USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Oct. 10: Demetrious Johnson again takes P4P throne

Say what you will about his ability to draw pay-per-view buys – Demetrious Johnson’s fighting skills are simply off the charts.

At this past weekend’s UFC 216 event in Las Vegas, Johnson earned the 11th consecutive defense of his UFC flyweight title, breaking a promotional record he shared with former middleweight champ Anderson Silva. “Mighty Mouse” did so in style, submitting Ray Borg in the fifth round with an incredible suplex-to-armbar series that will surely gain “Submission of the Year” nominations.

With the win, Johnson again moves past former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to take the No. 1 spot in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA pound-for-pound rankings.

Johnson wasn’t the only fighter making moves on the pound-for-pound list. Check out the updates on that chart, as well as moves across several divisions following this past weekend’s MMA action.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Why are we so tolerant of the absurd insanity of weight-cutting in MMA?

At this point it’s basically a part of the routine. Fight week rolls around, the photo ops come and go, then suddenly it’s Friday morning, and we all wait to see who will show up looking like a walking corpse ready to have his remains weighed on the official scale.

At UFC 216, it was Kevin Lee’s turn. After bragging about feasting on tiramisu for dessert, he needed two tries to hit the lightweight mark, looking progressively cadaverous with each attempt. If that wasn’t enough of a fighter safety risk, we learned after the fight that he also had a staph infection on his chest. The Nevada State Athletic Commission deemed him fit to fight anyway, for reasons it wouldn’t fully explain.

Lee wasn’t the only one who struggled in Las Vegas. Nik Lentz was pulled from the event entirely after being hospitalized due to what he called “diabetic-like issues.” It seems his hands and feet went numb during his weight cut, which probably isn’t a good sign just a couple days before you’re supposed to get into a cage and fight.

This all happened just two weeks after Mizuta Hirota was scratched from UFC Fight Night 117 when he nearly fell off the scales at weigh-ins.

As if to drive home the point that it can always get worse, Pancrase weighed in a nearly unconscious Daniel Lima in Japan over the weekend, and then let him go through with the fight anyway, despite the fact that he had to be literally carried on and off the scales.

As longtime MMA referee Marc Goddard asked in a Facebook video, what if “the unthinkable” had happened in that fight, which is really not so unthinkable after seeing how depleted Lima was at the weigh-in?

“Who would take that blame?” Goddard asked. “That’s (expletive) manslaughter.”

What makes this practice more insane is how unnecessary it is. Think about weight-cutting for what it really is. A day before the competition, two athletes of roughly equal size shed their bodies of enough water and nutrients to hit the same arbitrary mark on a scale, all so they can frantically put the weight back on in time for the fight the next day, at which point they will be roughly the same size again.

As dangerous and difficult as it is, nobody’s getting a significant advantage through weight-cutting anymore. What they’re doing with all that suffering is preventing their opponents from having a significant advantage. It’s an absurd price to pay just to end up on a mostly level playing field in the end.

But how do you fix it? More weight classes aren’t going to do it, because fighters looking for an edge (or just for a fresh start in a new division) will still push their bodies to the absolute limit if they’re allowed to.

So maybe you stop allowing it. You institute hydration tests and out-of-competition weigh-ins to get a sense of what each fighter really weighs in the hopes of establishing a safe fighting weight for everyone.

That’s the direction that the California State Athletic Commission is heading in, but it’s going to take more than one commission in one state. This is a change the whole sport needs to make, if we’re going to really address the issue. The entire culture needs to change, and that’s never easy to do.

But if we’re not yet convinced that this is a problem, what’s going to change our minds? People have died cutting weight. They’ve died in the fights that followed rough weigh cuts. They’ve been hospitalized so often that it’s barely even newsworthy anymore. They’ve squandered the weeks and months spent training for a fight, all because they couldn’t survive their own weight cuts in a healthy enough state to go through with them.

The worst things that can possibly happen have already happened. The not-quite-as-bad-but-still-pretty-troubling things have also happened, and with alarming frequency.

Still, most of the powers that be in MMA don’t seem ready to make a change this big. Apparently they’re fine with the almost weekly ridiculousness of pro fighters making themselves sick on the eve of their most dangerous assignments. They’re too used to it, maybe. Too comfortable with it.

Or maybe they just need to see how bad it can really get. But if that hasn’t happened by now, I hate to think of what it’s going to take.

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

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Oct. 3: Who deserves the next shot at Conor McGregor?

At Saturday’s UFC 216 event, an interim UFC lightweight champion will be crowned. But is that person the one that deserves to challenge for the undisputed belt?

Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) currently holds that title, though he has yet to defend it since claiming the belt this past November. Meanwhile, both Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) – who challenge for the interim belt at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas – both believe a victory should earn them a shot at undisputed status.

Ferguson currently sits at No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings. Lee resides at No. 8, though a win would certainly see him shoot up the list.

Of course, undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) holds the No. 2 spot and has constantly promised he would smash McGregor if given the chance. And Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) sits at No. 7, though his ranking is almost irrelevant when considering the type of attention a trilogy fight with McGregor would draw.

Ahead of this week’s UFC 216 event, take a look at how the lightweight rankings currently sit, because the results could prove vital in determining what comes next for “The Notorious.”

And give us your opinion below: Who does deserve the next crack at McGregor?

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Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Fitch pays tribute to Tom Petty with (a pretty darn good) rendition of 'Learning to Fly'

MMA fighters have quite frequently used Tom Petty’s catalog as walkout music, so when the music icon passed away late Monday, the news struck close to home for many competitors.

Petty, 66, died after suffering cardiac arrest, ending a life and music career that had a global impact. When it comes to MMA, Petty’s music is perhaps best associated with former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who famously walks out to “I Won’t Back Down.”

Petty’s music clearly had an influence on others, though, including Jon Fitch (30-7-1). The former UFC welterweight title challenger and current PFL fighter apparently has some music talent in his back pocket, and after Petty’s passing, he honored him with a rendition of “Learning to Fly.”

Check it out below (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

How did Fitch’s version of the song stack up to the original? Judge for yourself.

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

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

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Sept. 26: Does Jessica Andrade deserve another title shot?

With both the UFC and Bellator in action over the weekend, plenty of fighters had a chance to make a statement, but perhaps none did more so than Jessica Andrade (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC).

The strawweight contender picked up the most significant win of her career at UFC Fight Night 117, earning a hard-fought and bloody decision over fellow Brazilian Claudia Gadelha (15-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in the night’s co-feature. With that result, Andrade now stands at No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, while Gadelha slips to No. 3.

Current No. 1 Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) faces No. 6 Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) at November’s blockbuster UFC 217. Andrade lost to Jedrzejczyk earlier this year, so a win from the undefeated Polish striker might mean a roadblock for Andrade, but a Namajunas upset could allow “Bata Estaca” to take a second crack at the title.

What do you think? Should Andrade get a title shot, regardless of the result at UFC 217? Or is a Jedrzejczyk rematch a possibility based on Andrade’s latest win. Let us know in the poll below. And check out the rest of the updated rankings list following this past weekend’s events.

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Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

PFL's season-ending charity event features Ivanov, Palmer, Siler, Kyle, others

Filed under: News, PFL

PFL, the successor to WSOF, will close out its abbreviated 2017 campaign with a charity event that features some familiar names.

“PFL: Washington D.C.” takes place Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Washington Hilton in Washington D.C., and it streams on the promotion’s website, Facebook Live, YouTube and MMAjunkie, among others.

The event serves as a partnership project with Fight For Children, “a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. with a mission to ensure all kids in the District of Columbia region, especially those in the highest need areas, receive a quality early education and solid foundation for future success,” according to PFL officials. It’s the first time MMA is the featured attraction.

As previously announced, a heavyweight matchup between former WSOF champ Blagoy Ivanov (15-1) and Brazilian veteran Caio Alencar (11-1) headlines the card.

Former WSOF featherweight champion Lance Palmer (11-3), a four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler who hasn’t fought since a title loss to Andre Harrison in March, was also previously announced for the card, and he now has an opponent: Steven Siler (29-16), a former UFC fighter and Titan FC title challenger who looks to rebound from a March loss to Hakeem Dawodu at WSOF 35.

Rounding out the main card are big-show vet Mike Kyle (22-15-1) vs. heavyweight Daniel Gallemore (7-3), as well as bantamweights Timur Valiev (11-2) vs. Josenaldo Silva (25-5).

The full “PFL: Washington D.C.” lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (MMAjunkie, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Blagoy Ivanov vs. Caio Alencar
  • Lance Palmer vs. Steven Siler
  • Daniel Gallemore vs. Mike Kyle
  • Josenaldo Silva vs. Timur Valiev

For more on “PFL: Washington D.C.,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, PFL
Source: MMA Junkie

Carlos Felipe denies wrongdoing, but is replaced by Marcelo Golm vs. Christian Colombo at UFC Fight Night 119

Bad news for one young undefeated Brazilian heavyweight turned into good news for another.

After issues with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency kept 22-year-old Carlos Felipe (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) out of his octagon debut, which was set for next month’s UFC Fight Night 119, 25-year-old Marcelo Golm (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was chosen to step in against Christian Colombo (8-2-1 MMA, 0-1-1 UFC). UFC officials announced the new matchup today.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place Oct. 28 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order hasn’t been finalized.

The undefeated Golm makes his UFC debut riding a four-fight winning streak – all first-round knockouts. The 37-year-old Colombo looks for his first UFC win after a draw with Jarjis Danho in his debut and a loss to Brazil’s Luis Henrique.

The news comes less than two days after Felipe was notified of a possible USADA violation stemming from an out-of-competition test. The Brazilian up-and-comer, who’s unbeaten in eight pro bouts, has since taken to social media to deny any wrongdoing.

“I am fully aware that I didn’t make use of any substances prohibited by USADA,” Felipe said in an Instagram post. “Since I signed with the UFC, I’ve stopped taking even caffeine pills. I’ll be awaiting USADA’s judgment. In light of that, I apologize to everyone who was looking forward to this fight.”

Instagram Photo

The latest UFC Fight Night 119 card now includes:

  • Lyoto Machida vs. Derek Brunson
  • Colby Covington vs. Demian Maia
  • Jarred Brooks vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
  • Augusto Mendes vs. Boston Salmon
  • Christian Colombo vs. Marcelo Golm
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Jack Marshman
  • Jack Hermansson vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
  • Rob Font vs. Pedro Munhoz
  • Hacran Dias vs. Jared Gordon
  • Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Max Griffin
  • Niko Price vs. Luan Chagas
  • Jim Miller vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

'PFL: Washington D.C.' adds Blagoy Ivanov vs. Caio Alencar, Lance Palmer vs. TBA

The Professional Fighters League’s final event of 2017 now has its first two fights – or at least one-and-a-half matchups.

PFL officials recently revealed that “PFL: Washington D.C.” will take place Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Washington Hilton in Washington D.C. A heavyweight matchup between former WSOF champ Blagoy Ivanov (15-1) and Brazilian veteran Caio Alencar (11-1) serves as the headliner, while former WSOF featherweight champion Lance Palmer (11-3) features an opponent yet to be named.

The event serves as a partnership project with Fight For Children, “a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. with a mission to ensure all kids in the District of Columbia region, especially those in the highest need areas, receive a quality early education and solid foundation for future success,” according to PFL officials.

Two additional bouts will be revealed shortly for the card, which will stream live in its entirety on ProfessionalFightersLeague.com.

“Fight Night has been a staple in Washington for nearly three decades, and the Professional Fighters League is excited and honored to have some of our top athletes compete at this year’s event,” PFL Executive Chairman Russ Ramsey stated. “MMA fighters are among the most disciplined, driven, and committed athletes in the world – traits we hope to instill in our own kids and children everywhere, regardless of their backgrounds. As a D.C. native, myself, I have seen the incredible work of Fight For Children up close, and can think of no better way to cap off 2017 and begin the PFL’s mission of putting athletes first and reimagining the sport of MMA forever.”

Ivanov, ranked No. 14 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, enters the bout on a four-fight winning streak, built entirely under the WSOF banner before the promotion’s recent rebranding as the PFL. He now meets Alencar, who also boasts a four-fight winning streak – a run that includes a 77-second knockout of Jared Rosholt at this past December’s WSOF 34 event.

For more on “PFL: Washington D.C.,” check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, PFL
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Chris Van Heerden, Ray Sefo and Stitch Duran

Filed under: News, PFL, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Chris Van Heerden, Ray Sefo and Stitch Duran.

Boxer Van Heerden discusses his falling out with UFC champ and former sparring partner Conor McGregor. PFL president and retired fighter/kickboxer Sefo, as well as veteran cutman Duran, are our in-studio guest hosts.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Aug. 8: Sergio Pettis making run to the top

While his older brother is a former UFC champion, 23-year-old flyweight contender Sergio Pettis may soon find himself with a chance to wrap a UFC belt around his waist.

Pettis was victorious at this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event and now finds himself in the No. 6 position in the latest edition of the USA Today Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) survived a tough opening round against a game Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and battled back to dominate the final four frames in the altitude of Mexico City. With current UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson set to face Ray Borg in September, Pettis believes a fight with Henry Cejudo, who currently sits at No. 3, makes the most sense for his next move.

Check out the updated flyweight rankings following this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event, which also Dustin Ortiz secure an impressive 15-second victory.

Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie