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

Just 1 year into pro career, UFC's Cynthia Calvillo looks for perfect 5-0 calendar year

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

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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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

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

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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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
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

Per Häljestam's best photos from UFC Fight Night 113 in Glasgow

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GLASGOW – Check out the best photos from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 113 event in Scotland.

MMAjunkie and USA TODAY Sports photographer Per Häljestam was cageside at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland for the FS1-televised event.

Check out his favorite images from the fight card, which saw Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) score a stunning knockout of welterweight Gunnar Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in the headliner, as well as Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) pick up a narrow unanimous-decision win over Joanne Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in the co-headliner.

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

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Filed under: News, Photo Gallery
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Santiago Ponzinibbio, other UFC Fight Night 113 winners?

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

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