UFC 220 in Boston gets new bouts, including Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja

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The lineup is taking shape for January’s UFC 220 event in Massachusetts.

New bookings include flyweights Dustin Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (18-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and featherweights Kyle Bochniak (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Brandon Davis (8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

UFC officials announced the fights via @BGlobeSports.

UFC 220 takes place Jan. 20 at TD Garden in Boston. It airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been determined.

Ortiz, who’s No. 12 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, is coming off a “Performance of the Night” win over Hector Sandoval. The 28-year-old registered the fastest knockout in flyweight history with the 15-second stoppage, which came after a 1-3 stretch against the upper echelon of the division. He now takes on No. 15-ranked Pantoja, a 27-year-old Brazilian who signed with the UFC after winning RFA and AXS TV “super fight” titles. He’s since defeated Eric Shelton (split decision) and Neil Seery (submission) to push his winning streak to 11 fights.

Bochniak, a 30-year-old from Massachusetts, went 6-0 with CES MMA before signing with the UFC, where he has decision losses to Charles Rosa and Jeremy Kennedy, and a decision victory over Enrique Barzola. He meets Davis, a 27-year-old from Mississippi who signed with the UFC after earning a decision win over Austin Arnett at DWCS 4. It was his seventh straight victory.

The latest UFC 220 lineup includes:

  • Islam Makhachev vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja
  • Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font
  • Shane Burgos vs. Calvin Kattar
  • Kyle Bochniak vs. Brandon Davis

For more on UFC 220, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for August: A kick that earned a UFC contract

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

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

* * * *

The Nominees

Julian Marquez def. Phil Hawes at Dana White’s Contender Series 4

Julian Marquez (6-1) earned his way into the UFC with a crushing knockout of Phil Hawes (4-2) at the Dana White’s Contender Series 4 event.

After an opening round in which both men had some shining moments, Marquez took over in the second, walking forward with strikes and wobbling Hawes before finishing him off with a vicious high kick.

Dustin Ortiz def. Hector Sandoval at UFC Fight Night 114

In less time than it takes most people to tie their shoes, Dustin Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) put Hector Sandoval (14-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) to sleep with an offensive outburst as swift as it was brutal.

A counter right hand from Ortiz put Sandoval on his heels, and the followup put him away just 15 seconds into the fight, giving Ortiz the fastest finish in UFC flyweight history.

Humberto Bandenay def. Martin Bravo at UFC Fight Night 114

Humberto Bandenay (14-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made his UFC debut as a heavy underdog against Martin Bravo (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), but he needed only two kicks and 26 seconds to prove the oddsmakers wrong.

A head kick from Bandenay knocked Bravo out cold in the opening minute of the fight. It gave Bravo his first professional loss in a violent upset finish.

Mike Rodriguez def. Jamelle Jones at Dana White’s Contender Series 5

After a cautious start, Jamelle Jones (7-5) was forced to move in and out of range against a taller Mike Rodriguez (9-2). He eventually shot for a takedown that didn’t materialize.

Confident on his feet, Rodriguez launched a flying knee that landed flush, sending Jones to the floor. A few more punches sealed the result, giving Rodriguez a highlight-reel finish and a UFC contract.

Martin Nguyen def. Marat Gafurov via punches at ONE Championship 59

A perfect counter by Martin Nguyen (9-1) ended the undefeated run of Marat Gafurov (15-1), and ONE Championship got a new featherweight champion in the process.

Nguyen saw himself in a rough spot early, but a low kick by Gafurov paved the way for a massive overhand that had the now-ex-champ landing face down on the mat for the brutal stoppage.

* * * *

The Winner: Julian Marquez

Marquez ended Dana White’s Contender Series 4 with a bang, laying out Jon Jones training partner Hawes with a head kick to cap off the show.

The fight was over at the 2:20 mark of the second round, when Hawes dropped limp to the canvas with a scary thud.

“I was tired,” Marquez admitted after the fight. “The weight cut yesterday was pretty rough, but I just knew he was going to keep coming. I just knew if I weathered the storm, he would leave an opening, which he did.”

Hawes’ early drive to take the fight down to the mat may have sapped his energy reserves. Marquez proved a tough challenge to take down, and when he hit the mat, he escaped bad positions and returned to his feet. A guillotine attempt had Hawes scrambling not to tap.

At the start of the second round, Marquez landed a combination that badly hurt Hawes and put him on autopilot. A sloppy takedown attempt put Marquez on top, and when Hawes finally managed to escape, he was ready.

The head kick was perfectly timed and provided a highlight-reel finish that brought a UFC contract to Marquez.

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Source: MMA Junkie

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Aug. 8: Sergio Pettis making run to the top

While his older brother is a former UFC champion, 23-year-old flyweight contender Sergio Pettis may soon find himself with a chance to wrap a UFC belt around his waist.

Pettis was victorious at this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event and now finds himself in the No. 6 position in the latest edition of the USA Today Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) survived a tough opening round against a game Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and battled back to dominate the final four frames in the altitude of Mexico City. With current UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson set to face Ray Borg in September, Pettis believes a fight with Henry Cejudo, who currently sits at No. 3, makes the most sense for his next move.

Check out the updated flyweight rankings following this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event, which also Dustin Ortiz secure an impressive 15-second victory.

Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 memorable moments from UFC-Mexico, including those insane 7 first-round stoppages

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The UFC dropped by Mexico City Arena this past Saturday for UFC Fight Night 114, and while the event was light on big-name talent, the fighters who fought on the card made up for it by delivering a UFC record-tying seven first-round finishes.

The main event was not one of the fights that ended in a hurry. The bout between fast-rising flyweight Sergio Pettis and Brendan Moreno went the five-round distance; Pettis won a unanimous decision.

The co-main event between Alexa Grasso and Randa Markos also went the distance. Grasso secured a split-decision win in the strawweight contest.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. A win and a wish

Pettis had some trouble early. He was taken to the mat and kept there by Moreno for the majority of the first round. For the next four rounds, though, Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) used a smart and technical striking style to avoid Moreno’s (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) takedowns and aggression. That style paid off and earned Pettis a unanimous decision victory.

The win moved Pettis to 4-1 as a UFC flyweight, and it could have set him up to call for a title eliminator fight or even the winner of the upcoming bout between champion Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg. Instead, Pettis said he continues to pine for a fight against Henry Cejudo, the man who withdrew from their scheduled meeting at UFC 211.

“I still want to fight Henry,” Pettis said after the event. “He pulled out of a fight two days before the fight. I was three pounds away from making weight. I think he dodged a bullet and I’m ready to make that happen.”

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2. Difference of opinion

In a competitive 119-pound catchweight fight, Grasso (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who came in three pounds overweight for the scheduled strawweight contest, earned a split-decision victory over Markos (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC). She returned to the win column after tasting defeat for the first time earlier this year.

Grasso’s striking seemed to give her the first and third round, while Markos’ takedowns won the second stanza.

Not surprisingly, each woman thought she was the rightful victor.

“I felt that I did enough to win,” Markos told MMAjunkie. “You need to win at least two rounds to get a victory. I thought I won two rounds, and the last was close. So I think I won that fight…I feel I’m definitely going to try to fight that. Hopefully I get the victory.”

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“I never stopped moving,” Grasso told MMAjunkie through an interpreter. “In the second round, maybe I started getting better control, but in the third round, I got my strategy right, and I think I never stopped moving and fought very well.”

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3. No apologies needed

Niko Price took a step up in competition when he met Alan Jouban in a welterweight contest at UFC Fight Night 114. Price made the most of his first fight on a UFC main card. He knocked out the more experienced Jouban in less than two minutes.

A big right from Price (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) dropped Jouban (15-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) to the mat and brought referee Gary Copeland in for a quick, but correct, stoppage.

Price was overjoyed after the finish, the 10th of his career. He landed a cartwheel and shouted as he stalked around the cage. After the fight, Price apologized for the profane words during his celebration.

“I said ‘expletive’ a lot,” Price told MMAjunkie. “I’m sorry.”

If he does somehow end up with a fine, Price should be able to pay. He won a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his TKO.

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4. A dedication

Martin Bravo was the biggest favorite on the card, coming in at -300 against fellow featherweight Humberto Bandenay. Bandenay (14-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who made his UFC debut on short notice, didn’t let the odds affect him one bit. He knocked Bravo (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) cold in 26 seconds with a brutal knee to the chin while Bravo was changing levels.

Bandenay, whose father recently died, broke down in tears at the end of his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Brian Stann, took home a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for the knockout.

“It was one or the other – go back to Peru and see him before he passed away, or live my dream away, (which was) also his dream,” Bandenay told MMAjunkie. “Because my dad said, ‘Go live your dream. Don’t come back.’ I have my dad in my heart, and he was today with me in my corner.

“He would be super proud of me. He’s my No. 1 fan, and this victory is for him.”

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5. Smiling for vengeance

Rashad Evans’ foray to middleweight has not been a success. After dropping a split decision to Daniel Kelly in his debut, he moved to New Jersey, living Frankie Edgar’s father-in-law’s basement to prepare for his fight against Sam Alvey. Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) lost to Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in a lackluster affair by split decision.

The loss was Evans’ fourth consecutive defeat and second straight defeat to an unranked opponent. That skid has left many wondering what’s next for the former light heavyweight champion.

As for Alvey, who is on a 5-1 run, he knows what he wants next: a “Vengeance Tour” on behalf of his friend and teammate, retired MMA legend Dan Henderson.

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“It started with Rashad,” Alvey told MMAjunkie. “Vitor (Belfort), you’re next. I don’t care where or when. You just tell me where, and I’ll sign the dotted line tomorrow.”

Belfort sounds like he’s OK with Alvey’s proposition.

Instagram Photo

6. That plan worked

Jack Hermansson entered his middleweight fight against Brad Scott wanting to spotlight his ground-and-pound. Hermansson (16-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) accomplished his goal and in the process earned a TKO over Scott (11-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) at the 3:50 mark of the first round.

Hermansson used distance well early in the fight. He avoided Scott and took him to the ground when the opportunity arose. Scott did his best to secure a triangle choke, but he was never able to lock up the hold. Not long after he gave up on the submission, Scott found himself in Hermansson’s mount. From there, Hermansson unleashed elbows and punches on the ground, bringing the fight to a finish.

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Hermansson celebrated the victory by suplexing his coach in the middle of the octagon.

7. Breaking records

Heading into UFC Fight Night 114, Dustin Ortiz was known as a grinder, someone who was tough to put away and hard to get away from once the fight hit the mat and he established top control. Fifteen seconds into his flyweight fight against Hector Sandoval, he added flyweight record holder and knockout threat to his resume.

Sandoval came out aggressive, but Ortiz was well prepared for the attack. He took a step back to avoid Sandoval’s strikes and delivered a counter right that staggered him. A second right ensured the finish, the fastest in UFC flyweight history. The hammerfists that followed on the ground were academic.

The knockout earned Ortiz his first fight-night bonus in 11 UFC contests.

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8. Back to basics

Rani Yahya tried the striking route in his last fight and it didn’t work out. He dropped a decision to Joe Soto and had a four-fight winning streak snapped. Against Henry Briones, he returned to his grappling roots, and it paid off.

Yahya (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC) wasted little time taking the bantamweight fight to the mat. From there, he opened up his submission game. He attempted a guillotine choke, then a north-south choke, before moving into half-guard to crank a brutal kimura that left Briones (16-7-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) with no choice but to tap at the 2:01 mark of Round 1.

After the fight, Yahya implored the crowd to follow him on social media, where he would reveal how he secured his 18th career submission. (As of Monday midday, he is yet to share his secret.)

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9. Bonus-winning debut

The UFC booked unbeaten flyweight prospects Joseph Morales and Roberto Sanchez against each other in the UFC Fight Pass featured prelim contest. The two did not disappoint.

Sanchez took the fight to the ground early. But other than landing a few strikes, he was unable to capitalize on that takedown, and Morales regained his feet. Once standing, Morales (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) followed a left jab with a huge right that dropped Sanchez (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) to the mat. Sanchez tried to recover, but by the time he had his wits about him, Morales was latched onto his back and working for a rear-naked choke. He locked it in and forced Sanchez to tap at the 3:56 mark of Round 1.

Morales remained undefeated and picked up an extra $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts.

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10. Rare, but just not enough

Jordan Rinaldi was probably feeling pretty confident he was going to walk away from Mexico City with a performance bonus check in his pocket. After all, Rinaldi (13-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) accomplished what only two other UFC fighters had ever done during his lightweight fight against Alvaro Herrera (9-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC): He earned a submission by a Von Flue choke.

Rinaldi did not get his desired bonus. Instead, he settled for footnote status on a card that tied a UFC record with seven first-round stoppages.

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For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

After record-quick UFC win, Dustin Ortiz gave a must-watch backstage interview

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MEXICO CITY – Want to experience the highs and lows of being a professional fighter on MMA’s biggest stage? Dustin Ortiz crammed all of those emotions into a four-minute backstage interview.

Granted, Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) was on a bit of a high. After all, he had just scored a 15-second knockout wina UFC flyweight record – over Hector Sandoval (14-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 114.

Following the preliminary-card bout, which aired on FS1 from Mexico City Arena in Mexico, the 28-year-old talked about the new record, which also earned him a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

“It’s music to my ears, he told MMAjunkie. “Never did I ever think that I would be able to set that record. (Never) did I think, ‘Hey, I’m going to go out there and set the fastest record.’ Me? I did it tonight, and man, it’s an amazing feeling.”

However, Ortiz, who’s No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, certainly prepared for it. As Sandoval pushed forward with a combination, Ortiz countered with a right that found its mark.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Ortiz said when asked if he prepared for a quick start and aggression from Sandoval. “We’re at the highest level here. We study film. We know these guys. I’ve trained with him before. He’s a heavy hitter. The game plan absolutely was my punches need to stay inside his.

“He’s a little bull. I was thrown off a little by it, but I stuck in there and threw my punches, and it got the job done.”

Ortiz was fighting for the first time since April, when UFC Fight Night 114 headliner Brandon Moreno submitted him at UFC Fight Night 108. After traveling around the world – and fighting some of the very best 125-pounders in the sport – the loss to Moreno (in Ortiz’s home state of Tennessee, nonetheless) was a bitter pill to swallow.

It put him in a 1-3 skid, and even though he was fighting a who’s who of flyweights, he admitted that the setbacks allowed the doubts to creep in.

“Just being human, you’re going to have that doubt, no matter what you do,” he said. “If you’re shooting for greatness, there’s going to be a little doubt in there.”

And with MMA?

“Especially when someone’s trying to punch your face in the meantime,” he said with a smile.

Check out the full conversation above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Relive all 7 record-tying 1st-round finishes from UFC Fight Night 114

Despite being viewed as one of the weaker cards in the UFC’s stretch of 11 events in 11 weeks, UFC Fight Night 114 made some history.

With seven fights ending in the first round, Saturday’s FS1-televised event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico tied six other UFC events for the most first-round finishes on a single card.

The stoppages came quickly and furiously. Watch all of them below.

* * * *

1. Jordan Rinaldi vs. Alvaro Herrera

Result: Jordan Rinaldi def. Alvaro Herrera via submission (Von Flue choke) – Round 1, 2:01
Recap: Jordan Rinaldi submits Alvaro Herrera with rare Von Flue choke
Photos: Jordan Rinaldi vs. Alvaro Herrera photos

2. Joseph Morales vs. Roberto Sanchez

Result: Joseph Morales def. Roberto Sanchez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:56
Recap: Joseph Morales turns tables on Roberto Sanchez, earns submission win
Photos: Joseph Morales vs. Roberto Sanchez photos

3. Rani Yahya vs. Henry Briones

Result: Rani Yahya def. Henry Briones via submission (kimura) – Round 1, 2:01
Recap: Rani Yahya nearly flawless in submission win over Henry Briones
Photos: Rani Yahya vs. Henry Briones photos

4. Dustin Ortiz vs. Hector Sandoval

Result: Dustin Ortiz def. Hector Sandoval via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:15
Recap: Dustin Ortiz KOs Hector Sandoval in 15 seconds for fastest flyweight win
Photos: Dustin Ortiz vs. Hector Sandoval photos

5. Jack Hermansson vs. Brad Scott

Result: Jack Hermansson def. Brad Scott via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:50
Recap: Jack Hermansson pounds his way to TKO finish of Brad Scott
Photos: Jack Hermansson vs. Brad Scott photos

6. Humberto Bandenay vs. Martin Bravo

Result: Humberto Bandenay def. Martin Bravo via knockout (knee, punches) – Round 1, 0:26
Recap: Humberto Bandenay stuns Martin Bravo with vicious KO in UFC debut
Photos: Humberto Bandenay vs. Martin Bravo photos

7. Niko Price vs. Alan Jouban

Result: Niko Price def. Alan Jouban via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:44
Recap: Niko Price TKOs Alan Jouban in 1st round to stay unbeaten
Photos: Niko Price vs. Alan Jouban photos

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, 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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UFC Fight Night 114 bonuses: New record holder Dustin Ortiz among 4 fighters to earn $50K

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MEXICO CITY – Dustin Ortiz, Joseph Morales, Humberto Bandenay, and Niko Price each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at today’s UFC Fight Night 114 event.

All four fighters were awarded “Performance of the Night” honors.

Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) made quick work of Hector Sandoval (14-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) – in record time, in fact. Sandoval blitzed forward early against Ortiz on the preliminary card, and he landed. But Ortiz countered with a right-left, then a huge right to the temple that planted Sandoval on the canvas. Ortiz was all over him in a hurry with three hammer fists to get the job done with a 15-second knockout – the fastest in UFC flyweight history.

Morales (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was not in a great spot in the first round of his flyweight fight against Roberto Sanchez (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), but he stayed patient on his back and worked back to his feet. From there, it was perfection in the standup game, then on the ground. A right to the temple put Sanchez on the canvas, and from there Morales was able to systematically take his opponent apart for a rear-naked choke finish.

Bandenay, the biggest underdog on the card after taking his fight on two weeks’ notice, stunned Martin Bravo with a vicious knee to score a first-round knockout.

And Price remained undefeated after a first-round TKO of Alan Jouban.

UFC officials announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

UFC Fight Night 114 took place Saturday at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch Dustin Ortiz's record-setting UFC knockout win in Mexico City

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Dustin Ortiz made a bit of UFC history on Saturday when he registered the fastest finish in the history of the flyweight division at UFC Fight Night 114.

Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) performance the definition of a short night at the office when he starched Hector Sandoval (14-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) just 15 seconds in the FS1-televised bout at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. Early prelims streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

The quick finish broke the previous 125-pound division stoppage record held by Freddy Serrano, who defeated Zhikui Yao in 44 seconds at UFC Fight Night 79 in November 2015.

Check out a video of Ortiz’s victory below (via Twitter).

Here’s how MMAjunkie described the bout on the play-by-play thread:

Round 1 – Jerin Valel is our fifth ref in five fights. He’ll look in on the speedy flyweights. Sandoval lands a nice right hand. But Ortiz answers – and answers quickly. He drills Sandoval with a right-left, then a massive right that knocks him to the canvas. He jumps on him immediately and crushes Sandoval with three hammer fists. Sandoval is out! Just like that, Ortiz has a knockout win – the fastest flyweight finish in UFC history. It took him 13 to 15 seconds, unofficially, until we hear the exact time.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Filed under: Blue Corner, Cage Warriors, Featured
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 114 results: Dustin Ortiz KOs Hector Sandoval in 15 seconds for fastest flyweight win

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5533239307001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

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In less time than it takes most people to tie their shoes, Dustin Ortiz put Hector Sandoval to sleep with an offensive outburst as swift as it was brutal.

A counter right hand from Ortiz (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) put Sandoval (14-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) on his heels, and the follow up put him away just 15 seconds into the fight, giving Ortiz the fastest finish in UFC flyweight history.

The flyweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 114 event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on FS1.

Before the fighters had even worked up a decent sweat, this one was in the books. The end came during one of the first exchanges of the fight, as Sandoval pushed forward behind a punching combination, prompting Ortiz to take a step back and fire off a right hand that caught him high on the head as Sandoval was moving in.

That punch staggered Sandoval and left him as easy pickings for Ortiz’s second right hand, which rattled his skull on the way to the floor, with Ortiz in hot pursuit right behind him. As Sandoval turtled up on the mat, Ortiz added a couple swift hammerfists to remove all doubt, and just like that the fight was over almost as soon as it had begun.

The victory gets Ortiz back in the win column for the first time since he was choked out by Brandon Moreno in April. Sandoval’s loss snaps a two-fight winning streak.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 114 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Mexico City.)

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

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 114, where lighter fighters are set for Mexico City's altitude

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Filed under: News, UFC

On Saturday the UFC heads back to the rarified air of Mexico City, which sits 7,200 feet above sea level. Perhaps as a nod to that high altitude, the promotion has stacked the card with lighter-weight competitors, with the majority of the bouts taking place at bantamweight or lighter.

One of those sub-135-pound battles gets top billing. Young rising flyweight stars Brandon Moreno and Sergio Pettis headline this event. It’s a big fight for Moreno, who goes by one of the more colorful nicknames in the UFC, “The Assassin Baby.” Just three fights into his UFC career, the promotion tasks the Mexican-born competitor with headlining an event in his home country against an opponent with much more UFC experience.

In the co-main event, another young Mexican-born fighter, Alexa Grasso, looks to bounce back from her first career defeat when she meets the more tenured Randa Markos.

UFC Fight Night 114 takes place at Mexico City Arena, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Closing in

In a flyweight division in need of fresh challengers, the winner of the matchup between Moreno (14-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC), currently No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, and No. 8 ranked Pettis (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) could find himself one or two fights away from a title shot.

Moreno has come on like gangbusters since joining the UFC in October, going 3-0 while pocketing $100,000 with two fight-night bonus awards. The 23-year-old is exciting and charismatic, with an aggressive fighting style that will surely make him the fan favorite in his native Mexico.

Pettis, also 23, has much more octagon experience. A UFC competitor since 2013, he’s won his past three fights, all by decision. Pettis is a much more controlled and patient fighter than Moreno, and that could play a part in this contest. Neither of these two has gone five rounds, and doing so at altitude could prove taxing.

2. Looking for a star

The UFC bit hard upon signing Grasso, selling her as a future star. While she won her debut, defeating Heather Jo Clark, she dropped her second fight, to Felice Herrig. At UFC Fight Night 114, the 23-year-old Mexican fighter gets another tough test in Markos.

The 31-year-old Markos delivered one of the best performances of her career in her last outing while earning a split-decision win over former strawweight champion Carla Esparza. Markos changed up her training regime before that fight, and it paid dividends.

If Markos (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) can take out Grasso (9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and put together her first two-fight winning streak since 2013, she’ll be in line to face a ranked opponent.

The loss to Herrig was the first of Grasso’s career. Look to see how she bounces back from that defeat, what overall progress she has made, and how she handles the pressure of facing a fighter with more high-level experience than she has.

3. Unbeaten, but untested

Niko Price has had two short-notice UFC fights. He’s won both by stoppage, but his most recent victory was later ruled a no-contest due to a failed drug test for marijuana. At UFC Fight Night 114, fans get to see how Price fares with more than two weeks to prepare for an opponent. Price faces nine-fight UFC vet Alan Jouban at welterweight.

Unbeaten Price (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has never fought someone as well-rounded as Jouban (15-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who’s coming off a submission loss to Gunnar Nelson in his last bout. But before that, he was on a three-fight winning streak that included a decision win over Mike Perry. That Perry fight showed Jouban could stay with a smart game plan against an aggressive and maybe a little reckless opponent – adjectives that could also describe Price.

4. That’s a lot of stoppages

Martin Bravo hasn’t fought since he won Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” in November by knocking out Claudio Puelles. He meets UFC newcomer Humberto Bandenay at featherweight.

The 23-year-old Bravo is unbeaten as a pro, but he remains a developing prospect. He’s comfortable and aggressive wherever the fight may go, and he’s won five fights by submission and four via TKO.

Bravo faces 22-year-old Bandenay (13-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who despite being younger than Bravo (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), has six more fights to his name. Bandenay is on a five-fight winning streak, and he’s won each of those bouts by stoppage, including his most recent outing: a May submission of Salim Mukhidinov at KOTC.

5. Give it a second shot

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans enters his fight against Sam Alvey on a three-fight losing skid, the longest of his career. Evans made his middleweight debut in his last outing and dropped a split decision to Daniel Kelly. That loss came after a layoff of nearly a year. Now that he’s blown off the ring rust and has a feel for middleweight, don’t be surprised to see a much more active Evans (19-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) against Alvey (30-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC).

Alvey saw his four-fight winning streak come to an end in his last fight, an April unanimous-decision defeat to Thales Leites.

6. Looking to shine

With a Cage Warriors belt on his resume and an eight-fight winning streak to his name, Jack Hermansson defeated Scott Askham in his UFC debut. Hermansson followed that victory with a submission loss to Cezar Ferreira. In his third UFC bout, Hermansson earned a first-round knockout win over Alex Nicholson.

Hermansson (15-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) gets a chance to capitalize on that May KO win when he meets Brad Scott (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who’s alternated wins and losses throughout his six-fight UFC run. He most recently defeated Askham via split decision in March.

Both of these middleweights like to stay busy on the feet, so this could prove to be a fun scrap between two fighters looking to increase their name recognition in an increasingly crowded roster.

7. Stay off the ground

Three fights into his UFC career, and Team Alpha Male fighter Hector Sandoval looks like he could make a charge up the flyweight ranks. He’ll get a chance to do just that against No. 13-ranked Dustin Ortiz.

Sandoval has displayed quickness and good striking in the clinch, and he can take his opponent to the mat if he runs into issues on the feet. He packed all of those talents into his last fight, a first-round TKO win over Matt Schnell.

Ortiz (16-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC) is best known for his wrestling base, but he could have problems when it comes to Sandoval (14-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), who has a 71 percent takedown defense. If Ortiz does get this fight to the ground, expect him to keep it there since he has some of the best top control in the division.

Ortiz has gone 2-4 in his past six fights, including his first career submission loss in his last outing when Moreno stopped him.

8. That has to sting a bit

In July 2015, unranked bantamweights Henry Briones and Cody Garbrandt met at UFC 189. Garbrandt won that contest by unanimous decision. Four fights and 17 months later, Garbrandt claimed the bantamweight title, defeating Dominick Cruz. Briones was inactive during most of Garbrandt’s run, competing once when he lost to Douglas Silva de Andrade by third-round TKO in November.

Briones (16-6-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) faces longtime WEC/UFC competitor Rani Yahya (23-9 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in his return bout. Briones is best known as a brawler while Yahya, who enters this fight coming off a decision defeat to Joe Soto, has been trying to shed his reputation as a ground-control fighter by opening up his striking, something he did in his loss to Soto.

This could be a sleeper pick for slugfest of the night.

9. Fresh and unbeaten

Two unbeaten flyweights, Joseph Morales (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Roberto Sanchez (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims.

If you recall, Morales is the fighter Cynthia Calvillo implored UFC President Dana White to sign after her UFC 209 win. White did that after Morales knocked out former Cage Fury and Ring of Combat flyweight champion Sean Santella in March at Cage Fury 64. The victory gave the 22-year-old Team Alpha Male product six stoppages in eight fights.

Sanchez enters the UFC after winning the LFA flyweight title at LFA 14. The 31-year-old Sanchez took out Jerome Rivera that night, submitting him in the third round. The victory was Sanchez’s fifth consecutive submission victory.

10. Trying to stick

After spending time with RFA, WSOF, Legacy FC and a stint in “The Ultimate Fighter” house, Jordan Rinaldi got his opportunity to step up to the big show in May 2016, when he took on Abel Trujillo in a short-notice bout. Rinaldi represented himself well through the first two rounds, but he faded in the third, and that allowed Trujillo to touch him up in the striking department and earn the decision victory, bringing an end to Rinaldi’s five-fight winning streak.

At UFC Fight Night 114, Rinaldi matches up against a fighter who is more in line with his experience level, Alvaro Herrera, who is coming in off a submission loss to Vicente Luque in July 2016.

This lightweight fight might give Rinaldi (12-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) the opportunity to show off his ground chops as Herrera (9-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), a striker, is not known for his takedown defense.

For more on UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie