MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for August: Flyweights shine in rare non-title headliner

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

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

* * * *

The Nominees

Alejandro Perez def. Andre Soukhamthath at UFC Fight Night 114

Andre Soukhamthath (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) put Alejandro Perez (18-6-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) down three times with his left hand and somehow still came out the loser.

A late rally by Perez was enough to overcome some solid early work by Soukhamthath, resulting in a split-decision win for Perez in a closely contested fight that remained fiercely competitive until the final seconds.

Alexa Grasso def. Randa Markos at UFC Fight Night 114

Alexa Grasso (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had to dig deep to give the fans in Mexico City the win they hoped for against Randa Markos (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC), but she got it done by the slimmest of margins in a spirited battle that went the distance.

Thanks largely to her work in the first and the third rounds, Grasso narrowly outpointed a game Markos to win a split-decision victory with scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28.

Sergio Pettis def. Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114

A new contender in the UFC flyweight division was decided when Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) defeated Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the organization’s first 125-pound headliner not to feature champion Demetrious Johnson.

Pettis earned his fourth consecutive victory at 125 pounds when he defeated Moreno by unanimous decision in an exciting five-round affair.

Fernando Gonzalez def. Brennan Ward at Bellator 182

Fernando Gonzalez (27-14 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) continued to rebound from his lone Bellator loss this past year when he rallied to submit Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) in the third round of their catchweight bout.

After having his offense largely thwarted over the first two rounds by Ward’s mixed game, Gonzalez capitalized on a error by his opponent that allowed him to lock in a guillotine choke for the come-from-behind victory.

Kali Robbins def. Sharon Jacobson at Invicta FC 25

Kali Robbins (5-0) was in all sorts of trouble against Sharon Jacobson (4-2). And then suddenly, it was all over.

Robbins took a barrage of punches from Jacobson before she was hip-tossed to the mat. Once there Robbins immediately went into jiu-jitsu mode, climbing her legs and grabbing a hold of an arm until she was belly down and submitted Jacobson with an armbar just 42 seconds into the first round.

* * * *

The Winner: Pettis vs. Moreno

After getting dominated in the first round, Pettis shut down Moreno’s takedown game and took over on his feet.

Pettis soundly outstruck Moreno from the second frame into championship rounds to take home a unanimous decision via scores of 49-46 and 48-46 twice.

“I definitely had to face some adversity,” Pettis said afterward. “He came out there and put me in a very dangerous position. I had four rounds to prove I was a better man, and I did it.”

Moreno came in hoping to get a big win in front of his native Mexico and gave the crowd high hopes early. A kick from Pettis allowed him to take the fight to the mat, and he quickly scrambled to back control, where he set up a choke. Unable to free himself, Pettis spent the opening frame fighting Moreno’s hands and biding his time.

Pettis had the opportunity to give Moreno the same treatment in the second round when he caught a kick. Instead, he stood back and settled in with striking. Moreno took him back down but was forced to retreat after Pettis used a triangle choke to initiate a scramble.

A little too loose for his own good, Moreno took several hard right hands as he channeled martial arts movies with his movement and left his head blatantly exposed. Pettis figured out he could land kicks as Moreno circled away, and head kicks started to land.

Pettis did his best work in the third frame, picking apart Moreno on the feet and opening a cut with a head kick. Gone was the smile on Moreno’s face as he bled and met diminishing returns with takedown attempts.

“His standup surprised me a lot,” Pettis said. “He gave me a different look. Kind of made me question my look, like an open style I had to adjust to.”

By the fourth round, Pettis no longer needed to fear the takedown. Moreno tried to make up some ground on the feet and instead caught more shots to the dome as sharp combinations cut off his wide attacks.

Told the fight was even by his corner, Moreno charged into a takedown in the final frame. He had his moment, yet he was unable to land any significant offense, and Pettis escaped to his feet, where he continued to control the stand-up action.

“I noticed he had his left hand down a lot, so I kept poking him with that jab,” Pettis said afterward. “He kept circling toward my left low kick, and I’ve got a funky switch-kick that I was catching him with. I just had to adjust my style, and it all worked out.”

Asked whom he’d like to take on next after taking out a fellow up-and-comer, Pettis deferred to the UFC in lieu of a title shot.

“I’ve got to wait for the higher powers to tell me what I want,” he said. “Obviously, I’d like a title shot, but there’s a lot of things I need to polish up to get there.”

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

MMAjunkie's 'Submission of the Month' for August: A no-joke guillotine choke

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

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

* * * *

The Nominees

Bibiano Fernandes def. Andrew Leone at ONE Championship 58

Bibiano Fernandes’ (21-3) latest title defense was his quickest and easiest yet.The ONE Championship bantamweight titleholder needed less than two minutes to submit challenger Andrew Leone (8-3).

After using a knee to drop his 27-year-old American opponent against the cage, Fernandes unloaded punches and ultimately used a first-round rear-naked choke to get the victory.

Jordan Rinaldi def. Alvaro Herrera at UFC Fight Night 114

In the span of a couple minutes, Jordan Rinaldi (13-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) got dropped and nearly choked by Alvaro Herrera (9-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC), but still walked away with a victory in the lightweight bout.

After using a submission attempt by Herrera against him, Rinaldi locked up a first-round Von Flue choke from the top for just the fourth victory of its kind in UFC history.

Rani Yahya def. Henry Briones at UFC Fight Night 114

Henry Briones (16-7-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) hardly had a chance to get in a fight before he was tapping to seasoned grappling ace Rani Yahya (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC).

The Brazilian Yahya wasted little time taking Briones to the mat in the bantamweight contest, where he kept trying submissions until he found one that worked, finishing with a kimura in the first round.

Alex Perez def. Kevin Gray at Dana White’s Contender Series 5

Flyweights Alex Perez (18-4) and Kevin Gray (9-4) brought it from the opening bell, and while it lasted just under three minutes, the contest proved entertaining.

The pace was quick to start, though it seemed Perez was the first one to earn respect with his strikes. Gray was content to answer in the pocket until leg kicks started to take their toll, forcing him to change his strategy and look for the takedown. Perez stuffed, latched onto an anaconda choke, and rolled and squeezed until Gray went out.

Fernando Gonzalez def. Brennan Ward at Bellator 182

Fernando Gonzalez (27-14 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) continued to rebound from his lone Bellator loss this past year when he rallied to submit Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) in the third round of their catchweight bout.

After having his offense largely thwarted over the first two rounds by Ward’s mixed game, Gonzalez capitalized on a error by his opponent that allowed him to lock in a guillotine choke for the come-from-behind victory.

* * * *

The Winner: Fernando Gonzalez

Ward said during fight week that he could “wrestle(expletive)” anyone on Bellator’s roster if he had to, but preferred to keep things exciting. He switched back and forth between the two theories, but ironically it was the attempt to use his wrestling that cost him.

Gonzalez shocked Ward with a guillotine choke early in the third round after Ward shot for a takedown and got caught in their 178-pound catchweight co-main event. The tap came 62 seconds into the third.

Ward landed a takedown early, then worked ground-and-pound. But true to his word, he let Gonzalez back to his feet. He backed Gonzalez up looking to trade, then blocked a high kick. Ward ate a kick to the stomach, but continued to pressure Gonzalez. Midway through, Ward found himself needing to scoop Gonzalez up and slam him down. But once again, he let him back up to exchange. Gonzalez landed a kick to the body, then two lefts. But Ward answered back and wobbled Gonzalez briefly. With 45 seconds left, Gonzalez again when to the body with a kick, but Ward walked through it.

In the second, Ward again used a pair of takedowns to make sure the round was his and kept Gonzalez stifled. Ward threw heavy hands quickly in the third, but Gonzalez fired back with kicks. But when Ward went for a takedown again, Gonzalez caught his neck and cranked on the ground. It didn’t take long for Ward to tap to the tight guillotine choke, stunning the crowd and sending Gonzalez shooting to his feet in celebration.

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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2523 with Cynthia Calvillo and Fernando Gonzalez

Stream or download Wednesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Cynthia Calvillo and Fernando Gonzalez.

Calvillo talked about her impressive 2017 run in the UFC strawweight division and threw out a couple of names as possible opponents. Gonzalez is coming off a win over Brennan Ward at Bellator 182 last Friday.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Cynthia Calvillo, Fernando Gonzalez

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Cynthia Calvillo and Fernando Gonzalez.

Calvillo, a strawweight who trains at the esteemed Team Alpha Male, made it three straight in the UFC when she beat Joanne Calderwood in July in Scotland. Now she’s awaiting her next fight booking to try to improve on her perfect 6-0 record. Gonzalez is coming off a third-round submission win over Brennan Ward at Bellator 182 this past Friday to improve to 7-1 in the promotion.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

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

Bellator 182 winner Fernando Gonzalez wants eventual title shot, but knows weight comes first

VERONA, N.Y. – Fernando Gonzalez moved to an impressive 7-1 in Bellator this past Friday night, and got arguably his biggest win yet in the welterweight division.

And while his third-round guillotine choke submission of Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) might normally have him asking for a welterweight title shot, Gonzalez (27-14 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) knows he might have to pump the brakes on that just a little thanks to a continued issue with the scale.

Gonzalez took out Ward in the Bellator 182 co-main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie. But the day before, even though the fight was scheduled when it was booked to be at a 178-pound catchweight, Gonzalez couldn’t hit even that number, let alone the 170 he’d be required to make in a title fight. Against Brandon Girtz prior to the Ward fight, he missed weight, as well. (He fought at middleweight and light heavyweight earlier in his career.)

“There’s one thing that I have to prove to everybody, and that’s that I can make the weight,” Gonzalez told MMAjunkie after his win over Ward. “There were some issues that happened; I’m not going to completely say it’s at fault. But at the same time, I’ve got to plan for things that are going to go wrong.”

To that end, Gonzalez, who also has two past positive drug tests for marijuana for Bellator fights in California, said he plans on logging his weight as he goes along so he can start to be in much closer range when he starts his cuts during training camp.

“I’m going to get down to 180, 185 (in camp) so these guys know that I’m serious about this,” Gonzalez said. “It’s the only thing that’s kind of hanging over me right now is that I can’t make the weight, or that I haven’t made that weight. So I’m going out there to prove that first.”

Bellator’s welterweight title picture is pretty stacked up top. Douglas Lima recaptured the title from Andrey Koreshkov nearly a year ago, then defended it against Lorenz Larkin in June. Rory MacDonald is presumed to be next in line after a big win over Paul Daley in his Belltor debut. Michael Page is out there. And Koreshkov got back in the mix with a first-round TKO of Chidi Njokuani in Bellator 182’s headliner.

So it’s not likely that Gonzalez gets a call asking him to fight Lima for the belt right away, though stranger things have happened. He said he plans on getting down to 170 so he can be ready if that time comes.

“If I get this title shot, I’ll make the weight, I’m going to get my belt, and I’m going to continue to make the weight till there’s nobody left and I can start challenging other organizations for their titles.”

For more from Gonzalez on his submission win over Ward, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator 182, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Co-headliner Fernando Gonzalez believes an exciting Bellator 182 display could lead to a title shot

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VERONA, N.Y. – It’s an interesting time to be a welterweight on Bellator’s roster.

Sitting atop the 170-pound chain, fresh off his Bellator 180 title defense over Lorenz Larkin, is champion Douglas Lima. Directly behind him sits former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald – who, after stamping his Bellator title shot with a debut win over Paul Daley, already has addressed his impatience in waiting for a fight.

Below the “The Red King,” there’s a tight race. By pitting Chidi Njokuani’s unblemished Bellator record against an ex-champion in Andrey Koreshkov, Saturday’s Bellator 182 headliner, for instance, could very well determine a challenger.

But another welterweight competing on that same Bellator 182 card believes the winner of his own bout might end up cutting in line.

“There’s not really much rankings in Bellator – it’s more who can put on the best performance,” Fernando Gonzalez told MMAjunkie on Wednesday. “The way me and (Brennan Ward) fight – it’s going to be exciting, man. I’m more excited because of the matchup.

“I don’t really predict what’s going to happen next. But I know, if I had a prediction: I would say, if me and Brennan go out there and give the performance we know we’re going to, either one of us could get the title shot next. I know it’s going to be me, because I’ve trained my ass off for this fight and I’m going to get my hand raised.”

Gonzalez (26-14 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) and Ward (14-5 MMA, 9-5 BMMA) will co-headline Saturday’s card at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The 178-pound catchweight bout airs on Spike, along with the rest of the main card, following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Ward enters the cage looking for recovery after Paul Daley’s massive flying knee put a first-round stop to their Bellator 170 fight in January. Gonzalez, in turn, comes into Saturday’s bout off an important Bellator 174 decision win over Brandon Girtz.

It hasn’t been all positives for Gonzalez, though. This past November at Bellator 165, he dropped a tight split decision to undefeated and hyped prospect Michael Page. That meant not only a halt to a five-fight victorious momentum, but also Gonzalez’s first Bellator loss.

Still, as far as negative outcomes go, he doesn’t seem all that broken up about that particular one.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Against a creative and feared striker in Page, Gonzalez believes he was able to showcase a much different part of his game. And, while he didn’t quite agree with how the judges scored it, he was happy with the way he performed.

“When he walked into the arena, they were cheering for him,” Gonzalez said. “When we walked out, they were cheering for me. I walked out of there feeling like I got the victory. (You) can’t see it the way the judges do every time. But my job is to go out there and fight. The way I felt, (was) that I won the fight.

“So going into (the Girtz fight), I went in there with a lot of confidence knowing that I made someone that was hyped up to be a killer, I made him look ordinary. Everything (Page) did to other people, he couldn’t do that to me.”

On Saturday, Gonzalez takes on an opponent who hasn’t gone the distance in any of his 14 Bellator fights. And, as it turns out, Gonzalez is not expecting to be the first to do the honors.

“Honestly, I go off of what they give me,” Gonzalez said. “(Ward) is aggressive, so it could easily be a knockout or a submission, just because I do notice he tends to gas after a couple of punches. If he doesn’t land it, he’ll try to get you to the ground.

“It could easily be a submission or me catching him on the ground or me catching him on the chin as he’s rushing in.”

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

And for more on Bellator 182, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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