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Top 5 Takeaways from Khabib Gaethje Press Conference

 

“I know he knows how to wrestle but what about wrestling for 25 minutes … if I try take him down once and his defense is good, I’m going to go all night. This is the biggest difference between us” – Khabib Nurmagomedov when asked difference between his wrestling vs traditional D1 American wrestling

 

Khabib’s wrestling isn’t like any other person we’ve seen before. His ability to control his weight and continue to pressure without giving up is something that has been unstoppable. It will be up to Justin to be able to scramble and keep this fight standing to give him a shot at winning. 

 

 

“This fight is tracking to be the biggest fight we’ve ever done” – Dana White when asked how the fight is tracking

 

It is clear that this fight offers something different as far as the level of threat that Justin will be to Khabib. Khabib is a massive star and is growing bigger and bigger globally and Justin with his win over Ferguson has put himself over the top as one of the top names in MMA. 

“He hasn’t wrestled with someone that’s grappled as long as he has and that’s me, I have” – Justin Gaethje on what makes him different from the fighters Khabib have faced 

 

It’s going to be interesting to see if that wrestling background will serve him. If he is able to keep this fight standing then Khabib will be the one in trouble with the amount of power the Justin has. His knockout power and his wrestling background makes him a completely different threat when compared to everyone else. 

 

“I think him and Conor (McGregor) are the two most dangerous guys in the first round, if you talk about second round, third round, they become regular fighters” – Khabib on Justin and what he does for his legacy”

 

The striking game of Justin will be on full display this weekend and it will be exciting to see if his punchers chance will pull through early for him

 

“I’d say zero but they say one” – Justin Gaethje on how many rounds he thinks Khabib has lost 

 

It’s clear that the respect is there on both sides of the fight. Even later in the press conference, Gaethje didn’t want the belt on him during the photo sessions because he said he’s still waiting for the real one. 

 

You can follow Johnathan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo for all your MMA takes

 

MMA: Fight of the Month Power Rankings

What makes for a great fight? It’s much more complex than having two strikers go at it. There has to be a certain amount of tension that the fight emanates. The battle scars and aesthetic of a fighter going through war makes it all the better. If a fighter is unique in his own way, it just adds to the recipe for making a great fight. With another week of fight in the books for the UFC, how does these fights stack up against last weeks?

  1. Joaquin Buckley vs Impa Kasanganay (N/R)

What else can be said about this fight. With Buckley delivering the potential best KO of all time, he cemented himself into every knockout highlight reel. This fight was much more than the knockout. Impa was showing good durability early in the fight and Joaquim was delivering good heavy shots early and often. With such amazing exclamation point of the fight, this one is the new king of the month in our Power Rankings

 

  1. Cory Sandhagen vs Marlon Moraes (NR)

On any other night, this might’ve been KO of the night. A spin kick KO with such a masterful performance for the first round places Cory Sandhagen on 2nd in our Power Rankings. Cory showed his skills off in this fight showing his striking ability early in this fight. His movement and striking at range displayed Sandagens ability to be a well rounded fighter. 

 

  1. Luigi Vendramini vs Jessin Ayari (Last Week: -2)

With strong contenders coming from last week’s fights. This fight gets bumped down. Still, the first fight of the month was a very exciting one and finishing with a bang always propels you upward in the Power rankings. This fight still holds ground in this weeks Power Rankings

 

  1. Nassourdine Imavov vs Jordan Willaims (Last Week: -2)

Two weeks in, we still have yet to see a fight where as much damage was delivered as in this one. This fight still is the war of the month with both guys throwing heavy for a good portion of two rounds. Even with low blows and headbutts, these two warriors kept fighting, and that performance holds their place in this months Power Rankings at 4.

 

  1. Dusko Todorovic vs Dequan Townsend (-2)

Holding the last spot of the power rankings is the fight between two heavy hitters. Townsend showed more durability than almost anyone to date this month and Dusko was willing to deliver the damage. Dusko showed himself as a threat in the division in the upcoming future. The undefeated Todorovic holds on to the last spot on the power rankings this week.

 

Just Missed: Germaine De Randamie vs Julianna Pena, Chris Daukaus vs Rodrigo Nascimento

 

You can follow Johnathan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

Weekly Roundkick: MMA news on Five Reasons Sports

Welcome to the Weekly Roundkick, where you can get all your MMA news in one spot. In the age of Covid, the UFC has done a great job of being the leaders of industry in making sure the show goes on. Here’s everything that you might’ve missed this week in the MMA world.

 

Upcoming Events

  • October 10th, 11:30 AM EST: Bellator 248: MVP vs. Houston
  • October 10th, 2 PM EST: KSW 55: Askham vs. Khalidov 2
  • October 10th, 5 PM EST: Bellator Europe 10: Kongo vs. Johnson II
  • October 10th, 5 PM EST: UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs Sandhagen
  • October 14th, 8 PM EST: CES MMA 61
  • October 15th, 7:30 PM EST: Bellator 249: Cyborg vs. Blencowe
  • October 16th Time TBA: ONE Championship 117: Reign of Dynasties II
  • October 16th, 9 PM EST: LFA 93: Petroski vs. Jeffery
  • October 17th, 4 PM EST: UFC on ESPN+ 38: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie
  • October 24th, 2 PM EST: UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje

 

  • Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns is off for UFC 256 (MMAJunkie)

 

MMA Fight Rumors and Announcements

 

  • Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns is off for UFC 256 (MMAJunkie)
  • Alex Perez Steps in to fight Deiveson Figueiredo for the UFC Flyweight Championship at UFC 255
  • Rafael Dos Anjos out of UFC 254 with Covid-19 
  • Youssef Zalal steps in to fight Ilia Topuria on UFC Fight Island 5, 10/10 
  • Brandon Royval to fight Brandon Moreno at UFC 255
  • Alexander Hernandez to fight Chris Gruetzemacher (MMAJunkie) on UFC Oct. 31 l
  • DWCS Contract winner Jimmy Flick to debut vs Cody Durden on Dec. 5
  • Jeremy Stephens vs Arnold Allen booked for Nov 7
  • Mounir Lazzez tests positive for COVID-19 and is out of fight vs David Zawada on Oct 17
  • Belal Mohammed vs Sean Brady scheduled for Dec 19
  • Corey Anderson vs Melvin Manhoef to headline Bellator 251 on Nov 5
  • Casey Kenney makes a quick turnaround to face Nathaniel Wood on UFC 254

 

MMA Signings 

  • Bellator signs CFFC heavyweight champ Shawn Teed (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator signs Usman Nurmagomedov, cousin of UFC champ Khabib (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator signs Former UFC bantamweight Brett Johns (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator signs LFA lightweight champion Bryce Logan (MMAJunkie) 

MMA Fights of the Month: October 2020

Fight of the Month Power Rankings: October

 

What makes for a great fight? It’s much more complex than having two strikers go at it. There has to be a certain amount of tension that the fight emanates. The battle scars and aesthetic of a fighter going through war makes it all the better. If a fighter is unique in his own way, it just adds to the recipe for making a great fight. This month, we are going to take into consideration all of those things and more, and bring you a power ranking of the best fights of October. 

  1. Luigi Vendramini vs Jessin Ayari

This was the first fight of the card AND the month and if it was any indication of how this month is going to go, we’re in for a lot of exciting fights. Luigi Vendramini and Jessin Ayari started off the night by going right at each other. After a good right hand by Luigi rocks Jessin, he finishes him with a head kick. This exciting fight starts off the month of October at #1 on the list

 

  1. Nassourdine Imavov vs Jordan Willaims

Of all the fights on the card, this definitely was the one with the most damage inflicted. It was almost a throwback fight looking like UFC 2, due to the fact that the blind referee missed 2 (!!!) headbutts, one of which caused a broken orbital bone of Williams. This fight was a war. Jordan showed the heart of a champion, unwilling to go down no matter how many heavy shots he took. As for Nassourdine he was willing to dish it all out. This all-out war puts it at #2 on our power rankings.

 

  1. Dusko Todorovic vs Dequan Townsend

Coming up third in our fight of the month is the rise of undefeated Dusko Todorovic vs Dequan Townsend. Dusko came in this fight looking sharp as ever. His striking was crisp, defense kept him clean, and his wrestling was dominant. When he put all of those together in this fight he put away someone who got TKO’d once before tonight in 33 career fights. Dusko’s dominance puts his fight with Townsend at #3

 

  1. Germaine de Randamie vs Juilianna Pena

This fight should’ve been the main event of the card. #1 Ranked Germaine De Randamie took on #4 Ranked Julianna Pena. It was a clash of styles and given the domination that GDR took from Nunes on the ground, it seemed if Pena took her down it was over. GDR was able to keep the fight on the feet in the first, while Pena was able to implement her game plan early in the second. That was when GDR turned things around. She reversed position and locked in a von flue choke that almost won her the fight, but the round ended. And again late in the third, she goes for a submission. This time she pulls a guillotine and is able to put Pena to sleep in a fight that could’ve gone either way. This was the first submission win for “The Iron Lady” and earns her a spot at #4

 

  1. Casey Kenney vs Heili Alateng

 

Casey Kenney earns himself the last spot on our power rankings with the clinic he put on against Heili Alateng. His kicks to the body left Heili with a big red patch on the side of his body and he was throwing bombs at him, busting up his face in the process. With such a masterful performance by Kenney, not only did he earn a fight in a few weeks on UFC 254, he earns himself the last spot on our power rankings. 

 

Just missed: Holm vs Aldana

 

You can follow Johnathan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

The Weekly Roundkick: McGregor Soon?

Welcome to the Weekly Roundkick, where you can get all your MMA news in one spot. In the age of Covid, the UFC has done a great job of being the leaders of industry in making sure the show goes on. Here’s everything that you might’ve missed this week in the MMA world.

 

Fight Rumors and Announcements

 

  • Conor McGregor: UFC says they’re in the works for “something fun” for Conor McGregor. The sports biggest star has been out since his win over Cowboy Cerrone and hopefully, soon we get an announcement for what he’s doing (UFC)

 

  • #5 Stephen Thompson, Former UFC title challenger and the NMF, Nicest Mother Effer, performed his first official twitter callout calling out #3 Leon Edwards. Leon has been all over twitter asking for a fight so we now sit and wait to see what his response is

 

  • Khamzat Chimaev, the summers hottest star, is scheduled to face a ranked opponent in the main event spot for a date to be announced (MMA Junkie)

 

  • Robbie Lawler is looking to bounce back against Mike Perry at UFC 255 on Saturday, November 21, 2020

 

  • #9 Nikita Krylov vs. #7 Volkan Oezdemir is now the Co-Maiin of UFC’s Oct. 17 card

 

  • #2 Thiago Santos vs. #4 Glover Teixeira lined up for Nov. 7 headliner (MMA Junkie)

 

  • Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Drew Dober lined up for November 7

 

  • Ludovit Klein steps up a short notice to fight Shane Young (MMA Junkie)
  • Jessin Ayari vs. Luigi Vendramini lined up for (Combate)
  • Nassourdine Imavov vs. Jordan Williams – Two UFC Fighters making their debut (MMA Fighting)
  • Dusko Todorovic vs. Dequan Townsend – Dusko making us UFC Debut while Townsend looking for his first win in the UFC 
  • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann set up for UFC’s Dec. 5 Card (MMAJunkie)

 

Other MMA News

 

    • Cage Warriors FC Kicks off 3 days straight of Fights on UFC Fight pass starting September 25th
  • Anthony Smith responds to Johnny Walker’s callout saying “I’ll beat the ___ out of you” Would be an interesting matchup if it comes to fruition. 

 

You can follow Johnathan Ramlakhan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

 

UFC Vegas 11 Fight Ratings & Review

With the UFC heading to Abu Dhabi for Fight Island, UFC Vegas 11 wrapped up the fights in the U.S. 6 Knockouts, 4 Submissions, 2 Split Decisions, 1 Draw, and only 1 Unanimous Decision made for a card that gave us fights that went down to the final minute, as well as fighters showing the highest level of skill delivering a finish. Hype trains kept rolling and bad blood settled, a new phase of the pandemic era starts soon with Fight Island. Here’s one last look at Vegas 11 living up to all the hype

 

Main Card

 

Colby Covington def. Tyron Woodley via TKO (Broken Rib) 

Fight Rating: 6.5 / 10 

Review: This was the fight that went most like the way it was expected to go. Tyron was hesitant to go forward and Colby just wore him down more and more as the fight went on. Covington showed that he still is a top welterweight and probably only needs one more win to get a shot at the Welterweight championship. He showed improved striking game and continued his dominance on the ground while Woodley showed more waiting and waiting which has now cost him 15 straight rounds lost. For Woodley, leaving this fight with a broken rib is unfortunate, but hopefully, this extra time off allows for him to have some time to reflect and determine what he wants to do moving forward in his career. 

 

Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price -majority draw

Fight Rating: 7.5 / 10

Review: This fight was one of those that had a high likelihood to end by knockout. Niko Price came a few strikes away from knocking Cowboy out. Cowboy was able to recover from the head shots after a few eye pokes coming from Niko, costing a point, giving him the allotted time. Cowboy came back in the second round and fought well, and then Niko closed out strong. Fun fight to watch, just wished it ended with a finish

 

Khamzat Chimaev def. Gerald Meerschaert via knockout 

Fight Rating: 10 / 10 

Review: All it took was 1 punch in 17 seconds to end it. Khamzat Chimaev showed his continued dominance in his 3rd fight. He has a potential fight coming up with Damien Maia. I don’t think that fight will end well for the veteran. Continuing on the Khamzat Express!

 

Johnny Walker def. Ryan Spann via TKO 

Rating: 8.2 / 10 

Review: This was an exciting fight from the start, with Spann catching Walker with a punch and getting him rocked. But for some reason, Spann decided to try and crotch sniff and try to get the double leg instead of going for the almost secured knockout. From here Walker Delivered nasty elbows and ended the night for Ryan Spann

 

Mackenzie Dern def. Randa Markos via armbar 

Rating: 8.8 / 10 

Review: Mackenzie Dern showed her extreme dominance on the ground while Markos really was outmatched. For some reason, Markos welcomed the ground game with the submission specialist and it did not bode well for her. Within the first 3 minutes, Dern had submitted Markos via armbar. 

 

Kevin Holland def. Darren Stewart via split decision 

Rating: 7.9 / 10

Review: Both of these guys kept going back and forth in this one. Holland started out strong and Stewart made a strong comeback in the end. The jaws were flapping heavily in the fight as both guys were talking back and forth during the fight. Even in the end, both showed great respect for each other and it ended being a good one.

 

Prelims Top 3 

  1. Randy Costa def. Journey Newson via knockout (head kick)

Rating: 10 / 10 

Review: The stock is rising fast for the Zohan, Randy Costa after he delivered a perfectly placed head kick. The fight was over in under a minute and the setup was perfect along with the mindset to not hesitate and deliver it. Exciting finishes will get you far in the UFC

 

  1. Jessica-Rose Clark def. Sarah Alpar via TKO (knee) 

Rating: 8.9 / 10

Review: This was definitely the most brutal fight of the night. JRC showed her dominance tonight in almost every manner vs Alpar. She was able to scramble and not get held on the ground and was able to deliver heavy shots. The only issue with this fight is JRC delivered a knee that put Alpar out. The knee was checked for legality and was deemed legal so the fight should’ve been over. Unfortunately, the referee allowed the beating to continue into the next round. JRC ended up winning with a TKO Finish. Good fight, horrible stoppage. 

 

  1. Damon Jackson def. Mirsad Bektic via submission (guillotine choke) 

Rating: 8.4 / 10

Review: The reason this fight is scored so high is because of the incredible comeback by Damon Johnson. After giving up the first two rounds, and getting dominated on the ground, he knew a finish was needed to get the win. And he did just that. Grabbing a guillotine in the 3rd round and not letting go until his opponent was out, he showed an incredible will to win the fight. 

 

You can follow Johnathan Ramlakhan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

UFC Vegas 11: Johnathan’s Picks and Preview

With UFC Vegas 11 right around the corner, lets first take a moment to be thankful for this PPV magnitude card to be taking place. With a main event that is filled with as much bad blood and animosity as this one, as well as exiting fights up and down the card, this one is a lock to have some performance of the night contenders. Let’s take a look at these fights on this card and take a look at who we’re picking. 

 

Colby Covington vs Tyron Woodley

 

Pick: Covington by Unanimous Decision

 

Backstory: “Where you at Tyron Woodley? I’m coming for you. You can’t run you can’t hide no more!” Moments after winning the UFC Interim Welterweight championship on Jun 9, 2018, Covington immediately called out then current Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. After saying that Woodley couldn’t hang with him while training, Colby assured he would steamroll him. Fast forward two years later, both men are still in title contention, but one is in jeopardy of falling down the ranks. Both men are coming off a loss, so this fight is going to be monumental for both of them. For Tyron, his key to victory would be using that advantage in boxing and throwing that power right hand. If he’s able to stop Covington from taking him down and keeping this a stand-up fight, Woodley might have the advantage. For Covington, he’s proven that stopping him from taking you down is almost impossible. Even if he doesn’t get it on the first try, he’ll lock on you and drag until you fall. If he’s able to take Woodley down, Covington dominates the fight.

 

Donald Cerrone vs Niko Price

Pick: Price by Knockout

 

Backstory: Donald Cerrone is one of the most well-known fighters in the UFC. But now losing 8 of his last 12, he’s been on a slippery slope down the rankings. He’s lacked aggressiveness and this lack of soul from the Cowboy has been the reason for his downfall. On the other hand, Niko Price has been alternating wins and losses over his last 6. All of them have ended in knockout whether win or loss. Niko is always willing to put himself into the firefight no matter if he comes out getting a knockout or getting knocked out. With an aging less aggressive Cerrone coming in this fight vs an explosive Niko Price, this one is built for a highlight knockout. 

 

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert

 

Pick: Chimaev by decision

 

Backstory: The hottest prospect coming out of the pandemic era Khazmat Chimaev is back in action vs the man with the most submissions in the Middleweight division, Gerald Meerchaert. This fight comes with lots of animosity between the two. The disrespect comes from Dana double booking Chimaev, insinuating that he’s going to win this fight and move on to ranked Damein Maia. Gerald took this personally and stated he’s going to leave Chimaev bloody and unable to leave the ring. Chimaev responded in the presser asking how can Gerald possibly be a blackbelt when he got choked out by a white belt. We’re going with Chimaev because his ability on the feet and we’re resting assured that the submission games will neutralize each other. 

 

Johnny Walker vs Ryan Spann

 

Pick: Ryan Spann by Submission

 

Backstory: After starting his UFC Career 4-0, Johnny Walker has lost his last 2. His near straight shot to the top of the division has now been derailed and he has to work his way back up the hard way. Ryan Spann is coming in undefeated in the UFC and is looking to make his own run to the top of the wide-open Light Heavyweight division. This is going to be a good fight for two fighters on the crossroads of making it back into the doorstep of the rankings. If Spann is able to get this fight on the ground, he’ll have a huge advantage and get the win. 

 

Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos

 

Pick: Mackenzie Dern by Decision

 

Backstory: #15 Ranked Mackenzie Dern is coming in bouncing back after her first loss in the career. Losing against a higher-ranked opponent is nothing to hang your head on, so she comes back and gets a nice win with a kneebar. Bring in Randa Markos, a fighter who in 14 ufc fights has only won 6. Neither fighter comes in with any wins by knockout so we are looking to see a ground war. Mackenzie Dern is the more proficient athlete on the ground so we should see her take this win. 

 

Kevin Holland vs. Darren Stewart

 

Pick: Holland by Decision

 

Backstory. Enter Kevin Holland, the most exciting fighter to watch this year. He talks trash in the ring and with no crowd you can hear everything he says. On top of that, his striking is crisp and he plays great mind games. Darren Stewart is coming in with a good amount of UFC experience and has diverse striking skills as well. Both these fighters are young, and the winner of this fight should set up a big run towards the ranking for either man. Being able to mix it up, Holland should be able to keep Stewart at bay and dictate the pace of the fight. 

 

The Weekly Roundkick on MMA: Chandler, Baeza, More

Welcome to the Weekly Roundkick, where you can get all your MMA news in one spot. In the age of Covid, the UFC has done a great job of being the leaders of industry in making sure the show goes on. Here’s everything that you might’ve missed this week in the MMA world.

 

Biggest Free Agent Landed

 

  • Michael Chandler, Former Bellator Lightweight Champion has signed with the UFC and will be in as a replacement in the Khabib vs Gaethje fight (via Bjpenn). For Chandler, this is huge for his career. He’s been wanting to prove that he’s one of the best 155 pounder on the planet and now being in the UFC, he has the chance to prove just that. 

 

Fight Announcements

 

    • Miguel Baeza vs Jerimiah Wells is off. Wells was replacing Mickey Gall for this fight. Mickey Gall had pulled out of the fight due to an undisclosed training injury. Jerimiah Wells had put his name in and was selected as a replacement for the fight. Now, for an undisclosed reason, Wells has also pulled out (MMAJunkie). For the undefeated Baeza, this delays his potential run to a title. For now the best option is to stay ready and hope someone in his division has a fight open up.
  • Dustin Poirier vs Tony Ferguson is off… for now. Dana has claimed that Dustin has priced himself out of the fight and that that he didn’t really want the fight. Dustin replied with a tweet “I WANT THE FIGHT”. Ferguson has gone to bat for Dustin telling Dana to pay him so they can fight. It seems like there is pressure from both fighters to have this fight but it seems it’s too expensive for Dana. Dana currently has said that Ferguson is also out of UFC 254.
    • #15 Drew Dober vs #8 Diego Ferreira is on for November 7th. #15 Ranked Lightweight Dober, is set to take on another rising star in #8 Ranked Diego Ferreira (MMAJunkie). Unsure if this is the main event or not, but no matter what other fight is on this card, I’m taking this fight for Fight of The Night. 
    • Malcolm Gordon vs Su Mudaerji has been agreed upon for November 28. Two Fresh UFC prospects in Malcolm Gordon and Su Mudaerji have agreed for a fight in late November (via MMAJunkie). For these two, this is going to be important for the near future of these prospects making a run for the rankings.
    • Khadis Ibragimov vs. Danilo Marques added to UFC 253 (via MMAFighting). For Ibragimov, he’s coming in off of 3 losses in a row after starting 8-0. If he wants to continue his UFC career, this is a must-win for him.
  • Weili Zhang Vs Rose Namajunas is in the works according to Dana White. When asked about the future of this division, Dana says they’re working on making this fight happen. After a potential fight of the year candidate effort by Weili, a fight with a game Thug Rose will undoubtedly make for another great fight.
    • Thiago Santos vs Glover Texiera has been cancelled. Thiago Santos has now tested positive for Covid-19. This fight was supposed to happen this last weekend but Texiera tested positive. Now the future of this fight is in Jeopardy.
  • Ketlen Vieira vs Sijara Eubanks has been scheduled for UFC 253 (via BJpenn). Sijara Eubanks is stepping in on short notice to replace Marion Reneau after her decision win last weekend. 

 

Other MMA News

    • Bellator has signed a deal with CBS Sports. Look for more MMA to be on the national scene starting October 1st!
  • Fight Island Confirmed! UFC will start running events on Fight Island Starting on UFC 253 on Saturday, September 26th and run weekly shows up until UFC 254 on October 24th (MMAFighting)
  • Dana White Contender Series. On Season 4 Week 7 of the the Contender Series, Dana awarded 3 contracts were awarded. Jordan Williams won a contract in his third attempt. Others awarded were 3x National Boxing Champion Danyelle Wolf and Collin Anglin.
  • Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson re-enters the USADA testing pool (via MMAFighting). With this being reported, this puts Rumble about 6 months away from being able to return to the octagon. 

 

You can follow Johnathan Ramlakhan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

Weekly Roundkick: MMA News at 5 Reasons Sports

Pretty busy week as far as UFC News is concerned, got some exciting fights announces, a few fights in the works, some unfortunate dropouts due to Covid-19, and much more. Here’s your one-stop for everything that happened this week

 

Upcoming Fights Announced

 

  • Kamaru Usman set to fight Gilbert Burns for UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 256 on December 12 (Unnoficial Announcement confirmed by Brett Okamoto) 
  • Ovince Saint Preux vs. Alonzo Menifield added to UFC Vegas 9 this Saturday, Sept. 5  on ESPN + (Via UFC)
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Kevin Natividad (Replacing Ricky Simon Due to COVID) on UFC Vegas 9 this Saturday, Sept. 5 on ESPN + (Via MMAJunkie)
  • Herman vs Mike Rodriguez at light heavyweight on UFC Vegas 10 on Sept. 12 (MMAFighting)
  • Sijara Eubanksvs Julia Avila at UFC Vegas 10 on Sept.12 (MMAFighting)
  • Bobby Green vs. Alan Patrick at UFC Vegas 10 on Sept.12 (TheRingReport)

 

Fights Teased

 

Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz for the BMF Title- Dana White among others confirmed that they are working to get this fight on a card in January. There’s no doubt this is one of the biggest fights you can put out as far as marketability. Masvidal in my mind is a heavy favorite in my opinion due to the fact that he’s got great boxing, great takedown defense and Nate Diaz doesn’t like checking leg kicks. Even if the fight didn’t stop the first time, it was pretty clear that Masvidal had won every round since. Hopefully we have the opportunity to have fans in the arena for this fight but even if they don’t, PPV numbers should be pretty high with the proven draw that both fighters are. 

 

Jon Jones vs Brock Lesnar- Now we don’t know if this is something that will come to fruition, but Dana himself said that he is open to it if both fighters want to do it. As far as competitiveness goes, this wouldn’t or shouldn’t be a tough fight for Jon Jones to win. He is way ahead of Brock in the MMA game. Jones is much more well rounded and has much better striking. On top of that Jon Jones hasn’t legitimately lost a fight in his pro career and it would be tough to see Brock be the one to break that streak. As far as breaking the streak goes Undertaker yes, Jon Jones no.

 

Fighter Cancellations and Suspensions

 

  • Glover Teixeira vs. Thiago Santos canceled on September 12th due to Texiera testing positive for Covid-19
  • Light heavyweight Jamahal Hill received a six-month suspension for marijuana (MMAFighting)
  • Flyweight Tim Elliott  received four-and-a-half month suspension for marijuana (MMAFighting)
  • Lightweight Luis Pena received four-and-a-half month suspension for marijuana (MMAFighting)
  • Jorge Gonzalez had temporary suspension extended following a positive drug test for several anabolic steroids (ESPN)
  • Middleweight Deron Winn received suspended for nine months after testing positive for amphetamines (ESPN)

Other News 

 

Daniel “DC” Cormier has pulled out of the USADA testing pool, which means his retirement seems to be final. We have seen many fighters say they’re retired, only to come back and try and get more hype in their name. Pulling out of the USADA testing pool makes it more official because now if he would want to fight again, he would need to reenter and be in the pool for a significant period of time before getting another fight. At 41, it seems we’ve seen the last of the legend DC in the octagon

 

Ricardo Lamas seems to be on that same route. After having a fight of the night performance against Bill Algeo, Lamas said he would love to leave on a high note. Coming into that fight, Lamas was 1-3 in his last 4 fights and was on the back end of his career. He spoke about not wanting to chase that feeling of getting a win as an addiction that could be his downfall. After a great extended career in the UFC, it may seem like that Fight of the Night performance could’ve been his last.

5 Takeaways from UFC Vegas 8: Rakic is Real Deal

Now that UFC Vegas 8 is in the books, we can look back at it as quite a backwards fight card. The main event and Co-main event were fights that were mediocre excitement wise. Looking at every single other fight on the card, almost every one of them could have gotten a performance of the night award, with Llamas vs Algeo being an absolute technical beauty on the stand-up and grappling game, and Maki Pitolo vs. Impa Kasanganay being an absolute stand and bang war.

 

Let’s look at 5 takeaways from UFC Vegas 8 

 

The Real Deal 

While it may have not been the most exciting fight, Aleksander “Rocket” Rakic put down Anthony Smith with ease. He chopped at Smith’s legs until he couldn’t stand anymore and once he was on the ground, there was no getting him off the top. With Smith being a BJJ black belt, you’d expect him to threaten a few more submissions but Rakic was quick to scope out anything Smith had in mind and just kept him on his back for almost 3 full rounds. The inability for Smith to check the leg kicks is the main reason he ended up on his back and he seemed content lying there taking ground and pound. With this win, Rakic seems to be set up with a path to the title. With Thiago Santos facing off with Glover Teixeira in about two weeks, the winner will probably end up getting a title shot. The loser of that fight will most likely fight Rakic, and with that, we could be looking at our next Light Heavyweight Contender. 

What’s Left in the Tank?

This weekend we saw the breakdown of 2 of UFC’s veteran staples. Smith showed almost nothing in this entire fight, after getting pummeled in his last fight vs Texiera. That begs the question of what does he have left in him? In his postfight comments, Smith flirted with the idea of dropping back down to 185 in hopes of rejuvenating his career. While this may be a good move for him, that division is filled with killers and won’t be a cakewalk even if he does have a size advantage going in. Smith would have to work his way back up and would be a great matchup for star prospect Edmen Shahbazyan to prove that he still has the makings of a ranked fighter. 

 

No Longer Ruthless 

Robbie Lawler was the second veteran that got dominated at UFC Vegas 8. He was matched up with a lengthy Neil Magny and showed a complete inability to get past the reach into his face. Lawler was kept at bay with Magny’s jab and when Lawler got into the clinch, he did nothing offensively. Robbie didn’t seem to have the explosiveness that  we’ve come to know, nor did we see much heart. For Robbie, this seems like the end of the line for him at UFC. He’s won titles, had multiple fight of the year awards and  has become a crowd favorite. But at this point of his career, it seems he needs a step down in competition to remain relevant. Maybe at the end of his contract, a move to Bellator would be smart, unless he’s content sitting out of the rankings,while fighting up and comers until he retires. 

Fresh Blood 

With a Performance of the Night award, undefeated Sean Brady seems to have all the makings of a ranked fighter and potential contender in the Welterweight division. He showed excellent distance management, heavy hands, as shown by busting open Aguilera in the first round, excellent pace without overextending, and to top it off he finished with impressive takedowns into a guillotine choke that left Aguilera squirming for breath until he passed out. At 13-0 and an impressive victory, Brady deserves to have a ranked opponent next to propel him to the next tier of contenders. A match with submission specialist Damien Maia or maybe a big name like Robbie Lawler just to get some name value would serve well for him. 

Perserverance Shines Through 

The comeback win of the night goes to Mallory Martin. After getting knocked down in the first round and absorbing over 50 shots, most of which to the head, she was able to recompose herself and get the Performance of the night win. She was out COLD in the first round after Cifers overhand right landed on the button and the ensuing hammer fist . Her legs go totally limp and by the time the second punch ends up on her face, she seems to wake up and is able to slightly recover. After about 30 more punches to the face, mercifully, the round ends. In the second round she seemed like a completely different fighter. She goes straight into the clinch and is able to take down Cifers into half guard. From here she’s able to get effective ground and pound to the point where Cifers turtles up and gives up her back. At this point it’s all academic as Mallory takes her neck and submits her via Rear Naked Choke. Amazing comeback by Martin and this win could propel her into getting a shot at someone either in or near the rankings of the strawweight division. At only 26 years old, she has lots of room to grow and can be groomed as a future contender if she stays on this path. 

 

You can follow Johnathan Ramlakhan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo