Jacare vs. Gastelum official for UFC 224

The UFC confirmed on Thursday that Jacare Souza will take on Kelvin Gastelum in Rio on May 12th. A pivotal fight in the middleweight division has been announced for UFC 224 on May 12th.
Following a report from Globo, UFC officials announced on Thursday that Ronaldo Souza will face Kelvin Gastelum in Rio.

No. 1 contender match?@JacareMMA meets @KelvinGastelum at #UFC224 in Rio! https://t.co/tUT6UQSO5k pic.twitter.com/ac7Y1dmuTM— UFC (@ufc) February 23, 2018

The fight with Gastelum will be a fairly quick return to the Octagon for Souza (25-5-1), as he last fought at UFC on FOX 27 in January, knocking out Derek Brunson in their rematch. Prior to this win, Jacare suffered his first stoppage loss in almost a decade to now champion Robert Whittaker.
It will hopefully be a more successful Rio booking for Gastelum (14-3) than last time around. He was pulled from a fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 212 last June after testing positive for marijuana metabolites in his March fight vs. Vitor Belfort. Since then, Gastelum has rebounded from a submission loss to Chris Weidman at UFC on FOX 25, by knocking out Michael Bisping in the first-round at UFC Shanghai in November.
UFC 224 takes place at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12th. The card will feature another middleweight clash, as Vitor Belfort fights for the final time in his MMA career against Lyoto Machida.
Source: bloody

Pietro Menga has a point to prove after Winnipeg weigh-in mishap 

Pietro Menga isn’t bitter about missing out on a UFC debut due to weight-cutting issues.

Tim Elliott refused to fight the Manchester native after he got down to 131 pounds for his short notice flyweight meeting with the former title contender at UFC on FOX 26.

Although his first chance with the promotion didn’t go swimmingly with the Brit being released shortly after the event, he still sees the UFC flyweight title as his main motivation.

“Everything happens for a reason and everything that’s happened has made me a much better fighter,” Menga told MMA Fighting.

“There were a lot of positives that I took from it. I think every fighter has moments in their career where they can either fold or just get on with it. That’s where I was, I was thinking about knocking it on the head (retiring) after what happened in Winnipeg.

“If I had done that, I would have been allowing that moment to define me, not making weight for whatever reason. I’m still chasing that UFC title, that incident has only given me more motivation.”

Menga wanted to show everyone that he could hit the flyweight limit and be victorious as soon as possible after what transpired in Winnipeg. When Celtic Gladiator 19 was booked in Manchester for Feb. 24, the idea of being able to compete and not committing to a multi-fight deal made perfect sense to the unbeaten flyweight.

“Pitbull” revealed that two Russian promotions have offered him deals since his jilted UFC debut, but he still believes that he has some unique selling points that will appeal to the world’s flagship promotion in the future.

“I don’t think there are any other fighters that are in the situation I’m in. I can run through that division,” said Menga.

“The problem with the flyweight division in the UFC is that nobody wants to watch it, but because I get finishes everybody took an interest; there were a lot of people that wanted to see me. I know I can bring eyes to the division.

“I’ve got to make weight, beat this guy and be a professional. It’s given me a point to prove and I always fight really well when I have a point to prove. Everybody knows what happened last time, so now it’s time to show everyone the real me.”

Six days out from the event, Menga already weighed 131 pounds – the same weight he got down to before he was told to stop cutting weight for Elliott.

“It’s going to be fun stepping on the scales this time, it won’t be a big cut at all,” he said. “Yesterday, I was the same weight I was when I was on the verge of collapsing. This time everything is ready to go, I’ve ticked all the boxes.”

Considering his opponent, Raymison Bruno (10-2) — who has never tasted defeat as a flyweight — Menga thinks it’s one of the best names he could’ve asked for outside the UFC.

“This is an undefeated flyweight against another undefeated flyweight. Outside of the UFC, you’re not going to get a better matchup than this in the division. I think I can make a big statement in this fight that will put every flyweight in the world on notice.

“The thing is, if I hit this guy on the chin I know he’s f*cked and there aren’t many flyweights that can say that.”

He hopes that a win on Saturday night will be enough to peak the interest of the UFC again, but if not, he says he is more than willing to prove himself again.

“I’ll fight again if I have to. I’ll fight in May if that’s what it takes. I’m hearing rumors that the UFC could be coming back to Manchester later on in the year for Michael Bisping’s retirement fight, and I’ve got a massive following over here, so that could work,” he said. “I know I’ll deliver. I’ll bring a crowd and unlike other flyweights, I go in there and I knock people out.”

Source: mmafighting

Report: UFC working on booking Barboza vs. Lee

A lightweight bout between Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee is being targeted for a springtime UFC event. The UFC is cooking up a very compelling lightweight fight for sometime between April and June.
Ariel Helwani reported on Thursday that Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee is close to being finalized. As for which event the fight will take place, that’s still an uncertainty. The options include UFC 224 in Rio (May 12th), UFC 225 in Chicago (June 9th), and UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City (April 21st). If it’s the Fight Night card, it would likely serve as the main event.
Barboza (19-5) was emphatically beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219, losing a lopsided decision in their December showdown. The defeat snapped his three-fight winning streak, which included decision wins over Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez, as well as a dramatic knee KO of Beneil Dariush.
Lee (16-3) fought for the interim lightweight title at UFC 216, succumbing to a third-round rear-naked choke vs. Tony Ferguson. “The Motown Phenom” had previously racked up five straight wins, with four straight by stoppage. His best win to date was a first-round rear-naked choke of Michael Chiesa last June, and that’s what earned him his interim title shot.
Currently, Barboza is #4 and Lee is #7 in the UFC’s official lightweight rankings. It certainly has potential to be an outstanding clash, should the fight materialize.
Source: bloody

Breakdown: HBO Superfly 2 preview & prediction

Take a look at HBO’s fantastic Saturday night triple-header – Superfly 2. This Saturday is a good day for boxing. We’ve already detailed the WBSS Super Middleweight semifinal pitting Callum Smith against Nieky Holzken (!) – here, we turn our attention to HBO. Saturday night they present Superfly 2, a stacked triple-header from the 115 pound Super Flyweight division. Superfly 2 airs live on HBO this Saturday, February 24 with a fight time of 9:30 p.m. ET. Bloody Elbow will have live coverage. Here are the fights:
SRISAKET SOR RUNGVISAI (44-4-1; 40 KOs) vs. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA (36-2; 25 KOs)
Srisaket is the #2 ranked WBC champion, while Estrada is ranked at #3, making this a key battle for the division. Only Naoya Inoue ranks above them – hopefully the winner here will see him across the ring next. Srisaket burst onto the international scene last year with his two fight series with Roman Gonzalez. In those fights, Srisaket proved to be the dominant force against the man many considered to be the sport’s #1 fighter. Srisaket scored a close decision win in the first fight, then cemented his status with a 4th round KO in the rematch. It’s hard to find a better pair of wins last year. Estrada meanwhile was seen by many as the next opponent for Gonzalez before Srisaket came along. Estrada is on a 10-0 run dating back to a 2012 loss to, yes, Gonzalez. He comes in off a great win over fellow top 5 fighter Carlos Cuadras. This is a great, close fight. What it will mainly tell us is what to make of Srisaket. Was he a bad match-up for Gonzalez and/or was Gonzalez faded? Or is he really as good as he looked in those fights. Estrada will test that in a terrific battle.
CARLOS CUADRAS (36-2-1; 27 KOs) vs. MCWILLIAMS ARROYO (16-3; 14 KOs)
Two years ago, Cuadras was an undefeated fighter with a strong resume that was only getting stronger. He held a win over Srisaket and seemed to be moving up. He’s now on a 1-2 streak, but that is a bit deceiving – the 2 losses were Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada. No shame in either of those. At the same time, Cuadras is ranked #4 in the division, and if he wants to maintain that ranking, he needs to get back in the win column here. Standing in his way is the unranked Arroyo, a solid Puerto Rican fighter who gave a good showing in his own 2016 loss to Gonzalez (in case you haven’t noticed by now, pretty much everyone in the division has a loss to Gonzalez). That fight was in April 2016 and he hasn’t fought since, which is a huge detriment here. I might consider him as a spoiler under better circumstances, but this is a brutal fight to come back to after 2 years away. Of note, Arroyo has fought primarily in Puerto Rico. There, he is a perfect 15-0. On the road, he’s just 1-3.
DONNIE NIETES (40-1-4; 22 KOs) vs. JUAN CARLOS REVECO (39-3; 19 KOs)
Opening the card is this interesting match-up that shifts the focus to the 112 pound Flyweight division. Nietes is a 15 year veteran of the sport and one of the top Filipino boxers of all time not named Manny Pacquiao. He’s moved up in weight over the years, capturing various world titles, and is undefeated since 2004. Currently, he holds the IBF Flyweight title, and is ranked #1 in the division by Ring Magazine. Challenging him here is Reveco, who is a 14 year veteran himself. Reveco is ranked at #3 in the division, though has not been quite as hot as Nietes lately; he went 1-2 in 2015 and has bounced back to go 3-0 since. Nietes is the definite favorite here, even though this is not a blowout.
Top to bottom it’s a stacked card that should deliver some terrific action. UFC is on Fox Saturday night so will end early – you’ll want to keep your night going by watching this one. Bloody Elbow will have live fight night coverage Saturday night.
Source: bloody

‘Jacare’ vs. Gastelum official for UFC 224

With no return date set for UFC champion Robert Whittaker, the rest of the middleweight division will continue to jockey for position in his absence.

On Thursday, officials announced that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Kelvin Gastelum will fight at UFC 224, which takes place at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro on May 12.

This will be Souza’s second booking of 2018. In January, he needed less than a round to defeat Derek Brunson by TKO in the main event of UFC on FOX 27. It was the second time that “Jacare” finished Brunson with strikes. The 38-year-old Brazilian owns an 8-2 UFC record, with his only losses coming at the hands of Whittaker and potential No. 1 contender Yoel Romero.

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Romero claimed that UFC president Dana White told him he is next in line for a shot at Whittaker’s title.

Gastelum, 26, is 4-1 with one no-contest competing at 185 pounds. The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner bounced back from a loss to Chris Weidman in spectacular fashion, knocking out former middleweight champion Michael Bisping in 2:30 to close out UFC Shanghai last November.

Also scheduled for the show is a middleweight matchup between Brazilian legends Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida.

See the updated UFC 224 card below:

Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Davi Ramos vs. Nick Hein

Alberto Mina vs. Ramazan Emeev

Alexey Oleynik vs. Junior Albini

Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson

Source: mmafighting

Jessica Andrade defends teammate Priscila Cachoeira after Shevchenko loss, says ‘Pedrita’ will silence critics

Jessica Andrade is one of the bets female strawweights in the world, but it was a long road until she got there. Another Parana Vale Tudo fighter has a chance to do the same now.

Andrade’s PRVT teammate Priscila Cachoeira was beat up by Valentina Shevchenko in her Octagon debut earlier this month at UFC Belem, and “Bate-Estaca” predicts that “Pedrita” will eventually climb her way to the top.

Andrade, who meets Tecia Torres in the co-main event of UFC Orlando on Feb. 24, discussed her friend’s recent loss at UFC Belem in an interview with MMA Fighting. Cachoeira was dominated and finished by Shevchenko in Brazil, and recently went under the knife to fix a knee injured sustained seconds into the bout.

”I was really upset that Priscila lost,” Andrade said. “It was a very tough fight for her to win, but I was sad with the way she lost. And she still got injured early in the fight, so she couldn’t show her training, her takedown defense and ground game. We knew what Valentina could do, and Priscila couldn’t do what she trained.”

Their head coach Gilliard Parana was criticized for not throwing in the towel to save her fighter from more unnecessary punishment. The UFC was also attacked for booking the match-up, and referee Mario Yamasaki for not stopping it earlier.

”It was sad to hear all the comments after the fight, that it was a mismatch, that Mario should have stopped it earlier,” Andrade said. “There was a moment where Mario could have stopped it, but I’m a fighter too and I wouldn’t like him to stop it. Every time he said something Priscila showed she was still in the fight. Valentina landed some clean elbows to her face and didn’t knock her out.”

Maybe Andrade would want a referee to give her a chance like Yamasaki did to Cachoeira, but she agrees that it became hard to watch.

”I felt bad watching her in that situation and not being able to do anything, but I know how it is to debut in the UFC and sometimes not remembering how to do something,” she said. “She got injured so early in the fight that it was hard to do anything. She told me ‘sister, I couldn’t get back up because my knee wouldn’t respond and started to hurt bad, so I tried to hold Valentina and hope that the referee would stand us back up.”’

Andrade is confident that “Pedrita””get better and come back to put on a show and show the world who she really is,” and her confidence comes from knowing how it feels like to face such a high-level opponent in your UFC debut and get finished.

“Bate-Estaca” signed with the UFC in 2013 after racking up a 9-2 record in Brazil and Russia, and fought Liz Carmouche in a bantamweight contest. Carmouche was coming off a fight with MMA superstar Ronda Rousey, and was a huge favorite to win at UFC on FOX 8.

”I saw my story all over again with her,” Andrade said of Cachoeira. “It was my chance to sign with the UFC, and I went there to do my best. I was fighting one of the best in the division, who had just fought for the belt and almost submitted Ronda, like Valentina did to Amanda (Nunes) — and I think she beat Amanda. And no one talks about that Liz Carmouche fight anymore.

”I believe that Priscila will be back, put on great fights, and people will swallow everything they said,” she added. “They will say ‘well, it was her debut and she got injured.’ She will still do a great job in the UFC.”

Source: mmafighting

Yoel Romero hoping for rematch with Robert Whittaker in July

Yoel Romero says he will definitely be fighting Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title in his next bout. According to top contender Yoel Romero, the UFC has confirmed that he will be the first challenger to face Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title, and ‘Soldier of God’ expects the rematch to take place during international fight week in July.
“I don’t have an idea (of when),” Romero told host Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “Maybe July? I don’t know when. I hear he’s sick, he’s feeling no good, he’s feeling very bad. I pray for him. I’m waiting. I’m waiting for him.”
Whittaker, who was crowned official middleweight champion after Georges St-Pierre relinquished the title last year, was originally set to defend his belt against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. However, ‘The Reaper’ was forced to pull out due to injury and Romero stepped in as his replacement.
The Cuban-born talent went on to KO Rockhold in the third round, dropping the former champ with a monster overhand left and finishing him with a follow-up uppercut. Despite securing yet another highlight reel knockout, Romero was seen limping from the Octagon and feared he had suffered a broken leg.
It was confirmed later, however, that Romero’s injury stemmed from a deep bruise to his right shin.
“Thank you God, (the leg is) good,” Romero told Helwani.
Romero, who turns 41 in April, originally dropped a unanimous decision to Whittaker in a competitive five-round interim title bout last year, and hopes the rematch will take place in Miami, where there is a thriving Cuban community.
“Cuba will [go] crazy, Miami will [go] crazy,” he said. “Many people in the world will be so happy, it’ll [be] crazy, believe me.
“I’m very excited, I’m very happy.”
Expect the UFC to formally announce the championship rematch between Romero and Whittaker in the coming weeks.
Source: bloody

Stephens vs Emmett preview, and Fight Pass fuming (Heavy Hands #199)

Connor Ruebusch and Patrick Wyman preview the upcoming UFC on Fox card, look back at the action in Austin, and yell at their computers. This week, on Heavy Hands, your hosts cover a number of topics, including:

Screaming at Fight Pass

Jeremy Stephens’ fluidity in contrast to Josh Emmett

Jessica Andrade’s unstoppable killer instinct
Swearing at Fight Pass

Donald Cerrone’s quality preparation for Yancy Medeiros

Stabbing the computer monitor with a knife

James Vick’s steadily improving boxing

And more! Including a couple of top-notch questions from our listeners.
To download this episode directly, right-click and save this link.
You can also find Heavy Hands on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher, where you can subscribe and check out all our past episodes.
And if your appetite for spicy fight analysis and banter just can’t be sated, you would do well to check out the Heavy Hands Patreon, where $3 a month gets you access to all of our delicious bonus content. If you’d like a preview first, you can check out a teaser of our 2017 awards show, here, and you can also listen to episode one of The Underdogs in its entirety, for free, right here.
Source: bloody

Edgar’s manager, coach go off on ‘prostitute’ McGregor’s latest comments

Frankie Edgar’s team have flipped out about Conor McGregor’s latest comments.

On Thursday, McGregor wrote on Instagram that he offered to fight Edgar on short notice at UFC 222 on March 3 when Max Holloway withdrew from the scheduled featherweight title fight. McGregor is the former featherweight champion and never lost the belt inside the cage. The UFC stripped him after he didn’t defend it and won the lightweight title.

Edgar’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz blasted McGregor and the remarks on TMZ shortly later, saying McGregor had the chance to fight Edgar multiple times and didn’t take it. Abdel-Aziz said McGregor could have fought Edgar at UFC 189 in 2015 after Jose Aldo pulled out, but chose Chad Mendes instead.

“Let me tell you about Conor McGregor,” Abdel-Aziz said. “He’s like a prostitute, used to make high-dollar money, but she got old and nobody wanted her anymore. This f*cking guy. For three years, he did everything he can not to fight Frankie Edgar.

“He had so many opportunities. Now he wants to fight Frankie? That’s funny.”

Mark Henry, Edgar’s striking coach, also blasted McGregor in an Instagram post, acknowledging the “The Notorious” as a great fighter, but basically telling him to keep Edgar’s name out of his mouth, because of the class individual and fighter Edgar has been for years. Henry said Abdel-Aziz asked about fighting McGregor when Holloway went down, but the UFC said it wouldn’t be possible.

“You will NEVER EVER have the heart of Frankie or integrity,” Henry said. “It’s soo soo simple if your dog crap post is true fight Frankie next. Weather it be mma or boxing. ( And I promise you he won’t hammer fist on top your head he knows the rules). But YOU WON’T!”

When you bring up @frankieedgar name that’s the perfect picture for you @thenotoriousmma. You ducked him 3 times in the past, FE and his manager @aliabdelaziz000 asked for Conors name specifically when Max went down ( but we knew you only take stylistically what is a good match for you and you ducked him 3x already) it’s bad enough of crappy posts putting people down when you have never defended a title cut lines to titles and 90 % of the time fight people in your comfort zone. I agree Connor is an AMAZING AMAZING fighter and has transcended the game with his accent, personality, wit, incredible fighting style and power ( which beat a great and one of my own guys) intelligence and don’t forget trashing people some of the BEST standup I’ve ever seen in mma and I really thought had a chance first 2 rds to bear mayweather. But to constantly sit on the sideline and talk about a man who always wants to fight and always and only the BEST guys, a man the UFC always trys to side track FE weather Mendes ( they were trying to protect you) or Yair or another young killer. A fighter who should be at 35 but fights his whole career heavier and doesn’t cry about someone being bigger like you constantly did with a 55er. A fighter who doesn’t make excuses when he losses like size or cheesecake he just takes it like a man and gives credit when is due. A fighter who even though gives up height range weight his entire career has never quit or been stopped. Last time I checked that’s 4 for you now buddy. You will NEVER EVER have the heart of Frankie or integrity. It’s soo soo simple if your dog crap post is true fight Frankie next. Weather it be mma or boxing. ( And I promise you he won’t hammer fist on top your head he knows the rules). But YOU WON’T! @thenotoriousmma with @get_repost ・・・ I am fighting again. Period. I am the best at this. I put my name forward to step in at UFC 222 to face Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out, but I was told there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need. I was excited about bouncing in last minute and taking out the final featherweight, without all the rest of the stuff that comes with this game. Please respe

A post shared by Mark Henry (@mark_henry7) on Feb 22, 2018 at 1:08pm PST

Edgar, the former lightweight champion, will now face Brian Ortega in the co-main event of UFC 222. Abdel-Aziz proposed to McGregor to fight Edgar at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago.

“I don’t care if Frankie is 50 years old,” Abdel-Aziz said. “Frankie could be 50 years old and beat the shit out of him and the whole entire nation of Ireland. He’d beat everyone in Ireland hands down.

“He can’t beat Frankie. He can wait until Frankie is 60 — Frankie would still beat his ass.”

Source: mmafighting

Marc Diakiese on Sage Northcutt: ‘He’s probably asking Mr. Faber if he should take the fight’ 

Marc Diakiese wants a lightweight showdown with Sage Northcutt at international fight week.

“The Bonecrusher” has been petitioning for a fight with “Super Sage” following the 21-year-old’s controversial victory over Thibault Gouti at UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin last weekend.

Although Diakiese agreed with a lot of people who thought Gouti did enough to win the fight, he thinks that a matchup between him and Northcutt makes a lot of sense.

“I think it would be a good fight,” said Diakiese.

“He’s on a two-fight win streak, and I’m on a two-fight losing streak. To be honest, I watched his fight in Austin, and I thought he lost.

“I feel the fight makes sense. He’s 10-2 and I’m 12-2. If he beats me, it will really put him out there. I bring a lot of attention to fights and so does he. He likes to stand up and so do I, so I think the UFC will like the idea and I know the fans will really like it too.”

Diakiese thinks that Northcutt is currently making inquiries to Team Alpha Male founder, Urijah Faber, about a potential matchup with him. He might not be able to speak for how Northcutt feels about them being pitted against each other, but he thinks he can gain a lot from a win over the popular karateka.

“I think right now he’s probably asking Mr. Faber if he should take the fight [laughs],” he said.

“To be honest, I don’t know he feels about it, but I want to take what’s mine. I know I can gain a lot from fighting him, and I think he can gain a lot from fighting me too.

“He’s probably asking Mr. Faber if it’s the guy with the red mohawk that’s calling him out. I think he gets confused an awful lot, so he probably thinks that it’s really cool that I’m calling him out.”

Some question if Northcutt’s skillset is strong enough to justify a spot on the UFC’s roster, but Diakiese believes his ability to win in the Octagon proves he belongs in the big leagues.

“If you’re winning fights in the UFC, it means you’re good enough. I think he’s got great potential, and if he can stay focused, I think he will do very well. I think that I’m in a similar situation to him, so that’s another reason why the fight makes sense,” he said.

Considering the matchup, Diakiese said he was surprised to hear that Northcutt comes from a striking background because he doesn’t appear to be comfortable with taking shots.

“From watching him, it looks like he doesn’t like to get hit. I’m actually surprised to hear that he’s from a karate background, because he looks scared to get hit to me sometimes. I’m a guy who has shown some holes in my game and so has he. He’ll try and capitalize on my weaknesses and I’ll try to capitalize on his.”

Finally, the British prospect outlined why he thinks it would make perfect sense for the fight to be featured on the UFC 226 card, which is scheduled to be headlined by the heavyweight championship bout between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

“It’s going to be a big card anyway, that main event is huge. With big events like that they always have fights that get the fans talking and I definitely think me and Sage would be that kind of fight. I think it would go over really well.”

Source: mmafighting