MMAjunkie's 'Submission of the Month' for November: A slick choke caps a historic return

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best submissions from November: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Submission of the Month” award for November.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Ilima Macfarlane def. Emily Ducote at Bellator 186

Ilima Macfarlane (7-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) may have become Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight champion, but Emily Ducote (6-3 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) did not go down without a major fight.

Macfarlane finally put Ducote away with an armbar and a verbal submission from a triangle choke late in the fifth round. But Ducote tested her most of the fight in what may have been a close one had it gone to the judges. The finish, however, came with less than 90 left in the final round.

Instagram Photo

Georges St-Pierre def. Michael Bisping at UFC 217

Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) promised to make history against Michael Bisping (30-9 MMA, 20-9 UFC), and he delivered by becoming just the fourth fighter in UFC history to win belts in two weight classes when he claimed the middleweight belt.

Former longtime welterweight champ St-Pierre was successful in his return to the octagon after nearly four years when he defeated Bisping by third-round technical submission, tying the record for most wins in UF history.

Instagram Photo

Haim Gozali def. Arsen Faitovich at Bellator 188

Haim Gozali (8-4 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) made his way to the Bellator cage with style, complete with Israeli musical group The Shadow performing a song specifically for him. To be clear, Gozali entered with style and finished his fight the same way.

Arsen Faitovich (4-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) made the big mistake of shooting for a take down in the opening moments, and Gozali made him pay, transitioning to a triangle choke and putting Faitovich to sleep in his promotional debut.

Instagram Photo

Nik Lentz def. Will Brooks at UFC Fight Night 121

There was a little bit of bad blood between Nik Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) and Will Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) heading into their lightweight showdown, but in the end “The Carny” emerged victorious.

Lentz submitted Brooks with a second-round guillotine choke, then called out anyone at his former camp, and Brooks’ current camp, American Top Team – with a $50,000 bet on the table. Lentz forced the 5-1 favored Brooks to tap in the second round.

Instagram Photo

Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Sheymon Moraes at UFC Fight Night 122

Zabit Magomedsharipov (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) made things look easy when he extended his winning streak to 10 with a dominant performance former WSOF title challenger Sheymon Moraes (9-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

Magomedsharipov outworked Moraes for nearly 15 minutes, then put the Brazilian away with a late anaconda choke. Magomedsharipov was on his way to an easy win on the judges’ scorecards, but no doubt was glad for the finish, which came with 30 seconds left in the fight.

* * * *

The Winner: Georges St-Pierre

After four years away, St-Pierre made UFC history in his long-awaited return to the octagon against Bisping.

St-Pierre, who left the sport as a long-reigning welterweight champion, returned to the UFC and choked out middleweight champion Bisping to become the new 185-pound titleholder and just the fourth two-division champion in the promotion’s history.

St-Pierre went to the center and faked a kick while Bisping circled on the outside. Bisping tried to pepper a jab, but St-Pierre landed a right hand over the top. He tried a spinning kick shortly after that. St-Pierre missed on a right hand that had bad intentions. Bisping landed a left, but Bisping hit a solid jab seconds later. With two minutes left, St-Pierre clipped Bisping with a right hand, but couldn’t drop him.

A spinning kick whiffed for St-Pierre with 90 seconds left, and with a minute left St-Pierre dropped down for a takedown and secured it. It didn’t take long for Bisping to get back to his feet, but St-Pierre landed a right and a glancing kick before the horn. If anyone wondered how St-Pierre would respond after four years off, they got their answer.

St-Pierre tried a side kick early in the second, then tried it again 90 seconds into the frame. A right hand clipped Bisping not long after that. But Bisping’s best punch of the fight came a little more than two minutes into the round when he popped St-Pierre’s head back with a right. With two minutes left, St-Pierre got Bisping down in the center of the octagon and got to half-guard.

But without taking any damage, Bisping was right back to his feet and landed a big right hand. Bisping nearly took St-Pierre off his feet with a punch and slip, and St-Pierre looked to be much slower deep in the second than he was at the start of the round. Bisping glanced a high kick off St-Pierre’s head, then another not long before the round ended.

Fifteen seconds into the third, St-Pierre took Bisping down for the third time. But Bisping landed elbows from the bottom and cut St-Pierre open. Bisping wrapped St-Pierre up in guard and played defense from his back. St-Pierre got an elbow through. Just past the three-minute mark, Bisping got back to his feet. St-Pierre was a bloody mess from Bisping’s elbows. Bisping landed a right hand, but St-Pierre landed seconds later.

But a perfect left hook landed for St-Pierre and put Bisping on the canvas. St-Pierre dropped down and started hammering away with punches. John McCarthy gave the champ plenty of time to defend and work his way out. But St-Pierre let Bisping get out – only to take his back and quickly sink in a rear-naked choke.

Bisping refused to tap and went out cold, and St-Pierre was the latest two-division champion in UFC history.

I knew he had a problem with the shot coming from the right,” St-Pierre said afterward. “That’s what we did most of the fight. (The submission) was a trick. I think the best thing in fighting is to set up a trap.”

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'No excuses' for Will Brooks after Nik Lentz loss dropped him to 'not acceptable' 1-3 in UFC

Will Brooks is still holding his head high despite going through the most challenging period of his career.

The former Bellator lightweight champion has hit hard times since joining the UFC in July 2016. After winning his debut, Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) suffered his third straight loss this past weekend after succumbing to a second-round submission to Nik Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney.

When he signed with the UFC, Brooks was on a eight-fight winning streak and ranked No. 11 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. Now he’s on an ugly skid, and though it’s a tough turn of events, Brooks isn’t hitting the panic button yet, nor is he making any excuses for faltering against Lentz (via Twitter):

Although Brooks seemingly had the upper-hand in the bout with former American Top Team teammate Lentz, he made a careless mistake that resulted in him being caught in a tight guillotine choke. The 31-year-old has been stopped inside the distance in all of the losses during his skid, but he’s apparently still undeterred.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, 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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After choking out Will Brooks, Nik Lentz ready for whoever else from American Top Team

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SYDNEY – Former American Top Team teammates Nik Lentz and Will Brooks originally were supposed to fight last month at UFC 216 until Lentz wound up having diabetic-like symptoms that turned out to be hypoglycemia (non-diabetic low blood sugar), which forced his withdrawal from the lightweight bout.

It was no joking matter. And yet, it made him the target of trash talk by Brooks and others at ATT.

That didn’t sit well with Lentz, who submitted Brooks with a guillotine choke on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 121 from Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

“This is one of the first times that I’ve had, like, a serious medical issue, and my old team threw it in my face,” Lentz told MMAjunkie after his win, which aired during the FS1 prelims. “Like, ‘Hey, you’re running, you’re scared.’ Not one of them even messaged me to check on me or anything. And I have to admit that hurts. That’s supposed to be my family.”

You can imagine just how satisfying the win was for Lentz, who explained why he willingly took damage.

“I told everyone exactly how this was going to happen,” Lentz said.

He continued, “I knew that I could take that jab, and I knew if I took a couple jabs I could get him to play my game. And that’s what happened.”

What about earlier? Why was Brooks able to get out of a previous guillotine choke attempt? Lentz said he made a conscious in-fight decision to release.

“I didn’t get the guillotine on purpose, because I knew,” Lentz said. “I had it. I knew I wasn’t going to waste it. I was going to let him roll out the first time, (let him) think that he knew how to get out. And then the second time I was going to lock that b*tch up, and he ain’t ever getting away.”

With the win over Brooks out of the way, Lentz isn’t forgetting about the words directed at him from ATT. And he said he’s ready to take on anyone from the gym.

“When it comes down to it, it was f*cked up. And there’s no two ways to put it,” Lentz said. “It’s f*cked up when your old family throws you under the bus and says you’re scared. Because I ain’t scared of Will Brooks. I ain’t scared of anyone at ATT.”

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 video highlights: Nik Lentz submits Will Brooks

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

There was a little bit of bad blood between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks heading into UFC-Sydney, but Lentz choked it all away.

Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) submitted Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) with a second-round guillotine choke, then called out anyone at his former camp, and Brooks’ current camp, American Top Team – with a $50,000 bet on the table. Lentz forced the 5-1 favored Brooks to tap at the 2:05 mark of the second round.

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

Check out the finish in the highlights clip above.

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 bonuses: You know Tai Tuivasa's flying knee KO picked up $50,000

SYDNEY – Tai Tuivasa, Nik Lentz, Frank Camacho and Damien Brown each earned $50,000 fight-night bonuses at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 event.

Tuivasa and Lentz picked up “Performance of the Night” awards, and Camacho and Brown earned “Fight of the Night” honors.

UFC officials announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

Tuivasa (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made his UFC debut a memorable with a thudding first-round knockout of Rashad Coulter (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) courtesy of a leaping knee to the chin. First, Tuivasa took Coulter’s legs out from under him with a right kick. And when Coulter got back to his feet, Tuivasa was there already planning his attack. Afterward, he started planning his attack on the UFC’s heavyweight division.

There was bad blood between Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) and former American Top Team stablemate Will Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC), especially given their fight at UFC 216 was scrapped at the 11th hour thanks to a medical issue for Lentz. But despite Brooks’ 5-1 favorite status, Lentz kept after a guillotine choke till he finally got one in the second round off a Brooks takedown attempt. The former Bellator lightweight champion had to tap quickly when Lentz rolled it over for the update.

Camacho (21-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Brown (17-11 MMA, 2-3 UFC) beat hell out of each other for 15 minutes in their catchweight bout (Camacho missed weight for the welterweight limit) on the prelims. But it was Camacho who landed with more volume, bloodying Brown up in front of Brown’s home fans for a split decision. Brown never went away, though, and stayed in the pocket to throw down in a classic slugfest.

UFC Fight Night 121 took place Sunday (but aired live on Saturday in North America due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Sydney prelims brought some violent fights and finishes – and one pretty slick one

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The UFC Fight Night 121 prelims brought some memorable action, even if some of it was so violent that those involved may not remember it all.

Fortunately, it was all captured on film, from the sudden fight-ending strikes to the back-and-forth battles.

The best example of the latter came in the form of the 160-pound catchweight bout between Frank Camacho and Damien Brown. After a near rear-naked choke finish early on, both men settled into a wild stand-up scrap that thrilled the Sydney crowd right up until the final horn.

Camacho would come away with the split-decision victory, much to Brown’s dismay, but how could anyone be too disappointed after a fight like that – one worthy of “Fight of the Night?”

As for the “performance” bonuses, heavyweight Tai Tuivasa made his case in the very next fight with a flying knee knockout of Rashad Coulter, followed by a right hand that – thankfully – just missed the chin of the downed Coulter.

Not to be outdone, flyweight Ryan Benoit tried to atone for his failed weight cut with a blistering head-kick knockout of Ashkan Mokhtarian in the third round. Despite eating a couple hard lefts earlier in the fight, Benoit proved that all it takes is one well placed shot to decide the matter beyond doubt.

But it wasn’t all knockouts. Despite getting bloodied up on the feet early, Nik Lentz rebounded with a guillotine choke to force the tap from Will Brooks in lightweight action.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, 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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UFC Fight Night 121 results: Nik Lentz chokes out 5-1 favorite, ex-teammate Will Brooks

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There was a little bit of bad blood between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks heading into UFC-Sydney, but Lentz choked it all away.

Lentz (28-8-2 MMA, 12-5-1 UFC) submitted Brooks (18-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) with a second-round guillotine choke, then called out anyone at his former camp, and Brooks’ current camp, American Top Team – with a $50,000 bet on the table. Lentz forced the 5-1 favored Brooks to tap at the 2:05 mark of the second round.

Lentz and Brooks were supposed to fight previously at UFC 216 earlier this fall. But when Lentz suffered from hypoglycemia issues on the eve of the fight, he had to pull out – leaving Brooks, his former teammate, questioning his moxie. But there couldn’t be much questioning after Saturday’s result.

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

The two traded kicks early, and Lentz got inside for a short right uppercut. Brooks stayed in the middle and Lentz waited for opportunities to push forward. Just short of two minutes into the round, Brooks drove in for a takedown. It allowed Lentz to go after an arm-in guillotine choke, which forced Brooks to pass his way out of there and back to his feet. Midway through, Brooks put together a solid combination to Lentz’s face, which already was bloodied up.

But Lentz stayed in the pocket and landed a solid right hand. Brooks dropped for another takedown, but bailed on it. With 80 seconds left, Lentz got hold of Brooks’ head and tried to land a knee, but was just off the mark. In the final minute, Lentz took Brooks’ back on the feet looking for a takedown. He landed knees to the legs, then the body.

Brooks sprinted toward Lentz to open the second, but ate a kick to the body. Lentz then came forward with a 1-2 and got inside for a left hand. Lentz just missed a high kick, but kept swinging. Brooks kept pumping jabs out and landeing, but he ate kicks to the body from Lentz shortly after and the two tied up. Lentz kept trying to chase Brooks down and landed.

With three minutes left, Brooks went after a takedown and landed it. But Lentz was opportunistic and grabbed hold of Brooks’ neck for another guillotine attempt. He got it, it was tight, and when he rolled it over Brooks had no choice but to tap.

“I’m a professional, and I hate to say it, but I’d beat my mama up in here if I had to,” Lentz said. “When I left (American Top Team), I’ve gotta admit, I love ATT, but it broke my heart that I had to leave. But they came after me with this fight. So Dan Lambert, I’ve got $50,000 that says there’s no one at ATT who can beat Nik Lentz. Money on the table right now. Who cares (who it is): Line ’em up, from the bottom to the top, like Mortal Kombat.”

Lentz got back in the win column after a February loss to Islam Machachev and now has won three of his past four fights. After winning his UFC debut after signing as a free agent from Bellator, Brooks has lost three straight fights during the first losing skid of his pro career.

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.)

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

Nik Lentz says it was a no-brainer to rebook fight with ATT's Will Brooks at UFC-Sydney

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SYDNEY – Nik Lentz might feel like a new man when he steps in the cage against Will Brooks in Australia.

A little more than a month ago, the lightweights were supposed to fight at UFC 216 in Las Vegas. But when Lentz wound up having diabetic-like symptoms that turned out to be hypoglycemia (non-diabetic low blood sugar), the fight was scrapped.

After Lentz saw some doctors and got his blood work in order and started to understand just how he could control his levels with his diet, the fight was rebooked for UFC Fight Night 121.

UFC Fight Night 121 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.

There never was a doubt in Lentz’s mind that he would want to rebook the fight with Brooks, a former Bellator lightweight champion.

“I wanted to beat up Will Brooks,” Lentz told MMAjunkie this week in Sydney. “Second, it’s really not my fault I had those issues. The fact I had a week to try to figure out how to manage blood sugar and stuff, that’s not really a thing that I messed up. Now that I’ve got it figured out, now that I understand, I owe it to Will Brooks to reschedule the fight. If you say you’re going to fight somebody, and then whether it’s your fault or not you back out of it, you better sign up and do it again. I was all about it.”

Lentz took his fair share of grief from some fans – the keyboard warrior types, no doubt – on social media who said he just wanted out of the fight with Brooks.

And Brooks himself has not been shy about throwing some verbal shade Lentz’s way. Lentz believes that’s just in Brooks’ nature.

“He can say whatever he wants,” Lentz said. “The fact of the matter is, I never had a grudge with Will Brooks. He’s one of these guys that has to make something up in his head to get motivated – the world’s got to be against him. He did the same crap in Bellator before he left. He’s always been this guy that has to perceive that something is against him, because that’s how he motivates himself.”

But when it comes to reciprocation, Lentz doesn’t think he needs to go down that path. Instead, he’d rather do his talking in the cage, where Brooks will walk in as a 5-1 favorite, making Lentz one of the biggest underdogs on the card.

It might help matters a little than Lentz was a longtime resident of American Top Team in South Florida, but since has moved on to Combat Club, the team Henri Hooft formed in the wake of the dissolution of the Blackzilians. Brooks remains at ATT, and Lentz believes the lightweights still there may harbor a grudge with him for leaving.

“I’ve gotten myself into trouble through the years because I really don’t take this stuff personally, and sometimes it shows on camera,” he said. “But when it comes to Will Brooks, he kind of annoys me, and I would love to smack him – and I’m going to.”

For more from Lentz, check out the video above.

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

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Previously motivated by anger, Will Brooks finds comfort in happiness ahead of UFC-Sydney

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SYDNEY – It took some soul-searching and some important conversations, but Will Brooks is ready to get back on track.

Brooks came into the UFC with some excitement behind him. After all, he’d not only conquered but also defended Bellator’s lightweight crown two times before the promotion granted him a contract release. When Brooks vacated that belt and entered the UFC, he was on a nine-fight winning streak.

Brooks’ UFC debut went fine, with a unanimous-decision win over Ross Pearson. But it was downhill from there. A match with an overweight Alex Oliveira ended in a TKO loss and a damaged rib. Then came Charles Oliveira and, with him, a first-round submission setback.

As he prepares to meet Nik Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC) at this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 121, Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) rides the first losing skid of career.

For some fighters, consecutive losses can be traced back to personal turbulence. In Brooks’ case, though, it wasn’t that things were going bad – they were going a little too well.

“Everything I’ve done in this sport has been motivated off of being bitter, upset,” Brooks told MMAjunkie, “and having a chip on my shoulder and being angry all the time. That kind of motivated me to where I needed to go. It was kind of like me against everybody else.

“So once I got my wife, my daughter, my house, money in the bank to pay my mortgage, pay my bills, I’m like, ‘This is everything I wanted.’ I didn’t know how to be comfortable being happy in a way.”

His past few camps, Brooks admits, were lacking fire and passion. Not because he was “bored” with the sport, he clarifies.

“I just put all of my energy into trying to lay the groundwork to be the best father and husband that I could be,” Brooks said.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being focused on your loved ones, its takes some selfishness to be a high-level athlete. Finding the balance between family man and keeping the fire alive as a fighter, Brooks said, was the real struggle.

“I had to step back and really look at the whole picture,” Brooks said. “Sit down with my coaches and really ask them questions. See how they felt about some of the things that I was doing. There were days I was skipping practice to stay at home with the baby and things like that, when I should have made different arrangements.”

It took talking to his coaches, to his family and to those close to him for Brooks to get back to where he needed to be. And he singles out a specific piece of advice from Bellator stand-out Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, who opened his eyes to the fact that it didn’t have to be Brooks against the world – it could be Brooks and his loved ones facing it all together, instead.

“That makes sense, because when you take two losses in a row, that does hurt your bank account,” Brooks said. “You start looking around, you’re like, ‘Man, everything I built, this might not sustain itself if I don’t do the things I need to do.’

“So I’m motivated, I’m focused, I’m locked in. I think I found that fire in myself again.”

Brooks will get his chance to prove that in the re-booked meeting with Lentz at UFC Fight Night 121. The lightweight bout 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.

As for how the bout will unfold?

“I’m going to finish him in the second round,” Brooks said.

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

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

Will Brooks says his rebooking with Nik Lentz is official for UFC Fight Night 121

Will Brooks and Nik Lentz have another chance to get things going next month in Australia.

As first reported by MMAjunkie earlier this month, Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Lentz (27-8-2 MMA, 11-5-1 UFC) will fight at lightweight at UFC Fight Night 121. Brooks announced the booking was good to go on his Twitter account.

And Brooks took a little shot at Lentz in the process, saying: “Hopefully he shows up this time.”

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.

The fight is a rebooking for the veterans, who were scheduled to meet earlier this month at UFC 216. But Lentz wasn’t medically cleared to fight and was scratched from the card. Lentz later released a statement saying his body wasn’t responding to insulin and he was having “diabetic like” issues that left him unable to cut weight.

Brooks, a former Bellator lightweight champ, will work on reversing a career slide. He’s dropped his past two octagon bouts, losing via stoppage to Alex Oliveira and Charles Oliveira after a promotional debut win over Ross Pearson. Lentz is 2-1 since returning to the lightweight division from featherweight. In February, he suffered a decision loss to Islam Makhachev.

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
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek

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