Earn it? Luke Rockhold tells Dana White to ‘think before you run your mouth’

UFC boss Dana White addressed former champion Luke Rockhold’s frustrations, and Rockhold isn’t happy with the response. It’s no secret that the top of the middleweight division has been logjammed for some time. After Michael Bisping dethroned Luke Rockhold last June at UFC 199, Bisping has gone on to face Dan Henderson in his retirement bout and seemed poised to take on former welterweight demigod Georges St-Pierre.
Considering the queue of fighters in that weight class, this news did not sit well with the fighters that were aiming at getting a crack at Bisping. Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza in particular were seen as far more deserving, causing fan uproar regarding the matchup. Jacaré would eventually lose to Robert Whittaker at UFC on Fox 24, complicating things by undeniably setting Whittaker among the division’s elite.
Some fans rejoiced when the Bisping/GSP bout was called off by UFC president Dana White, who then said Yoel Romero would fight Bisping instead, eliminating a lot of the tension and mess.
Yet the man that was perhaps most vocal and whose words had a greater impact was former champion Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold’s most recent appearance on the MMA Hour had him going in hard on UFC management for skipping other middleweights over. Rockhold also made the case for other middleweights to sit out, as well as lobbying for a title shot of his own. It’s worth noting that his comments were before Bisping/GSP was shelved, but he definitely made some worthwhile points as to how title shots were awarded.
Valid as the points may be, the man that runs the show was none too pleased. After UFC 211 this past weekend, White shared his thoughts with the team at FOX Sports (courtesy of Damon Martin).

“There’s a lot of guys talking about ‘deserve’ — nobody deserves anything. You’ve got to earn it here. You’ve got [Luke] Rockhold screaming right now ‘I deserve this’. You just got knocked out in the first round. You’ve got to come back and earn it,” White told FOX Sports at the UFC 211 post fight press conference.
“The guy just got knocked out in the first round by Michael Bisping and he thinks he deserves this and he deserves that. You earn it. You want to come back and you want to fight for the title? Get back in here and earn it. That’s it.”

It should be noted that Rockhold has not fought since his loss against Bisping, and White placed further emphasis on the point that Luke won’t be getting another shot at the belt without rebounding with at least one win. He also dismissed what he believed to be a sense of entitlement from Rockhold.
“Nobody here deserves anything. You earn it,” White said. “You want the next shot at the title. You come out and you earn it. Just because you’re ranked No. 2, 3, 1, or whatever, things don’t line up that way all the time.”
Rockhold was none too pleased with Dana’s response. On Tuesday, he hit back at Dana on Twitter, citing GSP getting an immediate title shot in a weight class he’s never competed in before.

@danawhite I never said I deserved a title shot. I said we (middleweights) deserve clarity. We deserve something to fight for.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017

@danawhite “You have to earn your way in this company”? Tell me how did GSP earn a middleweight title shot? Think before you run your mouth— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 16, 2017

While Rockhold doesn’t have a fight booked, he is targeting a return in July, and he called out fellow contender Gegard Mousasi in a recent Instagram video.
Source: bloody

Henry Cejudo explains hand injury that forced him out of UFC 211, says making weight was not an issue

For as good as UFC 211 played out on Saturday night, it could have been that much better had Henry Cejudo not been forced to withdraw from competing just days beforehand.

Cejudo, who scheduled to face Sergio Pettis in a flyweight bout on the main card in Dallas, withdrew with a hand injury that he suffered a couple of weeks earlier in training. The bout was replaced with the David BranchKrzysztof Jotko bout.

On Monday, the Olympic gold medalist explained what exactly happened while making a guest appearance on The MMA Hour.

“What happened was, I had thought about just getting a cortisone shot on the area where it was hurting and I went to go see the doctor,” he said. “I had hurt my hand two weeks [before], I had hit the top of one of my training partner’s head. And it just completely hurt my hand, all those eight metacarpal bones that are kind of in that area, just blew everything out. It got to the point where I was having a hard time opening doors or driving, you know little things like that. But I thought at the same time that my hand was getting better. I did PRP on it, I was doing rehab. I was putting it on ice. I thought it was getting better.”

Cejudo said that the pain in his hand was subsiding enough initially to make him believe he could go through with the bout. But once in Dallas, he realized it simply wasn’t.

“I was like, alright, by the time fight time comes, we just have to hopefully kind of let the adrenaline takes over,” he said. “Well, Monday night I wrap my hands professionally, just being cautious, and just started hitting pads and I just couldn’t throw the hand no more. It was probably the first or second punch I threw, I just knew it wasn’t 100 percent no more. I knew it was messed up and hurt because I would jog with my wraps on and I could feel my hand kind of separate from my wrist. I just kept hearing a bunch of little…just kind of the separation of little cracks in my joint, especially in my right hand. I just knew it wasn’t right.”

The 30-year-old Cejudo, who last fought against Joseph Benavidez at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale in December — in which he came out on the short end of a split decision — said he was hoping to rely on his strengths in his battle with Pettis, but knew he would still be majorly limited.

“I was planning on using my wrestling and obviously boxing, but if I can’t throw my right hand — even if I take somebody down — what damage am I going to do on top?

“I was going to say let’s man up, let’s do it, and just fight. It just got to the point where when I woke up the next day, I was opening the toothpaste cap, and even that was hurting my hand. And I’m just like, man, if it opens to open the toothpaste bottle. And finally I said, you know what, let’s just get a cortisone shot, man, let’s just get this over with.”

Cejudo said that the doctor did a second X-ray to determine the extent of the damage, and it was then that he realized he would be gambling with his career.

“And that’s when he showed me the separation of my hand, how I really jammed my bones pretty hard,” he said. “I don’t even know the whole terminology thing, but the doctor’s the one that said, you can fight, you may not feel anything, but I think if you fight and you hit hard a couple of times, your hand might can be permanently damaged, and you might need surgery after a fight like that.”

Cejudo said that he would have an MRI in the next couple of days, and he would know more about the timetable for recovery. He did speculate that he could be out six to eight weeks, given what he knows of the injury, but that he would love to return for UFC 214 on July 29. Once back, he said he hopes the UFC will consider booking him once more against Pettis, as he was excited for that match-up.


“I just knew it was such a good card that I wanted to fight, and I knew Sergio Pettis is just a good match-up for me,” he said. “I had some new tricks under my sleeve. I worked with Cael Sanderson, working on my grind positions and top control. So just adding a lot of tools to my arsenal and I wanted to demonstrate that to these people.”

As for the speculation that his cancellation had more to do with another bad weight cut than the hand injury, Cejudo said that wasn’t the case.

“Everything was good,” he said. “I’d never had such a good camp, and my weight was good. I showed up to the UFC 10 pounds over, waking up at 133. Stuff that I normally don’t even get down to. I think my body’s just used to making weight, but when your hand, when it hurts to open up a doorknob and things like that…you know, the doctors just said, hey man, this is the deal — you can fight, you can do it, but just think of the aftermath. He was like, if you were my kid I’d tell you not to, but I know you’re a competitor.”

Source: mmafighting

Hindsight – UFC 211: Miocic vs. dos Santos in retrospect

Pull out your microscopes as Dayne Fox takes a deep look at everything from UFC 211, from the Gadzhimurad Antigulov’s opening submission to Stipe Miocic’s closing knockout to hold on to his belt. If we decide to ignore what the buy-rate will be like for UFC 211, it was clearly the biggest success the UFC has had on PPV for 2017. Both title fights delivered with Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jedrzejczyk successfully defending their belts in entertaining fashion. Demian Maia finally earned his title shot. Frankie Edgar reminded us how great he is. And we almost had two FOTY contenders only for the way Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier ended to ruin one of them. At least we got a clean finish out of Jason Knight and Chas Skelly. It wasn’t an epic night for the UFC, but it was a great night.
Here’s my thoughts on the UFC Nashville, with every fight and fighter involved broken down. The format is simple. The first bullet covers what was expected to happen and an attempt at a brief summary of what did happen. The next two bullets cover my thoughts on each fighter, how they did, and where they might be headed from here with the winner being covered first.
Gadzhimurad Antigulov defeated Joachim Christensen via submission at 2:21 of RD1

Expectation/Result: Antigulov turned some heads when he was easily able to dispose of Marcos Rogerio de Lima in his UFC debut. On the other side, Christensen had mixed results in his two UFC contests. Antigulov ended up doing exactly what we all expected in taking Christensen to the ground and working his way into a rear-naked choke. Christensen put up a better fight than de Lima did, but he tapped in the end just like the Brazilian did.

Antigulov: Antigulov is making himself a 205er to keep an eye on. He’s not an overpowering specimen, but submitting two opponents who have picked up wins in the UFC in less than half a round each is impressive nonetheless. The question will be when he is forced to stand and trade. I do worry how successful he’ll be when he ends up facing a decent wrestler, but that won’t happen for a while as any light heavyweight with decent wrestling is either at the very top of the division or immigrated to Bellator.

Christensen: This type of performance highlights the problems with being good and everything and not great at anything. Christensen didn’t have the physical skills to get stop Antigulov from enforcing his will, giving up the takedown on Antigulov’s first attempt. He’s perfect to test relatively unproven youngsters, but I don’t see Christensen standing a chance against tested veterans.

Enrique Barzola defeated Gabriel Benitez via unanimous decision

Expectations/Result: A difficult contest to pick. Barzola had shown great improvements since winning TUF Latin America in addition to being the better wrestler. On the other side, Benitez has seen everything with a superior striking game. Benitez lit up Barzola when the fight remained standing, landing cleaner punches and kicks. Barzola countered by landing multiple takedowns every round. He nearly kept up on the volume when the fight was standing too, though the strikes weren’t quite as meaningful. Benitez almost stole the fight by flooring Barzola at the buzzer, but the judges saw it in favor of Barzola.

Barzola: Barzola contunes to improve, developing into someone who deserves their spot on the UFC roster as opposed to owning a token spot thanks to his TUF victory. Against a harder puncher, he’ll get hurt as he doesn’t telegraph his level changes very well. Then again, Benitez knew what Barzola wanted to do and still couldn’t stop the takedowns. Though I don’t see him becoming a contender, it’s hard not to like what Barzola has been able to do thus far.

Benitez: Benitez has never been able to stop takedowns. I don’t care if he is able to climb back to his feet relatively quickly, he’ll never be able to beat anything above middling competition – by UFC standards — until he is able to stuff a few takedowns. Considering he has 25 professional contests under his belt at this point, I don’t see him being able to do that. Despite that, Benitez is a lot of fun to watch if his opponent is willing to stand and trade with him. I’ll enjoy watching him until he gets cut.

Cortney Casey defeated Jessica Aguilar via unanimous decision

Expectations/Result: Aguilar was returning to the cage for the first time in 21 months, making her a huge question mark. Combine that with Casey’s recent improvements, most were picking the former collegiate soccer player to pick up the win. Aguilar had her moments, getting takedowns every round and landing some good ground strikes. On the feet though, Casey laid the punishment on thick on the smaller Aguilar, making the wrestler pay a heavy price for going after takedowns. Casey landed a lot of upkicks too, keeping up the punishment even when on her back. The punishment Casey put on her was enough for all three judges to give her every round.

Casey: Casey has evolved into a much more technical striker, showing a lot of fluidity in her punches. There were moments where she reverted to her brawling nature, but there are times when that is appropriate and she picked her spots well. The most impressive thing about Casey’s technical improvement is that she has maintained her trademark aggression. She still has some holes in her wrestling – Aguilar had no problem getting her to the ground once she was in range for the takedown – but Casey is moving in the right direction. Expect her to break into the top ten before the end of the year and stay there for quite a while.

Aguilar: Even though Aguilar lost a clear decision, she looked good enough to convince me that she still has enough left in the tank to be a viable gatekeeper. She’s always been a small strawweight whose experience and wrestling technique has made up for her deficiencies. Now that she has lost a step and the overall competitiveness has grown, her days of being a contender are over. However, she found success in getting Casey to the ground and landed some hard ground strikes. The UFC may not see the use of keeping the 35-year old around, but I’d like to think she has enough left in the tank to cap off her notable career with a win in the UFC.

James Vick defeated Polo Reyes via TKO at 2:39 of RD1

Expectations/Result: Even though the overwhelming majority of the MMA community were picking Vick to score an easy victory, Reyes was getting the support of some of the more intelligent members of the community. Those thoughts proved unfounded. Vick displayed improved ability to control range, keeping Reyes at bay with front kicks. Vick put together a devastating punching combination as Reyes entered the pocket, flooring the Mexican prospect and putting him out for the count.

Vick: Would you guess Vick now owns a 7-1 UFC record? Vick displayed the best distance management of his career against Reyes, preventing Reyes from putting together a stream of hard punches as he had done in his previous contests. At 6’3″, distance management is essential for Vick to find success against a higher level of competition. I can’t say whether the UFC will give him another chance against a ranked opponent just yet after he was picked apart by Beneil Dariush last year. Vick probably deserves it, but he can’t seem to get on the good side of management. Regardless, can’t say I’d be against matching him up with… we’ll say Evan Dunham.

Reyes: Even if he was put out of his misery quickly, Reyes’ loss wasn’t all negative. He opened up with a smart strategy by attacking the rangier Vick’s legs. He did land a couple of good punches too as Vick’s chin has always been hittable. Then again, so has Reyes. Vick found Reyes chin first and that was the end of it. Though Reyes isn’t quite the brawler that he was upon his UFC entry, he still has enough of those tendencies that I struggle to see him becoming more than mid-level action fighter. In other words, I think he’s hit his ceiling.

Chase Sherman defeated Rashad Coulter via KO at 3:36 of RD2

Expectations/Results: Coulter took the contest on short notice and hadn’t beaten a quality opponent. Thus, most were picking the longer and more athletic Sherman even without Sherman’s decided physical advantages. Early on, Sherman exercised a smart strategy, attacking Coulter’s leg with kicks to the point that Coulter could barely stand. Instead of continuing to attack Coulter’s leg to begin the second round, Sherman began headhunting which allowed Coulter to remain in the contest. Coulter landed a bunch of heavy shots as Sherman allowed him to remain around. Eventually Sherman got Coulter against the fence and landed a devastating elbow that put Coulter down and out.

Sherman: This was a case of Jekyll and Hyde for Sherman. He looked vastly improved early in the fight, picking apart Coulter, maintaining good distance management to keep the shorter Coulter from landing any serious offense. Then he allowed Coulter to creep back into the contest, looking for haymakers rather than continuing the barrage on Coulter’s legs. Perhaps he can say it netted him an extra $50,000, but it also came dangerously close to costing his job in the UFC. Overall, the returns on his move to Jackson-Wink have to be considered good. After all, he did walk out with his first UFC victory.

Coulter: I was harsh on Coulter in my preview, declaring him a bloated 205er without a single quality win. While those charges could still be applicable, Coulter’s heart and toughness have certainly given me reason to pause before writing him off in any future contest he might receive. He showed good explosion and power, nearly putting Sherman away on one leg. Still, his lack of size will severely limit his level of success at heavyweight. I’d like to see him drop down to light heavyweight, though the indications are that likely won’t happen.

Jason Knight defeated Chas Skelly via TKO at 0:39 of RD3

Expectations/Result: It was difficult not to get excited for this contest… provided you knew who these combatants were. Considering you’re reading this, you knew who they were. I picked Skelly in anticipation of his wrestling more than making up for Knight’s technical striking advantage. The first round produced the best five minutes of back-and-forth scrambling exchanges that we’ve seen all year, with reversals and sweeps thrilling the audience. The exchanges seemed to take more out of Skelly as he appeared far more winded than Knight from that point on. Knight slowly began to take over and landed a brutal simple combination to open the third, dropping Skelly and finishing him off with a series of ground punches.

Knight: I’m not surprised at Knight’s continued improvement. I’m surprised at the excessive rate in which he continues to improve. Perhaps it can in part be attributed to Skelly’s faulty gas tank, but Knight was the better wrestler. Aside from Skelly’s initial single-leg takedown, Knight turned away all of Skelly’s attempts and even landed a few of his own. I still don’t like how content he can be to stay on his back in his guard, though he abandoned that strategy after the first round. Knight’s will to win is topped by no one and will make him a tough fight against anyone in the division. Expect him to get a top fifteen opponent next.

Skelly: Skelly has nothing to be ashamed of in this loss. He pushed Knight just as much as anyone has and had The Kid rocked at the end of the second round. The reason why he was unable to escape with a win is the same that it has always been: he doesn’t have the stamina to push a fast pace beyond the opening round. Against less determined opponents, Skelly can still get the fight where he wants it. That wasn’t going to happen with Knight. Though his striking is still wonky, Skelly did show some improvement, indicating his move to ATT has been good for him. He might be able to break into the top fifteen again, but he won’t climb much further than that.

Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier fought to a No Contest at 4:12 of RD2

Expectations/Result: Given this history of both Alvarez and Poirier to end up in a brawl, fans weren’t expecting anything less. They got what they wanted. It’s just too bad that it ended the way it did. Poirier jumped out to the early lead, just as many expected given Alvarez’s tendency to start slow. Poirier even put Alvarez on the ropes in the second, coming thisclose to finishing the former champion. Alvarez woke up, beginning his own assault. Getting Poirier on his hands and knees, Alvarez began throwing knees to the downed Poirier. The ref intervened and rather than declaring a DQ win for Poirier, declared a no contest after some outside consultation.

Alvarez: Yes, this was your typical Alvarez performance. He ended up on wobbly feet and didn’t turn it on until after that point. After that, he reversed the roles and put Poirier on the ropes. Had he not thrown the illegal knees, it’s conceivable that Alvarez could have picked up a legal finish before the end of the round. But that wasn’t a guarantee and its very likely Alvarez would have been down two rounds heading into the third. Am I the only one who feels like the wear and tear on Alvarez’s body is showing itself more than ever? Alvarez has always seemed to thrive in the face of doubters, so I won’t be shocked if he makes a run. But Father Time always wins.

Poirier: Poirier was on his way to securing a breakout win. Every time he had come against an opponent considered to be elite – or a fringe elite – Poirier has always come up short. Instead, he kept up an aggressive yet measured pace, hurting Alvarez on multiple occasions and damn near finishing him. Even more impressive, Poirier wasn’t drawn into a brawl until Alvarez started swinging wildly. There isn’t much shame in being unable to put away Alvarez as many have failed to do so. We’d all love to see the UFC run this one back – and I gotta feel Poirier would like to see it more than Alvarez – but the UFC has been reluctant to run fights back in recent years. Here’s hoping they make an exception here.

Dave Branch defeated Krzysztof Jotko via split decision

Expectations/Result: Even though most analysts and journalists will admit that this was a very close contest on paper, most were still picking Jotko. Why? For me, some of it had to do with former champions from other organizations having a history of coming up short upon their UFC entry. Names like Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez, and Luke Rockhold come to mind. Then again, this was a return for Branch, having been cut in 2011. The action was non-descript, most of it taking place in the clinch against the fence. Neither could claim a definitive victory, though the judges decided to award Branch the decision.

Branch: The result for Branch is very mixed. Yes, he was competitive with a proven Jotko and was even able to come away with a win. However, it was also very boring, doing nothing to earn him any cred with the fans as Branch initiated most of the clinch exchanges. That hurts his marketability. Then again, Branch doesn’t appear to be a guy the UFC wants to market anyway. He’s gonna have to keep winning if he wants to move up the ladder. His wrestling appeared to be improved from his first stint, even if he couldn’t keep Jotko down for an extended period of time. His striking wasn’t threatening, but it was competent. He’s going to have to keep working on those things if wants to keep winning.

Jotko: Losing in this manner hurts Jotko far more than if he had been KO’d, even if he was the one trying to stand and trade. Jotko basically gave up on several occasions when Branch had him tied up against the fence, waiting on the ref to break up the exchange. Not a good sign. Then again, this was Jotko’s first loss – and subpar performance – in three years, he’ll likely be given a pass. This was also the first contest that Jotko didn’t show any noticeable improvement. At 27-years old, it’s likely Jotko will continue to improve. I have my doubts whether he’ll be able to evolve into a contender, but I expect he’ll learn from this and become a mainstay in the top ten.

Frankie Edgar defeated Yair Rodriguez via TKO at 5:00 of RD2

Expectations/Result: Even though I felt confident picking Edgar going into this contest, there were a lot of people – fans and experts – who were picking the athletic freak that is Rodriguez. I can see why as there are very few who possess the physical package of the youngster. But his best victories were Alex Caceres and Andre Fili – unless you want to count the remains of BJ Penn. Regardless, Edgar represented a huge step up. Rodriguez landed almost zero significant offense as Edgar took him down early in both rounds and delivered some brutal ground and pound. Rodriguez’s eye swelled up to epic proportions, creating vision problems that caused the referee to stop the contest.

Edgar: Edgar didn’t look great against Jeremy Stephens in his previous contest, causing many to believe he was on the decline. There were also reports about Edgar being injured for that contest. Given how he dominated Rodriguez, the reports of the injury appear more likely to be true. Edgar is still as good as he ever was, perhaps even better. Getting hurt in his contests traditionally happens at least once against notable strikers and he was able to avoid that. Edgar’s defense continues to improve which is compensating for his decline in athletic ability. Edgar is praying that Max Holloway wins against Jose Aldo next month as Edgar is unlikely to get a third chance against Aldo. But if Holloway wins, he’s first in line.

Rodriguez: This loss isn’t too devastating for Rodriguez, even if it couldn’t have gone much worse for him. He’s only 24-years old with all the talent in the world. He’s going to learn from fights like this. Rodriguez tried to convince the referee he could still see out of his eye, indicating a high level of toughness and willingness to win. In other words, I still see Rodriguez becoming the superstar that many are predicting that he’ll become… it’ll just take a bit longer than expected. What would be ideal for Rodriguez would be to put him in against someone who has some wrestling ability – Rodriguez’s Achilles heel – but still willing to trade punches. Thus, why I feel confident in predicting we’ll soon see Rodriguez square off with Jeremy Stephens.

Demian Maia defeated Jorge Masvidal via split decision

Expectations/Results: I was one of those who thought Maia would serve as a blanket on Masvidal, but there were just as many who expected Masvidal to dominate the standup and snap Maia’s impressive winning streak. You could say both sides were right in terms of how thimgs played out. Maia smothered Masvidal for about half of the contest while Masvidal pieced up Maia on the feet for the other half. What gave Maia the victory was Masvidal taking his foot off the gas in the final round before Maia was able to get him down. Even though the contest was close enough that it could have gone either way, old habits came back to haunt Masvidal as he dropped yet another close split decision.

Maia: Even though Maia won – a sentiment I agreed with – he comes out of this contest looking worse for wear. He struggled to get Masvidal to the ground more than he has with any opponent since Rory MacDonald. Is that an indication of Maia declining? At 39-years old, that’s plausible. However, Masvidal’s sprawl was absolutely tailored to stop Maia’s style of shot, something Maia’s recent opponents haven’t done. Thus, I’m not totally sure how to react towards this performance. According to Dana White, Maia now has his well-deserved title shot. Here’s hoping the UFC keep their word. I fear a contest with Tyron Woodley won’t draw flies, but it’s still something I want to see.

Masvidal: Given how Masvidal has been fighting since his loss to Al Iaquinta, I thought he had finally learned from his past mistakes. I guess I was wrong. Masvidal assumed he was winning the fight after two rounds and went on cruise control for the third. Yes, he won the first half of the final round, but not by much. He merely landed the occasional jab or leg kick rather than pressing the action on an exhausted Maia. When Maia got the takedown and controlled Masvidal for the last half of the round, it cost Masvidal his chance at the title. Given all the miles on his body, Masvidal looks good. Part of that has to do with him only being 32-years old, but MMA is often about miles rather than age. Masvidal can still be a top action fighter at 170, but it’s going to be hard for him to regain his momentum he had going into this contest.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk defeated Jessica Andrade via unanimous decision

Expectations/Result: Though I was surprised at how many people were picking Andrade to pull off the upset, I understood it. Andrade hits as hard as anyone has at strawweight and Jedrzejczyk’s defense has shown holes in it. That was apparent within the first few minutes of round one as Andrade landed a few hard shots on Jedrzejczyk, producing a big hematoma on the champions forehead. Jedrzejczyk maintained the course, peppering Andrade with leg kicks and jabs, wearing down the Brazilian. The leg kicks eventually robbed Andrade of her explosion, preventing her from landing any significant offense after the first round. Jedrzejczyk ended up cruising to an easy decision and solidifying herself as one of the most dominant champions in the UFC.

Jedrzejczyk: Part of being a great champion is being able to overcome adversity. Jedrzejczyk has done that in one form or another in each of the last three contests. From Claudia Gadelha’s early domination, to Karolina Kowalkiewicz knocking her to the ground, Jedrzejczyk has recovered every time, seemingly unphased by anything he opponents throw at her. She has stuck to her strategy and it has resulted in clear cut decisions for her each and every time. Aside from the jabs and leg kicks, Jedrzejczyk began sitting down on more combos, stuffed all the late takedown attempts, and avoided spending a long period of time on the ground. Most impressive, Jedrzejczyk avoided ending her combinations with kicks to avoid giving Andrade a chance to take her down. Jedrzejczyk’s next challenge will be Rose Namajunas, a different stylistic matchup than anything she has faced thus far. Regardless, I have to believe that Jedrzejczyk will have a strategy prepared to overcome whatever Namajunas throws at her.

Andrade: I’m encouraged by Andrade’s attitude following the loss. She acknowledged her own youth, indicating she knows she is far from hitting her prime. The biggest thing Andrade needed to do was to check Jedrzejczyk’s leg kicks as she offered Jedrzejczyk no reason not to continue attacking the legs. It wasn’t long before Andrade had no spring left in her step. To Andrade’s credit, she continued to move forward and didn’t seem to have any issues with her gas tank, putting on a better showing than I anticipated. Out of those whom Jedrzejczyk has already defeated, Andrade has the best chance of getting a rematch. It will be interesting to see if opponents try attacking her with kicks much the same way Jedrzejczyk did and how Andrade will respond to that.

Stipe Miocic defeated Junior dos Santos via TKO at 2:22 of RD1

Expectations/Result: Initially, I picked Miocic to win. I felt he won the first contest and had something to prove. Then I re-watch their initial contest and felt dos Santos had gotten the better of him and looked better in his subsequent contests since then. So I flopped over to the side of dos Santos. I didn’t feel too bad about that initially. Dos Santos was picking apart Miocic’s legs with some HARD leg kicks, something Miocic was clearly feeling the effects of. Miocic decided he didn’t want to deal with that any longer, rushed in as dos Santos was against the fence and delivered a HUGE right hand that floored dos Santos. Dos Santos turtled up as Miocic reigned down a series of punches before the referee stepped in.

Miocic: To illustrate just how pathetic the history of the heavyweight division has been, Miocic is now tied for the most consecutive title defenses with two. Given how he continues to improve, he stands a great chance of breaking the record. Since losing to dos Santos in their first encounter, Miocic has finished every one of his opponents since that time. It isn’t a flimsy list by any means either: Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and now dos Santos. Even more impressive, the last four have all come inside the first round. A case could be made for Miocic as an all-time great heavyweight at this point. Putting him at the top would be a stretch, but a few more wins over quality competition and it could be a realistic talking point. Who he fights next is a huge mystery. I’ve seen the names of Werdum, Overeem, Francis Ngannou, Derrick Lewis, and Cain Velasquez all floated around. Velasquez would do the most for Miocic’s legacy, but chances are greater Velasquez would have to pull out of a scheduled contest than actually going through with it. If he gets the shot, the UFC will need to have a back-up plan ready.

Dos Santos: I don’t feel too bad about picking dos Santos in the end, though I will admit that it was old habits that cost the former champion his chance of regaining the belt. Dos Santos has long had a problem with backing himself into the fence, though he looked much improved in his cage awareness and overall footwork against Ben Rothwell. That was nowhere to be seen here as Miocic had little problem pinning him against the fence and letting a power shot fly. I probably should have taken into account dos Santos’ chin has likely deteriorated since his days has champion. He’s been in some real wars since that time. Aside from that, I thought his strategy to attack Miocic’s legs with kicks was brilliant. The fight just didn’t drag out long enough for it to take fruition. He’ll likely be a gatekeeper who will need an extended win streak to get another shot at the belt now.

Well, those are my thoughts. Until next time…
Source: bloody

WME repped Blake Lively to star in MMA-themed movie ‘Bruised’

New UFC owners are continuing their push for MMA in Hollywood. The new UFC ownership group in WME-IMG has been pushing Mixed Martial Arts in the entertainment industry, with their latest salvo being an MMA-themed movie called ‘Bruised’.
The film will star Blake Lively, who is best known for her roles in hits such as The Shallows and Gossip Girl. It will be directed by Nick Cassavetes, who will be branching out from previous projects such as The Notebook and My Sister’s Keeper.
Both figures are represented by WME. Cassavetes was also originally set to write and direct the remake of Road House, which was supposed to star Ronda Rousey, until the project was shelved.
News was first reported by Deadline (HT: Sherdog), and the film’s plot is as follows:
Lively will play Jackie, a single mother working two jobs and a disgraced MMA fighter who has been up against the ropes her entire life. When the authorities threaten to take her young son away from her, she must get back in the cage for one last chance to fight for redemption and give her son the life she always wanted.
The movie is targeted to start filming in September, and is currently being pitched to foreign buyers in Cannes.
Source: bloody

California study suggests half of UFC fighters cut over 10% of body weight

The California State Athletic commission is voting on new weight cutting rules. Ahead of the vote, Iain Kidd examines the data they gathered about weight cutting at the elite level. The California State Athletic Commission is voting on a 10 point plan to overhaul weight cutting in MMA. The UFC came out in support of the changes last week, which seem to be intelligent, reasonable changes that attempt to tackle an extremely difficult problem.
Back in March 2017, the California State Athletic Commission released sample results from a weight-cutting study they performed, comprised of 82 fighters. CSAC executive officer Andy Foster was kind enough to supply me with a larger data set, roughly twice the size of the previously released information, and I analyzed the data in detail to see what it could tell us about weight cutting.
Methodology
There are a few ways to calculate how much weight the fighters in the study cut. The results contained three numbers – the weight a fighter was contracted to fight at, the weight the fighters weighed in on the study scale (which tended to be a few pounds heavier than their weigh-in weight, as they had generally already started drinking), and the weight the fighter was on fight day.
The study scale weight has the advantage of always taking place on the same scale, but has the disadvantage of not accurately representing the fighter’s lowest weight. While the official weights are lower, they have the disadvantage of not taking place on the same scale. What I chose to do instead was to count every fighter as weighing in at the limit for their class. Some actually came in slightly below or above this, but not enough to change any of the results in any meaningful way.
I also decided to focus solely on the UFC and Bellator fighters in the data set, to gain the best possible understanding of the weight cutting practices of elite fighters. As a result, the data set I used was comprised of 72 fighters.
It must be noted that weight gained after the weigh-in is an imperfect way of measuring the size of a weight cut. That’s because it’s possible for a fighter to have gained more, or less, weight than they cut. That being said, the weight gained should broadly correlate to the weight cut, and it’s the best measure we have just now.
Results
The results using the methodology of the original study, using the weights from the “study scale,” showed around 30% of athletes put on 10% or more of their body weight between weigh ins and fight time, with an average gain of around 8%.
I decided to examine the study in a slightly different way. First, I decided to focus only on UFC and Bellator fighters. Second, I used the fighter’s contracted weigh-in weight and compared that to their fight day weight. What I discovered is that around half of UFC and Bellator fighters regain over 10% of their body weight between weigh-ins and the fight.
UFC fighters, on average (mean), regained 9.74% of their body weight. Bellator fighters, on average, regained 9.08% of their body weight. The largest amount of weight regained was 16.76% of body weight in the UFC and 17.03% in Bellator. 43% of UFC fighters regained more than 10% of their body weight, and 43% of Bellator fighters did the same.
I also re-ran the numbers allowing the one pound allowance for the class (e.g. fighters competing at welterweight are allowed to weigh in at 171 lbs). This did not significantly change the results. For the rest of the study I used the contracted weight (e.g. 170lbs for welterweight).
How did the cuts affect fights?
For the UFC bouts examined, the winner regained on average (mean) 2.2% of his/her own body weight less than their opponent. For example, the winner may have regained 10%, while the loser regained 12.2%. The athlete who regained the smaller amount of weight won around 80% of the time.
At one extreme, a winner regained 5.17% of body weight more than his/her opponent, while on the other, one winner regained 7.59% of body weight less than his opponent. The UFC results suggest that the athlete who cuts less weight is more likely to win, but the extremely small sample size means that 80% ratio should be taken with a grain of salt.
For the Bellator fights examined, the winner regained on average (mean) 1.09% of his/her own body weight more than their opponent. For example, the winner would have regained 11.09%, while the loser would have put on 10%. In Bellator’s case, the split between winners/losers in terms of who cut the most weight is almost exactly 50/50; the winner regained more weight 54% of the time.
In Bellator, one competitor won while regaining 10.16% more weight than his/her opponent. In contrast, another won while regaining 9.76% less than his/her opponent. Bellator’s results suggest cutting more weight has little to no effect on the chances of victory.
I decided to examine the fights where one fighter weighed significantly more than their opponent on fight day. I considered 4% of body weight or higher significantly more. That happened a total of 20 times. Of those 20 times, the heavier fighter won 11 times, while the lighter fighter won 9 times.
Conclusion
These results show that there’s no strong correlation between cutting more weight than your opponent, and winning. Even when a person comes in significantly heavier than their opponent, there’s basically no difference in win rate. While it’s always a risk to draw firm conclusions from a limited data set, the data we do have suggests fighters are cutting dangerous amounts of weight for little to no benefit in performance.
Source: bloody

Rory MacDonald making less sponsorship money in Bellator than in UFC

The idea goes something like this: When a fighter jumps from the UFC to Bellator, they’re likely to have their in-cage sponsorship money increase.

As the theory goes, this is because, rather than receive a flat payment from Reebok, the UFC’s official apparel sponsor, fighters are free to pursue their own sponsorships, and potentially make more money than they would in the UFC’s corporate structure.

Rory MacDonald, however, says he won’t make as much money with his sponsors in Bellator than he had been making in his old company, at least for his Bellator 179 main event on Friday against Paul Daley.

MacDonald explained on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that than rather than hustle every last inch of his trunks and corner banner to any flight-by-night sponsor who comes his way, he’d rather take a short-term hit now and work to build a longer-term relationship with an established brand down the road.

“I could have easily went out and got plastered sponsors all over my shorts and banner and stuff and got little sponsors for the fight,” MacDonald said. “But basically what I’m going out there is for long-term, marquee sponsorships that are going to be solid name brands that are going represent me and I represent them well and be a long-term partnership.”

For now that means Bellator 179 sponsorships with established brands Monster Energy and Everlast, and he hopes more down the road.

“Give those sponsors big exposure, rather than be clustered and totally packed full of a bunch of different random companies that don’t have any connection to me whatsoever,” MacDonald said. “That’s the strategy, there.”

In the meantime, MacDonald confirmed that his individual sponsorship with Reebok, signed in 2015, has expired and was not renewed. MacDonald spoke well of his relationship with Reebok, noting they could have legally cut the deal short when he signed with Bellator, but allowed is contract to run its full duration.

“They were nice enough to continue the sponsorship after I had signed with Bellator even though they weren’t obligated to,” MacDonald said. “They stuck by my side. We had a great partnership, we had a great deal.”

All in all, MacDonald isn’t letting a little bit of sponsorship money get in the way of the big picture.

“I’m definitely very happy with what I’m going to be making for my time in Bellator,” he said. “Even if my sponsorships are a little bit down, it’s not a big deal for me. I’m looking at a big upside and I’m very happy with it.”

Source: mmafighting

Nordine Taleb gets new opponent for UFC Stockholm with Emil Meek injured

Emil Meek is out of UFC Fight Night 109.

The UFC announced on Tuesday that Meek was forced out of UFC’s upcoming show in Stockholm on May 28, and Nordine Taleb will now face Octagon newcomer Oliver Enkamp.

Headlined by Alexander Gustafsson vs. Glover Teixeira, UFC Fight Night 109 takes place at the Ericsson Globe Arena.

Taleb (12-4) is looking to rebound from a decision loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio in February. Prior to the defeat, the Canadian welterweight scored a brutal knockout victory over Erick Silva at UFC 196.

Fighting out of Stockholm, Sweden’s own Enkamp (7-0) gets his first chance in the UFC after racking up a perfect MMA record with five stoppage wins in the Swedish circuit.

Source: mmafighting

Herb Dean: I definitely stand by no contest ruling of Alvarez vs. Poirier

Herb Dean explains in detail his reason behind ruling the Eddie Alvarez-Dustin Poirier fight a no contest. UFC 211’s preliminary fight between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier caused quite a stir. Alvarez threw three illegal knee strikes while Poirier was down on the mat, which led to the fight being ruled as a no contest after the second round.
Herb Dean was the third man inside the Octagon for that fight, and he decided on the verdict under the belief that Alvarez did not throw the shots with intention. A good number of spectators, meanwhile, believe that the former lightweight champion should have been slapped with a disqualification.
The veteran referee appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. When asked if he stands by his decision, he gave an affirmative answer, without missing a beat.
“Of course, I do. I definitely stand by that, ruling it a no contest,” Dean told Ariel Helwani (via MMA Fighting).
According to the rules, a referee only merits a disqualification towards a foul committed if he or she deems it to be intentional. According to Dean, Alvarez’s strike was not, which is why he made his decision.
He also explained how he considers a “downed opponent.”
“His head was over Poirier’s back. I can’t imagine a way where he’d be able to see his hands or his knees,” Dean said. “I believe that he was fighting in earnest and thought that the fighter was not grounded. There’s no way I could say that for certain. I attempted to warn him before he went in with that knee, but it was loud in there and I can’t say that he heard me.
“I don’t believe that he was trying to fight outside of the rules when he threw that knee. I can’t say that he was.”
“I rule a downed opponent as supporting weight,” Dean explained. “Obviously if someone’s weight is being supported by their feet and the fence and then they reach down and touch their fingers, there’s lots of gamesmanship that used to go on with that.”
“So we started quite a long time ago, it’s very established, that we rule a downed opponent as supporting weight. Supporting weight means if you snatch their hand away, they’re gonna fall on their face.”
From his end, Poirier plans to appeal the fight result, and has called for a rematch with Alvarez.
Source: bloody

Jimi Manuwa: Dana White ‘is very interested’ in me boxing David Haye

UFC light heavyweight standout Jimi Manuwa is on standby should any mishaps occur ahead of UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2, and he also still has his eyes on boxing David Haye. Jimi Manuwa is back in Sweden this week for the beginning of his training camp. As revealed by Dana White in the run up to UFC 211, the light heavyweight contender is on standby should any unforeseen mishaps crop up ahead of the planned showdown between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones. Whilst he is pleased to be gearing up to participate on the UFC 214 fight card, he is also keen to keep pushing his other options, namely a lash with boxer David Haye.
“Myself and Dana spoke to David Haye on a conference call while I was in Vegas,” Manuwa said. “We’ve crunched pay-per-view numbers and Dana is very interested in the fight. The fight between me and David Haye will probably happen either before the end of this year or early in 2018 because of his injury. It will possibly be a cross promotion between Hayemaker Promotions and the UFC on pay-per-view.”
The timeline of the Mayweather vs MacGregor fight seems to roughly tie in with Manuwa vs Haye, and Manuwa has previously spoken about his wish for this to appear on the undercard of that fight. It would seem he is now keen to establish his own limelight on his own turf.
“We are both from London so it will be a packed crowd if we stage this at the O2,” Manuwa said. “Everything is going forward slowly, in the meantime we are getting Boxing licenses ready and everything is looking good.
“David Haye is a former world champion. The British Board of Boxing Control will sanction the fight as I’m a professional fighter and I fight all the time. I box with Dillian Whyte, a pro boxer, I have a pro boxing coach, it’s not as big a mismatch as the Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight.”
Until then, Manuwa has more pressing matters at hand. Now that he is officially booked to appear on UFC 214, and given the lack of depth in the light heavyweight division, the possible opponents that make sense are few and far between as ‘The Posterboy’ acknowledged.
“I don’t have an opponent,” he said. “Shogun doesn’t want to fight. The top four are all booked I’m left at the moment without an opponent. It’s a weird situation but Dana said the other day that he wants me on the card but we have to see what he comes up with. I don’t want to fight anyone ranked lower than me. I’ve got a feeling there will be some news soon though.”
The image of Manuwa as a stand in, waiting for any eventualities in the run up to the Cormier vs. Jones 2 clash isn’t the most attractive. Given the feedback circulating on social media, many may think that public opinion is a major influence over Manuwa, a point which he clears up pretty quickly.
“I don’t care about all of that. I’m fighting and I don’t care what people think. When I do take the fight and take Cormier’s head off everyone’s jaw will f—king hit the floor. I’m super confident and I fear no man, a fight is a fight.”
The narrative so far seems to be directed towards the possibility that Jon Jones will somehow withdraw from the fight and a lot of attention seems to be weighted towards that possibility. Manuwa is more pragmatic in his approach and is ready to face Jones should Cormier somehow be forced to withdraw.
“Who wouldn’t want to fight Jon Jones? He is one of the greatest of all time. I want to fight someone above me. There are only a few people ranked above me. There are four people in this world I want to fight: Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, Daniel Cormier, and David Haye.“
Manuwa is coming off a one-punch KO win over Corey Anderson in the UFC London main event back in March.
Source: bloody

Michael Chiesa calls Kevin Lee’s punch a ‘cheap shot’, recounts brawl at press conference

The UFC Summer Kickoff Press Conference was highlighted by a matchup that was flying somewhat under the radar.

With a presser stacked with big name fighters such as Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Chris Weidman, Holly Holm, and more, lightweight contenders Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee – who are scheduled to fight in the main event of UFC Fight Night 112 on June 25 – were able to steal the show with an unexpected brawl that erupted halfway through the press conference. The scuffle was triggered when Lee mentioned Chiesa’s mom during their back-and-forth trash talk.

Being a momma’s boy, Lee’s comments didn’t sit well with Chiesa, even if the comments weren’t necessarily offensive.

“There is an unspoken rule with competitors, men and just among people in general that it’s okay to talk shit, it’s okay to promote a fight, but you just don’t bring families into it,” Chiesa told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.

“People are saying, ‘oh he didn’t even say anything that bad,’ but just the fact alone that the word ‘mom’ came up, and in the manner when you’re saying, ‘oh you’re going to show up and your mom is going to be there,’ and yeah you didn’t say anything that bad, but you were in route to going that path. It’s not up to him to know that I’m a momma’s boy but you know, the media knows, the UFC knows, for Christ’s sake if my mom is in attendance in a fight right after I win, they have a camera on her. That’s just my one nerve, that one button you can push to really get that kind of reaction out of me, so I don’t regret it at all, but I know it won’t happen again.”

Following the mom comments, Chiesa rushed Lee, who was sitting across the stage, but was held back by two security guards. That’s when Lee jumped in and was able to deliver a right hand on Chiesa’s face. ‘Maverick’ believes the punch was a cheap move from Lee.

“I didn’t even know he punched me until I got back stage,” Chiesa said. “As they’re pulling me back I was asking Reid, ‘did he punch me? did he punch me?’ and they were like, ‘yeah, dude. He socked you right in the face.’ I think it was a cheap shot because I’ve gone back and watched it, and if you look at the pictures, as I’m running up I get grabbed by two guys and he runs up unattended to and he just punches me.

“It’s not like nobody was in between us and I had run up and there was nobody intervening. He had every right to punch me in the face, but I even said over there, ‘dude, security needs to get in the middle of this because I’m about to drop this mic and run over there,’ and sure enough that’s what happened. It’s just funny that I got two guys on me and he runs up to me and punches me in the face. I’m not going to get on this show and talk a bunch of shit about him, all I know is that I got punched when I didn’t even know I got punched, I think that’s all I need to say. It doesn’t even matter anymore, it happened, I got punched in the face, didn’t even leave a mark on my face, whatever, it’s fine. We’re going to fight in six weeks and that’s the best part about it, we get to continue what we left off on June 25th.”

Chiesa doesn’t regret getting in a brawl with Lee, but is ready to move on and focus on his fight in Oklahoma City.

“It’s water under the bridge, it’s nothing to dwell on, you know,” Chiesa explained. “I’ve always been a pretty cool customer, I never let my emotions get the best of me, so that was just totally very uncharacteristic of me. That’s just the type of person I am, I’m not a hot head, it’s just water under the bridge and Mother’s Day just passed, so you know, it was so ironic that this happened on Mother’s Day weekend, but I’m just back to the task and it’s all about the fight now.”

Source: mmafighting