UFC Fight Night 116 medical suspensions: Newcomer Zu Anyanwu out indefinitely

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Filed under: News, UFC

One of the 20 fighters on this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event is facing an indefinite suspension following his promotional debut.

Zu Anyanwu

Heavyweight Zu Anyanwu (14-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) needs to be medically cleared for a right eye injury before he’s allowed to return after his split-decision loss to Justin Ledet (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) to open up the main card.

MMAjunkie today requested and received from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission a list of the medical suspensions from the event, which took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The card aired on FS1.

A total of 11 fighters on the card received suspensions in excess of the automatic seven-day variety. In the main event, former two-division WSOF champion David Branch (21-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) tapped to strikes against Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in the second round and was given a 45-day medical suspension for facial lacerations.

In the co-feature, Alex Reyes (13-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) stepped in for Thiago Alves on just three days’ notice to fight Mike Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), but was knocked out quickly into the first round. He received a 60-day sit from the commission.

The full list of UFC Fight Night 116 medical suspensions includes:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Watch Gregor Gillespie's slick arm-triangle from mount at UFC-Pittsburgh

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Gregor Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and Jason Gonzalez (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) came to bang.

The lightweights went at it from the opening bell of their UFC Fight Night 116 clash, which took place Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on the FS1-televised main card. Back-and-forth from moment one, both men impressed, as their “Fight of the Night” bonus proves. But it was Gillespie who walked away with the win, eventually working his way to mount and showing in impressive squeeze, finishing an arm-triangle choke from the non-traditional position.

Check out the end of the fight above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Pittsburgh bonuses: Mike Perry, Uriah Hall earn $50K for performances

PITTSBURGH – Mike Perry, Uriah Hall, Gregor Gillespie and Jason Gonzalez each earned $50,000 fight-night bonuses at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event.

Perry (for his first-round knockout of Alex Reyes) and Hall (for his comeback win by knockout) picked up “Performance of the Night” awards, and Gillespie-Gonzalez took home “Fight of the Night” honors.

The UFC announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

UFC Fight Night 116 took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh and aired on FS1.

For more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Pittsburgh results: Gregor Gillespie taps out Jason Gonzalez in absolute barnburner

Gregor Gillespie kept his career record perfect, but Jason Gonzalez didn’t make it easy.

The lightweight contest took place on the FS1-televised main card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

The two fighters immediately went to work in a torrid pace, both men landing in a wild start. After some traded shots, Gillespie tried for a takedown but adjusted with a powerful elbow over the top, instead toppling Gonzalez. However, the two men quickly scrambled back to the feet and just teed off with punches in the pocket before Gillespie finally changed levels and drove the action again to the canvas. Gillespie teed off on the floor, but Gonzalez powered his way back to the feet, and they continued the incredible, high-paced battle. Gonzalez briefly threatened the neck, but a combination of sweat and blood saw Gillespie pull free, and he returned with another takedown to end the round.

The two went right back at it in the second, Gonzalez scoring a high kick but Gillespie driving through it for a takedown. The pace remained high on the floor, with Gillespie trying to keep a dominant position but Gonzalez constantly looking to escape. Gillespie eventually worked himself into an arm-triangle choke from mount and committed to the squeeze, pressing forward and tightening the hold until Gonzalez was forced to tap at the 2:11 mark of the second frame in the wild contest.

Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) remains perfect in his career with the thrilling victory. Gonzalez (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has earned victory just once in three UFC fights but certainly has nothing to regret following this performance.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 116 results include:

For more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 116 staff picks: The most lopsided event in our history with 5 unanimous nods

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Rockhold
vs.
Branch
Perry
vs.
Reyes
Lombard
vs.
Smith
Gillespie
vs.
Gonzalez
Moraes
vs.
Usman
Anyanwu
vs.
Ledet
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 82-64
rockhold2017
Rockhold
(76%)
perry2017
Perry
(87%)
lombard2017
Lombard
(62%)
gillespie2017
Gillespie
(75%)
usman2017
Usman
(80%)
ledet2017
Ledet
(76%)
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 91-55
trophy copy 2015 Champion
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 89-57
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 88-58
trophy copy 2016 Champion
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 87-59
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 87-59
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
lombard2017
Lombard
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 83-63
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 83-63
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 81-65
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 81-65
trophy copy 2014 Champion
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
asmith2017
Smith
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 81-65
rockhold2017
Rockhold
perry2017
Perry
lombard2017
Lombard
gillespie2017
Gillespie
usman2017
Usman
ledet2017
Ledet

The UFC returns to Pittsburgh this week, and the main card features the most lopsided staff picks in our history.

UFC Fight Night 116 takes place Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, and it airs on FS1.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) returns for the first time since losing his belt to take on former two-division WSOF champ David Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC). Rockhold is more than a 5-1 favorite, and he’s one of five unanimous picks this week from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, Mike Perry (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) takes on Alex Reyes (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a welterweight fight. Reyes stepped up on three days’ notice when Thiago Alves pulled out earlier this week. Not surprisingly, Perry is getting a 10-0 nod against Reyes, who will be making his UFC debut.

The other unanimous picks on the main card are 5-1 favorite Gregor Gillespie (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) over Jason Gonzalez (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in their lightweight fight, 7-1 favorite Kamaru Usman (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) over Sergio Moraes (12-2-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) in their welterweight bout, and 4-1 favorite Justin Ledet (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) over short-notice fill-in Zu Anyanwu (14-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at heavyweight.

The only fight that isn’t unanimous from our pickers is the middleweight bout between former Bellator champion Hector Lombard (34-7-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) and Anthony Smith (27-12 MMA, 3-2 UFC). The fight is a virtual pick’em at the online sports books, but it still is a blowout from our staff members, who are taking Smith at an 8-2 clip over Lombard, who doesn’t have an official win since 2014.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Rockhold, Perry, Lombard, Gillespie, Usman and Ledet are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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In-depth main-card breakdown: 'UFC Fight Night 116: Rockhold vs. Branch'

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MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 116’s main-card bouts.

UFC Fight Night 116 takes place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The main card airs on FS1 following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Luke Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC)

Luke Rockhold.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 32 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 77″
  • Last fight: Knockout loss to Michael Bisping (June 4, 2016)
  • Camp: Combat Club (Florida)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Former UFC middleweight champion
+ Strikeforce middleweight title
+ Black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
+ 5 KO victories
+ 8 submission wins
+ 10 first-round finishes
+ Consistent pace and pressure
+ Good distance management
+ Accurate check hook
+ Solid kicking variety
^ Dangerous liver kicks
+ Strong inside of the clinch
+ Underrated wrestling ability
+ Works well from front-headlock
+ Superb transitional grappler
^ Floats, rides, advances to back
+ Effective ground striker
^ Devestating elbows
+/-1 fight in 15 months

David Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC)

David Branch.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 35 Weight: 185 lbs. Reach: 81″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Krzysztof Jotko (May 13, 2017)
  • Camp: Renzo Gracie Academy (New York)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ WSOF middleweight title
+ Black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu
+ 5 KO victory
+ 7 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ Consistent pace and pressure
+ Good footwork
^ Sticks and moves well
+ Solid boxing technique
^ Accurate left hand
+ Excellent kick counters
+ underrated takedown ability
+ Strong inside the clinch
+ Superb transitional grappler
^ Intelligent defense and fundamentals
+ Works well from front-headlock
^ Slick chokes and transitions
+/-2-1 against UFC southpaws

Summary:

The main event for Pittsburgh features a matchup of top middleweight talents when Luke Rockhold and David Branch do battle.

Returning for the first time in 15 months, we have not seen Rockhold since he lost his middleweight title to Michael Bisping last summer. Since then, the former champ has retooled his approach as he looks to make another run toward the top.

Seeking to stomp out that narrative is Branch, a former UFC middleweight contender who has come back with a vengeance since his multi-divisional run with WSOF. Currently No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, Branch could crack more than just the top five should he score the upset.

Starting off standing, we have a matchup between a dynamic southpaw striker and slick, stick-and-move stylist. Whether we are talking about Rockhold’s liver kick, counter cross or check-hook he keeps at the ready, he packs all the weapons that southpaws arguably should have.

Using every inch of his long frame, Rockhold is typically the one dictating the striking range in his fights. Prodding with jabs and moving well behind powerful kicks, Rockhold will chip away at his opposition until creating openings for his opportunism to shine.

However, it is worth noting that Rockhold has moved shop (or at least added to it) since his last time out. Now, spending a majority of his training camp working with Henri Hooft in South Florida, we could very well see considerable changes to his game. And given the Dutch style pressure-fighting that Hooft offers, I suspect those changes will be positive additions to Branch’s game.

Nevertheless, Rockhold still has a deceptively dangerous task ahead that he will need to take seriously.

Branch’s resume says Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but the Brooklyn native has been boxing for some time. Staying light, yet loaded, on the feet, Branch does a good job of sticking and moving in and out of boxing range, particularly as the fight goes on.

When feeling in stride, Branch will begin to pick up his volume and amplify what is already an accurate left hand. In fact, I believe that Branch’s left hook may be the punch worth watching for.

As we saw in Rockhold’s last fight, his propensity to slip heavily to his left gets him out of the way from right hands nicely, but it also creates a hard counter balance that is the resetting of his head position, as this motion feeds directly into oncoming left hooks.

Should Branch create similar angles or reactions, he could also come up big, or at the very least, create doubt in the returning champion’s psyche. Still, this is all easier said than done, as Branch’s boxing stance and style may present targets of their own for Rockhold’s low-to-high kicking attacks.

With each man having paths to victory over the other standing, this matchup could come down to the action generated from the clinch. Both fighters are strong defensively and offensively inside of this space, but given their history, I suspect Branch may be the one looking for takedowns –– especially if the rounds are close.

The problem – in my opinion – with forecasting takedowns in either direction, is that they are both killers from the front-headlock position. Each fighter favors floating to the back, but neither has an issue locking up submissions from here, using their legs or arms just the same.

Traditional takedown entries aside, there are plenty of other ways for this fight to hit the floor. And since it is hard to see one man submitting the other soberly, the obvious answer is that the fighter in top position will have the edge in ground stanzas.

Despite Branch typically being the guy who is bucking for top position in his fights, I am not sure his offensive wrestling will outweigh Rockhold’s counter wrestling in the grand scale of things.

Fully utilizing his long, athletic frame, Rockhold demonstrates a solid sense of hips, levers and how to use them in his favor. Floating smoothly on top while displaying the limb dexterity of a featherweight, Rockhold starts to resemble a giant squid engulfing a ship by the time he hits the mount position.

Though Branch has the defense and overall skills to contend with his fellow black belt, I have a sneaky suspicion things could get ugly for him should he get caught in autopilot.

According to the betting lines, Rockhold is favored at least four-to-one to beat Branch. Regardless of my pick, I am not so sure I sign off on the margin above, as I see Branch having a much better chance to win than the odds indicate.

Even on his worst nights, Branch can turn long stretches of into deceptively competitive affairs. Coupled with Rockhold’s return from a long layoff and inherently opportunistic style –– and we may end up with a much closer fight than many are projecting. Still, the pick is Rockhold to dictate striking range, explore with pressure and possibly spark a finish near the fence off of a corralling head kick.

Official pick: Rockhold inside the distance

Official outcome: To be determined

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for 'UFC Fight Night 116: Rockhold vs. Branch'

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event, which features a middleweight headliner between former UFC champion Luke Rockhold and former two-division WSOF titleholder David Branch.

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 Fight Night 116 staff picks we release on Friday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 116 takes place Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, and it airs on FS1 following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch

Records: Luke Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC), David Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Past five: Rockhold 4-1, Branch 5-0
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: Rockhold No. 4, Branch No. 7
Odds (as of 9/10/17): Rockhold -440, Branch +350

Take Our Poll
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Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry

Records: Thiago Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC), Mike Perry (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC)
Past five: Alves 3-2, Perry 4-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None

Take Our Poll
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Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith

Records: Hector Lombard (34-7-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC), Anthony Smith (27-12 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Past five: Lombard 1-3 (one no-contest), Smith 4-1
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: None

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Gregor Gillespie vs. Jason Gonzalez

Records: Gregor Gillespie (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Jason Gonzalez (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Past five: Gillespie 5-0, Gonzalez 4-1
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None

Take Our Poll
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Sergio Moraes vs. Kamaru Usman

Records: Sergio Moraes (12-2-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC), Kamaru Usman (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC)
Past five: Usman 5-0, Moraes 4-0-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: Usman honorable mention

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Zu Anyanwu vs. Justin Ledet

Records: Zu Anyanwu (14-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Justin Ledet (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Past five: Anyanwu 5-0, Ledet 4-0 (one no-contest)
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: None

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For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Gregor Gillespie vs. Jason Gonzalez added to UFC Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh

A lightweight contest is the newest addition to the UFC’s return to Pennsylvania, with Gregor Gillespie (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) facing Jason Gonzalez (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC).

UFC officials recently confirmed the matchup following an initial report from the Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette.com.

Featuring a middleweight main event between former UFC champ Luke Rockhold and former dual-division UFC title holder David Branch, UFC Fight Night 116 takes place Sept. 16 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The night’s main card airs on FS1, though the full bout order has yet to be released.

Fighting professionally since 2014, Gillespie is undefeated through the first nine fights of his career, including seven wins by stoppage. Included in that run are two wins under the UFC banner, including a 21-second stoppage of Andrew Holbrook at April’s UFC 210 event, as well a debut victory in UFC Fight Night 95 decision result over Glaico Franca in September 2016.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez saw a six-fight winning streak snapped in his UFC debut, suffering a debut loss to Drew Dober at this past September’s UFC 203 event. However, Gonzalez rebounded with a first-round submission win over J.C. Cottrell at January’s UFC on FOX 23 event.

With the addition to the card, UFC Fight Night 116 now includes:

  • Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch
  • Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry
  • Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Daniel Spitz
  • Uriah Hall vs. Krzysztof Jotko
  • Sergio Moraes vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Justin Ledet vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
  • Gilbert Burns vs. Jason Saggo
  • Gregor Gillespie vs. Jason Gonzalez

For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie