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?

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

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

MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for July: A long-awaited debut meets expectations

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

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

* * * *

The nominees

Justin Gaethje def. Michael Johnson at TUF 25 Finale

Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) promised a big splash in his UFC debut, and the former WSOF champ delivered when he defeated lightweight contender Michael Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC).

Gaethje added yet another victory to his undefeated record when he beat Johnson by second-round TKO in a “Fight of the Year” contender, putting himself on the map in the loaded 155-pound weight class.

Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero at UFC 213

Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) came into his UFC interim middleweight title fight against Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) with a bum left knee, but he didn’t expect it to give him any trouble.

That all changed in the first round, though, when Romero hit Whittaker with a side kick. Whittaker felt the pain that would stick with him for the remainder of the bout. It didn’t hinder him completely, and he pushed through with his game plan and seemingly came back from an 0-2 hole to win a unanimous decision.

Instagram Photo

Derek Campos def Brandon Girtz at Bellator 181

Derek Campos (19-6 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) and Brandon Girtz (14-7 MMA, 6-5 BMMA) have met three times under the Bellator banner, and their trilogy proved an instant classic.

The two lightweights came to bang in the catchweight contest. Ultimately, Campos took home a TKO at the close of the second round when doctors determined a nasty gash on Girtz’s forehead was bad enough to end the fight.


Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Lyman Good at UFC on FOX 25

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Lyman Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) threw down for 15 minutes, but dos Santos brought a few more weapons and a little more energy.

Although one judge dissented for Good, Brazilian vet dos Santos picked up two scorecards to take home the split-decision call in the entertaining welterweight affair.

Instagram Photo

Brian Ortega def. Renato Moicano at UFC 214

Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and Renato Moicano (11-1-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) were nearly two-and-a-half rounds into a striking war that fans at cageside could hear as well as they could see. Then Moicano made the questionable decision to take down Ortega.

It played right into Ortega’s submission strengths as Moicano inadvertently stuck his neck into a guillotine choke that Ortega squeezed for the finish, forcing the tap at the 2:59 mark of Round 3.

* * * *

The winner: Gaethje vs. Johnson

Michael Johnson and Justin Gaethje

The contempt between Gaethje and Johnson finally came to a head inside the octagon, and it was a sight to behold.

Gaethje overcame nearly being finished twice to storm back for a finish of his own, defeating Johnson via second-round TKO in one of the most memorable UFC debuts in history.

“You cannot break me,” Gaethje said. “I promise you. You better put me to sleep.”

It appeared that came close to happening on two occasions during this slugfest. Gaethje was getting the better of some spectacular exchanges for most of the first round, but Johnson connected flush with a right hook that badly wobbled the newcomer. Johnson went for the finish, and he might’ve gotten it, but the bell sounded.

Both fighters came out swinging again in the second round, and again Johnson landed a right hand that wobbled Gaethje but didn’t drop him. Although Johnson failed to finish, he settled in and found holes in Gaethje’s defense, allowing him to land the better shots.

That is, until Gaethje hit an uppercut in the final 90 seconds that discombobulated Johnson. From there, Gaethje continued to pour it on with more uppercuts, busting up Johnson’s face until a knee signaled the end when “Big” John McCarthy stepped in at the 4:42 mark.

“Where is my equal at?” he asked the crowd. “I’m 18-0 with 15 knockouts. Who is my equal? That’s who I want.”

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

UFC Long Island's 10 memorable moments, including yet another Michael Bisping callout

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman entered Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 main event bout against Kelvin Gastelum on a three-fight losing skid. Weidman got back in the win column with a third-round submission victory in front of a hometown crowd on Long Island. To say the win gave Weidman a boost in confidence would be an understatement.

“I’m the champ. I’m the best guy in the world, and I think people know that,” Weidman said at the post-fight news conference. “If (UFC middleweight champ Michael) Bisping grows some balls, that fight will happen. I know (Robert) Whittaker just did a great job winning the interim belt (against Yoel Romero at UFC 213), but I think he’s hurt. He’s got knee surgery. I’m available. I’m ready to go. We’ll see what happens.”

Weidman wasn’t the only fighter to take a step in the right direction at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. Below are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. Picking a fight

After securing his first win since May 2015, Weidman did his best to pick a fight with Bisping, calling the champ a “British bum.” Unsurprisingly, Bisping didn’t let the remark slide and the two engaged in a social media skirmish that lasted well into Sunday.

Despite his efforts, Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) isn’t likely to get a title shot with a 1-3 record in his last four fights. You can’t blame the guy for aiming high after his win over Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC), especially in the current landscape where potential pay-per-view sales are one of the driving forces behind which title fights get booked.

At the very least, Weidman’s victory adds another wrinkle to a division that’s getting a bit crowded at the top.

2. An impressive run continues

Darren Elkins has been one of the bigger surprises of 2017. Well into the 10th year of his professional career, Elkins’ profile has never been higher. Fighting in the first co-main event of his UFC run, Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) eked out a split decision over Dennis Bermudez (16-7 MMA, 9-5 MMA) to extend his unbeaten streak to five straight.

“The grind is my game, and those are the fights I’m going to succeed in,” Elkins told MMAjunkie after the win. “It’s not the prettiest stuff sometimes, but I make it work, and I make it work good.”

Elkins went on to say he’s looking to face a top-five fighter in his next outing, naming Chan Sung Jung or Cub Swanson as possible opponents. While Elkins doesn’t have the biggest name in the featherweight division, it’s going to be hard to deny him the type of fight he’s looking for considering the run he’s enjoying.

3. Wearing it

Maybe it was Gian Villante’s penchant for throwing strikes with the intent of turning out his opponent’s lights. Maybe it was Patrick Cummins’ ability to take an indecent amount of abuse over the course of a fight. Whatever it was, there was something about the light heavyweight bout between Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) and Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) that made it feel like fans were in for a nasty fight.

By the end of the contest, Cummins’ right eye was swollen shut and a piece of gauze hung on the cut that opened on his head after an accidental first round headbutt. Despite looking far worse than Villante, Cummins walked away with a split-decision victory.

Cummins displayed his trademark toughness throughout the fight. He also set a career high in significant strikes landed with 86, while showing an improved defensive striking game.

4. Looking for the next test

When the bantamweight bout between Jimmie Rivera and Thomas Almeida came to an end, the striking numbers were awfully similar. Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) landed 70 significant strikes while Almeida (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) landed 72, with both fighters connecting on 43 percent of their attempts. The difference was in the knockdowns, takedowns and octagon control – three aspects of the contest where Rivera had the advantage, knocking down Almeida twice while landing two takedowns on his way to the unanimous decision win.

Rivera has somewhat quietly climbed the rankings, and he’s now on a 20-fight winning streak, with the last five of those wins coming in the UFC. Despite his under-the-radar rise, Rivera is hopeful his win over Almeida will earn him a title shot or a fight against a former champ sometime around November.

5. Holding back

When Lyman Good plopped down on his stool at the end of the second round of his welterweight fight against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, his coaches asked him why he was holding back. Good’s response did not go over well.

“I don’t want to get knocked out,” Good said.

That reluctance to fully engage his opponent might have cost Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) the fight. Two judges scored the bout in favor of Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC), giving him the split-decision win and extending his UFC winning streak to three straight.

With the loss, Good, fighting for the first time in two years due to an injury and a tainted-supplement-related suspension, saw his six-fight unbeaten streak come to an end. One positive for Good is the exciting striking battle did win “Fight of the Night” honors, earning both fighters an extra $50,000.

6. Short notice, shorter fight

Eryk Anders made some news at the official weigh-in for UFC on FOX 25, when he touched the towel being held in front of him while he stood on the scale, much to the chagrin of the New York State Athletic Commission. Anders made more positive news on fight night when he scored a first-round knockout in his UFC debut, putting away Rafael Natal with left hands to the head.

Anders (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), the former LFA middleweight champ, took the fight against the much more experienced Natal (21-9-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) on short notice. Anders made the most of his opportunity, landing 79 percent of his significant strikes on his way to his eighth straight win. After the fight, Anders put the rest of the middleweight division on notice.

“I’m ready to take over this middleweight division, and any middleweight (is) getting the same treatment (as Natal),” Anders told UFC commentator Brian Stann.

7. Eat your words

Some fighters are wound tight as a spring. Alex Oliveira is not one of those fighters. The Brazilian dances and sings on his way to the cage, and between rounds he shares smiles and jokes with his corner. While he fights, Oliveira remains extraordinarily loose and relaxed. Oliveira’s personality seemed to rub Stann the wrong way early in his fight against Ryan LaFlare.

“There’s a point where you’re too loose,” said Stann between the first and second rounds. “You’re too friendly; you’re having too much fun. You’ve got to get down to business if you want to win a fight.”

Less than two minutes later, Oliveira (18-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) ended the welterweight bout with a brutal uppercut that dropped LaFlare (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) face-first onto the canvas.

After the fight, Stann owned up to his remarks, telling Oliveira he proved him wrong with the “Performance of the Night” winning knockout.

8. A score to settle

Marlon Vera extended his unbeaten streak to three straight with a first-round submission win over the favored Brian Kelleher in Long Island. The end came when Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) quickly transitioned from a standing kimura to an armbar when Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) decided to take the fight to the mat while Vera remained latched to his arm.

After his win, Vera reminded everyone he had unfinished business with Jimmie Rivera who withdrew from a fight against Vera early this year.

“Me and Rivera got business,” Vera said. “I don’t know what happened. He just backed out (of the fight), because he said he was too much for me in January. It was really tough for me because I cut 15 pounds in two days for that fight. I wanted to be in the gym or be in the sauna because I was super motivated to fight a tough guy.”

9. Passing grade

Junior Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) accomplished two significant feats at UFC on FOX 25. The first, scoring a TKO victory in his UFC debut against a heavyweight fighter with UFC experience in Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC). The second, taking home a “Performance of the Night” bonus.

“I was never able to buy her a toy or something like that,” Albini said of his 2-year old daughter after his win. “All of her toys were like shampoos, empty bottles, because we didn’t have much money. My wife was following my dream, too, together, so it means a lot to me right now that I can make a living and give back to them what they suffered together with me – the pursuing of this dream.”

With his TKO victory Albini extended his unbeaten streak to 10 straight, with eight of those wins coming by stoppage.

10. Local boy makes good

Godofredo Pepey did his best to goad Shane Burgos into a brawl and/or a grappling match, but Burgos refused to bite. Instead, the featherweight prospect stayed calm and used excellent striking, especially his counters, to pick apart Pepey on the feet.

Burgos (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) dropped Pepey (13-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) three times, and had he gone to the body earlier and more often, he might have managed to get the stoppage he desired instead of a unanimous decision.

Burgos, a New York-based fighter, has fought on three UFC cards in his home state, and judging by the crowd’s response to his efforts, he’s become a local favorite.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC on FOX 25 post-event facts: Despite 1-3 run, Chris Weidman's resume still pretty darn good

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Chris Weidman’s grappling prowess was again on display at UFC on FOX 25. “All-American” rebounded from a three-fight skid when he grounded and submitted Kelvin Gastelum in Saturday’s FOX-televised main event at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) returned to the win column after more than two years when he finished Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) with a third-round submission that will likely set up another important fight for the former UFC middleweight champion.

The main event wasn’t the only result of note at the UFC’s Long Island debut. For more, check below for 55 post-event facts to come out of UFC on FOX 25.

* * * *


Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $140,000.

Debuting fighters went 2-0 at the event.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Lyman Good, Alex Oliveira and Junior Albini earned $50,000 UFC on FOX 25 fight-night bonuses. UFC Fight Night 99 in November 2017 was last event without any main-card bonus winners.

UFC on FOX 25 drew an announced attendance of 11,918 for a live gate of $1,088,332.

Betting favorites went 6-7 on the card. More underdogs than favorites won for the first time since UFC Fight Night 101 in November.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:28:38.

* * * *

Main card

Chris Weidman

Weidman improved to 5-0 in UFC headliners.

Weidman snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since May 2015.

Weidman became the eighth fighter in UFC history to earn 10 middleweight victories.

Weidman has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by stoppage.

Weidman’s seven stoppage victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (11), Nate Marquardt (nine) and Chris Leben (eight).

Weidman’s seven stoppage victories since 2011 in UFC middleweight competition are most among active fighters in the weight class.

Weidman has out-struck his opponent in all 10 of his UFC victories.

Weidman has completed at least one takedown in all 13 of his UFC appearances.

Weidman’s 36 takedowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are tied with Rafael Natal for most in divisional history.

Kelvin Gastelum

Gastelum fell to 0-2 (with one no-contest) in UFC headliners.

Gastelum fell to 2-1 (with one no-contest) since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in December. He’s 3-1 (with one no-contest) in the organization at 185 pounds.

Gastelum suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Gastelum has landed six knockdowns in his past five fights.

Darren Elkins

Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) improved to 12-3 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in June 2011.

Elkins’ 12 UFC featherweight victories are second most in divisional history behind champ Max Holloway (13).

Elkins’ five-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Holloway (10).

Elkins has earned 10 of his 13 UFC victories by decision.

Elkins has landed 1,511 total strikes in UFC featherweight competition, the most in divisional history.

Elkins’ 35 takedowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Dennis Bermudez (38).

Elkins’ 20 submission attempts in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Dennis Bermudez (16-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) fell to 2-4 in his past six UFC appearances.

Bermudez suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Patrick Cummins

Patrick Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) improved to 2-3 in his past five UFC appearances.

Cummins has earned four of his six UFC victories by decision.

Gian Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past seven UFC appearances.

Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to 20 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since November 2008.

Jimmie Rivera

Rivera’s 20-fight winning streak in MMA competition is second longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24).

Rivera’s five-fight UFC winning streak in bantamweight competition is tied with champ Cody Garbrandt for the longest active streak in the division.

Rivera has earned 15 of his 21 career victories by decision. That includes four of his five UFC wins.

Thomas Almeida (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Preliminary card

Lyman Good and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Rafael Natal (22-8-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss, the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since January 2016.

Natal has suffered six of his nine career losses by knockout.

Oliveira (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) improved to 5-1 (with one no-contest) in UFC welterweight competition.

Oliveira has earned 14 of his 17 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his seven UFC wins.

Ryan LaFlare (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Chase Sherman

Chase Sherman (11-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) earned the first decision victory of his career.

Sherman has landed a combined 214 significant strikes in his past two UFC appearances.

Damian Grabowski (22-5 MMA, 0-3 UFC) suffered his first decision loss since Sept. 16, 2010 – a span of 2,501 days (nearly seven years) and 11 fights.

Jeremy Kennedy (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has earned all three of his UFC victories by decision.

Kennedy has completed 21 total takedowns in his three UFC appearances.

Kyle Bochniak (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

Brian Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered all five of his career stoppage losses by submission.

Junior Albini

Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned 12 of his 14 career victories by stoppage.

Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his six-fight UFC career.

Johnson suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Frankie Perez (10-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) fell to 0-2 since he came out of retirement in December.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, 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.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC on FOX 25 bonuses: Brazilians hit it big

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Alex Oliveira, Junior Albini, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Lyman Good each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 event.

Dos Santos and Good earned the “Fight of the Night,” while Oliveira and Albini each won “Performance of the Night” honors.

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

UFC on FOX 25 took place Saturday at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The card aired on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Brazilian welterweight Oliveira (18-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) spent most of the first round of his bout with Ryan LaFlare (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) flat on his back. That changed in the second, when Oliviera landed a perfect right hand as LaFlare looked for the takedown, leaving his opponent out cold.

Brazilian heavyweight Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made a huge splash in his UFC debut, taking on veteran Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and shocking him with a first-round knockout and cashing an extra check in the process.

Meanwhile, Brazilian welterweight dos Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) went toe-to-toe with Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) for the entirety of their preliminary bout, trading shots in the pocket for 15 minutes. In the end, dos Santos appeared the fresher man in the later stages of the contest and was rewarded with a split decision. Both men take home an extra $50,000 for their gutsy efforts.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos predicts 'Fight of the Night' against Lyman Good at UFC on FOX 25

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos has no problem with venturing into enemy territory when he meets New York’s own Lyman Good at this Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25. In fact, he’s kind of glad.

Brazil’s dos Santos (16-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has only had one home octagon appearance to date: his promotional debut, at UFC Fight Night 67. He dropped a split decision to Nicolas Dalby at the occasion, snapping a four-fight win streak. He recovered, though, and now rides back-to-back wins into the encounter with Good (19-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

Given his history, one can see why dos Santos doesn’t seem particularly preoccupied with conceding the hometown advantage.

“Fighting in my opponent’s home turf is always good,” dos Santos told MMAjunkie. “I like it. The pressure, basically, won’t be on me. Even if it were, I know how to handle that part very well. But he’s the one with the concern of fighting at home. I’m just going in there to do my job.”

Dos Santos and Good close out the preliminary card at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The scrap, like the four-bout main card and the previous three preliminary bouts, airs on FOX. Early prelims stream on UFC Fight Pass.

The Brazilian welterweight’s last outing – a UFC Fight Night 96 appointment with Keita Nakamura – was certainly a good night for dos Santos. Not only did he take the unanimous nod, he earned an added $50,000 for his “Fight of the Night” efforts.

While he also walked away with an injured hand, dos Santos says the recovery process was quick – and not to blame for the nine-month layoff. All this time, he says he’s been training and waiting for his phone to ring. The wait, however, seems to have paid off for dos Santos, who has no complaints about his opponent.

A former Bellator and Cage Fury Fighting Championships title holder, Good hasn’t fought since July of 2015 – when he knocked out Andrew Craig in route to a victorious UFC debut. He had recently been scheduled to meet Belal Muhammad at UFC 205 but was pulled from the bout due to a failed drug test. After tainted supplements were found to be to blame, the welterweight was given a six-month suspension.

MMA’s unpredictable nature aside, dos Santos acknowledges that he’s dealing with an opponent who, like him, favors striking. And he foresees their styles meshing quite well.

“(He’s) an ex-champion, a guy who’s tough and has a good name,” dos Santos said. “I believe it will be the best fight of the night.”

If the 30-year-old “Capoeira” pulls it off on Saturday, he will be riding a three-fight streak in a notoriously tough division. And he’s not about to waste his momentum on generic post-fight speeches.

“After this win, there’s an opponent I’m already targeting,” dos Santos said. “But after I get my arm raised, I’ll have time to issue that challenge.”

For more on UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC on FOX 25, including a must-win middleweight feature

Filed under: News, UFC

The UFC heads back to New York for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25. While this is the promotion’s fifth trip to the Empire State in eight months, it is the UFC’s first visit to NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale. Unsurprisingly, the card is packed with local fighters, including former middleweight champion and Long Island native Chris Weidman, who competes in the headlining bout opposite Kelvin Gastelum.

Weidman is under significant pressure. Not only is he fighting just a short drive from his home, but he’s also mired in the worst stretch of his career, losing his last three fights, with his two most recent setbacks happening in New York. As for Gastelum, a victory over the former champ would do wonders for his rising profile at 185 pounds.

In the co-main event, Darren Elkins, who will be up for some end-of-the-year awards thanks to his gritty come-from-behind victory over Mirsad Bektic, looks to carry the momentum from that March battle into his matchup against Dennis Bermudez.

UFC on FOX 25 airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Time marches on

On May 10, 2015, Robert Whittaker fought for the second time at middleweight. Thirteen days later, Weidman defended that weight division’s title for the third time, knocking out Vitor Belfort. Today, Whittaker is 7-0 at 185 pounds and the current interim champ. Weidman is 0-3 since defeating Belfort, losing each fight by knockout. The former champ has dropped to No. 8 over that time, according to the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings.

Weidman (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) looks to end his slide and take a few steps up the rankings against No. 13 ranked Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), who could establish himself as a top middleweight contender with a win.

Gastelum is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Belfort. That win was later ruled a no-contest after Gastelum failed a fight-day drug test for carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC,” a metabolite found in marijuana.

2. A man of will

It took Elkins 16 UFC fights before he earned his first fight-night bonus. Elkins, currently No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, spent most of his bout against Bektic absorbing strikes — and bleeding. It looked like the best Elkins could hope for would be a one-sided decision loss, but midway through the third round Bektic provided an opening. Elkins took Bektic’s back and stopped him via head strikes as Bektic attempted to get to his feet. The TKO win, Elkins’ fourth consecutive victory, will undoubtedly be a contender for “Comeback of the Year.”

Coming off that fight, Elkins (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) has never had a higher profile. He makes the first co-main event appearance of his UFC career opposite Bermudez (16-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC).

Bermudez needs a comeback of his own. A rankings honorable mention, he is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Chan Sung Jung which ended his two-fight winning streak.

3. Staying alive

Gian Villante and Patrick Cummins are talented athletes. The problem they’ve both endured during their UFC careers is they’ve been unable to translate those talents into long-term success.

Cummins has a great wrestling base but struggles with defending strikes. Those defensive deficiencies have led to each of Cummins’ (9-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) four defeats, which have all come via TKO. Villante (15-8 MMA, 5-5 UFC) is a powerful striker with strong takedown defense, but he often fades as fights wear on, which leaves him susceptible to strikes.

Both these competitors have 2-3 records over their last five outings. A win here might be the last chance for the victor to make a run up the light heavyweight rankings.

4. Rising bantamweight stars

A crucial bantamweight contest opens the main card. In one corner, you have No. 7-ranked Jimmie Rivera, who has won 19 straight, four of which have come with the UFC. Opposite Rivera is No. 12-ranked Thomas Almeida, who saw his 21-fight winning streak come to an end last May when he was knocked out by current bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt.

Almeida (21-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), a flashy striker, is the underdog in this matchup, a first during his six-fight run in the UFC. One reason for that might be Almeida’s loss to Garbrandt, another might be Rivera’s (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) ability to combine power, volume, a fast pace over three rounds and effective combinations on the counter.

Almeida hasn’t gone the distance since his UFC debut in 2014. He needs to be ready for a full three rounds from an opponent who has heard the final bell in 15 of his 21 fights.

5. Back on the accelerator

Lyman Good was 22 fights – and 10 years – into his career before getting the call from the UFC. The former Bellator welterweight champ vacated his Cage Fury welterweight belt for the opportunity to face Andrew Craig at UFC Fight Night 71. Good knocked out Craig in the second round of that contest. After some time off due to injury, Good was booked to face Belal Muhammad at UFC 205.

Good was pulled from that fight after being notified of potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition test. A tainted supplement was the cause of Good’s failed test and he received a six-month suspension.

Now, more than two years removed from his win over Craig, Good (19-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) looks to regain the momentum he had in 2015. Good faces Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (16-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC), who is coming of a “Fight of the Night” bonus-winning victory over Keita Nakamura.

6. Moving fast

Before LFA 6, Eryk Anders predicted he would defeat Jon Kirk and then fight for the LFA middleweight title. Those predictions came true. He TKOd Kirk in 95 seconds and then won the inaugural LFA title in June with a decision over Brendan Allen. Before that win, he said he felt a victory over Allen would get him a shot in the UFC. He was right about that, as well.

The former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker replaces an injured Alessio Di Chirico (10-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Rafael Natal (21-8-1 MMA, 9-6-1 UFC) at UFC on FOX 25. An undrafted signee of the Cleveland Browns upon leaving college, Anders (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was a 2010 training camp cut by the NFL team. Anders went on to have brief stints in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League before deciding to concentrate on MMA, where he remains unbeaten as a pro.

Anders gets a stiff step up in competition in his UFC debut, facing Natal, a 16-fight UFC veteran who is coming off losses to current interim middleweight champ Whittaker and Tim Boetsch.

7. Exuding confidence

Winning improves a fighter’s confidence. A knockout victory that scores a “Fight of the Night” bonus improves confidence exponentially, at least for heavyweight Chase Sherman.

Sherman stopped Rashad Coulter in the second round of a wild striking battle at UFC 211, ending a two-fight losing skid. After the win, Sherman took some shots at the rest of the division.

“I’m blessed enough to be in a division that’s not very stacked,” Sherman said. “It’s not stacked with very young, athletic guys.”

The 27-year-old Sherman (10-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) meets Damian Grabowski in Long Island. Grabowski (20-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC), a 37-year-old former M-1 heavyweight champ, has lost both of his UFC bouts by first-round knockout.

8. Young and unbeaten

The UFC Fight Pass prelims feature a pair of young featherweight fighters looking to extend unbeaten streaks. In the featured Fight Pass prelim, Jeremy Kennedy (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) looks to take his streak to 11 straight against Kyle Bochniak (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). Further down the card, Shane Burgos (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) hopes to move into double digits in consecutive victories vs. UFC veteran Godofredo Pepey (13-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC). Bochniak and Pepey are both 1-1 in their last two outings.

9. Big man, big step

The UFC’s heavyweight division is rare in that one win can mark a fighter as a rising contender. If that fighter happens to be under 30 years of age, that tends to increase the amount of hype. Junior Albini gets his chance to start his hype train rolling against five-fight UFC veteran Timothy Johnson.

The 26-year-old Albini (13-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has won his last nine fights, but the 32-year-old Johnson (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who is coming off a split-decision win over Daniel Omielanczuk is a big step up in competition for the young Brazilian. At worst, this fight will be an indicator of what Albini needs to shore up to grow as a UFC competitor. At best, Albini adds a 12th career stoppage to his resume and becomes an instant player in the division.

10. A rematch three years in the making

The first time Frankie Perez and Chris Wade fought, Wade was the reigning Ring of Combat lightweight champion. Wade (11-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) won that contest by split decision, handing Perez (10-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) his first career defeat. Wade moved on to the UFC after that victory, opening his promotional run with a 4-0 record. He’s stumbled in his two most recent bouts, dropping decisions to Rustam Khabilov and Islam Makhachev.

Meanwhile, Perez picked up a win with WSOF before he was signed by the UFC. After a loss in his promotional debut, Perez defeated Sam Stout and abruptly retired. Perez returned in December, dropping a decision to Marc Diakiese.

To add to the rematch angle, there seems to be some lingering hard feelings between these two.

For more on UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Think ex-UFC champ Jose Aldo is down and out? Check out these messages

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In the days that have passed since Jose Aldo’s title loss in Saturday’s UFC 212 headliner, the former featherweight kingpin’s countrymen have been taking to social media to issue messages of support.

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) suffered a third-round TKO loss to Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) in their pay-per-view scrap at Rio de Janeiro’s Jeunesse Arena. While this wasn’t Aldo’s first octagon loss – he suffered a title-costing 13-second knockout to lightweight champ Conor McGregor – it carried the weight of taking place in front of the passionate fans of his adopted home of Rio.

Among those who stepped up to speak on behalf of Aldo’s legacy are colleagues who have felt firsthand the sting of losing UFC gold.

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, for instance, posted a video on Instagram talking about the importance of family at these times. He went on to say his fellow Brazilian ex-champ, who went on a staggering decade-long undefeated run before the McGregor loss, has “nothing to prove to anyone” (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “I hope you see this video, Aldo – to tell you that only you and your team know how hard it is. People who are criticizing now, saying you should have done this or that, this type of people have never been punched in the face. They have no idea what they’re talking about. And only the true fans will be by your side now. And you, your wife, your family know your sacrifice. And your coaches. At the end of the day, brother, when you get home and rest your head on your pillow, it’s you, your family, your wife, your daughter. That is your biggest treasure. I’m sending this message to say that you’re an example for many – for me. A great champion, not only in the octagon but in life too. You have nothing to prove to anyone.”

Former middleweight champion and all-time great Anderson Silva was one of the first to issue his support on social media. Silva stressed Aldo’s part as a role model in the sport. Under a picture that featured Aldo’s daughter, Joana, and wife, Viviane Pereira, Silva called his fellow countryman a “giant” and a “hero” (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “My brother. You are much bigger than any battle. Your story gives us the full assurance that you are a great hero, a great champion, I am and I will always be your fan, brother. What you have most precious goes far beyond. Of course we were all rooting for you and for your victory, but do not cover yourself or let anyone charge you brother, because you are fantastic in what you do and do with love and with your heart. Do not forget who you are and how much you make a difference in this sport. You have changed the lives of many people. You are cause for victory and overcoming by the example that has become. Always keep your head up God is always in control. You are a great champion, no one can take this story from you, no one; battle is won and other losses, but never war. You are a giant, did not come to this world by chance. You are Ze Aldo. Our Ze Aldo. Do not forget brother, GOD bless you always warrior.”

Former UFC interim heavyweight titleholder and current UFC Hall of Famer Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira also used the word “hero” to describe the former 145-pound kingpin (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “Our warrior. You’re our Brazilian hero, bud.”

Members of the newer octagon generation have also stepped up. Undefeated UFC welterweight Alberto Mina, for instance, published an inspired statement that takes aim at the public’s “ungrateful” attitude toward the fall of the longtime champ.

The message, which featured a “Whomever roots for me, roots for Aldo” hashtag, was shared by fellow UFC up-and-comers such as welterweight Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “What’s going to happen to us, the ‘new generation of the UFC?’ Once the Brazilian fans can show so much ungratefulness with our champion who spent (and still is) over 10 years at the top? You watch your team lose, get downgraded, and you still root for them. Your favorite singer misses a show, cancels it, gets sick, wakes up with a bad voice or just didn’t sing what you wanted to hear… And then? You’re no longer a fan? What about your politician? Who you carried on your shoulders? Wore his jersey and even fought family members for him…. He let you down and certainly next year you’ll vote for him once again… Our profession is cruel, from hero to villain in the blink of an eye. The fan who can’t understand the greatness of Aldo for us fighters really isn’t apt to push the new generation.”

Check out other messages of support for Aldo:

Pedro Rizzo – Aldo’s coach, heavyweight legend, UFC and PRIDE vet (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “Everything passes, the bad and the good, what stays is our history and how people will remember you. Your life story is beautiful and victorious, keep writing it. No matter what happens, I’ll always be here, as I’ve always been, by your side and ready for everything.”

Leonardo Santos – UFC lightweight, “TUF: Brazil 2” winner and Aldo’s Nova Uniao teammate

Santos shared a comment from an aspiring fighter who sees the ex-champ as a role model in overcoming his own struggles to make it away from his family, sleeping at a gym, much like Aldo did (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “Today I had no words to describe something that diminished the pain of the loss for my friend @josealdojunioroficial. Something that made him see how important he is to all of us, how big of a part we play in his life. How much he managed to transform our lives. And just by being him, @josealdojunioroficial! So I got this… An example of how beloved he is and how much he has and still inspires us all.”

Bethe Correia – former UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Her message: “You were a warrior. Eternal people’s champ.”

Gilbert Burns – UFC lightweight (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

His message: “We’re #TeamAldo in victory and defeat. You represent me in and outside of the octagon.”

For more on UFC 212, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie