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A middleweight matchup between Brazilian Rafael Natal and Australian Robert Whittaker is the latest addition to April’s UFC 197 event.
MMAjunkie today confirmed with multiple people with knowledge of the contest that both fighters have verbally agreed to the contest and bout agreements have been distributed. UFC officials are expected to make an announcement shortly.
Whittaker is currently ranked No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is again in trouble with the law.
The 28-year-old New York native is due in court in Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday after being cited for driving without a license, registration or proof of insurance.
The charges are the latest in a long string of traffic troubles for Jones (21-1 MMA, 15-1 UFC), who was confirmed this past Saturday to rematch reigning champ Daniel Cormier(17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) at UFC 197. The pay-per-view event takes place April 23 in Las Vegas.
Jones is hoping to reclaim the title that UFC officials strip after Jones’ previous legal woes.
The big men will headline the UFC’s debut event in Croatia, officials today announced.
Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos (17-4 MMA, 11-3 UFC) and surging contender Ben Rothwell (36-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC) are set for the five-round main event.
The latest UFC Fight Night 86 card now includes:
Junior Dos Santos vs. Ben Rothwell
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ruslan Magomedov
Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Francis Ngannou
Timothy Johnson vs. Marcin Tybura
Jan Blachowicz vs. Igor Pokrajac
Nicolas Dalby vs. Bartosz Fabinski
Damir Hadzovic vs. Mairbek Taisumov
Alessio Di Chirico vs. Bojan Velickovic
On Wednesday, Dana White confirmed that Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman would have an immediate rematch at UFC 199 in June, much to the annoyance of those who are against immediate rematches of fights that otherwise ended in decisive fashion. The initial plan was to set up Rockhold against Yoel Romero, who narrowly defeated Ronaldo Souza in a fight immediately preceding Weidman vs. Rockhold I at UFC 194.
I can understand where people are coming from with regards to Rockhold vs. Weidman II. If Romero hadn't had his "potential failure", then Rockhold vs. Romero should've been the fight to make right away, with Weidman facing Jacare in the interim. With that said, looking at the landscape of middleweight as it stands right now, for my money, the immediate rematch is best possible fight to make in the division. Their first fight was very competitive and quite close (at least to me) before Weidman's spinning kick missed and Rockhold slaughtered him from top position in rounds 3 and 4.
UFC legend B.J. Penn announced that he would be coming out of retirement last month to capture the featherweight title. Penn, a UFC Hall of Famer and a two-division world champion -- lightweight and welterweight -- is one of Hawaii's most successful MMA fighters, but there's a new Hawaiian talent on the radar: Max Holloway.
The 24-year-old is riding an 8 fight win streak and is knocking on the door of title contention. Since losing to Conor McGregor in 2013, "Blessed" has sharpened and honed his craft and is now ranked as the #4 featherweight in the world.
LAS VEGAS – Mickey Gall’s UFC debut had it all: plenty of media attention, a quick finish, a pivotal win and an awkward in-cage face-off with his next opponent.
In one of Saturday’s more peculiar UFC Fight Night 82 matchups, Gall (2-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) needed a mere 45 seconds to choke out fellow welterweight Mike Jackson (0-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in the night’s final UFC Fight Pass-streamed preliminary-card bout (via Twitter):
Johny Hendricks came into a UFC fight for the first time without flying the Team Takedown banner Saturday night. That bout ended in a first-round loss for the former UFC welterweight champion.
Hendricks, though, did not want to blame the camp and management change for his TKO defeat against Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 82 in Las Vegas.
"Stephen Thompson was just a better man tonight," Hendricks said at the post-fight press conference. "What can I say? He performed. I hesitated. I don't hesitate usually. A lot of it goes into preparation. I switched camps and all these other things. But no excuses. He was just a better man."
In any other sport, Aljamain Sterling would be the prototype of what any franchise would want.
He's one of the very best in the world in his category and has the numbers to back it up. At 26, Sterling is not quite at his physical peak. He's athletic, fundamentally sound and intelligent in competition.
Outside competition, he's charismatic and good with the media. He's never been in any kind of trouble. Sterling may be critical of some aspects of management on social media, but he's hardly a malcontent.
LAS VEGAS – If Stephen Thompson was ever going to announce that he had arrived, Saturday night was a good time to do it. His UFC 196 pay-per-view co-main event with Johny Hendricks became a UFC Fight Night main event on free television when the Cain Velasquez-Fabricio Werdum heavyweight title fight fell out. Hendricks was a former champion who was still positioned near the top of the division. And it was ripe set-up for a knockout artist like "Wonderboy" to prove that even the most infallible chins cave in behind his touch.
Stephen Thompson shocked the crowd in attendance at UFC Fight Night 82 by becoming the first man to knock out former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. That knockout earned him a well-deserved $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.
Jon Jones’ return to the octagon is official. The former UFC light heavyweight champion will attempt to regain the belt he never lost in the cage when he faces current titleholder Daniel Cormier in a rematch at UFC 197 on April 23.
Complimenting the 205-pound grudge match between Cormier (17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and Jones (21-1 MMA, 15-1 UFC) at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena will be a flyweight title contest. Reigning 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson (23-2-1 MMA, 11-1-1 UFC) will look for his eighth consecutive title defense against undefeated challenger Henry Cejudo (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
The UFC announced both fights during tonight’s UFC Fight Night 82 broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
Another potential Bryan Caraway fight has passed by.
It seems everyone at 135 pounds wants to fight the polarizing bantamweight. Most recently, John Dodson was the name linked to Caraway for a matchup.
But that potential fight is off, and Dodson will look for another opponent for his bantamweight return, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight.
The sticking point was that Caraway did not want to fight in April, which was the proposed time frame, due to "personal reasons." Dodson is itching to get back to action and doesn't want to wait any longer.
LAS VEGAS – Shudder to think, but it very well could have been any of us on the chronicling side of things to get plucked from a media scrum and stuck into a cage to fight for the right to face CM Punk. It ended up being Mike Jackson, a Houston-based journalist-cum-prizefighter, who found himself answering questions on Wednesday about a fight coming up he still can’t believe he’s taking part in. When asked what in the actual hell was going on, Jackson shrugged his shoulders and wondered aloud if it weren’t a big hoax.
The truth is, nobody’s real sure. The one certainty seems to be it’s happening. Of all the media members that have badgered Dana White over the years, Jackson is the first who will take off his shirt and let his hands fly for a betting public.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repetitive brain trauma, including sub-concussive hits to the head that do not cause immediate symptoms. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica, and familiarly as "punch drunk."
Formerly believed to be limited primarily to boxing, its high rate in the NFL is now being acknowledged. It has also been found in soccer, ice hockey, professional wrestling, and other contact sports who have experienced repetitive brain trauma.
Bellator MMA signed Benson Henderson this week, and veteran heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov, and now has signed Chris Leben. The announcement was made by president Scott Coker on AXS TV's “Inside MMA.”
“He’s got some physicals to pass, but pending his passing of all his physicals, he will be a Bellator fighter. ... From the very beginning, we made a public statement - we've been transparent about this - that we’re looking for the best free agents that make the most sense for our roster. There are free agents out there. Some we will go after, some we won't. … We have a great roster in place. We’re building fighters from the ground up. ... And when the free agents we want are available, we’ll go after them, as well. So we're going to build this roster from the bottom up, and from the top down."
Gunmen opened fire at a boxing weigh-in at Dublin’s Regency Hotel on Feb. 5, killing at least one man and wounding two others. A statement from An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s police force, said the victims were “all in their 20s or 30s.”
One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the two wounded men were hospitalized, police said. The weigh-in was for an MGM “Clash of the Clans” event.
As always, to the victor go the spoils. Dominick Cruz was one of three fighters to earn a six-figure paycheck at UFC Fight Night 81, pocketing $110,000 for his UFC bantamweight championship win over T.J. Dillashaw. The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission on Friday released the event's disclosed payroll to MMA Fighting via open records request.
Cruz captured a split decision over Dillashaw in his long-awaited return to competition, claiming scores of 48-47 and 49-46 on two of the three judges' scorecards to earn back the title he lost via injury. Dillashaw took home $70,000 in a losing effort.
Jonathan Shrager, Kirik Jenness and Chris Palmquist quiz "The Outlaw" on his prospective Octagon return, his personal evolution as a martial artist and within MMA in general, how his analysis translates into his game, and his desire to compete in all facets of his beloved sport.
B.J. Penn fully expects he'll make his return to the Octagon on March 5. And it probably won't be against Nik Lentz.
The UFC Hall of Famer, one of just two fighters to hold UFC titles in two weight classes, "guarantees" he'll be fighting at UFC 196 on March 5 in Las Vegas, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight.
While there's no official opponent lined up, word has it that veteran Dennis Siver has emerged as a possible opponent for the former welterweight and lightweight champ.