'UFC on the Fly': Behind the scenes with UFC-Gdansk headliner Darren Till

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

England’s Darren Till has been considered one of the UFC’s best prospects since he came to the promotion in 2015.

On Saturday, he could take a major step toward fulfilling his promise as the next best thing at welterweight. Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC) takes on veteran Donald Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC) in the UFC Fight Night 118 headliner – his first UFC main event.

UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and the entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

The latest edition of “UFC on the Fly” catches up Till ahead of his main event against Cerrone, who is a slight favorite in the fight. Check out the full video above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Patrick Cummins says he's off UFC 217 fight card due to 'mutant staph infection'

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Patrick Cummins says he will no longer compete at next month’s mega-UFC 217 card.

Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC), who was slated to fight fellow light heavyweight Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at the event, today blamed his removal on a staph infection – a “mutant” one, no less.

As he wrote on Instagram:

“IV antibiotics haven’t touched my mutant staph infection #UFC217 isn’t gunna happen for me. Sorry everyone #FuckMRSA #SucksButItCanAlwaysBeWorse”

Instagram Photo

UFC officials haven’t made a formal announcement, though with nearly three weeks to go, they should have an opportunity to find a replacement opponent.

Cummins, a 36-year-old who took up MMA in 2010 after he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, was recently stuck in a 1-3 skid, which knocked him out of the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings. However, he’s rebounded in his past two bouts with narrow decision wins over Jan Błachowicz and Gian Villante.

The latest UFC 217 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – for women’s strawweight title
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Joseph Duffy vs. James Vick
  • Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris
  • Ion Cutelaba vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
  • Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • Corey Anderson vs. TBA
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Fans invited to Friday's UFC Fight Night 118 weigh-ins, Q&A, autograph signing in Poland

If you’re in Poland for UFC Fight Night 118, you’ll have an opportunity to get up close to a pair of standout fighters before and after the weigh-ins.

Featuring a headlining contest between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, veteran Donald Cerrone takes on confident up-and-comer Darren Till in a welterweight bout. The main card also features a trio of Poland’s finest in Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Jan Blachowicz and Oskar Piechota, who meet Jodie Esquibel, Devin Clark and Jonathan Wilson, respectively.

Prior to the event, fans can attend Friday’s ceremonial fighter weigh-ins at Ergo Arena. The fighters will take the stage at 6 p.m. local time in Gdansk. But ahead of that, bantamweight Aljamain Sterling and welterweight slugger Mike Perry will answer fan questions at a Q&A moderated by Dan Hardy starting at 5:15. And following the weigh-ins, at 6:30 p.m., Sterling and Perry will sign autographs for fans in attendance.

The UFC Fight Night 118 lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 3 p.m. ET)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Darren Till
  • Jodie Esquibel vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Devin Clark
  • Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 11:45 a.m. ET )

  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marcin Held
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Damian Stasiak
  • Sam Alvey vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • Andre Fili vs. Artem Lobov
  • Warlley Alves vs. Salim Touahri
  • Aspen Ladd vs. Lina Lansberg
  • Felipe Arantes vs. Josh Emmett

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out 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 Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC on FOX 26 tickets on sale this week, and $316 Canadian gets you cageside

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The UFC returns to Winnipeg next month, and tickets for the event go on sale this week.

Featuring a welterweight title eliminator in the main event between former champion Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC), UFC on FOX 26 takes place Dec. 16 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The main card airs on FOX following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Tickets, in Canadian dollars, are priced at $316, $212.50, $179, $144.75, $111.75 and $77.50 and include fees. They go on sale to the general public at Ticketmaster.ca on Friday at 10 a.m. CT.

UFC newsletter subscribers have access to a special pre-sale beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. CT, while UFC Fight Club members can purchase tickets Wednesday 10 a.m. CT.

The co-main event is a featherweight rematch from a past title fight. Former featherweight champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) will take on former title challenger Ricardo Lamas (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the co-feature.

In addition, UFC on FOX 26 features a pair of welterweight bouts between Mike Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Jordan Mein (29-12 MMA, 3-4 UFC) vs. Erick Silva (19-8 MMA, 7-7 UFC).

UFC on FOX 26 includes:

  • Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos
  • Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas
  • Mike Perry vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
  • Jordan Mein vs. Erick Silva
  • Misha Cirkunov vs. Glover Teixeira
  • Jared Cannonier vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins
  • Galore Bofando vs. Chad Laprise
  • John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo
  • Sultan Aliev vs. Nordine Taleb
  • Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Alessio Di Chirico
  • Julian Marquez vs. Vitor Miranda

For more on UFC on FOX 26, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

After UFC champ Cris Cyborg points to drug testing, Holly Holm points to scoreboard

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When it comes to UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, potential next opponent Holly Holm just wants to get real for a moment.

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who recently won the belt with a TKO victory over Tonya Evinger in July, could next face former women’s bantamweight champion and longtime pro boxer Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). The bout could be part of the year-end UFC 219 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.

Cyborg’s longtime manager, George Prajin, recently told MMAjunkie he’s in daily discussions with UFC officials while looking for the right deal to lock up the champ and the fight (Holm’s camp is also looking for the right deal). Additionally, on the 32-year-old Brazilian slugger’s social media accounts, Cyborg seems to know Holm is likely next. But early this morning, she took aim at drug testing – and Holm’s longtime home at Jackson-Wink MMA – ahead of the likely title fight (via Twitter):

Holm responded via an Instagram video, mostly to address Cyborg’s suggestion the champ has been tested a disproportionate number of times.

“So apparently there was a little bit of drama today because USADA went to Cyborg’s house,” 35-year-old Holm says in the video. “And I know I’ve been a topic of interest a lot on her social media, and I don’t mind. Fighters (are) trying to promote and hype fights, and that’s fine.

“But let’s be real for a minute.”

Holm then pointed to the scoreboard – not to remind followers that Cyborg has a less-than-perfect drug-testing past, but simply to give the champion a reminder: Holm has actually been tested more than Cyborg (nine times to eight) this year.

You can see for yourself on USADA.org.

“She said she’s being tested by USADA and wants me to be tested just as much, and she probably should have looked at the public records on the USADA webpage and seen I’ve been tested nine times compared to her eight,” Holm says. “I’m in no race, and I really don’t care. I just know I can complete clean, and they can test me all the time. So, I just never needed an applause for passing my tests.

“In the mean time, I’ll just spend my time training, and she can spend her time complaining and making false accusations and false memes.”

Here’s the full video (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

If they finally meet, Cyborg would be looking for her first UFC title defense and 19th consecutive victory going back to 2005. Holm, meanwhile, recently halted a three-fight skid with a dazzling head-kick knockout of bantamweight Bethe Correia in June.

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Damien Brown meets Frank Camacho at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney

The UFC’s return to Australia next month continues to build with the addition of a lightweight fight.

Australia’s Damien Brown (17-10 MMA, 2-2 UFC) will take on Frank Camacho (20-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 121. Camacho announced the fight on a recent video blog after an initial report from mma-today.com. UFC officials have not yet made a formal announcement of the booking.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Nov. 19 (but airs Nov. 18 in the U.S. due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The card will air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Brown will fight in front of his home fans once again. This will mark the third time in five fights that Brown will fight in his native Australia, and a fourth has been in nearby New Zealand. He’ll be trying to get back on track after a knockout loss to Vinc Pichel at UFC Fight Night 110, which snapped a two-fight winning streak.

Camacho made his promotional debut in June at UFC Fight Night 111 in Singapore, but had his two-fight winning streak snapped with a unanimous decision loss to Jingliang Li. Prior to that setback, he had won five of six fights.

With the addition, the latest UFC Fight Night 121 card now includes:

  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Humberto Bandenay vs. Alex Volkanovski
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
  • Jenel Lausa vs. Eric Shelton
  • Alex Chambers vs. Nadia Kassem
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic
  • Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz
  • Damien Brown vs. Frank Camacho

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Co-Main Event Podcast: Download episode No. 277 with Ben Fowlkes, Chad Dundas

co-main-event-podcast-1.jpgEpisode No. 277 of the Co-Main Event Podcast now is available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie/USA TODAY columnist Ben Fowlkes and Bleacher Report lead MMA writer Chad Dundas host the weekly show (also dubbed the “CME,” if you nasty). This week, the distinguished gentlemen from Montana put aside their “Dancing with the Stars” fandom to look ahead to UFC Fight Night 118 in Poland. They also talk about Mark Hunt and look forward to Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre.

Check it out at comainevent.com, or download the podcast directly.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

Brad Tavares is all praise for the UFC's 'game-changing' Performance Institute

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Currently riding a three-fight winning streak, Brad Tavares seems to have found his groove back after a rough patch that saw him lose three out of four octagon outings.

The positive results, Tavares (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) believes, serve to show that, at 29, he’s still evolving and growing into his own as a fighter. But one thing that certainly isn’t hurting the middleweight’s momentum is the addition of a “game-changing” tool: the UFC’s recently-installed Performance Institute.

As a Las Vegas-based fighter, Tavares gets to reap the benefits of the facilities on a daily basis. Other fighters, like local Evan Dunham, have already sung the Institute’s praises. Whether it’s strength and conditioning, physical therapy or nutrition, Tavares says he’s been able to count on professionals who go the extra mile to make sure fighters are taken care of even when they’re off the clock.

“You get access to these high, high-level people,” Tavares told MMAjunkie Radio.

The entire staff, “top to bottom,” earned praise from Tavares. But he did seem to hold a special place in his heart for the chefs.

“Those guys are very, very good at what they do,” Tavares said. “They’ll have regular things there because they also have the UFC front office people that come through, but they also make health-conscious type of meals for fighters.

“That place is amazing. I don’t get to get there for breakfast much, but after my morning workouts, I go there for lunch. I’ll eat and, if I’m still hungry, I’ll go get seconds. And then I’ll take something to go for later.”

In fact, for Tavares, the Institute has basically become a part of his camp. And, given he’s only worked with them in preparation for his last two meetings (against Elias Theodorou and Thales Leites, both of which resulted in unanimous decision wins), he’s quite optimistic.

“My last camp, when I fought Elias, started a little later,” Tavares said. “So this camp was definitely better as far as coaches and staff there know me a little better. I know them a little better.

“We know what to work on and, kind of more so, what works. And that relationship will only continue to get better.”

It’s safe to assume that Tavares will be making use of the facilities for his next outing. Whom that will be against, however, is still a mystery. After UFC 216 brought about what was arguably Tavares’ biggest win yet, he’s ready for a big name.

A former, long-reigning UFC champion who just so happens to still be regarded as one of the greatest of all time? Well, if Anderson Silva gets past Kelvin Gastelum in their headlining encounter in Shanghai next month, that would do just fine.

“Depending on how that fight goes, I would love to fight somebody like Anderson,” Tavares said. “He has a name. He’s a legend. I think that would be an awesome opportunity for me. A win over him? That’d be huge.”

To hear from Tavares, check out the video above

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, 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

Bellator contract allows Heather Hardy crossover in boxing, MMA

When boxer Heather Hardy made her professional MMA debut at Bellator 180, she needed to make an impression. There was no other way to construe a one-fight contract.

On Friday, she makes her second appearance for the Viacom-owned promotion, facing Kristina Williams (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at Bellator 185. This time, though, it’s not such a do-or-die situation.

After a bloody beatdown of Alice Yauger in June, Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) signed a two-year contract with Bellator. The deal guarantees a minimum of four bouts. But more than that, it also allows her to make a living in boxing.

Rather than be held to one promoter and one sport, Hardy gets to choose.

“I’m pretty much flexible to do whatever makes sense,” she told MMAjunkie in advance of her Spike-televised fight at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “If it’s a better deal with Bellator, then we do MMA. If boxing has a big opportunity for me, (I do boxing).

“The organizations want to see me do well, and they’re not interested in standing in the way of one another.”

Hardy still holds a contract with boxing promoter Lou DiBella. She estimates she spends 12 hours a day in the squared circle, coaching fighters at gym and training clients at the famed Gleason’s Gym in her hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. But at the moment, she sees more opportunity in MMA.

“The way I see it is, the industry is not really willing to pay women moving forward,” she said. “If they can’t offer me a decent enough fight with a good opponent – I’m 20-0 and a two-time champion – I’m not interested in fights that don’t make sense.

“If they can’t pay these girls to come in and give the fans the fights they want to see, then it’s really not worth my time any more,” she said. “I’m really hopeful that, starting next year, promoters will be willing to bring in good competition and put on good women’s fights.”

Money motivated Hardy’s move away from boxing. But it was also expedited by MMA’s passage in her home state. After a nearly 20-year ban on MMA was removed and the sport was legalized, increased insurance requirements forced several New York-based boxing promoters, including DiBella, to cancel events.

Without a place to ply her trade, Hardy, the WBC’s international female featherweight champ, needed a way to provide for herself and her family.

Although she hasn’t quit her day job as a boxing coach and trainer, Hardy is breathing a bit easier now that she knows she’ll be fighting regularly.

“It does help me financially in the long run, knowing that I have certain paychecks coming my way,” she said. “The last month hasn’t been great, because I don’t get paid up front for them all. But it’s nice to know that over the next two years, I’ll be in a better spot financially. The more you work, the more you get paid.”

For her second bout, Hardy wants to put on the type of performance that keeps her phone ringing. She’s working hard to acclimate herself to range and speed of MMA. She grades her debut a C-plus based on a slow start and thinks she’ll be a greater threat with more experience in the gym.

“The first one was really an introduction, trying to cover all the bases just so that I knew what was going on in any particular situation,” she said. “It was like glossing over all the areas, because I kind of fast-forwarded and jumped feet-first into a fight at the Garden.

“I focused less on my boxing (for the second camp), and more on kickboxing and striking and jiu-jitsu, so I’m already acclimated and accustomed to fighting that fight.”

Hardy earned wide recognition from MMA fans for her aggressive comeback in the second and third round of her debut. But her personality also won notice from the MMA media, which caught her off guard after so many years of obscurity in boxing.

“It’s so nice to finally get recognition,” she said. “I worked so hard in boxing, and nobody really knew my name. After that one fight, I kind of skyrocketed overnight.”

She’s still got a long ways to go before she’s a household name. But now, there’s a foundation to build her name as a crossover star in combat sports.

“I’m still working two jobs and taking care of my daughter,” she said. “I don’t have that luxury where I can go away for a six-week fight camp and have a nanny take my daughter back to school. I’m not there yet. So it’s nice (to have the new deal), because it seems like I can be there one day.”

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

 

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

LFA 27 heads to Oklahoma with Watley vs. Wilson lightweight title fight

LFA will return to Oklahoma next month, and the lightweight title will be on the line in the main event.

Lightweight champion Robert Watley (8-1) will take on top contender Daryl Wilson (7-1) in the LFA 27 main event, the promotion today announced. In the co-feature, Myron Dennis (15-6) will take on Ryan Spann (11-5) in a light heavyweight bout.

LFA 27 takes place Nov. 10 at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Okla. The main card will air live on AXS TV.

Watley lost his pro debut, but hasn’t looked back with eight straight wins. He signed with LFA earlier this year and got an immediate title shot against final RFA lightweight champ Thiago Moises and won a unanimous decision at LFA 17 in July to take the belt. The fight against Wilson will be his first title defense.

Wilson will be fighting in front of his home Oklahoma fans. He comes into the fight on a four-fight winning streak, including a one-punch knockout of Jarrod Card at LFA 18 in August in just 64 seconds. That fight was his promotional debut.

Dennis and Spann were supposed to fight at LFA 9 in April, but Spann was forced out with a training injury. Dennis fought and beat Danilo Marques, instead. Spann fought and submitted LeMarcus Tucker at LFA 23 in September.

The LFA 27 event includes:

For more on LFA 27, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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