This will be the second to last fight on the prelims tomorrow night, as NCAA Division I wrestler Frankie Saenz takes on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Marlon Vera. A few things stand out to me… More
Cool, calm and collected; three words that characterise Jorge Masvidal during the run up to his main event clash with Darren Till at UFC Fight Night London.
These three words also serve to describe the American Top Team mainstay’s approach after falling victim to a straight left from Till early on before landing a vicious knockout on the Liverpudlian in the second round.
After a shaky opening minute, Jorge forced a change in the tide in hostile territory and he began fighting from the fence and countering ‘The Gorilla’ on numerous occasions.
Despite the damaging shots from ‘Gamebred’, Till called the striker on and payed the ultimate price mid-way through the second round – a left overhand which completely switched his lights off.
Masvidal followed up with a right hand, and after Darren collided with the canvas beneath, he was met with a left hand before Marc Goddard peeled him off.
Till was ranked at third in the UFC welterweight division heading into the clash. The vicious victory over the one time title challenger in Till will surely catapult him through the top ten into a potential title eliminator at the very least.
Leon Edwards: Bad blood is almost an understatement at this stage.
A heated altercation between the two after the culmination of Saturday’s card resulted in Jorge landing a “three piece and a soda” on Leon, who interrupted his post fight interview with Laura Sanko.
Edwards is alleged to have called for a July meeting with Masvidal which resulted in Jorge’s retaliation, and this ‘beef’ between the pair is sure to escalate in the coming days and weeks.
Edwards looked great against submission specialist Gunnar Nelson in the co-headliner and called for the winner of the subsequent main event in his Octagon interview with Dan Hardy. How about the UFC pit them together for UFC 239 during International Fight Week?
Ben Askren: One man with a keen eye on proceedings on Saturday night was recent UFC debutante Ben Askren. The undefeated wrestling phenom was in attendance at the O2 Arena and was widely expected to be paired off with the main event winner.
‘Funky’ Ben and Darren Till exchanged some barbs via Twitter in recent weeks, but Jorge’s emergence from London with the victory sets up a tantalizing bout with the former ONE FC lightweight kingpin.
A successful debut win over Robbie Lawler, albeit a vexed win, seen the Olympian slotted right in at the number six spot at 170lbs. Similarly to a potential Edwards meeting, a July date would be ideal for this one.
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis Winner: Despite spending some considerable time in the same division in among the upper echelon contenders, Jorge Masvidal and Anthony Pettis are yet to meet in the Octagon. This striking affair becomes a legitimate possibility if the division jumper Pettis overcomes ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in Nashville this weekend.
The three men in question are absolute snipers on the feet in contrasting ways. A bout would be sure to offer fireworks.
Despite already meeting back in late 2017, Thompson and ‘Gamebred’ could easily run it back considering the ongoing personal issues Masvidal was dealing with and has since thankfully resolved.
Kamaru Usman: The least likely match up realistically, but the champ is supposedly chomping at the bit at the prospect of defending his crown against Jorge Masvidal.
Usman displayed a flawless grappling game to neutralize long time champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 and is already chalked up to fight Colby Covington in the coming months once he recovers from surgery on his broken foot.
I’m sure Jorge also has no problem leapfrogging fellow American Top Team teammate, Covington into contention judging by his post fight comments where he expressed how “his kids need to eat and go to college”.
Who is your favourite matchup for the Miami based scrapper? I think we can agree, whomever is considered, they are all offering fireworks.
Saturday, March 16th – The O2 Arena in London, England
The UFC is back in London at about the same time they were last year, and the card is headlined by Liverpool’s Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal, who is back in action for the first time since November 2017. The co-main event pits streaking Leon Edwards against Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson and filling out the card is an important light heavyweight matchup between Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes, London’s own Nathaniel Wood and the return of Joe Duffy.
The preliminaries kick off @ 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT with the main card starting @ 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT streaming live on ESPN+.
Main Card (ESPN+ 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT)
- 5-Round Welterweight Bout: Jorge Masvidal def. Darren Till via KO (punch) 3:05, R2
- Welterweight Bout: Leon Edwards def. Gunnar Nelson via split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
- Light Heavyweight Bout: Dominick Reyes def. Volkan Oezdemir via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Bantamweight Bout: Nathaniel Wood def. José Alberto Quiñónez via submission (rear-naked choke) 2:46, R2
- Welterweight Bout: Cláudio Silva def. Danny Roberts via verbal submission (armbar) 3:37, R3
- Catchweight Bout (188): Jack Marshman def. John Phillips via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Preliminary Card (ESPN+ 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT)
- Featherweight Bout: Arnold Allen def. Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
- Lightweight Bout: Marc Diakiese def. Joseph Duffy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Light Heavyweight Bout: Saparbek Safarov def. Nicolae Negumereanu via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-27)
- Featherweight Bout: Dan Ige def. Danny Henry via submission (rear-naked choke) 1:17, R1
- Women’s Flyweight Bout: Molly McCann def. Priscila Cachoeira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Featherweight Bout: Mike Grundy def. Nad Narimani via TKO (punches) 4:42, R2
The wife of former UFC Interim Lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson has filed a temporary restraining order against her partner, with claims of domestic abuse.
Cristina Ferguson who lives in the Santa Ana area of California along with her husband and son, has ordered the restraining order after multiple, separate incidents which are reported to have occurred at their home since January.
Ferguson hasn’t been arrested nor charged with any crime but a domestic violence hearing is scheduled to take place on April 5th. Details of the apparent incidents are scarce at the moment, but it is reported that the order was issued after Tony took the pair’s two year-old child back to the family home before changing the locks.
Cristina and their son have since left the house after a police check up on Tony, and unidentified sources claim how he “had not slept in three days, broke apart the fire place and believed someone had placed a computer chip in his leg.” The second source worryingly tells us how Ferguson had made the claim that “someone was inside his walls”.
A phone call was made to the police by Cristina Ferguson after leaving the family home, where she claims Tony “kept throwing ‘holy water’ at her”. Ferguson has not been deemed a threat to himself or others after eventually agreeing to get an evaluation. UFC President Dana White briefly commented on the situation, telling how Ferguson was dealing with some “personal issues”.
Ferguson himself tweeted:
It remains to be seen how this incident plays out, but Cristina Ferguson has since released a statement via her lawyer regarding the ongoing matter
“Tony Ferguson is a good husband and good father to our son. The current legal proceedings are a part of a process to ensure that Tony will receive the help necessary to continue being the best possible husband and father, as well as to pursue his passion and career as a UFC champion fighter. All positive well wishes are sincerely appreciated and I hope our privacy will be respected”.
It has been announced via Russian reporter Azamat Bostanov, Khabib Nurmagomedov has disclosed his timeline for his return to the Octagon.
Since his showstopping win over Conor McGregor, the Eagle has made a decision to pause his activity in MMA in protest to the severity of charges placed on him because of the post-fight brawl at UFC 229, in comparison to Conor’s, by the Nevada Athletic State Commission.
During the UFC 229 melee post win, corner mates Zubaira and Abubakar were caught in the scrap inside of the cage after Khabib jumped outside of the cage to attack Dillon Danis. Both have received fines and suspension sentences for their part in the altercation as well.
The 30-year-old’s voluntary absence resulted in a stall in the lightweight, at which point the UFC president Dana White along with matchmakers decided to create an interim fight between the #3 ranked lightweight Poirier and The featherweight champion Max Holloway.
For the time being, Nurmagomedov is still in Dagestan taking this time interacting with the citizens of his country, waiting out the sentence.
Since Jon Jones has returned to the light heavyweight picture, the division has seen an emergence of contenders. It’s a breath of fresh air since in the last few years we have seen only a few of the same title challengers. Daniel Cormier seems to be done with the division, focusing on ending his career at heavyweight. After that, Jones has his work cut out for him. Up next for Jones could very well be Thiago Santos, who has made waves in the division after moving up from middleweight. Alexander Gustafsson will be fighting recent challenger Anthony Smith in the summer. Corey Anderson is also on a win streak and awaiting what’s next for him. Then there’s the dark horse, Dominick ‘The Devastator’ Reyes who will face former title challenger Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir this weekend. If Reyes can keep his win streak going, we could very well see him next in line for a shot at the champ.
Volkan Oezdemir seems like he came out of nowhere when he was picked up by the UFC. A former kickboxer and Bellator fighter, Volkan made his debut in 2017 and won a split decision against former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux. In his next fight, he stopped the hype train and 8-fight win streak of Misha Cirkunov and then dropped title contender Jimi Manuwa. Both of those fights ended in under a minute, which explains the nickname ‘No Time’. Since then, Volkan has dropped two straight – to then champion Daniel Cormier and most recently Anthony Smith. Now on the first losing streak of his career, Volkan is in a must-win situation as the light heavyweight picture is heating up.
It’s hard to believe that Dominick Reyes debuted back in 2017 when he seems like a fresh addition to the light heavyweight title picture. The 29-year-old Reyes is undefeated at 10-0 and had one bout in LFA before signing with the UFC. Reyes finished Joachim Christensen, Jeremy Kimball, Jared Cannonier and had a near-finish on former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux back in October. Reyes is excited for the ‘brawler vs. kind-of-boxer’ matchup this weekend and is ready to show the division that it’s ‘his turn’.
UFC Fight Night: Till Vs. Masvidal streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT.
A UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship clash between reigning gold holder Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko and #1 ranked contender and recent division star Jessica ‘Evil’ Eye has officially landed on UFC 238.
The Chicago card takes place on June 8th from the United Centre but it is yet to be determined if Shevchenko and Eye headline the event.
Shevchenko secured the title back at UFC 231 in a vacant title bout with former foe Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a largely one sided unanimous decision, while challenger Jessica Eye established her title tilt in a less dominant decision victory over Katlyn Chookagian.
After an unsuccessful siege of the 135lbs crown against stalwart Amanda Nunes back in 2017, Valentina found instant success a Flyweight. Paired in a largely debated scheduling with Priscila Cachoeira, the Kyrgyzstan native exacted a brutally one sided beat down leaving the Brazilian cover in claret before picking up a rear-naked choke victory in the second round. 2-0 heading into her trilogy with former Strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the similarly technical striker Shevchenko outpointed Joanna throughout their five round affair on her way to her premier promotion championship reign. Shevchenko may have clinched the title sooner on in her Flyweight rebirth but an initial clash between herself and inaugural champion Nicco Montano fell out back at UFC 228 resulting in the vacant title match.
Perennial contender for sometime now a division lower, former Bantamweight prospect Jessica Eye has earned her first title shot in her six year stint in the organisation. We’ve also witnessed an incredible turn around in Eye’s fortunes since her move to 125lbs, ending an astonishing four fight slide last year to find herself riding a three fight win streak heading into this championship pairing. Facing the stiffest of competition at Bantamweight, Eye dropped defeats to former world champion Miesha Tate, title challengers Bethe Correia and Sara McMann and TUF 18 victor Julianna Pena, although she was severely undersized for the division. The Ohio native seen a successful return to Flyweight at the start of 2018, picking up victories over Kalindra Faria, Jessica-Rose Clark and the aforementioned Chookagian.
UFC 238 takes place on June 8th from the United Centre in Chicago, Illinois, with two potential title eliminators announced recently. The Strawweight division will witness a shake up this summer with Rose Namajunas attempting to defend her throne against Jéssica Andrade in hostile Brazil, and either striker’s opponent will be determined after UFC 238, as Tatiana Suarez meets Nina Ansaroff. On the other hand, whoever leaves Chicago with the Flyweight crown is expected to meet the winner of Katlyn Chookagian and Joanne Calderwood’s clash.
UFC 238, which will be headlined by women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Jessica Eye, just got some more marquee women matchups. In what could be #1 contender bouts, dominant strawweight prospect Tatiana Suarez finally found an opponent in Nina Ansaroff and in the flyweight division, Katlyn Chookagian faces Joanne Calderwood.
Undefeated prospect Tatiana Suarez is 4-0 in the UFC with three finishes and was having trouble finding her next opponent. After taking out former Invicta FC standout Alexa Grasso and former strawweight champ Carla Esparza, Suarez wanted a step up in competition, and she will draw #3 ranked Nina Ansaroff. Ansaroff, who is the fiancé of double champ Amanda Nunes, is riding a 4-fight win streak since starting 0-2 in the UFC. Ansaroff has picked up big wins over former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill, Randa Markos and most recently former title challenger Cláudia Gadelha back in December at UFC 231. Will Ansaroff be the answer for the Suarez who seems to have ‘future champ’ written all over her?
Pennsylvania native and #3 ranked flyweight Katlyn Chookagian will be looking to bounce back from her second professional loss after putting together a 3-fight win streak. Chookagian came into the UFC undefeated and went 4-1 before she dropped a split decision to Jessica Eye, who will challenge for the title on this very card. Chookagian draws Joanne ‘JoJo’ Calderwood who has found new life after moving up to the flyweight division. Calderwood is 3-0 in the division, most recently picking up wins over Kalindra Faria and former KSW standout Ariane Lipski. With her move to Syndicate MMA, Calderwood looks to be a threat in the division.
UFC 238: Shevchenko Vs. Eye will air live on PPV Saturday, June 8th from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
2019 will really provide a huge reshuffle of the upper tier in the Middleweight division. The UFC are reportedly landing a massive rematch between Yoel Romero and Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza on the UFC Fight Night Florida card.
The former three time title chaser, Romero was widely expected to meet another Brazilian in the main event slot, with Paulo Costa replaced by compatriot Souza late last night. The pair originally clashed back in 2015 at UFC 194, with Romero picking up a narrow decision victory after scoring an all important and ultimately tied turning spinning-back fist knockdown on the grappling ace.
Long regarded as one of the most imposing athletes in the promotion, freestyle wrestler Yoel ‘Solider Of God’ Romero brings more to the Octagon than just his incredible grappling ability. The Olympian has incredible power in both hands and hold two flying knee stoppage wins in his UFC career.
Losing both title clashes with current champion Robert Whittaker, the rematch in quite questionable circumstances it has to be noted. Yoel was successful in the Interim Middleweight title clash with former division front runner Luke Rockhold, but his vicious third round knockout was marred by a botched weight cut, subsequently leaving him title-less in Perth.
Questions have been asked regarding the Cuban’s conditioning in the past, case in point his contentious win over Tim Kennedy. Romero’s grappling and transitioning is high level of course, look back to his set ups against Chris Weidman and eventual trip and elbow finish of Lyoto Machida.
A 6th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, similarly to Yoel, Souza excels in one specific martial art but brings so much more to the Octagon.
Another heavy handed striker with a knack for a knockout, Jacaré has 22 stoppage wins in his storied career. A more traversed mixed-martial artist than Romero, Souza began his professional career all the way back in 2003 and has featured in promotions such as DREAM, Jungle Fight and Strikeforce where he held the Middleweight strap.
Yet to ‘earn’ his premier UFC title tilt even after a recent stoppage win over Chris Weidman, the alligator found himself on the wrong end of a rather dubious split decision to Kelvin Gastelum which may have resulted in his installment into the Interim Middleweight clash between Israel Adesanya and Gastelum at UFC 236. The 39 year old doesn’t differentiate between joint or choke submissions per say, with arm triangles, armbars and kimuras aplenty on his eye catching résumé.
Taking place on April 27th from the BB&T Centre, UFC Fight Night Florida features clashes like Glover Teixeira’s return versus streaking contender Ion Cutelaba, a Bantamweight meeting of perennial contender John Lineker and upstart Cody Sandhagen, while the highly controversial former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy makes his second Octagon walk after a disqualification against Allen Crowder.
UFC is back this weekend after the eventful 235 event and heavyweights will take center stage. Derrick Lewis is set to face Junior dos Santos in Wichita, Kansas, but the co-main event is something to look out for – welterweights Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Curtis Millender haven’t suffered a loss since 2015 and with both fighters riding 5+ win streaks, this is a fight you do not want to miss.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos or ‘Capoeira’ as he’s known in Brazil, is riding a 6-fight win streak with the UFC. Capoeria hasn’t lost since his promotional debut, a split decision that didn’t go his way. Since then he has stopped Omari Akhmedov, Sean Strickland and most recently Luigi Vendramini in September. Capoeira had been buried on the prelims (save for one preliminary headliner) but now he will serve as the co-main event, and much deserved so.
Curtis Millender was making waves in LFA, ending back-to-back fights with highlight reel head kicks that finally landed him in the UFC. The former Bellator vet is riding an 8-fight win streak and is 3-0 since joining the promotion, debuting with a knockout of Thiago Alves and taking decision victories over Max Griffin and most recently Siyar Bahadurzada in December.
These are two fighters who are capable of highlight reel finishes, riding very impressive win streaks and looking to climb higher in the rankings. Capoeira will get his chance to show he deserves to be on a main card and Millender will continue to get a push from the UFC. I’m curious to see if this fight goes to the ground, which I believe dos Santos will have the advantage; Millender does hold a 5″ reach advantage and with slightly similar styles, a first round finish for either fighter isn’t out of the question. Book this for fight of the night.
UFC Fight Night: Lewis Vs. dos Santos streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 8:00PM ET/5:00PM PT.
The Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship received a further bump in it’s already surging popularity when two former UFC fighters, Jason Knight and Artem Lobov, engaged in a recent twitter spat and through dialogue alone, sealed the deal for a Bare Knuckle fight in early April. I caught up with ‘The Kid’ to talk about the upcoming battle with Lobov along with a number of other exciting things coming up in his sights.