MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for October: A bloody brawl that ends in a draw

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

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

* * * *

The Nominees

Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata at UFC 216

Every time Lando Vannata (9-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) has stepped in the octagon he’s delivered a bonus-worthy performance. He did it again in his lightweight bout with Bobby Green (23-8-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC), but it wasn’t enough to leave with a victory.

Vannata had a point taken away in the first round when he threw an illegal knee. Green continued despite absorbing the blow, and it was high-intensity for the remainder of the bout. Green’s late rally got him back in the fight, and the judges rules the contest a split draw.

Instagram Photo

Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham at UFC 216

It was a tale of two fights for Evan Dunham (18-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) and Beneil Dariush (14-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC), and the result of the entertaining lightweight bout was a majority draw.

Dariush had a big first round against Dunham, and it resulted in a pair of 10-8 scores. So even though Dunham won the second two rounds from that same pair of judges, it only got him to a pair of 28-28 scores for the draw. A third judge gave the fight to Dariush, 29-28.

Instagram Photo

Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee at UFC 216

It was far from an easy night of work for Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), but a third-round a slick triangle choke”>triangle choke got Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to tap, crowning “El Cucuy” as the UFC’s newest interim champion.

After a back-and-forth two rounds began the fight, Ferguson’s superiority on the ground allowed him to set up. Lee attempted to fight out, but the choke was too fight and he was forced to tap out, crowning Ferguson as the new interim UFC lightweight champion.

Instagram Photo

Brian Kelleher def. Damian Stasiak at UFC Fight Night 118

Brian Kelleher (18-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had to struggle through some early adversity against Damian Stasiak (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC), and then he had to find a way to put away an extremely tough opponent.

Kelleher managed to do both, rallying from behind to win the bantamweight contest. He wore Stasiak down with his physicality and managed to thump his way to a TKO stoppage with less than 90 seconds remaining in the fight.

Instagram Photo

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Max Griffin at UFC Fight Night 119

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) nearly put Max Griffin (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) away in the first, causing many to criticize the referee, doctors and cornermen. Griffin managed to stay in the fight, though, hurting dos Santos in the second.

But after a wild fight with swings in both directions, it was dos Santos who put things together down the stretch to beat a very tough Griffin via unanimous decision after three rounds of exciting welterweight action.

Instagram Photo

* * * *

The Winner: Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata

In a razor-thin fight, it was a point deduction that led to the draw between lightweights Vannata and Green.

Vannata had a point taken away in the first round when he threw an illegal knee against Green. Each fighter took a 29-27 score, and a third judge scored the fight 28-28. Absent the point deduction for the illegal knee, Vannata would have walked away with a split decision win.

Vannata pushed Green back early, then ducked under a Green left hand. The two tied up briefly, and when they broke it was Vannata who landed two heavy leg kicks, the second of which nearly took Green off his feet. After a brief clinch on the fence, where Green landed a solid elbow, Vannata landed a head kick.

Green survived it, but seconds later Vannata stunned Green and put him on the canvas. He went after him and landed ground-and-pound, but when Green tried to get up, with one of his knees still grounded, Vannata threw a big knee. He knew immediately it was illegal and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

Although the replays showed the knee didn’t land flush, it still was an illegal strike, and Dean took a point. On the restart, Vannata went after a guillotine choke, but Green fought out of it and with 75 seconds left they went back to work in the center of the cage. Vannata attacked Green’s lead leg down the stretch, then got a late takedown. But the point deduction turned a 10-9 round for Vannata into a 9-9.

Green landed a good left hand early in the second, but it was Vannata who made it look a little easier finding homes for his strikes. Green stayed in the fight with counters, but Vannata’s right was more effective. Even though it didn’t seem Green was landing heavy shots, Vannata was wearing the damage on his face from Green’s jabs. Midway through, Green pushed Vannata to the fence, but Vannata shrugged him off and dropped him to the canvas. Green got up quickly, but a scramble moments later had Vannata ready to take advantage.

Back on the feet, Vannata landed a huge right hand, then started pouring it on with Green’s hands down. With a minute left, they started slugging. Vannata landed a leg kick. Green landed a knee to the body. And they both were feeling the effects late in the frame.

The two kept trading in the third, and a takedown attempt from Vannata wasn’t there a minute in. Green made sure the cuts on Vannata’s face kept the blood flowing, touching him up just enough. Green caught Vannata a few more times midway through. But Vannata kept the offense flowing, as well. They slugged it out down the stretch, and it was Green who landed several huge combinations just before the horn. Vannata walked away still standing, but with the blood gushing.

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Why Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos was probably UFC Fight Night 119's biggest winner

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos left Ibirapuera Gymnasium on Saturday with a few reasons to celebrate: He got a win, a “Fight of the Night” bonus and the news that he’s going to be a father.

The interesting bit, though: dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) didn’t get the news from the mother of his child; instead, he got it from his team. In fact, by the time he stood in front of reporters to discuss his unanimous-decision win over welterweight Max Griffin (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 119 in Brazil, he hadn’t even had time to talk to her yet.

How long had they known, you wonder?

“I would like to know that too,” dos Santos said with a laugh after the FS2-televised preliminary-card bout. “But from what I heard, it’s been a week. And my coach, Felipe Silva, also found out last weekend he’s going to be a dad. So it’s double the happiness.”

That’s some solid secret-keeping right there. In any case, it didn’t seem like the 170-pounder was at all mad at the circumstances in which he got the news. Instead, he mostly focused on the joy that came with it.

“It increased my heart rate even more,” dos Santos said. “It was already at 200, and went to 400. Being a father was a dream of mine and, thank God, today got the news from my coaches.

“There wasn’t a post-fight interview; they wanted to do that surprise then. I really didn’t know. And I’m very happy. Very happy.” (via Instagram)

Instagram Photo

The mom – Tatiane, whom he’s been with for seven years – is the “love of his life,” dos Santos said. And, as it turns out, the developments of the night may very well end up leading to yet another life-changing occasion for both of them.

At the time, dos Santos didn’t know that his slugfest with Griffin would end up earning him his second straight $50,000 fight-night bonus. But asked what he would do should he get it, dos Santos replied with a smile.

“I think we’re going to have to get married now,” dos Santos said. “There’s no escaping it anymore. So this bonus would certainly help a lot with the wedding.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, 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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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 119 medical suspensions: Headliner Lyoto Machida out 60 days

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida must spend two months on the bench after a knockout loss to Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 119.

That’s according to medical suspensions today obtained by MMAjunkie from the Brazilian Athletic Commission of MMA (CABMMA), which regulated the event this past Saturday at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. The event aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Machida’s (22-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) first-round knockout loss to Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) left him at 1-4 in his past five outings.

Another serious suspension from the event was issued to bantamweight Marlon Vera, who could potentially be out six months if an X-ray validates an injury to his left foot. Vera (10-4-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) suffered a unanimous-decision loss to slugger John Lineker (30-8 MMA, 11-3 UFC) on the FS1-televised main card.

All fighters from the card received a minimum suspension of 14 days with seven days of no contact during training. With the exception of Vera, CABMMA did not provide details on the nature of the fighters’ suspensions.

The full list of UFC Fight Night 119 medical suspensions, aside from the customary 14-day terms, include:

  • Lyoto Machida: suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact
  • Colby Covington: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Demian Maia: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Jack Hermansson: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Marlon Vera: suspended 180 days or until left foot is cleared early by X-ray; regardless, suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact
  • Niko Price: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Jared Gordon: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Hacran Dias: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Max Griffin: suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact
  • Christian Colombo: suspended 30 days with 21 days no contact

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 119 post-event facts: Is this the end of Lyoto Machida?

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Derek Brunson pulled off yet another remarkable first-round knockout on Saturday when in the UFC Fight Night 119 headliner he became the fastest to ever defeat former UFC champion Lyoto Machida.

Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) used his dangerous left hand to set up a quick finish of Machida (22-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) in the FS1-televised middleweight headliner at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. Prelims aired on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

As a result, “The One” is becoming a fixture in the UFC 185-pound record books.

The UFC’s sixth stop in Sao Paulo saw Brazilian fighters win nine of 12 bouts. For more on the numbers behind the card, check below for 55 post-event facts about UFC Fight Night 119.

* * * *

General

Brazilian fighters fell to 3-7 main event fights on home soil dating back to December 2014.

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $170,000.

Debuting fighters went 0-1 at the event.

Brunson, Pedro Munhoz, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Max Griffin earned $50,000 UFC Fight Night 119 fight-night bonuses.

UFC Fight Night 119 drew an announced attendance of 10,265. No live gate was disclosed for the event.

Betting favorites went 8-3 on the card. One fight had even odds.

Total fight time for the 12-bout card was 1:57:18.

Main card

Brunson’s nine UFC victories since 2012 in middleweight competition are tied with Brad Tavares for most in the division.

Brunson has earned seven of his nine UFC victories by stoppage.

Brunson’s seven UFC stoppage victories since 2012 in middleweight competition are tied for most in the division.

Brunson’s seven first-round stoppage victories in UFC middleweight competition are most in divisional history.

Machida fell to 5-7 in UFC main event fights.

Machida’s three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since December 2014.

Machida fell to 3-4 since he dropped to the UFC middleweight division in October 2013.

Machida has suffered three of his four UFC middleweight losses by stoppage.

Colby Covington’s (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) five-fight UFC winning streak in welterweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Kamaru Usman (six).

Covington attempted no takedowns in a fight for the first time in his UFC career. He landed 41 takedowns combined in his previous eight UFC appearances.

Demian Maia (25-8 MMA, 19-8 UFC) fell to 10-4 since he dropped to the UFC welterweight division in July 2012.

Maia is a combined 0-for-35 on takedown attempts over his past two UFC appearances.

Maia has suffered seven of his eight UFC losses by decision.

Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font

Munhoz’s (15-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak in bantamweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind champ Cody Garbrandt (five) and Jimmie Rivera (five).

Munhoz has earned four of his five UFC victories by stoppage.

Munhoz’s three submission victories in UFC bantamweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Urijah Faber (six).

Rob Font (14-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Francisco Trinaldo’s (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) 11 victories since 2011 in UFC lightweight competition are tied with Donald Cerrone for most in the division.

Trinaldo has earned seven of his past nine victories by decision.

Jim Miller (28-11 MMA, 17-10 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2016.

Miller fell to 4-7 in his past 11 UFC appearances.

Miller’s total fight time of 4:57:53 in UFC lightweight competition is most in divisional history.

Miller has suffered eight of his 11 career losses by decision.

Thiago “Marreta” Santos (16-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) has earned seven of his eight UFC victories by knockout.

Santos’ seven knockout victories in UFC middleweight fights are tied with champ Michael Bisping and Chris Leben for second most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (eight).

Thiago “Marreta” Santos

Santos’ seven knockouts since 2014 in UFC competition are tied for second most in the company behind Derrick Lewis (eight).

Jack Hermansson (16-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

John Lineker (30-8 MMA, 11-3 UFC) improved to 5-1 since he moved up to the UFC bantamweight division in September 2015.

Marlon Vera (10-4-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Vicente Luque (12-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage. That includes all five of his UFC wins.

Luque’s five stoppage victories since 2015 in UFC competition are tied for second most in the company behind Lewis (six).

Luque’s two D’arce choke victories in UFC competition are tied with Dustin Poirier for second most in company history behind Tony Ferguson (three).

Niko Price (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his 11-fight unbeaten streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Antonio Carlos Junior (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) improved to 5-1 (with one no-contest) since he dropped to the UFC middleweight division in June 2015.

Carlos Junior’s four-fight UFC winning streak in middleweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind Robert Whittaker (seven) and Bisping (five).

Carlos Junior has earned all of his career stoppage victories by submission.

Jack Marshman (22-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Hacran Dias’ (23-6-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since June 2015.

Dias has suffered all six of his career losses by decision.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

Zaleski dos Santos’ (18-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four-fight UFC winning streak in welterweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Kamaru Usman (six) and Covington (five).

Dos Santos has earned three of his four UFC victories by decision.

Griffin (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered three of his four career losses by decision.

Deiveson Figueiredo (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) earned just the second decision victory of his career and first since May 1, 2014 – a span of 1,276 days (more than three years) and nine fights.

Jarred Brooks (13-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 13-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Marcelo Golm (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned all of his career victories by stoppage.

Golm earned the first submission victory of his career.

Christian Colombo (8-3-1 MMA, 0-2-1 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by submission.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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

UFC Fight Night 119 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program total passes $15 million mark

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SAO PAULO – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 119 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $170,000.

UFC Fight Night 119 took place at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. The card aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way were a number of individuals. Longtime octagon veterans Lyoto Machida (22-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC), Demian Maia (25-8 MMA, 19-8 UFC) and Jim Miller (28-11 MMA, 17-10 UFC) all earned maximum non-title-fight payouts of $20,000.

The full UFC Fight Night 119 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Derek Brunson: $15,000
def. Lyoto Machida: $20,000

Colby Covington: $5,000
def. Demian Maia: $20,000

Pedro Munhoz: $5,000
def. Rob Font: $5,000

Francisco Trinaldo: $15,000
def. Jim Miller: $20,000

Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $10,000
def. Jack Hermansson: $2,500

John Lineker: $10,000
def. Marlon Vera: $5,000

Vicente Luque: $5,000
def. Niko Price: $2,500

Antonio Carlos Junior: $5,000
def. Jack Marshman: $2,500

Jared Gordon: $2,500
def. Hacran Dias: $5,000

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos: $2,500
def. Max Griffin: $2,500

Deiveson Figueiredo: $2,500
def. Jarred Brooks: $2,500

Marcelo Golm: $2,500
def. Christian Colombo: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $4,762,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $15,085,500

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 119 bonuses: Derek Brunson's decimation of Machida was worth an extra $50,000

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SAO PAULO – Derek Brunson, Pedro Munhoz, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Max Griffin each earned $50,000 fight-night bonuses at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 119 event.

Brunson and Munhoz earned “Performance of the Night” awards, and dos Santos and Griffin took home “Fight of the Night” honors. UFC officials announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) took out former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (22-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) with a brutal first-round knockout in their middleweight fight. Machida was returning for the first time in 28 months, but Brunson made it look easy with a series of vicious left hands midway through the first round.

Munhoz (15-2-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) stopped Rob Font (14-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with a first-round guillotine choke for his fourth straight win. Three of those four wins have come by way of that choke, and all three of them have been awarded $50,000 bonuses.

Dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Griffin (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) slugged it out for three rounds, and dos Santos took a unanimous decision with a pair of 29-28 scores and a 29-27.

UFC Fight Night 119 took place at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, and the main card aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 119 results: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos outworks Max Griffin in slugfest

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos nearly put Max Griffin away in the first, only to turn around and get rocked himself in the second.

But after a wild fight with swings in both directions, it was dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) who put things together down the stretch to beat a very tough Griffin (13-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) via unanimous decision after three rounds.

The welterweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 119 event at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. It aired on FS2 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on FS1.

The fight nearly came to an end late in the opening round when dos Santos hurt Griffin with a thumping right hand to the side of the head, then followed up with an assault that had Griffin wobbling all over the cage.

But despite the fact that he could barely stand by the end of the first, Griffin somehow rebounded in the second round and even had dos Santos hurt at one point, flooring him with a sharp two-punch combo and then driving home another right hand as dos Santos scrambled to his feet.

Still, a part of Griffin never seemed to fully recover after that wild first round, and he had noticeably less pop in the final round, which is when dos Santos took control of the fight, hammering him with right hand counters and dictating most of the action down the stretch.

Once the fight went to the judges, all three saw it for dos Santos, giving him the win with scores of 29-28, 29-27, and 29-28.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 119 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Fernanda Prates contributed to this report on site in Sao Paulo.)

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC-Sao Paulo with a pair of Brazilian legends atop the card

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On Saturday, the UFC visits Brazil for UFC Fight Night 119. The event marks the final time the promotion heads to the South American country in 2017.

The headlining bouts feature two Brazilian legends who look to hold off a pair of hungry American fighters. In the main event, former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida returns from a long absence to face Derek Brunson in a middleweight scrap. In the co-headliner, former welterweight and middleweight title challenger Demian Maia meets the brash and confident Colby Covington at 170 pounds.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. A former champ returns

The last time Machida stepped into the octagon, Yoel Romero knocked him out. That fight happened more than two years ago. Machida was then booked against Dan Henderson in April 2016. He was pulled from that contest days before the event after he informed the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency he had used a banned substance, 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (7‐keto-DHEA), a hormonal supplement. That disclosure earned Machida an 18-month suspension. At the time, the Brazilian fighter was ranked No. 8 in the middleweight division.

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Despite his long absence, the former light heavyweight champion is currently ranked No. 11 at 185 pounds, according to the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings. Machida (22-7 MMA, 14-7 UFC) faces No. 10 Brunson (17-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in his return bout. Brunson scored a knockout win over Dan Kelly in his most recent outing.

If Machida hopes to return to the top of the division, he needs to make a statement in Brazil. At 39, he’s older than all but two of the fighters ranked above him at middleweight.

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2. Talk the talk

Colby Covington has been outspoken of late. The No. 9 welterweight recently implied No. 5 Maia is merely a stepping stone toward his ultimate goal: welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

“I’m out to set out that I’m the best fighter in the world and that’s exactly what I’m going to do (Saturday) when I retire Demian Maia in his home city of Sao Paulo, Brazil,” Covington told MMAjunkie Radio. “He’s going to be looking for a new job, maybe at a cell phone kiosk in the mall.”

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Covington (12-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) has won his past four fights. Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC) enters this bout on the heels of a title fight decision loss to Woodley. The defeat ended Maia’s seven-fight winning streak.

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3. Making strides

Since losing to John Lineker in 2016, Rob Font has looked excellent. His confidence seems to grow each time he steps into the octagon, as does his skill set. Font throws sweet striking combinations. He never seems to stop moving on his feet, and when the contest hits the ground, he’s very good with his transitions. Over the course of his five-fight UFC run, the former CES MMA featherweight champ has developed into a dark-horse contender in the bantamweight division.

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Pedro Munhoz will test Font in this tilt. Munhoz, an honorable mention selection in the rankings, might not be as well-rounded as Font. But he is a dangerous grappler. If Font (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) makes one mistake, he could find himself in a guillotine choke, a submission that earned Munhoz (14-2-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC), the former RFA bantamweight kingpin, two consecutive “Performance of the Night” bonuses in 2016.

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4. Bleed with me

In early September, Jim Miller put out a plea on Twitter. “STILL trying to get a fight. Never thought I’d have to beg someone to bleed with me,” Miller wrote. The New Jersey native, 26 fights deep into his UFC career wanted to fight someone – anyone – at lightweight or welterweight, anywhere in the world except New York.

The UFC granted Miller his wish. The promotion matched him against Brazilian competitor Francisco Trinaldo at lightweight.

The fight marks the second time Miller has fought outside North America, the first was his UFC debut, where he earned “Submission of the Night” honors after defeating David Baron at UFC 89 in England.

Miller (28-10 MMA, 17-9 UFC) has lost his past two fights. He’s never dropped three in a row. Trinaldo (21-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) also lost his most recent outing. He’s never lost two consecutive contests. Barring a draw, one of these fighters will march into uncharted territory in Brazil.

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5. Striker vs. striker

Jack Hermansson earned two first-round TKO victories in his two most recent bouts. Both of those stoppages came via ground strikes.

“I have the best ground-and-pound in the world and there’s nobody that can survive being on the bottom with me,” Hermansson said after his August win over Brad Scott.

At UFC Fight Night 119 he gets the opportunity to put his striking game to the test against Thiago “Marreta” Santos, who also has TKO wins in his two most recent outings.

Hermansson (16-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) might not get the chance to display his ground prowess in this bout. Santos (15-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC) has defended 69 percent of his opponent’s takedown attempts. But Hermansson landed a takedown in each of his past two fights, and those takedowns led to finishes.

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6. Coming back from a bad break

John Lineker racked up 37 fights in a little more than eight years. At UFC Fight Night 119 he returns after a layoff of nearly 10 months to face Marlon Vera.

T.J. Dillashaw was responsible for Linker’s layoff. The former champ broke the Brazilian fighter’s jaw at UFC 207. Adding insult to injury, Dillashaw swept his opponent on the scorecards. The loss ended Lineker’s six-fight winning streak.

While the No. 8 ranked Linker (29-8 MMA, 10-3 UFC) was on the mend, Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) won two fights by stoppage. Those victories earned him a shot at his first ranked opponent.

Vera is very effective at keeping his opponents at bay with his kicks. He’d be wise to implement that game plan against the heavy-handed Lineker, who has 13 career knockouts to his name.

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7. Still unbeaten

When Niko Price made his UFC debut in 2016, he was a perfect 8-0. Seven of those wins came via stoppage. All of those fights were with Florida’s Fight Time Promotions. The question facing Price was, how would his regional success translate to the UFC’s welterweight division? It turns out it translated just fine.

Three fights into his UFC run, Price remains unbeaten and still only has one decision on his record. In his most recent bout, Price earned a TKO win over Alan Jouban. He also scored his first fight-night bonus award, which on a card with seven first-round finishes, was noteworthy.

Price (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) puts his unbeaten streak on the line against Vicente Luque. Luque (11-6-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) might not have an unblemished record, but he does tend to wrap things up early, going the distance just five times in his 18-fight career. Luque dropped a decision to Leon Edwards in his most recent bout. The loss brought an end to his run of four straight stoppage victories.

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8. A heavy weight

Former Cage Fury featherweight champion Jared Gordon was impressive in his UFC debut. In that contest, he used pressure, volume and a fast pace to take out Michel Quinones via second-round TKO. The only mark against Gordon was he came in three pounds overweight.

After his win, Gordon predicted a bright future.

“In the end of 2017, if everything goes well and I’m healthy, I see myself fighting a top-10 guy, and then 2018, 2019, winning the belt,” Gordon told MMAjunkie.

Gordon (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) gets another shot at featherweight against Hacran Dias. Dias (23-5-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC) also missed weight before his most recent fight when he came in 2.5 pounds heavy. Dias lost that scrap to Andre Fili via unanimous decision.

9. Looking for a finish

Before he signed with the UFC, Max Griffin captured titles in three of his four previous fights. The 31-year-old fighter claimed the Tachi Palace Welterweight title and both the West Coast Fighting Championship welterweight and middleweight titles.

In his first UFC bout, Griffin lost to Colby Covington via third-round TKO. In his second fight with the promotion, Griffin stopped Erick Montano in 54 seconds. After that win, his confidence was high.

“When I’m focused, I can take anyone out with one punch,” Griffin said. “I was going for the finish and it could happen at any moment. That’s what I’m going for, any second I want the finish. I don’t plan to go to decision, I plan to take the guy out.”

Those words should make fans happy ahead of UFC Fight Night 119. Griffin’s (13-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) opponent in this welterweight fight, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is also a finisher, with 12 knockout wins to his name. Dos Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) enters this contest with a “Fight of the Night” split decision win over Lyman Good in his most recent outing.

10. Battle of the unbeatens

Two unbeaten and confident flyweights open the card. Deiveson Alcantara has 11 stoppages in his 12 career victories. Jarred Brooks has finished 11 of his 13 fights early. This matchup is the second UFC fight for both competitors.

Of the two, Brooks (13-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has been more vocal about his goals. After his split decision win over Eric Shelton in July, he voiced displeasure in his performance, putting some of the blame on octagon jitters. He followed up with the brash claim that he was going to “take over the (expletive) division.”

Alcantara (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) let his performance in the cage do the talking for him during his UFC debut. He showed some decent striking and a solid ground game in his June TKO win over Marco Beltran.

In a division desperately in need of new blood, a win in this fight could be significant.

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

3 bouts featuring Brazilian fighters official for UFC Fight Night 119 in Sao Paulo

With Hacran Dias, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Luan Chagas, the UFC has officially added three Brazilian faces to its next Brazilian outing.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place Oct. 28 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and airs on FS1 following prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Dias (23-5-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC) meets fellow featherweight Jared Gordon (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC). The Brazilian looks to get back on the winning path after back-to-back losses to Cub Swanson and Andre Fili. “Flash” Gordon, in turn, looks to add a fifth win to his current victorious streak – capped off by an impressive UFC debut over Michel Quinones in June.

Dos Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) comes off a three-fight streak into a welterweight battle with Max Griffin (13-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC). After a loss in his UFC debut, the Brazilian beat Omari Akhmedov, Keita Nakamura and, more recently, earned a “Fight of the Night” bonus for his three-round war with Lyman Good. Griffin, in turn, has recovered from a loss to Colby Covington in his own promotional debut with a TKO victory over Erick Montano last November.

Lastly, Niko Price (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) looks to keep his pro record perfect in a welterweight meeting with Chagas (15-2-1 MMA, 1-1-1 UFC). Price, who had been angling for a UFC 217 spot, scored his career’s biggest win at UFC Fight Night 114 in August – when he knocked out seasoned vet Alan Jouban. On his end, Chagas looks to keep the momentum going after getting his first UFC win, against Jim Wallhead, in June.

The latest UFC Fight Night 119 card now includes:

  • Lyoto Machida vs. Derek Brunson
  • Colby Covington vs. Demian Maia
  • Jarred Brooks vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
  • Augusto Mendes vs. Boston Salmon
  • Christian Colombo vs. Carlos Felipe
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Jack Marshman
  • Jack Hermansson vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
  • Rob Font vs. Pedro Munhoz
  • Hacran Dias vs. Jared Gordon
  • Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Max Griffin
  • Niko Price vs. Luan Chagas

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Sergio Pettis and UFC Fight Night 114's other winning fighters?

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UFC Fight Night 114’s main card, which aired Saturday on FS1 from Mexico City Arena in Mexico, featured a mix of brutal knockouts and hard-fought decisions.

Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) picked up his fourth consecutive victory in the headlining act when he delivered a superior performance to Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and was rewarded with a unanimous decision victory in the matchup of rising flyweights.

Alexa Grasso (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), Niko Price (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Humberto Bandenay (14-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Sam Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and Alejandro Perez (18-6-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) got their hands raised, as well. The wins ranged from highlight-reel material to competitive fights decided on the scorecards.

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 Fight Night 114’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Alejandro Perez

Joe Soto

Should fight: Joe Soto
Why they should fight: “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” winner Perez put on another winning performance when he edged Andre Soukhamthath by split decision in a fight in which he made a bit of history.

Perez became the first fighter in UFC history to suffer three knockdowns in a fight and come back to win on the scorecards. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, even if some believe he shouldn’t have gotten the nod in the bantamweight affair.

With just one defeat in six UFC appearances so far, Perez is putting himself in position to be someone capable of making noise at 135 pounds. Soto (18-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) is on a solid run in his own right, with three consecutive wins. The former title challenger would be a strong test for Perez, who would benefit to fighting a name like Soto.

Sam Alvey

Vitor Belfort

Should fight: Vitor Belfort
Why they should fight: Despite a lack of action, Alvey picked up the signature win of his 40-fight career when he edged former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans by split decision.

Alvey narrowly outpointed Evans in the middleweight bout, giving him his eighth victory since he joined the UFC in 2014. After the fight, Alvey called out another former UFC champion in Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-9 UFC), and his reasoning actually comes with a line of logic.

“Smile’n” said he wants to go on a “Vengeance Tour,” fighting those who have beaten his longtime friend, mentor and training partner, Dan Henderson. Evans beat Henderson in 2013, and Belfort actually has two victories over the former PRIDE and Strikeforce champ under the UFC banner.

Belfort is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 in June. “The Phenom” said he’s looking to make a run at 185 pounds once again, but he needs to beat some more middling fighters in the division before he can get there. In that case, Alvey is the perfect matchup.

Humberto Bandenay

Jared Gordon

Should fight: Jared Gordon
Why they should fight: As far as UFC debuts go, Bandenay’s win was about as good as it gets. Not only did he pick up a highlight-reel knockout courtesy of a perfectly timed knee, but he got the job done in a mere 26 seconds against Martin Bravo.

Bandenay was the biggest betting underdog on the card. However, that didn’t prevent him from stealing the spotlight for himself with a “Performance of the Night” effort. The nature of his victory instantly gives him traction as one to watch in the featherweight division, where there’s a plethora of top competition.

Gordon (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is also coming off a solid UFC debut win when he stopped Michel Quinones by second-round TKO at UFC Fight Night 112 in June. “The Flash” not only owns a strong record, but his trying life story proves he’s not going to quit easily. Chances are he wouldn’t go down as quickly as Bandenay’s first opponent, and that’s when the fight would get interesting.

Niko Price

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

Should fight: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Why they should fight: Price’s quick start to his UFC career continued when he earned what should have been his third victory in under six months (one was overturned for a positive marijuana test) with a first-round TKO over a tough UFC veteran in Alan Jouban.

Price extended his undefeated record to 10-0, but the win over Jouban easily was his most significant. It was the first time Jouban suffered a truly unexpected loss inside the octagon, and that’s proof of what Price is capable of in the welterweight division.

Zaleski dos Santos (17-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is hoping to break through into big fights after a “Fight of the Night” win over Lyman Good at UFC on FOX 25. With both men coming off bonus-winning performances, pitting them against each other to see who can reach the next level is the right idea.

Alexa Grasso

Angela Hill

Should fight: Angela Hill
Why they should fight: Grasso rebounded from the first loss of her career when she defeated Randa Markos, one of the most durable strawweight fighters on the roster, by split decision.

The Mexican prospect suffered a setback to Felice Herrig earlier this year, but the performance against Markos proved it was just that: a setback. Although the result was debatable, Grasso showed improvement, and now the 23-year-old has momentum back on her side in the 115-pound weight class.

Grasso still has strides to make before joining the conversation of contenders who could possibly fight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. There are many names she can fight en route to getting there, though, and a foe like Hill (7-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) would be a rightful fit.

Hill has faced some elite names in her division, and while she’s come up short in most of those opportunities, she’s never been embarrassed. Grasso would have a tough time being the first, but a win in itself would mean a lot.

Sergio Pettis

Should fight: Winner of Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis at UFC 215
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Pettis should fight the winner of Cejudo (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) vs. Reis (22-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) at UFC 215.

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

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