Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura targeted for UFC Fight Night 126 in February

A heavyweight showdown is on the horizon in Texas.

The UFC is targeting Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura for UFC Fight Night 126, two people with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie. They requested anonymity because an announcement has yet to be made.

UFC Fight Night 126 takes place Feb. 18 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. It will air on FS1 following prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Both Lewis  (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) and Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) will aim to rebound from losses. In the case of Lewis, he’ll be looking to show he’s 100 percent healthy.

Lewis, No. 12 in the current USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, was supposed to fight title contender Fabricio Werdum in October at UFC 216. Lewis, however, withdrew on the day of the fight because of issues with his previously injured back.

Lewis last fought in June, losing the “Fight of the Night” to Mark Hunt via TKO at UFC Fight Night 110. The loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for Lewis, who said immediately afterward he would retire before changing his mind.

Tybura, meanwhile, will be coming off a five-round unanimous-decision loss to Werdum in the UFC Fight Night 121 headliner earlier this month. That snapped Tybura’s three-fight winning streak.

With the addition, the UFC Fight Night 126 lineup includes:

  • Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Not to toot his own horn, but Fabricio Werdum knows his UFC title-shot credentials are best

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SYDNEY – Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum wants a title shot after picking up his second victory in a 42-day stretch. His argument? No one in the weight class is more deserving.

“I feel for sure I deserve it,” Werdum told MMAjunkie following his unanimous decision win over Marcin Tybura in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 headliner. “It’s not just now for this fight and my last fight. I’ve beat a lot of guys – Fedor Emelianenko, Cain Velasquez, Minotauro (Nogueira). I have a history. For 20 years I’ve been fighting. Not just now. I have two belts in my home. Only one fighter in the world is a jiu-jitsu champion, a submission champion and a UFC champion. It’s me.

“I don’t like when I say that, but I know this is true for sure. Given the opportunity I just want to show again. One more belt on my wall at home, I will stop after that. No, no, I’m joking.”

Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC) beat Marcin Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in lopsided fashion in the UFC Fight Night 121 main event, which took place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney and aired on FS1. “Vai Cavalo” stepped into the fight as a short-notice replacement after beating Walt Harris by 65-second submission at UFC 216 in October, and he managed to put on another strong performance.

As a former titleholder with wins over a bevy of competition, Werdum believes he should be next to challenge current heavyweight king Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC). The Brazilian lost the title to Miocic by first-round knockout at UFC 198 in May 2016 and has been working toward a rematch ever since.

Currently, the winner of next month’s UFC 218 co-headliner between Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) figures to fight for the belt. Despite the fact he suffered a majority-decision loss to Overeem at UFC 213 in July, Werdum believes his overall resume is stronger than anyone. He’s willing to continue to fight to prove it and hopes the UFC keeps him active.

“I want to fight more,” Werdum said. “Long time ago I’ve been waiting one year for a fight. Why am I waiting like six months, seven months? I want to fight more. I want to fight maybe five times a year. This fight (Alistair) Overeem vs. Francis (Ngannou), I don’t think Francis deserves it yet because he just started (MMA) now. Overeem has a big history, too, but I think I deserve the title shot. I just want the opportunity.”

One person Werdum said he wouldn’t fight next is Derrick Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC), who he was scheduled to fight at UFC 216 before “The Black Beast” withdrew on fight day due to injury. Werdum said he doesn’t want to try running that fight back but also wouldn’t name any potential next opponents outside the champion.

After a quick turnaround and high-paced fight with Tybura over five rounds, Werdum said he looks forward to a brief rest, and praised his UFC Fight Night 121 opponent for the challenging scrap.

“I’m very tired, because it’s five rounds, five minutes,” Werdum said. “Tybura is a very tough fighter. I know this before. He’s a very young guy. He deserves it. I used my experience there. Everybody saw that. I tried to finish the fight a lot of times. He had good defense.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Twitter reacts to Fabricio Werdum's dominant win over Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 121

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum continued to roll on Saturday when he picked up his second victory in a 42-day span, beating Marcin Tybura in the UFC Fight Night 121 main event.

Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC) turned in a dominant unanimous-decision win over Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the FS1-televised headliner at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, improving his chances at possibly regaining the gold.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Werdum’s victory over Tybura at UFC Fight Night 121.

* * * *

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 121 results: Fabricio Werdum outlasts Marcin Tybura for 25-minute decision

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Not many were expecting Saturday’s heavyweight main event to go the distance. But that’s just what it did.

Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 13-4 UFC) and Marcin Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) went five rounds, and it was Brazil’s Werdum, a former UFC heavyweight champion, who took the unanimous decision with a pair of 50-45s and a 49-46 from the judges.

Werdum-Tybura wrapped up a 13-fight card that proved to be the longest 13-fight event in UFC history when it comes to total fight time – which surpassed three hours.

The heavyweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Werdum went to the center, then countered a leg kick from Tybura with one of his own. A minute in, Werdum pushed Tybura back with punches, then reset in the middle. Werdum stayed patient, and just past two minutes into the round landed some Thai knees and punches. Tybura kicked up the middle, then glanced a left hand off Werdum’s chin. With 90 seconds left, Werdum landed a combination and had Tybura backing up. Werdum easily got inside and tied Tybura up on the fence. With 20 seconds left, Werdum got a takedown – but Tybura reversed it before the round was over.

Werdum and Tybura worked kicks early in the second. A minute in, Werdum nearly landed a jumping knee. The pace wasn’t too heavy, and nearly midway through, Tybura landed a solid head kick. But just past the two-minute mark, Werdum chased Tybura down. With 25 seconds left, Werdum started to have some success with punches and kicks, but Tybura lived to see the third.

Tybura had a head kick partially blocked in the third, then landed a short uppercut when Werdum landed a knee. A jumping knee from Werdum was just off the mark three minutes in. Werdum missed a spinning back fist with 80 seconds left, but came formward with knees and punches to the body. With a minute left in the round, Werdum landed knees against a near frozen Tybura, but Tybura survived the brief attack.

Werdum kept outworking Tybura in the fourth. At the midway point, he finally landed a takedown and started smashing elbows down. Werdum worked around to side control and went after an armbar. But Tybura scrambled out and ate a knee for his troubles. Werdum had a guillotine choke late in teh round, but it was too late. Werdum may have held the choke too long past the buzzer – angering Tybura and ihs cornermen.

In the fifth, Tybura rocked Werdum in the first minute, but Werdum worked through it. A head kick came 90 seconds in, and again Werdum walked past it. With a minute left, Werdum tried to bring some pressure, but he couldn’t find the finish.

Werdum won for the second straight time and third time in three fights since losing the heavyweight title in May 2016. Tybura hada three-fight winning streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 121 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Sydney.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

Who ya got?! Fighters weigh in on Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura at UFC-Sydney

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SYDNEY – A former champion continues his quest to get back to heavyweight title contention in the UFC Fight Night 121 main event.

Ex-champ Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) meets Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 121, which takes place Sunday (but airs live on Saturday in North America due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Werdum is No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings. Tybura is an honorable mention. Werdum is more than a 3-1 favorite in the fight.

But who are some of their fellow UFC-Sydney fighters picking in the main event? Check out the video above to get their picks.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 121 media day face-offs: Sorry, there were no boomerangs

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SYDNEY – While former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has been involved in the biggest headlines surrounding this week’s UFC Fight Night 121 event in Australia, “Vai Cavalo” was a bit more subdued on stage today when standing across from opponent Marcin Tybura.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Saturday (Sunday locally) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Standing in stark contrast to this week’s hotel-lobby clash, Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) were respectful during a quick meeting on stage at a ballroom inside this week’s host hotel. The same stood for the session’s other featured athletes, including Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Daniel Kelly (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), Alex Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Shane Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Rashad Coulter (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Tai Tuivasa (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

Check out the video above to see this week’s media day face-offs.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Marcin Tybura sees major opportunity in UFC-Sydney headliner vs. Fabricio Werdum

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SYDNEY – Marcin Tybura’s training camp already was underway when the UFC sort of pulled the rug out from underneath him.

Citing “medical concerns,” the promotion pulled Mark Hunt from the UFC Fight Night 121 headliner and replaced him with Fabricio Werdum, a drastic change in opponent in terms of fighting style. Tybura didn’t mind, though, feeling like he still had plenty of time to alter his preparation.

“It was a big change, because he’s a completely different fighter from Mark Hunt,” Tybura told MMAjunkie on Thursday. “Coaches just came up with a new plan with new stuff. There was lots of ideas. … They’ve experienced lots of opponents changing short notice. (This) wasn’t really short notice, because it was still six weeks to go. So, we changed the plan and started to prepare for Fabricio.”

Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) will meet in the FS1-televised UFC Fight Night 121 headliner on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Sydney) from Qudos Bank Arena.

For Werdum, it’s a rather quick turnaround. He competed just last month at UFC 216, where he submitted Walt Harris with an armbar in just 65 seconds. Werdum accepted the fight with Tybura just three days later.

The fight with Werdum is the biggest of Tybura’s career. For starters, it’s Tybura’s first UFC main event. And the change in booking from Hunt to Werdum means Tybura, who’s No. 8 in the official UFC rankings, jumps up from originally facing the No. 5 fighter to No. 2.

Tybura naturally is the underdog, and he’s quite comfortable with that.

“I feel good as the underdog,” Tybura said. “That’s what it takes to climb to the top. You’re always the underdog. If you want to challenge yourself, you pick the better opponents, and you want to climb the ladder to beat the best fighters in the world.”

Werdum presents a major challenge with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which goes back to how Tybura adjusted his preparation some six weeks ago. He’s confident with the fight going anywhere – even down to the mat.

“I think I can survive there,” Tybura said. “That’s really what the thing is. This is my first fight where my opponent is a better grappler. That’s something new for me. I know he’s a good striker, as well. He’s well rounded. For sure it’s the hardest fight in my career. But I think I can handle the fight in all of the aspects. … There’s danger with everything. I just need to be focused.”

To hear more from Tybura, check out our one-on-one interview with him above, as well as his open workouts scrum below.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Fabricio Werdum not so sure Alistair Overeem-Francis Ngannou winner deserves UFC title shot

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SYDNEY – The prevailing notion is that the winner of next month’s UFC 218 showdown between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou will be at the front of the line for a shot at Stipe Miocic’s heavyweight championship.

Fabricio Werdum, however, sees things differently.

“I think I deserve it,” Werdum on Wednesday told MMAjunkie in Sydney.

When Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) says he deserves it, of course, that’s assuming he defeats Marcin Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the FS1-televised main event of UFC Fight Night 121 on Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena. Prelims air on FS1 followed by early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Since May of last year, when he lost the title to Miocic, Werdum has alternated losses and wins, and that includes dropping a majority decision to Overeem in July at UFC 213. Most recently, though, Werdum easily dispatched Walt Harris last month, submitting him in 65 seconds at UFC 216.

As impressive as it was, the win over Harris didn’t do Werdum any favors the way a win over Derrick Lewis – who withdrew the day of the fight – would have. But for Werdum, his case as to why he’s deserving of the title shot with a win over Tybura doesn’t come down to just one performance.

“It’s not just about my last fight,” said Werdum, who’s ranked No. 2 in the official UFC rankings. “I think about everything in my career – 20 years of history. I don’t know. I’m just waiting.”

Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), officially ranked No. 4, recently told MMAjunkie Radio that he believes a win against No. 1 Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) definitely will earn him the next title shot, a claim that Werdum is likely to take issue with considering “The Predator’s” relative inexperience. The 40-year-old Werdum is making his 15th UFC appearance on Saturday. Overeem has five fights with the promotion under his belt.

Werdum, it seems, would have an easier time accepting getting passed over for Overeem than he would Ngannou.

“I think I deserve it. Overeem is there, too. I don’t know about Francis being there to fight for a title shot yet,” Werdum said. “I don’t know. I respect him, too. But I think he’s not (ready). Maybe Overeem, yes. But I’m waiting, too.”

All of this become a moot point if Werdum can’t get the job done against Tybura. Werdum has more to lose by facing the eighth-ranked Polish fighter, but Werdum said he isn’t feeling any pressure.

“Zero pressure. I don’t have pressure,” Werdum said. “The pressure comes from training – if you have an injury, different things. But this time I’m good. No injuries. I’m 40, but my mind is 28. Everything is good. I’ve been waiting for this fight. …

“My goal is the belt. It doesn’t matter who has the belt around his waste. My goal is the belt. It doesn’t matter if it’s Miocic or Overeem or other guys. That’s it. This is my big goal.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Nov. 14: Poirier rises; big week for Tybura

With a win over a former champion, Dustin Poirier is on the rise in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings.

Poirier defeated former titleholder Anthony Pettis in UFC Fight Night 120’s headliner, which moved him from No. 13 to No. 11 at lightweight. Pettis, meanwhile, falls from No. 11 to No. 12.

As for upcoming events, Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 headliner offers rankings honorable mention Marcin Tybura a chance to jump in the top 15 in the heavyweight division when he takes on former titleholder and No. 3-ranked Fabricio Werdum.

Check out all of the rankings above.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Marcin Tybura enjoying unexpected benefit of Mark Hunt-Dana White feud

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At this point, Marcin Tybura will tell you, with a laugh, calls from his manager are met with expectations of bad news. But that’s not what he got when his phone rang a little more than a week ago.

Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was set to headline next month’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena opposite Mark Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC). The call was meant to inform him that was no longer happening. But then came the twist: Tybura had the option of meeting former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) instead.

Tybura first ran it by his coaches. But the “yes” to the new matchup took no longer than an hour to come. Sure, Tybura is now dealing with a “completely different” opponent, with a completely different style. But with six weeks to go, altering the game plan seemed like a minor sacrifice in light of the possible rewards.

“It’s really special for me to fight a Top-2 fighter in the world already in Fabricio,” Tybura told MMAjunkie. “I recognize (he’s) one of the best heavyweights in the world – even the best, because he beat Fedor (Emelianenko) in his prime time, and he beat Cain (Velasquez) at a time when he was unbeatable.

“This guy has something special. I know he’s good. This is the top. That’s what I wanted to do when I came into the UFC, and now it’s happening. So I’m just happy.”

Tybura believed he couldn’t get any more motivated than he already had while training for Hunt, who’s currenly No. 10 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings. But the name of No. 3-ranked Werdum, fresh off a 65-second submission win over late replacement Walt Harris at UFC 216, managed to bring that up a notch.

Of course, what ended up being fine news for Tybura led to a much less uplifting situation involving Hunt. After the UFC cited health concerns and pulled him from the headliner, the ever-candid Hunt made his (ill) feelings on the promotion’s decision public.

Amid threats of a lawsuit against the UFC – another one, that is – Hunt said he was “misquoted” in story (that he penned himself) in which he addressed the toll that his career as a fighter may have had in his brain, including slurred speech and memory loss.

Asked about his feelings upon hearing some of his peers discuss brain trauma, Tybura clarified he doesn’t have access to all the information around Hunt’s health status. But he’s not on board with the way he went about addressing them.

“We all try to show that this is a sport; it’s not only striking somebody in the head,” Tybura said. “I don’t think he should say some stuff like this. But I also don’t think I should be the one to say if somebody is healthy to fight or not.

“I don’t actually know all the details. I’ve just seen the news, the interview he did. I think he shouldn’t say that. He shouldn’t say that.”

On his end, Tybura is certainly enjoying the journey. Now riding a three-fight winning streak, capped off by a UFC Fight Night 111 decision win over Andrei Arlovski, Tybura has recently taken a big step to up his game: He temporarily relocated from his native Poland to the U.S.

Seven weeks into his training at Jackson-Wink MMA, the 31-year-old seems to be happy with his choice.

“So far, it’s amazing, a completely different camp that I used to do,” Tybura said. “And I think it’s much better than what I did before.”

There are a few reasons for that. Apart from the experienced coaches, who offer their expertise not only in training but strategy-wise, Tybura gets to train and spar with high-level talent from all over. While he already felt he was making steady progress in his homeland, his evolution is clear to him.

Of course, there’s a downside to it all; it’s not really easy being away from home. But even that doesn’t faze the heavyweight.

“I’m actually chasing my dream,” Tybura said. “So that’s the price, and I’m cool with that completely.”

Whether his sacrifices will pay off remains to be seen, but beating Werdum would certainly bring some serious validation to the Polish heavyweight’s rise. While Tybura is only four fights into his UFC career, there’s something to be said for getting past an ex-champ in a somewhat shallow division.

Of course, there’s a lot to happen atop the heavyweight ladder. Alistair Overeem, for instance, is scheduled for a high-stakes UFC 218 bout with Francis Ngannou. Velasquez, who’s recently said he’s at “80 percent” in his recovery from injury, is eyeing a 2018 return.

But Tybura is already daring to think a little higher.

“I never talk about what the future is after the fight,” Tybura said. “I actually like to be focused on my task, which is to fight Fabricio Werdum. But, you know, he was a champion like a few months ago.

“So me beating him would be, I think – nothing less than ask for a title shot.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie