Why UFC 218's Justin Gaethje is publicly declaring short-notice fights are a no-no

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – A lot of big UFC opportunities have been earned through short-notice fights. And more than a few dreams have been dashed.

Lightweight standout Justin Gaethje doesn’t want to wind up in the latter situation. As frenzied as he is in the octagon, he attributes his success to long training camps. He wants it to stay that way as his UFC career develops.

Should he find himself winning the lightweight-title sweepstakes, he’d like to think he could say no. But just to provide a little extra incentive, he recently declared it to reporters.

“The effort I put in, I expect myself to have eight to 12 weeks of preparation, and that’s the way I do things,” said Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who next faces Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. “So I hope to never make the mistake – I just want to put it on the record for myself, to look back on – that I hope I never make the mistake of taking a last-second fight. Because inside, I would want to. But it shouldn’t happen.”

Gaethje, the No. 3 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, spoke to reporters backstage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It was prior to the pay-per-view event’s headliner, an interim lightweight title fight between No. 2 Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and No. 8 Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC). He hinted one was about to deliver a boring performance. With Lee enduring a brutal weight cut, the likelihood of a lay-and-pray snoozer seemed high, which invited the question of what the promotion would do when undisputed champ and No. 1 ranked lightweight Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) returned.

“I think the name of this game is not how you win; obviously, you have to win,” he said of Ferguson and Lee. “But it’s how you win. These guys are going to come in tonight, and if there’s a decision or they have a boring decision … they’re not going to come out with any negotiating tactics.”

As it turned out, Ferguson and Lee put on a spirited fight. Lee nearly put away Ferguson in the first round before running out of energy, allowing Ferguson to take over and secure a submission in the third round.

Now, UFC President Dana White maintains Ferguson is the No. 1 contender to unify the belt against McGregor. But between the Irishman’s mercurial relationship with the promotion and the constant threat of injury withdrawal, there’s a lot to prevent that fight from happening. There’s a chance Gaethje could win that sweepstakes if he puts away No. 5-ranked Alvarez.

A fight with the UFC’s biggest box-office star is a temptation hardly any fighter could resist. Maybe that’s why Gaethje won’t entirely swear off short-notice. Instead, he’ll leave himself a public reminder.

Perhaps then, he won’t let it dictate the shape of his career.

“I’m going to go in there and finish Eddie absolutely as fast as possible,” he said. “I deserve a shot at the championship if I keep beating these guys. So I hope I earn that. I will earn it. I think Conor’s going to make somebody earn it. These boys tonight, I hope they put on a show for us. But I have a feeling one of them just wants to win.

“I don’t want to win. I want to put on a show. I want to be the most violent lightweight in the world. And if I have to go through one of these guys after I beat Eddie, I will. But I’m going to be running for sheriff around here.”

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Eddie Alvarez talks 'TUF 26' gripe with Lauren Murphy – and lack of heat with Justin Gaethje

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Eddie Alvarez has no qualms with fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 26” coach Justin Gaethje, who he thinks is a “hell of a human being.” But that’s not to say his “TUF” stint has been beef-free.

Rather than fellow lightweight Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), whom he’s set to meet at UFC 218, Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) had some drama with “Team Alvarez” team member and UFC flyweight Lauren Murphy. That much was clear on episode No. 5, in which the coach was clearly peeved by Murphy’s decision to not show up for morning practice following a loss to Nicco Montano.

That did take place. But the real reasons for the riff, Alvarez later told MMAjunkie Radio, went far beyond that particular disagreement.

“The story that’s being told in the media is basically: I’m a bad guy because I wanted someone back in the gym immediately after their fight,” Alvarez said. “And that was barely my gripe with that girl, in particular. That was the smalls thing that I didn’t like that was done that she did. I would also have to agree with you guys, to give somebody time off.

“I did want everyone back in the gym just to keep – personally, I did. But that was barely my gripe. My real gripe with that girl was that at that the first day, almost, she conspired against (Sijara Eubanks). Immediately, she was like, ‘We don’t care if ‘Sarj’ is 150 pounds.’ We – she’s speaking for the whole team now. And we just created the team.

“She goes, ‘We don’t care if ‘Sarj’ is 150 pounds. You can put her out first. It’s her fault she’s not prepared.’ So I was like, ‘Wow.’ Coach Marlon (Moraes) came to me and said, ‘Lauren said she don’t care if we put out ‘Sarj.” And this is in the mist of me, Mark and Marlon trying to put together a solid roster and win this thing. So I’m like, ‘No, that ain’t going to happen.’ I understand maybe she feels threatened by ‘Sarj,’ but ‘Sarj’ is on our team.”

And that wasn’t the last time Alvarez was under the impression that Murphy was “conspiring” against her teammates. A few days later, when the bracket went up, he said the flyweight came “in a panic” looking for advice on how to prepare for fellow Team Alvarez member Barb Honchak.

“She starts, ‘Hey, can you help me with a takedown, to take Barb down?’” Alvarez said. “I’m like, ‘Lauren, slow down. You have to fight Team Gaethje first.’ She still hasn’t fought her first fight against Nicco, and she’s already conspired twice or three times against everyone from Team Alvarez.

“I understand it’s Team Lauren Murphy because only one girl can win this, but it’s got to be one step at a time. Let’s beat Team Gaethje. Let’s get to the semifinals. Even then it’s bad to conspire, but let’s conspire then. Let’s take one thing at a time. There was a lot of bad energy, bad vibes when I’m trying to create a team.”

As for the missing practice thing that seemed like such a big deal on TV?

“(Expletive), it was a good thing she missed practice,” Alvarez said. “Her attitude sucked. It was probably a good thing, at the end of the day. I could care less about the practice.”

Talking to MMAFighting.com, Murphy denied conspiring against her teammates, saying Alvarez assumed “I was being an (expletive), because he’s an (expletive), and that’s the way he thinks.” She also blogged about the missed-practice situation, throwing some shade in the process.

“Besides, I’m pretty sure Eddie didn’t go running to the gym the day after Conor McGregor knocked him out so he could help his teammates get ready for their fights,” Murphy wrote (via Twitter):

Although things got rocky with one of his team members, Alvarez had no issues with the man he’s supposed to fight on Dec. 2 at UFC 218. The former UFC and Bellator champion, who’s hopped around promotions throughout his career, had become familiar with ex-WSOF champ Gaethje a few years ago – when he was considering fighting for the organization (now referred at as PFL).

A few months ago, when Gaethje joined the UFC, Alvarez said they shared a friendly conversation. And while it’s common for tempers to flare between rival coaches after a few weeks of competition, Alvarez said the amicable relationship continued throughout taping.

“He’s always been a cool cat,” Alvarez said. “I wish I could bring up some beef for you guys and say I smacked him in the face or I shoved him. But there wasn’t much drama to be told on that level.

“He’s actually a hell of a human being. And he fights like a demon. So it was all good on that level.”

It doesn’t take getting to know Gaethje on a personal level to agree with the “fighting like a demon” bit. After tearing through his competition at his former WSOF home, the aggressive lightweight put on a wild scrap with Michael Johnson to kick off his UFC stint.

While Alvarez has also been known to engage on a few barnburners, he’s also shown he can show some restraint should the occasion call. So which one can we expect to square off against Gaethje?

Well, Alvarez has some encouraging news.

“What I’m trying to do is not let a couple of punches go by before that comes out,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to do a full round in the back, and I’ll be out hot. I’m going to come out of the tunnel hot. And we’re going to get right to it, right from the gate.

“More than jiu-jitsu, striking, boxing, whatever aspect of this game you want to talk about. More than anything, that’s the aspect I’ve been working on. If I can explain it, just not giving a (expletive). That’s what I’m working on.”

To hear from Alvarez, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 218, 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: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
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

UFC's Henry Cejudo details escape from California wildfires: I was 'literally in a ring of fire'

Henry Cejudo heard his hotel’s fire alarm go off at 2 a.m., woke up, checked out the hallway, but saw nothing to make him think he was in danger.

So he went back to sleep.

What the UFC flyweight contender endured after that, though, sounds like something from a post-apocalyptic movie.

Cejudo was in Santa Rosa, Calif., for a charity event earlier this week when wildfires engulfed Northern California’s wine country. As a result of the blazes, 35 people have died, with thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.

Cejudo is grateful to be alive, but it easily could’ve been different.

In a harrowing account of his experience to ESPN.com, Cejudo said he woke up again hours later to a smoke-filled room. He could tell from his second-floor room that the hotel lobby was on fire and decided his best way to escape was by jumping out of his window.

“I pulled the curtain on the window, and it felt like daylight. It was so bright,” Cejudo said. “There were houses on fire. The hotel was on fire. I could feel the heat.

“I saw the lobby was on fire and knew there was a stairwell to get down there. I thought, ‘If I go out into the hallway and lock myself out, then I really am dead.’ There was only one way out.”

Cejudo jumped to a grassy area down below and injured his foot from landing on a branch on fire. Luckily, he wasn’t immobile. He walked away.

But Cejudo couldn’t believe his eyes as he escaped.

“I was deserted,” he said. “I didn’t see one human being. I didn’t see one cat, dog – nothing. The only noise I heard was the fire.

“As I’m walking up this hill to get a bird’s-eye view of everything, I see two-story mansions on fire. I saw buildings and cars on fire. It was surreal, like a dream. I had no shoes, no time to grab anything but my slacks. I’m walking, barefoot, thinking, ‘Damn, I’m literally in a ring of fire.’”

Cejudo eventually made it up the hill and was picked up by a fire truck, thankful to have been rescued.

Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who’s already training for his Dec. 2 pay-per-view fight against Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at UFC 218, left behind his 2008 Olympic wrestling gold medal. While he’s hopeful firefighters will recover it from the wreckage, he’s OK if they don’t.

After all, he still has his life.

“People ask me if I’m sad about it. Nah, I’m happy, bro,” Cejudo said. “It’s weird because that type of adrenaline, you’re scared, but you’re challenged, too. You become courageous in something like that. It’s a crazy feeling knowing you may die.”

For more on UFC 218, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, 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

Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta added to UFC 218 in Detroit

(This story was first published at freep.com.)

An 11th fight has been added to UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

UFC officials told the Free Press on Thursday that lightweight Al Iaquinta will take on Paul Felder as part of the undercard.

Iaquinta (13–3–1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is coming off a first-round knockout win vs. Diego Sanchez in April. He has won his five most recent UFC fights and has a 9-2 record in UFC-sanctioned fights. The 30-year-old fighter hails from Garden City, New York.

Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC), known as “The Irish Dragon,” enters with a 14-3 record, including a recent knockout win in the first round against Stevie Ray in July. The 33-year-old Philadelphia native is 6-3 in UFC fights.

UFC 218 is the first MMA event for theLittle Caesars Arena, but it’s not the first time a UFC fight has originated from the area. “The Motor City” hosted UFC 9 on May 17, 1996, at Cobo Arena, while the Palace of Auburn Hills hosted UFC 123 on Nov. 20, 2010.

With the addition to the card, UFC 218 now includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Reminder: UFC 218 tickets on sale this week for Holloway vs. Edgar in Detroit

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

As a reminder, tickets for the UFC’s return to Michigan are on sale today.

Featuring a featherweight title fight between streaking Hawaiian champ Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC) and future UFC Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC), “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar” takes place Dec. 2 at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Holloway currently is ranked No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings; Edgar checks in at No. 3.

Tickets, which are priced at $250, $175, $125, $100, $75 and $50, go on sale to the general public at Ticketmaster.com on Friday at 10 a.m. ET. But UFC e-newsletter subscribers have access to a special pre-sale today at 10 a.m. ET, using the pre-sale code “CHAMP.”

In addition to the featherweight title main event, UFC 218 features a co-main event heavyweight showdown between Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and former title challenger Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC). Plus, “TUF 26” coaches Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will meet in a crucial lightweight bout, and Olympic gold medalist wrestler and former flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) will take on Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC).

UFC 218 is the promotion’s first visit to Michigan and the Detroit area since UFC 123 in 2010.

The UFC 218 lineup currently includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

For more on UFC 218, 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

Report: Myles Jury vs. Rick Glenn added to UFC 219 in Las Vegas

An intriguing bantamweight bout appears to be on for UFC 219.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing sources close to the UFC, reported Wednesday that Myles Jury will fight Rick Glenn at the event being held Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena.

UFC 219 features a pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. Jury (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) vs. Glenn (20-4-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) marks the sixth bout added to the lineup.

Jury returned earlier this year at UFC 210 after more than a year away and won by first-round TKO over Mike De La Torre. It was a resounding response from Jury, who had previously lost back-to-back fights following a 15-0 start to his career.

Glenn, a former WSOF champion, will enter the fight riding the momentum of consecutive wins this year. He scored decisions over Phillipe Nover and Gavin Tucker at UFC 208 and UFC 215, respectively, in response to a loss in his UFC debut last year.

With the addition, the UFC 219 lineup now includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki
  • Myles Jury vs. Rick Glenn

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Tickets on sale today for UFC 218's blockbuster lineup in Detroit; $50 gets you in the door

The UFC’s first card in the Detroit area since 2010 looks fantastic on paper, and tickets for the event go on sale today.

Featuring a featherweight title fight between streaking Hawaiian champ Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC) and future UFC Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC), “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar” takes place Dec. 2 at Detroit’s brand new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The night’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Holloway is currently ranked No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, while Edgar checks in at No. 3.

Tickets, which are priced at $250, $175, $125, $100, $75 and $50, go on sale to the general public at Ticketmaster.com on Friday at 10 a.m. ET.

UFC newsletter subscribers have access to a special pre-sale beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. ET, while UFC Fight Club members can purchase tickets beginning today at 10 a.m. ET.

The UFC 218 lineup currently includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 officially adds Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana, Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

UFC 218’s spectacular lineup continues to fill and the latest official contests include a strawweight bout and a light heavyweight matchup.

UFC officials today announced the addition of Amanda Cooper (2-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Angela Magana (11-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC), as well as Jeremy Kimball (15-6 MMA 1-1 UFC) vs. Dominick Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

Featuring a featherweight title fight between champ Max Holloway and former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

“ABC” Cooper was a finalist on “The Ultimate Fighter 23, ” ultimately falling short against Tatiana Suarez in the July 2016 live finale. Cooper has since split two additional results, earning a decision win over Anna Elmose at UFC Fight Night 99 before being submitted by Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 209. She now meets Magana, the outspoken cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter 20” who has suffered losses to Michelle Waterson and Tecia Torres in her two official UFC contests.

Kimball made his UFC debut in January, suffering a TKO loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima, before rebounding with a “Performance of the Night” win over Josh Stansbury in June. He now faces Reyes, an undefeated prospect who needed just 29 seconds to pick up a “Performance of the Night” bonus with a victory over Joachim Christensen at the same June event where Stansbury picked up his $50,000.

With the additions to the card, UFC 218 now includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie