John Lineker gets wish, steps in to fight Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219

Jimmie Rivera has a replacement foe, and John Lineker has the fight he wants.

The bout between top-10 bantamweights has been set for UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view. ESPN.com cited UFC officials in reporting the booking.

Rivera, No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, originally was slated to face Dominick Cruz before the ex-champion was forced to withdraw because of injury. But now Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) gets No. 8 Lineker (30-8 MMA, 11-3 UFC) instead.

After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

Lineker ended a 10-month layoff last month with a unanimous-decision win over Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night 119. The victory put Lineker back on track after a loss to champ T.J. Dillashaw ended a six-fight streak.

Lineker said just days after his win that he’d be on stand-by for the Cruz-Rivera fight and now gets his wish.

With the addition, the latest UFC 219 card includes:

  • Champ Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm – for women’s featherweight title
  • Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • John Lineker vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Rick Glenn vs. Myles Jury
  • Emil Meek vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Dan Hooker

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/285917”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Rivera def. Almeida”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jimmie Rivera tweets sales pitch, then challenges T.J. Dillashaw for UFC bantamweight title

Jimmie Rivera believes he’s done enough to earn a stab at T.J. Dillashaw’s bantamweight title. But considering results aren’t always what count in times like these, you can’t blame a guy for exploring some angles.

Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who is left without an opponent after injury forced former champion Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) out of a scheduled UFC 219 meeting, took to Twitter today to throw a jab at newly re-crowned champ Dillashaw (via Twitter).

Saw T.J. Dillashaw’s interview on MMAFighting. Urijah Faber is the reason you got into MMA, UFC and won a title. Then you leave. I have an oldschool martial arts upbringing and loyalty is huge. I looked up to Urijah and beat him, I’ll whoop your ass 10 times worse.

If the first Tweet read more like a sales pitch than a challenge, the second one made sure to clarify his intentions. (via Twitter)

I need someone for Dec 30th and the UFC needs a main event. Let’s go, T.J. Dillashaw. You only fought for 7 and a half minutes, I know you’re in shape and healthy. Step up and stop trying to run down to 125.

Rivera did beat Faber in September of 2016, walking away from their UFC 203 encounter with a clean sweep on the scorecards. Each fighter went on to fight once more – Rivera dominated Thomas Almeida en route to a unanimous decision, while Faber beat Brad Pickett in what has (so far) marked his retirement as an MMA fighter.

Recently, though, Faber (34-10 MMA, 10-6 UFC) hinted at how a matchup with former pupil Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) could maybe lure him back into the game. That, incidentally, is what seems to have sparked the comments that irked Rivera – though he did not clarify which article he was referring to.

“(A fight with Faber) sounds like the easiest payday ever,” Dillashaw told BJPenn.com, via MMAFighting.com. “I mean it’s just comical. I mean, come out of retirement, get a title shot off of what, losing to Jimmie Rivera and looking like crap in his fights? I mean it’s hilarious.

“But, like I said, it’d be an easy payday, so I guess I shouldn’t be laughing at it. I should be pumping him up.”

Of course, there are a few roadblocks there. Dillashaw has made it quite clear that he wants a meeting with flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson next – and is willing to cut an added 10 pounds in order to make that happen. And, considering his wife is having a baby due Dec. 28, fighting on Dec. 30 might not sound too appealing.

Whether Rivera, who’s currently ranked No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, will ever get his shot at the No. 1 fighter remains to be seen. But messing with the hornet’s nest that is Dillashaw’s relationship with some of his former Team Alpha Male peers seems like as good a bet as any.

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/284514”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Rivera def. Almeida”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jimmie Rivera: Ex-champ Dominick Cruz's style 'not practical,' makes him 'really accident-prone'

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/283823”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Rivera def. Almeida”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Jimmie Rivera had some concern about Dominick Cruz’s injury woes when he accepted a UFC 219 matchup with the former bantamweight champion. Ultimately, his reservations proved justified.

With less than two months remaining until the Dec. 30 pay-per-view vent at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) was forced to withdraw due to an injury. “The Dominator” reportedly suffered a broken arm in training, a mishap that continues a disturbing trend for the former titleholder.

Cruz has spent the better part of the past five years on the sidelines with a bevy of injuries. Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) was more than aware of that fact when he accepted the fight, but given the matchup likely would’ve been a title-eliminator in the 135-pound division, he accepted and focused on the task at hand.

“At the beginning I was like, ‘I hope he doesn’t get hurt,’” Rivera told MMAjunkie. “Then day after day, I forgot about it because I have to focus on getting ready for a fight. I can’t train and have it in the back of my mind – ‘What if he gets hurt?’

“I have to train balls to the walls and assume he’s not going to get hurt and we’re going to fight Dec. 30. Now about five weeks out this happens.”

Whether Cruz is simply a victim of dumb luck or just that injury-prone is tough to determine. However, Rivera had some theories about why Cruz finds himself in this situation so often. He said Cruz has a very physically demanding style due to his use of movement and awkward techniques. Rivera said he noticed how much of a hindrance Cruz’s style can be while preparing for UFC 219, so he’s not necessarily stunned by the setback.

“I’m not trying to be a dick about it or anything like that, but he’s out, he’s hurt, and he’s really accident-prone,” Rivera said. “He always gets hurt; it’s always one thing or another. It comes down to his style of fighting. My coach and I sat down and studied it getting ready for this fight, and it’s not practical. He’s more injury-prone than he realizes with his style of fighting.”

With the fight off the table for UFC 219, Rivera said he wants the next shot at current bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC). He hopes it happens but admitted his situation is somewhat uncertain because Dillashaw might be dropping to flyweight to challenge pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC).

Rivera said he was disheartened to lose the opportunity to fight Cruz. He may have rubbed some salt in the former champ’s wounds after the fight cancellation, but he said he wishes nothing but the best for Cruz and hopes they can still share the octagon in the future.

“I have nothing against him,” Rivera said. “It’s a game, and I know I have to go out there and talk smack on Twitter, but I hope he has a speedy recovery.

“No one likes to be hurt. It sucks to be hurt, and I’ve been there. It sucks. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery.”

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Marlon Moraes calls illegal blows at UFC-Norfolk 'friggin' accident,' wants Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_nAoafMG3_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/nAoafMG3.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

NORFOLK, Va. – Marlon Moraes wants a date with Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 after picking up a split decision win over John Dodson on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 120.

Former WSOF bantamweight champ Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) earned his first octagon victory when he edged out a narrow win on the scorecards over “The Ultimate Fighter 14” winner Dodson (19-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC). The fight took place at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Moraes said he has no doubt that he won the fight, mainly because his coaches said he did. Now he turns his attention to Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who is need of an opponent after former champ Dominick Cruz pulled out of their year-end date due to injury.

“I’m happy, but the judge for me is my coaches,” Moraes told MMAjunkie after his victory. “They said I won, so I’m happy, and I hope to go back to the gym and get better and Dec. 30, beating Jimmie Rivera.”

Although he won the fight on the scorecards, Moraes was showered with boos from the crowd after the decision was read. He said he doesn’t think that’s because they dislike him, but rather because he landed a pair of illegal blows on Dodson early in the contest.

Dodson complained to the referee about Moraes’ tactics several times throughout the 135-pound fight. Afterward, the Brazilian defended his actions and insisted he’s not a dirty fighter.

“I think the boos for the crowd were more for the two shots in the first round,” Moraes said. “I think they all knew I won, but they were a little concerned about the shots I landed with. That’s OK. I’ll go to the gym, I’ll be back. That was a friggin’ accident.”

After dominating the field in WSOF, Moraes has had two tough fights since coming to the UFC. He lost a competitive decision to Raphael Assuncao in his debut before rebounding with the win over Dodson. He said he’s starting to feel at home in the octagon, and wants to prove he belongs at the top of the division with a win over Rivera.

“That’s the fight to make,” Moraes said. “I want to fight, he has no opponent, let’s go. … There’s no easy fights up there. I’m here, I put in two tough fights, so I think I belong here.”

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

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/ArNPrNCJHDU7YgPXXgeKng/284043”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Moraes def. Dodson”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 120 results: Marlon Moraes gets nod in bizarrely scored split over John Dodson

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/ArNPrNCJHDU7YgPXXgeKng/283842”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Moraes def. Dodson”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Marlon Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) recovered from a disappointing UFC debut, standing toe-to-toe with John Dodson (19-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and walking away with an oddly scored decision win.

The bantamweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 120 event at Ted Constant Convocation Center on the Old Dominion University campus in Norfolk, Va. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on FS1.

Moraes started quickly, chopping the leg at the opening bell and looking to bully the smaller man. Dodson looked to counter with speed, moving in and out of range, but Moraes continued his steady diet of kicks to all levels. Dodson was the first to land flush, landing a left hand straight down the middle that sent Moraes to the floor, but he quickly popped back up and seemed fully recovered.

A nasty Moraes low kick then landed flush to the groin, forcing a timeout as Dodson dry-heaved a bit but insisted on continuing as quickly as possible. Moraes seized back a little momentum on the restart, and Dodson appeared a bit hesitant. A Moraes eye poke drew another warning in the final seconds, and both men seemed a little agitated at the bell.

The pace was quick to start the third, with both men winging heavy punches. Moraes’ right hand started to find its range as Dodson tried to dart in and out of the pocket. A Dodson takedown saw Moraes attack the leg, forcing a scramble and a restart on the feet. Dodson continued to fight with a scowl on his face, and the pace remained high. Moraes was the one moving forward, but Dodson countered at every opportunity, continuing his relentless movement.

With the first rounds so tightly contested, both men needed to capitalize in the third. Moraes again controlled the center, but Dodson was able to move in and out range with continued success. Moraes briefly slipped in the center, and Dodson tried to flurry on an off-balance opponent, but Moraes eventually recovered and reset. Dodson started to find real success in the closing minutes, with Moraes’ output slowing just a touch. Moraes looked for a late takedown, and the referee called for a surprisingly fast restart. With just seconds remaining, Moraes latched on to a guillotine choke, falling to his back, and Dodson appeared to tap just slightly after the end of the round, bringing a thrilling close to an entertaining contest.

In the end, one judge thought Dodson earned all three rounds, but the other two gave Moraes scores of 30-27, awarding him the split nod. Afterward, Moraes had strong words for fellow bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera, challenging him to a Dec. 30 meeting.

“I fight with my heart in there and listen to my coaches,” Moraes said after the win. “I really put my heart in there, and my coaches all think I won, so I think I won. His style is a little bit unique, but I wasn’t impressed at all. People have hit me harder and faster, but he did have a different style.

“Jimmie Rivera is the fight to make. We were supposed to fight, but he didn’t want to fight me. Let’s fight. He has no opponent.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 120 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in Norfolk.)

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

Jimmie Rivera: 'Mighty Mouse' blocking my deserved title fight with T.J. Dillashaw

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/283493”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Rivera def. Almeida”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Jimmie Rivera said he’s the obvious next candidate to challenge UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. There’s a roadblock in his way, however, and his name is UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.

Rivera’s (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) future was thrown into uncertainty this week when his scheduled UFC 219 matchup with Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) was called off when the former titleholder suffered an injury. The bout was likely a title eliminator in the 135-pound division, but after “The Dominator” pulled out, Rivera said there’s no question he should be fighting new champ Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) next.

The twist, however, is that Dillashaw appears to be moving down to 125 pounds for a champion vs. champion showdown with pound-for-pound king Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC). The fight has been discussed since earlier this year, and after Dillashaw reclaimed bantamweight gold with a knockout of Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 this past weekend, UFC President Dana White said he wants to see it happen.

That leaves Rivera as the odd man out, and he said he’s not sure what’s going to happen.

“I’m kind of in limbo now,” Rivera told MMAjunkie. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I don’t know where it leaves me. You’ve got Cruz who is hurt. You’ve got Cody who is getting hand surgery. That leaves T.J., but the thing with T.J. is, will Demetrious take the fight against him?

“It’s up to Demetrious if he’ll take the fight with T.J. If he takes the fight, it pushes me back, if not it’s fair game.”

Rivera, No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, said he’s not upset at No. 1-ranked Dillashaw for chasing a potentially historic fight against “Mighty Mouse.” He understands why the champ and UFC brass would be compelled to book the fight, but he’s just disappointed with where it leaves him.

The New Jersey-based fighter is frustrated the 125-pound champion is the one who will determine his immediate future, and he said he really has no idea whether Johnson will accept the fight.

“I honestly don’t know what will happen,” Rivera said. “It comes down to money. Are they going to give him the money he wants? I don’t really care about the money and all that. I just want to fight for the belt. I got in the UFC to fight for the belt, and that’s the main goal. I’m waiting to see what’s going to happen. I want that strap around my waist, and it sucks I have to keep waiting for on people for it.”

“I run a business so I know how a business works,” he continued. “Obviously, the UFC is a business, and they want to push that fight because it’s going to have an impact. I understand why. It’s a good business move for T.J. and Johnson, but I don’t know if Johnson is going to get the number he wants for that fight. It might not be the best situation for Demetrious Johnson. There’s a lot on the line – losing his title – and he could lose his winning streak. There’s a lot on the line for that. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. It’s kind of crazy that a title shot at 135 is held up on Demetrious Johnson, who is the champion at 125.”

At this point, Rivera’s not sure if he will still fight at UFC 219. Brazilian bantamweight John Lineker (30-8 MMA, 11-3 UFC) has offered his services, and a grudge match with Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is also a potential option.

Rivera, though, said those fights simply don’t make sense to him.

“I tried to fight (Sterling) as I was coming to the UFC and when I was in the UFC, and he said no,” Rivera said. “Now I’m ahead of him, and I’m in a better position, and now he wants to fight me?

“A win over Sterling – everyone says I’m going to run through him, and I am going to run through him. He’s not going to help me get the belt. He’s not a No. 1 contender fight. It’s not going to work out with him at all. The one thing I said numerous times is that once I am champ, I’m not going to turn down a fight. I will fight whoever they want me to fight because I’m the champ, and that’s an obligation. Now I’m not the champ, and I’m trying to work for it. A fight with him doesn’t make sense. He beat a nobody and he beat a washed-up (Renan) Barao.”

With an incredible 20-fight winning streak to his credit, Rivera is adamant that it’s essentially title shot or bust at this point. He’s aware of the reality of his situation, though, and said if Dillashaw ends up dropping to flyweight and fighting Johnson, he will either be forced to take another fight or experience an extremely long layoff.

Rivera said his team is going to work with the UFC in the coming days to help gain clarity on his future, but at this point, he knows exactly what he wants.

“Who am I going to fight? The only three fights that makes sense are Dominick, Cody or T.J., and Dominick and Cody are both out,” Rivera said. “I have nothing against anybody else in the division but no one is as established as I am. No one is on the winning streak I am, and no one is doing what I’m doing. The Cruz fight was going to settle the No. 1 contender, but Cruz is out, so now I’m the No. 1 contender. That’s what it means. That’s the only way I see it.”

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

 

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dominick Cruz out of UFC 219 fight with Jimmie Rivera

Dominick Cruz’s return to the octagon will have to be pushed back and, as a result, UFC 219 has lost a significant bout.

Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) has been ruled out of his fight with Jimmie Rivera after suffering a broken arm, according to a report from MMAFighting.com. Rivera  (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) confirmed Cruz’s withdrawal from the bout when reached by MMAjunkie via text message.

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Cruz, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, dropped the 135-pound belt to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 last December. Cruz opted to take time off and was originally angling for a fight against the winner of Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw, who knocked out “No Love” last Saturday to reclaim the title at UFC 217.

After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, No. 5 Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

It remains unclear if the UFC will attempt to find Rivera a replacement opponent.

The latest UFC 219 card includes:

  • Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. opponent TBD
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Rick Glenn vs. Myles Jury
  • Emil Meek vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Dan Hooker

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/283248”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Rivera def. Almeida”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Marlon Vera still targeting Jimmie Rivera with UFC Fight Night 119 win over John Lineker

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_OIAfJELG_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/OIAfJELG.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SAO PAULO – UFC bantamweight Marlon Vera might be fighting John Lineker, but he hasn’t forgotten about Jimmie Rivera.

Vera admits he’s still bothered by comments Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) made in turning him down at UFC on FOX 25, and he wants to fight the winner when the bantamweight prospect faces off with ex-champ Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at UFC 219 in December.

“I feel I match up great with both, and one of them owes me one,” Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) told MMAjunkie in advance of his FS1-televised fight with Lineker (29-8 MMA, 10-3 UFC) on Saturday at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “I want to make him pay.”

Vera, who’s unranked in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, has fought alongside No. 5 Rivera in the bantamweight division since his octagon debut in 2014. But their paths briefly crossed in January, when Rivera’s originally scheduled opponent, Bryan Caraway, dropped out of UFC on FOX 25.

Vera volunteered to step up on short notice, only to see Rivera dismiss the matchup in favor of a bout with Thomas Almeida. Rivera said if he took the bout with Vera, he would be “bullying some guy who wins some and loses some.” He also said he didn’t want to take away from the Ecuadorian fighter’s GoFundMe drive to help treat his daughter’s illness.

Not surprisingly, that didn’t sit well with Vera.

“He was talking too much,” Vera said. “He was saying things that don’t make sense. If he says he’s better than me, that doesn’t offend me at all. But he pulled my daughter into it, and he said he was a bully when he was a kid. But with that size, I don’t think he was a bully – I think he was the bullied one.

“I respect him as a person. As a fighter, I don’t respect him at all, because he wasn’t professional at all.”

Both Vera and Rivera won at UFC on FOX 25, keeping them on a future collission course. But Rivera is perhaps one step away from a title shot, while Vera must face a heavy-handed veteran who’s ended many dreams.

Vera, of course, vows he won’t be distracted by the challenge in front of him. A loss to Lineker will nix any plans for a big fight. And if the winner of Rivera and Cruz is headed for a title shot, he might have to wait his turn. So he’s keeping his options open.

“I really believe that if I win this fight, I want somebody between Rivera and Cruz,” he said. “I want one of those two. I’ve already talked to my manager about it. I feel that’s the fight that makes sense for me.

“If the UFC wants to do anything else, I’m down. There’s also a lot of bantamweight fights in December. I saw them, and I’m like, ‘Somebody’s going to be hurt, and I’m going to be healthy.’”

Vera practices his post-fight speeches as part of his training camp. It appears he’ll have a few requests if he gets his hand raised on Saturday.

Check out the above video to hear Vera talk about fighting in Sao Paulo and his plans for the future.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/ivoG56LUqAta3FiUHEYzB9/279988”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Vera def. Pickett”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_tZrvYjp6_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/tZrvYjp6.json”,”ph”:2}
);

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

Aljamain Sterling rips Jimmie Rivera after wife gets involved in their feud

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_vPObX3iP_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/vPObX3iP.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Aljamain Sterling will fight Rani Yahya in December, which, when you think about it, kind of doesn’t make sense, though it’s not like the “Funk Master” didn’t try to set himself up for a showdown with a big name.

Coming off a win over former bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 214, Sterling turned his attention to top contender Jimmie Rivera and last month lured him into a Twitter beef.

He got a little more than expected but not what he wanted.

Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) hoped it would result in a shot at Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), a top contender who’s on an astounding 20-fight winning streak that dates back to 2009. The UFC, however, had other plans and booked Rivera, No. 5 in the current USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, in a probable title eliminator vs. ex-champ Dominick Cruz on Dec. 30 at the UFC 219 pay-per-view in Las Vegas.

As for Sterling? He gets Yahya on Dec. 9 in the FS1-televised UFC Fight Night 123 from Fresno, Calif. It’s not exactly what Sterling was hoping for coming off the biggest win of his career and second in a row, but he still wants Rivera and was very vocal about it during a UFC-Gdansk Q&A session over the weekend.

“There’s nobody in the top 10 for me to fight,” Sterling said. “So what I plan on doing, I’m gonna try to take a dump on Rani Yahya, then I want to fight that f*cking (expletive) Jimmie Rivera.”

The beef between Sterling and Rivera goes back to their time on the regional circuit. Sterling says that’s when Rivera first began to call him out, but Sterling wasn’t willing to fight him “for peanuts and pennies.” Now that they’re in the UFC and making names for themselves, he’s more than ready.

But does that mean Sterling will also have to deal with Rivera’s wife, Samantha, too? It already happened during that aforementioned Twitter exchange, which caught Sterling off guard.

Sterling also viewed it as a sign of weakness.

“Who has their girlfriend defending them on Twitter if they’re a fighter,” he said. “We’re going to fight – not me and your girlfriend, your wife, whatever. That shit doesn’t make sense to me.”

Sterling said he recently came face to face with Rivera and couldn’t believe the threat that was directed at him.

“I saw him before I came out here. And I’m a very nice guy in person. I just said, ‘What’s up, Jimmie?’” Sterling said. “And he looks at me, giving me this weird face like he doesn’t want to say anything, kind of rolls his eyes, walks away, turns back around, and says, ‘It’s not me you should be worried about; it’s my wife.’

“And I’m just like, ‘Oh my God, you’re such a (expletive).’ Who says that?”

Both Sterling and Rivera have business to handle in front of them, but it sounds like this won’t get settled until they step inside the octagon together.

For more on UFC Fight Night 118 and UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events and UFC Rumors sections of the site.


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

Dominick Cruz-Jimmie Rivera, Cynthia Calvillo-Carla Esparza on tap for UFC 219 in Las Vegas

Two former champions are set to return to the octagon at UFC 219, which marks the organization’s final event of the year.

Former UFC bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will see action for the first time since losing the title to Cody Garbrandt, when he takes on the 20-fight winning streak of Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC). Also, former strawweight champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is set to clash with rising star Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

The UFC made the fights official today.

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Cruz, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, dropped the 135-pound belt to Garbrandt at UFC 207 last December. Cruz opted to take time off since and was originally angling for a fight against the winner of November’s title fight between Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw.Cruz will have to get a win under his belt first, though.

Beating No. 5 Rivera has proven to be no easy task, however. After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

No. 5-ranked Esparza, meanwhile, has been up and down down since losing her title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185 in March 2015. She won her most recent bout, though, using a takedown-heavy game plan to top Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 112 in June.

Esparza will attempt to avoid becoming a signature win for No. 12-ranked Calvillo, who has been on a tear since making her UFC debut on short notice at UFC 209 in March. Calvillo has gone 3-0 inside the octagon in short order and will attempt to become the first and only UFC fighter with four victories in 2017.

Also set for UFC 219, per the Las Vegas Review Journal, is a flyweight contest between Louis Smolka (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Matheus Nicolau (12-1-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).

The UFC 219 currently includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/jwAuHLk827APNsUmcmwckG/275014”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Rivera def. Almeida”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie