Why UFC-Fresno winner Eryk Anders wants to fight Lyoto Machida on ex-champ's turf

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

FRESNO, Calif. – Eryk Anders is only two fights into his UFC career, but he’s already aiming high.

After earning a unanimous-decision win over Markus Perez (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a battle of unbeaten middleweights on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 123, Anders (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) used his time on the mic to ask for a fight with former UFC light heavyweight champion and onetime 185-pound title challenger Lyoto Machida (22-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC).

Backstage, Anders detailed why he not only wants to fight “The Dragon” – but would like to do so on the ex-champ’s turf.

“He has a very similar style to Markus’,” Anders said after the FS1-televised main-card bout at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. “(He’s) probably a little bit more precise with the strikes. Obviously, much more experienced. A former titleholder. I love the hostile environment. There’s no more hostile place on Earth, I feel like, than in the cage, in a ring, with a Brazilian in Brazil.

Lyoto Machida

“Especially a guy that’s held in such high regard as Lyoto Machida. He’s a little bit better than Markus Perez, and I think I can get there and find that home on that chin.”

While it’s a callout that not many would expect, it was a smart one for the surging Anders, especially considering the UFC’s next Brazilian foray, set for Feb. 3 in Belem do Para, takes place in the city that Machida called home for most his life.

It remains to be seen if now-middleweight Machida, who suffered losses to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson in his past three fights, will want to take on a hungry up-and-comer almost a decade his junior in Anders. But “The Dragon” recently said he’s neither retiring nor ruling out the Feb. 3 card.

Meanwhile, Anders is set to go to Brazil with his wife to relax after what’s been quite a successful few months. Anders was last seen at UFC on FOX 25 July, when a knockout win over now-retired Rafael Natal guaranteed some eyeballs toward the former Alabama football player.

Despite his dominance, Anders couldn’t get the first-round finish that he wanted on Saturday. That, Anders said, probably had something to do with his own display in the opening frame, in which he caught himself “headhunting” instead of picking his shots.

On the other hand, by staying in there for three rounds, at least Anders was able to showcase other aspects of his game.

“I’m well-prepared, well-conditioned and well-coached,” Anders said. “So, no matter where the fight takes place, whether I’m on my back as I was in the first round – he had that thing, I think it was the D’Arce or the Anaconda, sunk in a little bit. I was able to fight out of it.

“I’ve got great training partners who try to choke me out all the time, so no matter where the fight takes place, I’m well-prepared, and I’m able to slow it down. And find a way to get out of the position and get a dominant position.”

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

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC Fight Night 123 results: Eryk Anders dominates Markus Perez, calls out Lyoto Machida

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Eryk Anders did plenty to try to put Markus Perez away, but the UFC newcomer managed to always just survive him.

But Anders (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) did plenty right in a lopsided unanimous decision over Perez (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), even if he couldn’t get a highlight-reel finish the way he did in his promotional debut earlier this year. Anders won with scores of 30-26, 30-25, 29-28.

The middleweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 123 event at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

After the fight, Anders used his opportunity on the microphone with Paul Felder to call out former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, now a middleweight, for a fight in Belem, Brazil, on Feb. 3.

Perez kicked high early, then went low hoping to create some distance. Perez danced on the outside with Anders stalking him. Thirty seconds in, Anders clinched Perez up, then defended Perez’s judo throw attempt. When they broke, Perez landed a knee, then tried the high kick again. Anders landed a counter right hand, then closed teh distance again rather than stay in striking range. They traded position on the fence and looked for knees. Midway through, Perez scooped Anders up and dropped him for an impressive takedown.

Perez squeezed on a choke attempt, but Anders worekd out of it and got back to his feet. He landed a punch, tehn ducked away from a spinning backfist from Perez, who laughed at the exchange. With 90 seconds left, they went back to the center and Anders landed a knee, then a body shot. He ducked under a spinning Perez elbow, then took Perez’s back standing. Anders chased Perez down late in the round and made it appear as if the second round might look a lot more like his UFC debut.

Anders came out like a steamroller in the second. He just missed with big punches, then 30 seconds in slid away from a cartwheel kick attempt from Perez, who again laughed it up – though Anders wasn’t amused. A minute in, Anders landed a big uppercut, then a follow-up, but Perez survived it and worked through. Perez fired off a couple kicks, but Anders dropped him with a huge left hand, then a kick.

Perez slowed down, then ate another left from Anders. With three minutes left, Anders landed a knee, then barely missed with a left hand. Anders swung for a home-run punch with two minutes left, and it forced Perez to shoot for a takedown. With 90 seconds left, Perez went to the canvas, and Anders followed him down for big punches and plenty of time to work for a finish. But Perez survived to see the third.

Right away in the third, Anders put Perez on the canvas with a combination, then followed him down. Perez tried to work out, and when he got back to his feet he had to eat plenty of punches. Perez looked exhausted, but Anders didn’t look like he had a ton of energy, himself. Perez held a one-armed guillotine, but it was mostly defensive to keep Anders from hitting him. Midway through, Anders popped out and worked ground-and-pound. With 45 seconds left, Anders went back to his feet briefly, but wrapped up the fight controlling Perez on the canvas.

Anders stayed unbeaten and moved to 2-0 in the UFC. Perez suffered the first loss of his pro career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 123 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

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

UFC-Fresno main-card breakdown: Moraes-Sterling, Holtzman-Horcher and more

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC 218’s main-card bouts. Today, we look at the first four fights on the main card.

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place Saturday at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

ALSO SEE:

* * * *

Marlon Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs. Reach: 67″
  • Last fight: Decision win over John Dodson (Nov. 11, 2017)
  • Camp: Ricardo Almeida BJJ (New Jersey)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA title
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt
+ Multiple muay Thai accolades
+ 8 KO victories
+ 5 submission wins
+ 10 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Consistent pace and pressure
+ Excellent feints and footwork
^ Pivots, lateral movement, distancing
+ Accurate shot selection
^ Coming forward and off of the counter
+ Dynamic and dangerous kicker
+ Underrated wrestling ability
^ Strong hips and positional awareness
+ Good transitional grappler
^ Solid scrambling and submissions

Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 28 Weight: 135 lbs. Reach: 71″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Renan Barao (July 29, 2017)
  • Camp: Serra-Longo MMA (Long Island, NY)
  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA titles
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt
+ 2x All-American wrestler
+ 2 KO victories
+ 6 submission wins
+ 3 first-round finishes
+ Solid pace and pressure
+ Tricky feints and footwork
^ Variates looks and levels
+ Improved boxing
+ Dynamic kicking attack
^ Functional from both sides
+ Superb wrestling ability
+ Diverse takedown game
^ Chains trips, singles and double-legs
+ Excellent transitional grappler
^ Creative flow/positionally aware

Summary:

In a fun bantamweight fight, Marlon Moraes meets Aljamain Sterling.

After fighting just four weeks ago, Moraes is making a quick turnaround to competition to step in for an injured Rani Yahya. Coming off two tightly contested split-decision results, I suspect Moraes is looking to remind the masses of his standing at 135 pounds.

Sterling, who has had lofty expectations put upon him since entering the organization, has also been trying to put space in between him and close scorecards. And after a clean victory over the former champ Renan Barao, Sterling is seeking to make another statement here.

In recent outings, the product of the Serra-Longo fight team has shown to make measurable strides in his striking game.

With his funk-style of wrestling following him into his striking endeavors, Sterling would bust out of the gates as an awkward stick-and-move stylist. But after a few years of valuable lessons and experiences, we have seen Sterling get much more comfortable in expressing his growth as of late.

Continually switching his stances while moving laterally, Sterling makes himself hard to read. Incorporating his fair share of feints, Sterling works his way into the fight behind a wall of dynamic kicking variety.

From his snapping front kicks and traditional teeps to his Thai kicks parlayed into sidekicks, Sterling can execute attacks soundly from either stance. Addressing the criticisms of his game at boxing range, Sterling has shown upgrades to his pocket presence.

Attaching more purpose (as well as punches) to his trunk movements, Sterling will slip strikes to fire back return offerings of his own. That said, Sterling still tends to keep his hands low, which make striking exchanges as compelling as they are dangerous given who he is facing.

Enter Moraes.

A former champion in the now-defunct WSOF, Moraes has also had high hopes put upon him since his arrival to the big show. A well-versed striker who came up training with Edson Barboza from a young age, it is not hard to see why so many are excited about Moraes.

A fighter whose feet you seldom find out of position, Moraes keeps an excellent balance to his attack and approach. Carrying a speed advantage over most of his contemporaries, Moraes stays light on his toes while always ready to engage.

Working behind a healthy dose of feints, the Brazilian will prod with his jab to initiate exchanges. Typically looking to land his patented leg kicks, Moraes will also mix in switch-kicks to the body as well as head kicks to keep his opposition honest.

What is most impressive about Moraes’ kicking ability is the fact that he maintains his balance and defensive hand-position while executing his assaults. These attributes also make it easier for Moraes to counter, as he seemingly keeps his right cross and check-hooks at the ready.

Still, Moraes is not beyond having his kicks caught and countered himself, as that may be something worth watching for considering the dynamic of this matchup.

The longer this fight stays standing, Moraes should have the decided edge on paper; which is why I suspect that Sterling will be changing gears and getting back to his wrestling roots for this one.

Sterling, a two-time All-American wrestler, has a diverse array of takedowns in his arsenal. From reactive shots in the open to his chaining ability in the clinch, Sterling will pose some interesting threats.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Moraes fairs in this style of matchup.

Whether it be by destiny or design, Moraes has not had a lot of opponents push a grappling-heavy agenda in recent bouts. Nevertheless, the Brazilian still shows an underrated wrestling game that has only improved since moving shop to the United States.

Following Barboza to train with Mark Henry and company in New Jersey, Moraes appears even more comfortable inside of the scramble – as I’m sure training with fighters like Frankie Edgar helps. Moraes also has fast feet and hips, which come in handy for shutting down many of the shot attempts thrown his way.

When he is taken down, Moraes is quick to threaten with a submission or scramble back to his feet. But he will need to extra careful in those spaces with Sterling, who typically makes his money in transit.

Once touching down on the mat, Sterling’s funky flow comes to life. Melding his wrestling base into his innovative jiu-jitsu, Sterling will combine things like chair-sits to leg weaves and rides, seamlessly climbing the walls of his opponent’s defenses.

Not afraid to jump on a back, Sterling has also shown to be content in punishing opponent’s positionally, landing solid ground strikes when submissions are not available. Should the Serra-Longo fighter get his game going on the floor, then it could be a rough night for his Brazilian counterpart.

Despite the short-notice intangibles, the oddsmakers and public are slightly favoring Moraes at -140 with Sterling +120 as of this writing.

As one of the more vocal supporters of Moraes’ game, I can certainly see why. He should carry a sizeable striking edge to go along with his speed, and I could see his shot selection and accuracy either severely hurting Sterling or taking him off of his game.

However, the quick turnaround from a competitive three-round fight makes me uneasy. Not so much for Moraes’ health, but more so for the performance considering what we have seen in these scenarios before. Furthermore, there is not enough evidence – at least for my liking – to suggest that Sterling won’t be a bad matchup for the Brazilian (which he just might be).

Sterling’s wrestling base and unique style could prove frustrating for Moraes, whose displayed moments of frustration in his last two bouts. If the Brazilian fails to take Sterling off of his game or ends up on the floor early, then I feel that the more likely outcome here is the Long Island resident getting his hand raised after what should be a competitive affair.

Official pick: Sterling by decision

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

Eryk Anders looking for yet another first-round finish in UFC-Fresno's battle of unbeatens

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

At Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123, Eryk Anders enters the octagon with quite a tough act to follow.

Anders kicked off his UFC run with an exclamation point back in July, when he knocked out veteran Rafael Natal less than three minutes into their UFC on FOX 25 encounter. The victorious debut was made all the more impressive by the fact that Anders not only stepped in on short-notice, but did so less than a month after capturing LFA’s 185-pound title.

Add to it that this all took place less than two years after his pro MMA debut, and one wouldn’t really fault Anders for dealing with some measure of nerves as he walked into the octagon for the first time.

So was he?

“No, not at all,” Anders told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve never been more calm, cool and collected. … I just felt really really good, top to bottom – physically and mentally.”

That statement, Anders says, encompasses an extensive athletic past that includes football, track and wrestling. But even if he did get nervous, it certainly didn’t show as he dismantled Natal in what we’d later find was the Brazilian grappling expert’s final MMA bout.

From a 34-year-old veteran on his way out in Natal, Anders is now set to welcome a 27-year-old on his way in when he faces Markus Perez (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Originally scheduled to meet vet John Phillips (21-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) got a fellow undefeated former LFA champ, instead.

It took some re-reouting, but Anders isn’t mad about the switch.

“You go from a guy like John Phillips who was a bruiser, super aggressive, coming forward – more of a boxer than anything else” Anders said. “Now I’m fighting a Brazilian. He’s real smooth. it almost looks like he’s dancing in there.

“He throws a lot of weird shots – not weird, but he’s not a very conventional fighter. Very slick jiu-jitsu. Definitely a game opponent. He’ll come forward. So I’m definitely looking forward to the matchup.”

In any case, it’s not like the opponent makes a difference in the plan.

“Regardless of the stage, the atmosphere, or the opponent, the objective is always the same,” Anders said. “To go out there and get a finish as early as possible and take the least amount of damage.

“I’m very confident in my preparation to go out there and get a victory. And finish him in that first round.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, 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.

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

Opponent switch: Eryk Anders meets LFA champ Markus Perez at UFC Fight Night 123

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Eryk Anders will go from fighting one UFC newcomer to another when he makes his return to the octagon at UFC Fight Night 123.

Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) announced on Sunday that John Phillips (21-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is out of their scheduled middleweight bout at the December event. He now fights another promotional newcomer and now-former LFA middleweight champion: Markus Perez (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

The switch was revealed on Anders’ social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“Got a new opponent for #ufcfightnight in #Fresno, Ca. I️ will be welcoming Markus Pérez to the UFC. His style makes for an interesting matchup #punchface”

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Anders made a successful UFC debut in July, when he quickly put away now-retired UFC veteran Rafael Natal with a first-round knockout at UFC on FOX 25. The unbeaten 30-year-old, who won a national title with the University of Alabama football team in 2009, has earned seven of his nine career victories by stoppage.

He welcomes Perez to the UFC in what will be a battle of unbeatens. The 27-year-old Brazilian last competed at LFA 22 in September, when he earned a first-round submission win over Ian Heinisch to remain undefeated and claim the vacant LFA middleweight title.

The nature of Phillips’ withdrawal from the event is unknown at this time.

The latest UFC Fight Night 123 lineup now includes:

  • Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
  • Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
  • Eryk Anders vs. Markus Perez
  • Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto
  • Carls John de Tomas vs. Alex Perez
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Luke Sanders
  • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Frankie Saenz
  • Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales
  • Aljamain Sterling vs. Rani Yahya

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

LFA 22 highlights: A new champion is crowned thanks to a nifty submission

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News

Many people believed Ian Heinisch was on his way to the UFC. All he had to do was the expected and defeat Brazilian import Markus Perez, who was fighting in the U.S. for the first time.

Not so fast.

Heinisch wasted little time at the opening bell, shooting inside and scoring a quick takedown. But Perez patiently worked his way back to the feet, where a slick little transition saw him lock in an arm-triangle choke that he wouldn’t release, rolling with Heinisch to the bottom and finishing it from his back at the 2:14 mark of the opening round to claim the vacant LFA middleweight title.

The bout served as the featured contest of Friday’s LFA 22 event, which aired on AXS TV from 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo.

In the night’s co-feature, two-time cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter” Gilbert Smith (13-6) fought for the final time as a professional, earning a second-round submission win over late replacement Benjamin Smith (15-5).

Check out all of the highlights above.

For more on LFA 22, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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