Category Archives: Germaine de Randamie

Ex-UFC champ Germaine de Randamie completes hand surgery with 'no complications'

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After months of deliberation, former UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie finally underwent hand surgery on Tuesday. From all indications, it was a success.

De Randamie (7-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) was forced to withdraw from a scheduled UFC Fight Night 115 matchup with Marion Reneau, which took place this past weekend in her native Netherlands, due to the lingering problems with her right hand.

“The Iron Lady” said earlier this year that the issue has bothered her for the past several fights, but she did her best to avoid surgery. She finally went under the knife, and the ex-champ provided an update for her fans (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Just had my surgery. Everything went well no complications!! Thank you so much for the great care #DrFeitz #xpertclinic 🙏🏻 time to let my body heal and come back stronger, faster and more motivated than ever before. Thank you to my family, my love, friends, team and all who supported me☺️🙏🏻 I’m forever thankful for all you have done❤️ ” DIE WITH MEMORIES,NOT DREAMS”

De Randamie has not competed since UFC 208 in February, when she earned a unanimous-decision victory over Holly Holm to win the inaugural UFC women’s 145-pound belt. Officials attempted to set up a first title defense against Cris Cyborg at UFC 214 in July. However, de Randamie didn’t accept the fight, and as a result, she was stripped of the title.

A timeline for de Randamie’s return to the octagon following surgery was not revealed.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Alexander Volkov and UFC-Rotterdam's other winning fighters?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

UFC Fight Night 115’s main event didn’t go well for the hometown crowd.Alexander Volkov defeated Dutchman Stefan Struve in the heavyweight headliner, which took place at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

In a matchup of fighters looking to move up the rankings, Volkov (29-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) managed to halt Struve (28-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC) for a third-round TKO win in the UFC Fight Pass-streamed contest to remain perfect inside the UFC octagon.

Other main-card winners included Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Marion Reneau (8-3-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC), who finished their opponents inside the distance with strikes, as well as Leon Edwards (14-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who picked up a win 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 115’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Leon Edwards

Should fight: Alex Oliveira
Why they should fight: With four consecutive UFC victories in the welterweight division, Edwards’ request for a top-15 opponent should be granted following his unanimous-decision win over Bryan Barberena.

Aside from a few missteps, the Brit has been solid throughout his UFC career. His current run is not to be taken lightly, especially if he continues to improve going forward. “Rocky” wants an opponent of note, and fortunately for him, Oliveira (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is available.

Oliveira is riding a five-fight unbeaten streak inside the octagon, which includes back-to-back finishes of Ryan LaFlare and Tim Means. The Brazilian may be interested in someone more highly ranked at 170 pounds, but given the current landscape of the division, he might have to settle for someone slightly below him in Edwards.

Marion Reneau

Should fight: Germaine de Randamie
Why they should fight: All credit goes to Reneau for her willingness to accept and win a risky matchup with newcomer Talita Oliveira after a much more high-profile fight with ex-champ de Randamie fell through on short notice.

Reneau lost the matchup with de Randamie (7-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) on less than two weeks’ notice, which was surely a disappointment. Moving from a former UFC champion to a promotional newcomer would be tough for most fighters to get motivated for, but Reneau still showed up and handled her business in the form of a third-round TKO win.

Despite some criticism of her own performance, Reneau should be rewarded for her handling of the entire situation and give her the big fight that was originally intended. Unless de Randamie is out for an extended period with her injured hand, the UFC should make it right with Reneau and give her a fight with “The Iron Lady.”

Siyar Bahadurzada

Should fight: Jake Ellenberger
Why they should fight: Bahadurzada hopefully put his years of injury woes behind him with a successful return to the octagon with a second-round TKO of UFC newcomer Rob Wilkinson.

Bahadurzada showed his power is still as prevalent as ever when he overwhelmed Wilkinson with strikes until the referee waved off the fight. When healthy, Bahadurzada’s hands are as difficult as any to deal with, be it at middleweight or welterweight. The issue, though, is that he can’t seem to stay healthy.

With just three fights in four-plus years, Bahadurzada’s main priority should be getting back in the cage as soon as possible to get some momentum going. It’s been far too long since he’s had a quick turnaround, and that should happen soon.

Bahadurzada could fight pretty much anyone, but with a planned return to 170 pounds for his next fight, a bout with a fellow hard-hitter like Ellenberger (31-13 MMA, 10-9 UFC) has highlight-reel potential.

Alexander Volkov

Should fight: Francis Ngannou
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Volkov should fight Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC-Rotterdam winner Marion Reneau wants top-10 fight after ex-champ de Randamie 'backed out'

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Filed under: News

Marion Reneau was ready and willing to fight Germaine de Randamie at UFC Fight Night 115. The former UFC champ was unable to compete, however, so Reneau had to take care of business against newcomer Talita Oliveira.

Reneau (8-3-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) was originally scheduled to welcome former UFC women’s featherweight champ de Randamie (7-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) back to the bantamweight division at UFC Fight Night 115, which took place Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. “The Iron Lady” pulled out on less than two weeks’ notice with a hand injury, though, and Reneau ended up defeating replacement opponent Oliveira (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by third-round TKO.

There’s been loads of uncertainty around de Randamie’s career since she was stripped of the 145-pound belt earlier this year. Reneau said she was advised against taking the fight, and while it ultimately didn’t happen, she hopes her willingness to fight anyone from a former champion to a debuting foe will set her up for more big opportunities going forward.

“Hopefully someone in the top 10 (is next),” Reneau told reporters at UFC Fight Night 15’s post-fight news conference. “They offered me Germaine and without hesitation I said, ‘Yes.’ Even though I was told many times, ‘Don’t take that fight, don’t take that fight.’ I’m like, ‘Why? Why am I even going to be in the UFC and turn down fights, that doesn’t make sense to me.’

“I want the hardest, I want the best because I want to be the best. I want to fight against the best. I want to move up. I absolutely said yes. Unfortunately she backed out, but I want to work my way to the top 10.”

Although it wasn’t the swift and one-sided performance she was hoping for, Reneau outworked Oliveira until she scored the latest stoppage in a three-round UFC women’s bantamweight fight, clocking in at the 4:54 mark of Round 3.

Oliveira was unheralded coming into the fight on short notice but gave a solid showing in the UFC Fight Pass-streamed contest, which is exactly what Reneau was expecting, she said.

“I absolutely expected her to be tough,” Reneau said. “I don’t think the UFC is going to bring any girls into the octagon who are not tough and are not ready. She was very hungry for this, as well as I. I knew she was going to be a little tough.”

The fight was so rough, in fact, that Reneau left the octagon wearing quite a bit of damage on her face. “The Belizean Bruiser” has some bruises of her own to tend too, but once she’s got some recovery time in, said she will be right back in the gym working on her skills in hope of being booked in a high-profile fight along the lines of de Randamie.

“As soon as these things heal I’ll be right back in,” Reneau said. “Next week I’ll be back to training. It’s not something that is going to hinder me or stop me. You’re going to get battle wounds any time you’re in there. … This is my first cut that I’ve ever experienced inside the octagon. It’s not one of those things where I’m going to back down and go, ‘I need to take six months off.’ No, I want to get right back to it.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

Video: Hardy, Gooden break down Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 115

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Ahead of UFC Fight Night 115, UFC Fight Pass analyst Dan Hardy and broadcast partner John Gooden, along with Nick Peet, break down Saturday’s main event and other fights on the card.

UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, Stefan Struve (28-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC) takes on former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov (28-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC). In the video above, Hardy and Gooden preview this weekend’s headliner.

Additionally, they break down what was supposed to be the co-feature: a women’s bantamweight fight between former featherweight champ Germaine de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Marion Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC). Unfortunately, de Randamie pulled out of the fight this past week – after Hardy, Gooden and Peet filmed the piece – and was replaced by newcomer Talita de Oliveira (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

The trio also discusses the welterweight fight between Bryan Barberena (13-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Leon Edwards (13-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) on the main card, as well as the middleweight fight between Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Darren Till (14-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 UFC) also pays a visit to the show to talk about his welterweight fight with Bojan Velickovic (15-4-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC), which closes out the prelims.

Check out the “UFC Breakdown” video in full above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Talita de Oliveira in for de Randamie vs. Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 115

Marion Reneau has a short-notice replacement opponent to keep her bout at UFC Fight Night 115 on Saturday in The Netherlands.

Brazil’s Talita de Oliveira (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will make her promotional debut, filling in for injured former women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) against Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 115. A UFC official confirmed the news to MMAjunkie following an initial report form MMABrasil.com.

Featuring a heavyweight headliner between Stefan Struve and Alexander Volkov, UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Sept. 2 at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

De Oliveira made her pro debut in early 2015 in Brazil. After a decision loss in her second fight, she has rattled off four straight wins, including a trio of submissions. Most recently, she picked up a rear-naked choke win in April in Poland.

Reneau hopes returns to action for the first time since a March majority draw with Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil. Reneau has endured mixed results since making her way to the UFC, opening her octagon run with victories over Alexis Dufresne and Jessica Andrade before falling short against Holly Holm and Ashlee Evans-Smith. This past November, she picked up a TKO win over Milana Dudieva before the draw with Correia.

Former champ de Randamie was looking to fight for the first time since being stripped of her featherweight belt after refusing to defend it against top contender Cris Cyborg, who the Dutch fighter branded “a known and proven cheater.” The UFC’s decision brought to a close a strange chapter in the promotion’s history that saw de Randamie crowned champ after a hotly contested decision win over Holly Holm at February’s UFC 208.

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 3 p.m. ET)

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Talita de Oliveira vs. Marion Reneau
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Rob Wilkinson
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Leon Edwards

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 11:30 a.m. ET)

  • Darren Till vs. Bojan Velickovic
  • Felipe Silva vs. Mairbek Taisumov
  • Mads Burnell vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov
  • Francimar Barroso vs. Aleksandar Rakic
  • Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Mike Santiago
  • Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Bojan Mihajlovic

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Germaine de Randamie out at UFC Fight Night 115, promotion seeking replacement

Former UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie is out of next week’s UFC Fight Night 115 co-headliner, and the promotion is looking for a new opponent for Marion Reneau.

MMAjunkie today confirmed with UFC officials that injury has forced de Randamie out of the contest. A timetable for her return was not immediately established.

Featuring a heavyweight headliner between Stefan Struve and Alexander Volkov, UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Sept. 2 at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

More on this in just a moment.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: The UFC is taking the rest of August off, but is that a bad thing?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 114 was the first and last event for the company in the month of August. As the UFC clears the way for a big-money boxing match, is it a good thing to go so long between events at this point in the year? Retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss.

Downes: Ben, I hope you savored every bit of last night’s fight card from Mexico City, because there isn’t another UFC event planned until a Fight Pass-exclusive card on Sept. 2.

There have been similar lulls in the schedule throughout the years, but this one seems to rest on the fact that the UFC is putting all its might behind that whole Floyd Mayweathervs. Conor McGregor thing.

Why? Are you telling me that people have no interest in watching cage fights two weeks before the biggest freak show fight of this generation? Is every venue in Macau booked up this time of year? Does this mean we can now definitively say that McGregor is bigger than the UFC itself?

Fowlkes: I might wait to see what the sales figures look like for the Mayweather fight before I make too many definitive statements, but odds are that this boxing match (that the UFC is not officially involved in) will be the biggest payday for the company in 2017, solely because it gets to take a cut of McGregor’s money.

When you look at it that way, it’s understandable that the UFC opted to back off in the weeks surrounding the fight. Consider what it could possibly offer us during this time. We just wrapped up UFC 214, which was loaded with three title fights and a whole bunch of fun scraps. That was the top tier of UFC programming, and indications are that it did well on pay-per-view.

Now look at UFC Fight Night 114. It didn’t have much in the way of stars, but it was still surprisingly fun. Of course, it was also on FS1, which means you’re going to have to sit through about six hours of mostly filler just to get to the good stuff, so chances are that a lot of people skipped it and missed all that action, which was better than it looked on paper.

That wasn’t quite the lowest tier of UFC programming, but it’s close. The next UFC event on the calendar, the one headlined by Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov on Fight Pass – that’s the absolute lowest tier. At least, it is if you don’t count Dana White’s Contender Series, which is not officially a UFC product.

Seems to me that this is indicative of a shift in strategy. The UFC is churning out more content, but it is mostly concentrated on the low end of the spectrum. I suspect that’s because it’s cheaper to produce (those DWCS fights take place in a gym, for crying out loud, and the fighters all get about half the usual UFC minimum wage), but still captures a portion of the hardcore MMA fan audience that the UFC has come to take for granted.

So what are you saying here? We want more of that type of programming? And why, just so the UFC can pretend that it’s not content to sit back and wait for Red Panty Night? Which, come on – we both know it totally is.

Downes: You’re calling a Fight Pass-only fight card in Rotterdam the “lowest tier”? But it has former women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie facing off against the “Belizean Bruiser” Marion Reneau! Don’t act like you’re not intrigued to see how “The Iron Lady” competes with a hand that badly needs surgery.

I know MMA hipsters like you confuse cynicism and rudimentary knowledge of “the business” for intelligence, so I’m going to try to set you straight. First off, just because an event may not have the cache of UFC 214, it doesn’t mean that it’s not valuable in a business sense or that MMA fans don’t want to watch it.

You know what else doesn’t get the people going? Flyweight title fights with Demetrious Johnson. Yet, I’m sure once UFC 215 rolls around you’ll talk about how “real” fans appreciate his performances and you’ll probably blame Dana White for not promoting the fight properly.

Secondly, this August recess is much more than a “shift in strategy,” as you put it. Doing more Fight Pass shows would be a shift in strategy. Eliminating or revising “The Ultimate Fighter” would be a shift in strategy.

Shutting down your whole promotion to focus on one fighter, competing in a totally different sport, for one night only isn’t a shift. It’s a monumental deviation. Sure, there will be a big payoff, but it’s what we in “the business” call penny wise and pound foolish. It’s like that time you saved $50 by not buying a bike helmet.

I recall you criticizing the UFC and White for telling fans that they don’t have to watch every fight. The thrust of your argument was that if you tell fans they can ignore some events, they’ll just start ignoring all the fights. The same principle applies here. If the UFC can leave the public eye for six weeks and then ask people to drop 60 bucks on a flyweight title fight, doesn’t that teach people that they don’t need the UFC at all?

Like it or not, the UFC schedule has changed. There have been some negative repercussions to the glut of programming, but that’s the new normal. Consumers and fans have adjusted to the schedule. When you cut it off completely, they’ll find something else to watch. Is feast or famine really the best way to manage your resources?

Fowlkes: You know how long it is between Saturday night’s UFC event and the next one? Slightly less than a month. Only in this age of oversaturation could you look at that and act like the UFC is starving us of the vital combat sports nutrients we need in order to keep our fandom alive.

It seems like you want the UFC to pretend that this Mayweather-McGregor thing is not the only fight people care about in the month of August, even though it clearly is. But no, what we really need is Fight Night: Tupelo to round out the schedule. As if it’s better to put on events that people don’t watch than to do nothing and let the money roll in anyway.

Personally, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea to take a few weeks off and let your fans miss you. That’s especially true if you don’t have anything to offer that they’d be really excited by anyway. Just admit the truth, which is that this boxing match will dominate the headlines, then take your cut and come back when it’s over.

By then, maybe we’ll long for the sober athletic legitimacy of Struve vs. Volkov. In the meantime, sure, people will find other stuff to watch. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do the same thing if you were offering up bottom-shelf programming just to fill the calendar.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site. And for more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Tonya Evinger finally got the UFC call, and all she had to do was the thing no one else wanted to

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Filed under: News, UFC

After a quick workout for the fans on Thursday, Tonya Evinger strolled over to talk to reporters and quickly found herself confronted with questions about whether she ever felt overlooked by the UFC during her two-year reign as Invicta FC bantamweight champion?

“Is that a joke?” Evinger shot back. “My whole career – everybody I beat gets signed to the UFC.”

Hopefully she did not intend that as a statement of fact. Obviously, not everybody she’s beaten has gone on to a UFC contract. A few have, and usually not immediately after losing to Evinger (19-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC), but still, this must be how it feels from Evinger’s perspective.

She became a champion in Invicta FC. She built up a fan following. Then she watched as other, less accomplished fighters got UFC deals and left her behind.

And yet now here she is, one day away from a UFC 214 bout that will give her a shot at the UFC women’s featherweight title in her promotional debut. And all she had to do to finally break in was agree to fight Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), the woman who has terrorized the weight class above hers for most of the last decade.

In other words, in order to get the job she’s rightfully earned, she had to be willing to do the job that so few others wanted, and even then she only got offered the gig as the replacement for someone else.

And you can see why others might not want it, right? “Cyborg” is scary enough to other featherweights. The first and so far only champion of the division, Germaine de Randamie, relinquished the belt specifically to avoid fighting her. If you care at all about your face, to say nothing of your professional record, there’s always a reason to say no to this fight.

According to Evinger, she agreed “as soon as they told me how much they were paying me.” And now the UFC has somehow backed into a strangely compelling matchup that might fairly be called a “superfight.” Both were champions in different divisions for Invicta FC. Both held onto their titles until the UFC came calling. Now one has agreed to cross divisional lines in order to get the opportunity that she couldn’t seem to get any other way.

If you believe the oddsmakers, she’ll likely pay in blood for that opportunity. Justino is by far the biggest favorite on the card, going off at roughly 13-1 at the time of this writing. That, too, is understandable. She’s a powerhouse striker going up against a grappler who’s accustomed to bullying and grinding her way to victory. Putting Justino on her back is tough for anyone. Keeping her there when she’s got the size advantage could be borderline impossible.

That Evinger is willing to try, when she could just as easily stay home and keep holding it down as an Invicta FC champ, shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows her. Stubbornness is one of her defining features, according to friends and family. Somewhere inside her still lives the little girl who used to beat up her brothers and then go riding around on her bike, looking for a tackle football game to join.

When you look at it that way, a longshot crack at a UFC title against a colossus from another division might be the perfect point of entry for someone like Evinger. Her entire career has been an exercise in doing things her own way, from her climb up the ranks to her self-promotion via social media.

Now that her moment has finally arrived, why shouldn’t it be a terrifying challenge that everyone else thinks is a very bad idea? Any other path to the UFC would be too conventional for Evinger. And she’s never been known for making things easy on herself.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter Mailbag: Between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, who needs UFC 214 win more?

Does the main event rematch at UFC 214 mean more to the champion or the challenger? Is the women’s featherweight title fight as big a mismatch as some seem to think? And who would benefit most (and least) from more available weight classes?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

Daniel Cormier needs it more, and I will entertain no arguments to the contrary.

If Jon Jones loses this, hey, it was ring rust. He’s fought once in the last two and a half years, and he looked a little off his game even then. Jumping straight back into the fire against the UFC light heavyweight champ is a tough night of work. But even if he loses, he’s still 1-1 against Cormier. All that tells us is that we need to see the rubber match.

If Cormier loses, however? That’s it. Everything Jones said comes true. No one will want to see a third fight. His title reign is retroactively delegitimized. He goes down in MMA history as the greatest rival to the greatest 205-pounder. Suddenly he’s a chapter in someone else’s story rather than the hero of his own. That’s heavy stuff, man.

Cormier has to win this. Jones has other options.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5523914895001

I touched on this in a column earlier this week, but riddle me this: Since when was winning part of the problem for him? I’m not inclined to do Diego Sanchez-style YES cartwheels just because a fighter makes it to the cage without getting himself arrested or suspended. And since winning was never the problem, how can it be the solution?

We won’t know whether or not the problematic past is really the past until it repeats itself … or doesn’t.

Whoa there. Slow way down. Since we have not yet made it to fight night without issue, let’s just take these Jones fights one at a time.

The why not part is simple. It’s because Cristiane Justino is a terrifying opponent for the best women in her weight class, and Tonya Evinger is coming up from a division below. She’s not going to be able to fling the bigger, stronger “Cyborg” to the mat the way she often does with other bantamweights. She’s probably also not going to be able to grind her down from top position or maul her until she gives up a submission. Style-wise, it’s a nightmare match-up for Evinger.

At the same time, she’s an experienced fighter with very little to lose here. She stepped up as a replacement. She said yes to an opponent so scary that the last champion fled rather than face her. Even if she gets knocked out in the first minute, she was willing to try. Considering how many others aren’t, I think that warrants some respect.

I was feeling great until you went and bummed me out. So thanks for that. But fine, I see your point. Robbie Lawler’s been fighting these hitters since back when Dana White and Joe Rogan both had hair. Donald Cerrone has made a name for himself as the anyone-at-anytime type of fighter, stepping in even when he might be better off hanging back.

Both these guys have put their bodies through the wringer. The very good odds that they’ll do so again at UFC 214 is what makes this fight so exciting. It’s two men known for their willingness to administer and absorb physical punishment, and together they represent a violence sandwich that we can’t resist.

At what cost? I don’t think we know that yet. Neither do they.

First of all, Snoop Dogg isn’t a fighter, and even for fighters marijuana usually isn’t a problem if it’s out of competition. It’s probably the most harmful and at least somewhat useful drug an athlete could use.

Think of it this way: If it were Don Frye sitting there and doing commentary as he downed tequila shots, would we be concerned about his influence on the fighters? Actually, I might have just accidentally talked myself into agreeing with you. Crap.

I’d be surprised if Luke Rockhold’s chief concern was the schedule of boxing events. He hasn’t fought in over a year, many of the other top middleweights are either spoken for or indisposed of at the moment, and, at least according to Rockhold on Twitter, Yoel Romero turned him down. What’s a former champ supposed to do?

David Branch doesn’t have a big name, but he was a WSOF champ, and he’s coming off a UFC win. Maybe Rockhold could have waited around for something flashier, but how long do you want him to sit on the sidelines while the division heats up all around him?

More weight classes means more champions, so that right there is a pro for fighters. Someone like Kelvin Gastelum would no longer have to choose between being undersized and being punished for an unsuccessful attempt at a brutal weight cut. Plus, with more weight classes to reinvent themselves, fighters who are stonewalled in one division would be in easier reach of another. That’s a lot of pros and no major cons for the people doing the fighting.

There are also plenty of pros for promoters. You know how the UFC loves any excuse to put a gold belt in its commercials. More champions means it’ll have an easier time finding title fights to spruce up its events. The only big con is that champions usually see a significant pay bump, even when they aren’t all major draws. Plus, keeping the roster size manageable is already a challenge for the UFC. How will it cope with more weight classes to fill?

But it’s the fans who could face the biggest downside. It can get confusing trying to keep up with too many different divisions and champions, especially if fighters keep jumping between them. And some weight classes are already low on talent. If you create more divisions that may siphon fighters from already shallow divisions, and then what does it mean to be the UFC champion of a weight class with only five or six people in it?

Still, the sport often has a way of readjusting itself around these new realities. And if it’s safer and healthier for the fighters, a little extra confusion for fans and managerial headaches for the UFC may be worth it.

Hearing Germaine de Randamie say that people told her to commit suicide when she refused to fight Justino is both upsetting and totally unsurprising. It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s career choice, and even to voice your displeasure with their decisions on social media. How someone makes the leap from there to “kill yourself” is baffling to me.

I get that it’s an internet thing, sort of like the scorched earth version of “delete your account.” I also get that people, mostly kids and teenagers, have committed suicide over exactly that kind of online harassment.

Chances are that de Randamie is not going to be quite so affected by the words of strangers on the internet, but it’s also not going to want to make her spend time on social media interacting with MMA fans. And wasn’t that supposed to be one of the things we liked about this sport, how the fighters were accessible, especially in the online world? If you turn that online world into a trash fire, you can’t expect anyone to want to hang out there.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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Germaine de Randamie returns to bantamweight, meets Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 115

Former UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC), returns to 135 pounds in September to face Marion Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC).

UFC officials today announced the contest will take place at UFC Fight Night 115 in de Randamie’s home nation of the Netherlands.

Featuring a heavyweight matchup of Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov in the main event, UFC Fight Night 155 takes place Sept. 2 at Ahoy Rotterdam. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

Former champ de Randamie fights for the first time since being stripped of her featherweight belt after refusing to defend it against top contender Cristian Justino, who the Dutch fighter branded “a known and proven cheater.” The UFC’s decision brought to a close a strange chapter in the promotion’s history that saw de Randamie crowned champ after a hotly contested decision win over Holly Holm at February’s UFC 208.

Meanwhile, Reneau returns to action for the first time since a March majority draw with Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil. Reneau has endured mixed results since making her way to the UFC, opening her octagon run with victories over Alexis Dufresne and Jessica Andrade before falling short against Holly Holm and Ashlee Evans-Smith. This past November, she picked up a TKO win over Milana Dudieva before the draw with Correia.

UFC Fight Night 115 now includes:

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Germaine de Randamie vs. Marion Reneau
  • Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov
  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Saparbek Safarov
  • Abu Azaitar vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
  • Francimar Barroso vs. Aleksandar Rakic
  • Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Leon Edwards

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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