Ex-linebacker Eryk Anders talks love from fellow former Alabama players after huge UFC debut

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5520957133001
Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Eryk Anders traded football for MMA, but he believes his story might still be used to inspire his former University of Alabama teammates.

Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made one hell of a UFC entrance at last Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25, where he plowed through octagon veteran Rafael Natal (22-8-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) en route to a first-round knockout. After the fight, he spoke a little about his background as a linebacker – and even explained why he prefers his new sport.

Speaking to MMAjunkie Radio, Anders says word of his win had already spread among his football peers. And while he’s yet to hear from Alabama coach Nick Saban, he would assume at this point he’s caught wind of his spectacular UFC debut.

“He’s always looking for an example for the guys,” Anders said. “Maybe he’ll use me as an example of a guy who took the road less traveled and is kind of making it happen in his own way.”

Anders, who helped lead Alabama to a national title in 2009, says he has already received an outpouring of support from fellow former teammates.

“Mark Ingram, Kareem Jackson, Alphonse Taylor, O.J. Howard,” Anders said. “A bunch of guys. Really showing a lot of love and respect for what I’m doing and what I did.”

The undefeated Anders has certainly proven worthy of such respect when it comes to the cage. Not only did his UFC debut stem from a short-notice call after Alessio Di Chirico was unable to make the UFC on FOX 25 middleweight bout with Natal, it came only days after Anders won LFA’s middleweight title.

For Natal, the set-up wasn’t particularly ideal either. According to him, Anders was actually the fourth opponent presented to him. Not to mention the pressure of meeting a newcomer in what was quite close to a hometown scrap for the long-time New York resident.

As far as who had the odds stacked against him goes, however, Anders thinks he still takes the cake.

“At the same time, he should’ve been consistently training,” Anders said. “Because he knew he was going to have a fight anyway. Me, on the other hand, I was just coming off a fight. They called me a week or two before the fight. I had to cut weight and put together a gameplan and whatnot. Fighting a vet, in New York, where he’s from.”

But unlike the veteran Natal, who might just have his job threatened now with a dangerous three-fight octagon skid, Anders is off to a promising octagon start.

“I’m just glad I was able to get out there and put on the performance that I wanted,” Anders said. “Got that knockout and put the rest of the division on notice.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, 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, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC's Marlon Vera explains awkward exchange that led to (counter?) callout of Brett Johns

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Filed under: News, UFC

After adding a third win to his streak with the submission of Brian Kelleher at UFC on FOX 25, Marlon Vera gave two names he’d like to meet: Jimmie Rivera and Brett Johns.

Following the preliminary card scrap with Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC), Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) pointed to Rivera backing out of an agreed-to UFC Fight Night 103 meeting as motivation behind the callout. Rivera, however, went on to win his main card bout with Thomas Almeida a few hours after that – and, in the process, made a pair of high-profile callouts of his own.

While Vera would like that fight, he can totally understand why Rivera would rather make a title bid. Which leaves us with Johns (14-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC). Why target specifically a man who, though undefeated, has only two fights on his record?

Vera explains the whole story. (In the video above, Vera talked about Rivera and Johns immediately after his UFC on FOX 25 win; he expanded on the story to MMAjunkie Radio.) Spoiler alert: there’s beef.

It began in March after UFC Fight Night 107. Vera had just scored a major TKO win over Brad Pickett. Johns was supposed to have fought that night but was left without an opponent after Ian Entwistle was ruled out at the last minute due to medical reasons.

“We were in the hotel drinking some beers and chilling a little,” Vera told MMAjunkie Radio. “I went to him – I don’t know him at all. I just went to him. I was like, ‘Hey, man, I’m really sorry about what happened in your fight. You don’t get the chance to fight, and I hope you get something in the future. Best of wishes.’

“I was so happy, so I was spreading my good energy to a guy who was down that night because his opponent got sick or whatever. And, literally, after I told him that, he was like, ‘Thank you. But you know what, I would like to fight you.’”

Vera, understandably, was a bit thrown off. After all, as someone who would “cry like a little girl” should he lose an opponent in the high-emotion window so close to a fight, he was just trying to sympathize with his fellow bantamweight’s pain.

“In my head, I was like, ‘(Expletive), I’m giving you some love, and you told me that right now in my face?’” Vera said. “I was just making a little bit of fun. Also I had some beers on my head, so I was like, ‘OK, let’s fight right now.’ And I just left.”

After that, “Chito” says he headed back to his table and shared – between laughs, he adds – what happened with his manager. He imagines either Johns himself or a friend saw that, because the Welsh fighter would go on to talk publicly about how Vera was “talking (expletive)” about him.

“And I was like, ‘OK, you’re not a bad guy for calling me out after that,” Vera said. “You’re a (expletive) for switching all the things in the media.”

While seemingly a little baffled, Vera is not particularly peeved by the situation. If anything, he believes getting called out makes his manager’s job a lot easier. And though Vera and Johns went on to beat different opponents since – Kelleher and Albert Morales, respectively – the Ecuadorian would still welcome the chance of settling their score.

But if that doesn’t happen, you know the drill when it comes to Vera – he is game to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere.

“I just want to fight one more time this year,” Vera said. “If everything goes right, we can put a short-notice at the end of the day. But I really would take whatever the UFC wants to give me. I feel I’m ready to start camp in a week.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, 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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2496 with Eryk Anders and Marlon Vera

Stream or download Monday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Eryk Anders and Marlon Vera.

Both fighters competed at UFC on FOX 25 this past Saturday. Anders had a first-round knockout of Rafael Natal in his UFC debut and talked about hearing from his former Alabama football teammates after. Vera scored a first-round submission of Brian Kelleher and spoke about wanting Brett Johns next after an exchange in the host hotel post UFC Fight Night 107.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

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

Undefeated Jeremy Kennedy explains Gray Maynard callout after UFC on FOX 25 win

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Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – After adding a third octagon win to his undefeated record at Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25, Jeremy Kennedy quickly fired off the next name on his hitlist: Gray Maynard.

But unlike other callouts that took place that night, there is no bad blood behind Kennedy’s (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC). Speaking to reporters after his  unanimous decision win over Kyle Bochniak (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC), the featherweight offered a respectful and simple explanation for his interest in Maynard (13-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC).

“Everyone knows who Gray Maynard is,” Kennedy said after the preliminary card scrap, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. “He’s coming off a win. He’s right out there, you know, outside of the top-15 – if not, right around there. I’m looking to break into the top-15. He just fought (earlier this month at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale).

“I think around the same timeline, it just makes the most sense that way. But, really, anybody that – I want a guy that has a name. I can tell people, ‘Hey, I’m fighting this guy and they know’ instead of me having to explain it or whatever. I’m in the UFC now. I want to keep fighting these name guys. If they’re in the top 15, even better. But I want them coming off of a win.”

While Maynard is indeed coming off a (big) win, a dominant unanimous decision over Teruto Ishihara, he’s seen a rough few years in the octagon. After two memorable title battles with then-champ Frankie Edgar in 2011 – a split draw and a fourth-round knockout loss – he followed a win over Clay Guida with four straight losses. Maynard, now 37, then decided to drop to the 145-pound division, where he’s gone 2-1.

While Kennedy’s record certainly lacks the high-profile names featured on Maynard’s, the 24-year-old Canadian prospect has most recently taken unanimous decisions over Alessandro Ricci, Rony Jason and Bochniak to round out a perfect pro record.

In what would be a classic up-and-comer vs. veteran battle, there certainly wouldn’t be any lack of respect on Kennedy’s end.

“I watched Gray Maynard when he fought Frankie Edgar on that New Year’s card (UFC 125) way back in the day,” Kennedy said. “I was a fan, I was just a kid there. So to think now, fast forward, how many years, I could be possibly fighting him. That’d be amazing.”

 

Ideally, Kennedy says he’d like to take a four-month window between fights. But if Maynard is OK with ditching his own original target and happens be available for the UFC 216 card in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the Sept. 9 date might just work.

“It’s a little close, but I’m healthy,” Kennedy said. “It’s a Canadian card. Makes sense. If he’s ready, I’m ready.”

To hear from Kennedy, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

The best from UFC on FOX 25

The door is closed on UFC on FOX 25, which took place Saturday at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. The card aired on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and featured former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) earning a submission victory over Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the main event.

MMAjunkie was on-site for the event bringing the most thorough coverage from beginning to end. The UFC’s debut in Long Island proved to be an eventful one, and in case you happened to miss any of the fight-night or post-fight coverage, here are five items (in no particular order) to see before moving past UFC on FOX 25.

* * * *

1. Junior Albini says UFC on FOX 25 bonus means daughter will no longer have to play with empty shampoo bottles

2. Chris Weidman calls out ‘British bum’ Michael Bisping, who fires back on Twitter in typical fashion

3. Chris Weidman claims he’s the best, though he’s not – or is he? Here’s where it gets complicated

4. Patrick Cummins’ face was a ridiculous mess after UFC on FOX 25

5. Kelvin Gastelum planning welterweight return after loss to ‘really strong’ Chris Weidman

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC on FOX 25 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

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Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 event in Uniondale, N.Y., several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

Check out some of those reactions.

* * * *

The defeated

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The victorious

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For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

5 thoughts to ponder after UFC on FOX 25

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UFC on FOX 25 is in the books, and while the card apparently didn’t attract much interest by drawing the lowest overnight ratings in the history of the series, there were some compelling moments and storylines coming out of Saturday’s FOX-televised event at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

Here are some takeaways from UFC on FOX 25, which saw former UFC middleweight Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) snap a three-fight losing skid with a third-round submission of Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the main event.

* * * *

Chris Weidman is still very good.

It was fairly surprising a fighter of Weidman’s caliber was sitting on three consecutive losses, but rough patches happen in MMA, and the “All-American” never gave up hope despite more than two years of disappointment.

Although he’s already being discredited for beating “a bloated welterweight,” Weidman’s performance against a rising star like Gastelum showed he has more left to offer. Weidman never let outside noise trickle in and always felt he would reestablish himself, which he did with the submission win.

There are fair questions about Weidman’s chin after getting dropped by Gastelum and taking considerable damage from Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi. However, if that flaw forces Weidman to transition into a more grappling-heavy style, that probably caters best to his skillset going forward, anyway, because there are few in the division capable of hanging with him on the mat.

Kelvin Gastelum probably belongs at welterweight.

It was only four months ago that we were pleading for Gastelum to drop the talk of a return to welterweight after his destruction of Vitor Belfort, but the loss to Weidman showed he was probably onto something, after all.

Gastelum can be a serviceable fighter at 185 pounds, but at welterweight his ceiling is likely a lot higher. He struggled madly with the size and strength of Weidman, and as he moves further up in competition in the weight class, those factors will be even more prominent.

“The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner said the loss will change him for the better. If he lives up to his word and gets his act together on diet and discipline, he should get one final chance to see what he can do 170 pounds, but there’s going to be no room for error.

Darren Elkins and Team Alpha Male deserve more credit.

The emergence of Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) as a true featherweight threat has been an interesting storyline to follow, and it’s no coincidence the success coincides with his move to Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif.

Team Alpha Male has had its turbulent moments, but the corner crew of Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo and Chris Holdsworth have had many more successes than failures of late, and Elkins’ five-fight winning streak, capped off by a split-decision win over Dennis Bermudez, should be one of their prouder achievements.

Elkins’ style won’t ever have fans lining up at the box office, but his ability to ware opponents down through any situation is commendable. How far he can take this run remains to be seen, but the fact he has the second most wins in UFC featherweight history behind only champ Max Holloway means he can’t be ignored as a threat.

Patrick Cummins wears it like few others.

When Patrick Cummins’ (10-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) career is done someone needs to compile an album of his face after every fight. Win or lose, Cummins leaves the octagon looking like he just came out of a car wreck, and that was no different in his split-decision win over Gian Villante.

Cummins’ chin hasn’t always held up, but it did against Villante, and actually led him into a situation where he was able to out-strike his opponent, which was a surprise.

The inconsistent nature of Cummins’ career makes his fights hard to predict, but the common theme is that it’s not going to be an easy night for anyone when “Durkin” steps in the cage.

Dominick Cruz is an excellent broadcaster who still needs work.

Going through a nearly seven-hour broadcast without flaw is an impossible feat. No other sport requires such endurance in the broadcast booth, and while Dominick Cruz has quickly become of the best to do it, his latest work alongside Brian Stann and Jon Anik showed he needs to better round out the ideas he presents to viewers.

Cruz is as knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in the sport from a technical perspective, but his attempt to juggle commentary with fight scoring revealed flaws in his ideologies. Perpetuating the dated idea that a late, ineffective takedown from a fighter losing a round can “steal” it for them is wrong, especially under the new scoring criteria.

It’s nitpicky, but fight commentary is a huge influence of the narrative viewers take away. Cruz, Stann, Joe Rogan and all the rest provide brilliant analysis, but when it comes to the (admittedly confusing) rules and regulations, there needs to be greater caution.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

We showed you Patrick Cummins' UFC on FOX 25 face. Did you see Kyle Bochniak's on Instagram?

Patrick Cummins wasn’t the only fighter at UFC on FOX 25 to leave the arena looking a little less pretty than he was when he walked in.

Cummins’ face was downright a mess after his split-decision win over Gian Villante at the event at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. We showed that to you on Sunday. But he wasn’t alone.

Kyle Bochniak (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) dropped a decision to Jeremy Kennedy (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) on the UFC Fight Pass-streamed preliminary card. By the end of things, Bochniak had a bit gash on his forehwead that needed stitching.

Bochniak posted the cut before it was stitched on his Instagram account, and it’s not for the squeamish.

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On Sunday, he posted a video thanking his fans for their support – and the cut was sewn up.

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So whose post-fight wounds would you rather have to live with? Cummins and his swollen-up eye? Or Bochniak’s deep forehead gash?

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with UFC on FOX 25's Eryk Anders, Marlon Vera

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Eryk Anders and Marlon Vera.

Both fighters picked up big wins this past Saturday night at UFC on FOX 25 in Uniondale, N.Y. Anders, in his UFC debut, knocked out Rafael Natal in the first round. Vera submitted Brian Kelleher with a first-round armbar for his third straight win.

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

Michael Bisping and Chris Weidman escalate Twitter beef after UFC on FOX 25

UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former champ Chris Weidman went one more round on Twitter following Weidman’s win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on FOX 25.

Weidman, who called Bisping a “British bum” in his post-win speech, quickly responded to Bisping’s Twitter response, calling the champ a “cross-eyed (expletive).”

Naturally, that didn’t go over well.

“Your (sic) a (expletive) piece of (expletive),” Bisping responded. “Mocking a fight injury. Well I pray you don’t suffer the same. And (expletive) you pussy. When I see you, it’s on.”

Seeing he’d hit a nerve, Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) of course didn’t let up. He shot back a video of Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) tearing up the Cuban flag during Yoel Romero’s (13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) failed interim title bid against newly minted champ Robert Whittaker (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) at UFC 213.

Weidman added, “wait, I’m the (expletive).”

“According to the fans yes,” wrote Bisping. “😂 (expletive) me your desperate. No one likes you bro. Yes no one likes me either, but I don’t give a (expletive). Ur so needy.”

“Everyone loves me,” Weidman replied.

Bisping, who’s recovering from knee surgery, then took aim at Weidman’s post-fight declaration that he is the “real” champion.

“‘Im the champion’😂 u sounded so pathetic,” wrote Bisping. “Jealousy is one of the deadly sins. Shame on U. On your knees and pray harder (expletive).”

For all the beefing online, it’s just a bookmark for a future fight. When he gets healthy, Bisping is set for a title unification bout against interim champ Whittaker, who himself is recovering from a knee injury and may not be ready to fight until 2018.

In the meantime, Weidman would love to talk his way into a title fight. But after snapping a three-fight losing skid in this past Saturday’s FOX-televised headliner, he’ll likely have to wait.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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