Not retired? Then Siyar Bahadurzada wants Matt Brown (but don't bring the kids)

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Dann StuppIf Matt Brown isn’t going to retire just yet, at least one fellow welterweight is willing to give him a fight.

Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC), a fellow hard-hitting knockout artist, today issued a challenge to Brown (21-16 MMA, 14-10 UFC), who picked up a vicious first-round knockout victory over fellow vet Diego Sanchez (27-11 MMA, 16-11 UFC) in this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 122 co-headliner.

Prior to Saturday’s bout, which aired on FS1 from Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., Brown suggested it could be his last fight, though he backed off the retirement plans after the fight.

“I’ve definitely had more people tell me not to retire than to retire,” Brown, who was on a 1-5 skid prior to the win, said after the event. “But nobody other than me and my family really has any bearing on that – and close friends. So I’m not even going to allow anybody else’s opinions to get into my mind like that.”

Bahadurzada, though, is doing his best to goad “Immortal” into a fight. Here’s his Twitter callout, which isn’t exactly a polite one:

“Hey @IamTheImmortal if you’re still fighting, take some rest and let’s fight end of January or early February. I’ll give you a proper goodbye from the sport. Don’t bring your wife and kids to the fight this time. You’re a smart man. You know what I mean!#YouWillBeUnimmortalized”

Bahadurzada, a 33-year-old vet who joined the UFC in 2012, recently returned from an 18-month layoff and scored a TKO win over Rob Wilkinson in September. Bahadurzada, a longtime welterweight, fought at middleweight for the bout, which marked his second straight win.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 120, 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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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 115's Siyar Bahadurzada calls out already-booked Matt Brown

UFC veteran Siyar Bahadurzada is riding an adrenaline high after putting away the previously undefeated Rob Wilkinson at UFC Fight Night 115.

“I’ve fought only twice in the last four years, and the reason was because I was sick and injured, and I wasn’t able to perform,” Bahadurzada told reporters after his UFC Fight Pass-streamed win at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. “But I corrected the mistakes, and I figured out what I was doing wrong. Now, I’m here to stay.”

It had been 16 months since Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) had stepped into the octagon, and when he did so at Saturday’s event at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands, it wasn’t even at his usual weight class.

“I fight at welterweight,” he said. “This fight was in middleweight. This year, I was a little overweight. I was a heavyweight. I couldn’t make it to welterweight, so I was a middleweight.”

The added pounds seemed to help him against Wilkinson (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who faded quickly after taking a flurry of shots in the second round. Bahadurzada looked free of any potential “ring rust” in his return to the cage, even though he doesn’t believe in the phenomenon.

“That’s for people who use it as an excuse,” he said. “But in the first round, when you find out the frequency of your opponent, you change your game plan. I change my game plan from minute to minute if I have to.”

Asked about his future plans, Bahadurzada said he will take some time to re-asses and decide his next move. He does, however, plan to continue his work at the famed Jackson-Wink Academy in Albuquerque, praising the team’s learning environment.

“Right now, I’m on adrenaline,” he said. “I don’t know if something is wrong with me. I’ll wake up in the morning and feel if everything’s alright. I think I’m fine. My next fight will be soon, I think.”

The adrenaline may have clouded his memory of the UFC’s upcoming schedule because he called out Matt Brown, who’s currently booked to meet Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 120.

“I think Matt Brown would be a good fight,” Bahadurzada said. “He says that he’s immortal, but I will show he’s pretty much mortal.”

Scheduling challenges aside, Bahadurzada pointed out the fact that he called his shot against Wilkinson, holding up eight fingers at the event’s weigh-ins.

“So I predicted it in minutes, not to the round,” he said.

Bahadurzada won’t try to predict the way he finishes fights from here on out. But he’ll try to make every one memorable for the fans.

“Knockouts are in my nature,” he said. “I’m not going to say every fight is going to be a knockout after this, but I’ll definitely look for the knockout. Because I’m not satisfied with any type of a win. Even if it’s a submission, I’m not satisfied unless I go for the kill.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Rotterdam results: Siyar Bahadurzada hammers previously unbeaten Rob Wilkinson

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Siyar Bahadurzada has struggled to gain any sort of consistent work during his five years in the UFC, but he proved against Rob Wilkinson he’s still among the most dangerous fighters in MMA.

The welterweight contest served as the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 115 event, which streamed live on UFC Fight Pass from Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Bahadurzada stayed outside of his opponent’s long reach to start, though he fired massive power shots when he could sneak inside. Wilkinson seemed a little overwhelmed to open but did work himself back into position. Wilkinson eventually worked inside and took the fight to the floor, but Bahadurzada refused to stay on the canvas, quickly working back to his feet and battling in the clinch. Wilkinson tried to grind from the outside but was eventually pushed away and tagged by a nice left hand.

A wild scramble on the restart saw Bahadurzada land a huge shot to the midsection and nearly latch on to a head-and-arm choke, but Wilkinson gamely pulled his way free, landing a big knee in the closing seconds.

Bahadurzada continued to fire massive hooks to open the second, though he wasn’t quite in range on the majority of the blows. However, when they did score, they certainly caught Wilkinson’s attention. Eventually, a pair of Bahadurzada straight punches sent Wilkinson toppling, and the end seemed inevitable. Referee Leon Roberts have Wilkingon every chance to recover – perhaps too many chances – but fight was done. Repeated shots found their mark, and the fight was mercifully called to an end at the 3:10 mark of the frame.

Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has just two fights since December 2013, but both are wins. Wilkinson (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) loses for the first time as a pro.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 115 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 115 staff picks: Who are we picking between giants Struve, Volkov?

Struve
vs.
Volkov
Bahadurzada
vs.
Wilkinson
De Oliveira
vs.
Reneau
Barberena
vs.
Edwards
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 78-60
struve2017
Struve
(58%)
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
(55%)
reneau2017
Reneau
(72%)
barberena2017
Barberena
(52%)
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 85-52
struve2017
Struve
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 83-54
trophy copy 2015 Champion
volkov2017
Volkov
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 82-55
struve2017
Struve
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 82-55
struve2017
Struve
robwilkinson2017
Wilkinson
talitaoliveira2017
De Oliveira
barberena2017
Barberena
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 81-56
volkov2017
Volkov
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 80-57
trophy copy 2016 Champion
volkov2017
Volkov
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 78-59
volkov2017
Volkov
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 76-61
struve2017
Struve
bahadurzada2017
Bahadurzada
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 76-61
trophy copy 2014 Champion
struve2017
Struve
robwilkinson2017
Wilkinson
reneau2017
Reneau
leonedwards2017
Edwards
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 74-56
struve2017
Struve
robwilkinson2017
Wilkinson
reneau2017
Reneau
barberena2017
Barberena

The UFC returns to the Netherlands this week for another show in Rotterdam.

UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire event streams on UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, Dutch fan favorite Stefan Struve (28-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC) fights in front of his home crowd against former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov (28-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC). Volkov is a slight betting favorite at the sports books, but it’s Struve with the edge in the picks from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts. The 7-foot Dutchman has a 6-4 advantage over the 6-foot-7 Volkov in what will be the tallest combined matchup in UFC history.

In the co-feature, Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) returns from a long layoff to fight middleweight newcomer Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). It’s Bahadurzada with a 7-3 nod over the Aussie.

Also on the main card, Talita de Oliveira (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) takes a short-noticed women’s bantamweight fight against Marion Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC), who is a 3-1 favorite. Only one of our 10 pickers is brave enough to pick the Brazilian for the upset over the 40-year-old Reneau. And to open the main card, Bryan Barberena (13-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) takes on Leon Edwards (13-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a welterweight fight, and it’s England’s Edwards with a 7-3 advantage in the picks.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Struve, Bahadurzada, Reneau and Edwards are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Despite another long layoff, Siyar Bahadurzada staying positive at UFC Fight Night 115

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

ROTTERDAM – It hasn’t been the easiest road in the UFC for Siyar Bahadurzada. He’s been with the promotion for five and a half years, and on Saturday he’ll fight for just the fifth time in that stretch.

But despite bumps along the way, and with a move back to middleweight at UFC Fight Night 115 against Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Bahadurzada (22-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) believes it’s his positive outlook that will keep him going.

“There were some things I had to take care of, and that’s the reason I couldn’t fight,” Bahadurzada told MMAjunkie today at a media day in support of Saturday’s card. “Everything is taken care of – I’m fit, I’m hungry, I’m back, and I’m ready to perform.

“It’s easy to be positive when everything’s going well – everyone’s positive when things are going well. But if you can remain positive when things aren’t going well, I think that makes a difference. I’m that type of person who remains positive no matter what.”

UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire event streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Bahadurzada has gone since UFC 196 in March 2016 since he most recently fought. In that fight, he snapped a two-fight skid of decision losses to Dong Hyun Kim and John Howard when he submitted Brandon Thatch in Las Vegas.

The setbacks he had against Kim and Howard put to end a seven-fight winning streak, including a 42-second knockout of Paulo Thiago in his UFC debut. He referenced that win when saying that despite only four fights since April 2012, he can still be a factor.

“I’ve been in the UFC for five years, but because of injuries and and obstacles, I couldn’t perform,” he said. “But I’m not the 27-year-old boy who came to the UFC. I’m a grown-up man now. I’m experienced. I do things differently. I train differently. I diet differently. I’m a much better version of myself than when I just came to the UFC – who knocked out Paulo Thiago in 42 seconds.”

Bahadurzada said his bucket list includes fighting in a UFC main event. On Saturday, he fights Wilkinson in the co-feature. That’s a step in the right direction. And after that, maybe he’ll be able to be more active.

“It’s one of my goals, to be a main-(event fighter),” he said. “Co-main event is a good step toward that one, and I like to crush my goals.

“When I heard the UFC was coming to Holland, I had a long layoff and I wanted to perform. I wanted to fight, no matter what, in Holland. Middleweight was a good choice to come back after a layoff, and we’ll take it from there.”

And for more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Video: UFC-Rotterdam media day face-offs, with towering heavyweights, tense welterweights

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – The featured athletes from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 115 event came together today for media interviews and pre-fight staredowns, and while the headliners were cordial, that wasn’t true for everyone else.

UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire cards streams live on UFC Fight Pass. Today’s Ultimate Media Day event, which MMAjunkie attended, took place at the nearby Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre.

On hand were towering heavyweight headliners Alexander Volkov (28-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Stefan Struve (28-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC), as well as middleweights Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), women’s bantamweights Marion Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC) and Talita Oliveira (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), as well as welterweights Leon Edwards (13-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and Bryan Barberena (13-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

The headliner could have a significant impact in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, with Volkov at No. 13 and Struve at No. 15 in the latest edition.

Check out the video above to get a first look of the fighters face-to-face.

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
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MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 115 in the Netherlands

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 115 event in the Netherlands.

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 Fight Night 115 staff picks we release on Friday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The entire event streams on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov

Records: Stefan Struve (28-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC), Alexander Volkov (28-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Past five: Struve 3-2, Volkov 4-1
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Volkov No. 13, Struve No. 15
Odds (as of 8/30/17): Volkov -135, Struve +105

Take Our Poll
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Talita de Oliveira vs. Marion Reneau

Records: Talita de Oliveira (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Marion Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC)
Past five: De Oliveira 4-1, Reneau 2-2-1
Division: Women’s bantamweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 8/30/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Rob Wilkinson

Records: Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC), Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Bahadurzada 3-2, Wilkinson 5-0
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 8/30/17): Bahadurzada -155, Wilkinson +125

Take Our Poll
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Bryan Barberena vs. Leon Edwards

Records: Bryan Barberena (13-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Leon Edwards (13-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
Past five: Barberena 3-2, Edwards 4-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 8/30/17): Edwards -275, Barberena +215

Take Our Poll
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For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

With Abu Azaitar out, Siyar Bahadurzada meets Rob Wilkinson at UFC Fight Night 115

The lineup for the UFC’s return to the Netherlands next month has undergone a change, and an Australian will make his promotional debut.

Abu Azaitar (12-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is out of his welterweight fight against Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC Fight Night 115. He’ll be replaced by Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Although not yet announced by the promotion, a UFC official confirmed the change to MMAjunkie following an initial report from Fight News Australia.

UFC Fight Night 115 takes place Sept. 2 at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The event airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The 25-year-old Wilkinson, from Australia, is a perfect 11-0 to open his career. He’ll be fighting for the first time in 11 months, but brings a stellar resume to the fight. Ten of his 11 pro wins are by stoppage, including six submissions, and nine of them have come in the first round.

Bahadurzada hasn’t fought since March 2016, when he upset Brandon Thatch with a third-round submission at UFC 196. The Afghan fighter was supposed to return this past July at UFC 201, but had to withdraw from a bout with Jorge Masvidal due to illness.

Bahadurzada is no stranger to lengthy layoffs, having walked into the Thatch bout after a two-year, injury-motivated hiatus. The victory evened out a UFC record that included a debut win over Paulo Thiago and consecutive losses to Dong Hyun Kim and John Howard.

Germany’s Azaitar was set to make his promotional debut following a unanimous decision win over Mike Arrant at WSOF 33 this past October. He hasn’t suffered a professional loss since 2012, boasting a solid eight victories in nine bouts, with a draw sandwiched in the middle. But now his shot at the UFC is put on hold.

The latest UFC Fight Night 115 card now includes:

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Germaine de Randamie vs. Marion Reneau
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Rob Wilkinson
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Leon Edwards
  • Darren Till vs. Bojan Velickovic
  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Saparbek Safarov
  • Felipe Silva vs. Mairbek Taisumov
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov
  • Francimar Barroso vs. Aleksandar Rakic
  • Nick Hein vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
  • Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Bojan Mihajlovic

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Siyar Bahadurzada says he's fighting UFC newcomer Abu Azaitar at UFC Fight Night 115

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After a 16-month layoff, UFC welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada says he’s got a date for his return.

According to Bahadurzada (22-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC), he’s set to welcome World Series of Fighting veteran Abu Azaitar (12-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)  into the octagon at UFC Fight Night 115, which takes place Sept. 2 at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The UFC hasn’t made any official announcement of the matchup. (via Twitter)

Bahadurzada hasn’t fought since March of 2016, when he upset Brandon Thatch with a third-round submission at UFC 196. The Afghan fighter was supposed to have returned last July at UFC 201 but had to withdraw from a bout with Jorge Masvidal due to illness.

Bahadurzada is no stranger to lengthy layoffs, having walked into the Thatch bout after a two-year, injury-motivated hiatus. The win evened out a record that included a debut win over Paulo Thiago and consecutive losses to Dong Hyun Kim and John Howard.

Germany’s Azaitar, in turn, enters the bout off a unanimous-decision win over Mike Arrant at last October’s WSOF 33. He hasn’t suffered a professional loss since 2012, boasting a solid eight victories in his last nine bouts, with a draw sandwiched in between.

Azaitar hasn’t commented publicly on the matchup yet, but he had been making his case for a spot in Rotterdam. (via Twitter)

The latest UFC Fight Night 115 card includes:

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Saparbek Safarov
  • Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov
  • Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
  • Francimar Barroso vs. Aleksandar Rakic
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Leon Edwards
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Abu Azaitar

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie