Category Archives: Featured Videos

UFC Fight Night 112 winner Tony Martin: 'I think I can be the best fighter in the world'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Tony Martin made no secret of his general dislike for Johnny Case ahead of their UFC Fight Night 112 scrap.

But he also believed Case (22-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) would be the right opponent to help highlight his own evolving skill set. As his unanimous decision win following an exciting, close fight showed, Martin (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) was on to something. For many – including Martin himself – Sunday’s battle was his best one yet.

And after 15 minutes of exchanged blows, nods and more than a few words, it seems like the two have reached somewhat of a truce.

“When you have a problem, you just get in there and you figure it out,” Martin said after the lightweight bout at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., which streamed on UFC Fight Pass. “You hash it out, and then you just earn your respect.

“I don’t have to like the guy; he doesn’t have to like me afterward. But at the end of the day, you do respect each other as fighters. He did show up, so I’ve got to respect that.”

For Martin, who says he’s used to “talking a little crap” to lighten the mood in training, having that kind of heat with Case helped him feel more comfortable inside the cage, even though some of those words, he revealed, were him calling Case a cheater after some eye pokes.

“But I was just amped up,” Martin said. “In the beginning of the fight, he hit me with a jab and said something like, ‘Alright, let’s fight now.’ I just faked a takedown. I said ‘alright,’ I started talking once I started landing. Like, ‘Let’s go, I’m here. You act like I was just going to try to take you down the whole fight, but I’m here. Let’s scrap.’

“And I think I broke him mentally. I think that he started fading. And I think that’s when I kept getting stronger. I think he didn’t expect me to strike with him the whole fight. He just expected to defend takedowns, and that was a bad game plan.”

But talking wasn’t Martin’s main tool – yet, it was the surprisingly crisp stand-up game he’s long been perfecting with the likes of boxing coach Eddie Alvarez. On his end, Martin understands why most weren’t expecting that level of striking coming from him.

Which is why Martin, who’s happy to go up against high-level strikers at the gym, took it upon himself to show it.

“I think my striking was extremely underrated coming into this fight,” Martin said. “And I haven’t shown it in any fight, so it’s not any disrespect to anyone else. But I had something to prove. I went out there, and I proved it. Now, people better start respecting my striking.”

Martin has faced some of the top competitors in the lightweight division before. In fact, he was rudely welcomed into the octagon by two of them, dropping back-to-back losses to Rashid Magomedov and Beneil Dariush before Fabricio Camoes became his first UFC victim.

But now, riding a three-fight streak and feeling like he’s finally come into his own as a fighter, Martin would like a new crack at the top 15.

“I was just this little kid coming in here, just an athlete,” Martin said. “And my skills weren’t anywhere near where they are right now. I’m at a whole other level. And really, just anyone. I just want to get in there and prove to the world. No disrespect to them, but that’s how you climb the ladder. You’ve got to start knocking down people.

“I’m just trying to be the best I can be. And I think I can be the best fighter in the world. I’ve just got to keep improving every fight, put the work in and train hard. Good things happen to good people that do things right.”

To hear more from Martin, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Jeremy Kimball thrilled with UFC Fight Night 112 TKO after he 'couldn't sleep at all' on fight week

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Jeremy Kimball finally got his first taste of octagon victory, but it took some sleepless nights to get there.

Kimball (15-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) walked away from this past Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 with a massive first-round TKO over Josh Stansbury (8-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus to show for his efforts. What turned out to be a good night for the 26-year-old “Grizzly,” however, didn’t start off that way.

“I was super nervous up until the point I started hitting pads,” Kimball told reporters after the light heavyweight bout, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. “Then I realized how much power was there tonight. Then I knew I was on, and it was going to be a fun night for me.”

This wasn’t Kimball’s first quick night in the octagon, but it was the first successful one. Back in January, on a short-notice UFC on FOX 23 encounter with Marcos Rogerio de Lima, the light heavyweight was the one on the unfortunate end of a first-round TKO.

Coming off a four-fight streak into his losing UFC debut, Kimball makes no secret of just how tough of a pill that was to swallow.

“I took it hard,” Kimball said. “All the way up to this point. I was nervous all week. I couldn’t sleep at all. I hate losing. So losing on the biggest stage really sucked. So I really wanted this one.”

In any case, there were at least some lessons learned in the setback.

“In my last fight, I didn’t pull the trigger with my punches,” Kimball said. “And my dad always tells me, ‘If you don’t pull the trigger, you can’t win.’ Stansbury caught me early, and I just decided at that point to pull the trigger. And that’s what happened.”

To hear more from Kimball, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

At 35, Clay Guida feels as strong as ever – but 'I don't want to be doing this when I'm 40'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Clay Guida knows he’s not going to be around forever, but he’s still got some fight left in him.

Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) got himself back in the win column in assertive fashion at this past Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112, dominating Erik Koch (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) on the mat in route to a clear-cut unanimous call. The solid display, over an opponent seven years his junior, was made all the more impressive by the fact that it was also the 50th pro MMA bout in Guida’s 14-year-long career.

Still, it came after back-to-back losses, on top of an overall inconsistent UFC run. Throughout the ups and downs, no one would fault the 35-year-old Guida if thoughts of getting off the rollercoaster were starting to cross his mind.

But, as it turns out, they’re not.

“As long as I’m having fun and I feel like I’m improving, there’s always going to be those bumps in the road,” Guida told reporters after the FS2-televised lightweight scrap at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. “I never look at it as ‘It’s a young man’s game,’ because I’m still young. I’m in my mid-30’s. The scientists do studies, they say the male is in their peak at in the mid-30’s still.

“I feel like I’m at a very strong class, very competitive. But I feel as strong as I ever have. And I’m improving with the coaching staff at Team Alpha Male and we’re getting better every day out there.”

The scrap also meant Guida’s return to the lightweight division, after a 3-4 featherweight run. Guida celebrated the fact that he basically woke up within the 155-pound limit in the morning of Saturday’s weigh-ins. But, more than simply feeling good, it’s also about results.

And, after getting his first win since a 2015 UFC Fight Night 63 decision over Robbie Peralta, they seem to speak for themselves.

“I think the 145 thing was maybe a pride thing for me,” Guida said. “Just to say ‘I know I can make it, I know I can stay there and be competitive.’ I beat some good guys, I lost to some good guys. For me, it was kind of a wrestlers’ thing. ‘I can make the weight, I’m stubborn, I wrestled at 149 in college, I can make 145 and be tough there.’ But being tough isn’t always the right recipe. Winning is the right recipe.”

Guida clearly feels good and motivated for the time being. And he has active MMA icons like Fedor Emelianenko – who, at 40, just saw a five-fight winning streak snapped with a Bellator NYC loss to Matt Mitrione – as examples of cage longevity.

But, at the same time, he doesn’t necessarily see himself going as far as some of his idols.

“I don’t want to be doing this when I’m 40,” Guida said. “I love Fedor for being the man that he is, and I feel like the dude sits in the locker room, plays cards in his jeans with his feet up, eats a 12-pack of donuts and they say, ‘Alright Fedor, you’re on.’ He just jumps up, goes out and fights, and that’s just awesome. He’s a master.

“(But) that’s not for everybody. I don’t want to be fighting when I’m 40. I want to be coaching and helping coach wrestling and things like that. And watching all this stables of fighters we have improve.”

To hear more from Guida, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Dennis Siver explains why getting knocked down by B.J. Penn was actually a good thing

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Most fighters would argue that getting knocked down is not exactly something you welcome during a scrap.

Not Dennis Siver, though. After taking a majority decision over former two-division champ B.J. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) on Sunday, Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) said the right hand that sent him straight to the canvas in the second round of their featherweight encounter turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“Actually, it was good for me,” Siver said through an interpreter after the FS1-televised main-card scrap at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. “Of course I got knocked down by B.J., but I could recover on the ground. Because B.J. was active, and I was passive. My break got even longer from just laying there and holding him. So, actually, it was good for me. Played out well.”

The win snapped a two-fight skid and a two-year layoff for Siver, who was coming off a decision loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri and a knockout defeat to current lightweight champion Conor McGregor. While the result provided him with some relief, the 38-fighter is now focused on getting back to his family before making any plans for his octagon future.

Penn’s next steps, in turn, seems a lot murkier now. While he did show flashes of his old self during Sunday’s affair, the fact is that the 38-year-old UFC Hall of Famer is currently riding a five-fight skid. He has not won since a 2010 knockout of Matt Hughes, which he followed up with a draw against Jon Fitch.

In spite of Penn’s current downswing, Siver does feel a special sense of accomplishment in beating such a big name.

“It fulfills my dreams, actually,” Siver said. “You don’t fight a legend like B.J. Penn every day. It feels awesome.”

To hear more from Siver, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Kevin Lee and UFC Fight Night 112's other winning fighters?

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The UFC made its second stop in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Sunday with UFC Fight Night 112, which took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The FS1-televised main card featured six fights, with half ending in a stoppage.

In the main event, Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) continued to establish himself as threat in the UFC lightweight division when he picked up a first-round submission victory over Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), albeit with some controversy involved.

Tim Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) added another memorable win to his lengthy UFC career in the co-headliner, beating ex-UFC champ Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC). Other winners included Felice Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Dominick Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Tim Means (27-8-1 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Dennis Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC).

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 112’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Dennis Siver

Dooho Choi

Should fight: Dooho Choi
Why they should fight: After a more than two-year hiatus, Siver made a triumphant return to the octagon and earned arguably the signature win of his career by beating UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn.

Although it seems Penn is far past his expiration date, his name still carries weight in the sport. Siver’s majority-decision win over the former UFC champ is a memory he can cherish, even if it doesn’t do much for him in terms of advancing his place in the featherweight division.

At 38, Siver has admitted his time in the sport is limited. He’s coming off a big high, though, and if he can keep that momentum, things could get interesting for him again. Siver is a cagey veteran, but Choi (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is a heavily hyped prospect.

“The Korean Superboy” had to recently pull out of a fight due to injury following his “Fight of the Year” clash with Cub Swanson in December, but if he can get healthy, Siver would be a good test and a matchup with big excitement potential.

Tim Means

Bryan Barberena

Should fight: Bryan Barberena
Why they should fight: Means was unable to put on another dazzling display of violence inside the octagon, but he did manage to rebound from a two-fight winless skid with a smartly fought unanimous-decision victory over Alex Garcia.

It’s almost impossible to put “The Dirty Bird” into a truly boring fight, and while he would need a dramatic career shift to be considered a title contender, he’s a reliable member of the welterweight division.

Many fighters have similar reputations at 170 pounds, and Barberena (13-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is one. Although the fight wouldn’t have much stakes in terms of rankings relevance, it’s a matchup that both fighters would likely embrace, and it could make for a fan-pleasing affair.

Dominick Reyes

Jeremy Kimball

Should fight: Jeremy Kimball
Why they should fight: Fighting in an FS1-televised bout on short notice in his UFC debut, Reyes overcame a challenging situation when he defeated Joachim Christensen by TKO in just 29 seconds.

Reyes showed the UFC made a wise choice by giving him an opportunity, and he scored a solid win against a far more experience opponent on the biggest stage of his career.

Still young in his career, “The Devastator” is a promising addition to the suddenly flourishing light heavyweight division. Kimball (15-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is in a similar position after scoring a first-round TKO of Josh Stansbury during the early prelims, and matching up two fighters looking to make a name at 205 pounds is a logical decision.

Felice Herrig

Michelle Waterson

Should fight: Michelle Waterson
Why they should fight: Herrig continued to show her lone UFC defeat against Paige VanZant was not indicative of her overall ability when she pushed her strawweight winning streak to three against by beating Justine Kish.

Herrig picked up a unanimous-decision win, marking her third straight triumph over a prospect at 115 pounds. She won’t allow an up-and-comer to make her name off her veteran status, and in every fight, she solidifies the idea she’s a contender worth paying attention to.

“Lil’ Bulldog” is deserving of a noteworthy fight that will help move her up the rankings, and Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) fits the description. Herrig called for a fight with “The Karate Hottie” following her win over Alex Grasso at UFC Fight Night 104 in February, and with Waterson coming off a loss to No. 1 contender Rose Namajunas, a bout with Herrig would provide an opportunity to rebound.

Tim Boetsch

David Branch

Should fight: David Branch
Why they should fight: Boetsch has had a knack for playing spoiler throughout his UFC career. He did it again when he derailed the middleweight revival of Oklahoma’s own Johny Hendricks.

Boetsch handed the former UFC welterweight champion his first loss at 185 pounds with a second-round TKO in what was his 22nd UFC appearance. “The Barbarian” had had an up-and-down run inside the octagon, but every so often he shows what he’s capable of against a big-name foe.

Consistency has been the grinder’s biggest problem, and while the win over Hendricks was significant, the 36-year-old has to prove it’s not too late to make a run.

Boetsch has won three of his past four bouts, though, and he’s earned another chance to break into the 185-pound rankings. Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who’s riding a 12-fight winning streak, holds the No. 7 spot in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, and it’d be interesting to see how Boetsch’s style would clash with the former two-division WSOF champion.

Kevin Lee

Should fight: Edson Barboza
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Lee should fight Barboza (19-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Carla Esparza not rushing into Joanna Jedrzejczyk title rematch: 'If I go there, I want to win'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Former champion Carla Esparza may have landed herself back on the win column, but she sees work to be done ahead of a new stab at the title.

Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) used a superb takedown game to outwork Maryna Moroz (8-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) en route to a unanimous-decision win at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event. Following the triumph, which snapped a more than yearlong winless stretch, Esparza said in the octagon that she believes to be at least in the general vicinity of strawweight gold.

“I know I’m not far away from getting my rematch (with champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk),” Esparza said following the FS2-televised preliminary-card bout at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Speaking to reporters backstage, Esparza reiterated that she feels she’s – if not in the championship mix – at least on the brink. But, at the same time, she’s not in a rush to get a new fight with Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 BMMA), who has defended the belt five times since taking it from Esparza at UFC 185.

“I’m taking it a fight at a time,” Esparza said. “I’ve had a long layoff, and I really want to just feel comfortable. That’s the fight, or any top contender fight. If I ever (get another title shot), I really want to feel confident and ready. I don’t want to jump in there and rush into it. If I go there, I want to win.”

Esparza, who became the UFC’s first 115-pound champ after winning the 20th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” was knocked out in the second round of her encounter with Jedrzejczyk. She’s since fought three times, with two unanimous-decision wins and a split-call loss to Randa Markos sandwiched in between.

While Esparza was still “weathering through some ring rust” when she met Markos in February, she said she really found her groove against Moroz – especially after the first round. But it did take some adjustments.

“I was caught off-guard; her wrestling was a lot better than I thought,” Esparza said. “I’d studied a lot of footage, and I’d not seen her defend one takedown, ever. So I was like, ‘This girl is defending my takedowns.’”

Esparza takes a self-critical approach to her displays, and makes sure to look back on tape and fix her own holes instead of focusing on anyone else’s. But asked whether she agreed with the criticism that she lacked offense from the top, she – politely – stood by her display.

“I think that’s fair,” Esparza said. “Honestly, I really wanted to let go, but she was very good at neutralizing me. At this level in the game, you’re going to run into people who are just as good as you. It’s going to be hard.

“If I’d fought someone who has two fights and is new, I could let go on them all day. But considering how good her submission game is off her back, I think I did OK.”

Moving forward, Esparza says she’s willing to fight whomever gets put in front of her. But, currently ranked No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s strawweight rankings, she expects that beating No. 11 Moroz (who’s No. 10 in the official UFC rankings) should award her a top-10 opponent.

To hear more from Esparza, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Tim Boetsch on Johny Hendricks' 'unprofessional' weight miss: 'Maybe he was taking me lightly'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – For UFC middleweight Tim Boetsch, what many considered an upset win was a mere realization of the exact scenario that he had visualized.

Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) dispatched former 170-pound champion Johnny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) in the second round of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 co-headliner. While Boetsch’s hands sealed the deal, a massive head-kick spelled the beginning of the end.

Boetsch is excited to add a a former titleholder to his list of victims. But that’s not his main reason to celebrate Sunday’s triumph.

“To be honest, I’m more excited that I went in there and executed the game plan exactly how we had envisioned it,” Boetsch said after the FS1-televised event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. “And I actually thought that we’d get the opportunity to throw that head kick in Round 2. I didn’t know exactly when, but I saw the opportunity early. There it was.”

Boetsch said he saw basically what he was expecting from Hendricks: a fighter who’s “heavy on the lead leg” with, of course, some serious power in his left hand. The plan to counter that, Boetsch explained, was to chop the front leg and set up the fight-finishing kick with the teep to the body.

“It works perfectly against southpaws,” Boetsch said. “As you see, there’s the result: head-kick knockout.”

Of course, not everything went exactly as planned. What was supposed to be a 185-pound bout became a catchweight when Hendricks, who’d repeatedly failed to make the 170-pound limit of the division he once ruled, missed the middleweight limit as well.

Boetsch, who had performed at heavier divisions, had no major issue with accommodating Hendricks’ miss – and he got 20 percent of his purse in return. But the respect he holds for Hendricks’ ex-champ credentials doesn’t mean he gets a full pass for his “very unprofessional” move.

“We joked about that in camp; somebody said, ‘What are the chances of him missing weight at this one?’” Boetsch said. “I said, ‘I don’t really care if he does.’ I jokingly said that he might, and then Marcus (Davis) came to me the morning of the weigh-ins and said he was going to miss, and not even attempt it.

“We still had a couple of hours, or an hour and a half left at that point. So I’m like, ‘All right, I guess we’ll see how this goes.’ If he’s not willing to cut a couple extra pounds, (it) kind of speaks to his professionalism.”

Boetsch said that his camp had been following a bit of Hendricks’ camp online, and had found that the ex-champ was weighing in at 189 pounds after practice. Which makes him think about the reasons for the miss.

“I don’t see any reason why he didn’t make the weight, other than just he lack of discipline,” Boetsch said. “Maybe he was taking me lightly. I don’t know. But anybody who does that should probably rethink it.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Michael Chiesa goes off on ref Mario Yamasaki, pleas for rematch after being 'robbed'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Needless to say, Michael Chiesa is not a fan of Mario Yamasaki.

Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) saw the first headlining spot of his UFC career end on a controversial note on Sunday, when referee Yamasaki called a first-round stop to his UFC Fight Night 112 contest with Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC). Chiesa was on the bad end of a seemingly tight rear-naked choke, but with just a few seconds left on the clock, he was still conscious when Yamasaki stepped in.

Chiesa was at least alert enough to immediately contest the ending of the FS1-televised event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. Between the stoppage and the official announcement of Lee’s win, Chiesa could be seen angrily pacing around the octagon and mouthing some of his thoughts on the ref (via Twitter):

Chiesa’s feelings on Yamasaki hadn’t changed when he talked to the media immediately after the event. The lightweight’s tirade might have lacked “fancy words,” but it certainly didn’t lack passion.

“This is the main event – that is JV bull(expletive),” Chiesa said. “That guy is too focused on being some kind of playboy in front of the cameras, making his little heart logos. Maybe he should go back and read the (expletive) rule book.

“I’m not trying to sound like a poor sport, but it’s really hard to be positive right now when I’ve been striving for this main-event spot. And I get it. And it feels like I just got (expletive) robbed. It’s hard not to feel that way.”

For Chiesa, the sting was made even worse by his history with stoppages. His last setback before Sunday’s, stemming from a “Fight of the Night” with Joe Lauzon in 2014, was the result of a doctor’s call due to a deep gash above Chiesa’s right eye. Between Lauzon and Lee, Chiesa put together a three-fight winning streak, with wins over Mitch Clarke, Jim Miller and Beneil Dariush.

To make his case as to why the stoppage was premature, the 155-pounder brought up the example of fellow UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta – who rode out a submission attempt by Lee before coming out victorious of their UFC 169 scrap – and broke down his decision-making process.

“I fought the best grapplers at lightweight,” Chiesa said. “The best. They all had my back in Round 1, and I got out every single time. I’ve studied my film on Kevin. It’s a palm-to-palm rear-naked choke. An arm-pump choke. I fight the hands when he’s going RNC, switch to palm-to-palm, shrink your shoulders in, flex your neck, get your elbows in.

“When he loosens up, you elbow down, turn in. I saw there was a short time on the clock. I went into what I know. And the next thing I know the fight is getting stopped.”

Chiesa has yet to look at the footage. But as someone who watches a lot of fights, he said Yamasaki’s call felt “like the worst stoppage ever.” The lightweight also questioned the very fact that “poor official” Yamasaki was even appointed to a headliner in the first place.

“Here’s what’s frustrating: You put a guy who’s just swirled in controversy in charge of a main event?” Chiesa said. “You realize that this defects ours lives. I’m not talking from a financial standpoint – I don’t care about the money. You’re talking – (if) I win this fight I go into the top five. I’m on the brink of a title shot.

“The opportunity got taken away from me. Now Kevin technically has got a win over me, swirled in controversy. That’s taken away from him. And then the fans. You think the fans want to watch a main event on a Sunday night end like this? No. It’s just pathetic. I really feel like this is a (expletive) dream. Between the Joe Lauzon fight and this, (I can’t believe it).”

Chiesa, however, doesn’t intend to leave it alone. On the official end of things, he plans to appeal the call with the local commission. But not overly confident that’s going to get him anywhere, he also wants a chance to make things right in the octagon.

“We’re going to seek due diligence,” Chiesa said. “This really is bull(expletive). Chances are it’s not going to get overturned, but I’m not going to go down without a fight. And best case scenario, I get a (expletive) rematch in Detroit. I’ll fight him in his backyard. I’ll fight him right now.”

While Lee reiterated his desire to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov next, Chiesa doesn’t see that happening. And while he maintains there is no personal beef with Lee, in spite of the heated press conference moment the two had shared weeks before, he is absolutely driven to get a do-over.

“If you think you really beat me, then beat me again,” Chiesa said. “Prove it. There’s no way you’re going to ride this win thinking you won. You did not beat me. You did not beat me. There’s no way. I’m fine. I heard he’s limping around on crutches. He’s supposed to be the striker. I landed one punch and put him on his ass. Let’s run it back.

“I want to prove that I was going to win that fight. I want to prove that I got robbed. And I want to prove Yamasaki that he’s so (expletive) wrong that he can’t even see straight.”

Between the controversy and their pre-fight shennanigans, Chiesa said that, promotion-wise, the matchup is a no-brainer. And he is so confident that he can beat Lee that he’ll not only give him a trilogy – he’ll let his new favorite ref join the cage with them.

“I’ll let Yamasaki actually be the ref both times,” Chiesa said. “And his poor officiating won’t be able to (expletive) do anything with the results, because I’ll make it very definitive.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Not 'young and beautiful' enough? Felice Herrig opens up after emotional UFC-OKC win

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Felice Herrig turned pro nearly a decade ago. She’s fought for a host of major promotions. But as a 32-year-old, she wonders if some opportunities are now out of reach.

On Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 main card, Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) picked up her third straight victory and moved to 4-1 on MMA’s biggest stage with a unanimous-decision victory over Justine Kish (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

It should have been a festive time for Herrig, but following the FS1-televised event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., her emotions were hard to hide, especially she spoke about what she perceives as a lack of opportunities.

“Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I just feel like I’m not young and beautiful for the UFC to want to promote me,” she said after the event. “It’s sad because I’ve really worked hard to be here. It’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through and just got to the UFC at the right time, and they’re now getting all these opportunities.

“I’ve seen how hard I’ve worked to get here, and it just doesn’t matter because I just feel I’m not pretty enough, and I’m not getting any younger.”

Herrig, who previously competed for organizations such as Bellator and Invicta FC, defeated Kailin Curran and highly regarded Alexa Grasso in her previous two bouts. She’s currently No. 13 in the official UFC rankings (and could enter the top 15 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s strawweight rankings when they’re updated this week).

However, in the prize-fighting business, in-cage accomplishments alone don’t always result in career advancement.

“I just think that my performances are going to keep speaking volumes,” she said. “I think fans, the people and the media see and recognize I just beat two undefeated fighters, two really good undefeated fighters that were no joke. Alexa Grasso is no joke. Justine Kish is no joke. Anyone in this sport that’s not just a casual fan knows better. I don’t need a fancy trophy to tell me I’m good or to tell me what I’m made of I know.”

However, she clarified that her comments aren’t completely directed at UFC officials – but more as the business itself.

“I’m not trying to make this like a point finger at the UFC or Dana White or anybody,” Herrig said. “I know they have a business to run. … I’m not the only fighter who feels like this. … We put a lot out there as fighters, and I don’t know – I feel like I’ve paid my dues, and nobody can deny that.

“I’m a UFC fighter, and I’ve worked my way to the top, so I would like a little more love. That’s it.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Dominick Reyes: UFC debut win legitimizes my athletic career after being 'shunned by the NFL'

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Dominick Reyes feels a new level of validation for his athletic career after he defeated Joachim Christensen in his octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 112.

Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) impressed when he stopped Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) by TKO in just 29 seconds in the FS1-televised bout at Chesapeake Energy Arena, giving him the second fastest win in UFC history by a debuting light heavyweight.

Prior to competing in MMA, Reyes attempted to make it in the NFL. It never fully came to fruition, and he said the fact he’s been able to make it to the highest level in another sport provides satisfaction.

“Perfect debut right there; coming out, first-round knockout against a guy who has never been finished,” Reyes told MMAjunkie. “It’s definitely a dream come true big time. Not only as a fighter – but as an athlete period. I was kind of shunned by the NFL, and now I’m a legitimate athlete in the world of sports. It means a lot to me.”

Reyes was touted as a prospect to watch ahead of his octagon debut, largely in part to a “Knockout of the Year” candidate last month at LFA 13. He lived up to it when he dropped Christensen with a massive punch early in the opening frame then quickly finished the job. He said the performance was just a sliver of what he’s capable of.

“Everyone likes to see a knockout artist,” Reyes said. “Not just a knockout artist, but someone who has precision and skill with it. I didn’t just wing it. It was a laser right down the middle, and that’s something that can be respected no matter who you are.”

The UFC light heavyweight division is arguably the most top-heavy of any in the organization and for the past several years has been searching for new names to watch. Reyes is still young in his career and hasn’t faced the type of competition that could reveal his ceiling, but he said he looks forward to proving himself.

“As far as the light heavyweight division, if they didn’t know me, I guess they know me now,” Reyes said. “And they’re going to know a left hand if we ever fight.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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