Danny Castillo counting on past experience with Lamas to help Josh Emmett at UFC on FOX 26


Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

On a fight card that from an odds perspective is one of the most evenly matched across the board in all of 2017, Josh Emmett is the second biggest underdog at UFC on FOX 26.

But the numbers don’t matter much to Danny Castillo, one of the coaches at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif., and a key cornerman for Emmett (12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) tonight against Ricardo Lamas (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the co-main event.

UFC on FOX 26 takes place at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The main card airs on FOX following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

“The preparation for Lamas – we didn’t really have too much time,” Castillo recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “But once we heard about the fight, I thought it was the perfect fight for Josh being that I fought Ricardo Lamas way back in the day in the WEC, and also Chad (Mendes) fought him in the UFC. We have a little bit of history with Lamas, and I think it’s the perfect matchup for Josh Emmett.”

Emmett stepped in on short notice to take on Lamas, a former featherweight title challenger. Lamas was supposed to fight Jose Aldo in a rematch from their title fight. But when Frankie Edgar dropped out of a headlining bout with current champ Max Holloway at UFC 218 earlier this month, Aldo was tapped to step in. Then Emmett was tapped to take on Lamas.

Lamas is about a 3-1 favorite in the fight and has won back-to-back bouts – a submission of Charles Oliveira and a knockout of Jason Knight. Emmett returned to featherweight in October and beat Felipe Arantes to get back on track after the first loss of his pro career, a split-decision setback to Desmond Green in April. But Emmett missed weight for the fight with Lamas and will give up 20 percent of his purse.

Still, Castillo believes his fighter is going to give Lamas some problems.

“He’s really fast and explosive,” Castillo said. “You’ve never really gotten to see his wrestling so much because he has so much power in his hands. He’s a very dynmaic striker and can switch orthodox to southpaw. He’s got great footwork, as well, and those are what’s going to give Ricardo Lamas a lot of trouble. I’m not taking Ricardo Lamas lightly. I’ve fought him, and he’s been in the game for so long – over a decade. But this is definitely a fight we can win, and I’m excited for it.”

Castillo fought Lamas in August 2009 at WEC 42. He stopped him with a second-round TKO and handed Lamas the first loss of his career. Castillo turned 38 earlier this year and has now gone two years without fighting, choosing instead to focus on coaching for Team Alpha Male.

He’s not ruling out coming back at some point, but with four straight losses and five in his final six bouts, the move to coaching hasn’t necessarily been a bad one, either. (That said, of Castillo’s five losses in his final two years of competition, three were by split decision and one was by majority decision. A spinning backfist KO loss to Paul Felder was the one decisive setback on his resume in that stretch.)

“I’m just enjoying what I’m doing, so I don’t see fighting this year or the next year,” Castillo said. “I’m 38 now. I’m OK with what I do in the sport. I didn’t reach some of the goals I set for myself before I started my career, but sometimes it’s not in the books for certain athletes.

“For me, it’s some of the experiences I did have that helped me become a better coach. All along, I think maybe it was just written in the books to make me a better coach and not a world champion in the UFC.”

For more on UFC on FOX 26, 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Alex Perez felt 'a lot more pressure' for UFC debut in backyard than for DWCS


Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC

Whether it ends up being properly channeled or not, there’s bound to be some measure of nerves as a fighter heads into a UFC debut.

But then there’s Dana White’s Contender Series – an experience in which not only does an athlete have to think about coming out victorious, but also doing it impressively enough to be favored over other winners hoping to earn UFC contracts.

Alex Perez, who competed at UFC Fight Night 123 last week, went through both. So which one was more nerve-racking?

“For the Dana White contender show, I was kind of like, ‘Alright, I’m going to get knocked or knock the guy out. I’m not going to go in there and hold anything back,’” Perez told MMAjunkie Radio. “To be honest, I wasn’t as nervous. Because I was like, ‘I’m going to let everything go. Whatever happens, happens. I know I put everything I had into it.’

“Now when I got into the UFC, in my last fight, I was kind of nervous. Because it’s a bigger stage. Cameras right in front of you the whole time. And I want to win. I need to win. Just because it’s in my backyard. So I was a little bit nervous. But I felt there was a lot more pressure in Fresno then there was in the Dana White (Contender Series).”

It probably helps that, although shows like DWCS and “The Ultimate Fighter” are often platforms for fighters with modest records looking to break into the scene, 25-year-old Perez (19-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) wasn’t one of those cases. By the time he fought in front of White, he’d already fought under Tachi Palace Fights, RFA and CFFC banners.

Not taking any shortcuts paid off for the battle-tested Perez, who managed to thrive in both occasions. On Week 5 of DWCS, he choked out Kevin Gray to earn a first-round win and a UFC contract. Four months later, his UFC debut saw a similar ending, with Perez locking in an Anaconda choke to get rid of Carls John de Tomas in the second round of a bantamweight encounter.

There was an extra level of stress heading into that one, too, as Perez and de Tomas had originally agreed to a flyweight fight. Concerned about de Tomas’ weight progress, though, the California State Athletic Commission thought it would be best to move the bout up a division. Perez, understandably, wasn’t happy about that.

With that in the past, Perez is now looking into his octagon future. And, despite his own extensive professional record, he has an idea of how he’d like to conduct it given a choice.

“I’d rather fight those guys that are 7-0 than fight a guy that’s had a couple of losses on his record,” Perez said. “Most of the guys who are 7-0 get knockouts quickly and haven’t been the distance. So I like to test those guys in deep waters.”

Naming specific targets, however, Perez offered two that stray a bit from that: “TUF 24” alumni Eric Shelton and Matt Schnell, both of whom carry identical 11-4 pro records. Shelton is 1-2 in the octagon but has most recently beaten Jenel Lausa. Schnell was also off to a 0-2 start, but has bounced beat with a decision over Marco Beltran.

“Those two guys would be the guys I’d want to come after,” Perez said. “If I had a choice, I’d pick one of those two.”

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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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

Paul Felder explains why 'Most Violent Fighter' is a dumb and dangerous UFC strategy


Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC

If you’re focused more on the title of “Most Violent Fighter” than you are actually winning a UFC belt, have it, Paul Felder said.

That’s just going to leave more opportunities for him to swoop and get an eventual title shot, he recently told MMAjunkie.

Felder (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who’s fresh off a violent stoppage victory over Charles Oliveira (22-8 MMA, 10-8 UFC) at UFC 218 earlier this month, discussed that strategy when asked about another UFC 218 fight.

Later on that card, after a week of debating the criteria for the unofficial “Most Violent Fighter” title in the UFC, Eddie Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) scored a a third-round TKO win over fellow slugger Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a bout that lived up to its “Fight of the Night” expectations.

Felder, who balances a promising UFC commentating gig with his fighting career, appreciated the entertainment value the two sluggers provided. He just thinks it’s a flawed strategy, especially when it comes to title shots and career longevity.

“I’m always prepared for a three-round war, but I’m just not trying to be in them,” Felder told MMAjunkie Radio. “You’ve got Eddie, who’s trying to be the ‘Most Violent Guy,’ and Gaethje, who’s looking for an equal. Go ahead. You guys can fight over that. Meanwhile, I’ll silently be knocking everyone out and working my way to the top 10, top five, and sneak right in there and take that title shot from you guys.

“The UFC loves wars, but you know what else they love? Seeing guys being able to fight multiple times a year and finish people.”

And Felder knows a little something about that. He’s won three straight fights, two of which earned “Performance of the Night” honors, and is inching closer to a spot in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings and official UFC rankings. But the best part?

“That’s three fights in a row where I had just a couple bruises here and there,” he said. “That’s it – no injuries whatsoever.”

Yet, even with Alvarez’s victory – and with Gaethje’s crowd-pleasing effort in the fight – where does that leave them?

“Those guys shouldn’t be fighting for another eight months with the damage that they took,” Felder said.

Check out the full conversation above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 191 headliner Michael McDonald: Insane to think I could have another 10-15 years in MMA


Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

As he prepares to make his Bellator debut, now is probably a good time to remind you that UFC and WEC veteran Michael McDonald is just 26.

Crazy, right?

“To think about the fact that I could have another 10-15 years (in MMA) if I wanted it is pretty insane,” McDonald told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve already been doing this for over 10 years now, professionally, and that’s a good thing – as long as I can keep my body intact. I’ve got a lot of miles, but I’m learning to take good care of my body.”

McDonald debuted in the WEC in 2010 as a teenager and then immediately transitioned to the UFC, earning a “Fight of the Night” bonus in a decision win over Edwin Figueroa in his promotional debut. He was victorious in his first four UFC fights before coming up short in a bid against Renan Barao for the UFC’s interim bantamweight title in 2013.

Injuries and contract disputes slowed McDonald’s output for the next several years, and he ultimately elected to leave the UFC in favor of a fresh start with Bellator.

In Friday’s Bellator 191 headliner at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, McDonald (17-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) faces Frenchman Peter Ligier (8-1-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a bout that airs on Spike via same-day tape delay.

It’s a fresh start for McDonald, who could still have plenty of upside remaining in his fighting career. With plenty of top-level experience already under his belt, he knows what it takes to compete against the world’s best. His only regret is that he faced top competition so early in his career that it was difficult to have his compensation match the difficulty of the challenges.

“There’s positives and negatives to it,” McDonald said of the early start to his career. “I fought such high competition so quick while I was on my first UFC contract, and that kind of sucked. I fought Miguel Torres on my very first UFC contract. It’s hard to fight someone according to my pay grade when I’ve just beaten Miguel Torres, and I’m still on my first contract after that. There are complications business-wise. But professionally, when it comes to the competitor in me, I’m very happy with it.”

It’s been nearly 17 months since “Mayday” last stepped in the cage, and he said the time away has done him wonders. At such a young age, McDonald still has plenty of time to deliver on the potential he’s long possessed.

But the first step comes Friday, when McDonald can prove his decision to walk away from the UFC was a wise one.

“I’m really excited, man,” McDonald said. “This is the most focused I’ve been in a very long time. Not only that, it’s the best shape, the best technical-wise, best strength, best cardio I’ve ever had in my entire life. Part of me wishes I felt this way for my UFC fights, particularly my title fight in the UFC, but it happens the way that is is.

“God is sovereign over what’s going on, and I’m positive that what happened was good, but I think still this is the greatest I’ve ever felt in my life, and I’m really excited to see how that translates to performance.”

For more on Bellator 191, check out the MMA 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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

UFC's Joseph Benavidez on initial pain, isolation, helplessness of injury recovery: 'I cried every day'


Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Scrolling through Joseph Benavidez’s Instagram account, you’ll see a few things: pictures of him with wife Megan Olivi, snapshots of movies, and cute selfies with their dog, Benny.

What you won’t see are too many pictures of his recovering knee.

That doesn’t mean that the two-time UFC flyweight title challenger isn’t going to the UFC Performance Institute every day. Or that he isn’t training. Or that he isn’t powering through every rough stage of rehabilitation after surgically repairing a torn ACL.

In the more than six months that have passed since Benavidez announced that an injury had forced him out of a scheduled bout with Ben Nguyen, he’s done all those things.

We just haven’t since much of it.

“It was only me going through it, and that’s the way I thought about it,” Benavidez told MMAjunkie Radio. “Like, no one else is going to care. That’s why I’m not like, ‘Hey guys, I’ll be back soon. Check it out. I just bent my leg to 30 degrees or whatever.’ In this sport, there’s such a short memory. There’s always something happening. Someone getting injured, a fight that weekend.

“I’m just like, ‘People are not even going to know I’m injured by the time nine or 10 months comes. And I’m going to win, and I’m going to fight. So they’re not even going to remember that, anyway. So I’m not going to start with everybody else, so I’m going through it myself.’”

For those interested in updates of his recovery, though, Benavidez will gladly give them.

“It’s coming along,” Benavidez said. “You can get places faster banding and lateral and stuff. But it takes a certain amount of time for the tendons and everything to heal properly. I’m like at a six-, six-and-a-half-month mark right now. I’m training and stuff. Nothing live – anything where an injury can happen.

“Just like you would a week before a fight or something. Something you would do where you couldn’t get injured? That’s kind what I’m doing. Going through the mitts, the motions, the drills and stuff.

“I’m getting there. Hopefully shooting for a March, April return next year.”

Benavidez has been “good” for months now. But that’s after what often felt like a very slow process that had him relying heavily on others for basic things. For two months, he had to use at least one crutch. He was stuck with an ankle-to-hip cast. His wife, who’s also a host and reporter for the UFC, had to skip trips to help him.

For the first week, Benavidez had to sleep in the couch because couldn’t even go up the stairs in his home. After that, he could go up slowly, with Olivi’s help, to do basic things like taking showers.

“It was miserable, of course,” Benavidez said. “And I know Megan wouldn’t be doing anything else, but she was in there helping me shower, you know. I cried every day. On my couch, like – it was just terrible to have something taken away from you like that.

“I would cry all the time, and Megan would go down and sleep with me on the couch because I couldn’t go up the stairs. And I’d have to wake her up because I was just crying. Just breaking down and just kind of – I don’t know. It was just a long road. And then the pain and everything as well. There were times when I was crying naked with my dog on my lap.”

With time, it got better. Eventually, Benavidez could walk. Then he could drive. And now, possibly three or four months away from an octagon return, the flyweight is looking ahead to what’s currently an interesting division.

Since Benavidez had to withdraw from his UFC Fight Night 110 meeting with Nguyen, 125-pound kingpin Demetrious Johnson has cruised past yet another challenger at UFC 216, pulling off a crazy submission win over Ray Borg to break Anderson Silva’s previous record of 10 consecutive title defenses.

Benavidez, who’s suffered two losses to Johnson in the past, has made no secret of his desire for a third stab at the belt. And, considering he’s coming off six straight victories, the No. 2 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings isn’t exactly crazy to feel that way.

If it does come to fruition, however, that shot might involve peculiar circumstances. While nothing’s been officially announced, there’s a strong push to make Johnson’s (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) next fight against bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) – a matchup that Benavidez thinks is “awesome.”

The specifics of that are also up in the air. Would it be at flyweight? Bantamweight? Somewhere in between? But if it ends up being Dillashaw going down to the 125-pound division, and becoming a two-division champ in the process, that could lead to Benavidez going up against a former Team Alpha Male stablemate and friend.

When talks of a Johnson-Dillashaw fight first started, Benavidez figured he’d have time to see the whole thing unfold. But Johnson had other plans. And Benavidez was always aware, as small as it was, as much as he knew both ex-teammates would tried to get around it, of the possibility of fighting Dillashaw.

Now that it seems more real than never?

“I’ll fight the best guy in my weight,” Benavidez said.

To hear more from Benavidez, 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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 191's Valerie Letourneau looks to ex-UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk as proof she made right move


Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Six-time UFC fighter Valerie Letourneau struggled tremendously to reach the 115-pound strawweight limit during her octagon run and ultimately decided to move to flyweight upon signing with Bellator.

Letourneau (8-6 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) debuts for the promotion against Kate Jackson (9-2-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) at Friday’s Bellator 191 event. Ahead of that matchup, which airs on Spike (via same-day tape delay) from Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, Letourneau said she’s confident the change in divisions was absolutely necessary.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting for this forever,” Letourneau told MMAjunkie Radio. “It’s been a very long year of negotiating contracts and training and training and training. Nothing was going on, so I’m very impatient. I cannot wait for this fight, especially this week when we cut weight. I’m just so grateful, so happy that I can finally fight at 125. I feel strong. I feel healthy. I’m still cutting weight, but in a normal way, so I can really focus on performing.”

Letourneau’s UFC run started in fine fashion after she earned a UFC 174 win in the bantamweight division before making a move down to the strawweight division and posting victories over Jessica Rakoczy and Maryna Moroz.

But Letourneau’s weight cuts got increasingly difficult, and she lost her final three UFC appearances, starting with a failed bid to unseat then-champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) and then subsequent losses to Joanna Calderwood and Viviane Pereira.

Jedrzejczyk is now a teammate of Letourneau’s at American Top Team, and “Trouble” said she’s amazed that the Polish standout can still get her body down to 115 pounds. However, she said that watching the process is a stark reminder of her own desire to compete at flyweight instead.

Letourneau heard secondhand of Jedrzejczyk’s weight cut at this past month’s UFC 217 event, where the Polish fighter lost her UFC belt, and knows she doesn’t want to deal with similar difficulties.

“Well, definitely we had that talk with Joanna, even the week before the fight, just before she left – how much it hurt her body, how much it affects us even sometimes a month and two months after the fight; we’re still paying the price for the weight cut,” Letourneau said. “It’s so hard to explain. There’s so many steps that are – it’s not healthy, but at the same time, this is what we have to do. I’m so impressed with how good (Jedrzejczyk is) because she’s pretty much cutting the same same amount of weight. We have different bodies, but it works pretty much the same.

“When we start training, we gain weight because we put muscle on, and then everything is a struggle of not putting too much muscle, going down in weight and performing. She’s been doing so great. She always had really good cardio going to those five-round fights. But these weight cuts she’s doing are brutal. People have no clue because also her attitude is so positive. She always looks like she’s good, she’s strong, but look at her body. You can tell the girl is sucked up when she gets on the scale. She’s sitting there smiling, but there’s nothing left. She’s completely drained, and there’s a price to pay.”

Letourneau said it was this experience that forced her to move up a division, especially when her body made things harder and harder for her in progressive weight cuts.

The Canadian import said it’s natural for the body to fight against the cuts no matter how frustrating it might be.

“Every time you do those weight cuts, the second time is harder,” Letourneau said. “Your body knows, and sometimes what was working the first time is not working this time. It’s like your body is protecting itself. You’re not going to lose as much water as easily, and we kind of need to switch a couple things. It’s just, your body doesn’t want to go through this. It’s not healthy, and it just gets harder and harder, and I think this weight cut (for Jedrzejczyk) – from what I’ve heard, I wasn’t there – but we have the same coach. Mike Brown was with me when I fought in Australia, so he saw her cutting weight for this fight, and he said it was a pretty similar weight cut.

“And we have no IV, also, to rehydrate. It’s hard to have 24 hours so dehydrated. You don’t just drink water and Pedialyte, and everything is going to be fine. It’s more than that, especially for your brain.”

The UFC instituted the women’s flyweight division shortly after Letourneau left the promotion, but she said she’s not upset at that turn of events. Instead, she’s simply anxious to get in the cage and said plenty of talented female flyweights are capable of stacking rosters in both the UFC and Bellator.

“I think it’s going to be the perfect mix of both – very athletic girls, very fast, and still strong, strong women, like we see at 135 and 145,” Letourneau. “And also, (we’ll be) seeing women fight at their full capacity.”

For more on Bellator 191, 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.

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

Before UFC-debut win, Sean O'Malley went through DWCS 2 camp with concussion


Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

At the second Dana White’s Contender Series event, Sean O’Malley impressed with a flashy striking display that culminated in a first-round finish of Alfred Khashakyan.

The win, as we found out later that night, was impressive enough to catch the UFC president’s eye. At 22 and with an unblemished eight-fight record at the time, O’Malley was the only fighter to come out of the July 18 UFC Fight Pass event with a UFC contract and some serious hype behind him.

But what ended as a perfect night started as anything but.

“That Contender Series fight, I couldn’t spar,” O’Malley recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “That was the worst training camp I’ve ever had for any fight. I woke up that morning, and I was like, ‘(Expletive), man. Not feeling it.’ Just because I hadn’t been sparring hard. I wasn’t able to practice.

“I haven’t said anything about it, but I had a bad concussion that whole fight camp. I woke up that morning, I had headaches. I was like, ‘(Expletive).’ I was just thinking I had to go in there and scrap and just make it ugly – just do whatever I had to do to win it.”

Who knew having a lousy camp could end up working out so well?

Fortunately for O’Malley (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), things were different ahead of his recent UFC debut. In the months that elapsed between his DWCS bout and his TUF 26 Finale meeting with Terrion Ware (17-7 MMA, 0-2 UFC) on Dec. 1, O’Malley got to better every bit of his MMA game, throughout a camp in which he was confident.

We got to see the result of that in the octagon. While it wasn’t an entirely spotless performance – O’Malley’s slower second round cost him on all three judges’ scorecards for that frame – he showcased style and heart as he dug deep against a gritty opponent in a co-headlining affair. O’Malley took a unanimous-decision nod for his efforts.

Overall, O’Malley was happy with his display against a a “tough-as-(expletive)” opponent. Even as he stepped off the gas pedal in the second frame, “Sugar” was confident that his preparation would translate to a second wind when he came back for the last one. He never gave up on the finish, even though Ware wouldn’t let him have it, and ultimately got the win and the attention.

By all accounts, it was one solid way to kick off a UFC run. But for O’Malley, who’d finished seven of the eight opponents who came before, something was still missing.

“I was just upset I didn’t get the finish,” O’Malley said. “It just doesn’t feel right.”

A 23-year-old with an unbeaten record, a creative striking style and finish-driven mentality, one would assume, shouldn’t have too much trouble getting chances to right that wrong. When the next opportunity will take place, however, is to be determined.

With a few minor injuries to tend to right now, he’s looking at at least a few months of rest. He has no specific opponents in mind, but UFC 222, set for March 3 in Las Vegas, seems like a good option.

However it turns out, O’Malley wants to make the most of 2018.

“I definitely want to fight three or four times next year, as well,” O’Malley said. “I had four fights this year, so as long as I’m healthy, I want to fight.”

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, check out the UFC Events 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.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Let Brett Johns' story be a warning: When street fighting, maybe avoid historical monuments


Filed under: Blue Corner, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

In Brett Johns’ defense, he was provoked that time he exchanged chokes and punches with another guy in the middle of the street.

But in hindsight, maybe he could’ve maybe picked a spot to stand up for himself that had a little less historical baggage.

As shown by an undefeated record that includes three UFC outings, Johns (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) knows a thing or two about fighting other men in a controlled, regulated environment. But back in the day, when he was solely a judo player with no MMA training, he saw himself in a situation that did not involve a bout agreement.

“There were a couple of thugs by me, and I remember walking on the street,” Johns told MMAjunkie Radio, when asked to share a street-fight story. “I mentioned I was doing judo. I’d done judo for 16 years before this point. This guy, randomly, probably about the same age as me – jumped on my back and rear-naked choked me.

“He tried to put me unconscious in the middle of the street. Just for a joke, really. And I’m not a big fan of that. I’ve never gone to sleep in my life, and I never plan to.

“Hopefully it doesn’t happen this Friday, either.”

Spoiler: It didn’t. By “this Friday,” Johns meant his recent TUF 26 Finale appointment with grappling expert Joe Soto, which took place Dec. 1. In fact, not only did Johns manage not to get choked out, but he pulled off a rare calf-slicer submission in a mere 30 seconds.

But this is now. At the time that the “thug” tried to choke him out in the street, Johns wasn’t quite as well-rounded. So let’s just say things didn’t go as smoothly for the bantamweight.

“I remember just getting really annoyed, so I pushed him,” Johns said. “I remember pushing me to a corner of a wall and beating lumps of me. Those were five or six punches he beat into me. And they all landed flush in the face. And I remember being so embarrassed that I offered him out by the – it was like a monument.

“It was a solider monument from the first World War, and I said, ‘We’ll fight down there.’ Not very respectful, I know.”

Albeit morally questionable, the maneuver was effective.

“I think he fancied his chances because he landed some punches on me,” Johns said. “But I managed to switch the situation. I held him on a rear-naked choke. I was choking him, and I let him up. I managed to catch him with a shot and put him down.

“I remember looking up – after it all finished, the guy didn’t want to carry on after that. And I looked to the sign.”

If getting busted by your parents in a situation like this is embarrassing, there has got to be a new word for what Johns experienced next.

“I realized that my great-grandfather was on that monument,” Johns said.

In light of that, Johns thinks he maybe should have taken the scuffle somewhere else. But on the other hand, there’s also the possibility that his great-grandfather would have been proud to see him stand his ground against what was ultimately a bully.

“It’s one of those things: I detest – I think everybody does, but I hate bullies,” Johns said. “I’m not a big fan of bullies.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, 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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Source: MMA Junkie

Why Brazilian manager Alex Davis is indifferent about Colby Covington's anti-Brazil sentiment


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Colby Covington’s Brazil-bashing routine caused such a stir that even some of his American Top Team stablemates turned on him.

But there’s one ATT member hailing from Brazil who is willing to defend the 170-pound contender: longtime MMA manager Alex Davis.

Davis was in Sao Paulo with many of his athletes when Covington turned his UFC Fight Night 119 meeting with Demian Maia into yet another opportunity to controversially gain attention. Clearly, it worked. And, while Davis finds it unfortunate that negativity seems to work so effectively toward boosting fighters’ names, he also can’t fault the welterweight for using a successful approach.

“As a member of American Top Team, I had Colby’s back there,” Davis told MMAjunkie Radio. “If anything would have been needed, I would have defended that kid. I like Colby. I don’t have a problem with him. And you know what? Colby went down there on a mission, and he accomplished it. He went there to gain notoriety, and he went there to beat Demian Maia. He did both. …

“I, personally, am kind of in a different position than all my Brazilian teammates – who are kind of upset about it and everything. He’s moving forward. People are talking about it.”

Covington (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) spent all of fight week throwing jabs at Brazil and its “filthy animals,” but things reached a boiling point on fight night. After taking a unanimous decision over Maia, “Chaos” had boos and actual objects thrown his way as he made his way out of the octagon (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Despite an exec’s initial remarks about possible disciplinary action for the fighter, UFC President Dana White was later dismissive. Weeks after the incident, a still-unapologetic Covington traveled to Sydney to fulfill guest fighter duties and saw himself in the middle of a scuffle with Brazilian ex-champ Fabricio Werdum. Brazil seems to have played at least some part in it.

Other than a boomerang thrown his way, Covington’s antics also got him some heat from a few peers – including UFC champion Amanda Nunes and heavyweight vet Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who’s actually managed by Davis.

In fairness, Davis does think Covington takes things “a little too far.” And the manager, who wouldn’t personally say such things about anyone’s country, wishes trash-talking wasn’t such a proven way of getting ahead in the UFC. But, at the end of the day, the game “is what it is” – and Covington is at least backing up his talk.

“It’s the second time he’s been in Brazil. It’s the second time he had things thrown at him and heard that he’s going to die,” Davis said. “So, you know what, put yourself in his position. He went out, won a great fight and then he said, ‘F y’all.’

“I like Colby personally. I don’t have a problem with him. So there’s where I’m at. He’s my teammate. I’m Brazilian-American (Davis was born in Brazil, but lived in the U.S. and comes from an American family), I love my Brazilians, I love my Americans, I’m ATT also, and he’s my teammate.”

To hear from Davis, check out the video above.

And for more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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


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Source: MMA Junkie

Rashad Evans says commentating can make you 'feel stupid,' discusses move back to 205


Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans is just trying not to look stupid – on either side of the cage.

Evans, who’s been with the UFC for more than 12 years now, will be working the FOX Sports analyst desk tonight for UFC Fight Night 123. Although the 38-year-old feels the pressure whether he’s fighting or simply covering the fights, he knows tonight’s competitors may be especially anxious.

After all, UFC Fight Night 123, which airs on FS1 from Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., follows a stretch of events that has produced some remarkable bouts.

“They’re going to feel it,” Evans told MMAjunkie Radio. “The UFC’s top brass will go in there in the pre-fight meetings and let the fighters know you have a lot to live up to because of the UFC (events) of the last few weeks have been amazing. They’re starting to set that as a standard.

“I don’t know what’s getting into these fighters, but I love it.”

If he’s not fighting, the next-best option for Evans is covering the events. Still, it also comes with its own challenges. As one of the more successful UFC fighters to dabble in MMA commentating, “Suga” is earning veteran status behind the mic too. He was a part of ESPN’s “MMA Live” show before moving to FOX when the UFC announced a multi-year deal with the sports-broadcasting giant.

He likes that FOX has committed to MMA and opened opportunities to commentate on the fights and other UFC specialty programming. But just as in fighting, the spotlight can be challenging.

“It’s tough, you know – it’s tough,” Evans said. “Every time you open your mouth and say something, it doesn’t always sound right. But you’ve got to find a way, no matter what comes out of your mouth – you’ve got to make it work, and you’ve got to flow.

“And you have to know what you’re talking about, or people are going to call you out, and you’re going to feel stupid.”

However, while that broadcasting work can provide a nice distraction from the day-to-day grind of being a top-level MMA fighter, Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) is still focused on his career. However, although once one of the world’s top 205-pounders, he’s currently on a four-fight skid, which included recent losses at middleweight to Daniel Kelly and Sam Alvey.

Evans mentioned Jimi Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) as a possible next opponent – UFC Fight Night 127 on March 17 in London makes sense, he said – but he’s not really sure what’s next. But he’s “desperate” to get back on track and halt his skid.

“I really don’t know, to be honest,” Evans said. “I’m moving back up to (light heavyweight), I’m on a four-fight losing streak, and I’m looking to bounce back in a big way. I have to bounce back in a big way. …

“I don’t know who that person is going to be, but truthfully speaking, after what I’ve been through the last few years, it really doesn’t even matter to me anymore. I just want to go back and get back to my winning ways more than anything.

“I’m hungry, I’m desperate, and I’m ready for whoever.”

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, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie