Darren Till vs. Gunnar Nelson in England? The two welterweights seem more than down

If a willing dancing partner was what was missing, Gunnar Nelson might just have solved Darren Till’s problem.

After Till made the most out of his biggest career opportunity yet, knocking out Donald Cerrone in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 118 encounter, it seemed like a welterweight bout with UFC 217 winner Stephen Thompson was all but certain – and that it would take place in Till’s native England.

That specific matchup, MMAFighting.com later reported, was promptly shot down by the possibly injured Thompson’s camp  – a rejection that Till took in stride, so long as he still got to fight in his Liverpool grounds, whether that meant fighting “ideal” Thompson, Mike Perry, Colby Covington or Gunnar Nelson.

At least one of them took him up on it. This Friday, after Till (16-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) took to Instagram to address the “scared” competition, Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) responded a to-the-point “I’m game, big boy.” To which Till, in equally direct manner, agreed with a “let’s go.” (via Twitter)

Nelson was even kind enough to ask if they should meet in Till’s Liverpool or London, where UFC Fight Night 128 is set to take place on March 17. When Till answered it didn’t matter (in less polite terms), Nelson invited a few interested parties – UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Sean Shelby included – to push things along (via Twitter).

Now, we wait to see if the part of these types of negotiations that takes place behind closed doors delivers. But, judging by the exchange, it would appear at least the two main players are not only into it – but growing impatient already (via Twitter).

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

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

Gunnar Nelson's team disappointed after appeal fails in UFC Fight Night 113 loss

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UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson’s attempt to appeal his TKO loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio has failed.

Nelson’s management team at Paradigm Sports today released a statement confirming the UFC has denied the fighter’s request.

“We are disappointed with the UFC’s recent ruling to uphold the result of the July 16, 2017 bout between our client, Gunnar Nelson, and Santiago Ponzinibbio,” read the statement, posted on Paradigm’s Facebook page. “While we understand the outcome of a fight is difficult to overturn, we maintain that the blatant eye pokes were a major factor in the stoppage and the final eye poke was certainly a fight-ending foul, because Gunnar had no opportunity to signal the referee.

“A more stringent application of the Unified Rules of MMA should have been applied here to rule this fight a no-contest. We stand behind Gunnar and Team Nelson, and we hope this unfortunate situation will lead to more careful application of the rules regarding eye pokes, as fairness and fighter safety must always be a priority.”

Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) was stopped by Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at the 1:22 mark of the opening frame of the FS1-televised UFC Fight Night 113 event in Glasgow, Scottland, which was regulated by the UFC and conducted under the new Unified Rules of MMA, which penalize a fighter from extending fingers outward during the action (the promotion oversees events in jurisdictions without formal athletic commissions).

The referee did not stop the fight to issue any warnings for eye-pokes, but afterward, Nelson said the flurry of punches he took was preceded by several fingers to his eye from Ponzinibbio.

“I’m kicking myself in the head for not stopping the fight,” Nelson told MMAjunkie at the event’s post-fight presser. “I should have stopped the fight, recovered, and carried on from there.”

Under the current rules, the only person who can stop a fight mid-action is the referee, who is the sole arbiter of the contest. However, it’s not uncommon for referees to miss illegal eye-pokes in the heat of the moment.

“I was seeing two Ponzinibbios in front of me, and it was like that until I remember standing up and the fight was over,” Nelson said.

Ponzinibbio had no recollection of poking Nelson in the eye and maintained his punches ultimately finished the fight.

Nelson’s loss snapped a two-fight win streak and put him back in the hunt for a breakthrough fight. The 29-year-old submission ace has reeled off several impressive wins, but has fallen short against veterans such as Rick Story and Demian Maia prior to his defeat by Ponzinibbio, who’s won his past five octagon bouts.

For more on UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

As an Irishman with a new UFC deal, Joseph Duffy is an endangered species

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As is befitting of the man, news that Irish lightweight Joseph Duffy had signed a new seven-fight UFC deal following a brief spell as a free agent was accompanied by minimal fanfare.

There was no bombast, nor were multiple members of the 155-pound division subjected to impromptu challenges on Twitter, in some transparent attempt to hog a little more of the spotlight while his name was in circulation.

That’s just not Duffy’s way, and it never will be. But, if it were, the UFC may not have allowed the Donegal native to fight out his old contract with a routine win over Reza Madadi at UFC Fight Night 107 in March, and then entertain offers from other promotions before finally tabling the sort of deal he felt deserving of.

Timing also played a significant role in the relatively subdued response to the UFC retaining the services of one of Europe’s most potent combatants.

In the hours after Pete Carroll of MMAFighting.com broke the story of Duffy (19-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) committing his longterm future to the world’s biggest promotion, another Irishman, Conor McGregor, took to the stage of Barclays Center in Brooklyn to trade insults with Floyd Mayweather. There’s just no competing with that.

Had Duffy not signed on the dotted line, McGregor would have been left as the sole Irish-born fighter established on the UFC roster.

Just two years ago, when Duffy announced himself to the wider MMA audience with a first-round TKO of Jake Lindsey on his promotional debut at UFC 185, that scenario would have been unthinkable.

Irish fighters were ubiquitous among the ranks of the UFC as the first generation from the island bounded in behind McGregor. But now, after a slew of retirements and pink slips, they’re an endangered species.

On reflection, Duffy is somewhat taken aback by the brevity of the Celtic culling, but he’s confident the status quo will be temporary. In typically modest fashion, he also doubted whether his absence would have been keenly felt.

“To be honest, it was strange the way it happened, and it all seemed to happen very quick,” Duffy told MMAjunkie. “You had (Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly) retiring, and it was just so quick how it all thinned out.

“I’m not sure me leaving would have been too much of a loss because there’s always going to be a lot of talent coming through in Ireland. We love our combat sports, so I’m sure the future is going to be bright for the country.”

Veteran flyweight and Irish MMA icon Neil Seery hung up his gloves following a submission loss to Alexandre Pantoja just under a fortnight ago at UFC Fight Night 113, leaving McGregor as the lone survivor from that famous night at Dublin’s 3Arena in 2014 when Ireland was briefly the epicenter of the MMA universe.

Of course, Russian-born featherweight Artem Lobov, who grew up in Ireland, proudly flies the flag of both countries when he competes, while SBG Ireland team member Gunnar Nelson is a beloved adopted son of the Emerald Isle.

Another SBG man, Charlie Ward, has fought and lost twice under the UFC’s banner, but his UFC stint only materialized due to his connection with McGregor.

Given he has not lived in Ireland since childhood, Duffy was always somewhat of an outlier as an Irish fighting entity, but his connection to home has never waned. In fact, he draws strength from it daily.

“From day one, right back to my Cage Warriors days,” Duffy said, “that’s what my inspiration and drive was. I remember hearing about the bars being full at home with people who were watching the Cage Warriors live streams. That spurred me on even more.

“Every training camp, I remember the thoughts of people sitting in the bar watching the fight and everyone who traveled over, and that’s always been one of my inspirations. And that’s not to even mention all the fans from Wales and England who have followed me. It all means a lot to me.”

The son of a fisherman, Duffy was born close to the fishing village of Burtonport on the untamed but beautiful northwest coast of Ireland.

When the fishing industry began to dry up there, his father followed his uncle to work as tunneller in Wales. When Duffy was nine months old, the entire family made the move.

The Duffys returned to Ireland for a time when Joseph was small child, before returning to Wales, while family vacations to Donegal were frequent.

As such, Duffy was, in some people’s eyes, neither quite Irish or Welsh. But he knew exactly who he was.

“Since I was a kid, I was never one to follow the click or the bubble,” Duffy said.” Living in Wales and being Irish, I didn’t fit in there. Then coming home after living in Wales, there were people who wouldn’t consider me Irish.

“But if you let that all bother you, you’ll get nothing done. I was always proud of being Irish, right the way through school, and all my friends knew it very well. I’ve still got all my friends from Donegal, the ones I grew up with.”

In total, beginning with Tom Egan at UFC 93, and concluding with Ward’s loss at the hands of Galore Bofando, also at UFC Fight 133 in Glasgow, a total of 10 Irish-born fighters have fought in the UFC.

And every one of them has been supported with a manic fervor by their compatriots, which is a hallmark of the Irish sports fan; they rarely do half measures. In that respect, Duffy is proud to be native athlete they can rally around.

“No matter what sport it is, the Irish fans have always proved themselves and their support is always incredible,” he said. “The Irish fans will always get behind the likes of Gunnar Nelson and Artem Lobov, so it’s almost like there are more of us.

“You see it when Conor fights, with the amount of them that turn up. It would have been a bit of shame for the Irish fans to have nobody to get behind if Conor did decide to knock it on the head.”

Although McGregor has said he will return to MMA to defend his UFC lightweight title in December, his projected windfall for the boxing match with Mayweather next month is such that might he think otherwise.

Should that be the case, Duffy will be, for the time being at least, the last Irishman standing in the UFC, while over in Bellator, James Gallaghershould continue to make waves.

Training at the Tristar gym under Firas Zahabi and Eric O’Keefe, Duffy has been a resident of Montreal for more than two years. And while his skills are being honed in Canada, it’s Ireland where Duffy finds the fuel to compete.

“Before a camp, I try to get home,” Duffy said. “Because, when I go home and speak to people, and hear how much it means to them, it reminds me of that. That’s the difficult part, because when you’re away from it, sometimes you can forget.

“Some of the things people say to me is such a motivation, and I remember those words all through camp. If you’re having a bad session or things aren’t going your way, it those words you think of to push you on. And they were some of the people who really motivated me to do well.”

After defeating Ivan Gorge via first-round submission in his sophomore promotional appearance at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow, Duffy took a trip back to Donegal to catch up with friends and family. What awaited him was a gesture he’ll never forget.

“I remember going home just after the Glasgow fight, and my cousins surprised me up the town, and lot of people from the town came out to welcome me home,” he said. “Then my best friend organized something for me after a festival that was going on, so home has always meant a great deal to me.”

At 29 and with his professional future secure, Duffy feels a sense of urgency about getting back in the cage and resuming his ascent through arguably the most exacting division in the sport.

And, just on the off-chance a reminder to do was required, he’s had plenty of prompting from the green hoards.

“The Irish fans on social media have been nagging me to get more active, and I haven’t been able to because I’ve been working on my game, but now I want to start putting on shows for those guys,” Duffy said.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming 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 Kelvin Gastelum and UFC on FOX 25's other losing fighters?

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5518197295001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What next for UFC on FOX 25’s winning fighters?)

Saturday’s four-fight UFC on FOX 25 main card was poised for competitive matchups, and that for the most part that’s how it played out until Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) produced a statement stoppage of Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the FOX-televised middleweight headliner at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

Earlier on the card, Dennis Bermudez (16-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) suffered his fourth setback in his past six fights, Gian Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) was edged on the scorecard, and Thomas Almeida (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) experienced just his second loss as a pro.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losers 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 on FOX 25’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Thomas Almeida

Rob Font

Should fight: Rob Font
Why they should fight: Almeida suffered just the second loss of his 23-fight career when he succumbed to the incredible winning streak of Jimmie Rivera in a crucial bantamweight contest.

The Brazilian is still one of the brightest prospects at 135 pounds, but unfortunately Rivera is looking nearly unstoppable at this point and he fell victim to that momentum by unanimous decision. Whether he wins or loses, Almeida is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and delivers every time he steps in the octagon.

Font (14-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) doesn’t have the same following, but he’s proven to be someone who brings it every time, as well. He’s well rounded and dynamic, and a matchup with Almeida would be absolute fireworks.

Gian Villante

Ion Cutelaba

Should fight: Ion Cutelaba
Why they should fight: Villante suffered his third loss in his past four fights when he dropped a split decision to Patrick Cummins in an important bout for his position in the light-heavyweight division.

Villante has had some solid moments throughout his UFC tenure. Unfortunately, his track record has shown that he falls short when the lights shine brightest, and it comes to a point when a fighter only receives a certain amount of chances.

Villante has had difficulty evolving past a brawling style of fighter. His style has only failed him against proven oppositions, though, and Cutelaba (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is not yet that. “The Hulk” is an interesting prospect at 23 years old, and if he could beat Villante, it would be a real reason to start paying attention.

Dennis Bermudez

Mirsad Bektic

Should fight: Mirsad Bektic
Why they should fight: Bermudez experienced disappointment in front of a supportive crowd when he dropped a second consecutive fight, this time courtesy of Darren Elkins.

“The Menace” has had his ups and downs inside the octagon, and after the split-decision result, he’s currently enduring another rough patch. He’s always found a way to rally back, though, and in a loaded featherweight division, there’s plenty of opportunity to do that.

Bektic (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is also coming off a loss to Elkins, albeit in a much more stunning fashion at UFC 209 in March. Bektic is still considered one of the brightest prospects at 145 pounds, and a fight with “The Ultimate Fighter 14” finalist Bermudez would represent a chance for him to recover some of what was lost in his first career setback against Elkins.

Kelvin Gastelum

Should fight: Gunnar Nelson
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Gastelum should drop back to welterweight and fight Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) next.

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

Per Häljestam's best photos from UFC Fight Night 113 in Glasgow

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GLASGOW – Check out the best photos from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 113 event in Scotland.

MMAjunkie and USA TODAY Sports photographer Per Häljestam was cageside at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland for the FS1-televised event.

Check out his favorite images from the fight card, which saw Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) score a stunning knockout of welterweight Gunnar Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in the headliner, as well as Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) pick up a narrow unanimous-decision win over Joanne Calderwood (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in the co-headliner.

And complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, Photo Gallery
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC on FOX 25 in New York

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 event in New York.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC on FOX 25 staff picks we release on Friday ahead of the event. UFC on FOX 25 takes place at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. The card airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Records: Chris Weidman (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC),. Kelvin Gastelum (13-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC)
Past five: Weidman 2-3, Gastelum 3-1 (one no-contest)
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: Weidman No. 8, Gastelum No. 13
Odds (as of 7/16/17): Gastelum -155, Weidman +125

Take Our Poll
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Dennis Bermudez vs. Darren Elkins

Records: Dennis Bermudez (16-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC), Darren Elkins (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC)
Past five: Bermudez 2-3, Elkins 4-1
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: Elkins No. 13
Odds (as of 7/16/17): Bermudez -235, Elkins +200

Take Our Poll
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Patrick Cummins vs. Gian Villante

Records: Patrick Cummins (9-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC), Gian Villante (15-8 MMA, 5-5 UFC)
Past five: Cummins 2-3, Villante 2-3
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 7/16/17): Cummins -120, Villante +100

Take Our Poll
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Thomas Almeida vs. Jimmie Rivera

Records: Thomas Almeida (21-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), Jimmie Rivera (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC)
Past five: Almeida 4-1, Rivera 5-0
Division: Bantamweight
Rankings: Rivera No. 7, Almeida No. 12
Odds (as of 7/16/17): n/a

Take Our Poll
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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

UFC Fight Night 113 video highlights: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Gunnar Nelson

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Gunnar Nelson stood and traded with Santiago Ponzinibbio, and he paid for it.

Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) stunned the crowd in Scotland when he knocked out Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) just 82 seconds into their headliner at UFC Fight Night 113, snapping Nelson’s two-fight winning streak of bonuses and ran Ponzinibbio’s streak to five in a row.

The welterweight fight was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 113 event at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Gunnar Nelson complains of eye poke during UFC Fight Night 113 KO loss to Ponzinibbio

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GLASGOW – UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson said the punch that put him ahead early against Santiago Ponzinibbio came with an eye poke that left him seeing double.

“I’m kicking myself in the head for not stopping the fight,” Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) told MMAjunkie following his first-round knockout loss to Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in the FS1-televised headliner of UFC Fight Night 113, which took place at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. “I should have stopped the fight, recovered, and carried on from there.”

Nelson landed an uppercut and a left hook early in the fight. But he caught a straight right hand that sent him reeling and set up a fight-ending flurry of punches. Ponzinibbio picked up a TKO at the 1:22 mark of the opening frame in an upset.

Nelson said he kept fighting because he believed he had Ponzinibbio on the ropes.

“Because I caught him, I thought I had him on the run and I could finish the fight,” Nelson said. “I think that was the biggest mistake in this fight.

“I’m not saying that if I didn’t get caught by it that I would have seen the shot coming. It is what it is. Even then, I was seeing double, and I was able to land a few more shots. But then he catches me with a nice right hand.”

In fact, Nelson would not have the ability to stop the fight if the alleged foul was not caught by the referee. But in practice, many referees stop the action if a fighter complains about an illegal move.

Ponzinibbio said he had no recollection of an accidental eyepoke during the fight and pointed to the finishing sequence that put away Nelson.

Nelson, a submission grappling ace, said the lesson moving forward is obvious.

“Obviously, I have to be more careful,” he said. “I got caught with a punch that I should have seen coming. I don’t like to make excuses, but this is the truth, how I feel, anyway. I should have stopped the fight when I got poked. I was seeing two Ponzinibbios in front of me, and it was like that until I remember standing up and the fight was over.”

Now, he can only hope the loss doesn’t set him too far back on the UFC’s welterweight ladder.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Twitter reacts to Santiago Ponzinibbio's quick KO of Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night 113

Santiago Ponzinibbio made good on his first UFC main event appearance on Sunday when he defeated Gunnar Nelson in the UFC Fight Night 113 headliner.

Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) added a signature win to his resume and extended his current winning streak to five when he handed Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) a first-round knockout loss in the FS1-televised welterweight bout at SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Ponzinibbio’s victory over Nelson in the UFC Fight Night 113 main event.

* * * *

http://twitter.com/ChaseShermanUFC/status/886703178439372801

http://twitter.com/LucianaAndrade/status/886702777862324224

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 113 results: Santiago Ponzinibbio stuns Gunnar Nelson with first-round KO

Gunnar Nelson came out looking to slug with Santiago Ponzinibbio and paid dearly for it.

Nelson took a right straight from Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) that sent Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) reeling backward, and a left hand finished off the job at the 1:22 mark of the opening frame.

The welterweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 113 event at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Ponzinibbio, an Argentina native and veteran of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2,” came into the fight as a betting underdog and was unranked in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, though his stock is looking up in the wake of his upset over Nelson, an honorable mention in the top-15 list.

“This was a very big test for me,” Ponzinibbio said afterward. “This guy is conditioned as a champion of the world. I did my job. I’m here for the best fighters in the world.”

Nelson, a sometime training partner of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, rose in the rankings based on his grappling, which earned him six of his seven wins in the octagon.

But against Ponzinibbio, he never got the chance to take the fight to the ground. Early on, he popped Ponzinibbio with an uppercut and then landed a left hook. Momentum seemed to be in his favor.

In a subsequent exchange, however, Ponzinibbio landed the right hand that sent Nelson reeling back to the cage. As Ponzinibbio flurried with punches, he snuck in the short punch that took Nelson’s legs out from under him.

With a few follow-up shots, Ponzinibbio had punched his ticket up the rankings.

“I’m here to fight the best fighters in the world,” he said. “I am the best striker in this division. I am the next champion in this division. It’s only a matter of time.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 113 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Abbey Subhan contributed to this report on site in Glasgow.)

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Source: MMA Junkie