News: UFC and ONE close to finalizing trade between Askren and DJ

Posted only a short while ago via ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC and ONE Championship are close to finalizing what could be considered the first major trade in mixed martial arts history. As per multiple sources, a deal has been proposed in which the UFC would release former flyweight champion Demetrious ‘Might Mouse’ Johnson from his contract in order to allow him to sign with ONE. In exchange, ONE Championship will release former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren from his contract so he could finally join the UFC.

This is something that has came from basically nowhere and while it is still young in the MMA news at the minute, it is hard to really get our heads around it and properly understand as to what it will mean for MMA as we know it. Both are huge names within the MMA ‘die hard’ fan base, however they may not be favorable within the ‘casual’ fan base, particularly Askren who is fairly unknown to that kind of audience.

Sources say the “trade” isn’t finalized just yet, however, it has been discussed at length and is categorized by multiple sources as close to getting done. All parties involved are hopeful it will be finalized soon. On Monday, Askren tweeted that there was a “98 percent” chance of him joining the UFC, catching many off guard considering he has not exactly seen ‘eye to eye’ a few occasions with UFC president Dana White.

 

 

Johnson (27-3-1) recently lost the flyweight title to Henry Cejudo in August. The loss snapped his 13-fight winning streak, as well his record-breaking 11-fight successful title defense streak and saw him drop significantly in the UFC P4P Rankings. Following his win, Henry Cejudo has called for a super-fight with 135 pound champion TJ Dillashaw. As a result of this and the recent rumours of the creation of a 165 pound division, this makes all the more sense for the deal to take place.

It is also worth noting, Matt Hume, Johnson’s head coach at AMC Pankration in Kirkland, Washington, also serves as ONE’s vice president of operations.

For anyone who isnt familiar with Ben Askren, he is 18-0 and has held the welterweight belts in both Bellator and ONE Championship. While he is one of the very best grapplers in the world, people have always questioned the level of competition he has faced. However, he has dominated top fighters such as Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov and Shinaya Aoki. Askren has also competed as Olympic level and was also Pan-American and United States champion in Freestyle Wrestling.

It is clear to anyone that has followed MMA both in and outside that both these fighters are very special and among the very best in the world. This is a deal that favours all four parties involved and one that will very much be a positive for both fighters, both in monetary gain and for their legacy. It will be very exciting to see how this plays out and I for one am very much excited about finally seeing Ben Askren in the UFC, taking on the best such as Georges Saint-Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov etc.

Opinion: “Don’t Sleep On This” UFC Moncton Edition – Volkan Oezdemir Vs. Anthony Smith

“Don’t Sleep on This” is a new segment I’m going to pump out leading up to every card about a fighter and/or matchup that should not be missed (a/k/a slept on).

This weekend the UFC is back after the drama that unfolded 3 weeks ago at UFC 229. This is the promotion’s first time in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, and the fans there will get to see a main event involving two of the UFCs heaviest hitters. Former title challenger and #2 ranked Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir will take on former middleweight and #10 ranked Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith.

Anthony Smith is a journeyman. With over 40 professional fights to his name, including bouts with promotions Strikeforce, Bellator, CFFC, RFA and others, Smith’s first stint with the UFC only lasted one fight. Smith found his way back to the UFC after going on 7-fight win streak and finishing 6 of those 7 opponents. Since returning, Smith has gone 6-2 with 5 finishes, taking out Ultimate Fighter winner Andrew Sanchez (which was a great comeback fight), former Bellator champ Hector Lombard and former champions and future HOF’ers Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua. Smith’s two fights at light heavyweight ended in the first round, and were devastating knockouts.

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 last year 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’. In January, Volkan challenged the champion Daniel Cormier, but was stopped in the 2nd round.

If you’re a betting man, count on this fight not making it to a second round. Smith has been more active, this will be his fourth fight this year and third fight in the last five months, while Volkan is nine months removed from his last fight due to Visa issues. Will ‘Lionheart’ keep his body count going or will Volkan finish him in ‘No Time’? Don’t blink.

UFC Moncton begins on UFC Fight Pass @ 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT and continues with the prelims on Fox Sports 2 @ 8:00PM ET/5:00PM PT followed by the main card on Fox Sports 1 @ 10:00PM ET/7:00PM PT.

News: Eddie Alvarez officially signs with ONE Championship

After months of speculation, ONE Championship have officially announced the signing of former UFC lightweight champion “The Underground King” Eddie Alvarez to a multi fight contract.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, was understandably pleased with his capture of the high profile free agent’s signature.

“I am thrilled to announce that multiple-time world champion Eddie Alvarez will be joining ONE Championship on a multiple-bout contract. Eddie is one of the world’s best martial artists in the world, and is no doubt a tremendous addition to the ONE roster. The ONE Championship roster is incredibly deep with talents such as Shinya Aoki, Eduard Folayang, and Amir Khan, among others. I am excited to have Eddie in that mix and to see some amazing matchups and performances. This is no doubt one of the biggest athlete signings in the history of ONE Championship.”

“The Underground King” is a multiple time former world champion and will arrive in ONE looking to add yet another strap to his trophy cabinet in what is likely to be the final stop of his illustrious career.

 

Bellator 208: Fedor Vs. Sonnen – Live Results

Friday, October 13th – Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.

Bellator strikes again this Sunday in a second World Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Final match-up. It’s USA vs. Russia when Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen takes on the legend Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko. The winner of this match faces Ryan Bader in the Grand Prix Finals for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship of the world.

The results will be updated below, and live play by play action will be courtesy of @TheDantyMan over on the @MMA_Motion Twitter account.

The main card kicks off @ 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT on the Paramount Network & DAZN and the Prelim card is DAZN exclusive @ 6:30EST/3:30PST.

Main Card (Paramount Network & DAZN 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT)

  • Fedor Emelianenko def. Chael Sonnen by First Round TKO.
  • Benson Henderson def. Saad Awad via Unanimous Decision ( 30-27, 30-26 x2)
  • Cheick Kongo  def. Timothy Johnson via First Round TKO
  • Anatoly Tokov def. Alexander Shlemenko via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
  • Henry Corrales def. Andy Main via Third Round KO.

Prelim Card (DAZN 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT)

  • Jeremy Puglia def. Eric Olsen via First Round TKO.
  •  Dennis Buzukja def. Ryan Castro via First Round TKO.
  • Drews Rodriguez def. Mike Diorio via Unanimous Decision(30-27 x3)
  • Zarrukh Adashev  def. Christian Medina via First Round TKO.
  • Jennifer Cheng def. Jessica Ruiz via First Round TKO.
  • David Meshkhoradze def. Shaquan Moore via Split Decision (30-27 x2)
  • Tommy Espinosa def. Sukhrob Aydarbekov via First Round Submission (Armbar)
  •  Nick Fiore def. Jerome Mickle by Unanimous Decision (30-27) x3

Live Results – PFL9: Light Heavyweight & Lightweight Playoffs

Saturday, October 13th – Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California

The light heavyweight and lightweight playoffs are on tap this weekend for PFL‘s inaugural first season. The quarter-finals will only be 2 rounds, no elbows are to be thrown and if it is a draw, whoever won the first round will advance to the semis. #1 seeds Vinny Magalhaes and Natan Schulte look to continue their dominance on their quest for 1 million dollars.

The fights kick off on Facebook Watch @ 6:45PM ET/3:45PM PT and continue with the main card on NBCSN @ 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT. You can stream the preliminaries here.

Main Card (NBCSN 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT)

  • Light Heavyweight Semi-Final bout: #1 Vinny Magalhaes def. #4 Bozigit Ataev via submission (kimura) 1:58 of round 1
  • Lightweight Semi-Final bout: #1 Natan Schulte def. #4 Chris Wade via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Light Heavyweight Semi-Final bout: #6 Sean O’Connell def. #7 Smealinho Rama via KO (punches) 1:45 of round 1
  • Lightweight Semi-Final bout: #7 Rashid Magomedov def. #6 Thiago Tavares via TKO (punches) 3:36 of round 2
  • Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final bout: #1 Vinny Magalhaes def. #8 Rakim Cleveland via submission (kimura) 1:20 of round 1
  • Lightweight Quarter-Final bout: #1 Natan Schulte def. #8 Johnny Case via majority draw (20-18, 19-19, 19-19)
  • Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final bout: #4 Bogizit Ataev def. #5 Emiliano Sordi via TKO (punches) 1:43 of round 1
  • Lightweight Quarter-Final bout: #4 Chris Wade def. #5 Robert Watley via majority decision (19-19, 20-18, 20-18)

Preliminary Card (Facebook Watch 6:45PM ET/3:45PM PT)

  • Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final bout: #6 Sean O’Connell def. #3 Dan Spohn via majority decision (19-19, 20-18, 20-18)
  • Lightweight Quarter-Final bout: #3 Islam Mamedov def. #6 Thiago Tavares via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)
  • Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final bout: #7 Smealinho Rama def. #2 Maxim Grishin via majority draw (20-18, 19-19, 19-19)
  • Lightweight Quarter-Final bout: #7 Rashid Magomedov def. #2 Will Brooks via unanimous draw (19-19, 19-19, 19-19)
  • Light Heavyweight bout: Brandon Halsey def. Ronny Markes via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)
  • Lightweight bout: Ramsey Nijem def. Yuki Kawana via unanimous decision (19-18, 19-18, 19-18)

Report: BRAVE CF owner defends Zubaira Tukhugov and offers him a place on their roster after UFC 229 melee

A little under a week after the events of UFC 229, there has been a lot to take in. Conor McGregor’s loss, as well as all of the out-of-cage brawl, has become one of the biggest talking points of UFC history.

One particular event that has caused a real split of opinion is the decision by the UFC to pull Zubaira Tukhugov from his scheduled fight with McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov after his actions in the skirmish after the UFC 229 main event.

If you have been living under a rock for the last week and require a recap, Tukhugov was one of the three guys that set upon McGregor inside the cage after his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Since all is said and done, the UFC made the decision to pull Tukhugov from his next fight and state that he will never compete under the UFC banner again. This has caused a split in opinion inside the MMA community, where some call for the UFC to reconsider and allow Tukhugov to stay on their roster.

One of these sympathisers is BRAVE CF owner Khaled Hamad Alkhalifa. In a recent Instagram post, Alkhalifa defends Tukhogov and offers him an open invitation to their roster.

Brave CF is currently the largest middle eastern promotion and is ever growing. This is surely a sufficient safety net for Tukhogov should the UFC stick to their guns and he is expelled from the promotion.

As a side note, Conor McGregor’s loyal teammate that was charged with McGregor for the New York bus incident, Cian Cowley is also on the Brave CF books. Should Tukhogov decide to make a change and head to the Bahrainian based promotion, this could be one hell of a fight to make, with both fighters having unquestionable loyalty to either side.

Since the UFC’s decision, Khabib Nurmagomedov has issued a statement advising that he will not fight in the UFC unless Tukhogov is reinstated. As of this moment, the UFC is yet to respond and both sides are locked in a stalemate.

– Brad Dalrymple

Follow me on Twitter @Brad_MMA

Bellator 207: Mitrione Vs. Bader – Live Results

Friday, October 12th – Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

After a successful DAZN debut last month, Bellator is back this weekend with the heavyweight World Grand Prix semi-finals. Matt Mitrione is looking to stay undefeated with the promotion and get himself into the finals. Current Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is looking to do the same and become a duel weight champion. UFC vets Roy Nelson and Lorenz Larkin are also on the card, and it’s rounded out by ‘Baby Slice’ Kevin Ferguson, Jr.

The main card kicks off @ 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT on the Paramount Network.

Main Card (Paramount Network 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT)

  • Heavyweight World Grand Prix Semi-Final bout: Ryan Bader def. Matt Mitrione via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-24, 30-25)
  • Heavyweight bout: Sergei Kharitonov def. Roy Nelson via KO (punches and knees) 4:59 of round 1
  • Welterweight bout: Lorenz Larkin def. Ion Pascu via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Lightweight bout: Corey Browning def. Kevin Ferguson, Jr. via TKO (punches) 2:08 of round 2
  • Lightweight bout: Mandel Nallo def. Carrington Banks via KO (knee) 0:57 of round 2

Report: Khabib goes public with UFC ultimatum – “fire Zubaira Tukhugov and lose me too”

Just when things appeared to be settling down after the explosive events of UFC 229, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has issued a strongly worded ultimatum to the promotion, threatening to walk away from the promotion if they choose to fire his friend and team mate, Zubaira Tukhugov.

Continue reading “Report: Khabib goes public with UFC ultimatum – “fire Zubaira Tukhugov and lose me too””