UFC 217 medical suspensions: Georges St-Pierre, Stephen Thompson receive 45 days

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Georges St-Pierre’s triumphant return at UFC 217 earned him the middleweight title and a 45-day medical suspension, likely from some nasty cuts courtesy of Michael Bisping.

St-Pierre’s (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) former training partner, Stephen Thompson (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC), walked away from the event with a unanimous-decision win over Jorge Masvidal (32-13 MMA, 9-6 UFC) and the same 45-day term.

MMAjunkie today received a full list of medical suspensions stemming from this past Saturday’s event, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York and was regulated by the New York State Athletic Commission.

Citing medical privacy laws, the commission said it does not release details on the nature of the suspensions.

Thompson reported a thumb injury in the wake of his win, leading to speculation about his readiness to return for a proposed fight with Darren Till at a UFC event scheduled for Feb. 24. After UFC President Dana White confirmed the matchup, Thompson told MMAWeekly.com he had not received or accepted an offer to face Till.

All fighters received a minimum 7-day suspension.

The full list of medical suspensions from UFC 217 include:

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Fired-up James Vick pleads for ranked opponent, but 'can't put a gun to a guy's head'

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NEW YORK – James Vick is sick and tired of begging for ranked competition and hopes his impressive second-round TKO win over Joseph Duffy at UFC 217 will finally get him where he wants to be in the lightweight division.

Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) picked up his eighth victory in a nine-fight UFC career on Saturday when he became the first to stop Duffy (17-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with strikes. It was another solid performance, and having competed in the featured preliminary-bout prior to the pay-per-view main card at Madison Square Garden in New York, Vick hopes he’s finally put the division on notice.

“What else can I do?” Vick said following his win. “That was my third finish in a row, against a high-level opponent. That was the first time Joe Duffy’s ever been knocked out, and he had 18 professional fights. I better have got some attention.”

Vick knows that in the current UFC landscape, winning alone isn’t enough. He’s also aware that calling his shot is an important part of the game, and Vick came prepared to let the world know what he wants next.

Not only did Vick name the winner of next weekend’s UFC Fight Night 120 main event between Anthony Pettis (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) and Dustin Poirier (21-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) as his preferred next opponent, but he targeted the headlining spot of the recently announced UFC Fight Night 126 card on Feb. 18 in Austin as his preferred date and location.

“I’ll get on the card, but what I want is that main-event spot,” Vick said. “I’m 8-1. That’s one of the highest winning percentages in the UFC. It’s time to move forward now. I’m 30 years old. My goal is to be a world champion now. How many Joe Duffys do I have to beat?

“I want the winner of next week, Anthony Pettis vs. Dustin Poirier. I don’t want to shoot too low with a No. 3 guy that I’m not going to get, but Pettis or Poirier is ranked No. 8 in the world. Whoever wins is going to take that. So yeah, whoever wins that I want. The timeframe is perfect. Give them a couple weeks to heal up and get in camp.”

Although Vick is pushing for a big-fight opportunity, he said he’s been left disappointed before. Vick said he thinks UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby is doing his best to get him marquee fights, but there’s an issue finding willing opposition.

After beating a name like Duffy, he said he hopes that finally changes.

“Sean has been very good to me recently,” Vick said. “He tried as hard as he could to get a ranked guy, but they don’t want to fight me. They literally do not want to fight me. You can’t put a gun to a guy’s head.

“The thing is I’m in the high-risk, low-reward category right now. So I want to put myself into the high-reward category by making my name bigger. I’m doing my part, so hopefully the UFC, they’ve helped me recently in giving me a good push, and hopefully they continue to do so.”

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC 217 Athlete Outfitting pay: 3 title fights help move 2017 payout past $5 million

NEW YORK – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC 217 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $315,000.

UFC 217 took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way were the three fighters who entered – but did not exit – the event as champions. Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC), Cody Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) all received a maximum program payout of $40,000 as reigning champions coming into the card.

Those three title fights pushed the UFC 217 payout total to the second-highest mark of an event in 2017 and pushed the year’s total north of $5 million.

The full UFC 217 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Michael Bisping: $40,000
Georges St-Pierre: $30,000

Cody Garbrandt: $40,000
T.J. Dillashaw: $30,000

Joanna Jedrzejczyk: $40,000
Rose Namajunas: $30,000

Stephen Thompson: $10,000
Jorge Masvidal: $15,000

Paulo Costa: $2,500
def. Johny Hendricks: $20,000

James Vick: $5,000
def. Joseph Duffy: $5,000

Ovince Saint Preux: $15,000
def. Corey Anderson: $5,000

Mark Godbeer: $2,500
def. Walt Harris: $5,000

Randy Brown: $5,000
def. Mickey Gall: $2,500

Curtis Blaydes: $2,500
def. Aleksei Oleinik: $5,000

Ricardo Ramos: $2,500
def. Aiemann Zahabi: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $5,077,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $15,400,500

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 217 results: James Vick keeps rolling, TKOs Joseph Duffy with 1 tick left in second

James Vick kept on rolling Saturday night and wants the kind of name that will make him a contender in the lightweight division.

Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) stopped Joseph Duffy (17-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with a TKO with one second left in the second round after planting him with a big right uppercut.

The lightweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden in New York. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on pay-per-view.

Duffy went to the center early and Vick circled outside. Vick landed a solid kick to the midsection 45 seconds in, but briefly took a seat when Duffy nearly caught it. Vick pushed his jab out a minute in, then countered a Duffy leg kick with one of his own. Vick faked a knee, then threw a right hand that whiffed. A right hand landed for Vick, and an uppercut came right behind it.

But Duffy landed a nice left over the top. Duffy caught a Vick kick and tripped him down, and a Duffy right hand found a home not long after that. With 90 seconds left, Duffy got inside and clinched up wtih Vick, but the two broke off not long after that. With 50 seconds left, Duffy took Vick down, then had to fend off a guillotine attempt.

Duffy worked body kicks in the second and had to stay as far at the end of Vick’s jab as he could. But Vick did well at finding his range, and while he didn’t land anything major for most of the round, he saved his best for the final 10 seconds of the round.

Vick landed a right uppercut that put Duffy on the canvas. Vick dove to the mat to go after him and landed 10 big hammerfists until the referee jumped in to call the fight – a fraction of a second before the horn sounded to end the round.

After the fight, Vick told announcer Joe Rogan he wants to headline the UFC’s “Fight Night” card in Austin, Texas, in February.

Vick won for the third straight time, all by stoppage. Duffy had a two-fight winning streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 217 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan, Mike Bohn, Ken Hathaway and Abbey Subhan contributed to this report on site in New York.)

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

UFC 217's James Vick OK with some nerves but thinks some peers are 'straight-up scared'

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If you’re dealing with a particularly acute case of pre-fight jitters, it’s probably best not to count on James Vick for emotional support.

This Saturday, at UFC 217, Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) meets fellow lightweight Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC). It will be Vick’s ninth octagon outing and, the way he sees it, yet another chance to “live his dream.” Going out there and performing in front of an audience, Vick says, is what he trains for every day.

So, when he gets the impression that some of his colleagues would “back out in the last minute” if possible, Vick has a bit of a tough time conjuring up sympathy.

“It sounds funny, but it’s crazy how many fighters aren’t real fighters,” Vick told MMAjunkie Radio ahead of his FS1-televised preliminary card scrap. “I’ve seen it in the back warming up with some of these guys. They look like they’re (expletive) scared to death, like someone almost has to put a gun to their head to get them to walk to the cage.

“To me, that’s a sign of mental weakness. You shouldn’t be that scared or that nervous. That’s a joke to me.”

Now, Vick is not saying he’s never nervous.

“But some of these guys are just straight-up scared,” Vick said.

As an example, Vick presented his own case. When Beneil Dariush knocked him out in the first round of their UFC 199 appointment, putting an end to Vick’s five-fight UFC streak and overall undefeated record, it was “the most humiliating day” of his life.

Still, Vick came back. And faced with the menacing Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 104, he made the most of it – walking away with a third-round submission win and snapping Trujillo’s three-fight streak. He even ate some hard shots in the process.

The conclusion?

“Some fighters can handle (expletive),” Vick said. “Some people can’t. That’s just my opinion.”

Keeping a cool head will certainly be a valuable asset on Saturday. After all, not only can a win over Duffy finally earn him some rankings love, but this will also mean his first time fighting at New York City’s iconic Madison Square Garden.

Again, Vick is not expecting the emotions to be absent as he makes his walkout then. But, once the idea does sink in, he believes they’ll mostly be positive ones.

“I guess when I get there, and I see everything, it’s probably going to hit me,” Vick said. “And I’m going to be like a little kid in a candy store. Just excited, you know.”

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC 217, where everyone seems to be beefin' in a big way

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The UFC made its debut at Madison Square Garden a year ago with UFC 205. Like the first event at the venerated arena, Saturday’s UFC 217 lineup features three title fights at the top of the card.

Trash-talk has been at a premium ahead of the trio of championship bouts. Middleweight champion Michael Bisping chided his opponent, Georges St-Pierre, by saying the former welterweight champ “hasn’t got the balls to fight anyone that he doesn’t think he can beat.”

Not to be outdone, bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt dismissed former champ T.J. Dillashaw as nothing more than a distraction ahead of a desired fight with flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson.

Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk got more personal in her attack. She called her challenger, Rose Namajunas, “mentally unstable” in the lead up to their contest.

UFC 217 takes place in New York City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. It’s about more than gold

St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) knows there’s a lot more on the line than a title at UFC 217. After four years away from the sport, the surefire UFC Hall of Famer returns to the octagon to put his legacy on the line against middleweight champ Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC).

There are UFC fans out there who never saw St-Pierre compete during his historic run through the 170-pound division. If he fails in his quest to become the fourth UFC fighter to hold titles in two weight divisions, those fans could look at St-Pierre as nothing more than a has-been, a diminished competitor who should have stayed away from the game. For a proud fighter like St-Pierre, that would be heartbreaking.

As for Bisping, who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middle rankings, he would love nothing more than to bloviate about adding another UFC legend to his list of recently vanquished opponents.

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2. Good, clean hate

Garbrandt has been one of Dillashaw’s fiercest critics. He claims his former teammate lacks loyalty. At times the current bantamweight champion has come across as almost obsessed with his former teammate.

Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has taken Dillashaw’s (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) departure from the Team Alpha Male camp extremely personally. His preoccupation with No. 3-ranked Dillashaw could help or hurt him in this, his first title defense.

If Garbrandt brings too much emotion into this fight, he might become unfocused and over-aggressive. On the flip side, if he’s able to focus his anger, Garbrandt could prove to be a big problem for Dillashaw.

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3. The memory remains

Ronda Rousey’s presence looms over the fight between Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) and Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

In 2014, UFC President Dana White implied Namajunas had the potential to be a Rousey-like presence. Namajunas, who is currently ranked No. 6 in the strawweight division, fell short of that prediction when she dropped a title fight to Carla Esparza that year.

At the time White made his claim about Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk was 1-0 in the UFC. Today, the Polish star is the unbeaten strawweight champion. With a victory at UFC 217, Jedrzejczyk will tie Rousey’s UFC record of six consecutive title defenses for a female champ and extend her UFC unbeaten streak to nine.

It’s hard to see anyone replacing Rousey in the minds of mainstream fans, but with a victory at UFC 217 – and a big marketing push – one of these women could become the dominant face of female fighting in the UFC.

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4. Sometimes things just work out for everyone

In June, welterweight title hopefuls Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal both appeared at a fan Q&A. During that appearance, they were asked about a possible fight between them.

“We definitely want it, to get together and get out there in the octagon and face off,” Thompson said. “Obviously, you saw him in his last fight, which I thought he won against Demian Maia. (Masvidal is) a very good striker, and I think it’s going to be fireworks.”

Not long after, the UFC booked the fight between No. 2-ranked Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and No. 9 Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC).

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With both fighters anxious to get back in the win column after losses in their most recent bouts, this matchup could be a sleeper pick for “Fight of the Night.”

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5. Prospect vs. former champ

Rising middleweight prospect Paulo Costa (he’s no longer going by Paulo Borrachinha) has never been past the 6:06 mark in his 10 professional fights. The rankings honorable mention meets Johny Hendricks at UFC 217.

Costa, the former Jungle Fight middleweight champ, has devastated his two UFC opponents, stopping both Garreth McLellan and Oluwale Bamgbose with powerful strikes.

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Hendricks’ best bet in this fight might be to return to his wrestling roots and test Costa (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on the ground. Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) is mired in the worst run of his professional career. The former welterweight champion is 3-7 in his past 10 fights. He lost his most recent contest, to Tim Boetsch via second-round TKO.

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6. First fight on new deals

Two lightweights who recently signed new contracts meet in the featured prelim. James Vick secured a four-fight deal after his first-round knockout of Marco Polo Reyes in May. In July, Joseph Duffy earned a seven-fight pact after a brief time on the free-agent market. Duffy defeated Reza Madadi by decision in the last fight of his previous deal.

While both of these fighters are well-rounded, they prefer to do most of their work standing. Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has a very good boxing game while rankings honorable mention Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC), who is 5 inches taller than Duffy, uses his height and reach to employ more of a kickboxing style.

If these two can deliver the striking battle this booking suggests, the winner could be in line to face a ranked opponent in his next bout.

7. Ambitious plans

With his placement on this card, it looks like Corey Anderson’s star has fallen a bit. Anderson recently fought in UFC Fight Night 107’s main event, where Jimi Manuwa knocked him out in the first round. Despite the devastating loss, Anderson remained upbeat.

“I’m in this sport to be the best, eventually. I’m not the best right now, but eventually I will be,” Anderson told MMAjunkie. “I plan on it before I leave this sport, and wherever it is, I’ve got to go, I’m willing to go.”

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Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), a light heavyweight rankings honorable mention, faces No. 10 ranked Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC), a short-notice replacement for Patrick Cummins. Saint Preux has won his two most recent bouts via Von Flue choke.

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8. A fourth ‘title’ fight

Mickey Gallrecently crowned himself the “Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight” champion. Gall signed with the UFC after winning his pro debut during the filming of the first episode of that show. In his most recent bout, the New Jersey-based fighter submitted Sage Northcutt, who signed with the UFC during the filming of the pilot of the reality show.

At UFC 217, Gall (4-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) fights for the first time in nearly 11 months. His opponent, Randy Brown (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), was signed to the UFC after the same “Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight” episode in which White watched Gall compete, hence the fictional title Gall is defending.

Brown lost his most recent bout to Belal Muhamad by decision.

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9. Some differences

There’s a vast difference in experience between heavyweights Aleksei Oleinik and Curtis Blaydes.

Blaydes, who made his debut in 2014, has nine bouts under his belt. He was 6 when Oleinik made his debut in 1997. The Russian has fought 63 times since then.

The gap between the two in the rankings is much smaller. Blaydes (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is No. 15 in the division while Oleinik (55-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is an honorable mention.

Blaydes has looked better in each of his four UFC fights, but he showed an inability to adjust when things went sideways in his most recent bout, a decision win over Daniel Omielańczuk. In that contest he attempted takedown after takedown even though he was unable to put his opponent on the mat. That could be a problem against a veteran like Oleinik.

Oleinik submitted Travis Browne in his most recent bout.

10. Be in your seat

Rising bantamweights Aiemann Zahabi and Ricardo Ramos meet in UFC 217’s opening bout.

Zahabi is a good technical fighter who prepares well for his opponents. That should be expected considering he is the younger brother of famed trainer Firas Zahabi. The one knock against Zahabi in his UFC debut was that he was a little too patient. His six first-round finishes indicate he can step up the aggression.

Ramos (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), like Zahabi (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), likes to fight at distance. He’s good with his counters, but he too was reluctant to work in close during his UFC debut. Ramos is an outstanding ground fighter with six submission wins to his name. He could have trouble getting this fight to the ground as Zahabi defended 11 of 13 takedown attempts in his sole UFC fight.

There is the possibility that this could be a snoozer, but there’s also the chance these two will be anxious to show how they’ve developed since their promotional debuts.

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For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

UFC 217 face-offs: Jorge Masvidal with a throat-slash, Randy Brown with a phone call

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

NEW YORK – Check out the face-offs from today’s UFC 217 media day, which had a few humorous moments.

UFC 217 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Today, before the stacked event, some fighters who aren’t part of the trio of title fights met with media members and had a customary face-off for the cameras. And they offered a little of everything.

Welterweights Jorge Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Stephen Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC)? It ended with a Masvidal throat-slash and a quick exit from the stage.

Middleweights Johny Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) and Paulo Borrachinha (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)? A few laughs as ex-champ Hendricks seemed to forget the face-off positions.

Featured preliminary-card fighters and lightweights Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and James Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC)? Polite smiles before a fight that could deliver some stellar striking.

Heavyweights Mark Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC)? Upbeat, as always.

Light heavyweights Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC), former training partners and friends? A bro hug, of course.

Welterweights Randy Brown (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Mickey Gall (4-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC)? A few laughs as Brown got a call during his face-off.

And light heavyweights Ion Cutelaba (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Michal Oleksiejczuk (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims? No love lost here.

Check out all of the face-offs above.

And for more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Ahead of UFC 217, James Vick has some serious questions about how the rankings work

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Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Eight fights into his UFC career, James Vick is wondering just what it takes to get into the top 10 of the UFC’s official rankings.

Vick doesn’t show up in the UFC’s top 15 (which is really the top 16 when you factor in lightweight champion Conor McGregor). He’s an honorable mention selection in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, which makes him essentially top 18.

On Saturday, Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) takes on Joseph Duffy (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Vick’s fight with Duffy is a critical one for his hope to crack those rankings. It’s the featured prelim on FS1.

“They don’t want to give us up-and-comers a chance,” Vick recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “They want guys like me and Joe Duffy – and we each could beat half the guys in the top 15 – they want us to fight each other so they don’t have to fight us. That’s what annoys me. They can say, ‘You had your chance, and you blew it.’

“You’re right: I did blow it. But I also have one of the best records in the whole UFC – 7-1. If I win this fight, I’m 8-1 in the UFC. How many other guys are 8-1 in the UFC and aren’t ranked in the top 15?”

Vick started his career 9-0, including 5-0 in the UFC. But then he ran into Beneil Dariush at UFC 199 in June 2016 and suffered a first-round knockout. That’s the chance he was talking about, and with a win over Dariush, he almost certainly would see his name in the rankings now.

After the Dariush setback, he has rebounded masterfully with a submission of Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 104 in February in his home state of Texas, and another Texas win with a TKO of Marco Polo Reyes at UFC 211 in Dallas in May.

But a win over someone like Duffy would be monumental for him, it would seem. Still, he can’t quite figure out why he’s 7-1 in the UFC’s lightweight division and unranked, and others crack the list, lose a few fights – and still are there.

“It’s like once these guys get in the top 10, they’re grandfathered in where they can lose two or three fights in a row and still be ranked in the (expletive) top 10,” Vick said. “I’m cool with Michael Johnson. That’s my boy and all. But the dude’s lost four or five fights and he’s still ranked in the top 10. It doesn’t make sense how you can lose that many fights and still be ranked.”

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Derek Brunson and UFC Fight Night 119's other winning fighters?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Derek Brunson’s early knockout power has proven to be a major threat in recent years. He displayed another example with an early finish of Lyoto Machida in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 119 main event.

Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) handed former UFC champ Machida (23-7 MMA, 15-7 UFC) the fastest loss of his career in the FS1-televised middleweight headliner at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, improving his standing among the top contenders in the weight class.

Prior to Brunson’s win, Colby Covington (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), Pedro Munhoz (15-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Rob Font (15-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC), Francisco Trinaldo (22-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC), Thiago “Marreta” Santos (16-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and John Lineker (30-8 MMA, 11-3 UFC) picked up notable victories on the main card.

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 matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 119’s winning fighters.

* * * *

John Lineker

Should fight: Thomas Almeida
Why they should fight: Lineker rebounded from an 11-month layoff due to a broken jaw with a solid performance in a unanimous decision victory over rising bantamweight prospect Marlon Vera.

Lineker showed improved control of his aggression to snap Vera’s winning streak. He apologized for what he considered to be a sloppy showing, but nevertheless walked away with an important victory for his career.

“Hands of Stone” has suffered just three losses in his past 27 fights, two of which came against a former UFC champion and a former title challenger. It’s clear the Brazilian is elite, but he’s struggled to get over the hump. At just 27, though, Lineker still has tremendous upside and potential to make more runs at the belt.

Another fighter in a similar position is Almeida (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who despite coming off a loss to Jimmie Rivera at UFC on FOX 25 in July, is still among the most dangerous 135-pound fighters on the roster. A matchup with Lineker has “Fight of the Night” written all over it, and more than that, has the potential to be one of the great action fights in recent memory.

Thiago “Marreta” Santos

Should fight: Tim Boetsch
Why they should fight: Santos showed why again why his striking is among the most dangerous of anyone in the UFC middleweight division when he became the first to stop Jack Hermansson with strikes.

“Marreta” not only put Hermansson away, but he did it in fierce fashion inside one round, giving him his sixth victory in his past eight octagon appearances. The Brazilian is riding a three-fight streak of knockouts and appears to be improving with every performance.

The Brazilian has few flaws offensively, but issues with durability have proven to be his downfall. It doesn’t matter much if he takes his opponents out first, though, and that’s what’s happened of late, putting Santos in position for another noteworthy matchup at 185 pounds.

Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) is a long-time UFC veteran who has essentially seen and done it all inside the octagon. His relentless style causes problems for a lot of fighters, and following his win over former UFC champ Johny Hendricks at UFC Fight Night 112 in July, “The Barbarian” would be a good test for Santos.

James Vick

Francisco Trinaldo

Should fight: Winner of James Vick vs. Joseph Duffy at UFC 217
Why they should fight: Trinaldo spoiled Jim Miller’s historic 28th trip to the UFC cage when he outworked the most seen fighter in company history for a unanimous decision, taking two of three rounds on all three scorecards.

Trinaldo has essentially been a model of consistency since joining the UFC roster in 2012. He’s won 12 of 16 fights and hasn’t fallen easily in any of his losses. “Massuranduba” might be 39, but he still shows signs of advancement against tough competition.

The Brazilian is a stellar 8-1 in his past nine fights, with the lone defeat coming against top contender Kevin Lee. He’s proven to be a talent worthy of a rankings beside his name in the lightweight division, and he should fight someone of a similar status. The winner of the UFC 217 fight between Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Duffy (16-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is in that territory,

Pedro Munhoz

Should fight: Eddie Wineland
Why they should fight: Munhoz has become an exciting addition to the UFC bantamweight division in recent years, and his submission win over Rob Font was another example of what he can do.

Munhoz finished Font with a one-armed guillotine choke. That’s a nifty way to make an opponent tap out for the first time, and the effort was rewarded with a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

The 135-pound division is rather top-heavy at the moment, and more of the numbers close to the title are already booked. Munhoz will get there if he continues his current form, though, and a showdown with a divisional standout like Wineland (23-12-1 MMA, 5-6 UFC) would be a helpful step for his career.

Stephen Thompson

Colby Covington

Should fight: Stephen Thompson or winner of Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny at UFC 219
Why they should fight: Covington’s rise up the UFC welterweight ranks took a direct shot closer to the championship when he went to Brazilian and stunned former multi-time title challenger Demian Maia.

Although Covington has become a polarizing personality outside the octagon, he’s doing tremendous work inside of it. He beat Maia by unanimous decision, marking his fifth consecutive win in the welterweight division. ‘

Covington has been calling for a matchup with 170-pound champ Tyron Woodley, but with December’s UFC on FOX 26 fight between Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos pegged as a title eliminator, he’s likely not going to be next in line.

Although it’s hard to move up from Maia in terms of ranked contenders, a fight with the winner of UFC 219’s bout between Condit (30-10 MMA, 7-6 UFC) and Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC), whom he has called out many times, would be a fitting affair. If not that, “Wonderboy” Thompson (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) would be a good matchup if he can get past Covington’s teammate, Jorge Masvidal, on Saturday at UFC 217.

Derek Brunson

Should fight: Chris Weidman
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Brunson should fight Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Stream download MMAjunkie Radio #2550 with guests Bryan Caraway and James Vick

Stream or download Tuesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Bryan Caraway and James Vick.

Caraway, who faces Luke Sanders at UFC Fight Night 123 on Dec. 9 in Fresno, Calif., co-hosted the show. Vick discussed his upcoming fight with Joseph Duffy on Nov. 4 at UFC 217 in New York

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

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