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Michael Bisping has stepped in as a replacement and will fight middleweight champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 199.
Bisping (28-7 MMA, 18-7 UFC) replaces ex-champ Chris Weidman (12-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who was forced out of the title shot with champ Rockhold (15-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) on Tuesday due to a neck injury and pending surgery.
UFC President Dana White today announced the change while on ESPN’s “Sports Center.” The UFC executive said the title shot would’ve gone to Ronaldo Souza (23-4 MMA, 6-1 UFC), but “Jacare” is facing knee surgery following a first-round TKO win over Vitor Belfort (25-12 MMA, 14-8 UFC) this past weekend at UFC 198.
Bellator and UFC dueled somewhat evenly in going head-to-head on a Saturday night where nearly 1.5 million fans watched MMA between 8 and 10 p.m. on cable television.
The UFC aired the prelims for UFC 198, doing 786,000 viewers, headlined by Demian Maia vs. Matt Brown, a stronger than usual FS 1 main event. It was the lowest prelim number before a pay-per-view so far this year. The head-to-head competition with Bellator was probably at least partially responsible. The prelims for UFC 197 did 835,000 viewers.
The Brown vs. Maia main event peaked at 985,000 viewers for the final rounds.
Bellator, which ran from 8 p.m. to 10:22 p.m., headlined by Phil Davis vs. King Mo Lawal, did 709,000 viewers, slightly above what Bellator usually does, a number fairly impressive given it was not on the regular night, started an hour earlier than usual and had the UFC competition.
In the key 18-49 demo, UFC had an edge in viewers by 399,000 to 346,000.
Spike, which airs Bellator, is available in about nine million more homes than FS 1.
Bellator light heavyweight Phil Davis not only earned a shot at champ Liam McGeary, but the highest disclosed payday at this past Saturday’s Bellator 154 event.
Davis (16-3 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) took home $60,000 for his unanimous-decision win over Muhammed Lawal (19-5 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), who earned $30,000, in the Spike-televised headliner of this past Saturday’s event at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
United Kingdom-based heavyweights Mark Godbeer and James Mulheron will square off for bragging rights of the region in a featured bout at Bellator 158, promotion officials announced Tuesday.
Godbeer is fresh off a second-round TKO win over Stuart Austin at BAMMA 25 last weekend and looks to keep his three-fight winning streak in full effect against his rival. He last appeared for the California-based promotion at Bellator 152, when he was knocked out by UFC veteran Cheick Kongo.
The UFC welterweight title will be on the line on Saturday, July 30, as champion Robbie Lawler defends his title against number three-ranked contender Tyron Woodley in the main event of UFC 201 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
UFC 201 marks the promotion's first event in Atlanta since UFC 145 in 2012.
The death of Joao Carvalho is having a marked effect on mixed martial arts in Europe.
BAMMA is the latest organization to make a major change for fighter safety following the tragic passing of Carvalho after a bout in Ireland last month. The British promotion announced Tuesday that it would be pushing back its June event to properly implement a new MRI/MRA testing procedure.
Beginning after the event this weekend, BAMMA fighters will be required to have an MRI/MRA scan, according to a press release. Because that system will take months to put into place, BAMMA will be pushing back its BAMMA 26 card from June 4 to Sept. 10. The event will remain in Dublin, the city where it was initially scheduled. All tickets will be honored and refunds are also available, the release said.
Abel Trujillo has a next opponent for this month’s UFC Fight Night 88 event.
With Diego Ferreira (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) recently removed the matchup due to a potential USADA anti-doping violation, fellow lightweight Jordan Rinaldi (12-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has stepped in as a replacement to fight Trujillo (14-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC), officials recently announced.
July’s UFC debut in South Dakota has a new bantamweight matchup, officials today announced.
Veteran Rani Yahya (21-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and promotional newcomer Matthew Lopez (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) have been booked for the event.
The latest UFC Fight Night 91 card now includes:
Michael Chiesa vs. Tony Ferguson
Tim Boetsch vs. Josh Samman
Ben Nguyen vs. Louis Smolka
Keita Nakamura vs. Kyle Noke
Alexey Oleinik vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
Scott Holtzman vs. Cody Pfister
Devin Clark vs. Alex Nicholson
Matthew Lopez vs. Rani Yahya
Although the fight lost its title status, it’s been elevated to Friday’s Bellator 155 main card.
Officials today announced a women’s featherweight bout between former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen (23-6 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) and Alexis Dufresne (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has been elevated from the preliminary card to the televised main card.
The full Bellator 155 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)
Champ Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef – for middleweight title
Pat Curran vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai
Julia Budd vs. Marloes Coenen
Joey Beltran vs. Chase Gormley
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Marcin Held vs. Dave Jansen
Tyler Freeland vs. Joe Hamilton
Veta Arteaga vs. Jackie Vandenburgh
Hamilton Ash vs. Vince Morales
Casey Johnson vs. Brendon Raftery
Scott Thometz vs. Josh Tyler
Will Noland vs. Sean Powers
Erick Cronkhite vs. Ricky Steele
Olly Bradstreet vs. Jesse Brock
Thanks to a new recruiting program, two military vets will fight on an upcoming WSOF card.
Officials today told MMAjunkie that “WSOF: Who’s The Toughest?” will help further the fighting careers of military veterans who are currently competing or hope to compete in MMA.
The first two recruits will meet at WSOF 35. The event is slated for Nov. 12 – the same night as UFC 205 in New York City, and one day after Veterans Day – at a location to be determined. As with other WSOF events, it’s expected to air on NBCSN following prelims on MMAjunkie.
July’s UFC on FOX 20 event in the Windy City has a new heavyweight matchup.
Francis Ngannou (7-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Bojan Mihajlovic (10-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) have been added to the summer card, officials today announced.
UFC on FOX 20 takes place July 23 at United Center in Chicago. The event is expected to air on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the lineup and bout order haven’t been finalized.
Paige VanZant might be a "Dancing With The Stars" champion before winning UFC title.
The popular UFC women's strawweight fighter earned a berth in the "DWTS" finals Monday night in the semis after two more stellar performances with partner Mark Ballas. Two couples were eliminated on the episode, but VanZant and Ballas were not one.
There are three total couples left heading into next week, the final episode of the season. So, VanZant has made it all the way through to the end with a chance to win the whole thing.
VanZant and Ballas teamed up with Alan Bersten for their first dance Monday night, an entertaining samba with VanZant dressed in a jungle outfit. That earned perfect 10s across the board for a total score of 30.
In the second dance of the night, VanZant and Ballas performed a steamy Argentine tango that judge Len Berman dubbed too risqué. The other two judges gave it a 10, but Berman held out with a nine for a total of 29 out of 30.
Pancrase's July 24 card at Differ Ariake in Tokyo will feature a title doubleheader, albeit under unconventional circumstances.
The long-tenured Japanese promotion announced Monday that “Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins will return to the promotion to challenge bantamweight King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari for the title in the main event of Pancrase 279. The 30-year-old Brookins made his promotional debut in November 2014, defeating Ishiwatari by unanimous decision in a three-round non-title affair and has not fought since. Despite not being listed in Pancrase's official rankings and not having fought for over 18 months, the previous win was enough to earn title bid for the yogi Brookins, who now trains out of Tristar Gym in Montreal.
Seven fighters from this past weekend’s UFC 198 event were issued lengthy medical suspensions, and two could be out of action for up to six months.
Warlley Alves and Yancy Medeiros both face medical suspensions that could stretch 180 days.
Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has signed a new, eight-fight deal with the UFC. The 29-year-old broke the news on Monday during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
“I signed a new eight-fight deal. I’m very excited to announce that,” he said.
Johnson (24-2-1) is coming off a first-round finish of Henry Cejudo at UFC 197. “Mighty Mouse” had fights remaining on his previous contract, but negotiated a new deal.
Bellator is hanging onto one of its top homegrown talents.
Darrion Caldwell announced Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that he has signed a long-term contract extension with Bellator MMA. The deal spans seven fights. Caldwell said he had one fight remaining on his previous contract with the promotion.
"Just believing in what they had in mind and their plan for me, that's the biggest thing," Caldwell said. "It's bigger than me. I know they have a vision. Even though I have a vision as well -- my vision is to be the world champ -- they have a vision on how to put me in a position to make sure I maximize everything outside of the cage. And so, I feel like we touched on a lot of subjects there. I think we've got a star in the making."
Matt Brown’s trip to Brazil didn’t end the way he was hoping.
The welterweight veteran, who suffered a third-round submission loss to Demian Maia at Saturday’s UFC 198 event in Curitiba, Brazil, was allegedly assaulted by his former jiu-jitsu coach Rodrigo Botti on Sunday morning in Brown's hotel lobby, sources confirmed with MMA Fighting.
Botti allegedly attacked Brown from behind, and then ran away. Brown’s friend chased him down, and was able to catch him outside the hotel. The ensuing fight was caught on tape and posted on YouTube.
(different angle in this vid)
Saturday’s UFC 198 event was a record-setting one for the MMA-crazed country of Brazil.
The event set a new UFC-Brazil attendance record with 45,207 attendees. A live gate total was not announced.
UFC Senior VP and GM of Brazil Giovani Decker announced the total at the post-event press conference, which MMAjunkie attended. Decker said the show sold out in 90 minutes, making it the fastest sell-out in UFC Brazil history.