UFC on FOX 26 main-event breakdown: Can Rafael dos Anjos survive Robbie Lawler's initial storm?

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC on FOX 26’s main-card bouts. Today, we look at the main event.

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

* * * *

Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC)

Robbie Lawler

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 35 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Donald Cerrone (July 29, 2017)
  • Camp: Combat Club (Florida)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Former UFC welterweight champion
+ EliteXC middleweight title
+ 20 KO victories
+ 1 submission win
+ 12 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Solid footwork
+ Dangerous left hand
+ Deceptively accurate right hook
+ Hard left Thai kicks
^ Variates well from the body to head
+ Strong inside of the clinch
+ Underrated wrestling
^ Good getup ability
+ Effective butterfly guard
+ Deceptive ground striker
– Someitmes subject to acitvity lulls
+/- 2-2 against UFC southpaws

Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC)

Rafael dos Anjos

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 33 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 70″
  • Last fight: Submission win over Neil Magny (Sept. 9, 2017)
  • Camp: RVCA/Gracie Barra (California)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Former UFC lightweight champion
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ Multiple Brazilian jiu-jitsu accolades
+ 5 KO victories
+ 9 submission wins
+ 9 first-round finishes
+ Disciplined pace and pressure
^ Aggressive but intelligent stalker
+ Hard and accurate Thai kicks
^ Variates well to the body
+ Good takedowns against the fence
^ 10-2 when scoring at least one
+ Strong postional grappler
^ Smashes and pashes effectively
+ Improved getup ability
+/- 4-1 against UFC southpaws

Summary:

The main event in Winnipeg features a battle between two former champions when Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos collide.

Lawler, a former welterweight champion, is attempting to reassert his position as the division’s warlord with a potential win under the spotlight.

Dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion, looks to continue his successful campaign at 170 pounds en route to his desired goal of another gold belt.

Starting off on the feet, we have a rare pairing of southpaw strikers.

Although this type of matchup typically presents some problems in the form of discomfort and defense (given that most southpaws predicate their games against orthodox opposition), I don’t suspect it will be a sizeable factor for either fighter considering their style and experience.

What I do suspect to be a factor is the fact that both men are pressure-based fighters by trade.

A more traditional pressure fighter, dos Anjos steadily stalks his opponents, working behind feints until finding an opportunity to unleash. Whether dos Anjos is throwing his hard left hands or Thai kicks, the Brazilian usually counterbalanced his attack with a dangerous right hook.

Despite moving up a weight class, dos Anjos is accustomed to having to slip-and-rip on taller opposition. And considering that dos Anjos likes to follow his opponents retractions into the pocket, the Brazilian’s power will be most potent inside of these spaces.

Still, dos Anjos has some tendencies of his own that may make him vulnerable when looking to strike inside. Often planting his heels to hold his ground, dos Anjos tends to get wide on his strike retractions as he wings his shots from left to right.

And although dos Anjos usually has the upper hand in these equations (being that he is bombing from below), he will still need to be mindful of the potential brutality coming back at him.

Lawler, one of the heavier-handed fighters in the division, has steadily sharpened his craft over the years.

Similar to Anthony Johnson (a former pupil of Lawler’s newfound striking coach, Henri Hooft), Lawler will steadily march down his opposition, cutting off the octagon while shifting his weight from left to right.

Fueled by an excellent awareness of angles, Lawler symbiotically moves his head defensively as his feet set up offensive onslaughts. This approach allows Lawler to stay on balance when attacking, while seemingly encouraging head movement as well.

Known for his devastating left hands and power kicks, Lawler’s right hook is usually the quiet killer in exchanges.

Whether he’s coming forward with it or throwing it as a check, Lawler’s right hook is a deceptively accurate weapon. And whenever he can get his opposition to back up in between the cage and inner-black octagon lines, you can throw all activity-lulling accusations out the window since Lawler attacks with impunity here.

In fact both men do their best work when able to get their opponents into this zone. Conversely, each fighter has also suffered his worst defeat when being the one who is pressured toward the fence, making this matchup’s dynamic a clear one.

Should dos Anjos get his pressure game going, expect takedown attempts to accompany his strikes anytime he can corral Lawler near the cage. Despite Lawler being the bigger man with underrated takedown defense to boot, I suspect these stanzas to remain competitive from both sides.

If the former lightweight can ground the former middleweight, then we could see a few different developments.

A strong positional player, dos Anjos could surprise some by ceasing control via his high-percentage pressure game and passes. Although Lawler has long possessed a serviceable butterfly guard from the bottom, his last fight was a reminder that he is not beyond being outmaneuvered by a lighter man.

I am not sure if I can see dos Anjos submitting a sober Lawler in these scenarios, but I do see him having his chances whenever Lawler tries to get back to his feet. Typically electing to tripod or turtle to stand, Lawler can sometimes make himself vulnerable to back takes or front headlocks.

Coupled with the recent trend of dos Anjos getting back to his Brazilian jiu-jitsu roots, this could spell potential trouble for the former welterweight champ. That said, if dos Anjos ends up on bottom or against the fence, then he could ultimately be subjected to the harsher weather.

The oddsmakers and public do not seem to feel too strongly one way or the other, and the betting lines are still at a near pick’em as of this writing.

I am somewhat surprised to not see Lawler listed as the slight favorite, given that he is the bigger, stronger and more experienced pressure fighter in a five-round affair. Nevertheless, it can be hard to overlook Lawler’s propensity for activity lulls and lackadaisical kick defense in this particular matchup.

Ultimately, if dos Anjos can survive Lawler’s initial storm and power shots, then I can see his consistent arsenal of attack stacking up points and momentum en route to a competitive decision win.

Official pick: Dos Anjos by decision

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

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

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 26 event in Winnipeg.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC on FOX 26 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC on FOX 26 takes place Saturday at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the main card airs on FOX following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Records: Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC), Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC)
Past five: Lawler 4-1, dos Anjos 3-2
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: Lawler No. 3, dos Anjos No. 9
Odds (as of 12/10/17): Lawler -115, dos Anjos -105

Take Our Poll
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Ricardo Lamas vs. Josh Emmett

Records: Ricardo Lamas (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC), Josh Emmett (12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC)
Past five: Lamas 3-2, Emmett 4-1
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: Lamas No. 5
Odds (as of 12/10/17): Lamas -240, Emmett +200

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Mike Perry vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Records: Mike Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC)
Past five: Perry 4-1, Ponzinibbio 5-0
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 12/10/17): Ponzinibbio -185, Perry +160

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Misha Cirkunov vs. Glover Teixeira

Records: Misha Cirkunov (13-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Glover Teixeira (26-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC)
Past five: Teixeira 3-2, Cirkunov 4-1
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Teixeira No. 6, Cirkunov No. 9
Odds (as of 12/10/17): Cirkunov -130, Teixeira +110

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Stephen Thompson ready to talk trash? 'People would just tell me to shut up'

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NEW YORK – Former UFC challenge Stephen Thompson is willing to fight his way to another title shot – because he knows he can’t talk his way into one.

“I am who I am,” Thompson said. “If I start talking trash now, then people would just tell me to shut up. ‘Stephen, we know that’s not you.’ You know what I mean?”

Thompson (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) was discussing his options after a hard-fought but clear-cut unanimous-decision victory over fellow welterweight Jorge Masvidal (32-13 MMA, 9-6 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 217 pay-per-view min card at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It was Thompson’s first fight since recovering from a knee injury following two fights (a majority draw and a majority-decision loss) to champ Tyron Woodley.

Now, Thompson, who entered UFC 217 in the No. 2 spot in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, is just looking for opponents who can help him prove to UFC matchmakers that he deserves a third shot at the belt.

“Of course, coming out here with a knockout would’ve been awesome,” he said backstage at UFC 217. “But it didn’t happen. I knew it was going to be tough.”

He thanks Masvidal both for a tough challenge and “Gamebread’s” ability to sell the fight. After all, trash-talk isn’t Thompson’s thing.

“If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have this fight here, right now,” said Thompson, who credited Masvidal’s social-media callout for getting the fight booked.

As for what’s next, Thompson said he’ll happily fight the winner or the loser of UFC on FOX 26’s upcoming headliner between former champs Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC). He also knows there’s a whole mess of up-and-coming 170-pounders – Mike Perry, Darren Till and Colby Covington, for example – who could present tough fights.

But right now, No. 3-ranked Lawler and No. 11 dos Anjos are his first choices.

“Like I said, man, my eyes are forward, and I’m not giving up that title,” Thompson said.

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

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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

Dana White: Robbie Lawler-Rafael dos Anjos winner gets next shot at champ Tyron Woodley

TORONTO – UFC President Dana White today confirmed the recently announced UFC on FOX 26 main event between Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos is a title-eliminator in the welterweight division.

The UFC revealed this week that Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) will meet in the Dec. 16 headliner of UFC on FOX 26, which takes place MTS Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. It’s a high-profile matchup, and one that will determine who gets the next crack at reigning welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC).

White’s response was right to the point.

“Yup,” he told MMAjunkie at today’s UFC 217 news conference in Toronto when asked if the Lawler vs. dos Anjos winner is next in line for a title shot.

“Rafael dos Anjos just had a great win to get himself back into contention and a win over Robbie Lawler obviously would do it,” White later told Canada’s TSN.

Following the announcement of the fight, dos Anjos began to make a push for an interim title to be put on the line in his clash with Lawler. Woodley, who most recently defended his belt with a unanimous decision win over Demian Maia at UFC 214 in July, took exception to that request, noting that he’s been one of the most active champions in the sport over the past year.

Woodley, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, is expected to be out until early 2018 while he recovers from a shoulder injury. That gives him the perfect amount of time to get healthy and see how the bout between No. 3-ranked Lawler and No. 12-ranked dos Anjos plays out.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Champ Tyron Woodley responds to Rafael dos Anjos' interim title plea for Robbie Lawler fight

Tyron Woodley is one of many who doesn’t believe the newly announced UFC on FOX 26 main event between Rafael dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler should have an interim welterweight championship up for grabs.

The UFC today announced dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) and Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) would meet in the headliner of UFC on FOX 26, which takes place Dec. 16 at MTS Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. Given the divisional landscape, the matchup is likely a title-eliminator, but dos Anjos took things a step further by asking his social media followers if they agree an interim title should be on the line (via Twitter):

Given the replied to dos Anjos’ tweet, the nearly unanimous sentiment seems to be that an interim title is entirely unnecessary. Current champ Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) just defended his title against Demian Maia at UFC 214 in July, and although he’s expected to be on the sidelines nursing a shoulder injury until 2018, an interim title seems unjust given Woodley’s level of activity over the past year.

That didn’t stop dos Anjos from further pushing the narrative with a lengthier explanation of why he thinks the fight should have the added stakes of an interim 170-pound belt (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Two former Champions ranked #1 and #5 fighting while the current Champ needs months to recover from an injury…if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it MUST be a duck!!! This is an Interim Title Fight no matter what the headlines say!!! Let’s do this @ruthless_rl 👊🏼👊🏼

Woodley took exception to dos Anjos’ comments. The No. 1-ranked fighter in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings reminded his potential future challenger that he’s defended his title three times since claiming the belt with a first-round knockout of Lawler at UFC 201 in July 2016 but welcomed dos Anjos to come after him should the Brazilian emerge victorious at UFC on FOX 26 (via Twitter):

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos headlines UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg

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A meeting of ex-champs is now the headliner for UFC on FOX 26.

The promotion announced today that ex-welterweight champ Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) will take on ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC), who seeks to win a belt at 170 pounds after joining the division earlier this year.

UFC on FOX 26 takes place Dec. 16 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The event’s main card, including the Lawler vs. dos Anjos headliner, airs live on FOX following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Lawler recently got back in the win column after a high-profile setback, outpointing Donald Cerrone in July at UFC 214. It had been one year since “Ruthless” stepped into the octagon following a knockout loss to current champ Tyron Woodley at UFC 201.

Lawler is 9-2 since returning to the octagon after a tour of now-defunct promotions. After his recent win, he said he won’t stress about getting another title shot and will simply focus on being his best.

Rafael dos Anjos

Opposing him is longtime vet dos Anjos, who this past month picked up his second straight win since moving from lightweight to welterweight. The Brazilian ex-champ has called for big names since bulking up, and called out champ Woodley after submitting veteran Neil Magny this past month at UFC 215.

Dos Anjos promised to make his fight with Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) an entertaining one by pushing the action. But he’ll have no trouble with that against Lawler, who’s known for his blood-soaked brawls in the octagon.

With the addition, UFC on FOX 26 now includes:

  • Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos
  • Misha Cirkunov vs. Glover Teixeira
  • Jared Cannonier vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Alessio Di Chirico
  • Julian Marquez vs. Vitor Miranda
  • Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Pittsburgh winner Mike Perry on Robbie Lawler callout: 'If you don't ask, you won't receive'

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Mike Perry knows he might not get his wish of fighting Robbie Lawler. But you can’t blame a guy for trying.

Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) added yet another victim to his list this Saturday, when a knee put a quick end to the meeting with last-minute replacement Alex Reyes (13-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 116. Much like the exciting finish, what followed was something that has come to be expected from the audacious welterweight in the octagon: post-fight shenanigans.

This time, they included a mesmerizing rooster dance and the ambitious callout of Lawler, an ex-titleholder who might be the next in line for a title shot against champ Tyron Woodley.

Whether the matchup will materialize, Perry doesn’t know. But hey, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, right?

“I want to fight the champ,” Perry told MMAjunkie backstage after the main card bout, which aired live on FS1 from at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “I want to fight to get that belt. And if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. So I may not get those fights, but I’m prepared for those fights as soon as they want to give them to me. We’ll see who wants to come to Detroit and fight me.”

Regardless of who he ends up meeting, Perry doesn’t see why he wouldn’t be able to land the aforementioned UFC 218 spot on Dec. 2. And, considering he left Saturday’s bout without a single scratch, it’s not like he has a big medical suspension to hold him back.

Perry has reasons to feel good about his night in Pittsburgh. After adding an 11th finish to a list of career wins that features nothing but knockouts, Perry has also added $50,000 to his bank account. It was his second post-bonus in a row, after an elbow that dismantled Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 108.

But don’t expect him to go too crazy with it. We’d already been introduced to the destructive finisher with the big talk and flashy ways. Now, meet Mike Perry, the wise investor.

“I guess they must have heard that I spent the first bonus wisely and bought a house,” Perry said. “So I need that second one now to pay my mortgage.

“(I) might have a little fun, do a little vacay or something, something small. But maybe pay a little more on the mortgage payments to take some of that interest off.”

Perry’s night, however, didn’t go entirely as planned. After all, originally set to meet former title challenger Thiago “Pitbull” Alves, he went from fighting a “legend” to welcoming an opponent from a lower weight division to the UFC on three days’ notice.

If, on the one hand, he can’t deny that thanks to “crazy guy” Reyes he was able to stay on the card, there’s not much else Perry can do for him.

“I don’t know what I say to that guy,” Perry said. “I mean, ‘Sorry?’ No? OK. I mean, what do I say, man? ‘Thanks for showing up?’ I see why Thiago didn’t.”

While the disappointment of not fighting Alves was clear, Perry does seem to be aiming a little higher up in the rankings at this point. So, after yet another statement-making win, has the Alves ship sailed?

“I wouldn’t say it’s sailed,” Perry said. “I would say that, for me to accept that fight and sign that contract, some things have got to be changed because he put me in a predicament by taking that fight.

“I know the kudos go to my opponent, who took the fight on three days’ notice. But I had to take a fight with a guy who I didn’t prepare for, either. Anything could have happened. If I took a fight with somebody on three days’ notice, I probably would have won.”

Despite the general comment on the size advantage that he would have over natural lightweight Reyes, Perry says he didn’t see that much of a difference in there. After all, a former lightweight himself, he says he entered the bout weighing no more than 176 pounds.

But, although Perry believes he’s “got to be the smallest welterweight” compared to his peers, a return to 155 is not on the plans. Why? “Platinum” explains – and drops some wisdom bombs in the process.

“It’s about dieting properly, taking care of your body, exercising,” Perry said. “Feeling good inside. That’s the most important – it’s feeling good on the inside, and then you can perform to the best of your abilities.

“That’s what it’s about. I don’t care what size you are. You guys (have) seen me beat giants before.”

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

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Rory MacDonald's all-caps Reddit AMA included a Robbie Lawler PED accusation

Dann StuppFormer UFC welterweight title challenger and current Bellator contender Rory MacDonald didn’t hold back during today’s Reddit AMA.

MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who recently made a successful Bellator debut with a submission victory over vet Paul Daley in May, answered a number of questions from fans as part of the social-media site’s “ask me anything” event.

However, one answer stuck out – one that involved former champion Robbie Lawler, who scored a come-from-behind TKO victory over MacDonald in a legendary bout that was named MMAjunkie’s 2015 “Fight of the Year.”

During today’s Reddit AMA, user “cczzrr” asked Macdonald if Lawler “was on peds when you fought.”

His answer (which came in all caps, like all of his other answers) was succinct: “IM CONVINCED HE WAS.”

The July 2015 bout took place just weeks after the UFC launched its drug-testing program with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which also tested UFC 189 fighters, all of the tests – including Lawler’s – came back clean.

MacDonald, though, seems convinced otherwise, though he didn’t go into details or elaborate during the AMA.

The 28-year-old Canadian also weighed in a number of other topics, including:

What he did for the first few weeks after the UFC 189 fight with Lawler:

“FIRST 3 DAYS I LAYED IN BED. AFTER THAT I PARTIED AND DID WHATEVER I WANTED EVERYDAY AND NIGHT FOR THE REST OF SUMMER”

Thought on Jon Jones’ latest failed drug test:

“SHAMEFUL, LIKE EVERY OTHER GUY THAT DOES THIS CRAP AND HIDES IT, YET GLOATS DURING VICTORY”

Best/worst walkout song:

“MC HAMMER CANT TOUCH THIS WAS THE WORST”

“THAT ONE (TOOl’s ‘Forty Six & 2’) WAS THE BEST FORSURE”

Reaction to speculation that some especially tough fights may mean a shortened career:

“I FEEL BETTER THEN EVER TBH, NOT REALLY WORRIED ABOUT WHAT PPL MAY BELIEVE, I CAN ONLY TRUST HOW IM GENUINELY FEELING. I FORSEE MANY MORE YEARS COMPETING AT THE TOP RANKS OF THE SPORT”

On watching the recent fight between UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia, knowing he’s got past wins over both of them:

“NOT REALLY, I KNOW I WILL HAVE THE CHANCE TO SHOW I AM THE BEST WITHOUT A DOUBT AT SOME POINT IN MY CAREER”

Thoughts on Woodley:

“I THINK TYRON IS A VERY STRONG COMPETITOR, VERY STRATEGIC, ATHLETIC BUT I AM AWARE OF HIS WEAKNESSES ALSO”

If he rematched Woodley:

“I WOULD SUBMIT OR TKO HIM”

What if “some billionaire offered you $800k to walk up to Brock Lesnar and give him a ‘Stockton Slap,’” would he do it?:

“YES”

If not MMA, what would he have done for a career?

“PROLLY LIVE IN THE WOODS AND DO RANDOM SHIT”

Potential next fights?

“I BELIEVE IF MY NEXT FIGHT IS FOR THE TITLE I WILL BEAT (CHAMP DOUGLAS) LIMA THEN FIGHT THE WINNER OF (GEGARD) MOUSASI VS (RAFAEL) CARVALHO.”

Why Bellator?

“THE MONEY WAS THE BIGGEST FACTOR FOR ME AT THIS POINT OF MY CAREER”

Hobbies?

“I LIKE SPENDING TIME WITH MY DAUGHTER, I LIKE THINKING ABOUT GOD AND THE BIBLE, INVESTMENTS, BITCOIN.

“I WOULD TELL MYSELF TO KEEP IT SIMPLE AND TRUST IN YOUR STRENGTHS.

“HEADBUTTS, KNEES AND KICKS TO HEAD ON THE GROUND.”

What it would take to fight Cris Cyborg:

“1 MILL”

On whether UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson is MMA’s pound-for-pound fighter:

“HONESTLY I THINK I AM”

On whether he broke “your caps lock on your keyboard” during the AMA:

“YES”

For more on the Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

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

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Jon Jones and UFC 214's other winning fighters?

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5526772137001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The most significant UFC pay-per-view event of 2017 took place Saturday with UFC 214 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

In the main event, Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) reclaimed the light-heavyweight championship with a third-round knockout of rival Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC), completing one of the most tumultuous comeback stories in UFC history.

Additionally, Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) defended the welterweight belt while Cristiane Justino (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) won the vacant women’s featherweight title.

Other winners included ex-UFC champ Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and rising 205-pound contender Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 214’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Volkan Oezdemir

Mauricio Rua

Should fight: Winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Fight Night 117
Why they should fight: Oezdemir’s arrival as a light-heavyweight contender reached another high when he put away Jimi Manuwa in just 42 seconds, marking his third consecutive win since his UFC debut less than five months ago.

Oezdemir still had questions around him after winning his first two UFC appearances in unexpected fashion, but there’s no doubting his legitimacy after he stopped Manuwa quicker than the likes of former 205-pound title challengers Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson.

In many cases, Oezdemir’s body of work would be enough for a title shot. Unfortunately, he’s in a division ruled by Jones, who’s seeking big-fight opportunities that Oezdemir simply doesn’t currently provide. That means he’s going to have to take another fight to further strengthen his case and get the champ’s attention.

Fighting the winner of September’s UFC Fight Night 117 main event between “Shogun” Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) and Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) could be his avenue. Oezdemir beat “OSP” by split decision in his UFC debut earlier this year, but it was a short-notice fight. If Saint Preux wins, it may not make the most sense to rematch, but the thin nature of the 205-pound division may not give him any other option.

The best case scenario for Oezdemir is a Rua victory. The former UFC champ would be on a four-fight UFC winning streak if he beats Saint Preux, and while the Brazilian isn’t the same fighter he was in his glory days, he would still be a signature win for Oezdemir.

Robbie Lawler

Tyron Woodley

Should fight: Woodley
Why they should fight: Although he’s just one fight removed from losing the UFC welterweight title to Woodley at UFC 201 in July 2016, Lawler appears he could slide back into another title fight after his unanimous-decision win over Donald Cerrone.

Lawler vs. Cerrone was one of the most anticipated fights of the year, and for the most part, it lived up to the hype. “Ruthless” proved he’s still one of the best at 170 pounds when he went toe-to-toe with Cerrone and came out on top.

Although one win is arguably not enough to get another title shot, Lawler benefits from the fact the weight class is currently thin on worthy challengers. Most of the top-ranked fighters are coming off of losses, and the nature of Woodley’s fights since winning the belt from Lawler opens the door for a rematch.

If the first fight is any indication, Woodley is an awful style matchup for Lawler. But at the very least, it seems likely he would bring an entertaining fight out of the champ. Woodley has severely lacked that in his past two title defenses, and that’s to Lawler’s benefit in his quest to regain the gold.

Jon Jones, Tyron Woodley, Cristiane Justino

Should fight: Watch the video above to see why Jones should fight Alexander Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), Woodley should fight Lawler, and “Cyborg” should fight Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) after their UFC 214 title-fight victories.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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