Jesse Taylor flagged for USADA violation, bout vs. Belal Muhammad removed from UFC Sydney

Jesse Taylor’s UFC return has hit a snag.

On Wednesday, the USADA announced that the Ultimate Fighter 25 winner Jesse Taylor has been flagged for an Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample taken on Aug. 22, two months after a submission win over Dhiego Lima at The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale earned him a new contract with the UFC.

Taylor’s upcoming bout with Belal Muhammad at UFC Sydney on Nov. 18 has been removed from that card and the promotion is currently looking for a replacement to fight Muhammad.

The 34-year-old Taylor emerged as one of the more intriguing stories on the 25th season of The Ultimate Fighter, having been close to winning a previous season of the show back in 2008 before behavioral issues forced officials to disqualify him from participating in the TUF 7 tournament final. He would fight once in the UFC before going on a nine-year journey that culminated in him getting a second chance with the long-running reality program and finally winning that elusive TUF title on July 7.

Source: mmafighting

GGG vs. Canelo live stream: Final pre-fight press conference video

Watch the final pre-fight press conference for Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin on Wednesday, September 13th at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT.
We’re just three days away from Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), a titanic clash between two of boxing’s best and most exciting fighters. Add in the fact that this fight is happening on Mexican Independence Day, and you’re guaranteed to have one hell of an atmosphere for this middleweight championship showdown.
Before they step into the ring on Saturday, you can watch them answer media questions in the final pre-fight press conference. Just click on the video at the top of the page, beginning at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez will take place on September 16th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and air live on HBO pay-per-view. Please note that there will be a special start time of 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, so that means the main event should be underway in the range of 10:30-11 PM ET.

Source: bloody

Thiago Alves out of UFC Pittsburgh fight with Mike Perry

Mike Perry needs a new opponent for UFC Pittsburgh.

The rising welterweight was scheduled to meet longtime UFC veteran Thiago Alves in the co-main event of Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 116, but the Brazilian is out of the bout for undisclosed reasons.

MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani confirmed the news following a report by MMA Junkie.

Alves vs. Perry was originally scheduled for Aug. 16, but it was later moved to Sept. 16 after the UFC 215 pay-per-view event was cancelled when Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor was booked for the following weekend.

Perry (10-1) is coming off a vicious second-round knockout victory over Jake Ellenberger last April.

UFC Pittsburgh features the return of former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold versus David Branch in the main event.

Source: mmafighting

California Athletic Commission overturns Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier to ‘No Contest’

The UFC 214 light heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier won’t go down as a win for ‘Bones’ after all. With the recent news that Jon Jones’ B-sample from his UFC 214 drug test failure has come back positive for Turinabol as well, the rest of the regulatory dominos appear to be falling. MMA Fighting reports that the California State Athletic Commission has overturned Jones’ KO win over Daniel Cormier, for the light heavyweight title, to a ‘No Contest.’
That decision will likely eventually result in the UFC stripping Jones of his title, as the win was directly responsible for him gaining the belt. Whether or not it also means that the belt goes back to Daniel Cormier remains to be seen. It’s conceivable that the UFC may chose to simply vacate the title and have Cormier fight a new top contender to regain the belt.
Jones’ B-sample coming back positive is also almost certain to result in some sort of suspension, the length of which will likely be agreed upon via an arbitration process, similar to the one Jones went through for his UFC 200 drug test failure. Jones ended up with a 1-year suspension from that process, after testing positive for clomiphene, the result of ingesting tainted Cialis (a sexual enhancement drug).
Despite the potentially accidental nature of Jones’ PED use last time around, ‘Bones’ found mercy from USADA’s arbiters hard to come by. This being his second doping offense, it seems likely that his punishment will be that much more severe.
Source: bloody

Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 overturned to no-contest

Jon Jones no longer has a win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.

The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) overturned the result of the July 29 fight Wednesday to a no-contest, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster told MMA Fighting. The decision comes one day after the B sample from Jones’ failed drug test came back confirming that he had a steroid, Turinabol, in his system in-competition.

Jones won the UFC light heavyweight title by beating Cormier and now he no longer has that victory. But the UFC controls its title belts and the promotion has been on record saying it won’t strip the title until the completion of the adjudication process done by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner.

If the belt does get stripped, it’s still unclear on whether Cormier gets it back or it becomes vacant.

A message left for comment to a UFC spokesperson was not answered immediately Wednesday.

Jones tested positive for Turinabol in an in-competition test taken after weigh-ins July 28. He beat Cormier a day later by third-round TKO, but that will now no longer appear on either man’s official record.

Jones’ team has denied that Jones took any prohibited substance intentionally, saying he must have taken a tainted supplement and that he would not ingest a steroid knowingly. Jones himself has not spoken publicly about the matter.

Last year, Jones tested positive for two banned substances, Letrozol and clomiphene, and was pulled out of a title fight with Cormier at UFC 200 three days prior to the event. Jones was suspended one year for the infraction.

Being that he is now a repeat offender, Jones is facing an even lengthier ban—up to four years by USADA. CSAC also has jurisdiction over the case, because the fight took place in Anaheim, Calif.

Source: mmafighting

Gunnar Nelson’s appeal to have Ponzinibbio loss overturned to no contest rejected by UFC

The UFC has rejected Gunnar Nelson’s appeal to have his UFC Fight Night 113 loss overturned to a no contest. UFC welterweight talent Gunnar Nelson suffered the worst loss of his career at UFC Fight Night 113, losing via first-round knock out to the No. 9 ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Ponzinibbio, 30, crumpled Nelson with a right straight and a left jab but landed a series of blatant eye pokes in the lead-up to the KO.
Nelson’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh, wasn’t happy about it and the team filed a complaint to the UFC in hopes of having the loss overturned to a no contest.
According to Nelson’s management team Paradigm Sports, however, the UFC has rejected ‘Gunni’s’ appeal and will not be looking into the issue any further.
“We are disappointed with the UFC’s recent ruling to uphold the result of the July 16, 2017 bout between our client, Gunnar Nelson, and Santiago Ponzinibbio,” Paradigm Sports posted in a statement on their Facebook page, with several images of the eye pokes. “While we understand the outcome of a fight is difficult to overturn, we maintain that the blatant eye pokes were a major factor in the stoppage and the final eye poke was certainly a fight-ending foul, because Gunnar had no opportunity to signal the referee.
“A more stringent application of the Unified Rules of MMA should have been applied here to rule this fight a no-contest. We stand behind Gunnar and Team Nelson, and we hope this unfortunate situation will lead to more careful application of the rules regarding eye pokes, as fairness and fighter safety must always be a priority.”
It marked the first stoppage loss of Nelson’s career, and the Icelandic-born fighter revealed in the post-fight press conference that he was ‘seeing two Ponzimibbio’s’ in the Octagon.
The SBG Ireland product dropped to #11 in the welterweight rankings and will look to spring back into the winner’s column in his next bout.

Source: bloody

Ronda Rousey angle doesn’t happen at WWE’s Mae Young Classic after all

It was expected that Ronda Rousey would play a major part in the immediate aftermath of the WWE’s Mae Young Classic, but that didn’t come to pass. Ronda Rousey’s expected splash into WWE storylines along with her version of The Four Horsewomen didn’t happen. Yet, at least.
Rousey was in attendance for the finale of last night’s Mae Young Classic which featured her friend and former UFC fighter Shayna Baszler, but despite doing a red carpet entrance and being the focus of a lot of the camera work during the match, nothing happened afterward with Ronda.
The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion was ringside for Baszler’s match against Japanese sensation Kairi Sane along with fellow Horsewomen Jessamyn Duke. Marina Shafir was not in attendance. After a very good match, Baszler was finished off with a flying elbow and pinned by Sane.
It was expected that Rousey’s version of the Horsewomen would then start an angle with the WWE version of The Four Horsewomen, which consists of Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks. They had set this up with a showdown in the crowd during the tapings for early tournament matches, and a filmed vignette with both groups facing off (minus Sasha). But they decided not to further the disagreements between them at the finals for whatever reason.
It’s still possible that they could do it later, but it would be interesting to see exactly where that would be. Sane got an NXT title shot with the tournament win, and it is expected that Baszler will be signed to NXT as well. But that only airs on the WWE Network. They could use Baszler on Raw (where Bayley and Banks work) or Smackdown (where Lynch and Charlotte are) to maximize exposure since they both air on major cable TV outlets, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
Source: bloody

Fortunes changed for five at UFC 215

There were three fighters who came out of UFC 215 in a position to get championship fights next, although in all three cases, the odds are probably not in their favor.

Valentina Shevchenko lost a close split decision to women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in a fight that could have gone either way.

Henry Cejudo, a former title contender at flyweight, scored the most impressive win of his career with an early second-round stoppage win over another former title contender in Wilson Reis.

Rafael dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion, moved up to welterweight and scored a convincing one-sided win via first-round submission over Neil Magny. Magny had come into the fight ranked No. 6 in the division.

But the reality is that all three are probably not getting a title shot in their next fight.

For Shevchenko, even though a lot of people thought she won, there really wasn’t a lot of negative reaction to the decision. Most seemed to see it as it was, a close fight that could have gone either way. And being neither an exciting fight for spectators, nor a big drawing fight, isn’t going to likely make the UFC go out of its way to run it back.

Cejudo controlled the stand-up game against Reis, but he had lost twice in a row coming into the fight, against the two men who have been top two in the division since its launch, champion Demetrious Johnson and No. 1 contender Joseph Benavidez.

The Benavidez example, having dropped two fights to the champion has kept him from getting a title fight, although there is a big difference. Benavidez lost a clear-cut decision and was then knocked out by Johnson, while Shevchenko’s losses were via more competitive decisions. Benavidez gave no indication in his two fights that he could beat Johnson, while Shevchenko’s performance in both fights showed she and champion Amanda Nunes are very closely-matched.

Cejudo also has a prior loss, a first-round stoppage, to Johnson. Still, Johnson vs. Cejudo is likely a more competitive fight than Johnson vs. Borg, who was put in the title shot position because he and Sergio Pettis were the two best guys in the division that Johnson hadn’t faced.

There is also a timing issue as Cejudo just fought, while Johnson, with his fight with Borg falling through, is likely looking at fighting right away.

For dos Anjos, the reality is champion Tyron Woodley suffered a torn labrum, so he’s likely to have at least one fight before Woodley can return.

Let’s look at how Fortunes changed for five stars of the show.

AMANDA NUNES – Back in 2008, when Manny Pacquiao defeated Oscar de la Hoya, it was one of those moments that happen fairly regularly where people declare boxing dead on a mainstream basis. de la Hoya was the biggest draw in the sport, and it was clear in that fight that time had passed him by as a fighter. He simply didn’t have the reflexes to keep the pace with his smaller opponent.

After the fight, Bob Arum said, as all longtime promoters say when a top drawing card is done, that it doesn’t matter. With Pacquiao winning, all the de la Hoya fans will become Pacquiao fans, and he’ll start putting the big numbers on the board.

It sounds wonderful in theory, and not only that, Pacquiao’s win gave him huge mainstream exposure and his drawing power increased tremendously, and he for years, was one of the key people keeping boxing strong past its hardcore fanbase.

But in real life, if that theory was correct, Nunes (15-4) would be a huge star based on first-round wins over Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey in her last two fights. But unlike Holm, who did pick up a lot of popularity for beating Rousey, but she was hurt by three straight losses. Meanwhile, Nunes vs. Shevchenko may have done the lowest pay-per-view number this year.

As far as who is next, there are really only three viable choices, Holm (11-3), Shevchenko (14-3) and Raquel Pennington (9-5). With the UFC seemingly wanting Holm to face Cris Cyborg for the featherweight title, that leaves Pennington, a winner of four in a row, as the most likely next opponent.

VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO – A name who could have faced Nunes next was Sara McMann, but she was submitted by Ketlen Vieira (9-0) on Saturday. A Shevchenko vs. Vieira fight makes sense, because whoever wins should be able to get the following bantamweight title shot.

HENRY CEJUDO – The former Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist put on a striking clinic in taking out Reis.

Provided nothing changes and Johnson faces Borg next in going for the title defense record, Cejudo (11-2) should face Sergio Pettis (16-2) in a bout for the top contendership. Cejudo vs. Joseph Benavidez (25-4) is also viable, as Benavidez won that on a split decision. But putting Benavidez against Cejudo again should only happen if the UFC is willing to match either winner with Johnson on the follow-up.

RAFAEL DOS ANJOS – With Tyron Woodley out of action, dos Anjos should face Robbie Lawler (28-11) next in a match to determine who gets Woodley in his return. The other viable opponent looks to be Jorge Masvidal (32-12), but a win over Masvidal wouldn’t make him a sure thing for a title shot. A win over Lawler should make him the top contender unless Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor or Georges St-Pierre want a shot at Woodley.

JEREMY STEPHENS – Stephens (26-14) has gone back-and-forth over the last few years with strong wins over the likes of Renan Barao, Dennis Bermudez and Gilbert Melendez, but has losses to Renato Moicano, featherweight top contender Frankie Edgar and current champion Max Holloway.

From an excitement standpoint, the fight that seems to have the best chance of being exciting is with Brian Ortega (12-0).

Source: mmafighting

Pedro Munhoz vs. Rob Font added to UFC Sao Paulo

Rising bantamweights Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font will collide at the UFC Sao Paulo event on Oct. 28, the promotion announced Wednesday.

Munhoz (14-2, 1 no-contest), victorious in only won one of his first four UFC bouts, now looks to score his fourth straight victory in the promotion after finishing Russell Doane and Justin Scoggins in 2016 and winning a decision over Damian Stasiak last May.

Font (14-2), who suffered his only defeat inside the Octagon competing in Brazil against John Lineker, bounced back with stoppages over Matt Schnell and Douglas Andrade in his most recent appearances.

UFC Fight Night 119 takes place at the Ibirapuera gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and features Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida in the main event.

Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida
Demian Maia vs. Colby Covington
Thiago Santos vs. Jack Hermansson
Pedro Munhoz vs. Rob Font
Christian Colombo vs. Carlos Felipe
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Jack Marshman
Augusto Mendes vs. Boston Salmon
Jarred Brooks vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

Source: mmafighting

Diggin’ Deep on UFC Pittsburgh: Rockhold vs. Branch – Saggo vs. Burns preview

Get the inside scoop on the lone contest on Fight Pass for UFC Pittsburgh this weekend, featuring lightweights Jason Saggo and Gilbert Burns. Typically, when there is a single contest on the Fight Pass prelims, injuries have hit the card in some form and the UFC was unable to find suitable replacements in time. In a bit of an oddity, that wasn’t the case this time around. The lone fighter forced off the card by injury was promptly replaced. For some reason, the UFC only booked eleven fights for the card. It seems the UFC had trouble finding fighters willing to fight in Pittsburgh, though for what reason I can’t state. Maybe it was timing. Maybe some fighters wanted a trip to Japan… hard to say. Whatever the reason, there is only one contest on Fight Pass. Though they aren’t big names, Jason Saggo and Gilbert Burns should put on a good scrap.
The lone contest on Fight Pass begins at 7:30 PM ET/4:30 PM PT on Saturday.
Jason Saggo (12-3) vs. Gilbert Burns (11-2), Lightweight
Burns was very hyped upon his entry into the UFC. Disappointing losses in two of his last three contests have cooled the expectations to where he is largely an afterthought now. Then again, injury forcing him to have a delay of a year between contests doesn’t help keep anybody in the public eye either….
Perhaps the time away will do Burns some good. He’s never shown the strongest mental physique, perhaps due to the expectations placed upon him. Able to get out of the limelight and train and fight without public expectation, could we see the best Burns yet? Given that he is likely entering his fighting prime at 31, it wouldn’t be a surprise. The highly decorated BJJ expert has made a smooth transition into MMA from his competitive grappling days, securing armbars in his last three victories. He shows good form in both his wrestling and striking, but hasn’t been able to fit the pieces together in a cohesive unit within either field.
Whereas it would be accurate to say Burns is less than the sum of his parts, Saggo is the opposite… at least at first glance. Saggo is a better athlete than most give him credit for with an underappreciated grappling game. Sure, he lacks power in his striking and strength in his wrestling, but he has found ways to make up for those deficiencies. On the feet, Saggo has adapted by relying heavily on low kicks and taking improved angles. His wrestling is more enthusiastic than anything else, but his ability to scramble helps him to get the top position when that’s ultimately his goal. From there, Saggo has displayed ground-and-pound that belies his weak punching power on the feet to compliment his deep bag of chokes.
A fun fact is that neither fighter has ever been finished in their UFC careers. There have been some tough bastards on their list of opponents too with Paul Felder and Alex Oliveira amongst the names on the list. Perhaps it would be foolish of me to expect a finish given that, but I have a gut feeling we’re going to see the best Burns yet. Gut feelings aren’t smart things to go by, but it is fact to state Saggo has yet to face someone as slick on the ground as Burns. Burns via submission of RD1

Source: bloody