Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Max Holloway and UFC 218's other winning fighters?


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(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 218’s losing fighters?)

The UFC featherweight title was defended for the first time in more than three years on Saturday when Max Holloway successfully retained his title against Jose Aldo in UFC 218’s pay-per-view headliner.

Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) closed out the five-fight main card at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a third-round TKO of Aldo to extend his winning streak to 12.

Prior to the main event, Francis Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC), Henry Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Tecia Torres (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) made cases for title shots in their respective divisions, while former UFC champ Eddie Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) bounced back from a two-fight skid.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners 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 218’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Tecia Torres

Cynthia Calvillo

Should fight: Winner of Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza at UFC 219
Why they should fight: Torres continued to shine in the UFC strawweight division when she beat former Invicta FC champion Michelle Waterson for her third consecutive victory in the weight class.

A month ago it seemed guaranteed a Torres unanimous-decision victory would be enough to get the next title shot. Then Rose Namajunas stunned Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the 115-pound title at UFC 217, and the entire division was turned on its head.

Instead of fighting for the belt next, Torres, whose only pro loss came to Namajunas, will likely have to wait for a rematch to play out. That could take quite some time, which would mean another fight is necessary in order for “Tiny Tornado” to keep her momentum.

A title-eliminator matchup with the winner of Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and ex-champ Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who fight at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, would be an appropriate fight for the top contenders.

Eddie Alvarez

Dustin Poirier

Should fight: Dustin Poirier
Why they should fight: After a forgettable two-fight stint in which he lost the UFC lightweight title and then fought to a no-contest, Alvarez finally got a clean win on his record when he spoiled the undefeated run of former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje.

Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator champ, was eager to fight one of the most hyped fighters in the sport in Gaethje. No one had been able to figure out “The Highlight” prior, but Alvarez got the job done with a third-round TKO and is back on stable ground in the 155-pound division.

Considering he lost UFC gold to Conor McGregor – who still hasn’t fought since – Alvarez is aware he’s in no position to be fighting for the title in the near future. That leaves him looking to take exciting matchups similar to one he got with Gaethje, and there’s some bad blood out to be resolved with Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC).

Alvarez and Poirier had an exciting fight at UFC 211 in May that ended in a no-contest after Alvarez landed an illegal knee. He claims it was accidental, but Poirier insists it was because he wanted out of a fight that was on the verge of being lost. “The Diamond” has been clamoring for a rematch since, and he stumped for it again after a win over Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 120 this past month. Now is the time to run it back.

Henry Cejudo

Demetrious Johnson

Should fight: Demetrious Johnson (or T.J. Dillashaw?)
Why they should fight: The rapid development of Cejudo’s skillset was a big talking point prior to UFC 218, but against Sergio Pettis, the Olympic gold medalist went back to his wrestling roots to earn a unanimous-decision victory.

Despite already failing in a title bid against UFC flyweight champ Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), Cejudo seems like he is the most equipped member of his weight class to dethrone “Mighty Mouse.” He provided another example of why when he snapped Pettis’ winning streak.

The initial meeting between Cejudo and Johnson didn’t take place that long ago, but Cejudo’s improvements since then have created a compelling argument for a rematch. The holdup, however, is the champ. Johnson will apparently look to defend his belt against bantamweight champ Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) in a super fight next, and if that happens, it leaves Cejudo left waiting.

Cejudo would either have to be sidelined or take another fight if the Johnson vs. Dillashaw matchup moves forward, but assuming it doesn’t (or Cejudo waits until after), there’s no more deserving contender.

Francis Ngannou

Stipe Miocic

Should fight: Stipe Miocic
Why they should fight: There weren’t many objections to the idea of Ngannou getting a heavyweight title shot before UFC 218. Now that he holds a win over Alistair Overeem, it’s a guarantee.

Ngannou continued his unbeaten run inside the octagon with his biggest win to date. He beat the former Strikeforce and DREAM champion by vicious first-round knockout, strengthening his argument even more as the man who should next challenger current heavyweight kingpin Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC).

Although Ngannou’s dominant style still leaves many questions about potential flaws in his game, no one has been able to expose them so far. He’s earned his keep, but if anyone is capable of figuring him out, it’s champion Miocic.

Max Holloway

Should fight: Frankie Edgar
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Holloway should fight Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) next for his second title defense.

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Dominick Cruz-Jimmie Rivera, Cynthia Calvillo-Carla Esparza on tap for UFC 219 in Las Vegas

Two former champions are set to return to the octagon at UFC 219, which marks the organization’s final event of the year.

Former UFC bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will see action for the first time since losing the title to Cody Garbrandt, when he takes on the 20-fight winning streak of Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC). Also, former strawweight champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is set to clash with rising star Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

The UFC made the fights official today.

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Cruz, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, dropped the 135-pound belt to Garbrandt at UFC 207 last December. Cruz opted to take time off since and was originally angling for a fight against the winner of November’s title fight between Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw.Cruz will have to get a win under his belt first, though.

Beating No. 5 Rivera has proven to be no easy task, however. After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

No. 5-ranked Esparza, meanwhile, has been up and down down since losing her title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185 in March 2015. She won her most recent bout, though, using a takedown-heavy game plan to top Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 112 in June.

Esparza will attempt to avoid becoming a signature win for No. 12-ranked Calvillo, who has been on a tear since making her UFC debut on short notice at UFC 209 in March. Calvillo has gone 3-0 inside the octagon in short order and will attempt to become the first and only UFC fighter with four victories in 2017.

Also set for UFC 219, per the Las Vegas Review Journal, is a flyweight contest between Louis Smolka (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Matheus Nicolau (12-1-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).

The UFC 219 currently includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Claudia Gadelha believes win vs. Jessica Andrade should earn new stab at UFC strawweight title

Shortly after a quick and dominant UFC 212 win, Claudia Gadelha gave an honest assessment of her situation: She didn’t think it was time for a new title shot just yet.

Her argument was that, having suffered two losses to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC), she feared the interest – including the fans’ – would not be there just yet. So Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) got herself an all-Brazilian matchup against fellow title challenger Jessica Andrade (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC), instead.

The two are now set to meet at UFC Fight Night 117. And, if her previous back-to-back wins over Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Cortney Casey didn’t do it, Gadelha is hoping that this one will do the trick.

“I think that, getting past Jessica, I won’t have anything else to prove to anyone,” Gadelha told MMAjunkie. “I had two close fights with Joanna. If I don’t deserve that title shot, I don’t think anyone else does.”

Gadelha’s history with the champ goes back to December 2014, when Jedrzejczyk had yet to take the title. The fight ended in a split call for the Polish fighter, but it carried some controversy. Their second meeting, this time a title affair in July 2016, also went the distance – but a more dominant performance earned the champ an undeniable, unanimous call.

A second title shot for Gadelha, of course, wouldn’t necessarily mean a trilogy: After all, a scheduled UFC 217 bout between Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas could see the UFC’s 125-pound belt changing hands on Nov. 4.

Gadelha isn’t really counting on that scenario, though.

“I think Rose doesn’t stand a chance against Joanna,” Gadelha said.

In any case, before that conversation is even relevant, Gadelha must get past Andrade on Sept. 22. The strawweight bout is set to co-headline the night’s FXX-televised main card from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

On the one hand, the matchup between the two compatriots isn’t exactly unreasonable: Fresh off her own loss to Jedrzejczyk, Andrade is ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s strawweight rankings, while Gadelha, who rides a two-fight streak, currently sits at No. 2.

But, on the other, it wasn’t what Gadelha had in mind.

“I’m coming off a win, so I’d rather be fighting someone who was also coming off a win,” Gadelha said.

Gadelha, however, also wanted two other things. One of them, as she’d told MMAjunkie after UFC 212, was to stay active in competition. The other, as someone who grew up fascinated by the philosophy of martial arts, was fighting in Japan, which is why she had barely stepped out of the octagon at June’s UFC 212 before she requested the spot.

“All the respect, the hierarchy – that’s very important to me,” Gadelha said. “I wanted to fight in Japan one day. And since (the UFC doesn’t) go there every day – or even every year – I wanted to be on this card, so I asked for it.”

Gadelha had been waiting for an opponent but, with six weeks to go before the event, no one had accepted the challenge. So, after catching wind of Andrade’s willingness to fight her, Gadelha took matters into her own hands with a social media callout that was promptly accepted.

But if Andrade wasn’t Gadelha’s original target, then who was?

“It’s a soap opera at this point, but I think Carla Esparza and I should fight,” Gadelha said. “I think this fight should happen. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. I also even thought about Felice (Herrig), who’s coming off a few wins. I did want to fight someone coming off a win. But then nobody said yes, only Jessica.”

Gadelha has, indeed, been mentioning her interest in Esparza for quite some time. But she’s not the only one – in fact, the division’s inaugural champ seems to be quite the popular callout target. Yet, even though Esparza has talked about her own struggles to stay active, the Gadelha matchup never materialized.

Why? Gadelha has a theory.

“I don’t know what goes on with her,” Gadelha said. “I don’t think she’s professional. I think she fights more for the money. She has no goals in the division. She was the champion once, but I think she got very lax. She fights for the sake of it. She doesn’t really want anything, she has no objectives in there.”

Gadelha, on her end, has plenty of goals. And pursuing them has meant changing cities, teams and, more recently, countries. Now, established in Albuquerque – with a pup named Pablo to keep her company – she believes she’s living her best moment, personally and professionally.

Instagram Photo

Being at a good place, however, has in no way translated to complacency. Quite the contrary, after landing her much-desired spot in Japan, Gadelha has made sure to adjust her entire routine so that the long trip, the timezone and fight time are not a problem.

After weeks of waking up at 5:50 a.m. to prepare her body for 7 a.m. sessions of physical preparation and 11 a.m. sparring sessions, Gadelha says her body is ready to go.

“I’m waking up when I would be waking up there, sleeping when I should be sleeping there, and training when I should be fighting there,” Gadelha said. “This is what’s been very productive in my training: I can move around my coaches and the people who help out in my camp so it all revolves around me.”

With concerns about location removed from the equation, Gadelha can focus her energy simply on getting past her opponent. And she already has the blueprint to make that bit happen.

“Jessica has some good physical characteristics: She’s very strong, she’s got a lot of heart, and she moves forward against her opponents,” Gadelha said. “I think we have similar physical features, as I’m also one of the strongest in the division.

“But I don’t think she’s a very technical fighter. I think she lacks a lot in that department, and that’s where I have to work.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Cynthia Calvillo plans to be challenger who dethrones UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5526901832001
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Cynthia Calvillo has been in the UFC for less than six months, but she already has plans for her UFC title.

Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who splashed on the UFC scene in March, has quickly rattled off three consecutive victories to put herself on the map as a UFC strawweight contender. She’s looking to continue her quick ascent and named former champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) or Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) as potential opponents she thinks could elevate her into title contention.

“I’m going to get that fourth win before the end of the year, for sure,” Calvillo said backstage at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday. “Hopefully maybe November, December we’ll found out soon. … I’m ranked No. 8 now (in the UFC rankings). Hopefully we can get Carla Esparza, No. 7, or Michelle Waterson, No. 6. Get two more fights and get that title – either of them.

“They’re both in the way of what I want, and that’s that belt.”

Calvillo’s ultimate goal, naturally, is to claim a UFC belt. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) has ruled the division with an iron fist since winning the belt in March 2015, and thus far has rarely been challenged through five consecutive title defenses.

With Rose Namajunas likely to be the next to challenge Jedrzejczyk for the belt, Calvillo said she hopes the Polish champ is able to retrain because she wants to be the one to take away the gold.

“If (Namajunas’) wrestling game gets on point and she can hold her down, maybe she can (win),” Calvillo said. “But I don’t know. I think I’m going to give Joanna that first loss.”

During her short UFC stint, Calvillo has been pegged by UFC President Dana White as someone with “star” potential, leading to a noticeable promotional push. The fact she’s been embraced by White has led to some criticism by fellow fighters, but Calvillo said she relishes it.

“One hundred percent (I get hate),” Calvillo said. “They want to fight whoever has attention. They want what I got already. It is what it is. I’m happy. I’m more than happy. I want them to line up and fight me because I love fighting. It’s better than not having fights.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Santiago Ponzinibbio, other UFC Fight Night 113 winners?,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5510140669001
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The UFC’s second event in Scotland ended in stunning fashion when Santiago Ponzinibbio defeated Gunnar Nelson just 82 seconds into Sunday’s headliner at SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2) closed out the six-fight main card on FS1 with a thunderous finish of Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) to extend his winning streak to five and put his name on the radar of potential contenders in the welterweight division.

Prior to the Argentinian’s big moment, Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC), Jack Marshman (22-6 MMA, 2-1 UFC), Khalil Rountree (6-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Justin Willis (5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned important victories.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners 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 Fight Night 113’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Justin Willis

Justin Willis

Should fight: Mark Godbeer
Why they should fight: It was far from exciting, but Willis joined the UFC heavyweight division with a winning performance when he defeated James Mulheron by unanimous decision.

Willis and Mulheron are two of the many new signings who have come into the heavyweight division over the past several months. It wasn’t a performance that bred much desire to see him compete again, but hopefully Willis’ sophomore octagon appearance will shed some of the memories of the fight. Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is typically can put on an entertaining affair, and ideally his style would help pull something different out of “Big Pretty,” which is likely why he was booked as his debut opponent in the first place before withdrawing due to injury.

Khalil Rountree

Khalil Rountree

Should fight: Steve Bosse
Why they should fight: After a slow start to his UFC career, Rountree has seemingly turned a corner. He picked up his second consecutive knockout, this time brutalizing Scotland’s own Paul Craig with strikes in the first round.

Rountree dropped his first two UFC appearances and showed obvious flaws in the process. His past two fights have been completely different, though, and now “The Ultimate Fighter 23” finalist has some momentum behind him in the light heavyweight division.

If the 27-year-old can continue to put together his skill set he’s going to be an interesting fighter to watch at 205 pounds. Bosse (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is primarily a stand-up fighter, as well, and has shown throughout his UFC career that he packs a massive shot. Rountree has yet to meet his equal in the striking department inside the octagon, but Bosse might be that.

Jack Marshman

Jack Marshman

Should fight: Winner of Jack Hermansson vs. Bradley Scott at UFC Fight Night 114
Why they should fight: Despite being the biggest favorite on the card, Marshman barely escaped with victory when he avoided a late rally from Ryan Janes to earn a unanimous decision.

Marshman has alternated wins and losses over his three-fight UFC tenure, but the one constant theme in his fights has been excitement. The Welshman delivered another fan-pleasing performance against Janes, and if he can continue to produce those type of fights, will be a lasting member of the UFC’s middleweight division.

Two names also known for delivering entertaining bouts are Hermansson (15-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Scott (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who are scheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night 114 on Aug. 5. Both fighters would mesh well with Marshman inside the octagon, and more importantly, are logical matchups to take place on the UFC’s European circuit of events.

Paul Felder

Paul Felder

Should fight: Evan Dunham
Why they should fight: Felder crossed into enemy territory and delivered a statement performance when he put Stevie Ray to sleep in the first round of their lightweight bout in front of a hostile Scottish crowd.

“The Irish Dragon” showed no mercy for Ray, crushing him with devastating knees and elbows before the referee finally stopped the action just under 4 minutes into the contest. It was an emotional moment for Felder, who learned of his father’s passing just days before his training camp began.

Felder didn’t let the situation deter him, though, and he emerged with his fourth victory in five fights. His only setback in that stretch came in a September fight against Francisco Trinaldo that was called off by the doctor due to a gruesome cut.

There’s no doubt Felder wants to try to break his way into the 155-pound rankings, and facing a longtime veteran of the organization in Dunham (18-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) would be a significant opportunity. Dunham is capable of wearing down any opponent and breaking them over the course of 15 minutes. Felder has shown no instincts of quitting during his career, and that asset alone would make for a compelling affair.

Cynthia Calvillo

Cynthia Calvillo

Should fight: Carla Esparza
Why they should fight: Calvillo passed her toughest test to date when she went into Joanne Calderwood’s backyard and pulled off a unanimous-decision victory.

Calvillo has been part of the UFC roster for less than four months, but already she’s managed to go 3-0 with two pay-per-view main-card appearances and a co-main event spot on FS1. UFC President Dana White has made his adoration for Calvillo no secret, and it appears she’s on the fast track to the top.

After submitting her opponent in the first two UFC fights, Calvillo was forced to go to a decision and show off new elements of her game against Calderwood. She’s going to continue to improve with the support of a solid camp at Team Alpha Male, and at this point the sky could be the limit.

Calvillo is not yet at the level where she’s getting attention as a possible challenger for strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. However, with a few more solid wins, she will be right there. Assuming she keeps progressing at her current rate in terms of competition, a matchup with Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) could be the right fit.

Esparza was the first UFC 115-pound champion, but since then she’s had a bit of a rough run. “The Cookie Monster” is coming off a win over Maryna Moroz, and it would be interesting to see how her wrestling-oriented offensive style would clash with Calvillo’s slick grappling game.

Santiago Ponzinibbio

Should fight: Neil Magny
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Ponzinibbio should fight Magny (19-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 112 salaries: B.J. Penn earns highest purse despite tough loss

B.J. Penn took a loss at UFC Fight Night 112, but he earned the most money of any fighter on the card.

Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) earned $150,000 for his majority-decision defeat to Dennis Siever this past Sunday. Penn knocked down Siever (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) in the second round and had a chance to come away with the win then and there. It was a close fight that, had it gone the other way, would’ve resulted in another $150,000 for Penn. Siever, fighting for the first time in two years, took home $39,000 for showing and earned another $39,000 for the win.

MMAjunkie today obtained the disclosed payouts from the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, which oversaw UFC Fight Night 112 on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla, which aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, Kevin Lee took home $44,000 for showing and another $44,000 for the win over Michael Chiesa. As previously reported, the submission victory also earned Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus, bringing his total earnings to $138,000. Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) earned $36,000 for the fight and lost out on another possible $36,000 thanks to the controversial finish.

Elsewhere on the main card, former champion Johny Hendricks earned $100,000 for showing and stood to earn another $100,000 for the win, which didn’t happen as Tom Boetsch finished him in the first round. Boetch earned $67,000 to show, $67,000 to win and also received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Felice Herrig earned $25,000 for showing and another $25,000 winning. Her opponent, Justine Kish, took home $14,000 for showing.

For his UFC debut, Dominick Reyes earned $12,000 for showing and $12,000 for his impressive victory in addition to his $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

The total disclosed payout for UFC Fight Night 112 was $1,225,000.

The full list of UFC Fight Night 112 salaries included:

Kevin Lee: $88,000 (includes $44,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Chiesa $36,000

Tom Boetsch: $134,000 (includes $67,000 win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks $100,000

Felice Herrig: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Justine Kish $14,000

Dominick Reyes: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Joachim Christensen $16,000

Tim Means: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Garcia $31,000

Dennis Siever: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. B.J. Penn: $150,000

Clay Guida: $110,000 (includes $55,000 win bonus)
def. Erik Koch: $24,000

Marvin Vettori: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Vitor Miranda: $18,000

Carla Esparza: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Maryna Moroz: $23,000

Darrell Horcher: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Devin Powell: $10,000

Jared Gordon: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Michel Quinones: $10,000

Tony Martin: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Johnny Case: $23,000

Jeremy Kimball: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Stansbury: $12,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Carla Esparza not rushing into Joanna Jedrzejczyk title rematch: 'If I go there, I want to win'

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

OKLAHOMA CITY – Former champion Carla Esparza may have landed herself back on the win column, but she sees work to be done ahead of a new stab at the title.

Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) used a superb takedown game to outwork Maryna Moroz (8-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) en route to a unanimous-decision win at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event. Following the triumph, which snapped a more than yearlong winless stretch, Esparza said in the octagon that she believes to be at least in the general vicinity of strawweight gold.

“I know I’m not far away from getting my rematch (with champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk),” Esparza said following the FS2-televised preliminary-card bout at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Speaking to reporters backstage, Esparza reiterated that she feels she’s – if not in the championship mix – at least on the brink. But, at the same time, she’s not in a rush to get a new fight with Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 BMMA), who has defended the belt five times since taking it from Esparza at UFC 185.

“I’m taking it a fight at a time,” Esparza said. “I’ve had a long layoff, and I really want to just feel comfortable. That’s the fight, or any top contender fight. If I ever (get another title shot), I really want to feel confident and ready. I don’t want to jump in there and rush into it. If I go there, I want to win.”

Esparza, who became the UFC’s first 115-pound champ after winning the 20th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” was knocked out in the second round of her encounter with Jedrzejczyk. She’s since fought three times, with two unanimous-decision wins and a split-call loss to Randa Markos sandwiched in between.

While Esparza was still “weathering through some ring rust” when she met Markos in February, she said she really found her groove against Moroz – especially after the first round. But it did take some adjustments.

“I was caught off-guard; her wrestling was a lot better than I thought,” Esparza said. “I’d studied a lot of footage, and I’d not seen her defend one takedown, ever. So I was like, ‘This girl is defending my takedowns.’”

Esparza takes a self-critical approach to her displays, and makes sure to look back on tape and fix her own holes instead of focusing on anyone else’s. But asked whether she agreed with the criticism that she lacked offense from the top, she – politely – stood by her display.

“I think that’s fair,” Esparza said. “Honestly, I really wanted to let go, but she was very good at neutralizing me. At this level in the game, you’re going to run into people who are just as good as you. It’s going to be hard.

“If I’d fought someone who has two fights and is new, I could let go on them all day. But considering how good her submission game is off her back, I think I did OK.”

Moving forward, Esparza says she’s willing to fight whomever gets put in front of her. But, currently ranked No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s strawweight rankings, she expects that beating No. 11 Moroz (who’s No. 10 in the official UFC rankings) should award her a top-10 opponent.

To hear more from Esparza, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 112 post-event facts: Don't let controversy overshadow Kevin Lee's success

The UFC’s return to Oklahoma City, Okla., provided plenty of fight time, with eight of the 13 fights on Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 lineup at Chesapeake Energy Arena going to a decision.

Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) didn’t need the scorecards to win the lightweight main event against Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), but he could have used better officiating; his first-round submission win was overshadowed by a premature stoppage from referee Mario Yamasaki.

Nevertheless, “The Motown Phenom” got another notable win, helping advance his status in the UFC lightweight division. For more on the numbers to come out of Sunday’s event, check out 50 post-event facts from UFC Fight Night 112.

* * * *


Clay Guida

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $182,500.

Debuting fighters went 2-1 at the event.

Lee, Tim Boetsch, Dominick Reyes and Jeremy Kimball earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 112 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 112 drew an announced attendance of 7,605 for a live gate of $549,302.

Betting favorites went 9-4 on the card.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:21:37.

Main card

Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee

Lee’s five-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is tied with Al Iaquinta for the third longest active streak in the division behind Tony Ferguson (nine) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (seven).

Lee’s nine UFC victories since 2012 in lightweight competition are most in the division.

Lee has earned eight of his nine career stoppage victories by submission.

Lee’s three-fight submission streak in UFC competition is the longest among active fighters.

Michael Chiesa

Lee has earned his past four victories by stoppage.

Lee has completed at least one takedown against 10 of his 11 UFC opponents.

Lee’s 25 takedowns since 2014 in UFC lightweight competition are most in the division.

Chiesa has suffered all three of his career losses by stoppage.

Chiesa failed to complete a takedown for the first time in his career.

Tim Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) improved to 3-1 since he returned to the UFC middleweight division in July 2016.

Tim Boetsch

Boetsch has earned his past four UFC victories by stoppage.

Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) fell to 1-1 since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in February.

Hendricks fell to 1-4 in his past five fights.

Hendricks has suffered both of his career stoppage losses by knockout.

Felice Herrig

Felice Herrig’s (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Herrig’s three-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Herrig has earned eight of her 13 career victories by decision.

Justine Kish (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had her six-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of her career.

Dominick Reyes

Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned six of his seven career victories by first-round stoppage.

Reyes’ 29-second victory marked the second fastest stoppage by any debuting light heavyweight in UFC history behind Ryan Jimmo’s seven-second win at UFC 149.

Joachim Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

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

Dennis Siver

Dennis Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) returned to competition after a more than two-year layoff and earned his first victory since October 2014.

Siver improved to 4-3 (with one no-contest) since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in April 2012.

Siver has earned his past six UFC victories by decision. He hasn’t earned a stoppage victory since November 2010.

B.J. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) suffered his fifth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2010.

B.J. Penn

Penn fell to 1-7-1 in his past nine UFC appearances dating back to April 2010.

Penn fell to 0-3 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in July 2014.

Penn has been outlanded 747 to 312 in significant strikes during his past nine UFC fights.

Penn has suffered eight of his 12 career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Clay Guida

Clay Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC lightweight division. He earned his first victory in the weight class since June 2011.

Guida’s 63 takedowns landed in UFC competition are fifth most in company history behind Georges St-Pierre (87), Gleison Tibau (84), Frankie Edgar (67) and Demetrious Johnson (65).

Guida has attempted 172 takedowns during his UFC career, third most in company history behind Demian Maia (189) and Edgar (189).

Erik Koch (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) fell to 2-4 in his past six UFC appearances.

Koch fell to 2-2 since returning to the UFC lightweight division in February 2014.

Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) improved to 2-1 since losing the UFC strawweight title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March 2015.

Esparza has completed at least one takedown against all five of her UFC opponents.

Esparza has completed 16 takedowns in her three UFC victories.

Maryna Moroz (8-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has suffered both of her career losses by decision.

Devin Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by decision.

Michel Quinones (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his five-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since November 2012.

Quinones suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Johnny Case (22-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Jeremy Kimball

Case suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Kimball (15-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has earned 12 of his 15 career victories by stoppage.

Josh Stansbury (8-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, 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

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 112, with Johnny Cash, Zeppelin, DMX

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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 Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City, Okla., went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Kevin Lee def. Michael Chiesa via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:37

Kevin Lee: “First Day Out” by Tee Grizzly

Michael Chiesa: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent

Tim Boetsch def. Johny Hendricks via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:46

Tim Boetsch: “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash

Johny Hendricks: “I’ll Sing About Mine” by Josh Abbott Band

Felice Herrig def. Justine Kish via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)

Felice Herrig: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

Justine Kish: “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin

Dominick Reyes def. Joachim Christensen via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:29

Dominick Reyes: “Congratulations” by Post Malone feat. Quavo

Joachim Christensen: “Holy Moly” by J Mix feat. Hakeem

Tim Means def. Alex Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Tim Means: “Slipping” by DMX

Alex Garcia: “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte

Dennis Siver def. B.J. Penn via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-27)

Dennis Siver: “Last Resort” by Papa Roach

B.J. Penn: “Hawaii 78″/”E Ale E” by Israel Kamakawlwo’Ole

Clay Guida def. Erik Koch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-26, 30-27)

Clay Guida: “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue

Erik Koch: “C’Mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise)” by Tiesto vs. Diplo

Marvin Vettori def. Vitor Miranda via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Marvin Vettori: “Falling Away From Me” by Marvin Vettori

Vitor Miranda: “Save Me” by Remy Zero

Carla Esparza def. Maryna Moroz via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Carla Esparza: “Bodies” by Drowning Pool

Maryna Moroz: “BomBom” by Macklemore & Ryan lewis feat. The Teaching

Darrell Horcher def. Devin Powell via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Darrell Horcher: “Miracle” by Nonpoint

Devin Powell: “We’re Alive” by Eyenine

Jared Gordon def. Michel Quinones via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:24

Jared Gordon: “Flash” by Queen

Michel Quinones: “Keep It Thoro” by Prodigy

Tony Martin def. Johnny Case via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Tony Martin: “The Last Breath” by Future

Johnny Case: “Soul to Squeeze” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Jeremy Kimball def Josh Stansbury via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:21

Jeremy Kimball: “You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo

Josh Stansbury: “Many Men” by 50 Cent

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total passes $13 million

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Fighters from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $182,500.

UFC Fight Night 112 took place at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. The main card aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

The third highest non-PPV event payout of the year saw four fighters earn a maximum non-title payout. Veterans Tim Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC), Dennis Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC), B.J. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC), and Clay Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) each took home $20,000 for making 21 or more appearances under the program structure.

The full UFC Fight Night 112 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Kevin Lee: $10,000
def. Michael Chiesa: $5,000

Tim Boetsch: $20,000
def. Johny Hendricks: $15,000

Felice Herrig: $2,500
def. Justine Kish: $2,500

Dominick Reyes: $2,500
def. Joachim Christensen: $2,500

Tim Means: $10,000
def. Alex Garcia: $5,000

Dennis Siver: $20,000
def. B.J. Penn: $20,000

Clay Guida: $20,000
def. Erik Koch: $10,000

Marvin Vettori: $2,500
def. Vitor Miranda: $5,000

Carla Esparza: $2,500
def. Maryna Moroz: $2,500

Darrell Horcher: $2,500
def. Devin Powell: $2,500

Jared Gordon: $2,500
def. Michel Quinones: $2,500

Tony Martin: $5,000
def. Johnny Case: $5,000

Jeremy Kimball: $2,500
def. Josh Stansbury: $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: $2,807,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $13,130,500

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie