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  • 'Countdown to UFC 178' video - MMA Fighting
    Toronto Sun'Countdown to UFC 178' videoMMA FightingThe 'Countdown to UFC 178' takes a closer look at the upcoming UFC 178 event this Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the main event, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will defend his title against Chris Cariaso.Sunday MMA: A TV Viewer's GuideSherdog
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    Bellator 125 highlightsMMA FightingCheck out Bellator 125 highlights to see what happened in Melvin Manhoef's impressive Bellator debut and much more Friday night. More from MMA Fighting. UFC Fight Night 52 Results: Hunt vs. Nelson · UFC Fight Night 52 in Tweets: Pros react to Mark ...
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    Examiner.comBellator 125 live stream onlineMMA FightingWatch Bellator 125 live stream online on MMA Fighting for the preliminary card at 7 p.m. ET. The fight card for this portion of the event is as follows: Ron Keslar vs. Jesse Juarez Aaron Wilkinson vs. Chris Honeycutt · Julio Cesar Neves vs. Poppies ...Two spectacular knockouts from UFC and Bellator MMA l

MMA Fighting’s Esther Lin discusses her favorite photos from Invicta FC 8.

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Get your fighting pants on.

The mismatch in the UFC 178 main event is real, but don’t let that deter your interest. Be interested. Have I ever led you astray? Trust me. You want to watch this.

In that main event, you have UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson defending the strap against Chris Cariaso, a long underdog with a 4-2 record as a 125-pounder and a No. 8 slot in the current UFC flyweight rankings. 

But I urge you, for your own good: Look beyond the headliner. Because it’s been a long time since a card went this deep. And it’s not just that there are a lot of great fighters on the card, though there are. They’re exciting fighters. Fighters who finish fights. Fighters with storylines and, you know, personalities. Fighters with big, big egos fighting other fighters with big, big egos. Title implications in multiple areas.

If you’re not acquainted with this card, take this opportunity to do so. Here’s a complete guide to the action, including information capsules on each fighter, matchup analysis, predictions and even viewing coordinates. Are you ready? I’m ready.

Begin Slideshow

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Ronda Rousey broke down her love of Pokemon, how it began, her favorite versions, how she lost weight from the game, and much more above.

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship, just like any other major sports promotion, is susceptible to injury-plagued moments. Just like a team in the NFL or NBA can have its season hopes ruined by one misstep, an entire MMA event can be blown up due to one painful moment.

Mixed martial arts is a violent sport—a sport in which the athletes must train hard in order to be ready for high-level competition. Unfortunately, the UFC cannot do more than it is to protect its champions from sudden injury. Yet, it can do more to protect its cards from falling apart when it occurs.

Injuries within mixed martial arts are going to happen. When they do, the results are going to be catastrophic at times and “minor” in others. The moments that have struck UFC 177 and UFC 178 will ring out as two examples etched in the fight community’s mind.

If the UFC expects these fighters to come in and compete as world-class athletes, then hard training is a must. This hard training will lead to accidental injuries that will keep big-name athletes from upcoming events. The UFC can respond by having a match-making system in place that would help prevent cards from being drastically weakened if major players are forced to back out.

As the UFC moves forward with having all pay-per-view events headlined by title fights, the undercard should also feature title contenders from the same weight class. What this strategy would do is allow the UFC to shift its cards around in the moment of an injury or other change. UFC 158 can be pointed to as an example of how this card structure would work.

Georges St-Pierre was set to defend his title against Nick Diaz, who had been pulled from a previous title shot at UFC 137 due to missing media requirements (via MMA Fighting). If the UFC was forced to do so again, it could have filled his spot with either Johny Hendricks or Carlos Condit, who were in the co-main event. The UFC also booked Jake Ellenberger against Nate Marquardt, both of whom could have stepped in to face other men if needed and would have kept the welterweight division moving forward that night.

Keeping key fighters active within the same time span or on the same cards would help stop injuries from ruining event expectations. This would ensure that specific fighters are training in preparation for the moment in which their number is called.

UFC 146 is another example of a card that was shaken up due to a fighter being taken off the card. When Alistair Overeem was removed because he failed his pre-fight drug test, all of the heavyweight bouts were moved around (via MMAjunkie). Frank Mir was originally supposed to face Cain Velasquez, but instead he was bumped into the main event spot against Junior dos Santos.

Ben Fowlkes of MMA Fighting reported that Mir volunteered his services once it was official that Overeem was pulled from the card. He volunteered to do so at the right moment, and the fact that he was preparing to compete already could have helped the UFC select him to take the spot. Had the company not had any other heavyweight bouts in place, the promotion would have had a much harder time finding a replacement.

Injuries are going to happen in mixed martial arts no matter what the UFC or any other promotion tries to do. However, creating a card development system that books multiple contenders on the same event will help ease the pain of replacements when needed. The UFC will never be able to prevent injuries, but being prepared to face them is its next best option.

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In this special edition of the UFC Minute, Lisa Foiles brings you breaking Invicta FC news regarding its return to UFC Fight Pass and Cris Cyborg’s new weight class.

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If you follow me on Twitter—and let’s be honest with each other, you have no reason not to—you’ve no doubt seen me trumpeting my excitement for Saturday’s UFC 178 card.

For months.

Ever since this card started taking shape, it was clear it would be the answer to any of our ongoing concerns about pay-per-view events not measuring up to the expectations we build up within ourselves. Back then, of course, the main event was going to be Jon Jones defending the light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier, and it was going to be grand.

That went up in smoke, however—or at least in a cloud of Albuquerque dust—when Alistair Overeem injured the champ’s knee while training.

Even without that promised and anticipated main event, UFC 178 is one of the best cards I can remember. It is filled with fights I can’t wait to see. Folks, this is the fight card where Eddie Alvarez makes his UFC debut, and he’s doing it against Donald Cerrone! It’s like Joe Silva was sitting in his home office, thinking of me and me alone, when he decided to make this fight happen.

That’s not all, of course.

Conor McGregor makes the leap from Fight Pass to pay-per-view. He might be one of the UFC’s biggest stars already, and he has just two fights in the promotion and has yet to appear on pay-per-view. He’s fighting Dustin Poirier, and that sounds like a recipe for amazing and violent things.

Then there’s Dominick Cruz, returning from 82 years in the hospital to see if he can get his career going again. Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero in a battle of two manly men. Cat Zingano trying to pick up where she left off and battle her way back to Ronda Rousey.

This is a spectacular card, and I am more excited to watch it unfold than I have been for a UFC event in a long time.

All of it, that is…but the main event.

And it’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing Demetrious Johnson do his thing. I do. He is one of the best fighters in the world, regardless of weight class, and he is as unique as they come. He’s a joy to watch in the Octagon.

But Chris Cariaso? That’s not an opponent I can get all that jazzed up about. He has three wins in a row, and I suppose he’s as good of an opponent as any in a division that Johnson has effectively wiped out. But I just can’t summon the same kind of excitement as I can for, say, Alvarez vs. Cerrone or McGregor vs. Poirier. Or anything else on the card, for that matter.

I don’t mind Johnson headlining pay-per-view events. He has done his time on television, and he has earned the opportunity.

He’s not a draw, but that’s OK. At some point, you have to take the Fox training wheels off the bicycle and let the kid pass or fail on his own merits. This is that opportunity for Johnson.

But unfortunately, he’s saddled with an opponent fans just don’t believe in. Neither do the oddsmakers; at the time of this writing, Johnson is a 13-1 favorite. Anything can happen in mixed martial arts (as T.J. Dillashaw might tell you a little something about), but the notion of Cariaso doing much of anything with Johnson is far-fetched at best.

This time, it’s OK. The rest of UFC 178 more than holds up the sagging main event. Nearly everyone who buys this event on pay-per-view will do so because they are intrigued by the strength of the rest of the card.

But Johnson vs. Cariaso isn’t the kind of main event that can be relied on to draw pay-per-view events going forward. If the UFC intends on Johnson headlining stacked events like this one, it’s OK. We can give this one a pass, and I suspect most of you will.

But booking fights like Johnson vs. Cariaso on pay-per-views that are far less adequate than this one? That’s where the UFC will run into trouble, and it’s something they should concentrate on avoiding.

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The MMA Hour with Mark Hunt, Rich Franklin, Demetrious Johnson, Stefan
MMA Fighting
2:05 p.m. — MMA legend Rich Franklin will talk about his new role as vice president of One FC. 2:25 p.m. — UFC VP of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner will discuss the current state of drug testing, judging, and more in MMA. 2:45 p.m. — SBG Ireland

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He claims to have moved on from the company that employed him for over 15 years, but Bellator MMA light heavyweight Tito Ortiz obviously still enjoys feuding with the UFC.

Still in the midst of his never-ending war of words with unabashed UFC President Dana White, Ortiz took his latest stand against his former employers during an interview on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (as transcribed by Dave Doyle of MMAFighting).

Ortiz, who’s scheduled to fight fellow UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar at Bellator 131, claims that the UFC essentially nixed the idea of Bellator MMA holding the event near Ortiz’s stomping grounds at Anaheim’s Honda Center on Nov. 15.

“The UFC said no,” Ortiz said. “They tried to get to the Pond and the UFC didn’t let it happen. They wanted to do it at the Pond and the UFC said no.”

So rather than getting to tangle with Bonnar less than 20 miles from his hometown of Huntington Beach, Ortiz will have to settle for a showdown with the runner-up of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter at San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center.

Regardless of the change in scenery, Ortiz seems confident that his fan following will make him feel just as welcome in San Diego.

“We’re in San Diego, I have thousands of fans down there, they get to watch me live in their own backyard,” he said.

The Bellator 131 card, which also includes a rematch between interim lightweight champ Will Brooks and former champ Michael Chandler in the co-main event, will run in concurrence with UFC 180 (the company’s first card to be held in Mexico).

Although Ortiz will have to compete with a heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180 in Mexico City, the former UFC light heavyweight champ embraces the challenge.

I think it’s kinda cool actually to tell you the truth, see how much weight my name can hold. I think the big difference in all of it is, all the fans get to watch free fights instead of having to pay for fight. They get to watch free on Spike, and I think diehard fight fans will be watching no matter what, Tito Ortiz fans will be there no matter what, and Stephanie Bonnar fans will be there no matter what.

Ortiz came out of retirement for his last fight and snapped a three-fight losing skid by submitting Bellator MMA middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko with a first-round arm-triangle choke at Bellator 120 in May.

Before his win over Shlemenko, Ortiz had dropped six of his last seven bouts, all of which took place in the Octagon.

Akin to Ortiz, Bonnar temporarily retired from competition following a long and volatile career in the UFC.

Bonnar saw his three-fight winning streak snapped with a lopsided TKO loss (knee to the body and punches) to longtime former middleweight champ Anderson Silva in his last outing at UFC 153 in 2012.

Bonnar tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone in his post-fight drug screen following his loss to Silva. Seventeen days later, White announced that Bonnar had retired.

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ABC News
Trading Shots: Downes and Fowlkes on Wanderlei Silva's retirement
On one hand, it's a legend retiring from the sport and blaming the UFC for draining him of all his passion for MMA. Or, looked at another way, it's a guy trying to avoid responsibility for skipping out on a drug test and hoping to change the subject on
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There were few other fights that the UFC could pull together that would excite fans more than Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz did when the bout was first announced earlier this year. 

In the blue corner you have the former Strikeforce welterweight champion making his return to the Octagon after what would have been a 22-month hiatus. In the red corner you have the former UFC middleweight champion making his return from a yearlong absence that came as a result of one of the most gruesome injuries most of us have ever seen. 

Both men were poised to take the center of the Octagon and piece together what could have been one of the most fan-friendly striking matches anybody could ask for. 

So when most of us heard that Diaz was arrested under suspicion of DUI, the concerns started to grow—who would Silva fight if the highly anticipated bout with Diaz fell through?

Like it or not, this was a fight that Silva was supposed to win. Diaz was supposed to do what he always does: move forward, throw strikes aplenty and collect his paycheck. Silva, being the counterstriker that he is, was supposed to bob, weave and pounce his way back into relevancy. 

None of the following fighters would make for quite as an exciting fight, especially when you consider the amount of attention Diaz garners when he steps inside of a cage. That doesn’t mean this pay-per-view is already destined to fail, though. 

Here are some alternative options: 


Gegard Mousasi

No, he may not have the same rhetorical abilities that Diaz has developed over the years, but he certainly has a similar striking game that could make for an equally exciting fight. Akin to Diaz, Gegard Mousasi doesn’t always throw heavy, but he surely throws often. 

Coming off of a one-sided loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza earlier this month, Mousasi fell to the bottom of the already-crowded middleweight pool of title contenders. A victory against Silva—which could happen—would likely toss him ahead of a lot of the current crop of contenders. 

A win for Silva here would likely provide a little more validation than he would receive in defeating Diaz, further convincing the public that he’s still worthy of the No. 1 spot in the UFC’s middleweight division.


Dan Henderson 

Sure, Dan Henderson hasn’t necessarily looked impressive since he took part in a five-round war with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 2011. He also hasn’t fought at 185 pounds since he challenged for Jake Shields’ Strikeforce middleweight title back in 2010. 

But after getting rag-dolled by Daniel Cormier, knocked out by Vitor Belfort and split-decisioned by faster fighters in Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, it’s obvious that Hendo needs to make some changes before he’ll start seeing any sort of success inside of the Octagon again. 

Squaring off against Silva—in what would be the sequel to their 2008 title unification bout—could be the sort of motivation that Henderson needs to make the difficult weight cut at 44 years old. 


Rashad Evans

With back-to-back victories against Henderson and Chael Sonnen, it’s not as if Rashad Evans needs to make the move down to middleweight. He sits firmly as the light heavyweight division’s No. 3 contender, likely only needing one or two more victories before he’ll find himself in a rematch against Jon Jones. 

But that’s just it—it’ll be a rematch against the man who beat him in every feasible way for five whole rounds. And it’s not as if Jones suddenly plateaued upon defeating Evans—he’s gotten much, much better. 

He’ll be looking to make his return to the Octagon in early 2015 after tearing his ACL in the weeks leading up to his bout against Cormier back in March. He did say he’d be willing to come back as early as February, per The MMA Hour, via Dana Becker of, but who’s to say he’d be opposed to the idea of pushing his ETA a month early to step up and fight the former pound-for-pound king? 


Kristian Ibarra is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He also serves as the sports editor at San Diego State University’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Follow him on Twitter at @Kristian_Ibarra for all things MMA. 

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Irish instigator Conor McGregor will look to continue his metoric rise in the featherweight division as he meets fiery scrapper Dustin Poirier.

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Demetrious Johnson isn’t one to get hung up on labels.

While in the midst of his dominant reign atop the UFC’s flyweight division, Mighty Mouse has gained solid recognition across the mixed martial arts landscape as being one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best in addition to being heralded as the fastest fighter on the planet. Naturally, that caliber of praise is going to come when a fighter goes on a six-fight winning streak and leaves a collection of top-ranked talent wrecked in his wake, but circumstantial descriptors are not what Johnson chooses to focus on.

The 28-year-old Washington native’s sole focus rests on his personal progress as a mixed martial artist. Granted, being the champion of the 125-pound division is a position he covets, but a title is nothing to rest on in his world. He’s on a constant pursuit of improvement, and his commitment to those endeavors has been especially visible in his past four outings.

Since edging out Joseph Benavidez via split decision to earn the inaugural flyweight title, the Matt Hume-trained fighter has shifted gears and elevated his game in every showing since. He’s stepped into the Octagon on four occasions since winning the title, and with every bout he has put a more dangerous version of himself on display. Whereas some fighters have fallen victim to complacency once they’ve obtained the label of champion, Johnson resides at the opposite end of the spectrum.

The speedy flyweight king is hungrier than ever because he’s not chasing down a pedestal to be placed upon. Rather, Johnson is continuously looking to find new physical limits and push his talents to new levels. 

“My personal progress is huge to me,” Johnson told Bleacher Report. “It means I’m getting better and I’m not wasting my coach’s time in the gym. It makes me happy that people think I keep showing new things because I believe I am as well. I’m always showing that I’m a very versatile champion and I’m not just good at one thing. When people prepare to fight me, they have to figure out how to solve a puzzle. 

“If they come in trying to hold me down, then they have to get in close and deal with my clinch game. If they come in with the game plan to try and knock me out, they have to deal with my wrestling and speed. I like that the puzzle my opponents have to figure out in order to beat me is becoming more difficult to solve with every fight. 

“I look at the one fight in front of me because that is the only thing I can control,” he added. “People talk about legacy and things like that, but my focus is always on what is directly ahead. When I try to look deeper into things, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to leave behind for a legacy, or if I’m even supposed to leave one. For me, I keep my mind focused on the fight in front of me because that is the only one that matters.”

For as dominant as Johnson has been over the past two years, being perched on the divisional throne means there is a constant target on his back. He is the fighter every flyweight on the planet is aiming to derail, and the next eager challenger is rapidly approaching. At UFC 178 on September 27, Chris Cariaso will attempt to do what no man in the 125-pound ranks has been able to accomplishbeat Johnson inside the Octagon.

Doing so is a tall task—and Cariaso‘s heavy underdog status certainly reflects that being so—but Johnson isn’t sleeping for a second on The Kamikaze’s dangers. He knows he will have a scrappy veteran on his hands on Saturday night, and Johnson will be once again looking to get the job done by any means necessary.

“He is a good matchup, and Chris [Cariaso] is a tough guy,” Johnson said. “He always comes to fight and is a very durable guy. He’s able to take a lot of punishment and is always game. He’s always up to fight, and I think it is going to be a good one. My camp and I are prepared, and we are ready to go out there and fight.”

While Johnson’s reign atop the flyweight division has been dominant and several of his performances over that stretch have been near flawless, the 125-pound titleholder has not been able to escape pointed criticism. Larger fighters have always received the lion’s share of the spotlight in combat sports, and that trend has gone unchanged in the current era of mixed martial arts.

Fighters below the 170-pound limit have faced an uphill battle in the days since BJ Penn fell from his post as the greatest lightweight in the world, and it’s a struggle that still remains. Granted, there have been the fortunate few (Jose Aldo, Ronda Rousey, Anthony Pettis) who have earned respect and, perhaps even more noteworthy, the ever-elusive attention of the modern MMA fan, but fans have thus far been coming around slowly to Johnson.

When his impressive skill set and lopsided nature of his current run are taken into account, a lukewarm thermometer with the UFC fanbase may seem crazy, but it doesn’t make it any less true. In his most recent title defense at UFC 174, the champion put a one-sided beating on No. 1 contender Ali Bagautinov with his full array of skills on display, but that didn’t stop fans from exiting the arena in the early stages of the main event. 

Nevertheless, Johnson cannot allow himself to linger on those details. He understands there is a certain amount of effort and self-promotion required of him, but those elements carry zero weight if he isn’t firing on all cylinders come fight night. Johnson understands it is entirely upon him to go out and do his job under the bright lights, and all he can do is hope fans eventually come around.

Yet, fans coming to appreciate how good something was long after it is gone is an unfortunate reality that occurs in the sports world.

“I hope that isn’t the case and people come to appreciate the way I fight, but that could certainly happen,” Johnson said. “That’s happened to me in my own career where I wish I would have spent a lot more time watching K-1 kickboxing when Mirko Cro Cop and Mark Hunt were in there. I wish I was into it a lot more back in the day when I was growing up. Now, I’m trying to play catch-up by watching Glory and Lion Fights just to watch the muay thai and different types of combat sports. 

“I’m only 28 years old. I’m still young, and I’m going to be fighting for a long time. Hopefully, people will eventually jump on the bandwagon or whatever people call it.”


Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.  

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Pedigreed lightweight Eddie Alvarez makes his long-awaited UFC debut, where he’ll fight prolific finisher Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

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Mark Hunt continues to impress inside the Octagon.

Following a knockout loss to Junior dos Santos in May 2013, many may have figured Hunt wouldn’t be able to get that close to a heavyweight title shot again. However, 16 months later, Hunt is right back in the thick of things as a heavyweight contender.

At UFC Fight Night 52 on Saturday, Hunt became the first fighter to stop Roy Nelson in a UFC bout. The knockout against a fighter known for his chin spoke volumes about Hunt’s punching power and ability to put any heavyweight in the world away.

With another UFC event in the books, here are the matchups that should be made for Hunt, Nelson and the rest of the UFC Fight Night 52 competitors.

Begin Slideshow

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Toronto Sun
'Countdown to UFC 178' video
MMA Fighting
The 'Countdown to UFC 178' takes a closer look at the upcoming UFC 178 event this Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the main event, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will defend his title against Chris Cariaso.
Chris Cariaso to critics: Watch UFC 178 to see why I deserved title
Estrada on MMA: Past problems put pressure on UFC 178The Port Arthur News
Khabib Nurmagomedov has a message for Eddie Alvarez: Win a few fights

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  • VIDEOS: “Countdown To UFC 178″ Preview Special For This Saturday’s PPV
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