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

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

(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

Video: 'The Predator' takes Manhattan

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

OK, so you’re not actually supposed to stand up on a moving tour bus, and sitting on the roof is probably even less appreciated, but are you going to tell Francis Ngannou what to do?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

This past week’s UFC 217 event turned out to be one of the most memorable UFC events in the promotion’s history, with action-packed contests from start to finish. But it also served as sightseeing trip for hard-hitting heavyweight contender Ngannou, as well as undefeated strawweight Cynthia Calvillo.

Ngannou and Calvillo were guest fighters in New York, and MMAjunkie was able to join them for a bus tour of Manhattan, courtesy of Gray Line New York. Join along in the video above as Ngannou dodges streetlights, undoubtedly causing UFC PR staff a few tense moments, and Calvillo confesses her passion for “The Lion King.”

Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) could very well earn a title shot in his next appearance, facing Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit. Meanwhile, Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) – who has only been fighting professionally for 15 months – takes on former champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.

For more on UFC 218 and UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
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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Just 1 year into pro career, UFC's Cynthia Calvillo looks for perfect 5-0 calendar year

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From the outside, Cynthia Calvillo’s rise in professional MMA seems nothing short of meteoric. But, as it turns out, getting to where she is it took more patience that it looks.

Back in July, Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) picked up a unanimous-decision win over Joanne Calderwood to earn her third octagon win. Since then, she’s already started talking title goals – naming some well-established targets in ex-champ Carla Esparza and contender Michelle Waterson as possible routes to get there.

It’s certainly been quite the ride for someone who not only hadn’t even stepped onto the octagon before March, but wasn’t even a professional MMA fighter until August of last year.

But as sudden as it may look, only Calvillo knows what it took to make the most out of the opportunities that came her way.

“I got injured right after I was finishing up with my amateur career,” Calvillo told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve trying to do my pro debut for the last three years. It just happens that I got injured, and an injury that kept happening over and over. So I couldn’t compete for about two-and-a-half years.

“During that time, I still kept working, and I knew that if I continued to put in the work, when the time came where I was 100 percent, I’d be ready to go.”

Clearly, it paid off. After scoring a second-round TKO in her pro debut, at Global Knockout, the Team Alpha Male product needed only two more wins – one at GKO 8 and another one at LFA 1 – and seven months to stamp her octagon ticket.

After making a splash in her short-notice UFC debut, which ended in a first-round submission win over “The Ultimate Fighter 23” finalist Amanda Cooper, Calvillo went on to beat Pearl Gonzalez and Calderwood – all within a five-month period.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” Calvillo said. “I never though that I was going to get out there this rapidly. I was ready for it. I knew what I wanted. (But) I was just taking fight by fight. This has been an amazing, having the opportunities I’ve been getting.”

Now, the No. 12 fighter in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings has her sights set on a December return to, hopefully, round out a perfect octagon 2017.

“I want to fight again before the end of the year for sure,” Calvillo said. “I’m already going nuts. I already want to fight. I would fight next week, if I could.”

While No. 5 ranked Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and honorable mention Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) remain the targets, Calvillo said that with contracts yet to be signed, things can still change.

“I’m willing to fight either of them,” Calvillo said. “But if anybody else falls out and they need to call somebody to step in, I’m of course going to be the person they’re going to call, and I’m going to take the fight. So you never know. You never know who I’m going to fight next.”

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

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, 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 towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2523 with Cynthia Calvillo and Fernando Gonzalez

Stream or download Wednesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Cynthia Calvillo and Fernando Gonzalez.

Calvillo talked about her impressive 2017 run in the UFC strawweight division and threw out a couple of names as possible opponents. Gonzalez is coming off a win over Brennan Ward at Bellator 182 last Friday.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Cynthia Calvillo, Fernando Gonzalez

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Cynthia Calvillo and Fernando Gonzalez.

Calvillo, a strawweight who trains at the esteemed Team Alpha Male, made it three straight in the UFC when she beat Joanne Calderwood in July in Scotland. Now she’s awaiting her next fight booking to try to improve on her perfect 6-0 record. Gonzalez is coming off a third-round submission win over Brennan Ward at Bellator 182 this past Friday to improve to 7-1 in the promotion.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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

UFC strawweight Angela Hill wants Cortney Casey or Cynthia Calvillo for next fight

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Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC

Fresh off her first UFC win, Angela Hill has a hit list for her next fight.

Hill (7-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) would really like to mix it up with Joanne Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC), whom she felt got too much credit for her striking skills during their time on “The Ultimate Fighter 20.” The only problem is that Calderwood is likely moving up to the newly opened flyweight division.

Then there’s Cortney Casey (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who recently outpointed Jessica Aguilar at UFC 211 to bounce back from a decision loss to onetime title challenger Claudia Gadelha. Casey also won a victory outside the cage when the Texas athletic commission rightly walked back a drug suspension.

But maybe the biggest target is Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who appears to have the inside track in the women’s strawweight division. She recently extended her current winning streak to three with a decision over Calderwood. She was a guest fighter this past Saturday at UFC 214, a nod that usually indicates favor from the promotion.

Now, Hill just needs someone to step up.

“I’ve been calling out Calvillo because she’s been super active,” she said. “I’m not sure if she’s going to jump right back in there immediately, but that would be a good fight for me, too. So yeah, I have a couple people in mind.”

Whoever steps up, Hill is at least on the right side of the column as she moves on with her UFC career. After a false start on “TUF 20” and a gritty loss to onetime title challenger Jessica Andrade, she has a debut win to propel her forward.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, 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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Cynthia Calvillo plans to be challenger who dethrones UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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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

UFC-Glasgow medical suspensions: 'Fight of the Night' recipient Daniel Teymur gets potential 6-month term

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A “Fight of the Night” bout between Danny Henry and Daniel Teymur at UFC Fight Night 113 left one fighter with a potentially long medical suspension.

Teymur (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) needs doctor’s clearance for his right hand after going three hard rounds with Henry (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who earned a unanimous-decision win. Otherwise, he faces a six-month suspension, according to medical suspensions the UFC sent to MMAjunkie.

UFC Fight Night 113 took place Sunday at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. The main card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The UFC acts as the de-facto athletic commission in jurisdictions where MMA isn’t officially sanctioned.

All 24 fighters were given a minimum suspension of seven days if not suspended longer for more serious injuries. Four fighters were given potential six-month terms requiring doctor’s clearance.

Event headliner Gunnar Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is out 45 days following his first-round TKO loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in the event’s headliner. Ponzinibbio also took home a $50,000 bonus for “Performance of the Night.”

The full list of UFC Fight Night 113 medical suspensions that last more than seven days include:

  • Gunnar Nelson: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for TKO
  • Cynthia Calvillo: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact; left forearm X-ray was negative
  • Joanne Calderwood: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout
  • Paul Felder: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for right eyelid laceration
  • Stevie Ray: suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact for TKO
  • Jack Marshman: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for hard bout; CT scan negative
  • Ryan Lanes: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for right cheek laceration
  • Paul Craig: suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact for TKO; head CT was negative
  • James Mulheron: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for hard bout
  • Justin Willis: suspended 180 days or until cleared by doctor for ribs; suspended a minimum of 30 days
  • Bobby Nash: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for TKO
  • Alexandre Pantoja: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Neil Seery: suspended 180 days or until cleared by doctor for ribs; suspended a minimum of 45 days
  • Charlie Ward: suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact for KO
  • Daniel Teymur: suspended 180 days or until cleared by doctor for right hand; suspended a minimum 45 days
  • Brett Johns: suspended 180 days or until cleared by negative MRI on right shoulder; suspended a minimum 30 days
  • Albert Morales: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact for brow laceration
  • Leslie Smith: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact; X-ray was negative
  • Amanda Lemos: suspended 180 days or until cleared by negative X-ray on right thumb; suspended a minimum 45 days

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, July 19: Welcome to the list, Cynthia Calvillo

Don’t look now, but UFC women’s strawweight contender Cynthia Calvillo is having herself one heck of a year.

The Team Alpha Male product hasn’t even been competing professionally for one full year, yet she’s already picked up six victories in six appearances, including three under the UFC banner.

This past weekend, Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) picked up a hard-fought decision win over Joanne Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 113 and was rewarded the No. 12 spot in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings.

A few other new names cracked into the honorable mentions, as well. Check out all of the rankings above.

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