'Most violent man in the UFC' Eddie Alvarez wants 'big, mega fight' after KO of Justin Gaethje

Eddie Alvarez is looking forward to getting a juicy new UFC contract after being “crowned” as the “Most Violent Man” in the UFC with a third-round knockout of Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 this past weekend.

Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) said he has one fight remaining on his current contract following the memorable “Fight of the Night” matchup with Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), which took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and aired on pay-per-view, and he is looking forward to renegotiating with the organization.

The former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion had to endure a lot of punishment to get the win over Gaethje. Both fighters were transported to the hospital immediately after the bout, but Alvarez knows the thrilling affair bettered his position in the weight class, as well as his leverage in contract negotiations.

“I actually have one fight left with the UFC,” Alvarez said in his first post-fight interview with 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia. “I’ve finished all my fights, and I have one fight left in my contract. It’s time to sit down with the boss man and talk about long-term, talk about how we’re going to do this thing and what big, mega-fight we can have coming up.”

Alvarez did not name any potential opponents he’d like to face next, which will surely come as a disappointment to Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC), who has been pleading for a rematch with Alvarez since their controversial no-contest at UFC 211 in May.

All Alvarez cares about at this point is that he earned the label of “Most Violent Man” in the UFC, which was a title he and Gaethje made up in the weeks leading up to their anticipated fight.

“I’m the most violent man in the UFC,” Alvarez said. “They can take the No. 1, 2 and 3 (ranking). I’ll just take that title, and I’ll keep it. I’ve been crowned. … We went in to make a point. My performances in the UFC, I’ve been trying to win. Win, win, win. I’ve been so focused on winning that the performance itself wasn’t showing my true colors. We went in here with just the idea of, ‘Just be as violent as we can.’ The byproduct of that would be a win.”

Alvarez provided an update on his health, revealing, “Everything that happened in the fight is all soft tissue.” He said he has no structural damage, and other than some lingering effects of Gaethje’s leg kicks and some facial bruising, he felt OK.

The back-and-forth fight with Gaethje helped Alvarez bounce back from a two-fight winless drought, which began when he dropped the 155-pound belt to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 in November 2016. The no-contest with Poirier came after that, putting Alvarez on dangerous grounds.

After coaching Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series opposite his opponent, Alvarez finished Gaethje with a brutal third-round knee. He landed a few extra shots on the former WSOF champ before the referee stepped in, and although it made his win all the more violent, Alvarez said he wishes that wasn’t the case.

“He was (out after the knee),” Alvarez said. “I put my hands up in the air immediately. I did not want to hit him anymore after that. I felt it; he felt it. The ref, I’m not going to say he was late, but I didn’t want to hit him anymore. I felt it clean. That’s a guy – he’s like I am. You give him a split-second, and he’s back in the fight, and you have to fight him all over again.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Max Holloway and UFC 218's other winning fighters?

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(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 218’s losing fighters?)

The UFC featherweight title was defended for the first time in more than three years on Saturday when Max Holloway successfully retained his title against Jose Aldo in UFC 218’s pay-per-view headliner.

Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) closed out the five-fight main card at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a third-round TKO of Aldo to extend his winning streak to 12.

Prior to the main event, Francis Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC), Henry Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Tecia Torres (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) made cases for title shots in their respective divisions, while former UFC champ Eddie Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) bounced back from a two-fight skid.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 218’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Tecia Torres

Cynthia Calvillo

Should fight: Winner of Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza at UFC 219
Why they should fight: Torres continued to shine in the UFC strawweight division when she beat former Invicta FC champion Michelle Waterson for her third consecutive victory in the weight class.

A month ago it seemed guaranteed a Torres unanimous-decision victory would be enough to get the next title shot. Then Rose Namajunas stunned Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the 115-pound title at UFC 217, and the entire division was turned on its head.

Instead of fighting for the belt next, Torres, whose only pro loss came to Namajunas, will likely have to wait for a rematch to play out. That could take quite some time, which would mean another fight is necessary in order for “Tiny Tornado” to keep her momentum.

A title-eliminator matchup with the winner of Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and ex-champ Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who fight at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, would be an appropriate fight for the top contenders.

Eddie Alvarez

Dustin Poirier

Should fight: Dustin Poirier
Why they should fight: After a forgettable two-fight stint in which he lost the UFC lightweight title and then fought to a no-contest, Alvarez finally got a clean win on his record when he spoiled the undefeated run of former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje.

Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator champ, was eager to fight one of the most hyped fighters in the sport in Gaethje. No one had been able to figure out “The Highlight” prior, but Alvarez got the job done with a third-round TKO and is back on stable ground in the 155-pound division.

Considering he lost UFC gold to Conor McGregor – who still hasn’t fought since – Alvarez is aware he’s in no position to be fighting for the title in the near future. That leaves him looking to take exciting matchups similar to one he got with Gaethje, and there’s some bad blood out to be resolved with Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC).

Alvarez and Poirier had an exciting fight at UFC 211 in May that ended in a no-contest after Alvarez landed an illegal knee. He claims it was accidental, but Poirier insists it was because he wanted out of a fight that was on the verge of being lost. “The Diamond” has been clamoring for a rematch since, and he stumped for it again after a win over Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 120 this past month. Now is the time to run it back.

Henry Cejudo

Demetrious Johnson

Should fight: Demetrious Johnson (or T.J. Dillashaw?)
Why they should fight: The rapid development of Cejudo’s skillset was a big talking point prior to UFC 218, but against Sergio Pettis, the Olympic gold medalist went back to his wrestling roots to earn a unanimous-decision victory.

Despite already failing in a title bid against UFC flyweight champ Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), Cejudo seems like he is the most equipped member of his weight class to dethrone “Mighty Mouse.” He provided another example of why when he snapped Pettis’ winning streak.

The initial meeting between Cejudo and Johnson didn’t take place that long ago, but Cejudo’s improvements since then have created a compelling argument for a rematch. The holdup, however, is the champ. Johnson will apparently look to defend his belt against bantamweight champ Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) in a super fight next, and if that happens, it leaves Cejudo left waiting.

Cejudo would either have to be sidelined or take another fight if the Johnson vs. Dillashaw matchup moves forward, but assuming it doesn’t (or Cejudo waits until after), there’s no more deserving contender.

Francis Ngannou

Stipe Miocic

Should fight: Stipe Miocic
Why they should fight: There weren’t many objections to the idea of Ngannou getting a heavyweight title shot before UFC 218. Now that he holds a win over Alistair Overeem, it’s a guarantee.

Ngannou continued his unbeaten run inside the octagon with his biggest win to date. He beat the former Strikeforce and DREAM champion by vicious first-round knockout, strengthening his argument even more as the man who should next challenger current heavyweight kingpin Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC).

Although Ngannou’s dominant style still leaves many questions about potential flaws in his game, no one has been able to expose them so far. He’s earned his keep, but if anyone is capable of figuring him out, it’s champion Miocic.

Max Holloway

Should fight: Frankie Edgar
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Holloway should fight Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) next for his second title defense.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 bonuses: Amazing night forces two 'Fight of the Night' awards

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DETROIT – How in the heck are you supposed to pick between Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje and Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira for “Fight of the Night” awards? You don’t.

Alvarez, Gaethje, Medeiros and Oliveira each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday’s UFC 218 event. With two “Fight of the Night” awards issued, there were no “Performance of the Night” honors given.

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

“The Ultimate Fighter 26” coaches Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) met in a highly anticipated main-event matchup they each said was to determine the baddest dude in the company. The contest lived up to the hype, with both men just digging into the pocket and swinging. In the end, Alvarez’s body shots took their toll, and a big knee sealed the deal in the third round, sending Gaethje crashing to the canvas for the first loss of his career. Still, both men cased in an extra $50,000 for the instant classic.

Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) and Oliveira (17-5-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) faced off in a thrilling preliminary bout, with both men enjoying moments of success where it appeared the other fighter was done. However, they both pushed through the troubles to put on a blood-soaked show of bravery that only ended when a Medeiros barrage finally ended Oliveira’s night two minutes into the third frame.

UFC 218 took place Saturday at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit and was the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card aired live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts to Eddie Alvarez's win in brutal war with Justin Gaethje at UFC 218

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The anticipated matchup between Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje lived up to the hype at UFC 218.

Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) scored a third-round TKO of Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a brutal war at UFC 218, which took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The fight aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The former UFC and Strikeforce champ took everything Gaethje had to offer, and came out on top.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Alvarez’s victory over Gaethje at UFC 218.

* * * *

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 results: Eddie Alvarez first to stop Justin Gaethje with sick knee in all-time classic

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It was billed as a can’t-miss firefight to determine the most violent man in the sport. It delivered.

Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje battered each other in a brutal striking battle that seemed like, against all odds, it might actually see the scorecards. But nearing the final minute of the final round, a knee from Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) put Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) down, and a couple more punches brought the TKO stoppage at the 3:59 mark of Round 3.

The lightweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC 218 event at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Instead of sprinting out of the gates, this was a war that gradually ramped up in intensity as time went on. Gaethje got off to a good start with help from his low kicks, which seemed to buckle Alvarez at times but without hampering his overall mobility.

But before the first round was over, Alvarez managed to fire back with some heavy body shots that seemed to slow Gaethje, who soon found himself swinging and missing at an increasingly elusive Alvarez.

The pace continued to increase in the second, with both men landing solid uppercuts on the feet, and with defense seemingly becoming less of a priority. By the end of the round, Alvarez would return to his corner with his mouth badly swollen, while Gaethje seemed to be feeling the effects of the body punches more and more.

The action reached a fever pitch in the final frame, and Gaethje recommitted to his low kick strategy, chopping Alvarez’s legs out from under him. But Alvarez kept firing back, and with Gaethje seeming to fade somewhat, a knee to the face from Alvarez finally sent him over the edge, dropping Gaethje in a slow-motion, face-forward fall.

Alvarez paused long enough to pose with his fists in the air, then added a couple more blows as a woozy Gaethje reached desperately for his leg. Finally, referee Herb Dean decided he’d seen enough and stepped in to call it off.

For Alvarez, the win is his first since the 2016 victory over Rafael dos Anjos that earned him the UFC lightweight title. Gaethje’s loss is the first of his pro career.

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

After a chaotic few years in UFC featherweight division, where does Frankie Edgar fit?

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A little more than seven years have passed since UFC President Dana White first draped the featherweight belt around Jose Aldo in Detroit and, over the subsequent half-decade, the division came to be defined by the Brazilian’s uninterrupted tenure as the first UFC champion at 145 pounds.

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) amassed seven title defenses – against six worthy challengers – but, such was his almost total dominance, along with a complete lack of compelling subplots outside the octagon, that flawless reign started to border on the mundane.

By then, Conor McGregor’s incessant soundbites and trusty left hand had somewhat stirred the pot but, it wasn’t until the Dubliner defeated Chad Mendes for the interim title in July 2015 at UFC 189 that the dog-eared script was ripped to shreds.

The unfolding twists, turns and seesawing balance of power were of “Game of Thrones” proportions, and looking back now, it’s startling to consider that it took McGregor a mere 13 seconds to put such a chaotic chain of events in motion.

Almost immediately after unseating Aldo at UFC 194, the brass gave Irishman McGregor leave to challenge then-lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, though when the latter was ruled out through injury, the former and Nate Diaz fought out a pair of welterweight bouts, which were punctuated by an all-too-public standoff between McGregor and his employers.

At UFC 200, Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision to capture an interim crown prior to the Brazilian being handed back the unified title after UFC officials stripped it from McGregor, who had destroyed lightweight kingpin Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to become the first man to lord over two weight classes simultaeously.

And yet, the plot thickened some more. A month later, in a rather facile attempt to lend UFC 206 some gravitas (after the scheduled light-heavyweight title bout between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson was pulled from the card), the promotion thought it wise to have Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis contest the third interim title bout in less than two years.

Holloway stopped Pettis in Round 3 as he did Aldo in their unification bout in June at UFC 212.

Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) was slated to face Edgar in tonight’s UFC 218 headliner, but the New Jersey native was forced to withdraw after breaking his orbital bone, and Aldo was drafted on three weeks’ notice for a rematch few people believe he can win.

So here we are, seven years later, back in Detroit, where it all began. You tired yet?

UFC color commentator and analyst Dan Hardy believes should Holloway or Aldo win tonight’s main event, which airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, the uncertainty is set to continue.

“It’s been a bit of mess, but there were unprecedented times,” Hardy told MMAjunkie. “We had a two-weight world champion fight the best boxer on the planet, so who can predict what could happen next? With the new ownership, everything is changing, so we’ve just got to be in it for the fights.

“There are plenty of fights being made that make no sense with the rankings. Then there are fights that make perfect sense for the rankings, but they’re just not happening. There were a lot of matchups on the way up to the belt that McGregor should have had, but he didn’t. It’s just the way it works now. If Aldo does beat Max Holloway, he may not want to fight for the next six months, and with an orbital fracture, we just don’t know how long Edgar is going to be out.”

According to Edgar’s coach Mark Henry, the former lightweight champion is already back doing light training, but he had no estimate as to when he will be able to fight again. What Henry is sure of, however, is that normal service should resume at 145 pounds if Holloway’s nascent run as champion continues.

“Frankie can’t wrestle, do jiu-jitsu or spar,” Henry told MMAjunkie. “He can only do pads and some speed and agility. He was really upset. We all were. Frankie was really looking good and coming on just at the right time.

“It’s just a crazy time right now. Frankie deserved the title shot when he got it, but there are a lot of guys in other divisions who don’t, and these interim belts are ridiculous. We’re just lucky that a guy like Max wants to fight and acts like a champion should act. He only wants to fight the best.”

By his own admission, Henry’s hope for a Holloway victory is due to the fact Aldo has twice defeated Edgar, and the appetite for a trilogy fight would be minimal. He also has serious reservations about how active a champion Aldo would prove to be.

“I think Jose will call out for a 155-pound fighter, or he’ll get hurt again,” Henry said. “He hasn’t been hurt in a while, so it’s probably overdue, and he only likes to fight once a year. I guarantee the only thing Jose will concentrate on is Conor McGregor or going to lightweight. That’s all you’ll hear out of him. I would much rather see guys fighting two or three times a year, and that’s why I like Max’s attitude. He’s a true champion.”

There is no doubt that if Aldo recaptures the belt, Edgar’s short-term prospects of fighting for the gold are likely to greatly diminish, even more so should the next big featherweight contest end conclusively.

A week from now, at UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno, Calif., perennial contender Cub Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC) meets undefeated submission artist Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in what could turn out to be a title-eliminator. Some were surprised Swanson did not replace Edgar, but on the verge of testing free agency, the timing appears to have been poor.

Hardy isn’t so sure that Swanson is truly contemplating moving on, and he reckons that his motivations are more mental than monetary.

“If Cub was to get a title shot, they’d have offered him a new contract before putting him in there,” Hardy said. “Look, there’s testing free agency, and then there’s signing a new deal for a title shot, and more than anything, all these guys in the top 10 want to be in the UFC because that’s where you prove yourself as the best.

“Sometimes testing free agency is more about flexing and posturing, just to see where they’re at. It’s been quite a stagnant division for some time with Conor McGregor storming through and taking the top, so a lot of these guys are maybe looking for that little boost, and testing free agency can be more of a psychological ploy than anything else.”

However, no amount of pats on the back from the brass will improve Swanson’s situation if Ortega gets his hand raised, an outcome Hardy believes would only further muddy the waters for all parties.

“You never know, but Brian Ortega could submit Cub Swanson, and then we’ve got a new contender to talk about,” the former UFC welterweight title challenger said. “Then there’s the situation where Frankie Edgar could end up fighting Ortega, shuts him down like he did Yair Rodriguez, and then there’s no argument about him getting another title shot.

“Things have to keep moving along. It’s difficult to tell how long Frankie is going to be out for, and if Max beats Jose this weekend, he’s not going to be waiting around for Frankie to come back. The matches have to be made with who’s fit and able because you can’t be the best fighter in the world if you can’t get in the octagon and prove it. Frankie may have to beat one more guy now but, if the timing is right, he could step straight back into a title shot against Max Holloway.”

Prior to getting injured, Edgar had told “The MMA Hour” that his showdown with Holloway likely represented his final chance to again be a UFC champion, but Henry doesn’t see any evidence to suggest that his pupil is falling victim to father time. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“Anything can happen in the UFC, like you saw Dan Henderson getting a title fight,” he said. “Frankie acts like he just got into the UFC, and I think that’s why I don’t see this as his last run.

“This kid never talks about retiring. He’s at the highest level, and how could he be at the end when he just destroyed Yair Rodriguez, who’s supposed to be at his peak? If you were to ask me how long, I would say another five years, maybe longer. I think he’ll keep digging until he gets that belt – as long as it takes.”

Hardy concurs and is sure the situation is the exact same with 34-year-old Swanson, who has been beaten inside the distance by Edgar, Aldo (in the WEC) and Holloway.

“A lot of people were looking at Yair Rodriguez as part of the new wave spearheaded by Max Holloway, but Frankie just cut through that noise, while Cub Swanson did the same thing with Dooho Choi,” Hardy said. “It’s taken two of the division’s elder statesmen to say, ‘Hold on, you’ve got to wait your turn.’

“It is amazing to watch Frankie get after it because when he does, there’s not a lot of people who can keep up with him. He’s still one of the biggest names in the sport, a fan favorite and, like I said, the time could come when he does get one back on Aldo.”

Looking to the five rounds scheduled to close out the UFC’s third visit to Detroit, Hardy and Henry agree that it’s Holloway’s fight to lose.

“All the signs point to Max winning, possibly even quicker than the last time,” said Hardy, who broke things down recently on UFC’s “Inside the Octagon” (via YouTube). “I feel like he knows he has Jose’s number, and Jose is not a quick starter by any means, and there are still a lot things Max does that he will not have adjusted to.  If Jose lands some takedowns that might be a stay of execution but, when I lay the cards out, it just seems Max trumps everything Aldo does.”

Henry suspects that Aldo will give a better account of himself than before but, ultimately, Holloway – the owner of the longest winning streak in UFC featherweight history – will prevail.

“Jose gassed the last time, but he did win the first two rounds, even if he did get knocked out,” he said. “Look, I’m hoping for Max to win, but I don’t think it’ll go that easy again. But Max has got the cardio, height and range, plus his skills and heart.”

Of course, Henry still has a busy night ahead of him, with Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) taking on the unbeaten concussion specialist Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC ) following their recent stint as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 26.”

Both men have made it abundantly clear that their courteous rapport on the show will not be reflected in their lightweight showdown. All caution should be thrown to wind by a pair of fighters who traditionally have little regard for their own physical wellbeing.

Henry, who recently discussed the matchup on MMAjunkie Radio (watch it above), is resigned to the reality that he’ll have little control over what’s shaping up to be 15 minutes of bruising bloodletting.

“I’ll be in the corner, but Eddie told me to hang out with his wife and watch this one,” he said. “This is going to be a toxic one. Both these guys have dynamite in their hands and such tremendous heart, so it’s going to be wild. It’s definitely a concern because it would be like getting on the back of a wild stallion if I was to try to tame Eddie for this fight.”

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

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The refreshing honesty of Justin Gaethje's search for his first defeat

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Even on Instagram, Justin Gaethje can’t help but be himself. It’s not just the posts, either. It’s the comments.

You want to jump in his mentions and tell him that he’s going to get knocked out some day? That his perfect record won’t stay that way forever with the way he fights? Pfft, why don’t you tell him something he doesn’t know. Better yet, see if you can get him to care.

“Of course my luck will run out,” Gaethje recently wrote in response to one Instagram critic. “I put it on the line for a living.”

It’s far from the first time he’s expressed such a sentiment. After signing with the UFC after an undefeated run as WSOF lightweight champion, Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made it clear that he wasn’t promising us perfection. In fact, he said, the only thing he was promising is that he “will get knocked out here in the next, like, 10 fights, because it’s a game of freaking centimeters and fractions of seconds.”

Anyone who thought he might temper his enthusiasm for risky though exciting exchanges only needed to see his debut, wherein he bounded right up the line of unconsciousness before coming back to break Michael Johnson in one of the best fights of 2017.

Now it’s time to take on Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 218 in Detroit on Saturday night, and, look, Gaethje’s not going to guarantee a win. How could he, especially with the way he likes to fight? You stand there flinging those little gloves at each other’s heads, sure it’s fun to watch, but it’s also kind of a coin flip at times. Sooner or later, you’re going to be the sleeper rather than the sleepee.

What’s unique about Gaethje is how easily and even eagerly he embraces this fact. Yes, he knows he could lose in devastating fashion this way. Yes, that scares him a little bit. No, he’s not going to change.

“I would rather lose than not get a finish,” Gaethje said this week. “I don’t want to win a boring decision. That’s the last thing I want. It’s impossible. It’s either I get finished, or he gets finished. That’s how I fight. It’s life or death.”

A lot of fighters talk like that. Not so many actually live it the way Gaethje does, and it’s not hard to understand why. As much as the UFC publicly praises the virtues of a fan-friendly fighting style, a loss at the wrong time can be the difference between grabbing a life-changing payday or seeing it hover just out of your reach.

Remember Donald Cerrone, another fighter known for his complete lack of caution, leading to typically thrilling results? When he complained about his pay, the response from UFC President Dana White was almost automatic: “You’ve got to win them all.”

But to deliver those epic Gaethje-esque wars, you must take risks. And when you take enough risks, you’re probably not going to win them all. Defeat hasn’t found Gaethje yet, but he’s the first person to tell you that it can, it will, and he’s not going to run from it. If anything, he seems to be charging straight at it, face first and fists a-blazing, daring it to do its worst.

Fans love him for that, and how can you not? He’s a guaranteed good time, easily worth the price on pay-per-view, in part because what he’s not guaranteeing is a win at any cost. Instead, he promises you the opposite. He freely admits that failure is out there waiting for him. The way he fights, it’s like he’s daring it to come and find him. And who doesn’t want to watch a man who’s on a mission like that?

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

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'UFC 218 Embedded,' No. 5: 'Better not be talking no (expletive), Justin!'

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

The UFC visits Detroit this week, and the promotion has rolled out its “Embedded” treatment for a preview of Saturday’s UFC 218 event.

UFC 218 takes place at Little Caesars Arena. and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the headliner, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) puts his belt on the line against the man from which he took it, Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC).

In the co-main event, a pair of dangerous heavyweights collide in hopes of gaining a title shot, with Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) vs. Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC).

In the fifth episode of “Embedded,” Holloway shows off his hands while Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) ribs opponent Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who has an early-career story about Holloway. Additionally, the fighters handle media obligations, where Aldo and UFC champ Cris Cyborg talk shop with Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields. Additionally, Ngannou has some words for Overeem during their face-off.

Check out the full episode above.

Also see:

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 staff picks: Does anyone think Jose Aldo can get the belt back from Max Holloway?

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Holloway
vs.
Aldo
Ngannou
vs.
Overeem
Cejudo
vs.
Pettis
Alvarez
vs.
Gaethje
Torres
vs.
Waterson
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 117-79
holloway2017
Holloway
(70%)
ngannou2017
Ngannou
(69%)
cejudo2017
Cejudo
(73%)
gaethje2017
Gaethje
(75%)
waterson2017
Waterson
(61%)
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 123-73
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 122-74
trophy copy 2015 Champion
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 122-74
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 121-75
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
waterson2017
Waterson
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 121-75
trophy copy 2016 Champion
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 115-81
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 115-81
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
waterson2017
Waterson
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 114-82
holloway2017
Holloway
overeem2017
Overeem
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 113-83
trophy copy 2014 Champion
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 112-84
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
spettis2017
Pettis
alvarez2017
Alvarez
waterson2017
Waterson

The UFC finally has returned to Michigan, and the featherweight title is on the line in the main event rematch.

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It’s the promotion’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) takes on former champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), the man he took the belt from earlier this year with a third-round TKO. Despite Aldo’s reputation as the most dominant 145-pound champion in history, none of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts are picking him to get his title back. It’s Holloway with the unanimous nod.

In the co-feature, heavyewight contender Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meets former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC). The winner could go on to a title shot. But only one of our 10 pickers is taking Overeem in an upset.

Also on the main card, former flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a 9-1 pick over Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in their battle to weed out contenders for Demetrious Johnson’s 125-pound title.

Former UFC and Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) takes on former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in a battle of coaches from “TUF 26.” Only one picker is taking Alvarez to win in an upset.

And to open the main card, Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) battles Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in a women’s strawweight bout that is our most competitive on the card – but still a virtual blowout with Torres taking a 7-3 edge.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Holloway, Ngannou, Cejudo, Gaethje and Waterson are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

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

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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