Dominick Reyes in no rush to rise though 'aging' UFC light heavyweight division

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DETROIT – Dominick Reyes knows he’s in a thin weight class in the UFC, but has no intentions of rushing toward the title.

Reyes (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) got his second win in the UFC light heavyweight division on Saturday when he scored a first-round submission of Jeremy Kimball (15-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at UFC 218, which took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The bout streamed on UFC Fight Pass prior to the FS1-televised prelims and pay-per-view main card.

The 205-pound division is relatively barren when it comes to legitimate contenders, and an unbeaten fighter like Reyes makes an interesting addition. He knows he can do big things, but is not gunning for a quick climb to the top.

“I don’t think about it like that,” Reyes said after the fight. “I think I need to take care of business each fight and pick the right fights at each point in my career. I’m still growing. I’m a young fighter still. I’m not asking for a title. I’m waiting for the right time. Whoever they offer me next will be the right fight, so we’ll see.”

At 27 and with only eight fights (seven of which have come by stoppage), Reyes believes his future is bright. He knows what outsiders think of his weight class, and although he largely agrees, he said he wants to do things his way.

“I knew if I would get in the UFC it would be at light heavyweight because there’s not a lot of guys, the division is aging,” Reyes said. “With my skillset and my athleticism I feel like I could rise quickly. Here I am and it’s going exactly how I planned. I’m going to move along at my pace and see where it goes.”

As far as his performance against Kimball went, Reyes said he was pleased with his work. He expected a more striking-heavy affair, but will gladly take the submission.

“I did not think he would shoot,” Reyes said. “I thought he would bang it out with me. I guess he got a little comfortable and started to shoot. I did a few things that I need to work on. I got hit when I shouldn’t have got hit. Overall, I’m happy.”

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

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UFC 218 results: No fancy KO this time, but Dominick Reyes submits Jeremy Kimball in first

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Dominick Reyes got up from an early slam and put Jeremy Kimball on his back, which proved to be the beginning of the end.

After taking the back of Kimball (15-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) midway through the round, Reyes (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) locked up the rear-naked choke to force the tap at the 3:39 mark of Round 1.

The light heavyweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 218 event at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of additional prelims on FS1 and a main card on pay-per-view.

Kimball lived up to his reputation as an aggressive fighter right out of the gates, attacking Reyes and forcing him back up against the fence before slamming his way out of a Reyes guillotine attempt.

But once Reyes got back to his feet he quickly nabbed a takedown of his own, moving to side control before taking Kimball’s back and locking up a body triangle.

After softening Kimball up with some elbows to the side of the head, Reyes slapped on the rear-naked choke and squeezed for the finish, forcing Kimball to submit with a little over a minute left in the opening round.

With the win, Reyes remains perfect as a professional. Kimball has lost two of his last three.

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:

* * * *

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

A $50K bonus? For now-ex-teacher Dominick Reyes, it was a life-changer before UFC 218

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DETROIT – Dominick Reyes has had only one UFC showing, but thanks to his left hand, it was enough to change his life.

Reyes made sure to enter the octagon on the right foot at UFC Fight Night 112 in June, needing only 30 seconds to dispatch Joachim Christensen.

A quick knockout in your debut – against an opponent who’d never been finished – is reason enough for any fighter to get excited. And for Reyes, who’d failed to make it to the NFL, it already served to legitimize his road as a professional athlete.

But things got even better for the light heavyweight, who earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his display in Oklahoma City (via Twitter):

“When I was leaving Oklahoma, my brother told me, ‘Ok, back to reality.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever go back to reality again. This is my new reality. It’s fighting now,” Reyes told MMAjunkie. “So I resigned from my position at work, and now I’m fighting full time.”

An added $50,000, it turns out, can really make an impact.

“It was my year’s salary working at the school district – in 30 seconds,” Reyes said. “So I was able to resign, and now I can train full time and get the rest I need. And really do the things I need to do to be a complete fighter. So it’s very exciting.”

On Saturday at UFC 218, Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meets Jeremy Kimball (15-6 MMA 1-1 UFC) at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena looking add a second victorious chapter to his octagon road. The light heavyweight bout streams on UFC Fight Pass, before added prelims on FS1 and the pay-per-view main card.

Reyes had had a short-but-impressive road since his pro MMA debut in 2014. Not only has he won all seven of pro bouts, but five of them were first-round knockouts. Less than a month before his UFC debut, in fact, Reyes made waves with a head kick that dropped Jordan Powell cold in their LFA 13 encounter (via Twitter):

Reyes was already expecting a win over Powell to result in a call from the UFC. But the way it happened just streamlined it all.

“And then I fought for the UFC and another beautiful performance,” Reyes said. “I just hope to continue that streak.”

Being relatively new to MMA, Reyes said, has an upside since his skill set is still in constant evolution. And he’s excited to showcase it against Kimball.

“I know he’s deceivingly athletic,” Reyes said. “He’s a tough cat. He shouldn’t go down easy, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. He’s a striker, and I’m a striker. We’re going to throw hands, and I’m going to come out on top. That’s the plan.”

But given a choice, Kimball would like the fight to end the same way that most of his other professional MMA fights did.

“If I could go out there and finish him quick, I’m going to finish him quick,” Reyes said. “I have a lot of new stuff I have. But if I don’t have to show it, I don’t have to show it. It’s just secret weapons that you don’t have to use.”

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

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

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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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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 officially adds Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana, Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

UFC 218’s spectacular lineup continues to fill and the latest official contests include a strawweight bout and a light heavyweight matchup.

UFC officials today announced the addition of Amanda Cooper (2-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Angela Magana (11-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC), as well as Jeremy Kimball (15-6 MMA 1-1 UFC) vs. Dominick Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

Featuring a featherweight title fight between champ Max Holloway and former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

“ABC” Cooper was a finalist on “The Ultimate Fighter 23, ” ultimately falling short against Tatiana Suarez in the July 2016 live finale. Cooper has since split two additional results, earning a decision win over Anna Elmose at UFC Fight Night 99 before being submitted by Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 209. She now meets Magana, the outspoken cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter 20” who has suffered losses to Michelle Waterson and Tecia Torres in her two official UFC contests.

Kimball made his UFC debut in January, suffering a TKO loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima, before rebounding with a “Performance of the Night” win over Josh Stansbury in June. He now faces Reyes, an undefeated prospect who needed just 29 seconds to pick up a “Performance of the Night” bonus with a victory over Joachim Christensen at the same June event where Stansbury picked up his $50,000.

With the additions to the card, UFC 218 now includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for June: The return of a signature move

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best knockouts from June. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Knockout of the Month” award for June.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Dominick Reyes def. Jordan Powell at LFA 13

Jordan Powell’s (8-7) timing could not have been any worse. Dominick Reyes’ (7-0), meanwhile, was picture-perfect.

In the first round of their light heavyweight bout, Reyes was on the attack, pelting Powell with punches. Powell mostly fended off the onslaught and in the moment shook his head as if to say, “That was nothing.” Not one second later, Reyes starched Powell with a vicious head kick that instantly made him crash to the canvas just 53 seconds in.

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Dan Hooker def. Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 110

Dan Hooker (14-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC) made Ross Pearson (19-14 MMA, 11-11 UFC) wade through dozens of jabs and leg-kicks, and just as “The Real Deal” started getting inside, he met the advance with a fight-ending shot.

Hooker sneaked in a lunging knee straight up the middle that landed square on the chin of the Brit. The blow sent Pearson’s mouthpiece flying, giving Hooker a highlight-reel knockout in the second round of the lightweight affair.

Holly Holm def. Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 111

After a three-fight skid that marked the low point of an otherwise prestigious combat sports career, Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) got back in the win column against Bethe Correia (10-3-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC) courtesy of her signature move.

Holm won for the first time since her memorable knockout of Ronda Rousey in November 2015 when she used the same head kick technique to drop Correia before finishing the women’s bantamweight bout with one additional brutal blow.

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Matt Mitrione def. Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC

Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) and Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) knocked each other down to set up the beginning of the end in their heavyweight fight nearly a year in the making.

Mitrione recovered first, though, and pounced on Emelianenko with a flurry of vicious right hands. The former PRIDE champion went out cold, giving “Meathead” the biggest victory of his career in a mere 74 seconds.

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Tha Pyay Nyo def. Htet Aung Oo at ONE Championship 56

Tha Pyay Nyo (4-0) remained undefeated in MMA competition with his most impressive victory yet, finishing Htet Aung Oo (0-1) with a perfectly placed punch just 16 seconds into their bantamweight fight.

Nyo set his opponent up with the jab, waited a beat for Aung Oo to throw a shot in return, then came over the op with a massive right hand to the chin. Aung Oo crumpled to the canvas immediately and Nyo put the exclamation point on the performance with an extra shot to his downed opponent before the referee stepped in.

* * * *

The Winner: Holly Holm

The kick that ex-champ Holm used to knock out Rousey came back with a vengeance, though it took her a while to use it.

Holm’s cautious approach over two rounds suddenly gave way to a head kick that felled onetime title challenger Correia at the 1:09 mark of the third round.

Referee Marc Goddard stepped in to save Correia after Holm followed her concussive kick with a punch to the chops that knocked the Brazilian flat on the canvas.

Just moments earlier, Correia had taunted Holm to engage – and the answer left her unconscious.

The knockout was an emphatic ending to an otherwise tentative fight. After the fighters circled endlessly, drawing a warning for timidity from Goddard in the second, boos showed the crowd’s patience was wearing thin.

Holm, ever the counter-fighter, mostly stayed at range and used her kicks to snipe at Correia, who came into the fight with a height and reach disadvantage. Despite those long limbs, Correia managed to find her way inside, connecting late in the opening frame with a combination that got Holm’s attention. Mostly, though, the fighters danced around the octagon.

Correia apparently got tired of the pace, too. With her taunts, she invited a scrap that might get the audience back on her side. But that turned out to be her undoing, as she walked straight into a kick that put Holm’s shin straight to her face.

It was Holm’s first win in the octagon since she did the same to ex-champion Rousey, upending the MMA world in November 2015 with a shocking upset knockout.

“Amazing,” Holm said of snapping a three-fight skid. “There’s so many things I want to say, but this fight, I know she could make messy, and I heard a lot of boos from the first round. But what I wanted to do was make it look as clean as I could.”

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Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full list of UFC Fight Night 112 salaries included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Oklahoma City's 10 memorable moments, with controversy and comebacks, good and bad

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 fight card was supposed to set up the victor for a matchup against a top contender in the lightweight division. That could still happen – after all, Kevin Lee did earn a first-round submission win over Michael Chiesa, but the level of controversy surrounding the stoppage, and more precisely the man who made the call, referee Mario Yamasaki, might prevent Lee from getting that immediate jump up in competition.

The co-main event had no such drama. In that bout, Tim Boetsch put Johny Hendricks away with a head kick and punches, earning himself a TKO victory early in the second round.

UFC Fight Night 112 took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. You got yourself a situation there, UFC

Before his bout against Chiesa, Lee claimed he was the better fighter in every respect. Controversial stoppage aside, Lee backed up those words at UFC Fight Night 112. Chiesa had opportunities early, missing a takedown and briefly working for a couple of submissions. However, Chiesa failed to stick any of his offense, and when Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) gave up his back, Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) took control, securing a body lock and a rear-naked choke.

Lee appeared to have the choke in deep, and as the clock ticked down, Yamasaki waved off the fight at the 4:37 mark of Round 1. The problem with that was Chiesa had not tapped nor lost consciousness, and Chiesa immediately protested the stoppage.

It was a messy ending to an important lightweight bout. While Lee, an honorable mention in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings before the fight, did get the win, the UFC has some thinking to do about what’s next for him and Chiesa, who was ranked No. 9 before his controversial defeat.

2. Everybody’s talkin’

Chiesa didn’t have much to say regarding Yamasaki during his time on the mic with UFC commentator Jon Anik, but during his backstage chat with the media, Chiesa was less reserved.

“This is the main event – that is JV bull(expletive),” Chiesa said. “That guy (Yamasaki) is too focused on being some kind of playboy in front of the cameras, making his little heart logos. Maybe he should go back and read the (expletive) rule book.”

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UFC President Dana White also got involved, taking to Instagram to let his feelings be known.

Instagram Photo

For his part, Lee didn’t see the issue.

“Mario’s a very experienced ref,” Lee said. “Mario saw it and stopped the fight. If he wouldn’t have, there was still 45 seconds left in the fight. I don’t see what the controversy is about. It wasn’t like I was going to let go.”

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Chiesa, Lee and White weren’t the only ones offering opinions on the stoppage, social media was alive with opinions following the bout.

3. Something has to change

If Hendricks plans to succeed at middleweight, he’s going to need to add to his arsenal – and make weight. After coming in two pounds heavy, the former welterweight champion was largely ineffective against Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC). “The Barbarian” used kicks to prevent Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) from setting up and landing his patented overhand left.

Not only did those kicks stop Hendricks from establishing his offense, but they also ended the fight. Early in Round 2, Boetsch stunned Hendricks with a head kick and then swarmed, finishing him with punches against the cage.

The “Performance of the Night”-winning stoppage earned Boetsch his third TKO win in his last four outings. As for Hendricks, not only has he missed weight three times in his last four fights, but he is 1-3 in those contests and 3-6 dating back to November 2013.

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4. Speaking up

Felice Herrig is on the best run of her UFC career. Her unanimous decision win over Justine Kish was her third straight victory and second straight win over a formerly undefeated opponent. Despite her winning streak, Herrig is feeling under-appreciated.

“Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I just feel like I’m not young and beautiful for the UFC to want to promote me,” she said. “It’s sad because I’ve really worked hard to be here. It’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through and just got to the UFC at the right time, and they’re now getting all these opportunities.

“I’ve seen how hard I’ve worked to get here, and it just doesn’t matter because I just feel I’m not pretty enough, and I’m not getting any younger.”

After her last win, Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) called for a fight against either Michelle Waterson or Paige VanZant. She didn’t call out another fighter after defeating Kish (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), but based on her winning streak, Herrig should get a top 15 strawweight opponent in her next outing.

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5. Remember, a sense of humor is important

Kish was close to being choked out by Herrig in the third round, but Kish fought through the choke, using muscle and force of will more than technique to break free from the submission hold. However, Kish paid a price for her efforts, something she acknowledged on social media following the fight.

6. A good June

Dominick Reyes has had a good month. On June 2, fighting for LFA, he delivered a highlight-reel knockout which earned him a short notice call up from the UFC. In his debut with the promotion, Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) wrapped things up quickly, blasting Joachim Christensen with a straight left that put Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) on the mat, forcing the referee to wave off the fight 29 seconds into the first round.

Reyes absorbed just one strike during the light heavyweight fight while landing 13 of the 16 he threw.

As debuts go, things could not have gone much better for Reyes, who earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts.

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7. Struggles continue

B.J. Penn almost had his first win since his November 2010 KO of Matt Hughes. Penn dropped Dennis Siver in the second round of their featherweight contest, but he was unable to get the finish, and instead of turning up the heat in the third round, Penn came out flat. Actually, flat might be too kind. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) looked like he just wanted to survive the final five minutes of the fight, throwing a paltry 27 strikes to Siver’s 117 in the last round. In the end, Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC), fighting for the first time in two years, got the majority decision win, handing Penn his fifth straight defeat.

Before the fight, Penn told MMAjunkie, “We’re going to take this as far as it can go,” which leads to the question, has Penn reached the end of the line?

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8. Back on track

Where Penn struggled at UFC Fight Night 112, another long-tenured UFC combatant showed he has some fight left in him. Clay Guida, competing at lightweight for the first time in five years, earned a unanimous decision victory over Erik Koch.

Guida looked excellent in his return to 155. His cardio was off the charts as usual, and his striking and defense were impressive, but where he excelled was in his pressure and takedown game. Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) forced Koch (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) to the cage for a prolonged period in the first round and controlled the fight on the mat for most of the second and third round.

Guida was never close to getting a finish, but he looked good, and he should get a step up in completion in his next outing.

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9. A major comeback

Darrell Horcher’s run in the UFC has spanned 14 eventful months. In April 2016 he was called in on short notice duty to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. Unsurprisingly he lost that fight. One month later he was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him with a cringeworthy list of injuries.

Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was told he would never fight again, but he did, earning a split decision over Devin Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) in a lightweight contest at UFC Fight Night 112.

“It was so emotional for me to get back,” Horcher told MMAjunkie. “I fought so hard to be here. It was a long year and what I’ve come from, most would people say a year is very short. And if you look at it on paper it is, but for me it was very hard. I pushed myself to do this, to come back, to get a win.”

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10. Give him a call

The one misstep Jared Gordon made in his UFC debut came on the scale, where he missed the featherweight limit by four pounds. Gordon is a well-rounded fighter who was comfortable wherever his fight went against Michel Quinones. On the feet Gordon (11-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was aggressive, using pressure to close distance and not allow Quinones (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) the space he needed to mount any offense. On the ground Gordon was just as good, coupling a heavy top game with effective ground strikes, which earned him the second-round TKO.

After the fight, the former Cage Fury champion, who has struggled with substance abuse issues, let fans know they could reach out to him if need be.

“If you have any problems or anything, you can contact me on Twitter, (or) Instagram and I will take my day to talk to you guys,” Gordon told Anik.

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

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