Gilbert Burns admits he ‘underestimated’ Prazeres: ‘I thought he was gonna get tired’

UFC lightweight Gilbert Burns discusses what he learned from his September loss to Michel Prazeres and when he hopes to fight again, as well as his upcoming grappling match at Submission Underground 4 on Sunday. Gilbert Burns was upset by Michel Prazeres in his last fight at UFC Fight Night 95 last September in his native Brazil, surprising himself and many others.
Burns, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, had troubles getting Prazeres to the mat for most of the three-round affair, and was forced to strike with Prazeres. Burns’ standup game is his biggest flaw, and he was subsequently outpointed on the feet, resulting in a decision defeat.
Burns walked away unhappy that evening, but more importantly, he learned so much. He said he was incredibly confident in his wrestling and grappling going into the fight, but after being unable to take Prazeres down, he realized multiple parts of his game needed work.
“The fight started good, but I couldn’t take him down, I couldn’t keep my pace,” Burns told’s The MMA Circus. “It was a learning experience. I changed a lot of things after that loss. I made mistakes, we paid for it, but I’m fortunate to learn.
“I put a lot of time into my striking now. I’m doing a lot more wrestling; I have to take people down to use my jiu-jitsu. And to do my wrestling, I need to punch my way into the takedowns. My submission game is always on point, it’s always there. But to be a better mixed martial artist, I need to be able to take people down.
“And another thing that I changed was my conditioning. I want to make sure I’m not going to gas in my fights. The two fights I lost, I felt tired. I don’t want that to happen again.”
Burns admitted that he “underestimated” his opponent — something he won’t do again.
“I was confident I was going to beat this guy, but he surprised me a little bit in the fight,” he said. “I thought he was gonna be strong, but I thought he was gonna get tired. And then I got tired — that was the biggest surprise.”
Recovered from a recent elbow injury and surgery, which scrapped a fight with Paul Felder at February’s UFC 208, “Durinho” expects he’ll step back inside the UFC’s Octagon this summer, perhaps at one of the two International Fight Week events.
He doesn’t have an opponent yet, but one man on Burns’ mind is his last opponent, Prazeres. Burns wants to avenge that loss, but not right away.
“I’m looking forward to the rematch. I want to fight him again. First I’m going to correct everything I did wrong,” Burns said, “but I think I’m way better than how I fought and I think I can beat him. Maybe two more fights I want to fight him again.”
Burns isn’t happy that he’s already had an eight-month layoff, but there isn’t much he can do about it. He was forced to pull out of a fight due to injury earlier this year, but said that it hasn’t been too easy to get scheduled, particularly because he’s coming off a loss.
“I want to fight three or four times in a year,” he said. “But I understand, too. If you win, if you’re coming up in the ranks, it’s easy to book you a fight. And then when you lose, it’s not that close. I asked a couple times — I have only two losses in my career — I asked to fight again really soon, but they always told me to [sit out] for four or five months.”
While he waits for his UFC return to be booked, Burns is set to compete in a grappling match opposite John Combs at Submission Underground 4 on Sunday evening in Portland, Ore. This is familiar territory for Burns, who regularly competes in jiu-jitsu, most recently at Polaris and NoGi Worlds.
For Burns, competing in grappling is better than not competing at all while he waits for his next mixed martial arts bout to be scheduled.
“Chael Sonnen contacted me when I had a fight coming up on Polaris, and eventually, he invited me to the next one,” Burns said. “I love to compete. And if I don’t have UFC scheduled yet, what’s a better way to keep competing than a super-fight?”
Though Burns has lots of experience on the jiu-jitsu mat, the Combat Club fighter will experience something new at Submission Underground 4 — Eddie Bravo Invitational rules. Instead of also being able to score points and win by decision, competitors must submit their opponents in regulation, submit their opponents in overtime, or, at the very least, escape the quickest in overtime if all submission attempts are failures.
Burns believes he’ll shine under these rules.
“I like those rules a lot,” he said. “A couple fights are boring — guys just want to make a couple points and hold the fight and stalling. EBI rules come to fix that and to entertain. EBI rules are better because you cannot win by points. And if you don’t finish, you go on the back or side control (in overtime), where it’s easier to get a submission, and you go from there. I think it’s gonna help a lot for my game and my style. I like to move forward and pressure. So it’s very positive for my game, and the way I like to watch, as well.”
Submission Underground 4 streams live on FloGrappling on Sunday, May 14 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
Source: bloody

Dustin Poirier to appeal no contest against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 211

Dustin Poirier won’t sit idle on the events of Saturday night.

The UFC lightweight plans to file an appeal over the result of his UFC 211 bout with Eddie Alvarez with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TLDR), Poirier’s manager Robert Roveta told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani on Sunday.

The fight was ruled a no contest by referee Herb Dean after Alvarez landed repeated illegal knees to Poirier’s head in the second round. Poirier believes the result should be overturned into a disqualification victory for him.

The actual rule is a divisive one and very much open to a referee’s interpretation. If a foul is deemed intentional, then the referee will rule the bout a disqualification. If it’s accidental, the result will be a no contest.

While Alvarez clearly meant to knee Poirier in the head in that position, Dean seemed to interpret that Alvarez was not intentionally trying to commit a foul in that situation. The knees were intentional, but the foul was not, at least according to Dean’s interpretation.

“I was in a fist fight,” Alvarez said afterward. “I thought I had Dustin hurt and I thought he was a little tired. The first knee, I thought he was playing the game where he had his hand down. Herb (Dean) was very clear about you can’t play the game, so I hurt him with the first one, I think the second one may have been legal, but the third knee was illegal. I saw it on the prompter afterwards that it was illegal and I apologize to Dustin.”

UFC president Dana White said Saturday night in multiple post-fight interviews that he thought it should have been a disqualification. He even said former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta texted him saying the UFC needs instant replay to get calls like that right. Instant replay is available in some states, but not in others. It’s unclear if replay would have helped in this particular situation, since it was Dean’s judgment call.

The entire scenario is muddied by changes to the Unified Rules of MMA that were passed by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) last year. Under the new rules, two of those knees Alvarez threw would have been legal. The third, with Poirier’s knee down, was illegal under both the old and new rules.

Texas, though, has not adopted the new rules yet, so all three of those Alvarez knee strikes were illegal. Some states have passed the new rules, others have not, making it confusing for both fighters and officials. A controversial ending via thought-to-be-illegal knees occurred in a big middleweight fight between Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210 last month.

The new rules for a grounded combatant make it so fighters cannot just place one finger or one hand down to make themselves grounded, thereby making knees or kicks to the head a foul in that position. Both palms or fists, or anything else other than the soles of the feet, must be down to be grounded under the new rules. The previous and longtime ruleset says anything other than the soles of the feet being on the mat — even a fingertip — makes a fighter grounded.

There was a similar scenario to Poirier-Alvarez in December in Las Vegas, before any new rules were implemented. Tim Means hit Alex Oliveira with multiple knees that were clearly illegal, because Oliveira’s knees were on the ground at the time. Oliveira could not continue. Referee Dan Miragliotta ruled the fight a no contest, because while Means clearly meant to knee Oliveira in the head he did not know what he was doing was a foul.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) declined Oliveira’s appeal of that result. The commission deemed that Means was not intending to commit a foul and that the referee is the “sole arbiter of a contest.”

Poirier had won the first round against Alvarez and had Alvarez badly hurt in the second. Alvarez, though, was firing back and rocked Poirier, too.

Both men expressed interest in a rematch Saturday night.

Source: mmafighting

Demian Maia won’t ‘sell myself’ to get UFC welterweight title shot

Demian Maia places a high value on winning the UFC welterweight championship.

But he’s not willing to sell his soul to get there.

“A lot of people came up to me and said you need to trash talk,” Maia said on Saturday night in Dallas. “That’s not me.”

Maia won his seventh consecutive fight at UFC 211, earning a split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at American Airlines Center. By virtue of the win, he’s expected to get the next shot at Tyron Woodley’s championship.

But Maia’s heard this one before. At several steps along the way, he was expected to get the crack at 170-pound gold, only to have circumstances conspire to yank away his opportunity.

So, even with UFC president Dana White saying on Saturday that Maia has next, you can forgive him for deciding he’ll believe it when he sees it.

“What I learned lately in my life is that, don’t get too stressed with things that I don’t have control,” Maia said. “Once I won against Gunnar Nelson, they invited me to watch [Robbie] Lawler and [Carlos] Condit in that time. I was supposed to be the next, they were recording me, I was in the front row, but then things change.

“Then I came and won against Matt Brown and they say okay now we’re gonna fight, and then, no, let’s fight Condit. And then I won against Condit, former interim champion, in a very good way and said, ‘okay, now we’re going to fight,’ and no, and finally I got this one. I don’t know, you know? I just relax and I not put this pressure on me anymore.”

And if he does, in fact, get the title shot, he’s not going to suddenly pretend he’s someone he’s not just to sell an extra pay-per-view or two.

“That’s my personality,” Maia said. “I’m not going to change that. I’m not going to sell myself just because I want to be a champion, just because I want to make more money, you know? I don’t sell myself. I am what I am. I’m a role model for a lot of people, for my kids. I don’t want to just change because I want to make more money. I’m going to do something, more people are going to like me, I know I have a lot of fans, and it’s a big mistake try to please everybody.”

With his victory over Masvidal, Maia — a former middleweight title challenger before he dropped down to 170 — claimed his 19th career UFC win, tying him with Georges St-Pierre and Donald Cerrone for second behind Michael Bisping’s 20 for the second-most all-time.

Maia credited Masvidal for giving him what he considered his toughest win in his current run.

“I’ve won seven in a row and I think that was probably the toughest one,” Maia said, “because, the last fights I was controlling all the time, even the fights I didn’t submit, but this one was tougher. You know he really came prepared for my jiu-jitsu and he was defending well the submissions, but I was able to get my positions and I was trying to submit him all the time.”

Source: mmafighting

Forgoing trash talk, Demian Maia would ‘rather die’ than change his principles

UFC welterweight contender Demian Maia has finally been promised a title shot. He did so without talking trash, and that’s just fine with him. Demian Maia walked away from UFC 211 with another welterweight win. This one was the biggest since he dropped from middleweight in 2012 because it locked up a likely title shot against 170-pound title holder Tyron Woodley.
The road to title contention hasn’t been an easy one. Much of that path — if not all — has been against some of the best the division has to offer. Wins over the likes of Matt Brown, Carlos Condit, and as of Saturday night Jorge Masvidal have propelled Maia into a position that some say he should have been in long ago.
“I’ve been in this division for 12 fights,” he said during the UFC 211 post-fight press conference. “I’ve won 10 fights, and almost all of those fights have been against top-15 and top-10 competitors.”
Without question, Maia’s climb up the rankings has come through hard work and beating formidable opponents who could have stopped the jiu-jitsu expert’s rise. But they didn’t, and now Maia is a No. 1 contender through sheer skill and without subscribing to the belief that one must talk trash to get to the top.
While others have been able to utilize tremendous mic skills in promoting themselves, Maia hasn’t desired (or needed) that approach. For him, it’s a matter of not selling out, applying a different set of principles for the fight game.
“I’m not going to sell myself just because I want to be a champion or just because I want to make more money,” he said. “I am who I am and I’m a role model for a lot of people, and for my kids.
“I’m not going to change … A lot of people came to me (and said) ‘you need to trash talk’ and this kind of thing. That’s not me … I have my principles. I’d rather die than change my principles.”
At UFC 211, Maia beat a fighter who was largely considered the hitman hired to take him out and stop his trek towards contention. After getting past Masvidal, Maia gestured toward UFC President Dana White and signaled for a title shot. White granted him the shot and now he expects to face Woodley next.
But there’s a funny thing about those promised title shots — sometimes promises are broken. History has shown that even though White has guaranteed fighters positions as the next in line, those same contenders have been passed up for alternative match-ups. While doubt may loom over his head about whether White will follow through on his word, all Maia can do is believe that long-sought title fight is coming.
“What can I do? I must believe,” he said when asked if he believes White sees him as the next in line for the belt. “Like I said, I [won] seven in a row. Who else has done that in this division? Just ‘Wonderboy?’
“I’m pretty confident that what Dana said is going to happen.”

Source: bloody

UFC 211 Aftermath: Joanna Jedrzejczyk chases history

In the days leading up to UFC 211, Joanna Jedrzejczyk made it clear she’s all for the UFC adding the women’s flyweight division.

After all, that could very well give her the opportunity to become the second UFC fighter, along with Conor McGregor, to hold two weight-class titles simultaneously.

And after her dominant performance against Jessica Andrade on Saturday night, does such an idea really seem farfetched?

Joanna Champion put on another clinical performance in pitching a shutout against the game-but-overmatched Andrade on Saturday night in Dallas. She took her aggressive challenger’s fast start in stride, stuck with her game plan, and exhibited her otherworldly level of movement, pacing, and precision strikes.

Those low kicks Jedrzejczyk threw in the early rounds might not have seemed killer in the early going, but when Andrade started to feel them later, the champ really put on a show, peppering Andrade from range and mauling her every time Andrade dared wade in close.

And with that, we seem to have the perfect set of conditions for Jedrzejczyk to really make her mark on the sport’s history. Jerdzejczyk — whose 75 leg kicks, incidentally broke her own UFC single-fight record of 70 set against Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193 — is now one win shy of former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s UFC women’s record of six successful title defenses.

The Ultimate Fighter 26 will crown the first UFC women’s 125 champion before the year is out. If Jedrzejczyk defends her title once before the end of the year and again by the middle of next year, she’ll break Rousey’s title-defense record. She’ll likely have the division cleared out.

It’s almost as if she’s ready made to walk into a 115 vs. 125 superfight sometime around the end of next year.

Of course, these scenarios rarely play out as clean as they sound on paper. But right now, Jedrzejczyk seems as sure a thing in the UFC this side of Demetrious Johnson.

And if you need any more convincing, the champ doesn’t sound like she’s in any rush to rest on her laurels.

“I feel this fire, and I want to learn. Since I moved to American Top Team, I feel like I’m the bird that got to escape from its cage, if you know that meaning. I’m very hard on myself everyday, you can ask my coaches, and after a good training session, I’m not happy because I know I can do better or change something to do better, you know? That’s why I keep on defending this belt.”

UFC 211 quotes

“I’m not going to sell myself just because I want to be a champion, just because I want to make more money, you know? I don’t sell myself. I am what I am.” — Demian Maia isn’t going to do a song and dance to get a welterweight title shot

“I’m not one to root for either guy. Sometimes you want something so bad and it doesn’t happen, so we’ll let them figure that out and cross that bridge when it happens.” — Frankie Edgar, on whether he wants Jose Aldo or Max Holloway to win their UFC 212 main event.

“I really don’t care. I mean, yeah, if I keep winning, I’ll break history. Big deal. I’m just going to keep winning. I like winning. It’s fun. I like being called champ, especially.” — Stipe Miocic, not overly concerned about whether he’ll be the first UFC fighter with three successful heavyweight title defenses

“Today it didn’t work well for me. But I felt good. I felt almost there, and I felt like winning. After my third kick, I felt winning until lights out.” — dos Santos on his loss

Stock report

Up: Stipe Miocic It’s not just that Miocic has joined the likes of Randy Couture, Cain Velasquez, Tim Sylvia, and Brock Lesnar in the UFC’s “two heavyweight title defenses” club. It’s the manner in which he’s done it. In case you haven’t noticed, Miocic has now knocked out Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and Junior dos Santos in the first round in three consecutive fights. His unflappable demeanor might be just what’s needed to navigate this gauntlet of angry monsters and come out the other side. Sure, this isn’t the first time the pundits have proclaimed that we finally might have our first dominant UFC heavyweight champion, but then, we’ve never seen Stipe Miocic before, either.

Up: Demian Maia There are people out there who are going to look at Maia’s postfight comments after defeating Jorge Masvidal, in which he said he won’t sell himself out to get a title shot, and mock him for not grabbing after every last dollar. You have to wonder if those folks were born with souls. Maia’s run of seven consecutive wins has been a victory for sport over spectacle. And his style is a reminder that, despite what Meryl Streep might think, there is art in mixed martial arts. Against Jorge Masvidal, Maia wasn’t able to quickly finish Jorge Masvidal like he did Carlos Condit in his previous fight. But he did show tenacity when Masvidal, one of the sport’s most hard-nosed fighters, didn’t buckle under Maia’s relentless first-round pressure. And Maia showed his veteran guile in doing what he needed to secure the win. In an era in which profane rants and complaints drown out nearly everything else, Maia’s run is a breath of fresh air.

Up: Frankie Edgar I’ll admit, I was ready to buy into the idea Edgar’s match with Yair Rodriguez was going to be one of those passing-the-torch moments, the one where we lament Edgar is not quite the fighter he used to be. Instead, Edgar ruthlessly snuffed out any hints he might be past his prime with an absolutely merciless victory over Rodriguez, battering the young hotshot for two rounds until the bout was waved off before the third. That’s two straight wins and seven out of eight for a guy who, by the way, still has never been finished in a career which dates back to 2005. While it would be beneficial for Edgar to have Max Holloway defeat Jose Aldo next month at UFC 212 in the featherweight title unification bout, since a third Aldo-Edgar fight would be a tough sell, there’s little dispute he’s got a valid claim on the next featherweight title shot.

Down: Yair Rodriguez Nope, we’re not going to go calling Rodriguez a hype or a fraud after his first UFC loss. Especially when it came to a fighter the quality of Edgar. Instead, we’ll call on Rodriguez and his camp to consider the case of Stephen Thompson after his loss to Matt Brown in 2012. Thompson took the information he learned from a one-sided loss to a crafty vet, committed to becoming a better all-around fighter, and went on a run that took him within a hair’s breadth of the welterweight title. Will Rodriguez, who seems to have about 90 percent of what’s needed to become a breakthrough star, buckle down and focus on shoring up that remaining 10 percent? That could be the difference as to whether he’s simply an interesting guy on the card or whether he fully lives up to his potential.

Hold: Jessica Andrade We’re not going to write off Andrade, either. Andrade has proven one of the sport’s more fearless fighters. She had an above-.500 record at bantamweight despite being undersized when 135 was the only option for women in the UFC. She’s buzzsawed her way through 115. And she took her best shot against one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters in Jedrzejczyk. Sure, she came up short. But she’s only 25 and with a 125-pound class opening up, her options have only expanded. One gets the feeling that one way or another, we’ll be writing about Andrade in a title fight again some day.

Interesting stuff

Once again, a controversy over illegal knees marred an exciting fight. This time, it was Eddie Alvarez drilling Dustin Poirier with three illegal knees, just one month after Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi ended in controversy. I’m not even going to bother getting too worked up over the whole deal over whether it should have been a no-contest vs. a disqualification (Okay, for the record, it probably should have been a DQ, but I’m not going to call Alvarez, who plainly was in survival mode, a dirty fighter).

Rather, this fight felt like the tipping point for me on the entire deal about downed knees for fighters being banned. We generally accept that PRIDE-style knees to grounded fighters shouldn’t be legal as our starting point before deciding what the delineation point between legal and illegal knees should be. Why? There’s the brain trauma argument, of course, but that’s a bit of selective judgment when you’re okay in the first place with a sport with punches and elbows both standing and on the ground and kicks and knees to the head in the standup.

Maybe it’s time to get the idea of fully legalizing knees back on the table. And if not, for the love of god, the commissions need to get the rules straight across the board. Maybe you didn’t like the “playing the game” rule on technically downed fighters, but at least it was consistent, MMA’s equivalent of a play being in bounds or out of bounds. The way things are now, with different rules in different jurisdictions, is like an annoying ad for a prescription drug on television: the side effects of the new rule have been worse than the original condition it was supposed to fix.

Fight I’d like to see next: Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez

Yes, I know all the reasons why we’d balk at having the UFC book this one. Velasquez’s injuries are the reason why he’s simply listed among the all-time great heavyweights, and not the single best of all-time in his division. Still, if you look at the landscape at the moment, Miocic has mowed through Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Werdum, Overeem, and dos Santos in the first round. But, putting aside for the moment the fact he’s still on the shelf, Velasquez has won five of his past six fights. If you want to build intrigue around Miocic’s last fight, facing a two-time former champ and another member of the two-defense club in his attempt to make a record-breaking third defense, with the Werdum-Overeem winner on standby in case Velasquez falls out, seems worth the risk.

Source: mmafighting

UFC returning to Mexico City for August 5th ‘Fight Night’ card

The UFC will kick off its August schedule with an event in Mexico City, Mexico. There was a noticeably large Mexican contingent for UFC 211 in Dallas, with many fans arriving early to see Gabriel Benitez fight Enrique Barzola on the prelims, and of course Yair Rodriguez’s eventual one-sided loss to Frankie Edgar on the main card. In just a few months, the UFC will be making its way back to Mexico for another live event.
As was confirmed on Thursday, the Octagon is heading back to Mexico City for a Fight Night card on Saturday, August 5th. This will be the fourth time the Arena Ciudad de Mexico has hosted a UFC event in the last three years.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing another live event to Mexico City and the Arena Ciudad Del Mexico,” UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content Joe Carr, said. “Fans in this country have proven to be some of our most knowledgeable and passionate in the world. We are firmly committed to the Mexican market and our talent development efforts here, which have resulted in rising stars like Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno. UFC will continue to be the MMA leader in Latin America and home to the region’s top talent.”
No fights have been announced for this card, which will likely be televised on Fox Sports 1. The UFC last appeared in Mexico City for the TUF Latin America 3 Finale in November, with Tony Ferguson beating Rafael dos Anjos in a captivating five-round main event.

Source: bloody

Dustin Poirier vs. Eddie Alvarez full fight video highlights

Watch Dustin Poirier vs. Eddie Alvarez full fight video highlights from UFC 211’s preliminary card above, courtesy of FOX Sports.

UFC 211: Miocic vs. dos Santos 2 took place May 13 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (28-5, 1 no-contest) locked horns with Dustin Poirier (21-5, 1 no-contest) on the night’s main card, which aired live on FOX Sports 1. Catch the video highlights above.

For more on Edgar vs. Rodriguez, check out the play-by-play courtesy of’s Chuck Mindenhall.

Round 1: Main event of the prelims here, and a good one — Dustin Poirier and Philly’s own Eddie Alvarez. A couple of Conor McGregor victims. The referee in this one is Herb Dean. Poirier…

Source: mmafighting

UFC fighters Tecia Torres, Raquel Pennington get engaged

There might be a pair of Penningtons making noise in two UFC divisions before long.

UFC fighters Tecia Torres and Raquel Pennington got engaged to be married Saturday, Torres announced on Instagram. The two, who have been dating since last year, recently bought a home together in Pennington’s home state of Colorado. Torres wrote posted a picture of Pennington down on one knee.

“Our love began unexpectedly,” Torres wrote. “It started as a crush and grew into an amazing love. In this moment you made my dreams for us come true. Everyday you show me a love so true and pure. I am blessed to wake up to you every morning and fall asleep in your arms at night. I can’t wait to become Mrs. Pennington.”

Pennington also posted a picture of the moment, ring in hand.

“Couldn’t be anymore complete,” Pennington wrote. “She said YES!!! And we had and amazing day with all our wonderful friends and family celebrating our new home.”

Torres, 27, is a top contender in the UFC women’s strawweight division, most recently defeating Bec Rawlings in February by unanimous decision. “Tiny Tornado” also earned her Master’s degree in criminology from Florida Atlantic University last week.

Pennington, 28, is on a four-fight winning streak, including a unanimous decision win over Miesha Tate at UFC 205 last November. “Rocky” could be nearing a title shot with another victory.

Source: mmafighting