Diggin’ Deep on UFC 211 Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2 – Main card preview

Get the inner scoop on the biggest card 2017 has had to offer thus far, including the number one contenders contest at welterweight between Demian Maia and Jorge Masvidal. Before the injury to Henry Cejudo, it was a realistic possibility that the winner of all of the non-title contests of the main card would next be fighting for a belt. Cejudo’s injury eliminated that possibility which pressed Dave Branch and Krzysztof Jotko into the spotlight. It may not be quite what Cejudo and Sergio Pettis would have offered, but it is a contest far more worthy of its place on the card than say… Pearl Gonzalez and Cynthia Calvillo. Barring any last minute gaffes, this is easily the deepest and best card 2017 has to offer fans. Trust me on this.
The main card of UFC 211 begins at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT
Demian Maia (24-6) vs. Jorge Masvidal (32-11), Welterweight
Despite six straight wins with names such as Gunnar Nelson, Neil Magny, and Carlos Condit amongst his list of victims, Maia is required to pick up yet another victory in order to secure an elusive title shot. He’ll be in trouble should he sleep on Masvidal. Remember, Masvidal did dispose of Donald Cerrone….
Maia’s run has been unprecedented. Not only has he been winning, he’s been doing so impressively. In his last four contests, he has taken a total of 13 significant strikes according to Fight Metric. With those contests taking up about 35 minutes of fight time, that’s an average of eating one significant shot for almost every three minutes. He’s picked up three finishes in those last four contests too. And yet, the UFC is reluctant to give him his well-deserved title shot due to his lack of flash. When people discuss whether the UFC is more sport or entertainment, Maia is one of the primary examples for the entertainment argument.
Even if Maia isn’t flashy, he is still the most dangerous grappler in the sport. His improved wrestling in recent years – plus the move down to welterweight where he no longer is at a size disadvantage – has made it increasingly difficult for fighters to keep the fight standing. Maia’s continued pressure and excellent timing on his shots virtually guarantees that the fight will hit the ground at some point. The last time Maia didn’t secure a takedown? Against Chris Weidman, his last fight at 185.
Though Masvidal’s takedown defense is regularly underrated – as he is in general – there is ample reason to believe he won’t have the tools to keep the fight standing. The longtime vet spent a large chunk of his career stuffing the attempts of lightweights and hasn’t faced an opponent with the wrestling ability to floor him since moving to welterweight. Some may argue Jake Ellenberger was capable of doing so, but Ellenberger’s fight IQ is something that can be called into question in recent contests.
Masvidal’s best chance to steal a win is to keep the fight standing. Even though many knocked his ability to end a contest before the 15-minute time limit expired, he’s done so in his last two appearances, including one of the more violent KO’s in recent memory of the aforementioned Cerrone. A large part of that is thanks to him no longer needing to dehydrate himself to make 155. No longer needing to cut those extra 15 pounds, Masvidal has been able to keep his foot on the gas pedal and displaying power that had previously been hidden. If the power Masvidal has displayed isn’t merely an aberration, it will be difficult to find holes in his boxing game, one of the most technically sound in the sport. He does get overconfident at times and let down his guard, though that hasn’t been happened for a little while.
Maia’s standup isn’t going to threaten Masvidal, though he is sound enough that he can hold his own if required. Gone are the days where Maia feels the need to test his standup, but he showed in that time that he can land his own offense from there even if he has only a single fluke KO/TKO victory – his TKO of Dong Hyun Kim — on his UFC ledger. Maia’s durability has been impressive too as Nate Marquardt almost eight years ago has been the only opponent to finish him.
This is one of the harder contests in recent memory to pick. Masvidal specifically asked for Cerrone and many were saying Cerrone had it in the bag heading into that contest. That didn’t turn out to be the case. I’m still picking Maia, but I’m not discounting the possibility of Masvidal securing another upset and potentially stealing away Maia’s title shot. Masvidal has been difficult to submit, so expect him to be able to survive the entirety of the contest… even if there are some close calls. Maia via decision
Frankie Edgar (21-5-1) vs. Yair Rodriguez (10-1), Featherweight
All-time great Frankie Edgar continues to improve despite his advanced age of 35. Still, it won’t be a surprise to see Father Time begin winning the war he has with every athlete. Rodriguez is hoping that time is now.
Edgar has shown slight signs of physical decline as he isn’t quite as quick as he once was. However, he has been able to compensate for that by improving his footwork, distance management, and head movement as he doesn’t take nearly as much damage as he once did. Edgar didn’t look quite as sharp against Jeremy Stephens, but he was also dealing with a number of injuries that he was keeping on the down low at the time.
Despite Edgar’s improved defense, he hasn’t dealt with an opponent quite like Rodriguez. Owning top-notch athleticism and a flashy rangy attack, the 5’11” Rodriguez presents Edgar with the type of challenge the legend hasn’t seen in his career thus far in terms of physical skills. Rodriguez also negates what has traditionally been one of Edgar’s biggest strengths: his stamina. Edgar puts on a pace that few opponents can match. An argument could be made that Rodriguez not only matches it, he exceeds it. Keep in mind that Rodriguez went 5 rounds at altitude against Alex Caceres back in August.
Rodriguez’s arsenal has largely consisted of flashy kicks, tossing out a fair compliment of spinning and front kicks to his more common round kicks. However, he showed progress in his footwork to make his boxing game a better option. He can’t hope to compete with Edgar’s fundamentals or fluidity of his punching combinations. Rodriguez’s length could end up being the difference maker for him. Granted, Rodriguez hasn’t mastered distance management yet, relying heavily on his explosion to close the distance rather than fundamentals. As he continues to improve, expect opponents to have an increasingly difficult time getting into range.
For all of the improvement in Edgar’s defense, he’ll still need to score some offense if he wants to win which means getting into Rodriguez’s range. Edgar has shown a greater tendency to sit down in the pocket and put together lengthier combinations than he did a few years ago, relying less on his in-and-out approach that he has long been noted for. This could be a good thing in this contest as it is doubtful Rodriguez has made enough strides in his boxing should Edgar continually find his own range.
What is likely the biggest key to this contest is Rodriguez’s takedown defense. Outside of Jose Aldo, Edgar has found great success in getting his opponents to the ground and keeping them there for extended periods of time. He isn’t a huge submission threat, but he is surprisingly top heavy. Rodriguez has yet to face a notable wrestler with Andre Fili probably being the most accomplished of his past opponents. Rodriguez has shown a dangerous guard while improving his own top control, but he isn’t likely to find much success on the ground outside of a scramble and even that isn’t a guarantee.
I’m not at all surprised to see how many pundits I’ve seen picking Rodriguez. The kid is exceptionally talented and continues to make major strides. However, his best opponent he has faced thus far is Alex Caceres. That’s a big jump to go from Caceres to Frankie Edgar even if Edgar is no longer in peak form. Though it is conceivable that Edgar’s semi-lackluster performance against Stephens can be attributed to age, I’m willing to trust injury played a part in it too. Expect a hell of a contest with both having their moments with Edgar’s takedown abilities giving him the needed edge for the win. Edgar via decision
Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) vs. Dave Branch (20-3), Middleweight
Fresh off of an undefeated stint in WSOF where he was a two division champion, Branch meets a streaking Jotko in his return to the UFC.
Branch’s transition to the UFC isn’t being met with much fanfare as his first UFC run wasn’t very memorable. The BJJ ace has improved his striking abilities, keeping a steady pace behind his jab – aided by his 79″reach — and a strong compliment of low kicks. Branch isn’t a powerful striker, though he can surprise if you don’t show him any respect.
Jotko isn’t likely to be caught asleep by Branch as he’s constantly moving on around on the outside. He utilizes footwork and a series of feints to create his awkward striking style that opponents have had a difficult time figuring out. He’s upped his output considerably since his UFC inception, developing punching combinations to develop his strong clinch game. Though he doesn’t often look to go to the ground these days, Jotko still has his trip takedowns that were once the center of his attack that he can fall back on if he so chooses.
Don’t expect that to happen. Branch’s bread and butter has always been his grappling ability. The Renzo Gracie student owns one of the best back-take games in the sport for the heavier weight classes in the sport. Though the RNC is his favorite way to dispose of his opponents, it’s simply wise not to expose your neck to him in any way. Branch will have a tough time getting Jotko to the ground as the Pole’s takedown defense has proven to be about as sturdy as it gets for the middleweight division. Then again, few are better at scoring the reactionary single-leg than Branch.
This is not an easy contest to pick. Branch has done a good job filling in the cracks since his release from the UFC in 2011, presenting a much improved version of the fighter who earlier graced the Octagon. Jotko isn’t amongst the middleweight elite quite yet, but he’ll get there if he continues to improve in the manner he has the last few years. I like Jotko’s youth and durability. Branch is unlikely to outstrike Jotko and I don’t anticipate him being able to control Jotko on the ground for the majority of the contest or
securing a finish. Expect a razor-thin judges decision. Jotko via decision
Source: bloody

UFC live stream: ‘Summer Kickoff’ press conference

Watch the UFC’s ‘Summer Kickoff’ press conference, which will formally announce multiple big fights from June-July, at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT on Friday, May 12th. Do you like major fight announcements? Well today (Friday, May 12th) is your lucky day. Here’s the official description from the UFC on their special press conference from Dallas, Texas:
The summer of 2017 will be one of the hottest in UFC history. Dana White will host a Summer Kickoff press conference on Friday, May 12 at 5:30pm ET with athletes from UFC 212 through UFC 214. Additional fight announcements will be made during the event.
It is expected that light heavyweight rivals Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones will be present at the presser, with their championship rematch expected to take place at UFC 214 on July 29th in Anaheim, California. Whether or not that will actually be the headliner remains to be seen, considering Dana White’s previous stance on not trusting Jones to hold down the main event spot.
You can watch the video at the top of the page starting at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT.
Source: bloody

Sean Soriano credits ‘ego’ for keeping him positive during skid

Former UFC featherweight Sean Soriano isn’t happy with where his fighting career is, but he hopes to change all of that starting Friday night at CES MMA 44. Sean Soriano’s mixed martial arts career has been a rocky road over the past few years, but he’s ready to get back on track.
Soriano made his UFC debut in January 2014, and after three straight losses, was released just over a year later. He picked up a quick knockout win immediately following his three-fight Octagon stint, but is now riding a two-fight skid a year and a half later.
Dealing with the up-and-down nature of his career has mentally been a “constant battle” for the Providence, RI native but he’s managed to stay positive and confident and hasn’t given up. Soriano said that he’s kept going and remained adamant he’ll eventually find consistency mostly because he has an ego and a strong support system.
“I’m hard headed,” Soriano told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “If I believe I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it. The fact that I’ve always told myself what I’m gonna do in this sport and how I’m gonna do it, that’s where the ego comes into play. Kind of like, I’m not done yet. I know people have been calling me out and it’s been a roller coaster of a ride, but the ego’s still there. That little pride of mine in my little last name, it doesn’t allow me to quit.
“[My coaches, friends, and family] have been supportive and they kind of just pick me up when I need those little pick ups. Trust me: anyone that goes on a couple-fight losing streak and tells you they don’t think about hanging it up is lying to you. This is very taxing on the mind. A lot goes into a fight that people don’t see — two months to prepare for one night that maybe can go wrong in 30 seconds.”
Hungry for success, Soriano said he’s “trying to look at fighting a little differently now.” The 27-year-old was once too concerned about what his opponent planned on doing. Now, Soriano plans on focusing and worrying about his game; nothing else.
“I know a lot of fighters might tell you that usually when they lose, it’s more mental for them, but that’s definitely one of the cases for me,” he said. “When I flow and I fight freely, people see great performances.
“People come in solely with a strict game plan against me. They’re not really going in there and letting the fight go where it goes. ‘The way to beat Sean is get him to the ground, this and that.’ Instead of me going in there and just stressing things, like, ‘OK, you know he’s going to shoot, you know he’s going to shoot,’ I’m gonna go in there and make it my fight. If I make it my fight, good things happen.”
As a striker, Soriano was given the opposite of a favorable matchup in all three of his UFC fights. He fought three grapplers — Tatsuya Kawajiri, Chas Skelly, and Charles Rosa — and was mostly grinded down in all three showings. Therefore, Soriano doesn’t think he was able to show his full potential inside the Octagon.
“None of my losses have been me getting beat up,” he said. “Nobody has really dominated me, besides Chas Skelly, who was dominant on top. But even in that, I didn’t take no damage. Most of them are just trying to hold me or submit me.
“People just look at it and see the L. I gotta accept that and I gotta make my changes,” he said. “Everyone has their own time. Everyone’s on a different journey, a different path. When it’s someone’s time, it’s someone’s time. I just gotta maybe accept that it wasn’t my time. Maybe it was just a little learning thing.
Soriano knows what it feels like to compete for the UFC, and he wants to experience that feeling again. In order to make it back to the big leagues, he needs to get his career back on track, starting Friday evening at CES MMA 44, where he fights Jacob Bohn in a featherweight contest.
And surrounded by a plethora of UFC fighters at South Florida’s Combat Club, where he’s trained since the Blackzilians split, Soriano is more motivated to earn a second crack at UFC glory than ever before.
“None of my teammates look at me as a washed-up fighter, and I appreciate that big time,” he said. “A lot of them have moved on and gone on to the UFC and are doing their own thing, but if you ever hear them talk, they will always mention my name.
“The level of fighting I have is up to par with everybody in the gym. Now it’s just making it count inside the ring.”
One of the biggest reasons Soriano knows he will eventually re-sign with the UFC, no matter what it takes, is his youth. He’s been a professional for nearly nine years, but he’s still two and a half years away from 30 years old. He arguably has yet to even reach his physical and athletic prime.
“I’m still the baby,” he said. “And people don’t understand I didn’t have an amateur career. I went straight into pro, and then I went 8-0. My first losses are on the big stage. My first (UFC) fight was Kawajiri in Singapore, co-main event.
“I do guarantee that I will be back in the UFC. I don’t know when, but that is a guarantee; I gotta join the party with my friends.”

Source: bloody

UFC supports proposed CSAC weight-cutting plan, including addition of weight classes

The UFC is on board with a proposed plan written to battle extreme weight cutting.

In a letter written to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky “formally” gave the promotion’s support to the commission’s proposed 10-point plan, per the CSAC meeting materials posted online Friday.

The 10-point plan, written by CSAC executive officer Andy Foster with input from stakeholders, includes additional weight classes, fight-day weight checks and stricter fines for missing weight.

“UFC is encouraged that further steps to assure safe weight management practices, as outlined in CSAC’s “10-Point Plan”, will result in additional health and safety benefits and positive feedback from promotors and combat athletes and their camps,” Novitzky wrote.

Bellator and Invicta also submitted letters in support of the plan, which will be voted on by the commission at its meeting Tuesday in Anaheim. If it is approved, the first major event it will effect will be UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim.

The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) medical committee also plans on recommending the 10-point plan to the entire ABC body at the annual conference in July.

Perhaps the most divisive point is the adoption of additional weight classes at 165, 175, 196 and 225 pounds. The UFC, though, seems on board with the change, per Novitzky’s letter.

“UFC also supports the offering of additional weight classes as outlined in CSAC’s ’10-Point Plan,’” Novitzky wrote. “UFC recently unveiled the implementation of two new female weight classes at 125 and 145 pounds, respectively, as the global brand now offers competition at four 10-pound increment weight classes. By adding these additional divisions, UFC believes it is providing more weight-specific options for UFC athletes to promote safer weight management goals.

“UFC also anticipates that regional talent, who are regularly scouted and imported to UFC’s roster, will soon be robust enough to support these additional weight classes with world-class talent that will eventually be promoted by the global brand. Further positive steps will include financial deterrents and physician sign-offs on weight class decisions for missing weight on more than one occasion.”

In her letter, Bellator vice president of business and legal affairs Tracy Lesetar-Smith wrote that the promotion doesn’t mind more weight classes, but asks that they be implemented gradually.

“We respectfully stress the importance of a slow roll out of any additional weight classes. Even with these additional weight classes remaining optional for promoters’ adoption, their existence may potentially lead to both (a) internal disputes with fighters/their camps and promoters as to what weight class a fighter should be competing in at direct odds with their contracts, as well as (b) the inevitable dilution of depth in each promoter’s weight classes – depth that promotions like Bellator have fought tooth and nail to build,” Lesetar-Smith wrote.

Under the plan, a fight-day weight check would be administered to see how much weight a fighter has gained back between stepping on the scale and the fight. If the fighter has gained more than 10 percent of his or her weight back, he or she will be recommended to move to a higher weight class for future bouts.

If fighters miss weight under the plan, they will be fined 20 percent of their show money and 20 percent of any bonus they earn as well. All of the bonus fine will go to the opponent, with the opponent and commission splitting the show money fine. Right now, commissions only fine a percentage of a fighter’s show money in the event of a weight miss.

Repeat weight-miss offenders, under this plan, will be recommended to move up to the next weight class.

Some of the language in the current version of the 10-point plan has been softened, notably saying “recommend” in some sections, rather than require.

Also included in the plan is a revision of the medical questionnaire, helping the doctor assess whether a fighter can make a weight class safely; checks for dehydration and specific gravity; the addition of a weight class category on the ABC database; and dehydration and weight-cutting training for matchmakers, promoters, trainers and athletes.

Last year, CSAC was the originator of making weigh-ins in the morning the day before MMA events, rather than in the afternoon, to give fighters more time to recover and allow them to be dehydrated for a shorter amount of time. Early weigh-ins have been wholly adopted by the UFC since UFC 199 in June 2016.

The feedback on the early weigh-ins has been positive, though it has caused an inexplicably increase in fighters missing weight and magnified problems that were already prevalent: extreme weight cutting and severe dehydration. The UFC has lost multiple fights on weigh-in day over the last few months, including an interim lightweight title co-main event at UFC 209 in March when Khabib Nurmagomedov had to be taken to the hospital during his weight cut.

“Similar to the implementation of the morning weigh-ins, UFC hopes that California’s further leadership to insure safe weight management practices as outlined in the “10­ Point Plan” will be adopted and implemented by Athletic Commissions throughout the world,” Novitzky said. “UFC looks forward to continuing to work closely with CSA[ in strengthening health and safety initiatives for combat sport athletes and commends the Commission for its leadership.”

Source: mmafighting

UFC newcomer Jared Gordon removed from UFC 211 due to food poisoning

Another fight has been scratched from UFC 211. New UFC signing Jared “Flash” Gordon was slated to make his Octagon debut on Saturday night’s UFC 211 preliminary card in Dallas, Texas. In an unfortunate turn of events, his featherweight matchup with Michael Quinones has been scrapped after Gordon was hospitalized for food poisoning symptoms.
Gordon released this statement on his Facebook page:
“Unfortunately I will not be fighting tomorrow. Everything was going smooth last night when I turned sick at about 8-9 pm. I was experiencing food poison symptoms. I was admitted to the hospital, along side UFC’s doctor. I was advised to use an IV, by both ER and UFC’s doctor which would make me ineligible to fight because of USADA’s rules. I’m extremely sorry to everyone who were going to attend and or watch. Just another bump in the road.”
While Gordon didn’t make the UFC 211 weigh-ins, Quinones both showed up and made weight, so he’ll be receiving his show money. This bout was set to be on the FX-televised preliminary card.
UFC 211 was scheduled to have fourteen fights, but with the loss of Gordon-Quinones and previously Sergio Pettis-Henry Cejudo, the card will proceed with twelve. It is not yet known which Fight Pass prelim bout will be bumped up to the FX portion.

Source: bloody

UFC 211’s Chas Skelly on his worst weight cut: ‘I was 185’ four-and-a-half weeks before Jim Alers fight

UFC featherweight fan-favorite Chas Skelly described the worst weight cut of his career, and the changes he’s made to prevent his camps from being centered around making weight. One of the more under-the-radar fights on Saturday’s UFC 211 card in Dallas is a featherweight clash between Chas Skelly and Jason Knight. Both men are on the cusp of entering the top-15 in perhaps the deepest division in the UFC, so there’s much at stake in this battle between two entertaining ground specialists.
Skelly sports an impressive record of 6-2 in side the Octagon, including submission finishes in his last two fights, which took place in his home state of Texas. Very early in his UFC career, “The Scrapper” earned himself a pair of wins over the span of two weeks, but as he recently told Bloody Elbow’s Three Amigos Podcast, making two weight cuts over a very short period of time was rough on his body.
“It was terrible,” Skelly said. “I was cutting weight in a way that was unhealthy at the time. My first weight cut was really hard, and then I came back and took another fight 13 days later. Obviously I’d gained all the weight back already, so the second weight cut was just absolute torture. It was very hard for me, it was tough on the body. I definitely think that the two weight cuts in a row were not good, for sure.”
As if those cuts weren’t bad enough, the 31-year-old considers his ensuing bout vs. Jim Alers, which he ultimately won by second-round TKO, to be his worst one.
“Have you ever seen that picture of Jesus carrying somebody and there’s only one footstep in the sand? That was Kenny Monday carrying me through the weight cut.” – Chas Skelly on his weight cut for the Jim Alers fight
“My worst weight cut ever was probably when I fought Jim Alers in Colorado [in 2015],” Skelly said. “I actually had thumb surgery and I was out of the gym for awhile. [The UFC] called me the day that I stepped back in the gym and said, ‘You have a fight in Colorado, at elevation, in 4 1/2 weeks,’ and I stepped on the scale and I was 185 pounds. That was a tough one. Kenny Monday was one of my coaches at the time and he came out there with me. Have you ever seen that picture of Jesus carrying somebody and there’s only one footstep in the sand? That was Kenny Monday carrying me through the weight cut.
“I’m the type of person that — I’ve cut a lot of weight in my life, and I’ve done a pretty good job of cutting. I complain about it, I bitch about it like anybody, I whine about it sometimes. But I’m good at it, I tough it out, and I always make weight. That one was just one of those ones where it seemed like I wasn’t going to make it. I was really doubting myself, but Kenny helped me out a lot, and we made it, we pulled through.”
Skelly admitted that his past training camps “revolved around making weight.” Those days appear to be behind him, thanks to the help of a longtime friend of his.
“I’ve brought in a guy who’s been a good friend of mine for a long time,” Skelly said. “We trained together back when I first started MMA and we’ve been good friends ever since. His name is Douglas Frey — his wife is [Jinh Yu Frey], who is the #1 ranked atomweight in the world for Invicta — and I contacted him and said ‘Hey man, I really want to change the way I’m living. I want to change the way I’m getting prepared for these fights and eating and just really make a big change,’ because I couldn’t handle it anymore.
“After I lost to [Darren Elkins], that was a horrible camp in general, but it was just a terrible terrible weight cut, too. It was taking all the energy out of me when I was fighting. My last two fights haven’t really lasted long. When I fought Maximo Blanco, that lasted 19 seconds or something like that, so you’d never know how much energy I had. When I fought Chris Gruetzemacher, I could’ve stayed at the pace I was at or picked up the pace for five rounds if I had to. I really had a lot of energy and I could tell the difference that my nutrition made in the fight. So yeah, it’s really important.”
The complete interview with Skelly can be listened HERE at the 1:21:20 mark of the audio.

Discussion on technical skillset of Jason Knight

How he sees Edgar/Rodriguez going down
If he prefers fighting in his home state or abroad
Birthday plans (Thursday was his birthday)
If he has a callout planned in the event he wins
Masvidal/Maia discussion
Pet peeves
Best day of his life
Go to meal after a big win
Best/Worst fan experiences
What he’s afraid of

Remember, if you’re looking for us on SoundCloud or iTunes, we’re under the MMA Nation name. Follow our Twitter accounts: Stephie Haynes, Three Amigos Podcast, Iain Kidd, and Mookie Alexander or our Facebook fan page, Three Amigos Pod.
Source: bloody

Paige VanZant explains decision to move back to Portland, ‘start over’ with a new gym

Paige VanZant hasn’t done much media since her last UFC fight, a tough loss to Michelle Waterson in December, but that doesn’t mean she’s not gearing up already for her return to the Octagon.

In fact, “12 Gauge” plans on showing a different fighter whenever she get back in action.

“It was a really tough loss, it was really hard on me, but, actually, for the most part, I’m getting used to training with a new fight camp,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “I moved back to Portland, Oregon, to be with family, so I guess I’m taking some time to adjust to a new fight team and a new gym for my upcoming fight.”

VanZant was coming off a devastating knockout victory over Bec Rawlings prior to her defeat to Waterson, but explains that her decision to move closer to her family was already made prior to UFC on FOX 22.

“I was just kind of planning it already,” VanZant said. “My whole family is from Portland, I just always had it on my mind that I wanted to be back around family, and it was just a perfect time for me to start over and train with a new camp and be around a huge support and finally have family in my life again.”

Back to Portland, VanZant is now training alongside Bellator star Chael Sonnen and working with his jiu-jitsu coach Fabiano “Pega-Leve” Scherner.

“Me and Chael Sonnen have the same management team. I’ve been friends with Chael for a while,” VanZant said. “I knew he was in Portland and he had a really successful fight team out in Portland. I just called him and he really took me under his wing, he set me up with a great MMA gym, which is Gracie Barra with Fabiano, and he also set me up with an amazing conditioning program, Dave. Chael really took me under his wing and set me up with everything I needed.

“I definitely do (feel a better fighter). I can see myself growing. Training with Fabiano, he has some of the best jiu-jitsu I’ve ever had in my life, so I can definitely see the difference in my fight game because of him. I can already tell I’m getting a lot better. It’s really cool to be working with someone so positive and so talented like he is.”

Given that both of her UFC losses came by way of submission, to Waterson and Rose Namajunas, VanZant believes that working with Scherner will take her jiu-jitsu to another level.

“I knew I had aspects of my fight game that I needed to work on,” VanZant said. “With every fight I try to earn from my mistakes, and even in my wins I try to learn from the areas that I messed up on.”

VanZant’s next UFC fight is still up in the air, but the 23-year-old fighter is already discussing it with the company.

“I’ll be in the cage soon,” VanZant said, “I’m talking to the UFC right now about getting me back in the cage. I’m definitely looking at various offers.”

As for the opponent, “12 Gauge”, who currently sits at No. 11 in the official UFC strawweight ranking, hopes to face someone above her to get back in the top 10.

“It’s really up to the UFC,” VanZant said. “I would like it to be in the top 10 if there’s people available. So you know, we’ll see it’s just whoever doesn’t have a fight, whoever’s ready at the same time, or whoever the UFC gives me.”

Source: mmafighting

Jorge Masvidal to UFC: Make Anderson Silva happy

Jorge Masvidal is calling for the UFC to give Anderson Silva whatever he is asking for. The past few weeks of Anderson Silva’s life has been all about his dissatisfaction with the UFC, particularly with how fights are being made. His recent threats of retirement did not seem to move the UFC brass, that company president Dana White even called his bluff and urged him to hang it up if he wishes to.
The UFC’s recent matchmaking trend has not been well received by fighters. During his pre-fight media scrum on Wednesday, Jorge Masvidal was vocal about how the UFC is beginning to be more of a popularity contest, especially with granting title shots.
Masvidal feels Silva’s grievances speak a lot about their current situation. Which is why he is also calling for the company to at the very least grant “The Spider’s” requests.
“A guy like Anderson Silva is one the greatest champions we’ve had. If he’s not happy, that says a lot,” Masvidal said (via MMAJunkie). “Why not make that guy happy out of all people?”
“That guy made the company plenty of money. Make that guy happy,” he continued. “Whatever he’s asking for, just give it to him. It’s Anderson Silva.”
Silva, now 42 years of age, is in limbo in terms of his immediate fighting career. On Thursday, his removal from the UFC 212 card was made official, due to the UFC’s inability to find a replacement for would-be opponent Kelvin Gastelum.
Masvidal, on the other hand, will be facing Demian Maia this Saturday at UFC 211 in Dallas. The winner of the fight will likely be getting the next shot at Tyron Woodley’s welterweight title.
Source: bloody

Anderson Silva officially removed from UFC 212 card

The UFC has officially removed Anderson Silva from the UFC 212 card. There have been weeks of speculation about whether or not Anderson Silva will be part of June’s UFC 212 card. All signs seemed to point to the latter after “The Spider” dismantled his training camp for the event early this week.
On Thursday, the UFC made it official, announcing that the former long-time middleweight champion will no longer be part of the event. A statement was released through UFC.com.

Following the April 6 removal of Kelvin Gastelum from his UFC 212 bout against Anderson Silva, UFC officials attempted to find a replacement to meet Silva on June 3. However an opponent was not secured to face the former middleweight champion on short notice, prompting his removal from the card at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Due to Anderson Silva’s withdrawal, customers may request a full refund of their purchased tickets until May 18, 2017.

The 42-year-old Silva has also been extremely unhappy about his current situation in the UFC. So much so that he issued a threat of retirement if he would not be granted an interim title shot.
UFC 212 features other notable Brazilian fighters on the card, including Vitor Belfort, who will be fighting his retirement fight against Nate Marquardt. It will be headlined by a featherweight unification title bout between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.
Source: bloody

Fighter threatened with deportation for questioning decision

A Kyrgyz kickboxer was threatened with deportation and/or imprisonment for refusing to accept the outcome of his fight in Kazan, Russia.  On a fateful night in Kazan, Russia, Dastan Sharsheev stood in the ring prepared to hear the outcome of his quarter-final bout against Anton Kalinin. Having dominated all three rounds in the short-notice bout, the announcement of the victor was a mere formality. Dressed in his traditional Kyrgyz Kalpak, a high-crowned cap made of sheep’s skin typical in Central Asia, Sharsheev pandered to the crowd and smiled broadly as he awaited the decision. Within moments, his smile was replaced with a baffled expression of incredulity. The judges had awarded their fellow Russian with the victory – a win that set the stage for a series of events that emphasized the plight of Central Asian migrants in the Russian Federation.
Sharsheev allowed himself a moment to collect his thoughts. He stood in the ring, rooted to a single spot, as his coaches attempted to console him. The crowd watched in silence as tournament officials and security staff surrounded the Kyrgyz fighter to dismiss his qualms with the scoring. This only exasperated an already tense situation. As the minutes counted down, it became evidently clear that Sharsheev had no plans to exit the ring until his concerns were addressed in public. It was here that Sharsheev, one of nearly two million Kyrgyz migrants in Russia, was threatened with imprisonment or deportation for his actions.
It was the man who officiated his quarter-final that first chimed in: “Now you will simply be deported and won’t be allowed back into the country.”
Sharsheev was livid. Within moments, he had been demoted to a second-class citizen and reminded of the xenophobia that plagues hard-working migrants throughout Russia’s 21 republics. This was no longer about the result of a professional fight, but about the ongoing struggle of every man, woman, or child who happened to look like him in Russia. Instead of succumbing to the stinging threats, he confronted them, and demanded a microphone.
Sharsheev had something important to say:
“Good evening, dear Tatarstan! I am here for the second time, the people here are very kind. I want to say that you saw who actually won. This is a tournament in which everything has to be right, where there should be fair judges. Was it fair today?” (h/t Kloop.kg)
The audience, hanging on his every word, responded with a resounding “NO.” Sharsheev continued:
“So ask yourself the question: where is justice in this world? Where is she? Or is it set to the color of my skin?”
Sharsheev’s powerful statement echoed throughout the arena and reverberated across an audience willing to lend their collective ears to the fighter’s cause. Sharsheev finished his impassioned speech with the phrase “Kyrgyzstan Forward.” Having won over the crowd in attendance, Sharsheev exited the ring, collected his belongings, and went home.

While Sharsheev said his part after the fight on April 22nd, his words spread like wildfire across the post-Soviet sphere and made headlines for days to come. The fighter had become an overnight sensation and a symbol of solidarity for Kyrgyz migrants everywhere. To an extent, he embodied their daily struggles in Russia. The laws regulating workers have become increasingly restrictive and obstacles continue to be used as a filtration system to limit the influx of foreign nationals. This takes the form of ‘blacklists’ for incomplete or non-existent documentation or even outright deportation. Those who manage to arrive in Russia have a month to register a place of residence, obtain a licence for their particular skills, complete a medical exam, and pass a Russian language test. After all that, they are still likely to be paid less than a Russian citizen for the exact same work, all while remaining invisible to the majority of Russian citizens. Sharsheev’s incident reminded migrants across Russia of their vulnerability and status as second-class citizens.
And while reports suggested that the Tatneft Cup had apologized for the incident, Sharsheev was quick to dismiss them as “excuses.” Instead, the fighter suggested that a sincere apology would not be directed at him, but at all migrants insulted by the xenophobic comments.
“You know, those words were the exact reason of my anger,” Sharsheev told Combat Press. “And not only me, but all migrants in Russia. Russia is a great country with many nationalities. If he wants to say sorry, I would say to him: ‘Don’t speak to me, but ask for forgiveness of all the migrants in Russia that were disappointed by your words.’
“I don’t keep anger. I am just disappointed that the referee said such things. He didn’t touch me; he touched everyone. My soul is hurt.”
Source: bloody