Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2569 with Justin Gaethje, Ali Abdelaziz, Andrew Simon

Stream or download Monday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Justin Gaethje, Ali Abdelaziz and Andrew Simon.

Gaethje stopped by to talk about coaching “The Ultimate Fighter 26,” as well his fight with Eddie Alvarez on Dec. 2 at UFC 218. Manager Abdelaziz dished on his stable of fighters, including Fabricio Werdum, Cody Garbrandt, Kamaru Usman, and Gaethje. Simon, CEO of AXS TV, co-hosted the entire episode in-studio.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Justin Gaethje, Ali Abdelaziz and Andrew Simon

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Justin Gaethje, Ali Abdelaziz and Andrew Simon – all in studio.

Gaethje fights fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 26” head coach Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218 on Dec. 2. Abdelaziz manages many of the sport’s top stars, and Simon is head of AXS TV Fights, home to LFA, CES MMA and other promotions.

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 www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 10 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens by immediately jumping into weigh-ins for the third quarterfinal matchup, which pits #2 Barb Honchak of Team Alvarez against #10 Rachael Ostovich of Team Gaethje.

At the weigh-in, Honchak and Ostovich come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows, and the first quarterfinal tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Honchak and Ostovich head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs, including head coached Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#2 Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. #10 Rachael Ostovich (3-3)

Round 1 – Honchak is tentative with her strikes early on as Ostovich moves around the octagon. Both fighters exchange, but nothing lands clean. Ostovich connects with a counter-left. Honchak is beginning to land with her punches but Ostovich is avoiding her big shots. Honchak initiates a clinch and presses Ostovich against the fence. She works on a trip takedown but Ostovich fends her off and lands a hard right hand on the break. Honchak shoots for a single leg takedown and manages to put Ostovich on the mat. Ostovich gives up her back, stands up and escapes to freedom. Ostovich lands an uppercut, right hand combination and is beginning to gain confidence. Honchak shoots for another single leg takedown, but Ostovich denies the initial entry and keeps her opponent away until the end of the round.

Round 2 – Ostovich lands a right hand to open the round, but Honchak doesn’t appear to be phased. They exchange and Honchak lands a clean punch. Ostovich connects in the midst of a combination but Honchak charges forward with a takedown attempt. She briefly puts the fight on the ground but Ostovich stands right back up. Honchak keeps the pressure on and takes Ostovich down again. Ostovich gives up her back and Honchak begins to work for a rear-naked choke. She gives up on it and throws strikes, but provides enough space that Ostovich can stand up. Honchak forces the fight back to the mat and takes the back once again. Honchak is riding the position and landing more strikes while working for the finish. Honchak continues to dominate the spot until the end of the round.

Barb Honchak def. Rachael Ostovich via unanimous decision

“That title feels attainable,” Honchak says after her victory. “It feels like I’m getting close to what I’m here for.”

Focus immediately shifts to the fourth and final quarterfinal matchup, which pits #6 Montana Stewart against fellow Team Gaethje fighter, #14 Nicco Montano.

At the weigh-in, Stewart and Montano come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows, and the first quarterfinal tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Stewart and Montano head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#6 Montana Stewart (7-4) vs. #14 Nicco Montano (3-2)

Round 1 – Both fighters miss big with early shots but begin to settle into proper striking range. Stewart catches a kick from Montano and attempts to get a takedown, but Montano denies her entry. Stewart pushes her opponent against the fence and is working to put the fight on the canvas. Montano reverses the position before breaking free, and matchup returns to striking range. Montano lands a solid leg kick and Montano fires back a hard right hand. Montano is using good movement while mixing in kicks. Stewart is applying pressure and looking to land heavier shots. Both fighters land during a clinch exchange. Montano sticks Stewart with a hard right hand and is now the one controlling the pace. Montano nearly slips on a takedown and Stewart looks to capitalize. Montano springs back to her feet while Stewart attempts to move the fight to the mat again. Montano shows stellar defense, avoiding takedowns form the clinch and landing hard knees to the body and head of her opponent. A massive cut opens on Stewart’s forehead and that only encourages Montano to pour on more strikes from the clinch until the end of the round.

Round 2 – Montano continues to apply the pressure as the round begins, attacking Stewart with punches and kicks to the body. Montano counters with a solid right hand and starts to pressure with her open attacks. Montano shoots for a takedown but Stewart locks on a tight guillotine that has Montano in danger. Montano stays calm and maneuvers into side control. Montano attacks with short shots and Stewart is gushing blood. Montano postures up and is connecting clean from inside the guard against an exhausted Stewart. Stewart is desperately attempting to roll into a better position but Montano is riding her hard from on top and connecting with heavy shots. Stewart attempts to stand up but eats a crushing elbow in response. Stewart attempts to isolate an arm but Montano won’t give up an inch and is completely dominating the action. Stewart is doing everything she can to stand up and finally goes. She eats a pair of knees to the head for her troubles and her face is completely coated with blood. Montano finally breaks free of the clinch, but she has nothing left in the final seconds before time expires.

Nicco Montano def. Montana Stewart via unanimous decision

“I felt awesome,” Montano says after her victory. “I have one more week left here in the TUF house. If I can keep on keeping on until the end, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

With Montano’s victory, the tournament semifinal matchups are now set and will unfold as follows:

Bracket A

  • #1 Roxanne Modafferi (Team Gaethje) vs. #12 Sijara Eubanks (Team Alvarez)

Bracket B

  • #2 Barb Honchak (Team Alvarez) vs. #14 Nicco Montano (Team Gaethje)

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Episode No. 9 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with the fighters getting ready to turn the page to the quarterfinal round. First, though, is some entertainment outside the house.

UFC President Dana White rents the coaches and cast members a boat for a tour of Lake Las Vegas. The fighters are able to blow off some steam before the competition resumes.

Preparation for the quarterfinals begins, and in the first matchup No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi meets No. 8 Emily Whitmire. Both are members of Team Gaethje, and coach Justin Gaethje decides he’s going to remove himself from preparation of both fighters. Instead, the assistant coaches are divided to benefit both.

Modafferi believes her experience and well rounded ability are going to lead her to victory, and she hopes to debut a special spinning backfist in the matchup.

At the weigh-in, Modafferi and Whitmire come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A respectful staredown follows, and the first quarterfinal tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Modafferi and Whitmire head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#1 Roxanne Modafferi (21-13) vs. #8 Emily Whitmire (2-1)

Round 1 – They get into a early exchange, but nothing lands clean. Whitmire starts landing the jab and her straight right. Modafferi is standing in the pocket and pressuring with kicks and her jab. Both fighters connect with punches. Modafferi goes for a spinning backfist, but Whitmire gets out of the way and moves into a body lock position. She’s holding Modafferi against the fence and attempts to drag the fight to the ground. Modafferi keeps upright and eventually reverses the position. Modafferi lands some knees to the body and trips Whitmire down to the canvas. Modafferi is working from half guard before finally advancing to mount. Whitmire gives up her back and Modafferi begins to work for the rear-naked choke. Whitmire attempts to scramble free, but Modafferi keeps control and ends up in the mount. Modafferi begins to land some heavy elbows from on top, forcing Whitmire to give up her back again. Modafferi opens up with more heavy shots just as the 10-second warning sounds. The referee gives a warning to Whitmire to escape, but she’s can’t. Modafferi lands more shots and gets the stoppage with one second remaining.

Roxanne Modafferi def. Emily Whitmire via TKO (punches, elbows) – Round 1

“I feel awesome right now,” Modafferi says after becoming the first fighter to advance to the semifinals. “I feel very proud of myself for my fight. I feel I showcased some of my standup, good movement, and I’m just happy I could get the win. This is my third mount TKO in a row.”

Whitmire is emotional after the fight and blames herself for the outcome, saying she was hoping the fight would be stopped because she didn’t want to fight a second round. Whitmire says she needs to “work on digging in and figuring it out.”

With the first quarterfinal matchup in the books, focus shifts to the second quarterfinal match. This time it’s Team Alvarez teammates who face off, with No. 4 DeAnna Bennett scheduled to take on No. 12 Sijara Eubanks.

Bennett and Eubanks are friends and roommates in the house. They aren’t thrilled over the fact they have to fight each other.

During practice, coach Eddie Alvarez tells Bennett and Eubanks he’s not going to help either of them prepare for the upcoming fight. Similar to Team Gaethje, he will remove himself from the situation and allow the assistant coaches to provide help for each side.

A familiar narrative begins to emerge with Eubanks as the fight gets closer. She’s physically the largest athlete in the tournament and nearly missed weight for her opening-round bout. The cut goes well until the final moments, where there’s serious doubt about whether Eubanks will shed her final pound.

At the official weigh-in, Bennett comes in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. Eubanks, however, comes in at 126.75 pounds on her first attempt. Team Gaethje’s Lauren Murphy immediately jumps in the sauna and begins losing weight in the event Eubanks can’t fight.

Eubanks enters the sauna and forces Murphy to leave because it’s Team Alvarez’s training time. That flares up another conflict between Murphy and coach Alvarez, but Murphy decides to use alternative methods of cutting weight.

At the end of the one-hour weigh-in period, Eubanks makes her second weigh-in attempt. Eubanks hits the 126-pound flyweight limit, and the matchup with Bennett is now official. A friendly staredown follows.

Fight day arrives. Bennett and Eubanks head to the TUF gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#4 DeAnna Bennett (8-3) vs. #12 Sijara Eubanks (2-2)

Round 1 – Eubanks opens with a hard right hand. Bennett is being mobile and uses good foot movements to evade the heavy shots with her speed. Bennett presses forward and tags Eubanks with a combination. Bennett forces her way into the clinch but breaks away with a knee. Bennett sneaks an uppercut inside, but as she moves away Eubanks throws a right hand that misses. She follows with a perfect left high kick that lands clean to the side of the head. Bennett goes down hard, and Eubanks walks off with the brutal highlight-reel knockout.

Sijara Eubanks def. DeAnna Bennett via knockout (head kick) – Round 1

“I got one more fight (in) this house, and I’m through the roof,” Eubanks says after her victory. “Every time I hit a challenge, I have a rough weight cut. I fight. I had a rough weight cut, and I fight. This time it’s coming together. It feels like the suns and the moons and the stars are lining up in my favor, and I just feel so unstoppable right now. I’m so pumped.”

After the fight, Modafferi, who will fight Eubanks in the semifinal round, approaches her upcoming opponent and tells her “I was really impressed with your technique. I’m really looking forward to fighting you.”

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Excited about Rose Namajunas' UFC title win? You've got nothing on Justin Gaethje

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Dann StuppIf you think you were excited about Rose Namajunas’ title win at Saturday’s UFC 217 event, you’ve got nothing on Justin Gaethje.

Following UFC 217, where Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) dethroned strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) with a dominant first-round TKO, Gaethje shared a celebratory video.

The UFC lightweight contender didn’t hold back with an emotional outburst following his teammate’s victory over previously undefeated Jedrzejczyk (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“Oh my God, I’m (expletive) crying right now,” Gaethje says in the video. “Ahh! Believe in yourself! Oh, Rose is my (expletive) hero and idol. Oh my God! (Expletive) yeah!”

Heading into the event, which aired on pay-per-view from Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, Jedrzejczyk was a massive 8-1 favorite, and she had turned up the pre-fight trash-talk throughout the week. Namajunas, though, took the high road.

“There’s just been a lot of trash-talking,” Namajunas said after UFC 217. “People aren’t really being true to themselves or honest. Maybe that’s just what they feel they need to do to entertain, but I’m kind of sick of it. I’m sick of all the hate and anger. I feel like we have a duty as fighters to try to be a better example.”

Meanwhile, Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who’s No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, meets former champ and No. 5-ranked Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit.

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

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

Episode No. 8 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with fight preparation for No. 9 seed Christina Marks of Team Alvarez, who fights No. 8 Emily Whitmire of Team Gaethje in the final opening-round tournament bout.

With Team Gaethje ahead 4-3 in wins so far in the tourney, it’s up to Marks to get a victory and even the playing field for Team Alvarez going into the next round.

Coach Eddie Alvarez has high praise for Marks’ striking but admits that, similar to several other fighters in the tournament, she doesn’t have much grappling or ground skills. Nevertheless, Alvarez said he can guide his fighter to victory.

Back at the “TUF” house, Team Alvarez’s Lauren Murphy is still fuming over her negative interactions with her head coach following her loss earlier in the season. She is debating putting in a request to switch teams and start training with Team Gaethje.

The next day, Murphy arrives at the gym and announces she wants to be part of Team Gaethje. Coach Justin Gaethje and his staff immediately welcome Murphy with open arms, and training gets off to a smooth start.

As Whitmire begins to turn up the intensity in training, she’s also being cautious not to agitate a rib injury that’s been lingering since early in the competition. Whitmire has the support of her good friend and former UFC champion Miesha Tate, who is in the gym as a guest coach. Tate agrees to corner Whitmire for her fight.

Once Team Gaethje finishes training and Team Alvarez arrives at the gym, Murphy takes coach Alvarez aside for a personal conversation. She tells him she’s been frustrated and thinks it would be better for her situation to move to the other team. The news doesn’t sit well with Alvarez, and he tells the rest of his fighters that a “cancer” and “disease” was just cut out of the team.

With that drama aside, it’s time for one of the most anticipated events of each season: the coaches’ challenge. For the first time in the history of the reality series, the coaches will face off in a swimming competition. Coaches Alvarez and Gaethje will have to swim 16 lengths in a 50-meter pool (Olympic-size). The winner gets $10,000, and $1,500 for each member of his team.

Both men are concerned about how they will perform in the race. Gaethje gets off to a quick start while Alvarez opts to pace himself. His strategy begins to pay dividends, and Gaethje slows down significantly after just a few laps. Alvarez takes over and wins in lopsided fashion, but Gaethje is determined to finish the race despite being blown out.

At the weigh-in, Marks and Whitmire come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. An intense staredown follows, and the eighth opening-round tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Marks and Whitmire head to the TUF Gym for their fight. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

No. 8 Emily Whitmire (2-1) vs. No. 9 Christina Marks (8-8)

Round 1 – Whitmire open by faking an overhand right then immediately shooting in for a takedown. She puts Marks on her back less than five seconds in and establishes half guard. Whitmire attempts to advances while Marks is looking to scramble and give up her back. Whitmire gets too high and falls over the top, but before Marks can escape, Whitmire locks on an armbar. She adjusts position and forces Marks to verbally submit, ending the shortest fight of the season.

Emily Whitmire def. Christina Marks via verbal submission (armbar) – Round 1

“There’s no words to describe the emotion I’m feeling right now,” Whitmire says afterward. “I couldn’t be happier with myself and with the team. Everything just worked out perfect.”

Team Gaethje takes a 5-3 lead in the competition with Whitmire’s victory. The opening round of the tournament has come to its conclusion, meaning the quarterfinals are up next. The quarterfinal matchups are set, and the field shakes out as follows:

Bracket A

  • No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi (Team Gaethje) vs. No. 8 Emily Whitmire (Team Gaethje)
  • No.  4 DeAnna Bennett (Team Alvarez) vs. No. 12 Sijara Eubanks (Team Alvarez)

Bracket B

  • No.  2 Barb Honchak (Team Alvarez) vs. No. 10 Rachael Ostovich (Team Gaethje)
  • No. 6 Montana Stewart (Team Gaethje) vs. No. 14 Nicco Montano (Team Gaethje)

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mairbek Taisumov uses Donald Trump-inspired cartoon on Twitter to call out top UFC lightweights

With five finishes in a row, UFC lightweight Mairbek Taisumov is raring to fight somebody in the top 10.

Taisumov made that very clear with his epic callout of the division following his one-punch knockout of Felipe Silva at UFC Fight Night 115 last month, pointing out specific fighters who have dodged him. One thing standing in Taisumov’s way of top competition is issues with his visa, which has prevented him from fighting in the U.S. That naturally limits Taisumov’s opportunity to land a big-name opponent.

And so, with that in mind, take a look at this incredible Donald Trump-inspired cartoon Taisumov (26-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) shared today on Twitter:

That, my friends, is just … 

via GIPHY

Politically charged MMA trash talk. Who knew!

For the record, if you’re wondering who that is in the cartoon, this how I see it:

The only issue, of course, is that McGregor and Barboza are included, which doesn’t jive with the “their own president” remark in the tweet since they aren’t American.

Doesn’t matter, though. This is still perfect.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

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

Episode No. 7 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion'

Episode No. 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” opens with UFC President Dana White making a surprise visit to the TUF house, much to the excitement of the athletes.

White shows his special edition BMW to Lauren Murphy and a few other cast members. He also tours the house and interacts with all the fighters from both teams. He provides some words of encouragement to the fighters as the competition nears its midway point.

Focus shifts to fight preparation for the seventh opening-round tournament bout, which pits No. 7 Melinda Fabian of Team Alvarez and No. 10 Rachael Ostovich of Team Gaethje.

Fabian has been dealing with injury issues to her leg in the lead-up to her fight. She’s attempting to tweak and minimize her training in the final days before she steps in the octagon. Coach Eddie Alvarez attempts to keep Fabian confident and says he views her as the best striker in the competition.

Ostovich is aware her striking is likely a level below that of Fabian, but coach Justin Gaethje believes Ostovich’s background in judo and wrestling will be a huge difference-maker.

At the weigh-in, Fabian and Ostovich come in under the 126-pound flyweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, and the seventh opening-round tournament bout is official.

Fight day arrives. Fabian and Ostovich head to the TUF gym. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms with their respective coaching staffs before making the walk to the octagon. They enter the cage, and the next tournament fight is underway.

#7 Melinda Fabian (4-3-1) vs. #10 Rachael Ostovich (3-3)

Round 1 – Both fighters show a lot of faints to start the bout. Ostovich lands an inside leg kick followed by a jab. Fabian lands a hard right hand, and Ostovich lands with a counter-hook. Ostovich lands a clean overhand right that backs up Fabian. Ostovich stays patient and connects with a leg kick. Ostovich scores with a another combination. Fabian nearly lands a head kick and begins to apply better pressure. She eats another hard punch, though, and Ostovich evades. Ostovich’s jab is on point and she’s picking Fabian apart. Fabian’s moving forward but is throwing almost nothing. Ostovich shoots for a double-leg takedown and easily puts Fabian on her back. Fabian attempts to scramble free but Ostovich jumps on the back. She gets back mount and has Fabian flattened out. She postures up and lands several hard punches before locking in a rear-naked choke that forces Fabian to tap out.

Rachael Ostovich def. Melinda Fabian via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1

Ostovich is thrilled with the extremely one-sided performance.

“I feel great,” A thrilled Ostovich says. “I’m very, very happy, but it’s nothing that I hadn’t already seen in my head. Everything went as I planned it. … Celebration for a little while, take some time to congratulate myself and the hard work I put in, then on to the next.”

Team Gaethje takes a 4-3 lead in the competition with Ostovich’s victory. Only one opening-round fight remains, and it will see No. 8 Emily Whitmire of Team Gaethje take on No. 9 Christina Marks of Team Alvarez.

Also see:

Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 26: A New World Champion” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Why UFC 218's Justin Gaethje is publicly declaring short-notice fights are a no-no

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – A lot of big UFC opportunities have been earned through short-notice fights. And more than a few dreams have been dashed.

Lightweight standout Justin Gaethje doesn’t want to wind up in the latter situation. As frenzied as he is in the octagon, he attributes his success to long training camps. He wants it to stay that way as his UFC career develops.

Should he find himself winning the lightweight-title sweepstakes, he’d like to think he could say no. But just to provide a little extra incentive, he recently declared it to reporters.

“The effort I put in, I expect myself to have eight to 12 weeks of preparation, and that’s the way I do things,” said Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who next faces Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. “So I hope to never make the mistake – I just want to put it on the record for myself, to look back on – that I hope I never make the mistake of taking a last-second fight. Because inside, I would want to. But it shouldn’t happen.”

Gaethje, the No. 3 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, spoke to reporters backstage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It was prior to the pay-per-view event’s headliner, an interim lightweight title fight between No. 2 Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and No. 8 Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC). He hinted one was about to deliver a boring performance. With Lee enduring a brutal weight cut, the likelihood of a lay-and-pray snoozer seemed high, which invited the question of what the promotion would do when undisputed champ and No. 1 ranked lightweight Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) returned.

“I think the name of this game is not how you win; obviously, you have to win,” he said of Ferguson and Lee. “But it’s how you win. These guys are going to come in tonight, and if there’s a decision or they have a boring decision … they’re not going to come out with any negotiating tactics.”

As it turned out, Ferguson and Lee put on a spirited fight. Lee nearly put away Ferguson in the first round before running out of energy, allowing Ferguson to take over and secure a submission in the third round.

Now, UFC President Dana White maintains Ferguson is the No. 1 contender to unify the belt against McGregor. But between the Irishman’s mercurial relationship with the promotion and the constant threat of injury withdrawal, there’s a lot to prevent that fight from happening. There’s a chance Gaethje could win that sweepstakes if he puts away No. 5-ranked Alvarez.

A fight with the UFC’s biggest box-office star is a temptation hardly any fighter could resist. Maybe that’s why Gaethje won’t entirely swear off short-notice. Instead, he’ll leave himself a public reminder.

Perhaps then, he won’t let it dictate the shape of his career.

“I’m going to go in there and finish Eddie absolutely as fast as possible,” he said. “I deserve a shot at the championship if I keep beating these guys. So I hope I earn that. I will earn it. I think Conor’s going to make somebody earn it. These boys tonight, I hope they put on a show for us. But I have a feeling one of them just wants to win.

“I don’t want to win. I want to put on a show. I want to be the most violent lightweight in the world. And if I have to go through one of these guys after I beat Eddie, I will. But I’m going to be running for sheriff around here.”

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Eddie Alvarez talks 'TUF 26' gripe with Lauren Murphy – and lack of heat with Justin Gaethje

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Eddie Alvarez has no qualms with fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 26” coach Justin Gaethje, who he thinks is a “hell of a human being.” But that’s not to say his “TUF” stint has been beef-free.

Rather than fellow lightweight Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), whom he’s set to meet at UFC 218, Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) had some drama with “Team Alvarez” team member and UFC flyweight Lauren Murphy. That much was clear on episode No. 5, in which the coach was clearly peeved by Murphy’s decision to not show up for morning practice following a loss to Nicco Montano.

That did take place. But the real reasons for the riff, Alvarez later told MMAjunkie Radio, went far beyond that particular disagreement.

“The story that’s being told in the media is basically: I’m a bad guy because I wanted someone back in the gym immediately after their fight,” Alvarez said. “And that was barely my gripe with that girl, in particular. That was the smalls thing that I didn’t like that was done that she did. I would also have to agree with you guys, to give somebody time off.

“I did want everyone back in the gym just to keep – personally, I did. But that was barely my gripe. My real gripe with that girl was that at that the first day, almost, she conspired against (Sijara Eubanks). Immediately, she was like, ‘We don’t care if ‘Sarj’ is 150 pounds.’ We – she’s speaking for the whole team now. And we just created the team.

“She goes, ‘We don’t care if ‘Sarj’ is 150 pounds. You can put her out first. It’s her fault she’s not prepared.’ So I was like, ‘Wow.’ Coach Marlon (Moraes) came to me and said, ‘Lauren said she don’t care if we put out ‘Sarj.” And this is in the mist of me, Mark and Marlon trying to put together a solid roster and win this thing. So I’m like, ‘No, that ain’t going to happen.’ I understand maybe she feels threatened by ‘Sarj,’ but ‘Sarj’ is on our team.”

And that wasn’t the last time Alvarez was under the impression that Murphy was “conspiring” against her teammates. A few days later, when the bracket went up, he said the flyweight came “in a panic” looking for advice on how to prepare for fellow Team Alvarez member Barb Honchak.

“She starts, ‘Hey, can you help me with a takedown, to take Barb down?’” Alvarez said. “I’m like, ‘Lauren, slow down. You have to fight Team Gaethje first.’ She still hasn’t fought her first fight against Nicco, and she’s already conspired twice or three times against everyone from Team Alvarez.

“I understand it’s Team Lauren Murphy because only one girl can win this, but it’s got to be one step at a time. Let’s beat Team Gaethje. Let’s get to the semifinals. Even then it’s bad to conspire, but let’s conspire then. Let’s take one thing at a time. There was a lot of bad energy, bad vibes when I’m trying to create a team.”

As for the missing practice thing that seemed like such a big deal on TV?

“(Expletive), it was a good thing she missed practice,” Alvarez said. “Her attitude sucked. It was probably a good thing, at the end of the day. I could care less about the practice.”

Talking to MMAFighting.com, Murphy denied conspiring against her teammates, saying Alvarez assumed “I was being an (expletive), because he’s an (expletive), and that’s the way he thinks.” She also blogged about the missed-practice situation, throwing some shade in the process.

“Besides, I’m pretty sure Eddie didn’t go running to the gym the day after Conor McGregor knocked him out so he could help his teammates get ready for their fights,” Murphy wrote (via Twitter):

Although things got rocky with one of his team members, Alvarez had no issues with the man he’s supposed to fight on Dec. 2 at UFC 218. The former UFC and Bellator champion, who’s hopped around promotions throughout his career, had become familiar with ex-WSOF champ Gaethje a few years ago – when he was considering fighting for the organization (now referred at as PFL).

A few months ago, when Gaethje joined the UFC, Alvarez said they shared a friendly conversation. And while it’s common for tempers to flare between rival coaches after a few weeks of competition, Alvarez said the amicable relationship continued throughout taping.

“He’s always been a cool cat,” Alvarez said. “I wish I could bring up some beef for you guys and say I smacked him in the face or I shoved him. But there wasn’t much drama to be told on that level.

“He’s actually a hell of a human being. And he fights like a demon. So it was all good on that level.”

It doesn’t take getting to know Gaethje on a personal level to agree with the “fighting like a demon” bit. After tearing through his competition at his former WSOF home, the aggressive lightweight put on a wild scrap with Michael Johnson to kick off his UFC stint.

While Alvarez has also been known to engage on a few barnburners, he’s also shown he can show some restraint should the occasion call. So which one can we expect to square off against Gaethje?

Well, Alvarez has some encouraging news.

“What I’m trying to do is not let a couple of punches go by before that comes out,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to do a full round in the back, and I’ll be out hot. I’m going to come out of the tunnel hot. And we’re going to get right to it, right from the gate.

“More than jiu-jitsu, striking, boxing, whatever aspect of this game you want to talk about. More than anything, that’s the aspect I’ve been working on. If I can explain it, just not giving a (expletive). That’s what I’m working on.”

To hear from Alvarez, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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