On 5-fight skid, ex-champ Andrei Arlovski set for UFC Fight Night 120 bout vs. Junior Albini

A heavyweight bout between former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and Junior Albini is the latest addition to November’s UFC Fight Night 120 lineup.

UFC officials today announced the bout between Arlovski (25-15 MMA, 14-9 UFC) and Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

UFC Fight Night 120 takes place Nov. 11 at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. The event airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order hasn’t been finalized.

Arlovski, an honorable mention in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, will attempt to snap a five-fight losing skid in the upcoming fight. Although the majority of his defeats in that stretch have come against the likes of Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett and Francis Ngannou, the former UFC titleholder is coming off a unanimous decision loss to a lesser-known foe in Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 111 in June.

Albini, meanwhile, will get a chance to add a marquee name to his resume in just his second octagon appearance. The 26-year-old Brazilian made his UFC debut in July, earning a first-round TKO against Timothy Johnson at UFC on FOX 25.

The latest UFC Fight Night 120 card now includes:

  • Anthony Pettis vs. Dustin Poirier
  • Matt Brown vs. Diego Sanchez
  • Nina Ansaroff vs. Angela Hill
  • Cezar Ferreira vs. Nate Marquardt
  • Karl Roberson vs. Darren Stewart
  • Jake Collier vs. Marcel Fortuna
  • Junior Albini vs. Andrei Arlovski

For more on UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2498 with Junior Albini, Paul Banasiak, Campbell McLaren, Ed Soares

Stream or download Wednesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Junior Albini, Paul Banasiak, Campbell McLaren, and Ed Soares.

Albini talked about his big win this past Saturday at UFC on FOX 25. Banasiak competes Friday at Light Fight 37 vs. MMA veteran Chip Moraza-Pollard. McLaren talked about Thursday’s Combate Clasico event in Miami, also the site of this week’s soccer clasico between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Soares provided a half-year recap of Legacy Fighting Alliance, which is a merger of Legacy Fighting Championships and Resurrection Fighting Alliance.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

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

Junior Albini says UFC on FOX 25 bonus means daughter will no longer have to play with empty shampoo bottles

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC

For Junior Albini, registering a UFC win was truly a dream come true. But scoring a performance bonus, as well? That means his 2-year-old daughter can stop playing with empty shampoo bottles.

“I was never able to buy her a toy or something like that,” Albini told reporters following his UFC on FOX 25 win. “All of her toys were like shampoos, empty bottles, because we didn’t have much money. My wife was following my dream, too, together, so it means a lot to me right now that I can make a living and give back to them what they suffered together with me – the pursuing of this dream.”

Albini, 26, began fighting professionally in 2009, when he was still just a teenager. The Brazilian heavyweight knew he wanted to make it to the UFC, but the regional scene in his native country isn’t exactly lucrative, so he relied on odd jobs as a waiter and a security guard – not to mention some help from his mom – to help pay the bills.

“I didn’t have any money to spend,” Albini said. “I spent one year without going out to eat someplace. It was a hard time for sure.”

After a pair of losses early on, things turned around for Albini, who rattled off nine consecutive wins in Brazil, including seven by stoppage. Despite the success, the financial reward was slow to follow, with the expenses of his career often outweighing the purses he collected.

“My last nine fights I didn’t earn anything – it was all for free,” Albini said. “Many times I was spending my money to go to the hotel, to pay tickets, travel and even food, so it’s been like four years that I didn’t make any money from fighting. I was just pursuing my dream.”

Earlier this year, Albini’s (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) effort was rewarded, and he was offered a fight at Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 event in New York against veteran grinder Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC). The bout streamed on the night’s UFC Fight Pass prelims.

While a rather daunting assignment for his UFC debut, Albini passed the test with flying colors. Johnson tried to rush forward with strikes early in the fight, but Albini avoided the advance and returned fire, landing flush and sending a dazed opponent to the floor, where he finished the job with hammerfists at the 2:51 mark of the first round.

Albini admits he was planning for a longer fight.

“The gameplan was really to stand up in the whole round and to really make a war because he’s a good fighter,” Albini said. “He’s tough. He’s never been knocked out, so in my mind, my gameplan, I was ready to do the three rounds, like back and forth. I wasn’t expecting to knock him out so early, but thank God it happened.”

Albini said before this week, he’d never had more than $100 in his pocket, so he was overwhelmed when he arrived to New York and was presented more than $600 in per diem allowance.

But on Saturday, he took home $20,000 for his win and was later awarded an additional $50,000 for one of the evening’s two “Performance of the Night” awards. Life-changing, to say the least.

“It’s so much money,” Albini said. “I’ve never seen that kind of money.

“I’ve been dreaming about this for like six years, seven years, training my way to the UFC, so it’s a dream.”

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

And for complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC on FOX 25 bonuses: Brazilians hit it big

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Alex Oliveira, Junior Albini, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Lyman Good each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 event.

Dos Santos and Good earned the “Fight of the Night,” while Oliveira and Albini each won “Performance of the Night” honors.

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

UFC on FOX 25 took place Saturday at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The card aired on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Brazilian welterweight Oliveira (18-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) spent most of the first round of his bout with Ryan LaFlare (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) flat on his back. That changed in the second, when Oliviera landed a perfect right hand as LaFlare looked for the takedown, leaving his opponent out cold.

Brazilian heavyweight Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made a huge splash in his UFC debut, taking on veteran Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and shocking him with a first-round knockout and cashing an extra check in the process.

Meanwhile, Brazilian welterweight dos Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) went toe-to-toe with Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) for the entirety of their preliminary bout, trading shots in the pocket for 15 minutes. In the end, dos Santos appeared the fresher man in the later stages of the contest and was rewarded with a split decision. Both men take home an extra $50,000 for their gutsy efforts.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC on FOX 25 results: Junior Albini scores impressive knockout win in UFC debut

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Junior Albini made quite the impression for a new UFC heavyweight, stopping Timothy Johnson early with punches.

With quickness and accuracy, Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) sidestepped Johnson’s (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) bum-rush and returned with a combination for a first-round knockout.

The heavyweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC on FOX 25 event at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of the rest of the card on FOX.

The end came at the 2:51 round of the opening frame as a dazed Johnson took several hammerfists to the face, the logical conclusion after a straight right dropped him to the mat.

Johnson’s attempts to hurt Albini with a straight blast of punches were nullified by kicks and short hooks. As he reset and tried to barge in once again, Albini was waiting with a knee.

The shot stopped Johnson in his tracks and a left hook follow-up stung him before the punch that took him off his feet.

Albini now has won 10 straight fights including his octagon debut. All but two of those wins were earned via stoppage. Johnson, meanwhile, continues to bounce between wins and losses in his six-fight UFC career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 25 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Initially 364 pounds, UFC on FOX 25's Junior Albini took to MMA just to shed pounds

A funny thing happened on Junior Albini’s quest to lose weight: He became an MMA fighter.

As a morbidly obese teenager, the 26-year-old Brazilian need some exercise to get to a healthier weight. It soon opened the door to combat sports.

“I started boxing at age 13,” he told MMAjunkie. “I took up boxing because I weighed 165 kilograms (364 pounds). I had morbid obesity. I needed physical activity to lose weight and improve my health. I boxed for about a year.

“At 14 years old, I started jiu-jitsu, and I stayed active in both while still going to school. At age 18, I (turned pro). Now, after eight years, I’m in the UFC. My initial goal was just to lose weight, but I ended up enjoying fighting, and I stuck with it. There was no long-term plan.”

Now Albini (13-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his promotional debut tonight at UFC on FOX 25, where he takes on fellow heavyweight Timothy Johnson (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC). The early preliminary-card fight streams on UFC Fight Pass from NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y., prior to the FOX-televised prelims and main card.

Although his quest for a healthier lifestyle has now led him a contract with the world’s most prominent MMA organization, his family initially wasn’t happy with the turn of events.

In fact, his nickname – “Baby” – was the result of his protective mother.

“I was very young when I joined my first professional academy,” he said. “I showed up with my mother. She told them that despite my size, I was just a big baby, and that they should take care of me. And that’s how I ended up with the nickname.”

So what did Mom think of the eventual decision to make MMA his career?

“My family originally supported my going into martial arts for health reasons,” he said. “But once I decided to become an actual fighter, none of them supported me. They were all against it. That was eight years ago, and the UFC wasn’t getting this type of media coverage (in Brazil).

“Actually, the only person who backed me up from the start was my father. He always motivated me. And when I was 18, two days before my professional debut, he passed away. He was the only one who supported me from the start.”

However, some quick success and prominence kept him motivated, and his family eventually warmed up to his career choice. Albini, who trains at OCS Jiu-Jitsu (John Lineker’s team), won his four four pro fights before back-to-back submissions loss from 2011-2012 – part of a tough run at light heavyweight that ultimately proved too much – slowed the hype. However, the heavyweight is now on a nine-fight winning streak with seven stoppages that opened the door to the UFC.

Now here, he’s got a tough test in Johnson, who’s No. 12 in the official UFC rankings (but unranked in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings). However, Albini knows he’s a bit of an unknown to Johnson, who’s unlikely to find much fight footage of the UFC newcomer, Albini said. Still, he expects a game opponent.

“He’s a difficult and awkward opponent because of his takedowns and pressure against the cage,” he said. “But in any fight, the matchup of different styles dictates how things play out. I believe he was a bad matchup against Marcin Tybura. Likewise, he lost to Jared Rosholt because he wasn’t used to that. So I’m betting on (the fact) I have a style Tim isn’t used to. I’m looking to take advantage of that.”

Now, he just wants to prove that his journey from dieter to MMA fighter was a wise one – and one that can support his own family.

“This is a chance of a lifetime, to give a better life for my wife and daughter,” he said. “I’m going to win or die. I’m very focused and highly confident that I’ll get the win.”

For more on UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie