UFC 218 post-event facts: Max Holloway and Francis Ngannou doing record-setting stuff

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Filed under: News, UFC

“The Blessed Era” continued in a big way on Saturday when UFC featherweight champon Max Holloway further added to his ridiculous resume with another victory over Jose Aldo in UFC 218[s pay-per-view headliner.

Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) defended his 145-pound title for the first time with a third-round TKO of Aldo (26-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“Blessed” wasn’t the only one to put himself in the record books, though. For more on the numbers to come out of the UFC’s penultimate pay-per-view of the year, check below for 60 post-event facts from UFC 218.

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General

Little Caesars Arena

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $185,000.

Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira earned $50,000 UFC 218 fight-night bonuses. All earned “Fight of the Night” bonuses (“Performance of the Night” awards weren’t issued).

Debuting fighters went 0-1 on the card.

UFC 218 drew an announced attendance of 17,587 for a live gate of $2 million.

Betting favorites went 10-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:11:47.

Main card

Max Holloway

Holloway extended his career-high winning streak to 12 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since August 2013.

Holloway, 25, became the youngest fighter in UFC history to earn 15 victories with the organization.

Holloway became the fifth fighter in UFC history to tally a 12-fight winning streak.

Holloway’s 12-fight winning streak in UFC competition is fifth longest in company history behind Anderson Silva (16), Jon Jones (13), Demetrious Johnson (13) and Georges St-Pierre (13).

Holloway’s 11-fight winning streak in UFC competition is third longest among active fighters in the company behind Johnson (13) and St-Pierre (13).

Holloway’s 11-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Max Holloway

Holloway’s 14 victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s nine stoppage victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s seven knockout victories in UFC featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Holloway became the first fighter in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in six separate fights.

Aldo fell to 1-3 in his past four fights after going undefeated for more than a decade.

Aldo has suffered all three of his career losses by stoppage. That includes three knockout losses in UFC competition.

Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou’s (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) six-fight winning streak in UFC heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Ngannou’s six-fight stoppage streak in UFC competition is the longest among active fighters.

Ngannou became the fourth modern-era UFC fighter to begin his career with the organization with six consecutive stoppages. Silva, Rich Franklin and Ronda Rousey also accomplished the feat.

Ngannou has earned all 11 of his career victories by stoppage.

Ngannou has earned five of his six UFC victories by knockout.

Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-5 UFC) fell to 7-2 in his past nine UFC appearances dating back to December 2014.

Overeem’s 11 knockout losses in MMA competition are the most of any active member on the UFC roster.

Henry Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has earned five of his six UFC victories by decision.

Sergio Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) fell to 4-2 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in March 2015.

Pettis suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Eddie Alvarez

Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) improved to 1-1 (with one no-contest) in his past three fights.

Alvarez has earned 23 of his 29 career victories by stoppage.

Alvarez and Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) combined for 227 significant strikes landed, the fourth highest single-fight total in UFC lightweight history.

Gaethje had his 18-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Tecia Torres’ (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) six victories in UFC strawweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Torres has earned nine of her 10 career victories by decision.

Michelle Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) suffered her first decision loss since June 30, 2007 – a span of 3,808 days (more than 10 years) and 18 fights.

Preliminary card

Paul Felder

Paul Felder (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) has earned five of his seven UFC victories by stoppage.

Charles Oliveira (22-8 MMA, 10-8 UFC) fell to 1-1 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in April 2017. He’s 3-4 in the organization at 155 pounds.

Charles Oliveira fell to 2-4 in his past six fights.

Charles Oliveira has suffered four of his seven career losses by knockout.

Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira

Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) improved to 3-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in September 2016.

Medeiros has earned all three of his UFC welterweight victories by stoppage.

Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira (17-4-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) was the first fight in UFC history to feature two knockdowns for each fighter.

Alex Oliveira (17-4-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) fell to 5-2 (with one no-contest) in UFC welterweight competition.

Alex Oliveira suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Drakkar Klose (8-1-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his nine-fight unbeaten streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Felice Herrig

Felice Herrig’s (14-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) five victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with champ Rose Namajunas for third most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight) and Torres (six).

Herrig’s four-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Herrig has earned nine of her 14 career victories by decision.

Cortney Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) has suffered all four of her UFC losses by decision.

Amanda Cooper

Amanda Cooper (3-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) earned the first knockout victory of her career.

Angela Magana (11-9 MMA, 0-3 UFC) suffered her fifth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since August 2011.

Magana suffered the first knockout loss of her career.

Abdul Razak Alhassan (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned all his career victories by first-round knockout.

Sabah Homasi (11-7 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage.

Dominick Reyes

Dominick Reyes (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned seven of his eight career victories by first-round stoppage. That includes both of his UFC wins.

Jeremy Kimball (15-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered all seven of his career losses by stoppage.

Kimball has suffered six of his seven career losses by submission.

Justin Willis (6-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned all of his career stoppage victories by knockout.

Allen Crowder (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by knockout.

For complete coverage of UFC 218, 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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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program total passes $16 million mark

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DETROIT – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC 218 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $185,000.

UFC 218 took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC), who earned a maximum program payout of $40,000 as a titleholder. “Blessed” defended his belt against Jose Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) by third-round TKO in the event headliner.

The full UFC 218 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Max Holloway: $40,000
Jose Aldo: $30,000

Alistair Overeem: $10,000
Francis Ngannou: $5,000

Henry Cejudo: $5,000
Sergio Pettis: $5,000

Eddie Alvarez: $5,000
Justin Gaethje: $2,500

Tecia Torres: $5,000
Michelle Waterson: $2,500

Charles Oliveira: $15,000
Paul Felder: $5,000

Alex Oliveira: $10,000
Yancy Medeiros: $10,000

David Teymur: $2,500
Drakkar Klose: $2,500

Felice Herrig: $5,000
Cortney Casey: $5,000

Amanda Cooper: $2,500
Angela Magana: $2,500

Sabah Homasi: $2,500
Abdul Razak Alhassan: $2,500

Jeremy Kimball: $2,500
Dominick Reyes: $2,500

Justin Willis: $2,500
Allen Crowder: $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: $5,847,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $16,170,500

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 results: Paul Felder survives Charles Oliveira's ground game, gets second-round KO

After nearly being choked in the first round, Paul Felder came roaring back in the second, and it was Charles Oliveira who paid the price.

With a series of brutal elbows from inside the guard, Felder (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) put Oliveira (22-8 MMA, 10-8 UFC) away at the 4:06 mark of Round 2.

The lightweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC 218 event at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on pay-per-view.

After an early takedown to start the fight, Felder soon found himself in trouble against the more experienced grappler. As Felder looked to scramble back to his feet, Oliveira locked up a D’arce choke and rolled to cinch it in tighter as Felder struggled to defend.

But no matter how tight the choke seemed to get, Felder wouldn’t give in. He did just enough to defend, following Oliveira from one position to the next, until finally Oliveira’s arms seemed to give out and it was Felder’s turn to go to work with strikes on the mat before the round ended.

Felder soon found himself back in a ground battle to start the second, only this time he maintained a more dominant top position, showing little fear of Oliveira’s submissions game as he worked from inside the Brazilian’s guard.

An elbow by Felder late in the round seemed to hurt Oliveira, who appeared to tap after the strike landed. But when referee Dan Miragliotta made no move to step in, Felder continued to batter Oliveira with several more hard elbows to the face as a clearly hurt Oliveira covered up and waited for the stoppage.

The win makes it three in a row for Felder, all by TKO or KO with his elbows playing an important role. Oliveira has now lost three of his last four.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 218 results include:

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

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on site in Detroit.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 breakdown: Betting advice, possible prop bets and fantasy studs

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC 218’s main-card bouts. Today, we look at wagering opportunities and fantasy advice.

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on PPV following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

ALSO SEE:

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Disclaimer: The following section is designed for entertainment purposes only. The unit sizes serve as a rough representation of the percentage of bankroll risked, as well as my confidence in said plays. If you intend on gambling, I suggest that you do so responsibly and legally, as it is at your own risk. All lines are drawn from 5Dimes.eu on the day this article was published (Dec. 1, 2017).

Dan’s plays

Props worth looking at:

Summary: Although these plays may appear chalky at first glance (particularly for props), they are some of my more confident choices in a card with crazy potential all around.

Between these two pairings of lightweight matchups, you would be hard-pressed to put together more potential for violence than what we have here.

For that reason, coupled with the playable value and asking price, these props could make for some sharp plays that could also help hedge any sides that you may have taken in the fights listed above (e.g. my straight bet on Paul Felder).

Straight plays:

  • Paul Felder -105 (1 unit)

Summary: For straight plays, I typically look for a fighter who I not only feel confident about (whether it be his sample size or the matchup at hand), but also has a low asking price.

In a card with some sizeable names and betting margins, this was one of the lone options that fit my criteria. I feel that Felder, who is the more durable and dependable fighter (for reasons I elaborate on in the fantasy section below), should be able to get things done here.

He is a considerably stronger striker who I believe has a good enough clinch and counter-wrestling game to shut down the grappling intentions of his opponent Oliveira. Coupled with the fact that Oliveira has been dropped or stopped in three of his past five fights, and I’m willing to make a degenerate play that Felder will be the last man standing.

Playable parlay pieces (my most confident favorites):

Summary: My recommended parlay pieces are typically my most confident picks that could serve as potential legs for whatever play you’re trying to put together. (For what it’s worth: The listed selection above pairs at +101)

For the reasons stated in my official breakdown, Torres earns herself a spot as one of my more confident picks. I’m a fan of Waterson, who has multiple tools on paper, but I feel that this is ultimately a tough matchup for her opportunism to shine through.

Torres is one of the more process-driven fighters in a division in which that can go a long way. Add in the fact that Torres is likely the better wrestler who also averages upward of 45 strikes thrown per round, and I like her chances.

As for my other recommendation, I elected to go with playing the over 2.5 rounds in Herrig vs. Casey. Not only are women’s overs one of your safer plays statistically, but I feel they can also make for sturdy parlay legs when you need them.

In this case, we have two game competitors who are physically durable and stylistically well-rounded (attributes that certainly help when looking at the over). Although I do see Felice getting the better of ground exchanges for her propensity to play on top (as opposed to Casey’s tendency to play off of her back), I ultimately have a hard time seeing either lady finishing the other.

Fights to avoid (live dogs, high intangibles, etc.):

  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Sabah Homasi vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan
  • Alex Oliveira vs. Yancy Medeiros
  • Justin Willis vs. Alan Crowder

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

10 reasons to watch UFC 218, including a surging champ and frightening Francis Ngannou

The UFC returns to Detroit on Saturday for UFC 218. The event, headlined by a matchup between featherweight champion Max Holloway and all-time great Jose Aldo, marks the promotion’s first trip to “The Motor City” since the infamous UFC 9 in 1996.

Aldo steps in on short notice to replace injured Frankie Edgar. Holloway and Aldo met in June with Holloway, the then-interim champion, unifying the titles when he stopped then-champ Aldo via second-round TKO.

In the co-headlining bout, rising heavyweight star Francis Ngannou looks to continue his meteoric climb up the rankings against veteran Alistair Overeem.

UFC 218 takes place at the new Little Caesars Arena, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Old boss vs. new boss

Time catches up with everyone. In MMA, it sometimes does so in a brutal fashion.

Between 2006 and 2014, Aldo ran off 18 straight wins. During that time, he defended the WEC featherweight title twice and the UFC title seven times. He was also considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. Today, a new generation of fans see Aldo, the No. 2 fighter in the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, as the guy Conor McGregor starched in 13 seconds and/or the man Holloway knocked out.

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At UFC 218, the 31-year-old Brazilian gets a chance to show newer fans he still has what it takes to sit atop the 145-pound division. His opponent, No. 1-ranked Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), who’s on an 11-fight winning streak, is out to prove it was no fluke when he stopped Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in June. If the 25-year-old Hawaiian achieves his goal, he’ll show the world the changing of the guard in the featherweight division is complete, and that a new generation has begun its run at 145 pounds.

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2. The next title contender?

Ngannou is terrifying. He’s made five trips to the octagon and finished each of his opponents. His two most recent wins, both first-round stoppages, earned him “Performance of the Night” honors. What makes Ngannou, who is ranked No. 9 at heavyweight, even scarier is the progress he’s displayed each time he’s stepped into the cage. What to watch for is how much he’s developed since his most recent fight, a January first-round knockout of ex-champ Andrei Arlovski.

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No. 2-ranked Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) has much more experience than Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), but as we saw in Ngannou’s bout against Arlovski, experience doesn’t always come into play against someone who possesses so much power, strength and raw ability. Overeem enters this contest on a two-fight winning streak. His most recent victory was a majority-decision win over former titleholder Fabricio Werdum.

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While there are no guarantees in this sport, Ngannou believes a win in Detroit will earn him a shot at the heavyweight title. And honestly, would you want to argue with him?

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3. Taking aim at the top

After losses to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and top contender Joseph Benavidez, Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) was booked to face Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC). A hand injury forced Cejudo from that matchup days before the event. But as fate would have it, both fighters won their next bouts. Those victories allowed the contest between the 125-pound contenders to be rebooked at UFC 218.

Cejudo, ranked No. 3 in the division, earned the first stoppage of his UFC career in his most recent fight with a knockout of Wilson Reis. The Olympic gold-medalist wrestler looked very comfortable with his striking in that contest.

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No. 6-ranked Pettis is unbeaten in his past four outings. With his most recent victory, he ended the 11-fight winning streak of rising star Brandon Moreno.

If Johnson is not booked to face bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, the winner of this fight could get the next shot at Johnson’s belt.

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4. It’s good to have goals

Here’s Justin Gaethje speaking about the overarching mission of his MMA career.

“When I’m done, I’m going to be known as the most violent mother(expletive) in this sport,” Gaethje recently told MMAjunkie Radio.

With 15 knockouts in 18 career victories, the former WSOF lightweight champion is well on his way to achieving that goal. In his UFC debut, Gaethje, No. 3 at lightweight, became the first man to knock out Michael Johnson in a contest that will be in the running for “Fight of the Year.”

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At UFC 218, Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) faces a man who also knows something about entertaining scraps: former UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC). The Philadelphia-based fighter has 15 knockouts in 28 victories. Alvarez is currently ranked No. 5 in the division.

Alvarez’s most recent fight ended in a no-contest after he landed illegal knees to Dustin Poirier’s head.

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5. The waiting is over

Two years after they were initially scheduled to meet, strawweights Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson face off in Detroit.

Since that scrapped bout, Torres is 3-1 while Waterson is 1-1. The fighter who defeated both? Current champion Rose Namajunas.

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Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who is currently ranked No. 7 in the division, has been itching for a top-10 opponent since she defeated Bec Rawlings in February. She didn’t get her wish in her most recent fight, a short-notice submission win over Juliana Lima, and she doesn’t get that wish against Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC). However, with the push the UFC is giving the unranked Waterson, a win here should earn “The Tiny Tornado” a ranked opponent in her next outing.

As for “The Karate Hottie,” who lost to Namajunas in April, she’s followed each of her four previous defeats with a stoppage victory.

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6. Racking up bonuses

Charles Oliveira’s UFC record of 10-7 appears average at best, but when you look at who he’s lost to, well, his record’s not so shabby. His three most recent losses were stoppage defeats to Holloway, Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas. However, that 10-7 mark does show he struggles against top-tier UFC talent.

After a stint at featherweight, Oliveira recently moved back to lightweight. He earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus in his return fight with a first-round submission of former Bellator champ Will Brooks.

Oliveira (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) steps in on short notice to face exciting striker Paul Felder at UFC 218. Felder (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) ended his two most recent fights by knockout. Both of those victories earned him “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

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7. Survive and move on

Two up-and-coming lightweights coming off upset victories meet in a prelim card scuffle. David Teymur earned a unanimous decision over Lando Vannata at UFC 209. Drakkar Klose, meanwhile, took a split decision over Marc Diakiese at the TUF 25 Finale. The Teymur vs. Vannata scrap earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Klose fed Diakiese a steady diet of leg kicks to hand his opponent his first defeat.

Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is unbeaten while Teymur (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has not lost since his professional debut. Normally the UFC refrains from this type of matchmaking, but with a division as stacked as lightweight, it makes sense to pair these two rising fighters.

8. Clearing a path

Felice Herrig enters UFC 218 riding a three-fight winning streak. In her two most recent outings, Herrig handed Justine Kish and Alexa Grasso their first defeats. After the Kish win, she spoke about the opportunities she feels are being denied her by the UFC.

Herrig faces strawweight rankings honorable mention Cortney Casey, who is coming off a win over former WSOF strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar.

If Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) adds Casey (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to her list of triumphs, she could force the promotion to give her the opportunity she’s looking for: a path to a potential title shot.

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9. Defense

Abdul Razak Alhassan opened his UFC career with a quick knockout of Charlie Ward. The win wasn’t too surprising considering Alhassan had ended all six of his previous fights by first-round knockout. None of those fights lasted more than 90 seconds. In his second UFC bout, Alhassan went the distance in a decision loss to Omari Akhmedov. The former judo player was taken down six times during that contest.

Alhassan (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) faces Sabah Homasi, who lost to Tim Means via second-round TKO in his most recent bout. Homasi (11-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) ran out of gas early, but he did his best to hang with Means. The one thing the American Top Team fighter did accomplish against Means that could serve him well against Alhassan were his two takedowns.

Alhassan looks like he has some potential, but if he can’t stop takedowns, that potential could go unrealized.

10. Light-heavyweight finishers

Dominick Reyes received some attention when he knocked out Jordan Powell with a head kick at LFA 13. The stoppage, which came moments after Powell gave a “that didn’t hurt bro” head shake, became a popular GIF.

A few weeks later, Reyes made his UFC light-heavyweight debut. Reyes lived up to his “Devastator” nickname when he earned a 29-second TKO win over Joachim Christensen. While the stoppage didn’t make the rounds as a GIF, it did earn Reyes a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Unbeaten in seven fights, with six stoppages, the 27-year-old Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) faces another finisher in Jeremy Kimball. The 26-year-old Kimball (15-6 MMA 1-1 UFC) earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus in his most recent bout. He knocked out Josh Stansbury in 91 seconds on the same card Reyes bested Christensen.

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For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Even if he beats Paul Felder at UFC 218, Charles Oliveira still plans return to 145-pound division

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DETROIT – A quick submission of Will Brooks wasn’t enough to convince Charles Oliveira to stay at lightweight. But what if a win over Paul Felder at Saturday’s UFC 218 follows?

Still not happening, says Oliveira.

That isn’t a total surprise. Immediately after beating the odds to finish Brooks with an impressive standing rear-naked choke at UFC 210 in April, Oliveira was clear in his intentions. But, after months of asking to return to the octagon, the option to step in for Al Iaquinta against Felder on short-notice was offered.

So Oliveira, as he’s been known to do, said yes.

“I’m a UFC employee – wherever they want me to fight, I will,” Oliveira told MMAjunkie. “But if they asked me to decide, I’d want to be at 145. We’re fighting Paul Felder at 155 and if, God bless, we win, we’ll ask to return to 145. And we’ll see what happens.”

Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) meets Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in an FS1-televised preliminary card bout at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and before the pay-per-view main card.

While Oliveira didn’t start his UFC run at featherweight, that’s been his official division since 2012. He’s fought 12 times between then and UFC 210, but only eight of those were 145-pound bouts – four of them, due to OIiveira’s misses, ended up at catchweight.

The most recent slip was a big one: at UFC Fight Night 98, Oliveira missed the limit in a meeting with Ricardo Lamas by an entire division. But that involved some special circumstances. Not only did Oliveira take it on short-notice, he had to deal with Mexico City’s notoriously tough altitude to shed the pounds.

“It all played a part,” Oliveira said. “I ended up coming in way overweight, and the UFC thought it’d be better if I moved up. That’s sort of what happened.”

Making 155 is, of course, easier. But the 145-pound division is where Oliveira believes he belongs. Rather than turning into a lightweight contender, he hopes back-to-back wins over the likes of Brooks and Felder grant him enough goodwill to return to not only where he feels the most comfortable – but where he wants to be champion.

“I beat Will Brooks, who’s a very tough guy and an ex-champion (at Bellator),” Oliveira said. “So it carries a lot of weight. And now there’s Paul Felder, who might not be ranked but who everyone knows is a very tough guy. Going back down after these two wins, I think we’re in the mix.

“Of course there’s Cub Swanson, there’s Frankie Edgar, these guys up there. But I think, getting back to 145, one or two fights and we’re close to the belt again.”

The matchup with Felder offers somewhat of a clear stylistic narrative. As his nine submission wins in the octagon show, Oliveira’s grappling is his biggest weapon. While Felder, who comes off back-to-back knockout wins, has a penchant for striking battles.

Given this general outlook, Oliveira believes Felder won’t want to take his chances on the ground.

“I think not only Paul Felder, but no one in the division wants to go to the mat with me,” Oliveira said. “I think Felder will have the same strategy: to trade blows and keep the distance, not wanting me to shorten the distance and take him down.

“I think none of them want that. I see it as classic: He’s a great striker, and I’m a guy with great ground game.”

But, if it comes down to it, Oliveira is in no way intimidated by the thought of meeting his opponent where he’s strongest.

“I’m at the best team in the world, Chute Boxe Dhiego Lima,” Oliveira said. “They’re the best at muay Thai. I’m at 100 percent, both on the feet and on the ground. I’ll surprise the world in this fight.”

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

And for more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Paul Felder: I love commentary but plan on 'fighting my balls off' at UFC 218

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DETROIT – Paul Felder wants to remind the world that fighting is his first and main priority when he steps back in the octagon Saturday at UFC 218.

Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has consistently been in the public eye as of a late because of UFC commentary duties, as well as analyst work for FOX Sports. He gets back to fighting at UFC 218, though, when he meets Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) in the featured FS1-televised preliminary bout following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and prior to the pay-per-view main card at Little Caesars Arena.

Although he’s thrived in the broadcast booth, recently calling UFC Fight Night 120 alongside Jon Anik, Felder insists his active fighting career still comes first. He intends on proving that against Oliveira.

“This is what I do,” Felder told MMAjunkie. “I love calling those fights; it’s fun. It’s something I do want to do full-time when I’m done fighting. I want to do it as much as I can in between fights, as well. But I’m a fighter. People are sending me some tweets like, ‘If I was you I would just be commentating.’ Nobody cares about just the commentator, they care about who I am as a fighter and can add my point of view to the fight cards.

“First and foremost I like to go out there and throw down and put on exciting fights. It’s what got me where I am. It’s what got me that job opportunity because of what I do when I go in that octagon.”

Although Felder is attempting to keep his two jobs separate, he admits there’s some beneficial overlap. The mental exercise of analyzing fights in front of a live audience is a challenge, but Felder said it also expands his knowledge of the sport in a way that will better his own performances.

“One of the things I really picked up when I was calling the Virginia card, I get to see 13 fights, these guys make that walk to the octagon,” Felder said. “I see how they react, I see their presence, I see their energy. Who is confident, who is not confident. I get to take away a lot of experience without actually fighting.”

Despite juggling side gigs, 2017 has been a positive year for Felder when it comes to his work inside the octagon. Outside of it, though, Felder had to deal with tragedy of his father’s passing. Felder scored first-round knockouts in both of his fights, and he intends on closing out his year with another one against Oliveira.

“It’s been a good year career-wise, but still at the end of the day I lost my dad this year,” Felder said. “He’s still something I think about a lot when I’m at Roufusport and thinking about in the moments I’m by myself in the hotel room. This one’s for my daughter, for my mom, for my dad who passed, for my bothers, my family, and the people who live vicariously through what I do.

“I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders to end this year strong and get a win, of course, but more importantly it’s about fighting my balls off and putting on a show. As long as I do that I can walk out of there with whatever result.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 pre-event facts: Champ Max Holloway's 'Blessed Era' coming together nicely

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The UFC heads to Michigan for the first time in more than seven years on Saturday with UFC 218, which takes place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

After the original main event fell apart, a featherweight championship rematch headlines the card. Reigning titleholder Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) looks to repeat his third-round TKO of Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 212 in June, while the Brazilian attempts to become just the third three-time titleholder in company history.

For more on the numbers behind the loaded UFC 218 lineup, check below for 75 pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main event

Max Holloway

Holloway is one of three fighters in UFC history to win the undisputed featherweight title, along with Aldo and Conor McGregor.

Holloway is one of two Hawaiian-born champions in UFC history. B.J. Penn also accomplished the feat.

Holloway competes in his 17th UFC featherweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Holloway, 25, becomes the youngest fighter to make 18 UFC appearances.

Holloway, at 23, became the youngest fighter in UFC history to earn 10 victories with the organization at UFC Fight Night 74 in August.

Holloway enters the event on an 11-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since August 2013.

Holloway’s 11-fight winning streak in UFC competition is third longest among active fighters in the company behind Demetrious Johnson (13) and Georges St-Pierre (13).

Holloway’s 10-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Max Holloway

Holloway’s 13 victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s eight stoppage victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s six knockout victories in UFC featherweight competition are tied with McGregor for most in divisional history.

Holloway’s eight knockdowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Holloway is the only fighter in UFC/WEC featherweight history to land 100 or more significant strikes in four separate fights.

Holloway is one of four fighters in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in five separate fights. Michael Bisping, T.J. Dillashaw and Joanna Jedrzejczyk also accomplished the feat.

Holloway’s submission of Cub Swanson at the 3:58 mark of Round 3 at UFC on FOX 15 is the second latest submission ever in a three-round UFC featherweight bout behind Charles Rosa’s submission of Sean Soriano at UFC Fight Night 59.

Jose Aldo

Aldo is the only two-time UFC featherweight titleholder in history and one of seven overall in company history to have two reigns in a single weight class.

Aldo can join Randy Couture as the only fighters in UFC history with three title reigns in a single weight class.

Aldo is 1-2 in his past three fights after going undefeated for more than a decade.

Aldo competes in his 19th UFC/WEC featherweight bout, the second most appearances in combined divisional history behind Swanson (21).

Aldo’s 16 victories in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are the most in combined divisional history.

Aldo’s 15-fight UFC/WEC winning streak before losing to McGregor at UFC 194 is the second longest in the combined history of the two organizations behind Anderson Silva (16).

Aldo’s nine stoppage victories in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are the most in combined divisional history.

Jose Aldo

Aldo’s eight knockdowns landed in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are tied for second most in combined divisional history behind Jeremy Stephens (nine).

Aldo has landed 86.3 percent (138 of 160) leg-kick attempts in his UFC/WEC career.

Aldo defends 92.3 percent (84 of 91) of opponent takedown attempts in UFC/WEC featherweight competition, the highest rate in combined divisional history.

Aldo has suffered all three of his career losses by stoppage. That includes two knockout losses in UFC competition.

Aldo absorbed 104 significant strikes in his loss to Holloway at UFC 212, the most of his 18-fight UFC/WEC career. His previous high was 79 against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200.

Co-main event

Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) is 7-1 in his past eight UFC appearances dating back to December 2014.

Overeem has earned 38 of his 43 career victories by stoppage. Of his 21 career knockout wins, 12 stemmed from either a kick or knee strike.

Overeem lands 73.2 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC competition, the highest rate in company history.

Overeem has been on the losing end of the third and fourth largest statistical comeback finishes in UFC heavyweight history. He out-landed Antonio Silva by 30 significant strikes before being knocked out at UFC 156 and out-landed Travis Browne by 27 significant strikes before his demise at UFC Fight Night 26.

Overeem’s 10 knockout losses in MMA competition are the most of any active member on the UFC roster.

Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou’s (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) five-fight winning streak in UFC heavyweight competition is tied with Stipe Miocic for the longest active streak in the division.

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

Ngannou is one of three heavyweights in UFC history to post a five-fight stoppage streak. Ricco Rodriguez and Junior Dos Santos also accomplished the feat.

Ngannou has earned all 10 of his career victories by stoppage.

Ngannou absorbs just 1.53 significant strikes per minute in UFC heavyweight competition, the best rate among active fighters in the division.

Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is one of three Olympic gold medalists to fight in the UFC, along with Kevin Jackson and Mark Schultz. He accomplished the feat in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Cejudo is the only Olympic gold medalist to fight in the UFC since the organization was purchased by parent company Zuffa.

Cejudo is the only Olympic gold medalist to fight for a UFC championship in modern UFC history.

Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), along with his older brother Anthony Pettis, are one of 18 pairs of siblings to compete under the UFC banner.

Pettis is 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 Johnson (13) and Joseph Benavidez (six).

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

Pettis defends 68.3 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC flyweight competition, the second-best rate in divisional history behind Johnson (68.7 percent).

Eddie Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is the only fighter in MMA history to win titles under the UFC and Bellator banners.

Alvarez’s 128-day UFC lightweight title reign, ended by McGregor at UFC 205, was the shortest of any champion in divisional history.

Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) enters the event on an 18-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat in his more than six-year career.

Gaethje’s 18-fight MMA winning streak is third longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24) and Jimmie Rivera (20).

Gaethje had earned 16 of his 18 career victories by stoppage. He’s finished 16 of those wins by knockout.

Tecia Torres

Tecia Torres’ (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) competes in her seventh UFC strawweight bout, tied for the second appearances in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (nine).

Torres’ five victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with champ Rose Namajunas for second most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Torres’ two-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Felice Herrig (three) and Cynthia Calvillo (three).

Torres defends 72.3 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC strawweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.

Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned 12 of her 14 career victories by stoppage. Both of her UFC wins are by submission.

Waterson’s six submission attempts in UFC strawweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Cynthia Calvillo (eight) and Claudia Gadelha (seven).

Preliminary card

Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC lightweight division when he submitted Will Brooks at UFC 210. He’s 3-3 in the organization at 155 pounds.

Oliveira has earned nine of his 10 UFC victories by submission.

Oliveira’s nine submission victories in UFC competition are tied with Nate Diaz and Demian Maia for second most in company history behind Royce Gracie (10).

Oliveira’s six submission victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Oliveira is one of two fighters in UFC history to earn submission victories with six different techniques. Frank Mir also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira is the only fighter in UFC history to earn a calf-slicer submission victory. He accomplished the feat against Eric Wisely at UFC on FOX 2.

Oliveira has earned 10 fight-night bonuses in his UFC career. His six bonuses for UFC featherweight bouts are tied with McGregor for most in divisional history.

Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has earned nine of his 14 career victories by knockout.

Felder is one of four fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout victory stemming from a spinning backfist. He accomplished the feat at UFC 182.

Alex Oliveira

Alex Oliveira (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is 5-1 (with one no-contest) in UFC welterweight competition.

Oliveira has earned 14 of his 17 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his seven UFC wins.

Oliveira absorbs just 1.44 signifiant strikes per minute in UFC welterweight competition, the least among active fighters in the weight class.

Yancy Medeiros (14-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is 2-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in September 2016.

Felice Herrig

Felice Herrig’s (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight), Namajunas (five) and Torres (five).

Herrig’s three-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is tied with Calvillo for the longest active streak in the division.

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

Herrig’s submission of Kailin Curran at the 1:59 mark of Round 1 at UFC on FOX 20 marked the second-fastest stoppage in UFC strawweight history. Maryna Moroz holds the record with a 90-second win at UFC Fight Night 64.

Cortney Casey (6-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) competes in her seven UFC strawweight bout, tied for second most appearances in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (nine).

Casey’s two fight-night bonuses for UFC strawweight bouts are tied for second most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (three).

Dominick Reyes

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

Reyes’ 29-second knockout of Joachim Christensen are UFC Fight Night 112 marked the second fastest stoppage by any debuting light heavyweight in UFC history behind Ryan Jimmo’s seven-second win at UFC 149.

Angela Magana (11-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC) enters the event on a four-fight losing skid. She hasn’t earned a victory since August 2011.

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors 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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Paul Felder credits manager for keeping him sane despite UFC 218 opponent switch

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Paul Felder’s manager kept him in the dark, but that turned out to be a good thing.

When lightweight Al Iaquinta’s (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) participation at UFC 218 was cast into doubt, Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) didn’t hear about it again until the promotion locked down Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) as a replacement.

The manager, Brian Butler of SuckerPunch Entertainment, had kept the news from Felder for five days, and for good reason.

“Because he knows I’m a nutcase, and I would have started losing my mind and flipping out,” Felder, who headlines the FS1-televised prelims of the Dec. 2 event at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, told MMAjunkie Radio. “I might have started just eating candy and go and get a beer. So I was just focused until we had an opponent, which is smart. I gave him the green light on that kind of stuff.”

Felder figures the more he’s able to shut out the outside world and prepare, the better. He needs the regularity of training camp so as to not go off the rails.

Oliveira was one of several fighters initially pitched as a replacement, though, so the adjustment from Iaquinta was not a big one. Felder even likes some of the Brazilian veteran’s tendencies in a fight, which is why he’s enjoyed the preparation.

“It’s actually a fun fight because of his striking style and how he moves forward with that old school muay Thai style, the way he marches forward,” Felder said. “I think a lot of this fight could take place on the feet, which is something I’m excited about.”

A striking specialist, Felder works with famed MMA coach and former kickboxing champion Duke Roufus. But he’s also ready for the ground attack that Oliveira has used to submit many tough opponents.

“I’m going to try and break him as soon as possible,” Felder said. “But I have to be intelligent, too. I don’t think it’s any surprise that he’s probably going to try to get me to the mat and use his jiu-jitsu. I’m here with a great team and a great jiu-jitsu coach, so I’m on the mat literally every day.

“We’re prepared, and me and Duke (Roufus) have a plan in place for his striking.”

The unranked Oliveira doesn’t offer as much upside to Felder’s career as did Iaquinta, who’s ranked No. 14 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. Still, Felder is dedicated to his ultimate goal of fighting his way up the ladder.

Even his other job as a UFC commentator won’t slow him down, he said, though he does see a point where his time will come to an end.

“I don’t plan on fighting until I’m 40,” Felder said. “I’m 33, and I’m trying to make a run. I’m trying to climb the ranks and make money and get ranked and try to get to that title. If I get there, I’ll stay longer. If I get close, I’ll stay longer.

“If I’m just fighting for a paycheck, that’s when I’ll step down and let the young guns come in and take over, and just watch them fight and call their fights and try to get more of a full-time position as an analyst and work with the UFC if possible.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

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UFC 218 lineup features 13 fights and featherweight title on the line in return to Detroit

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With an amended main event rematch, the lineup is set for next month’s UFC 218 pay-per-view in Michigan.

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA 145-pound rankings (and No. 8 pound-for-pound), looks to defend his title for the first time when he meets former champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in a rematch. Holloway was supposed to fight Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) before Edgar pulled out with an injury.

The co-main event could serve as a title-eliminator in the heavyweight division. No. 2-ranked Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on No. 9 Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in a battle of heavy-handed strikers.

Rounding out the main card, Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at flyweight; Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) takes on former lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in a fight between current “TUF” coaches; and strawweight Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) meets Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

The featured bout on the preliminary card is at lightweight. Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) takes on Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC), who replaced an injured Al Iaquinta.

The full “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Aldo” card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie