Eddie Alvarez talks 'TUF 26' gripe with Lauren Murphy – and lack of heat with Justin Gaethje

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Eddie Alvarez has no qualms with fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 26” coach Justin Gaethje, who he thinks is a “hell of a human being.” But that’s not to say his “TUF” stint has been beef-free.

Rather than fellow lightweight Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), whom he’s set to meet at UFC 218, Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) had some drama with “Team Alvarez” team member and UFC flyweight Lauren Murphy. That much was clear on episode No. 5, in which the coach was clearly peeved by Murphy’s decision to not show up for morning practice following a loss to Nicco Montano.

That did take place. But the real reasons for the riff, Alvarez later told MMAjunkie Radio, went far beyond that particular disagreement.

“The story that’s being told in the media is basically: I’m a bad guy because I wanted someone back in the gym immediately after their fight,” Alvarez said. “And that was barely my gripe with that girl, in particular. That was the smalls thing that I didn’t like that was done that she did. I would also have to agree with you guys, to give somebody time off.

“I did want everyone back in the gym just to keep – personally, I did. But that was barely my gripe. My real gripe with that girl was that at that the first day, almost, she conspired against (Sijara Eubanks). Immediately, she was like, ‘We don’t care if ‘Sarj’ is 150 pounds.’ We – she’s speaking for the whole team now. And we just created the team.

“She goes, ‘We don’t care if ‘Sarj’ is 150 pounds. You can put her out first. It’s her fault she’s not prepared.’ So I was like, ‘Wow.’ Coach Marlon (Moraes) came to me and said, ‘Lauren said she don’t care if we put out ‘Sarj.” And this is in the mist of me, Mark and Marlon trying to put together a solid roster and win this thing. So I’m like, ‘No, that ain’t going to happen.’ I understand maybe she feels threatened by ‘Sarj,’ but ‘Sarj’ is on our team.”

And that wasn’t the last time Alvarez was under the impression that Murphy was “conspiring” against her teammates. A few days later, when the bracket went up, he said the flyweight came “in a panic” looking for advice on how to prepare for fellow Team Alvarez member Barb Honchak.

“She starts, ‘Hey, can you help me with a takedown, to take Barb down?’” Alvarez said. “I’m like, ‘Lauren, slow down. You have to fight Team Gaethje first.’ She still hasn’t fought her first fight against Nicco, and she’s already conspired twice or three times against everyone from Team Alvarez.

“I understand it’s Team Lauren Murphy because only one girl can win this, but it’s got to be one step at a time. Let’s beat Team Gaethje. Let’s get to the semifinals. Even then it’s bad to conspire, but let’s conspire then. Let’s take one thing at a time. There was a lot of bad energy, bad vibes when I’m trying to create a team.”

As for the missing practice thing that seemed like such a big deal on TV?

“(Expletive), it was a good thing she missed practice,” Alvarez said. “Her attitude sucked. It was probably a good thing, at the end of the day. I could care less about the practice.”

Talking to MMAFighting.com, Murphy denied conspiring against her teammates, saying Alvarez assumed “I was being an (expletive), because he’s an (expletive), and that’s the way he thinks.” She also blogged about the missed-practice situation, throwing some shade in the process.

“Besides, I’m pretty sure Eddie didn’t go running to the gym the day after Conor McGregor knocked him out so he could help his teammates get ready for their fights,” Murphy wrote (via Twitter):

Although things got rocky with one of his team members, Alvarez had no issues with the man he’s supposed to fight on Dec. 2 at UFC 218. The former UFC and Bellator champion, who’s hopped around promotions throughout his career, had become familiar with ex-WSOF champ Gaethje a few years ago – when he was considering fighting for the organization (now referred at as PFL).

A few months ago, when Gaethje joined the UFC, Alvarez said they shared a friendly conversation. And while it’s common for tempers to flare between rival coaches after a few weeks of competition, Alvarez said the amicable relationship continued throughout taping.

“He’s always been a cool cat,” Alvarez said. “I wish I could bring up some beef for you guys and say I smacked him in the face or I shoved him. But there wasn’t much drama to be told on that level.

“He’s actually a hell of a human being. And he fights like a demon. So it was all good on that level.”

It doesn’t take getting to know Gaethje on a personal level to agree with the “fighting like a demon” bit. After tearing through his competition at his former WSOF home, the aggressive lightweight put on a wild scrap with Michael Johnson to kick off his UFC stint.

While Alvarez has also been known to engage on a few barnburners, he’s also shown he can show some restraint should the occasion call. So which one can we expect to square off against Gaethje?

Well, Alvarez has some encouraging news.

“What I’m trying to do is not let a couple of punches go by before that comes out,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to do a full round in the back, and I’ll be out hot. I’m going to come out of the tunnel hot. And we’re going to get right to it, right from the gate.

“More than jiu-jitsu, striking, boxing, whatever aspect of this game you want to talk about. More than anything, that’s the aspect I’ve been working on. If I can explain it, just not giving a (expletive). That’s what I’m working on.”

To hear from Alvarez, check out the video above.

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

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Brad Tavares, Eddie Alvarez, Ben Fowlkes, Campbell McLaren

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MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Brad Tavares, Eddie Alvarez, Ben Fowlkes and Campbell McLaren.

Tavares opened up UFC 216 this past Saturday with a big win over Thales Leites in Las Vegas. He’ll be in the studio to co-host and talk about the fight. Alvarez, currently can be seen coaching Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The former UFC lightweight champ will fight opposing coach Justin Gaethje in December at UFC 218 in Detroit. MMAjunkie’s Fowlkes will call in to talk about the latest MMA news, including Mark Hunt vs. the UFC. And McLaren, CEO of Combate Americas, will discuss his upcoming one-night tournament on Nov. 11 and his new Telemundo TV deal.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 6 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 6 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with a strength and conditioning session for Team Alvarez. Coach Eddie Alvarez brings in his personal coach to help the fighters, who are beginning to feel a bit worn down by the intensity of training.

Team Alvarez’s Lauren Murphy believes the coaching methods present some danger of overtraining, but nevertheless, the sessions continue. Barb Honchak, the #2 seed who meets #15 Gillian Robertson of Team Gaethje later in the episode, is beginning to ramp up the intensity of her fight preparation.

Honchak, the former Invicta FC flyweight champion, may be 37, but she is considered one of the favorites in the tournament, which is evident by her high seeding. Although Honchak hasn’t fought in more than two years, she feels primed and prepared to show why she was once considered the top 125-pound fighter in the world.

Focus shifts to Team Gaethje’s Robertson, who at 22 is the youngest fighter in the competition and 15 years the junior of her opponent. Coach Justin Gaethje begins to go over some strategy with Robertson, who he knows is lacking some confidence but urges her to use the entirety of her skillset, not just grappling.

Back at the TUF house, Melinda Fabian of Team Alvarez is struggling with some homesickness. She’s also dealing with a lingering leg injury, which she says has hindered her from training at 100 percent. She believes she can make weight and fight, but is having some doubts about the level at which she can fight.

Fabian visits the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. She’s treated with massage therapy and cupping, and while her injury “is still very painful,” Fabian has not put any consideration into withdrawing from the competition.

At the weigh-in, Honchak and Robertson come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, and the sixth opening-round tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives, and Honchak and Robertson head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the sixth tournament fight is underway.

#2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. #15 Gillian Robertson (3-2)

Round 1 – They trade leg kicks to open the fight. Honchak moves forward while pumping the jab to the head and the body. Robertson is circling away and picking her shots. Honchak changes levels for a takedown and pushes Robertson’s back toward the cage. Robertson fights away from the fence and turns the position around. Robertson is controlling from inside the clinch but she can’t hold Honchak for long. They trade strikes off the break. Honchak is beginning to get loose with her hands and that forces Robertson to close the distance and force a clinch. Robertson is working knees and trip attempts but eats a hard knee to the gut which forces her to break away and back up. Robertson is clearly hurt but puts on a good poker face. Honchak changes levels and gets an easy double-leg takedown. Honchak begins to work from inside the guard. Robertson throws up an armbar attempt but her positioning isn’t right and Honchak avoids any real danger. Honchak passes to half guard and starts to land some hard blows which are slowing Robertson down. Honchak postures up and lands a flurry of strikes before the end of the round.

Round 2 – Honchak pounds Robertson’s thigh with a pair of leg kicks then follows with some hand combinations. Robertson shoots for a takedown but Honchak easily sprawls. Honchak muscles Robertson onto her back and is in a dominant top position. Honchak goes back to work from half guard as Robertson searches for submissions from her back. Honchak moves to side control and is working to isolate Robertson’s left arm for an Americana. Robertson powers through it and rolls Honchak over, but Honchak immediately stands up to escape the position. Robertson is driving for a single leg takedown against the fence but Honchak’s strength is once again too much and she’s powered onto the back. Honchak steps over into mount and is unleashes hard punches and elbows. The referee gives Robertson multiple warnings before stepping in and waving it off.

Barb Honchak def. Gillian Robertson via TKO (punches, elbows) – Round 2

“It felt good,” Honchak says after her victory. “I think everybody came in here looking at me. Now they know that I am what I was. They’re still looking at me, I think.”

Team Alvarez ties the competition 3-3 with Honchak’s victory. Team Gaethje takes control of fight selection, and with only two opening-round matchups remaining, coach Gaethje selects #10 Rachael Ostovich to go up against #7 Fabian of Team Alvarez next.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor on Mayweather, state of UFC lightweight division, 'rat' Paulie Malignaggi

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Floyd Mayweather isn’t out of Conor McGregor’s system quite yet, but MMA is still on his mind.

The UFC lightweight champion talked about his “Money Fight,” his division’s title picture and took a few shots at former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi today during a Q&A fan event in Glasgow, Scotland.

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC, 0-1 boxing) entertained the idea of a rematch with Mayweather (50-0 boxing), telling fans the newly retired boxing kingpin’s spending habits – and tax troubles – might lead to a rematch.

With different training, McGregor boasted, he wouldn’t just win – it would be the easiest fight of his career, Daily Star reporter Chisanga Malata tweeted from the event at the SEC Armadillo auditorium.

The good news, McGregor said, is that he is still counting his money from the mega-event this past month in Las Vegas.

McGregor didn’t rule out a return to the octagon by year’s end, even though UFC President Dana White has already ruled it out.

McGregor’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh, recently predicted “The Notorious” won’t fight until 2018 – and is hopefull he’ll take on Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) in a rubber match on St. Patrick’s Day.

But according to McGregor, that fight isn’t a lock. Diaz, he said, is likely to “price himself out” of a third fight.

A fight at the year-end UFC 219 would be fine, McGregor said, if he could simply weigh in and throw down, according to Irish Mirror and MMAFighting.com reporter Peter Carroll.

Another rival, former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi (36-8 boxing), got an invitation to the octagon. McGregor reportedly called the ex-boxing champ – his former sparring partner for Mayweather – “a rat” and told him to “bring his balls” for a showdown in MMA.

Other opponents also beckon. McGregor said he’s looking forward to the upcoming interim lightweight title bout between Tony Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) and Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), which takes place next week at UFC 216, as well as the showdown of “The Ultimate Fighter 26” coaches Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and ex-champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC).

McGregor also mentioned the possibility of a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) in Russia, a matchup UFC President Dana White told MMAjunkie months ago was high on the champ’s list.

But in the end, McGregor indicated he would wait how the division shakes out before making a final decision.

“Let me see what these two fools do this weekend,” McGregor said of Ferguson vs. Lee.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Kevin Lee doesn't worry about UFC rankings, because 'they don't mean sh*t'

Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Justin Gaethje, and Nate Diaz – in that order.

Those are the six fighters ahead of Kevin Lee in the official UFC lightweight rankings, and he’s fought none of them. In fact, Lee holds a victory over just one current fighter in the top 10, Michael Chiesa, who he defeated via controversial submission in June.

With that, No. 7 Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has been granted an interim lightweight title shot against No. 2 Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) in the main event of UFC 216, which takes place Oct. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The fact that Lee has “beaten nobody” is a point Ferguson continues to harp on as their fight draws near. To Ferguson, Lee has talked his way into this shot at a belt, which Lee counters that he’s done more than talk, with 11 fights since his UFC debut 3 1/2 years ago.

And besides, Lee doesn’t see the big deal with rankings anyway.

“It don’t really matter,” Lee said during Thursday’s UFC 216 conference call. “Like, I don’t see even why other fighters are putting … them rankings, they don’t matter. Y’all make the rankings. I don’t give a f*ck about the rankings. The only thing everybody above me in this division got on me is some years, is some time. That’s it.”

Taking a look at the rankings, the current landscape of the division is intriguing. It appears McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) likely will forego a unification bout with the Ferguson-Lee winner in favor of a trilogy with Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC). Alvarez and Gaethje are slated to culminate their time as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 26” with a showdown. And Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) is in limbo, though he’s said he expects to fight either Ferguson or Lee.

None of that matters to Lee, though. He’s already proclaimed himself UFC champ over McGregor, who is coming off his boxing loss to Floyd Mayweather and hasn’t defended his belt – even without a “hunk of metal.” That should’ve already relayed Ferguson’s beliefs on the rankings.

But just in case it didn’t …

“When you look at the rankings, they don’t mean nothing,” Lee said. “Some of these dudes that’s in the top 25, top 30, they’ll beat any of the guys in the top five. They got Nate Diaz, who’s got plenty of losses, in the top five. It don’t make sense. They got Justin Gaethje, who only got one (UFC) fight against … apparently beating Michael Johnson in this game is really something, because you got Khabib up there at No. 1, and you got Gaethje with one fight up above me.

“The rankings don’t really mean shit. You could say I’m No. 7. You could say whatever you want to say. I think I’m No. 1, and I’m just going to prove it on October 7th.”

For more on UFC 216, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Episode No. 5 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with a still-emotional No. 3 Lauren Murphy riding back to the TUF house with the rest of Team Alvarez following her upset loss to Team Gaethje’s No. 14 Nicco Montano on the previous episode.

Murphy says she expected to reach the finals and be one half of the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title fight, but she admits some moments of self-doubt began to creep into her mind just moments before the bout. Back at the TUF house, Murphy is upset she can’t get the comfort of her family after the disappointing result.

The next morning, Murphy is feeling better but decides to skip practice. She says she hopes coach Eddie Alvarez doesn’t give “some big speech at the gym about how, like, I should be back in there already.” That’s exactly what happens, though.

“She lost, and you’re not here? You’re probably not built for this,” Alvarez tells his fighters at the next Team Alvarez training session. “I appreciate you being here. Shana (Dobson) did the same. She came in, she lost, took it on the chin, came out and started training again. It’s not what happens, it’s how we react to it. So let’s react properly today. Thoughts and feelings mean nothing here. Zero, zilch. They’re not going to win you a fight here, your thoughts and feelings. I just need you girls to fight.”

Focus shifts to preparation for the next fight, where No. 12 Sijara Eubanks of Team Alvarez will fight No. 5 Maia Stevenson of Team Gaethje. Coach Alvarez says he believes Eubanks’ seeding in the tournament is way off, and her power and well-rounded ability are going to become advantageous in the upcoming bout.

At the second Team Alvarez training session of the day, Murphy returns to practice. She’s greeted by Alvarez and the rest of the coaching staff. They have a discussion about Murphy’s loss, and coach Alvarez attempts to lift Murphy’s spirits. She doesn’t say much at first but in confessional vents a lot of frustration in Alvarez’s direction.

The TUF gym is later overtaken by Team Gaethje. Stevenson, who is the wife of 16-fight UFC veteran and “TUF 2” winner Joe Stevenson, is feeling some pressure to make her own name in the sport. She doesn’t want people to think she’s only in the competition because of her husband and says it’s a “mental game” to get it out of her mind, but coach Justin Gaethje believes she’s capable.

As the fight approaches, there is some concern within Team Alvarez regarding Eubanks’ weight cut. She still has 10 pounds to cut, but believes, “everyone else is more concerned about my weight than I am.” At 126.5 pounds, though, Eubanks runs into a wall with her weight loss. She’s having difficulty ridding herself of the final half-pound, and the drama begins.

Instead of putting herself through anymore physical strain, though, coach Alvarez suggest Eubanks cuts off a sizable portion her lengthy dreadlocks. Eubanks takes it in stride and says, “My girlfriend is not going to be happy.”

The official weigh-ins for the fight take place, and both fighters hit the 126-pound women’s flyweight limit. A tense staredown follows.

Fight day arrives, and the fifth tournament bout is nearly underway. Stevenson and Eubanks finalize preparation with their coaches, and the athletes walk to the cage.

#5 Maia Stevenson (6-4) vs. #12 Sijara Eubanks (2-2)

Round 1 – Eubanks pumps the jab to begin the fight and tags Stevenson with a left hand. Eubanks shoots for a takedown, but it’s easily stuffed. Stevenson comes in with some combinations and is tagging Eubanks with clean shots. Stevenson’s jab is on point early, and Eubanks shoots for another takedown. She gets Stevenson down and immediately spins to the back. Stevenson works up to her feet slowly but Eubanks is working her with her with hard, short strikes. Stevenson is pinned against the cage and struggling to deal with Eubanks’ strength. Eubanks is landing shots at will against the fence then decides to change to a single leg and drag Stevenson back to the canvas. Eubanks postures up and batters Stevenson with some heavy strikes until the end of the round.

Round 2 – Eubanks misses on two big punches and eats a counter combination. She shoots for a takedown and Stevenson defends until her back is against the fence. Eubanks drops for the single-leg takedown and gets Stevenson down again. Eubanks advances to half guard and applies an americana. Stevenson squirm her arm free but Eubanks easily controlling her. She switches to the kimura and wrenches Stevenson’s arm behind her back, forcing her to tap out and end the one-sided fight.

Sijara Eubanks def. Maia Stevenson via submission (kimura) – Round 2

“The fight went really well,” Eubanks says after her victory. “It felt like all the suns and stars and stuff aligned for me, because it was a rough day yesterday, but we doubled down and had a super great day today.”

Team Gaethje’s lead is cut to 3-2 in the competition with Eubanks’ win for Team Alvarez, who take control of fight selection. With his choice, coach Alvarez selects No. 2 Barb Honchak to go up against No. 15 Gillian Robertson of Team Gaethje next.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 4 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with focus on No. 3 Lauren Murphy, who is fighting No. 14 Nicco Montano in the fourth opening-round tournament bout later in the episode.

Team Alvarez’s Murphy admits she’s had to stop and catch herself from looking too far ahead in the tournament when the most important fight is right ahead of her with Team Gaethje’s Montano. Murphy tells teammate Barb Honchak that she was already thinking about a fight between them prior to the start of the tournament, which creates some awkwardness.

During preparation, coach Eddie Alvarez calls Murphy a “coach’s dream.” He believes her four fights of UFC experience, which is more than all the rest of the tournament field combined, is a great advantage. Murphy says her well-rounded game is going to be too much for Montano to handle.

At the “TUF” house, Murphy, a former Invicta FC champion, opens up with some of her teammates about her troubled past. She discusses how her father passed away in a plane crash when she was young. That led her to a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse which resulted in an overdose. Murphy eventually got past her addiction and turned to a career in MMA.

Team Gaethje has its next training session, and Montano continues preparation for her upcoming fight. Despite only five pro bouts, Montano won a championship in the King of the Cage organization. UFC President Dana White calls Montano a “dark horse” in the tournament. Coach Justin Gaethje says the goal for Montano to turn it into a “dog fight.”

The official weigh-ins for the fight takes place, and both fighters come in under the 126-pound women’s flyweight limit. A tense staredown follows.

Fight day arrives, and the fourth tournament bout is nearly underway. Murphy and Montano finalize preparation with their coaches, and the athletes walk to the cage for the debut contest of the season.

#3 Lauren Murphy (9-3) vs. #14 Nicco Montano (3-2)

Round 1 – Murphy presses the action to begin the fight and is throwing combinations. Montano attacks with leg kicks and counter strikes. Montano is landing the better shots early, but Murphy is starting to settle in. Murphy works the jab, but Montano is coming at her with body and leg kicks. Murphy gets the clinch, but Montano pressures her against the fence. Montano misses with an elbow on the break, and Murphy takes the center of the cage. Montano lands a hard body kick followed by a grazing kick to the head. Murphy is struggling to find her range and is consistently being tagged with kicks. Murphy catches one of the kicks and turns it into a clinch situation. She attempts to drag Montano to the mat, but her takedowns are well defended. Montano is keeping busy with short punches and knees to the body before turning Murphy in the clinch. She works for a body-lock takedown of her own but has no success. They continue to battle in the clinch before separating. Murphy is starting to land some better shots before the end of the round.

Round 2 – Murphy is throwing with bad intentions to begin the round. Montano is keeping a solid range, but eventually they fight into the clinch. Murphy drops for a takedown. Her initial entry is stuffed, but she partially gets Montano down. Montano hammers Murphy with elbows before fighting her way back up to the feet. They are still in the clinch, and Montano is landing some good knees. Murphy refuses to disengage and is still fighting for takedowns. Montano refuses to go down and cuts Murphy open with a knee to the head. Montano lands more solid blows before turning Montano around. They finally separate from the clinch, and Montano lands a left kick to the body followed by a right hand. Murphy shoots for another takedown, but Montano has it easily scouted. Murphy is pressuring from the clinch, but she can’t get Montano down before the round ends.

Nicco Montano def. Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)

“I did what I had to do to get the win,” Montano says after her stunning upset victory. “‘Whatever it takes’ is our team motto, and I think I demonstrated that pretty well tonight.”

Murphy, who is the first higher seed to fall so far in the tournament, becomes emotional back in the locker room.

“I’m tired of losing,” Murphy says. “I’m so (expletive) tired of losing. I was already coming off a loss coming into this showm and I thought maybe dropping to 125 was going to be the answer to all my problems, and clearly it’s not. I’m away from my family and I just miss them so much. It’s hard to go through a loss like this and be the upset in the show and not have them here to comfort me.”

Team Gaethje takes a 3-1 lead in the competition with Montano’s victory. Team Gaethje takes control of fight selection, and with his choice, coach Gaethje selects No. 5 Maia Stevenson to go up against No. 12 Sijara Eubanks of Team Alvarez next.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

'EA All Day:' Watch ex-champ Eddie Alvarez's debut vlog, with a 'TUF 26' media tour

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

Former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is joining the video blog business. If his debut episode is any indication, there’s some solid content to come.

Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who is current serving as a coach opposite Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) on Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, has opted to launch a new YouTube series titled “EA All Day.”

The first episode follows Alvarez behind the scenes during a recent media tour in his hometown of Philadelphia to promote “TUF 26,” which airs every Wednesday on FS1 and features Alvarez and Gaethje coaching a cast of hopefuls who are attempting to become the first UFC women’s flyweight champion.

MMA has several solid video blog series’ going, from Alistair Overeem’s “The Reem” to Tyron Woodley’s “Champ Camp.” Now Alvarez’s “EA All Day” can be added to the list.

Watch the complete episode above.

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

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

Episode No. 3 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with fight preparation for Team Gaethje’s Montana Stewart, who fights Team Alvarez’s Ariel Beck in the third tournament bout later in the episode.

No. 6 Stewart is a former standout amateur wrestler who, at 22, is the youngest of the 16 fighters in the tournament. She is a mother to a six-year-old, and despite her age, already has 10 professional bouts on her record.

UFC President Dana White, along with coach Justin Gaethje, call Stewart a dark horse in the tournament and believe she actually has a good chance of winning not only her upcoming fight, but the entire competition.

Team Alvarez has its next training session at the newly opened UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. The UFC PI is a state-of-the-art facility with brand new technology and equipment. One athlete calls it “fighter heaven.”

No. 11 Beck’s preparation begins for her fight with Stewart, which she calls “a nice matchup for me.” Beck has a tough day of training in which her emotions begin to get the best of her. She goes to the locker room and begins to have a “panic attack” due to the intensity of the competition. Fortunately, the coaching staff and numerous teammates are there to lend support.

Coach Eddie Alvarez, in particular, shares some of his most glorious and horrific career moments with Beck and tells her “any feelings you have are not out of the ordinary for any fighter.” Beck gathers herself and eventually returns to the training room.

Later on, No. 8 Emily Whitmire visits the UFC PI to get an update from doctors. She sustained a rib injury during training on the previous episode. One of the physical therapists helps Whitmire recover from the injury, and after having some doubts about her ability to compete right after, Whitmire is very optimistic about her chances.

During a break in training, the Team Gaethje coaching staff decided to take the fighters out for a night of bowling at GameWorks Las Vegas. Coach Gaethje offers the athletes a cash prize for the best results. Stewart receives first prize of $250 for bowling the best game, while No. 10 Rachael Ostovich takes second and gets $150.

The official weigh-ins for the fight take place, and both fighters come in under the 126-pound women’s flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows.

Fight day arrives, and the third tournament bout is nearly underway. Stewart and Beck finalize preparation with their coaches, and the athletes walk to the cage for their debut contest of the season.

#6 Montana Stewart (6-4) vs. #11 Ariel Beck (4-4)

Round 1 – Stewart comes out throwing combinations while Beck is looking to counter-strike. Stewart lands a nice right hand and begins to back up Beck. Beck is circling the octagon then moves into the clinch. Beck throws some knees to the body and Stewart fires back with some of her own before breaking free. Stewart is throwing combinations and landing with most of her shots. Beck pounds the inside of the leg with a kick, and Stewart closes distance for a body lock. She trips Beck to the mat and lands in half guard. Stewart begins to work from on top as Beck recovers guard position. Stewart postures up and advances into side control. She applies a D’Arce choke, but it’s not fully locked in. She makes some adjustments as Beck fights to get free. Stewart gets it too tight, though, and Beck is forced to tap out.

Montana Stewart def. Ariel Beck via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1

“I felt amazing, but back to work and I’m not just fine with one win,” Stewart says after her victory. “I’m going to finish all the fights and get that belt.”

Team Gaethje takes a 2-1 lead in the competition with Stewart’s victory. Team Alvarez takes control of fight selection, and with his choice, coach Alvarez selects No. 3 Lauren Murphy to go up against No. 14 Nicco Montano of Team Gaethje next.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 1 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with a look back at preseason tryouts. A number of aspiring women’s flyweight fighters gather in Las Vegas in the hopes of joining the cast in order to vie for the inaugural 125-pound belt in the UFC.

UFC President Dana White discusses the tryouts, which attract more than 50 fighters from across the globe. White, along with matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, assess the athletes and decide on the 16 who will join the cast.

Fast forward and the fighters arrive at the “TUF” gym, where they are greeted by head coaches Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, who are scheduled to fight at the end of the season. White summarizes the stakes of the tournament via a satellite message, and the competition is officially underway.

The fighters change into training gear for coaches evaluations. Gaethje interviews each fighter on top of grappling and pad work sessions. He says his priority is to select those with mental toughness and durability.

Alvarez, meanwhile, has the fighters engage in a much more physical level of sparring. He wants to see the talent firsthand in a live-fight scenario and admits to being “shocked” by the level of talent on the cast.

At the conclusion of evaluations, Alvarez and Gaethje have the traditional coin toss to determine which team has the first fighter pick and which selects the first matchup. Alvarez wins the coin toss, and decides to pick the first fighter.

With his first overall pick, Team Alvarez selects former Invicta FC champ Barb Honchak, who is announced as the No. 2 seed. As a result, No. 15 seed Gillian Robertson joins Team Gaethje.

The rest of the fighters are selected, and the 125-pound tournament to determine the first UFC flyweight champion shakes out as follows:

Bracket A

Bracket B

With team selection finalized, Gaethje announces the first matchup: #1 Modafferi vs. #16 Dobson.

The fighters then visit the “TUF” house for the first time. A few of the athletes are awestruck by house and platform they are about to compete on. The intensity and focus is high as the fighters settle into their new living area.

Modafferi, who is the first female to ever make two appearances on the “TUF” reality series, is eager to make up for a poor effort on Season 18. She was eliminated in the first round, but has since excelled under the Invicta FC banner and wants to prove to the world that she doesn’t “suck anymore.”

At the first Team Alvarez training session, the coaching staff beings to work with Dobson, who is a sizable underdog to Modafferi with just three career fights. She calls herself the “best kept secret in MMA,” and coach Alvarez says the key to victory is to keep the fight standing.

Team Gaethje has its first training session, and right off the bat coach Gaethje brings in a special assistant coach. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate enters the gym. Tate was Modafferi’s coach on Season 18, and gives her some motivational words.

The official weigh-ins for the fight takes place, and both fighters come in under the 126-pound women’s flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows.

Fight day arrives, and the first tournament bout has arrived. Modafferi and Dobson finalize preparation with their coaches, and the athletes walk to the cage for the debut contest of the season.

#1 Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) vs. #16 Shana Dobson (2-1)

Round 1 – They touch gloves and Dobson opens with a jab. Modafferi feints to close distance and inside, but Dobson backs her up with some straight punches. Modafferi is looking to close the distance but eats a wild hook from her opponent. Modafferi lands a body kick and Dobson responds with one of her own. Modafferi lands a jab then just misses with a spinning backfist. Modafferi continues to punch at a high rate and gets inside with a body lock. She slams Dobson to the canvas and lands in half guard after a brief scramble. Modafferi patiently works to advance position as Dobson looks to free herself from bottom. She attempts to explode free, but Modafferi instead advances to mount. Modafferi begins to land punches while Dobson is defending and trying to find an opening to escape. Modafferi postures and is landing heavy punches and elbows. The referee gives multiple warnings, but Dobson can’t get out of the mount. The referee waves it off and Dobson immediately stands up arguing that she was fine to continue. However, it’s too late.

Roxanne Modafferi def. Shana Dobson via TKO (strikes) – Round 1

“I’m so happy,” Gaethje says after his fighter’s win. “She was our first pick. We put a lot of confidence in her and a lot of trust by giving her that first fight, and she nailed it.”

The fighters return to the locker room and Modafferi begins to shed tears of joy.

“I feel spectacular right now,” Modafferi says. “I feel so proud of myself and like I redeemed myself after my last loss last time I was on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I feel like I got to show more of what I built myself up too. … I’m thrilled with my win, but this is just the beginning. I’m going to make it to the end and become the champion.”

Team Gaethje moves to 1-0 on the season. Team Alvarez takes control of fight selection, and with his choice, coach Alvarez selects No. 4 Bennett to go up against No. 13 seed Gevorgyan of Team Gaethje next.

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie