Alexander Gustafsson Wants Title Shot Upon UFC Return

Top ranked light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson has been out of action since knocking out Glover Teixeira in May. A shoulder injury in training sidelined “The Mauler,” for which he underwent successful surgery. He’s now back to training and rehabilitating his shoulder and wants a title fight when he returns.

“I was training and I hurt my shoulder in a wrestling practice and I felt it was burning a little bit in my right shoulder. I just went and sat on the sideline and watched the sparring finish and then my coach told me that let’s just go to the hospital and check it out. The collar bone wasn’t attached to my shoulder anymore,” explained Gustafsson during an appearance on The MMA Hour.

Alexander Gustafsson“I got thrown. I was landing on the mat with my shoulder and it was just ripped apart, my collar bone from my shoulder.”

Gustafsson had a plate installed to assist the healing process and it was later removed. He expects to back to full form by the end of January.

“I give it to the end of January (until I’m back 100-percent) I think,” said the 30-year-old Swede.

On Jan. 20, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will defend his title in the UFC 220 co-main event in Boston against No. 3 ranked Volkan Oezdemir. Gustafsson wants to face the winner of that fight.

TRENDING > Dana White: ‘No Way’ Brian Ortega Jumps Over Frankie Edgar as No. 1 Contender

“I want the title fight. The winner of Volkan and DC fight, I want that one. There’s no fight in between. I just want to step into the title fight right away. That’s my plan. That’s what I want,” he said.

“I’ll be pushing for that fight, for sure.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Champ Robert Whittaker and UFC 221 opponent Luke Rockhold discuss GSP's departure

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Georges St-Pierre is out of the UFC middleweight title picture, and UFC 221’s headliners are ready to move on without him.

After St-Pierre, a longtime welterweight titleholder, returned to the UFC after a four-year layoff, he scored a submission win to dethrone middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) in November. However, St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) recently vacated the belt after facing an uncertain future due to his diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.

That opened the door for interim titleholder Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) to be promoted to undisputed champion, and he now meets former titleholder Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in UFC 221’s pay-per-view headliner, which takes place Feb. 10 at Perth Arena in Perth and marks the UFC’s debut in Western Australia.

Whittaker initially was targeted for a title-unification bout with St-Pierre, but the 26-year-old New Zealand-born Australian never really counted on the fight.

“With the UFC, anything can happen, really,” Whittaker, who won the vacant belt with a July victory over Yoel Romero, today said. “There was no clear-cut matchup for me at any point in the last six months. So I’m just happy to have closure.

“I’m just happy to know Georges has stepped down, I’ve taken the title, and I’m going to defend it come February against Luke. So yeah, it’s just good to know what we’re doing. I’m a very objective-drive bloke, so to have a goal in mind and to have something to do is very important to me.”

Whittaker, who was part of today’s UFC 221 kickoff press conference, got a look at his upcoming opponent. He even squared off with Rockhold, which showed the size difference between the two (via Twitter):

Rockhold, a 33-year-old former UFC and Strikeforce champ, rebounded from his title loss to Bisping with a recent submission win over David Branch.

Rockhold, who’s No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, said he always considered No. 2-ranked Whittaker the real champ – even after No. 1-ranked St-Pierre’s return.

“It sucks to see what they’ve done with everything, but I’m just glad we’re back on track,” said Rockhold, who had been critical of Bisping’s title reign, which lasted 17 months and consisted of just one title defense – over Dan Henderson. “Like I said, I said Whittaker has been the true champion for some time now, and I’m excited to get in there and mix it up.

“It’s going to be a fight, man.”

For more on UFC 221, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Co-Main Event Podcast: Download episode No. 285 with Ben Fowlkes, Chad Dundas

co-main-event-podcast-1.jpgEpisode No. 285 of the Co-Main Event Podcast now is available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie/USA TODAY columnist Ben Fowlkes and Bleacher Report lead MMA writer Chad Dundas host the weekly show (also dubbed the “CME,” if you nasty). This week, the buds discuss Brian Ortega’s big win, Georges St-Pierre’s vacated title, and Saturday’s UFC on FOX 26 event.

Check it out at comainevent.com, or download the podcast directly.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

Ricky Simon Hoping to Grab UFC’s Attention in LFA 29 Main Event

After a disappointing year on many levels in 2016, it has been a much better go around for bantamweight prospect Ricky Simon in 2017.

So far this year Simon has managed to pick up three wins in three bouts, rebounding off his lone fight in 2016 that saw him taste defeat for the first time.

“Last year I suffered my first loss and then couldn’t get a fight,” Simon told MMAWeekly.com. “Even though all three of those fights came short notice, I’m happy I got the opportunities that I got in there, and that I got to get in there and get those wins.”

In particular, Simon is coming off a win in what was up to that point his most exposure ever when he defeated Donavon Frelow at Dana White’s Contender Series 5 in August.

“It was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass up on,” said Simon. “I was a little disappointed in my performance, but I talked to the UFC bosses afterwards and got some good feedback.

“I think with that format they were looking for flashier performances, but I’m happy and felt like I showed a well overall game. I think I showed that I’m ready to compete on the highest level.”

On Friday in Prior Lake, Minn., Simon (10-1) gets an opportunity to win his first major MMA title when he takes on veteran Chico Camus (18-7) in the 135-pound championship main event of LFA 29.

“I’m very excited to fight Chico,” Simon said. “I enjoyed watching him in the UFC. Even though he got cut, I still feel like he’s one of the top fighters in our weight class. I’m excited to show people I can beat someone like that.

“I think how I’m going to get it done is by pushing the pace, and hopefully I’ll break him. I think it’s going to be a high-paced fight, and that’s what’s going to get it done.”

TRENDING > Dana White Sounds Doubtful that Georges St-Pierre Ever Fights Again

Simon believes a win over Camus could put him in good positioning to make a move to the next level. But if it doesn’t happen immediately afterwards, he’s sure it will come sometime in 2018.

“I feel I’m in a good spot right now,” said Camus. “I signed a multi-fight deal with the LFA. I feel like with a win over the second UFC vet I’ve beaten, it will cerement my spot in the 135-pound division.

“I think it’s going to kind of put a stamp on things and show the UFC that I’m ready to fight for them. If that’s not the case, I’ll be happy to defend the belt and keep building a (winning) streak in 2018.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Video: 'Road to the Octagon' full episode for Saturday's UFC on FOX 26

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Check out the full “UFC Road to the Octagon” episode for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 26 event.

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

In the headliner, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC takes on former lightweight title holder Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) in a clash of two hard-hitting sluggers looking again for championship gold.

In the co-main event, top featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) takes on late replacement Josh Emmett (12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who looks to make a statement with an upset win. Additionally, Mike Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) square off in a much anticipated welterweight affair.v

Check out the full “Road to the Octagon” episode above.

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

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
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

Take Our Poll
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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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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Raufeon Stots Promises Fireworks in Victory FC 59 Main Event

After going undefeated in his first two years as a pro, bantamweight up and comer Raufeon Stots has split his two bouts in 2017, picking up a win and a loss.

Stots was able to defeat former UFC veteran Rob Emerson at Victory FC 56 to start off his year in April, but was unable to keep his momentum going as he suffered a TKO loss to Merab Dvalishvili in June at Ring of Combat 59.

“I feel like I did pretty good against Rob,” Stots told MMAWeekly.com. “I could have pushed a little bit more. But that will come as I grow as a fighter is turning on my kill switch. That’s something I’ve been working on.

“My last fight was obviously down. I got knocked out for the first time in my career. What I learned from that is when the bell rings and the fight starts I’ve got to be ready and turn it on.”

Though he is coming off the first loss of his career, up to this point in 2017 Stots believes it has been a positive year with all the growth he has gone through.

“It’s been a good year for me learning-wise,” said Stots. “I learned I can compete against the best, but I’ve got to be ready for it. I’ve got to train for it and be ready to compete at the highest level when I step in the cage and the bell sounds.”

On Saturday in Omaha, Neb., Stots (8-1) will look to rebound when he defends his title against Arnold Berdon (6-1) in the 135-pound championship main event of Victory FC 59.

“This fight will be good for me too because this is the first time I’m coming off a loss, so it will be good for me to find myself as a fighter, to find myself as somebody who perseveres and who is still here to be the best in the world,” Stots said.

“(Berdon is) a hungry fighter and I’m hungry fighter, and we’re going to go out there and there are going to be fireworks. We’ve got everything to lose and everything to gain, so I think it’s going to be a great fight.”

TRENDING > Dana White Continues to Rebuke Claims of Nate Diaz Title Shot

With a win on December 16, Stots could place himself in the discussion as one of the top prospects ready to move up to the next level in 2018.

“As far as technically and things I’ve learned this past year, I feel like if would have been in (the UFC) before I knew these things I would have done a disservice to myself,” said Stots. “I’m at a point where I’m taking it one fight at a time and my results speak for themselves.

“It’s a hard thing. You want to be in the UFC, you want to make the big bucks and be recognized as one of the best fighters in the world, but I’ve got to take it one fight at a time and be comfortable in the fact that I’m working towards being one of the best.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Tony Ferguson Reveals Targeted Return Date Following ‘Minor’ Elbow Surgery

UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson underwent elbow surgery last week but it turns out the procedure won’t keep him sidelined for very long.

Ferguson just fought in October when he captured interim title with a submission win against Kevin Lee and he now awaits the return of lightweight champion Conor McGregor so they can hopefully unify the belts next year.

According to Ferguson, the surgery he had on his elbow wasn’t serious and he should be able to return no later than March or April next year.

“Twas a very minor surgery and now getting ready to unify my belt with McNuggets [Conor McGregor] in the first fourth of the year (March-April) as recovery is going great.”

"Keep Em' Sharp" So I Asked Doc If He Could Make My Elbows Any More Sharper ?? Well… w/ A Wink & A Nod It Was Done!!! T'Was A Very Minor Surgery & Now Getting Ready To Unify My Belt W/ McNuggets @thenotoriousmma In The 1st 1/4 Of The Year (March – April) As Recovery Is Going Great!!! #DefendorVacate MF'er??? The First Day Of Therapy Was Huge, "I Never Liked Sitting On The Sidelines" ?✌️@repair_sports_institute_hb Almost To Full Flexibility & Next Is Strength ?️Thanks Doctor Mora, @danawhite & @ufc For The OrthoScope It Was A Success #TSKYH Great Job ? , I Look Forward To Kicking McNuggets Ass & Defending My Strap For A Decade Or Two ????? #AndTheNew #TonyFergusonMMA SnapJitsu™ #SnapDownCity My Mat MF'ers ???

A post shared by @TonyFergusonxt (@tonyfergusonxt) on Dec 8, 2017 at 6:51pm PST

There has been a lot of speculation about when McGregor might finally return to the Octagon after not fighting at all in the UFC during 2017. Instead, McGregor focused on his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August before taking off the rest of the year.

McGregor has stated that he plans to fight in 2018 but he’s still in negotiations with the UFC on a more lucrative deal before he actually signs on to face anybody on any specific date.

The good news is McGregor will have some time with Ferguson on the shelf for a little while as he mends his surgically repaired elbow.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Dana White: ‘No Way’ Brian Ortega Jumps Over Frankie Edgar as No. 1 Contender

UFC president Dana White was very impressed by Brian Ortega’s performance on Saturday night where he tapped out top five-ranked contender Cub Swanson with a second round guillotine choke.

The win kept Ortega’s undefeated record in tact and moved him that much closer to challenging for the featherweight title in the future.

Unfortunately, White says as great as Ortega’s win was against Swanson, he’s still not ready to leapfrog him over Frankie Edgar, who remains the No. 1 contender to face champion Max Holloway next.

“There’s no way that [Brian] Ortega jumps over Frankie. Defnitely not,” White said.

The only question now remains timing for a title fight between Holloway and Edgar, which is the only thing White can’t guarantee right now.

Holloway is fresh off a third round TKO against Jose Aldo at UFC 218 while Edgar is recovering from a broken orbital bone suffered in training that kept him off the card in the first place.

Edgar has said that he’ll be ready by spring, which would likely fit into Holloway’s schedule for a return to action as well, although the UFC hasn’t confirmed anything just yet.

“Yeah it just, it all depends on timing,” White said. “When do we fight again? Who’s ready? Who’s not? But definitely Frankie seems like the No. 1 contender.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Fight Nights Global preps for dual-event weekend, including Vitaly Minakov vs. Tony Johnson

Execs at Russia’s Fight Nights Global are prepping for a busy weekend with a pair of events on the books this weekend.

On Friday, the promotion visits Omsk Arena in Amsk for “Fight Nights Global 81: Matmuratov vs. Ignatiev,” while the next night the company shifts to Moscow’s Russia Hall for “Fight Nights Global 82: Minakov vs. Johnson.”

Fight Nights Global 82 is expected to be distributed shortly after its completion via video on demand at UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event of Friday’s Fight Nights Global 81 event, featherweight champ Alexander Matmuratov (8-3) puts his title on the line against Evgeniy Ignatiev (10-1-2). Meanwhile, Saturday’s Fight Nights Global 82 event features a heavyweight clash between former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov (20-0) against Bellator and ONE Championship veteran Tony Johnson (11-3).

Minakov last appeared in a Bellator cage in 2014 but has since gone 6-0 while competing under the Fight Nights Global banner, which was previously knows as Eurasia Fight Nights. Minakov’s most recent win took place in June, when he scored a second-round knockout of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

Meanwhile, Johnson fights for the second time under the Fight Nights Global banner after debuting for the promotion in June and needing just 80 seconds to dispatch of Magomedbag Agaev.

The full cards for both nights currently include:

Fight Nights Global 81

  • Champ Alexander Matmuratov vs. Evgeniy Ignatiev – for featherweight title
  • Marina Mokhnatkina vs. Karine Silva
  • Akhmed Balkizov vs. TBA
  • Nikita Baltabaev vs. Nauruz Dzamikhov
  • Mariya Artyukhina vs. Julia Borisova
  • Furqan Gozachik vs. TBA
  • Murad Magomedov vs. Daniyar Zhantemirov
  • Said Samadov vs. Alexey Shurkevich
  • Sultan Gizatulin vs. Makhach Hvadzhaev
  • Petr Peretyatko vs. Alexander Podmarev

Fight Nights Global 82

  • Vitaly Minakov vs. Tony Johnson
  • Vener Galiev vs. Nikolay Gaponov
  • Shamil Akhmedov vs. Artur Astakhov
  • Alexandr Shabliy vs. Miroslav Strbak
  • Khalid Murtazaliev vs. Gzegorz Siwy
  • Aigun Akhmedov vs. Valdir Araujo
  • Dmitry Bikrev vs. Asif Tagiev
  • Robert Oganesyan vs. Vladimir Tyurin
  • Mariya Agapova vs. Liliya Kazak
  • Vadim Buseev vs. Nikita Mikhailov
  • Safarbek Kurbanov vs. TBA
  • Oleg Kubanov vs. Ismail Sagov

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie