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The stars were out in full force as Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, Paige VanZant and Rose Namajunas fielded questions from the mixed martial arts (MMA) media during today’s (Nov. 30, 2015) conference call.

“The Answer” will face “Money” in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 22 Finale, which is set to go down on Dec. 11, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada. One night earlier, “12-Gauge” and “Thug” will tango in the headlining act of UFC Fight Night 80, which is set to pop of on Dec. 10, 2015, also in “Sin City.”

Back to back to back (UFC 194 on Dec. 12, 2015), baby!

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The Rizin FF Heavyweight Tournament is set, as the new promotion announced the bracket and a reserve bout at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan on Monday.

The eight-man grand prix will feature Satoshi Ishii vs. Jiri Prochazka, Teodoras Aukstolos vs. Bruno Cappelozza, Goran Reljic vs. Vadim Nemkov, and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal against a yet-to-be-announced opponent.

King Mo is the only man awaiting an official opponent, as Mark Godbeer was forced out of the tournament due to injury.

The reserve bout for the tournament will see Valentin Moldavsky challenge Yuta Uchida.

The tournament will begin on December 29th and conclude on December 31st.

Also on the show, which airs on Spike TV, will be Kazushi Sakuraba in a catchweight bout against Shinya Aoki and Kron Gracie vs. Erson Yamamoto.

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Conor McGregor has given upcoming opponent Jose Aldo a sneak preview of what his view will be like come the end of their bout at UFC 194, taunting the Brazilian with a post on Twitter.

The bitter rivals are set to square off in Las Vegas on Dec. 12 in one of the most hotly anticipated showdowns in MMA history, and McGregor has stirred the pot as the event edges closer:

The image implies the Irishman will be standing over Aldo victorious at UFC 194, with the Brazilian looking up at his conquerer from the flat of his back. “Wake up Jose. It’s all over,” the accompanying caption, hints Aldo may also be having nightmares about squaring off against the dangerous McGregor.

With less than a fortnight to go until fight night, excitement is beginning to rise among MMA fans, who have long been waiting for these two superstars to collide.

They were initially expected to fight at UFC 189 earlier this year, before Aldo pulled out with an injury. At the time, that was a huge disappointment for the sport, but after McGregor beat Chad Mendes, the Brazilian’s replacement, in such emphatic style, he’s usurped Aldo as the favourite in the eyes of many leading up to this bout.

As we can see here in a separate social media post from McGregor, he’s in incredible shape in the build-up to this one:

In fairness, he’ll have to be. Despite withdrawing from UFC 189, Aldo remains the pound-for-pound top-ranked fighter by the brand and has defended his UFC featherweight title on seven occasions in succession ahead of his upcoming fight. There’s a reason why he is heralded as one of the sport’s all-time greats and why he hasn’t lost for over a decade.

Still, McGregor has a right to be confident. His knockout victory over Mendes proved that when his left hand connects, few can handle it. In his most recent wins, McGregor has also made full use of the size and reach advantage he enjoys over the majority in the featherweight class, something that’ll also be the case against Aldo.

As we get closer and closer to Dec. 12, expect more and more of these kinds of barbs from both camps. Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie is expecting more from McGregor:

Indeed, one of the key ploys from the Irishman in the build-up to this fight has been trying to get under the skin of the usually unflappable Aldo, so there’s little chance he’ll stop now in the final stages of preparation.

For most men, that kind of message would send a chill down the spine. But Aldo is an awesome competitor and will be acutely aware that he has the skills to secure a victory. So, while he may be a little quieter in the build-up, you can bet that shutting McGregor up with a clinical display inside the Octagon would be very satisfying for the Brazilian.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

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Where have I heard this one before?

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Wanderlei Silva was granted a re-hearing with Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) after a district court judge ruled in favor of “The Axe Murderer,” who insisted the governing body overstepped its bounds when it issued a lifetime ban from mixed martial arts (MMA).

Then came another snafu at today’s (Mon., Nov. 30, 2015) assembly and welp, we’re right back where we started.

From MMA Fighting:

NAC elected to table the issue for a December meeting after Silva’s lawyer Ross Goodman attempted to introduce a consent order — a voluntary agreement between two parties without an admission of guilt — he negotiated with Nevada deputy attorney general Chris Eccles. The commission ultimately postponed the discussion until December to allow ample time to review Silva’s consent order.

Wandy was not present for today’s meeting because that’s what he does.

The Brazilian bomber has a pretty good chance of getting reinstated when they reconvene in December, but there are no guarantees he’ll ever return to combat sports. Silva’s longtime MMA coach, Rafael Cordeiro, insists we’ve seen the last of “The Axe Murderer.”

Maybe … maybe not.

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Today, during the monthly Nevada Athletic Commission meeting, one of the items on the agenda was the number of fights on World Series of Fighting’s December 18th card. WSOF wants 20 bouts, while the NSAC tries to cap cards off at 18. The audio of the whole motion is embedded above. Executive Director Bob Bennett moved to keep it at 18 due to “administrative and some operational concerns” he has with WSOF…and that he has a meeting with the WSOF Vice President (Ali Abdelaziz) today about those issues. The commissioners voted to dismiss WSOF’s motion, and that was that.

This comes on the heels of a week full of bad press for WSOF, primarily centering on Abdelaziz’s role with the company as Vice President and matchmaker. The allegations of him having a conflict of interest (because he also serves as a manager in violation of Nevada Athletic Commission rules) got more attention, as did a debunking of his self-proclaimed past as an Olympic judoka. The latter is not necessarily of concern to the NAC, but it doesn’t reflect well. The website of his management company, Dominance MMA, has scrubbed most mentions of his name.

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Mirko Filipovic put a bow on his legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) career after an injury forced him out of his scheduled bout against Anthony Hamilton, which was set to go down this past weekend (Sat., Nov. 28, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul, South Korea.

And though he went out on a three-fight win streak, his exit from combat sports wasn’t exactly ceremonious.

Aside from leaving hurt, news surfaced that “Cro Cop” had failed a pre-fight drug test for injecting human growth hormone (HGH) to help with his ailing shoulder.

It was a finding that the Croatian didn’t deny.

During a recent stop at “The MMA Hour,” “Cro Cop” talked about his decision to retire, saying that just like his exit, most fight careers come to an end in a rather “violent” way.

“Listen, that’s life. This is a violent sport and, in most cases, the end is violent. You either leave this sport with a serious injury or you lost three or four fights in a row and your employer doesn’t want to give anymore fights. That’s true about this sport. It’s either injury or you lose fights and get fired. But, that’s the law in our sport and that’s how it works. Of course, it would be best if I could finish all three fights on the contract with three victories and after the last fight I say in the cage, I say ‘this is my last fight and will never again.’ But, it doesn’t work that way. I don’t know who says goodbye that way. Most get injured or lose and are forced to retire. I was lucky, I am leaving with a big victory since I left UFC. I have 13 fights and very successful, won K-1 and I returned UFC, rematch Gonzaga, which was an important fight for me. I went to Japan and beat two times there the champion there. What else can I ask?”

For Mirko, the failed drug test — which earned him a two-year suspension — wasn’t the deciding factor in walking away from MMA. On the contrary, he says the fight was canceled because of an injury and it would have stayed that way regardless of the test results.

That’s because he wouldn’t have made the same mistake of fighting injured much like he did in his bout against Roy Nelson, revealing he faced “Big Country” despite tearing his bicep a week prior to the bout at UFC 137.

Furthermore, the former Pride FC standout says training is no longer fun, and the multiple injuries that he’s acquired over the years are too much to overcome.

Sound familiar?

Though he isn’t too sure what the future holds career-wise, Filipovic says he will do some seminars after the New Year in his home country of Croatia for kickboxing and MMA. That won’t bring him much income, as he says he will do those for free.

Plus, he will invest his time in training his 13-year old son on the art of MMA, though he doesn’t exactly want him to follow in his footsteps.

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The Nevada State Athletic Commission appointed the official referee and judges for the two main events scheduled for UFC 194 in two weeks.

Handling the duties inside the Octagon for the title unification main event between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor at the 12/12 pay-per-view will be veteran official “Big” John McCarthy, while respected official Herb Dean will handle the UFC Middleweight Title co-main event between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold.

The judges for Aldo-McGregor will be Derek Cleary, Sal D’Amato and Junichiro Kamiko. The judges for Weidman-Rockhold will be Adalaide Byrd, Chris Lee and Marcos Rosales.

UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor is scheduled for Saturday, December 12, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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