Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen, Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov added to UFC 221 in Perth

The UFC’s debut event in Perth is beginning to take shape with the addition of its first two fights.

A flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga (20-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) and Ben Nguyen (17-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC), as well as a light heavyweight matchup between Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Saparbek Safarov (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), are set to go down at February’s UFC 221 event.

The fights were announced by thewest.com.au.

UFC 221 takes place Feb. 10 at Perth Arena. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Formiga has alternated wins and losses in his past five UFC fights. He’s coming off a first-round submission of Ulka Sasaki at UFC Fight Night 117 in September. He meets the streaking Nguyen, who has won 10 of his past 11 bouts and is coming off a 49-second submission of Tim Elliott at UFC Fight Night 110 in June.

Pedro, meanwhile, will attempt to rebound after experiencing his first pro loss against Ilir Latifi at UFC 215 in September. He clashes with Safarov, who will return to the octagon for the first time since losing a “Fight of the Night” against Gian Villante in his debut at UFC Fight Night 102 in December.

For more on UFC 221, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Japan winner Jussier Formiga wants title shot, and his reason is at least (somewhat) logical


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SAITAMA, Japan – Jussier Formiga looked nothing short of brilliant at UFC Fight Night 117.

Two minutes into his FXX-televised fight with Ulka Sasaki, Formiga (20-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) caught a kick and used it to land a solid punch. He then scooped up the taller Sasaki (20-5-2 MMA, 3-4 UFC) and took him to the canvas, where he exhibited excellent groundwork until sinking in a rear-naked choke to earn the submission win with 30 seconds remaining in the first round.

It was an overall impressive performance for Formiga, who afterward called for a flyweight title shot in front of the crowd at Saitama Super Arena. Backstage, he further made his case to MMAjunkie.

“Some of the guys that I beat got a chance (at the title),” Formiga said through an interpreter. “So I think it’s my time. But if the UFC decides not, I’m an employee of the company, and I’ll keep on fighting.”

Formiga, who’s 2-2 in his last four fights, holds wins over previous title contenders Wilson Reis and Chris Cariaso. Prior to defeating Sasaki, Formiga lost to Ray Borg, who’s next in line to face champ Demetrious Johnson at UFC 216.

Given the state of the division thanks to Johnson’s dominance and those two wins over Reis and Cariaso, to go along with Friday’s impressive win, why not Formiga next? Does he have a case?

To hear more from Formiga, watch the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 117 results: Jussier Formiga chokes out Ulka Sasaki in first round, calls for title shot

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With a brilliant first-round submission win, Jussier Formiga kept himself in the middle of the pack of flyweight title contenders.

Formiga (20-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) forced Ulka Sasaki (20-5-2 MMA, 3-4 UFC) to tap to a first-round rear-naked choke, then asked for a title shot next. Formiga got the finish with 30 seconds left in the first round.

The flyweight bout opened up the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 117 event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. It aired on FXX following prelims on the same channel.

Sasaki got off to a good start in the striking game, picking his shots – including some to the body, which kept Formiga a little hesitant to try to get inside. But two minutes in, Formiga caught a Sasaki kick and used it to land a solid punch.

With two minutes left, Formiga scooped the taller Sasaki up and took him to the canvas. He tried to pass from half-guard while eating short punches from Sasaki. But he brilliantly took Sasaki’s back and worked for a rear-naked choke with 75 seconds to get it done. He kept after it, wearing his Japanese opponent down. And finally, Sasaki had no choice but to tap with the choke deep under his chin.

Formiga got back in the win column after a decision loss to upcoming flyweight title challenger Ray Borg in March. Sasaki heads back to the loss column after a June win over Justin Scoggins. He has dropped two of his past three.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 117 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Japan.)

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

You can't always get what you want – but, with his UFC-Japan opponent, Jussier Formiga did

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UFC flyweight Jussier Formiga might be coming off a loss, but other than that, he has very few reasons to complain.

Formiga (19-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) meets Ulka Sasaki (20-4-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC) on Friday at UFC Fight Night 117, looking to rebound from a loss to Ray Borg in March. Like what happened when the Brazilian dropped a split decision to ex-title-challenger Henry Cejudo in 2015, Formiga’s loss to Borg came at a key time for a possible title push.

Incidentally, by getting a second straight win with the unanimous decision over Formiga, it was Borg who got a later-canceled UFC 215 title shot against kingpin Demetrious Johnson.

Formiga was, understandably, upset with the loss – for a little while. Then, he picked himself back up. Now he has quite a few reasons to feel motivated by the conditions of his approaching matchup.

“I asked for this fight,” Formiga told MMAjunkie ahead of the preliminary-card bout, which airs live on FXX from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. “I watched Sasaki’s last fight with (Justin) Scoggins – who was winning before Sasaki submitted him. I was excited about his fighting style. He’s good grappler who can handle himself on the ground.

“I asked the UFC for the fight, and thankfully they made it happen in Japan. I’m very excited. The battle continues. My goal is beating him, who comes off a win, and make my way back to the elite squad.”

Getting his wish of opponent granted, however, isn’t Formiga’s only cause for celebration. While some fighters are not exactly thrilled by the idea of traveling halfway across the world for a fight, Formiga is happy with his return to grounds that proved successful once.

Formiga, then an undefeated up-and-comer who’d had all of his six pro bouts in Brazil, met Shooto’s 123-pound world champion Shinichi Kojima in Tokyo in 2009. He  pulled off an upset then, walking away with an unanimous decision.

So it makes sense when Formiga says that, rather than intimidated, he’s simply all the more motivated by unfavorable conditions.

“The guys I beat in the UFC – I was always the underdog,” Formiga said. “And I love it. Rest assured it won’t affect me one bit. He’ll be fighting at home, with his crowd, but I like these challenges. I like going to my opponents’ homes and try to get the better of them and do my work.”

Formiga, who currently sits in the No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, has gone 1-2 in his past three octagon outings – with a unanimous decision win over Dustin Ortiz between the losses to top contenders Cejudo and Borg.

Sasaki, in turn, enters the bout with a most recent 2-1 UFC record –  a loss to former title challenger Wilson Reis sandwiched between the “Performance of the Night” over Scoggins and yet another submission over Willie Gates.

Clearly, Formiga isn’t dealing with a novice on the ground. Good thing, then, that that’s exactly why the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt wanted the meeting in the first place.

“I see him as a great athlete,” Formiga said. “He has a very unique game. He strikes, he’s very big for the division, and he can hold his own on the ground. He’s a good grappler.

“He likes doing a similar game than mine – moving on to the back. But that’s exactly why I asked for the fight.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Pair of bouts official for UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan

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September’s UFC Fight Night 117 lineup in Japan has two recent additions.

Earlier this week, officials announced flyweights Jussier Formiga (19-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) vs. Ulka Sasaki (20-4-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and strawweights Chan-Mi Jeon (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Syuri Kondo (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

UFC Fight Night 117 takes place Friday, Sept. 22 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Formiga, who’s No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, had won three straight fights to surge up the ranks. However, the 32-year-old Brazilian is just 1-2 since then with a decision victory over Dustin Ortiz sandwiched by losses to former title challenger Henry Cejudo and upcoming title challenger Ray Borg.

He meets Sasaki, a 27-year-old Japanese fighter who’s currently on a 2-1 run. In his most recent appearance, the former featherweight and bantamweight scored a submission victory over Justin Scoggins that earned “Performance of the Night” awards.

Jeon, meanwhile, is a 19-year-old Korean fighter who recently made a short-notice promotional debut and suffered a decision loss to J.J. Aldrich. It marked the first loss of her pro career, which began in 2015 with a 5-0 run with four knockouts. She now meets Syuri Kondo, a 28-year-old Japanese fighter (and pro wrestler, boxer and kickboxer) who made her pro MMA debut in 2016. She heads to the UFC with a perfect 5-0 record that features one knockout and four decision wins – all under the Pancrase banner.

The latest UFC Fight Night 117 card includes:

  • Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Ulka Sasaki
  • Henrique da Silva vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Chan-Mi Jeon vs. Syuri Kondo

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie