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Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis can finally happen in 2016.
"I’m already frustrated that it might happen, but we’ll see," Aldo recently told Brazilian TV show Revista Combate. "Every night I ask ‘give me one more chance to get in there again with him and I know it won’t happen again.’ but if it’s not him, I think I’d prefer to fight Pettis. I with them learned that I don’t have to look at the promotion’s side, the title run. A fight with Pettis would sell a lot more than Holloway."
"Holloway is way tougher than Pettis today," Aldo said. "‘Do Bronx’ (Oliveira) was winning the fight, but (his cardio) goes down drastically during the fight. I think that a fight with Pettis would sell a lot and is way easier for me. If I had to choose one of them it would be him because it sells more and I have a better chance, but I respect him."
"It makes sense, but I’m not looking at the whole title thing now," Aldo said of fighting Holloway in New York. "I look at the financial aspect of it. I thought about my legacy and career before, but now I look with different eyes. I think Dana White taught me that. The biggest slice of the cake has to be mine.
"I’m trying to get a fight at this UFC card in New York, but we’ll see what ‘Dede’ (Pederneiras) has to say when he comes back. ‘Dede’ is (in Cleveland) now for a meeting with Dana to decide our future. I hope everything goes right. If it’s not against (McGregor) we fight for the undisputed belt. We’ll see."
Cain Velasquez will likely get his rematch with fellow ex-UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum in December.
Werdum (21-6-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) and Velasquez (14-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC), respectively No. 2 and No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, are targeted for a long-awaited rematch at UFC 207.
The fight isn’t signed but has been offered to the competitors, according to people close to both camps who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the booking publicly.
UFC 207 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. As with other major year-end UFC events, it airs on pay-per-view.
Another fight is close to being added to UFC 205.
According to sources, the promotion has slated Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian at 135 pounds for the historic Nov. 12 card at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
A rematch between Marco Beltran and Guido Cannetti has been added to The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 Finale. The news was announced by UFC Español on Wednesday.
The two bantamweights first fought during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America in a fight that had a controversial ending. Cannetti dominated the action for the majority of the fight, but due to an illegal kick on a downed Beltran, Cannetti was deducted a point that would cost him the fight, losing via split decision.
Longtime UFC veteran Gray Maynard and TUF 22 winner Ryan Hall will collide in a featherweight contest on Dec. 3 at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. The UFC confirmed the booking Wednesday following an initial report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Jones - who is under temporary suspension for testing positive for Hydroxy-clomiphene, an anti-estrogenic agent, and a Letrozole metabolite, an aromatase inhibitor - has been suggesting that investigations before his appeals with USADA and the NAC have turned up good news and that he will "be back in the Octagon really soon." Jones has yet to face his official hearing but his looming presence has called the Cormier-Johnson fight into question. This was exacerbated by comments from UFC President Dana White who suggested that Jones' return could come in an interim title fight against Anthony Johnson instead of the assumed rematch between DC and Rumble.
But not everyone is happy with that idea. Speaking with Brian Stann on Toe-2-Toe on SiriusXM Rush, Cormier addressed the Jones return rumors and Dana White's idea to have Jones and Johnson square off for the interim title.
"Now one thing I completely disagree with, completely - and I don't care who hears it - why in the hell would Jon still be the interim champion? That makes no sense. That makes absolutely no sense. They should not be fighting for an interim championship. That makes no sense at all. I don't even know why he would still be the interim champion. His ass was disqualified. Take that freakin' belt off of him. That's stupid.
"I hope to God Dana misspoke, because that makes absolutely no sense. They aren't fighting for some interim title if they fight. They can fight in the main event because it's a big fight but it's a fun fight. If they fight, they fight to determine the number one contender it's not some interim championship fight. That makes no sense at all... You'd have an interim champion defending the interim championship while the actual champion is actually still there. That makes no sense whatsoever."
It didn't take long for Donald Cerrone to find a new opponent for UFC 205.
According to multiple sources, Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum is in the works for the Nov. 12 card at Madison Square Garden in New York City. If all goes according to plan, the welterweight fight is expected to be finalized shortly.
UFC commentator Kenny Florian announced Tuesday night that his younger brother passed away Sunday at age 33 after going missing one day earlier.
Florian wrote on Instagram, “Always loving. Always loved. Always my little brother Kiki. Kirk Andrew Florian 6/22/83-9/11/16. Thank you all for sharing his picture/information. Go tell your loved ones that you love them.”
The retired fighter offered no details about his brother’s death, and MMAjunkie was unable to reach him for comment. Monday on Twitter, Kenny Florian asked anyone with information about his brother’s whereabouts to call the Dover Police Department in Delaware. He said his brother had been missing since Saturday. He later deleted the message.
Although UFC welterweight Matt Brown estimates he’s probably suffered “hundreds” of concussions in his fighting career, he got his first official diagnosis in 2015.
The treatment he subsequently received was an experience he’d rather forget.
“I had to sit in my room for 10 days with no lights, no loud noises, no TV, no reading,” Brown told MMAjunkie Radio. “Like, literally stare at the wall and do nothing for 10 days, like jail.”
It’s for that reason that Brown isn’t in a rush to return to the octagon two months after suffering his first TKO loss in a fight against Jake Ellenberger at UFC 201.
“It’s the first time from a head shot that I’ve been dropped in my entire life, and I’ve sparred with heavyweights and big guys,” said Brown. “I hope that I can speak near-full sentences when I’m done fighting.”
He had his first training session earlier this week and would like to fight by the end of the year or early next year.
“I would love New York (at UFC 205), but I’m really fat right now,” Brown said.
“There’s still a lot of hunger in my heart,” Brown said. “I’m still pressing toward the ultimate goal. I still, to this day, remember my motivation. I still remember what it’s like to go to a UFC and have that dream in my head.”
So Brown will pick himself back up and begin the process of sharpening his skills. This time, though, he’ll try to avoid unnecessary damage.
After an illness scratched Ruslan Magomedov from UFC 204, Daniel Omielanczuk has agreed to step in as a replacement and fight Stefan Struve at UFC 204.
The news was confirmed to MMAjunkie by a person close to one of the fighters. The person requested anonymity because UFC officials haven’t formally announced the bout.
Magomedov (14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who’d won three straight in the UFC, was diagnosed with staph infection.
Sam Alvey will get yet another quick turnaround, and will be in a middleweight bout against Alex Nicholson. After losing a somewhat uneventful decision last June, Alvey picked up two stoppage wins in July and August. This will be his 4th bout in the span of 5 months.
The opening-round matchups are set for the RIZIN World Grand Prix 2016.
Six bouts have been announced for the single elimination, openweight tournament, which kicks off on Sept. 25 in Saitama, Japan.
Of biggest note is the return of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, the winner of the PRIDE 2006 open weight tourney. Filipovic (31-11-2) will meet fellow heavyweight Hyun Man Myung (3-2) of South Korea in Filipovic's first bout since 2014.
The remainder of the evening's tourney bouts:
LHW Theodorus Aukstuolis (Lithuania, 9-3) vs. HW Szymon Bajor (Poland, 15-6)
HW Amir Aliakbari (Iran/2-0) 2-0 vs. HW Joao Almeida (Brazil, 4-1)
Super HW Kaito "Baruto" Hoovelson (Estonia, 1-0) vs. HW Kazuyuki Fujita (Japan, 15-11)
LHW Karl Albrektsson (Sweden, 5-0) vs. LHW Valentin Moldavsky (Russia, 3-0)
LWH Jiri Prochazka (Czech, Republic, 17-3-1) vs. HW Mark Tanios (Lebanon, 4-1)
First-round fights are scheduled for two, five-minute rounds. If the bout is ruled a draw, there will be a winner-takes-all third round.
Things might get a little “Touchy” in Portland, with Andre Fili (15-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) stepping in to replace an injured Brian Ortega (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC).
Fili now faces Brazilian grappling standout Hacran Dias (23-4-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 96. Dias is currently ranked No. 14 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings.
The new booking was first announced by the Oregonian, and MMAjunkie subsequently confirmed the new contest with UFC officials. MMAjunkie first reported Ortega’s withdrawal.
UFC Fight Night 96 takes place Oct. 1 at Moda Center in Portland. The card will air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
With the change to the card, UFC Fight Night 96 now includes:
John Lineker vs. John Dodson
Will Brooks vs. Alex Oliveira
Sergio Pettis vs. Louis Smolka
Josh Burkman vs. opponent TBA
Joachim Christensen vs. Luis Henrique da Silva
Kelly Faszholz vs. Ketlen Vieira
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Walt Harris
Nate Marquardt vs. Tamdan McCrory
Hacran Dias vs. Andre Fili
Yushin Okami will be back competing in the states.
After two bouts in his native Japan, the UFC veteran will take on Paul Bradley at World Series of Fighting 34 on Nov. 12 in Loveland, Colo., the promotion announced Tuesday. Also added to the card was a heavyweight bout between Josh Copeland and Smealinho Rama.
The UFC returns to the Philippines on Oct. 15, and a local fighter is set to make his promotional debut. Riding a four-fight win streak, Jenel Lausa enters the Octagon for the first time against TUF China alum Yao Zhikui, sources told MMA Fighting.
One of the most exciting fighters in the welterweight division is back.
Jordan Mein is coming out of retirement, his father and coach Lee confirmed Tuesday with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani. MMA legend Bas Rutten mentioned the comeback on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Mein (29-10) is hoping to fight again in the UFC as early as next month, Lee said. The all-action fighter from Canada hung up the gloves at just 25 years old in August 2015.
"I am happy he is enjoying training and wants to fight again," his father said. "I feel he is one of the best out there.
"As long as he is having fun and feels healthy, I will support and help him any way I can."
UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson says he is unable to retire right now off of the money he has made in the UFC and is about to start chasing bigger paydays.
Over the last few months, one of the major points of discussion in the MMA community has been the onset of fighters, specifically champions, seeking "money fights." Conor McGregor made the phrase "red panty night" part of the MMA lexicon back in September and since then champions like Tyron Woodley, Dominick Cruz, and Eddie Alvarez have been angling for the highest profile fights possible, eschewing the more established contenders in their respective divisions.
One champion who has been absent from this shift though has been Demetrious Johnson. Johnson is one of the few fighters fans have been actively hoping would make a jump up in weight, having throttled the rest of the 125-pound division. But despite this, the flyweight kingpin has made no real overtures towards a superfight rematch with Dominick Cruz. That may be about to change soon though. Speaking with Submission Radio recently, Johnson discussed why he hasn't been aggressive in seeking bigger name fights and his thoughts on the recent trend of champions avoiding presumed challengers.
"Doesn't matter to me. My paycheck is exactly the same. I think you see a lot of guys who are starting to come out and say, 'no I'm not going to fight that guy, even though he's the number one contender because I want a better pay check,' and you're starting to see a lot of champions do it. I understand why they're doing it; because the UFC have made it a point - champions don't get paid the top dollars.
"And you've got a guy who can come out, who's never lost - I have nothing against GSP, but I like to keep it real - you have a guy that hasn't been active in three years and he's (probably going to make) way more money than any champion on the roster - probably same as Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz - but that's what the UFC has started to do.
"And you're starting to see a lot of people say, 'if I don't get this title shot, this is not a sport at all,' and I think we're starting to lose that mystique to where you have two of the best fighters in the world, going out to fight each other to become the champion. But now, everybody is like, 'I don't want to fight the number one contender, I want to fight the guy who everybody likes to watch fight, so that I get that big pay check.' Trust me, I'm about to jump in that boat too, but I will never turn down a fight and I'll just fight anybody."
On Saturday night, after almost two years of buildup, CM Punk finally made his walk to the Octagon to fight Mickey Gall. The walk lasted longer than the fight itself. When the opening bell sounded, Punk charged across the cage; Gall changed levels, took him down, and choked him out in just a touch over two minutes. It was a complete drubbing. Though Punk did successfully avoid one submission, he landed no significant strikes and absorbed a healthy number of them in return. And it looks like he may never get to land one.
Speaking with Fight Network's John Pollock after the event, UFC President Dana White said that the UFC "probably" won't have Punk fight again.