Category Archives: Dominick Cruz

Paul Felder discusses Saturday's commentary-booth debut at UFC Fight Night 116

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Filed under: News, UFC

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The UFC’s fifth event in Pennsylvania takes place Saturday when UFC Fight Night 116 goes down from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, and it’ll featured the UFC commentary-booth debut of a current UFC fighter.

The card airs on FS1 following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass, and it features a middleweight headliner between former UFC champion Luke Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and former two-division WSOF champion David Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC).

MMAjunkie today confirmed with a FOX Sports official that UFC lightweight Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) will call the opening four main-card fights from cageside alongside Jon Anik and former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC).

Analysts for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 weigh-in show on FS1, as well as Saturday’s pre- and post-events shows, will be former multi-time UFC title challenger Kenny Florian and retired UFC veteran Yves Edwards. Karyn Bryant serves as the anchor for the programs while Heidi Androl is set to conduct backstage interviews.

Felder, a nine-fight UFC veteran who is coming off a first-round knockout win over Stevie Ray at UFC Fight Night 113 in July, will join the UFC commentary team for the first time after a run in the booth during Dana White’s Contender Series events on UFC Fight Pass. He told MMAjunkie in an exclusive interview that he’s ready for the platform but doesn’t want to intrude on the chemistry of the existing commentary team.

“I want to play my role,” Felder said. “I’m the new guy on the block. I definitely don’t want go get in there my first time and step on Dominick’s shoes or Jon’s shoes and get in their way. These guys are veterans, and they’re pros, so when they need my analysis or need my opinion, they’ll get it.”

Felder will call four of the six main-card fights, with the exception of the night’s main event between Rockhold and Branch and the co-headliner between Thiago Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC) and Mike Perry (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

“The Irish Dragon” said he’s familiar with the talent that will appear at the event, which is a welcomed change of pace from lesser-know fighters competing on local shows and DWCS.

“Most of these guys, almost 95 percent of them, I’ve seen fight before,” Felder said. “I know who they are. That’s actually a first. At CFFC and the Contender Series, these guys are virtually unknown. … It will actually be nice to talk about fighters who I’ve actually seen fight a ton of times.”

The UFC Fight Night 116 lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (FS1, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch
  • Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry
  • Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith
  • Gregor Gillespie vs. Jason Gonzalez
  • Sergio Moraes vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Zu Anyanwu vs. Justin Ledet

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

  • Tony Martin vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Daniel Spitz
  • Uriah Hall vs. Krzysztof Jotko
  • Felipe Arantes vs. Luke Sanders

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC FIGHT PASS, 7:30 p.m. ET)

  • Gilbert Burns vs. Jason Saggo

For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Jones and a history of 2-time UFC champions

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, UFC

Claiming a UFC championship belt is one of the most difficult accomplishments in MMA. Doing it twice, however, is almost otherworldly.

Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) became the latest to join the short-list of fighters to win a UFC title in the same weight class on two different occasions this past Saturday when he defeated Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) by third-round knockout to reclaim the light heavyweight belt in the UFC 214 headliner.

“Bones” became the eighth fighter in UFC history to reign over a division on two occasions, and if his post-fight comments are any indication, the second run is going to be ever better than the first, which was one of the most dominant ever.

Here’s a rundown of the group Jones joined with his third-round knockout of Cormier at UFC 214, which took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Randy Couture (heavyweight and light heavyweight)

Randy Couture

Not only was Couture (19-11 MMA, 16-8 UFC) the first to become a two time UFC champion, but he did it twice in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. “The Natural” first won heavyweight gold at UFC Japan in December 1997. His second reign began at UFC 28 in November 2000. Years later, Couture dropped to 205 pounds where he had title reigns in September 2003 and August 2004. Then he won the heavyweight title again in 2007, making him a three-time heavyweight champ – though one whose first ride with that belt was vacated.

Tim Sylvia (heavyweight)

Sylvia (31-10 MMA, 10-4 UFC) first became UFC heavyweight champion in February 2003. A failed drug test caused him to be stripped of the gold. However, he came back to win the belt more than three years later before he dropped it to Couture at UFC 68 in March 2007.

Cain Velasquez (heavyweight)

Cain Velasquez

The first run of Velasquez (14-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) as UFC champ came to an abrupt end when he was knocked out by Junior dos Santos in just 64 seconds at the inaugural UFC on FOX event in November 2011. He stormed back to take the belt in the rematch when he battered Dos Santos at UFC 155 in December 2012 to set up his second run as champion.

Jon Jones (light heavyweight)

One can only wonder what Jones’ career would currently look like had he not been stripped of the title following a run eight consecutive title defenses due to a series of outside-the-cage indiscretions. The road back to a second shot at UFC gold was tumultuous, but he made the most of it by beating his biggest rival in Cormier to claim the strap.

Matt Hughes (welterweight)

Matt Hughes

Hughes (45-9 MMA, 18-7 UFC) first became UFC welterweight champion in May 2001 when he took the belt from Carlos Newton at UFC 31 in one of the closest instances of a double knockout in UFC history. He defended five consecutive times before losing it to B.J. Penn. However, when Penn was stripped of the title for leaving the organization, Hughes immediately snatched it back up at UFC 46 in January 2004.

Georges St-Pierre (welterweight)

Georges St-Pierre

The heir to Hughes’ welterweight throne was St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), who forced a changing of the guard at 170 pounds when he beat Hughes at UFC 65 in November 2006. “Rush” would drop the gold to Matt Serra at UFC 69 in April 2007 in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. The French-Canadian proved he was superior in the rematch, though, taking the belt back from Serra at UFC 83 in April 2008.

Jose Aldo (featherweight)

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is the only fighter on this list who had two different UFC title reigns without ever actually winning the belt inside the octagon. He first run at 145-pound champ came when he was promoted from WEC titleholder in November 2010, and his second reign six years later was the result of being promoted from interim champion after Conor McGregor was stripped.

Dominick Cruz (bantamweight)

Similar to Aldo above, Cruz’s (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) first stint as UFC champion stemmed from him being promoted from a WEC titleholder when the division was folded into the UFC late 2010. “The Dominator” had his time as champion completely derailed due to a long series of injuries, and he was forced to finally vacate in January 2014. One of the most spectacular comeback stories in the sport’s history saw him rally from those dark times and reclaim the title with a victory over T.J. Dillashaw in January 2016.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

5 thoughts to ponder after UFC on FOX 25

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UFC on FOX 25 is in the books, and while the card apparently didn’t attract much interest by drawing the lowest overnight ratings in the history of the series, there were some compelling moments and storylines coming out of Saturday’s FOX-televised event at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

Here are some takeaways from UFC on FOX 25, which saw former UFC middleweight Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) snap a three-fight losing skid with a third-round submission of Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the main event.

* * * *

Chris Weidman is still very good.

It was fairly surprising a fighter of Weidman’s caliber was sitting on three consecutive losses, but rough patches happen in MMA, and the “All-American” never gave up hope despite more than two years of disappointment.

Although he’s already being discredited for beating “a bloated welterweight,” Weidman’s performance against a rising star like Gastelum showed he has more left to offer. Weidman never let outside noise trickle in and always felt he would reestablish himself, which he did with the submission win.

There are fair questions about Weidman’s chin after getting dropped by Gastelum and taking considerable damage from Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi. However, if that flaw forces Weidman to transition into a more grappling-heavy style, that probably caters best to his skillset going forward, anyway, because there are few in the division capable of hanging with him on the mat.

Kelvin Gastelum probably belongs at welterweight.

It was only four months ago that we were pleading for Gastelum to drop the talk of a return to welterweight after his destruction of Vitor Belfort, but the loss to Weidman showed he was probably onto something, after all.

Gastelum can be a serviceable fighter at 185 pounds, but at welterweight his ceiling is likely a lot higher. He struggled madly with the size and strength of Weidman, and as he moves further up in competition in the weight class, those factors will be even more prominent.

“The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner said the loss will change him for the better. If he lives up to his word and gets his act together on diet and discipline, he should get one final chance to see what he can do 170 pounds, but there’s going to be no room for error.

Darren Elkins and Team Alpha Male deserve more credit.

The emergence of Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) as a true featherweight threat has been an interesting storyline to follow, and it’s no coincidence the success coincides with his move to Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif.

Team Alpha Male has had its turbulent moments, but the corner crew of Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo and Chris Holdsworth have had many more successes than failures of late, and Elkins’ five-fight winning streak, capped off by a split-decision win over Dennis Bermudez, should be one of their prouder achievements.

Elkins’ style won’t ever have fans lining up at the box office, but his ability to ware opponents down through any situation is commendable. How far he can take this run remains to be seen, but the fact he has the second most wins in UFC featherweight history behind only champ Max Holloway means he can’t be ignored as a threat.

Patrick Cummins wears it like few others.

When Patrick Cummins’ (10-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) career is done someone needs to compile an album of his face after every fight. Win or lose, Cummins leaves the octagon looking like he just came out of a car wreck, and that was no different in his split-decision win over Gian Villante.

Cummins’ chin hasn’t always held up, but it did against Villante, and actually led him into a situation where he was able to out-strike his opponent, which was a surprise.

The inconsistent nature of Cummins’ career makes his fights hard to predict, but the common theme is that it’s not going to be an easy night for anyone when “Durkin” steps in the cage.

Dominick Cruz is an excellent broadcaster who still needs work.

Going through a nearly seven-hour broadcast without flaw is an impossible feat. No other sport requires such endurance in the broadcast booth, and while Dominick Cruz has quickly become of the best to do it, his latest work alongside Brian Stann and Jon Anik showed he needs to better round out the ideas he presents to viewers.

Cruz is as knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in the sport from a technical perspective, but his attempt to juggle commentary with fight scoring revealed flaws in his ideologies. Perpetuating the dated idea that a late, ineffective takedown from a fighter losing a round can “steal” it for them is wrong, especially under the new scoring criteria.

It’s nitpicky, but fight commentary is a huge influence of the narrative viewers take away. Cruz, Stann, Joe Rogan and all the rest provide brilliant analysis, but when it comes to the (admittedly confusing) rules and regulations, there needs to be greater caution.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Chris Weidman and UFC on FOX 25's other winning fighters?

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Filed under: News, UFC

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What next for UFC on FOX 25’s losing fighters?)

Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 main event had an important impact on the middleweight division. Former champ Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) put himself back in the mix as a relevant player in the weight class with a third-round submission of Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC)

“All-American” wasn’t the only one to get a meaningful victory at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. In the FOX-televised co-main event, Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) strengthened his featherweight contender status, Patrick Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) won another grueling fight, and Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) shut down a hyped up-and-comer in the network-televised opener.

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 on FOX 25’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jimmie Rivera

Dominick Cruz

Should fight: Dominick Cruz
Why they should fight: Rivera pushed his winning streak to a remarkable 20 consecutive fights when he defeated bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida by unanimous decision.

Rivera’s nearly nine-year run without a loss continued when he handed a rare defeat to the Brazilian, providing the 135-pound division with further notice that he’s coming for the title. Rivera has had some bad luck with injuries and fight cancellations, but he hopes the latest win secures no less than a No. 1 contender fight.

Immediately following his win, Rivera targeted former UFC champ Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who was calling the action from cageside. “The Dominator” hasn’t fought since losing the 135-pound belt to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, and with Garbrandt pegged to defend against T.J. Dillashaw next, setting up a fight between Rivera and Cruz would be perfect for the advancement of the division.

Patrick Cummins

Jared Cannonier

Should fight: Jared Cannonier
Why they should fight: Cummins’ up-and-down UFC career once again took an upward turn when he scored a split-decision win over Gian Villante in a hard-fought light heavyweight matchup.

Until Cummins can put together a big run, he’s going to remain relegated to mid-tier 205-pound matchups. That’s a perfectly fine role for now, especially because he’s likely to get more chances to break into the elite going forward.

Cummins’ wrestling is going to be a big threat against any opponent he fights. He’s struggled against hard hitters, though, and Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) matches the power of anyone in the weight class. Cannonier has had difficulty with grapplers during his career, so the danger of the matchup would go both ways.

Darren Elkins

Ricardo Lamas

Should fight: Winner of Ricardo Lamas vs. Jason Knight at UFC 214
Why they should fight: Elkins once again pulled off a huge victory when he went into hostile territory and defeated Dennis Bermudez in a crucial featherweight bout.

Elkins pushed his winning streak to five when he earned a split-decision win over Bermudez in the co-main event affair, setting himself up for more big things in the future.

With the top of the division locked up with a number of potential title-fight scenarios, Elkins is going to need to put in even more work to get in the conversation as a realistic challenger to champ Max Holloway. He’s already on the best run of his UFC tenure, and a victory over the winner of the UFC 214 bout between Lamas (17-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) and Knight (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) would elevate his position even more.

Chris Weidman

Should fight: Ronaldo Souza
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Weidman should fight Ronaldo Souza (24-5 MMA, 7-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Announcers, analysts set for UFC 213 pay-per-view, The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale on FS1

The UFC’s sixth annual International Fight Week festivities take place next week in Las Vegas.

Back-to-back fight cards sit atop the schedule, with The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale set to take place July 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and UFC 213 slated to go down on July 8 from the same location.

The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and features a lightweight main event between Michael Johnson (17-11 MMA, 9-7 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (17-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

MMAjunkie today confirmed with a FOX Sports official that Todd Grisham and Brian Stann will call the fights cageside, with Bruce Buffer serving as ring announcer.

Analysts for Thursday’s The Ultimate Fighter 25 weigh-in show on FS2, as well as the pre-fight and post-fight shows on FS1, will be former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) and former multi-time UFC title challenger Kenny Florian (14-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC). Karyn Bryant serves as anchor for the programs.

The same group will serve as analysts for Friday’s UFC 213 weigh-in show on FS2, as well as the pre-fight and post-fight content on FS1.

Calling the action at UFC 213, which is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title rematch between Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, will be a three-man booth featuring Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Stann.

Megan Olivi will serve as the backstage reporter for both International Fight Week events.

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale and UFC 213, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Tony Ferguson debuts as FS1 analyst at UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City; Anik, Cruz call action

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Filed under: News, UFC

The UFC’s fifth event in Oklahoma takes place Sunday when UFC Fight Night 112 goes down from Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass and features a lightweight headliner between Michael Chiesa (14-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Kevin Lee (15-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC).

MMAjunkie today confirmed with a FOX Sports official that Jon Anik and former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will call the fights cageside.

Analysts for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 112 weigh-in show on FS1, as well as the Sunday pre- and post-fight shows, will be current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) and lightweight contender Tony Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC). Ferguson will be making his debut in the studio. Karyn Bryant serves as the anchor for the programs.

Ferguson, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, will serve as a UFC analyst for the first time, and told MMAjunkie in an exclusive interview that he believes he’s a natural fit for the position.

Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee

“I just believe my fight IQ is through the roof,” Ferguson said. “Wholeheartedly and seriously, I love to watch the fights. I like to take a paradigm step outside of the box and really analyze the fight as a whole instead of being in a biased situation. I really believe they saw that, and they could see I can take a step outside of it regardless of if it’s my weight or not.”

The headlining bout at UFC Fight Night 112 will see No. 9 lightweight Chiesa clash with Lee, an honorable mention selection in the latest rankings. Ferguson will provide full analysis of the contest in the days leading up to it, but said he expects a top-tier fight.

“I expect fireworks,” Ferguson said. “I expect Kevin to come out a little more fuego – a little more fire – (and) attack the body of Chiesa. I think if Lee does it right, he picks him apart. He will have a big victory. But Chiesa is a tough son of a (expletive), and this is going to be a great fight.”

The UFC Fight Night 112 card includes:

MAIN CARD (FS1, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Lee
  • Tim Boetsch vs. Johny Hendricks
  • Felice Herrig vs. Justine Kish
  • Joachim Christensen vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Alex Garcia vs. Tim Means
  • B.J. Penn vs. Dennis Siver

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS2, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Clay Guida vs. Erik Koch
  • Carla Esparza vs. Maryna Moroz
  • Darrell Horcher vs. Devin Powell

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 5:30 p.m. ET)

  • Jared Gordon vs. Michel Quinones
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Josh Stansbury
  • Johnny Case vs. Tony Martin
  • Vitor Miranda vs. Marvin Vettori

For more on UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie