Campbell McLaren, John Castaneda talk $100k Copa Combate tournament


Filed under: News, Videos

Former UFC executive and Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren is banking on national pride to fuel Friday’s Copa Combate tournament.

Fighters from seven different countries – all but one Spanish-speaking – will face off in a one-night tournament for $100,000. McLaren thinks of it as MMA’s answer to the World Cup and hopes the same rabid passions are stirred for the combatants.

“You’re bringing in a fighter to represent an entire country – in addition to wanting the cash,” McLaren told MMAjunkie Radio. “$100,000 is a real first prize.”

The event, “Combate Americas: Copa Combate,” takes place Saturday at Grand Oasis Cancun in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Preliminary card fights stream live on before main card fights on NBCSN.

McLaren’s prize remains the Latin American market for MMA. He boasts his promotion “continues to demolish” the ratings of industry juggernaut UFC in Mexico and doubles the industry-leader’s numbers in Spain.

Combate recently linked up with Telemundo to air Saturday’s tournament, which McLaren expects will provide another boost in recognition.

Conceiving tomorrow’s event, McLaren borrowed from a previous project he worked on, “Iron Ring,” to bring more excitement to the action. The short-lived show on BET featured an elimination tournament where contestants got one five-minute round to advance from the qualifying round.

“There may not be a lot of strategy involved in a five-minute round, but there’s a heck of a lot of action involved in a five-minute round, which is a heck of a way to kick off the tournament,” he said.

The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds feature three three-minute rounds, while the final features three, five-minute rounds. Elbows are only permitted during the championship final to minimize the potential damage rising fighters take.

Copa Combates participant John Castaneda (14-2), who faces Kevin Moreyra (3-1) in the elimination round, has a survival strategy centered around the fighters he considers to be the toughest threats.

“There’s no way to prepare for so many different styles, so I’ve done my own research, my coach has done his research, and we’ve broken it down to two main fighters – two of the biggest threats,” he said. “I’m implementing my camp around those two styles.”

If he gets those unnamed opponents, he’ll be more than ready. And he’s not sweating the others, apparently.

Castaneda doesn’t consider himself a tournament kind of guy. It hasn’t been on his competitive bucket list. But the chance to be a part of a historical event – and bank a sweet paycheck – is something he can’t pass up.

For more on “Combate Americas: Copa Combate,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Mackenzie Dern, Alexander Shlemenko, Campbell McLaren, John Castaneda

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, News

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Mackenzie Dern, Alexander Shlemenko, Campbell McLaren and John Castaneda.

Dern submitted submitted Mandy Polk this past week at LFA 24. Shlemenko headlines Friday’s Bellator 185 event against Gegard Mousasi. McLaren is CEO of Combate Americas, and Castaneda is part of the organization’s $100,000 single-night tournament on Nov. 11.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

DWCS 4's Julian Marquez scored a thunderous KO – here's the moment he got a UFC contract,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5528654219001
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – So, you’ve gone out there and won a fight at a Dana White’s Contender Series event. Now what? As it turns out, the nervousness isn’t over.

Each Tuesday during the weekly UFC Fight Pass-streamed event series, five fights take place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas, and they feature UFC hopefuls – with both up-and-comers and vets hoping to hold on to the dream. However, not everyone is guaranteed a UFC contract, even with a victory.

On Tuesday, at Dana White’s Contender Series 4, five winners – Julian Marquez, Kyler Phillips, Carlos Candelario, Brandon Davis and John Castaneda – gathered backstage to await their fate, and MMAjunkie was there to capture the anxiety-filled moments and eventual verdicts.

That anxiety eventually turned into jubilation; two fighters – Marquez and Davis – were awarded UFC contacts for their victories. Marquez earned one of the most memorable knockouts of the series so far – against Jon Jones training partner Phil Hawes – while Davis gutted out a brutal battle with Davis.

Watch the video above to see the moment the fighters were informed they’d been selected for UFC contract offers. Check below to see White’s explanation of why (via Twitter):

For complete coverage of Dana White’s Contender Series 4, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White's Contender Series 4 results: Julian Marquez KOs Jon Jones training partner Phil Hawes

Filed under: News, UFC

Julian Marquez ended Dana White’s Contender Series 4 with a bang, laying out Jon Jones training partner Phil Hawes with a head kick to cap off the show..

Dana White’s Contender Series 4 took place Tuesday at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. The card streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

The fight was over at the 2:20 mark of the second round when Hawes dropped limp to the canvas with a scary thud.

“I was tired,” Marquez admitted after the fight. “The weight cut yesterday was pretty rough, but I just knew he was going to keep coming. I just knew if I weathered the storm, he would leave an opening, which he did.”

Hawes’ early drive to take the fight down to the mat may have sapped his energy reserves. Marquez proved a tough challenge to take down, and when he hit the mat, he escaped bad positions and returned to his feet. A guillotine attempt had Hawes scrambling not to tap.

At the start of the second, Marquez landed a combination that badly hurt Hawes and put him on auto pilot. A sloppy takedown attempt put Marquez on top, and when Hawes finally managed to escape, he was ready.

The head kick was perfectly timed and provided a highlight-reel finish that brought UFC contract to Marquez (6-1), who’s won his past four. Hawes (4-2), an early flameout on “The Ultimate Fighter 23,” now has dropped two straight.

Phillips quickly stops shooting Gray

Bantamweight Kyler Phillips picked up the first stoppage win of the night with a quick TKO of James Gray.

An early takedown attempt from Gray (4-2) was countered by elbows from Phillips (5-0), who pounded away with punches before returning for a hammerfist to close it out just 46 seconds into the opening frame.

“I did not want to do jiu-jitsu,” Phillips said of his win.” “I want to be exciting and get that KO. This organization, we’ve got to make money, so I’m here to do crazy kicks and crazy punches. I’ll put everybody out.”

Candelario’s damage counters Candido for decision nod

Carlos Candelario survived a last-minute submission scare from jiu-jitsu specialist Ronaldo Candido to take home a unanimous decision.

The final scores were all 29-28 for the unbeaten Candelario, who refused to cede positions on the mat and repaid Candido’s takedown attempts with consistent damage.

“He had me in that last round a little bit, but I knew I won that fight,” Candelario said.

All three rounds followed a consistent pattern. Candido fought his way into a takedown and threatened a choke. But on each occasion, Candelario scrambled to safety and then pounded away with elbows and punches.

Candido (6-1), a jiu-jitsu coach of Jose Aldo, gamely pressed the action late and earned a huge slam in the final round. With Candelario (7-0) fading, he advanced to mount position and wrapped the head for a guillotine choke. When Candelario made his neck scarce, elbows opened up an arm-triangle attempt. The attempts led to a tense minute but no tap from Candelario.

Blood-and-guts thriller sees Davis edge Arnett

After three rounds, featherweights Brandon Davis and Austin Arnett were spattered with Arnett’s blood. They traded smiles and hundreds of punches in an all-out slugfest.

Davis, the busier and more effective fighter, emerged with a unanimous decision via scores of 30-27, 30-26 and 29-28 and also earned the only other UFC contract of the night. Arnett, sporting a forehead gash that flowed freely, never capitulated and kept swinging until the final bell.

“That’s every fight – sign me,” Davis said afterward. “I promise you.”

Arnett’s powerful straight right was stymied by Davis’ head movement and aggressive combinations. Then an elbow split him open after he banked on a guillotine and missed in the second round. The ensuing blood was the third opponent in the cage as Davis tried to open it with spinning attacks.

Two rounds took some of the verve out of Davis’ (8-2) pace, but he managed to hold off as Arnett (15-3) landed several power shots to the body and head. The decision was his seventh straight win, while Arnett lost his first bout in three years and 13 fights.

Castaneda gets unanimous nod over Leialoha

Bantamweight John Castaneda’s last-minute rally tipped the scores in his favor against Max Holloway training partner Cheyden Leialoha.

After trading takedowns and kicks with Leialoha, Castaneda put his opponent on the mat late in the third and made a statement with a back mount and ground control.

“I’ve never been this tired in a fight, so it’s just going to motivate me to never be this tired again,” he said afterward.

Judges unanimously scored it 29-28 for Castaneda (14-2), who picked up his ninth straight win, and did so after Leialoha (6-1) cut him with an elbow on the mat in the first. With blood running into his eye, he charged back in the second by countering Leialoha’s aggressive striking, and then won a key takedown for his final push.

The official Dana White’s Contender Series 4 results:

  • Julian Marquez def. Phil Hawes via KO (head kick) – Round 2, 2:20
  • Kyler Phillips def. James Gray via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:46
  • Carlos Candelario def. Ronaldo Candido via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Brandon Davis def. Austin Arnett via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28)
  • John Castaneda def. Cheyden Leialoha via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

For complete coverage of Dana White’s Contender Series 4, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White's Contender Series 4 lineup revealed, includes Phil Hawes vs. Julian Marquez

The lineup for the fourth edition of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” has been revealed, and a prospect long considered an octagon-worthy talent is among those vying for a UFC contract.

UFC official today revealed the five fights that will be featured at Dana White’s Contender Series 4, which takes place Aug. 1 at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas and streams live on UFC Fight Pass. The featured bout takes place in the middleweight division, with Phil Hawes (4-1) facing Julian Marquez (5-1).

Additional matchups includes bantamweights James Gray (4-1) vs. Kyler Phillips (4-0), flyweights Carlos Candelario (6-0) vs. Ronaldo Candido (6-0), featherweights Austin Arnett (14-2) vs. Brandon Davis (7-2) and bantamweights John Castaneda (13-2) vs. Cheyden Leialoha (6-0).

Long considered a top prospect, Hawes has struggled to break into the national spotlight. After turning pro in February 2014, Hawes rattled off four stoppage victories to open his career but most recently suffered a July 2016 loss to Louis Taylor under the WSOF banner. Hawes now return to action following a year on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez turned pro just three months after Hawes and has earned victories in five of his first six contests. All five of his victories have come by way of stoppage, including four in the first round. Meanwhile, Marquez’s lone loss came by way of decision in a preliminary bout at Bellator 150 in February 2016. He’s since bounced back with three consecutive wins.

The Dana White’s Contender Series 4 lineup includes:

  • Phil Hawes vs. Julian Marquez
  • James Gray vs. Kyler Phillips
  • Carlos Candelario vs. Ronaldo Candido
  • Austin Arnett vs. Brandon Davis
  • John Castaneda vs. Cheyden Leialoha

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 4, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie