UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson undergoes elbow surgery

If the UFC’s lightweight title picture wasn’t clouded enough already, it appears interim champ Tony Ferguson is now going to be on the shelf for a while.

Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC), who claimed the interim strap with a third-round submission of Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in October, has been clamoring for a unification bout with Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) as soon as possible.

Those plans are seemingly now on hold after Ferguson’s wife, Cristina Ferguson, revealed on social media that “El Cucuy” had undergone elbow surgery (via Instagram):

The severity of Ferguson’s injury and the timetable for his recovery are unknown. Ferguson currently is riding a 10-fight winning streak in the lightweight division and has asked McGregor to “defend or vacate” while he looks for the undisputed belt.

Everything is on halt now, though, especially after UFC President Dana White recently said he’s operating as if McGregor is never going to return to the UFC for another fight.

For more on the UFC 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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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie's 'Submission of the Month' for October: A legendary sub ends a historic title fight

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

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

* * * *

The Nominees

Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Straus at Bellator 184

It took overcoming some rough spots early, but grappling-savvy Emmanuel Sanchez (16-3 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) looked nothing short of impressive en route to a third-round submission win over former champion Daniel Straus (24-8 MMA, 11-5 BMMA).

After an action-packed first round, which saw some crazy reversals and near-misses, Sanchez took control of the featherweight bout in the final two rounds, marking his best Bellator display yet with the rear-naked choke of Straus.

Instagram Photo

Demetrious Johnson def. Ray Borg at UFC 216

Demetrious Johnson’s (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) long journey toward UFC championship history reached its conclusion with his most memorable octagon moment to date when he scored a spectacular fifth-round submission of Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC).

Johnson’s unprecedented run of success as UFC flyweight champion claimed another victim when he defeated challenger Borg with a one-of-a-kind armbar in the final round. With the win, he broke Anderson Silva’s longstanding UFC title-defense run.

Instagram Photo

Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee at UFC 216

It was far from an easy night of work for Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), but a third-round triangle choke got Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to tap. It earned “El Cucuy” the UFC’s interim lightweight title.

After a back-and-forth two rounds, Ferguson’s superiority on the ground allowed him to set up a slick triangle choke. Lee attempted to fight out of it, but the choke was too fight, and he was forced to tap out in the title fight.

Instagram Photo

Jan Blachowicz def. Devin Clark at UFC Fight Night 118

Devin Clark’s (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) rushing attack had Jan Blachowicz (20-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) on his heels in the first round. But in the second, Blachowicz had an answer to end the light-heavyweight bout.

Clark exposed his neck while charging forward, and Blachowicz seized it. He secured a rarely seen standing no-hooks rear-naked choke in the second round, ending a three-fight slump for the Polish fighter.

Instagram Photo

Vicente Luque def. Niko Price at UFC Fight Night 119

Vicente Luque (12-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) made the most of his short-notice opportunity against Niko Price (11-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), chipping away with heavy shots until a finish presented itself.

Luque dropped Price with a combo in the second round of the welterweight fight. But rather than punch his way to a stoppage, he locked in a D’Arce choke and forced a tap, becoming just the third fighter in UFC history to earn two or more submission wins with the technique.

Instagram Photo

* * * *

The Winner: Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson

In what may go down as the slickest finish in his record-breaking championship reign, Johnson tapped Borg with a fifth-round armbar.

Just when it appeared Johnson was going to cruise to an easy decision win over Borg, “Mighty Mouse” lifted his opponent, grabbed his left arm in one fluid motion, and got a tap-out from an armbar at the 3:15 mark of the fifth round.

Johnson was listening when Borg said in a pre-fight interview he liked to upset his opponents’ balance to initiate winning scrambles. When he saw an opportunity to do the same, Johnson seized it and pulled off his eye-popping armbar.

“A couple of weeks ago, he was saying when somebody’s planted, you have to shift their weight, and when they shift their weight, they’re light,” Johnson said following the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “So I kneed him, and then I shook his weight – I shifted his weight, and when he shifted, he went back and threw and elbow, and I was like, ‘Got you.’”

It wasn’t the first time Johnson had pulled off such a move, which he dubbed the “Mighty Armbar,” as improvisational as it seemed. He had pulled it off several times in practice for UFC 215, where he was originally scheduled for his try at the all-time UFC record before Borg fell ill and was forced to withdraw the day before the fight.

But the general public would never have known it was coming since Johnson has a strict rule of secrecy when it comes to his work in the gym.

“You see a lot of people that are doing their (video blogs), but I don’t show any of my training,” he said. “I just don’t do it. It’s none of your guys’ business what I’m doing in the gym. But we do have the ‘(UFC) Embedded’ crew come out there, and I show my warmup, and they’re like, ‘Dude, you need to let us film your sparring because the stuff you’re doing in sparring, you’re actually doing in the octagon.’

“When I was in Edmonton (for UFC 215), I was practically throwing people up. I do it all the time in the gym.”

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

Interim UFC champ Tony Ferguson receives jiu-jitsu black belt from Eddie Bravo

Tony Ferguson is on a belt-collection tour.

After claiming the interim UFC lightweight title with a third-round submission of Kevin Lee in the UFC 216 headliner earlier this month, Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) got another belt of significance this week.

Ferguson was awarded his black belt from 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu head coach Eddie Bravo, a well deserved honor considering the success of “El Cucuy” on the mat in recent years, but particularly the showdown with Lee.

Several techniques from Bravo’s grappling program aided Ferguson to victory. He implemented a rubber guard in the contest with Lee before finally locking in a fight-ending submission. Ferguson became just the second fighter in UFC history to end a championship fight by triangle choke, a feat worthy of black belt status.

Bravo announced Ferguson’s graduation on social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

The day I got back to Jean Jacques Academy after 2003 ADCC, he gave me the black belt off his waist. Tonight I gave it to @tonyfergusonxt

Following his submission win at UFC 216, Ferguson, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, is hoping for a title-unification showdown with champion and No. 1-ranked Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), though the matchup is not officially confirmed.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit 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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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC President Dana White: More divisions isn't the solution to MMA's weight-cutting woes

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC President Dana White won’t budge on his stance that additional weight classes are unnecessary in the UFC to help prevent extreme weight cuts by athletes.

Despite documented evidence that the rate of failed weight cuts has gone up in the UFC, particularly since the introduction of early weigh-ins, White doesn’t believe giving fighters more options of which weight to compete at is the solution.

A total of 17 fighters have missed weight for UFC fights this year. Five of those weren’t fit enough to make it to the octagon for their bouts, and an issue with some sort of late-withdrawal is seemingly happening at every event.

White said he’s not overly concerned, though. There are a section of fighters, fans and media who believe more weight classes would benefit those who have to cut too much weight for a certain division, but are too small to move up a category. The UFC recognized the Association of Boxing Commissions recent weight-class expansion project, but White said that’s not the fix.

“People are like, ‘Add weight classes, do this, do that,’” White told TSN. “It’s never going to change. You’re still going to have people trying to – let’s say I add a 165-pound weight class. That will only mean bigger guys will try to make 165. Everybody’s always looking for an advantage.”

White said when it comes to weight-cutting, the responsibility falls directly on the athlete. White has touted the UFC’s new Performance Institute in Las Vegas as a facility with free on-site experts who can help fighters cut weight in a safe and efficient manner. Unfortunately, the Performance Institute is of no use to those outside of Las Vegas.

According to White, there’s an approach to weight-cutting that minimizes the risk. However, the problem is the majority of UFC fighters don’t have the financial resources to do what he expects of them.

“There’s ways to cut weight,” White said. “There’s safe ways. There’s scientific ways. Nutritionists can help you do this. Everybody just wants to take shortcuts and the easy way. But there is no easy way when you’re cutting weight.”

Regardless of White’s stance, he said the UFC is being proactive to make the situation better. He said the organization is taking some action behind the scenes to ensure fighters are cutting weight and competing at their fittest. He just isn’t willing to take what he views as an unnecessary step of providing more weight-class options.

“What we’ve been doing is Jeff Novitzky, the guy we hired who handles all the (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) stuff, he’s tracking all these guys’ weights,” White said. “He tracks them. When you come in the week of the fight we find out where you are compared to where you were the last couple times you fought.”

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

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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2543 with Eddie Alvarez, Brad Tavares, Ben Fowlkes

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Eddie Alvarez, Brad Tavares and Ben Fowlkes.

Alvarez discussed his upcoming Dec. 2 fight vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 and his coaching stint on ‘TUF 26.’ Tavares was in studio to recap his UFC 216 win over Thales Leites. Fowlkes talked about the latest MMA news, including Mark Hunt vs. the UFC and the dangers of weight cutting.

You can watch below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Brad Tavares, Eddie Alvarez, Ben Fowlkes, Campbell McLaren

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Brad Tavares, Eddie Alvarez, Ben Fowlkes and Campbell McLaren.

Tavares opened up UFC 216 this past Saturday with a big win over Thales Leites in Las Vegas. He’ll be in the studio to co-host and talk about the fight. Alvarez, currently can be seen coaching Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The former UFC lightweight champ will fight opposing coach Justin Gaethje in December at UFC 218 in Detroit. MMAjunkie’s Fowlkes will call in to talk about the latest MMA news, including Mark Hunt vs. the UFC. And McLaren, CEO of Combate Americas, will discuss his upcoming one-night tournament on Nov. 11 and his new Telemundo TV deal.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2542 with Evan Dunham, Zach Makovsky

Stream or download Thursday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Evan Dunham and Zach Makovsky.

Dunham visited the studio to talk about his recent fight against Beneil Dariush at UFC 216, which ended in a draw. Makovsky is headlining ACB 72 on Saturday in Montreal against Yoni Sherbatov.

You can stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

The MMA Road Show with John Morgan No. 133 – Las Vegas: Marcin Tybura, featuring Demetrious Johnson

Episode No. 133 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

Cold Coffee is wrapping up his vacation in Spain, so John Morgan is rolling solo since “The MMA Road Show” never misses a beat. Morgan recounts his experience at UFC 216 and shares a few minutes of an exuberant Demetrious Johnson. Morgan also discusses a few hot topics in MMA, including the ongoing Mark Hunt saga, and shares an interview with UFC Fight Night 121 headliner Marcin Tybura.

Listen below, or check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 216 winner John Moraga has fought top guys for pennies, now wants to get paid

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Filed under: News, UFC

When UFC flyweight John Moraga knocked out Magomed Bibulatov at UFC 216 with a thunderous left hook, he was purging months – and perhaps years – of dissatisfaction.

When the referee pulled him off Bibulatov (14-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), a 6-1 betting favorite, all of those feelings came bubbling to the surface. But rather than scream or cry, Moraga (18-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) just slumped against the fence. He was too overwhelmed to emote.

“I’ve been at this for a while, man, and it just hasn’t seemed like it’s been paying off,” Moraga this week told MMAjunkie Radio. “It has been, but at the same time, it really hasn’t. It hasn’t been what I’ve needed it to be, so it was just a big win for my career.”

Moraga made his UFC debut five years ago, when the promotion’s flyweight division was new. It was years before Demetrious Johnson secured an iron grip on the weight class and became its highest-paid fighter. When Moraga secured a title shot against Johnson just two fights into his UFC career, he was guaranteed $17,000 for the opportunity. Then he was submitted in the fifth round.

The paycheck he earned for that fight dwindled his next time out. Then he lost to one-time title challenger John Dodson. He managed to win his next two fights only to lose three straight, endangering his UFC job.

So when people ask now about when he’d like a title shot, Moraga can’t help but remember what happened after he lost to Johnson, who headlined this past Saturday’s pay-per-view event with a record-breaking win over Ray Borg.

“The only bad thing from a business standpoint: I didn’t have a great experience,” Moraga said. “I fought the guy for $17,000. So after that, and you lose, it’s a rough road back.

“So right now, I’ll just be content getting some more wins and stacking my money a little bit. And if the opportunity should come up quick, I’m never one to turn anything down.”

Moraga recently signed a new UFC deal. He indicated the contract didn’t secure his financial future any better than his previous one. After a trio of losses, he had little leverage.

“I was in no position to re-negotiate for myself a whole lot, so I just kind of took what they gave me,” he said.

So if it’s up to him right now, he would like to fight opponents that bring two things: Wins and steps up that ascending pyramid of paydays.

“If I could choose, yeah, I want the easiest opponents,” Moraga said. “I want to get more money and fight the easier opponents, get some highlights, raise my spots a little bit, and then fight the top guys for more money and make it worth it, because I fought them all for pennies, basically. I just made bad business decisions.”

Before he agreed to fight Bibulatov, Moraga explored the idea of moving up to bantamweight, simply so he could rack up a few more wins in a division with more elbow room. Then he’d have more experience – and a little more money in his pocket – for a rematch with Johnson.

At this point in his career, though, Moraga’s main concern is to “get things going in the right direction.” He is more confident in his skills with more UFC fights and more top-level training under his belt. He won’t hesitate to fight Johnson again.

As impressive as the champ is, Moraga said Johnson’s had some favorable circumstances during his reign.

“First of all, he’s an impressive fighter, and then on top of that … they keep throwing people that are not ready to fight him,” Moraga said. “I think that’s helping him, too.”

Moraga used to be one of those guys – a little over his head on the business side of the sport and a little uncertain of his abilities. He found out what happened when you get rushed too quickly in the sport. And now, he’s trying to make sure that the next time around, he’s as ready as can be.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, 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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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Evan Dunham, Zach Makovsky

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Evan Dunham and Zach Makovsky.

Dunham fought Beneil Dariush at UFC 216 this past Saturday in Las Vegas. He’ll be in the studio to talk about the fight, which ended in a draw. Makovsky headlines ACB 72 on Saturday against Yoni Sherbatov in Montreal. The former Bellator champ and UFC fighter will talk about the bout.

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

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie