 75-55
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 74-56
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 74-56
trophy copy 2014 Champion
spettis2017
Pettis
markos2017
Markos
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
soukhamthath2017
Soukhamthath
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 73-57
moreno2017
Moreno
grasso2017
Grasso
jouban2017
Jouban
bravo2017
Bravo
revans2017
Evans
aperez2017
Perez

For the fifth time overall, and the fourth time in the capital city, the UFC touches down in Mexico this week.

UFC Fight Night 114 takes place Saturday at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. The card 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, Mexico’s own Brandon Moreno (14-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) takes on Sergio Pettis (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in a fight between flyweight up-and-comers. Moreno is a slight betting favorite at the sports books, but he’s got a big edge in the picks from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts. Only one of our pickers is taking Pettis to win on Moreno’s home turf.

In the co-feature, another homegrown fan favorite, Alexa Grasso (9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), takes on Randa Markos (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in a women’s strawweight fight. Like Moreno, Grasso is a slight betting favorite. And like him, she’s getting most of the love from our staff members at a 9-1 clip, just like Moreno.

Also on the main card, Alan Jouban (15-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) meets Niko Price (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in a welterweight bout, and he’s a big favorite from our pickers at 8-2. Featherweight newcomer Humberto Bandenay (13-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) takes on Martin Bravo (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) on short notice. Bravo is the card’s biggest favorite at 3-1, and he has a 9-1 edge in our picks.

Sam Alvey (30-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC) meets former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (19-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) in a middleweight bout. And despite being a -160 favorite, Alvey finds himself on the outs with our pickers. Evans is getting a 9-1 nod. And to open the main card, Alejandro Perez (17-6-1 MMA, 3-1-1 UFC) takes on Andre Soukhamthath (11-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at bantamweight. It’s a pick’em fight at the betting window, but Perez has a 7-3 nod from our pickers.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Moreno, Grasso, Jouban, Bravo, Alvey and Perez are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 114, where lighter fighters are set for Mexico City's altitude

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Filed under: News, UFC

On Saturday the UFC heads back to the rarified air of Mexico City, which sits 7,200 feet above sea level. Perhaps as a nod to that high altitude, the promotion has stacked the card with lighter-weight competitors, with the majority of the bouts taking place at bantamweight or lighter.

One of those sub-135-pound battles gets top billing. Young rising flyweight stars Brandon Moreno and Sergio Pettis headline this event. It’s a big fight for Moreno, who goes by one of the more colorful nicknames in the UFC, “The Assassin Baby.” Just three fights into his UFC career, the promotion tasks the Mexican-born competitor with headlining an event in his home country against an opponent with much more UFC experience.

In the co-main event, another young Mexican-born fighter, Alexa Grasso, looks to bounce back from her first career defeat when she meets the more tenured Randa Markos.

UFC Fight Night 114 takes place at Mexico City Arena, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Closing in

In a flyweight division in need of fresh challengers, the winner of the matchup between Moreno (14-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC), currently No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, and No. 8 ranked Pettis (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) could find himself one or two fights away from a title shot.

Moreno has come on like gangbusters since joining the UFC in October, going 3-0 while pocketing $100,000 with two fight-night bonus awards. The 23-year-old is exciting and charismatic, with an aggressive fighting style that will surely make him the fan favorite in his native Mexico.

Pettis, also 23, has much more octagon experience. A UFC competitor since 2013, he’s won his past three fights, all by decision. Pettis is a much more controlled and patient fighter than Moreno, and that could play a part in this contest. Neither of these two has gone five rounds, and doing so at altitude could prove taxing.

2. Looking for a star

The UFC bit hard upon signing Grasso, selling her as a future star. While she won her debut, defeating Heather Jo Clark, she dropped her second fight, to Felice Herrig. At UFC Fight Night 114, the 23-year-old Mexican fighter gets another tough test in Markos.

The 31-year-old Markos delivered one of the best performances of her career in her last outing while earning a split-decision win over former strawweight champion Carla Esparza. Markos changed up her training regime before that fight, and it paid dividends.

If Markos (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) can take out Grasso (9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and put together her first two-fight winning streak since 2013, she’ll be in line to face a ranked opponent.

The loss to Herrig was the first of Grasso’s career. Look to see how she bounces back from that defeat, what overall progress she has made, and how she handles the pressure of facing a fighter with more high-level experience than she has.

3. Unbeaten, but untested

Niko Price has had two short-notice UFC fights. He’s won both by stoppage, but his most recent victory was later ruled a no-contest due to a failed drug test for marijuana. At UFC Fight Night 114, fans get to see how Price fares with more than two weeks to prepare for an opponent. Price faces nine-fight UFC vet Alan Jouban at welterweight.

Unbeaten Price (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has never fought someone as well-rounded as Jouban (15-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who’s coming off a submission loss to Gunnar Nelson in his last bout. But before that, he was on a three-fight winning streak that included a decision win over Mike Perry. That Perry fight showed Jouban could stay with a smart game plan against an aggressive and maybe a little reckless opponent – adjectives that could also describe Price.

4. That’s a lot of stoppages

Martin Bravo hasn’t fought since he won Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” in November by knocking out Claudio Puelles. He meets UFC newcomer Humberto Bandenay at featherweight.

The 23-year-old Bravo is unbeaten as a pro, but he remains a developing prospect. He’s comfortable and aggressive wherever the fight may go, and he’s won five fights by submission and four via TKO.

Bravo faces 22-year-old Bandenay (13-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who despite being younger than Bravo (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), has six more fights to his name. Bandenay is on a five-fight winning streak, and he’s won each of those bouts by stoppage, including his most recent outing: a May submission of Salim Mukhidinov at KOTC.

5. Give it a second shot

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans enters his fight against Sam Alvey on a three-fight losing skid, the longest of his career. Evans made his middleweight debut in his last outing and dropped a split decision to Daniel Kelly. That loss came after a layoff of nearly a year. Now that he’s blown off the ring rust and has a feel for middleweight, don’t be surprised to see a much more active Evans (19-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) against Alvey (30-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC).

Alvey saw his four-fight winning streak come to an end in his last fight, an April unanimous-decision defeat to Thales Leites.

6. Looking to shine

With a Cage Warriors belt on his resume and an eight-fight winning streak to his name, Jack Hermansson defeated Scott Askham in his UFC debut. Hermansson followed that victory with a submission loss to Cezar Ferreira. In his third UFC bout, Hermansson earned a first-round knockout win over Alex Nicholson.

Hermansson (15-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) gets a chance to capitalize on that May KO win when he meets Brad Scott (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who’s alternated wins and losses throughout his six-fight UFC run. He most recently defeated Askham via split decision in March.

Both of these middleweights like to stay busy on the feet, so this could prove to be a fun scrap between two fighters looking to increase their name recognition in an increasingly crowded roster.

7. Stay off the ground

Three fights into his UFC career, and Team Alpha Male fighter Hector Sandoval looks like he could make a charge up the flyweight ranks. He’ll get a chance to do just that against No. 13-ranked Dustin Ortiz.

Sandoval has displayed quickness and good striking in the clinch, and he can take his opponent to the mat if he runs into issues on the feet. He packed all of those talents into his last fight, a first-round TKO win over Matt Schnell.

Ortiz (16-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC) is best known for his wrestling base, but he could have problems when it comes to Sandoval (14-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), who has a 71 percent takedown defense. If Ortiz does get this fight to the ground, expect him to keep it there since he has some of the best top control in the division.

Ortiz has gone 2-4 in his past six fights, including his first career submission loss in his last outing when Moreno stopped him.

8. That has to sting a bit

In July 2015, unranked bantamweights Henry Briones and Cody Garbrandt met at UFC 189. Garbrandt won that contest by unanimous decision. Four fights and 17 months later, Garbrandt claimed the bantamweight title, defeating Dominick Cruz. Briones was inactive during most of Garbrandt’s run, competing once when he lost to Douglas Silva de Andrade by third-round TKO in November.

Briones (16-6-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) faces longtime WEC/UFC competitor Rani Yahya (23-9 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in his return bout. Briones is best known as a brawler while Yahya, who enters this fight coming off a decision defeat to Joe Soto, has been trying to shed his reputation as a ground-control fighter by opening up his striking, something he did in his loss to Soto.

This could be a sleeper pick for slugfest of the night.

9. Fresh and unbeaten

Two unbeaten flyweights, Joseph Morales (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Roberto Sanchez (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims.

If you recall, Morales is the fighter Cynthia Calvillo implored UFC President Dana White to sign after her UFC 209 win. White did that after Morales knocked out former Cage Fury and Ring of Combat flyweight champion Sean Santella in March at Cage Fury 64. The victory gave the 22-year-old Team Alpha Male product six stoppages in eight fights.

Sanchez enters the UFC after winning the LFA flyweight title at LFA 14. The 31-year-old Sanchez took out Jerome Rivera that night, submitting him in the third round. The victory was Sanchez’s fifth consecutive submission victory.

10. Trying to stick

After spending time with RFA, WSOF, Legacy FC and a stint in “The Ultimate Fighter” house, Jordan Rinaldi got his opportunity to step up to the big show in May 2016, when he took on Abel Trujillo in a short-notice bout. Rinaldi represented himself well through the first two rounds, but he faded in the third, and that allowed Trujillo to touch him up in the striking department and earn the decision victory, bringing an end to Rinaldi’s five-fight winning streak.

At UFC Fight Night 114, Rinaldi matches up against a fighter who is more in line with his experience level, Alvaro Herrera, who is coming in off a submission loss to Vicente Luque in July 2016.

This lightweight fight might give Rinaldi (12-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) the opportunity to show off his ground chops as Herrera (9-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), a striker, is not known for his takedown defense.

For more on UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie