In the main event of UFC 197 on April 23, the wait is over, as former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones returns to the Octagon in an attempt to reclaim his crown from Daniel Cormier in one of the most highly anticipated rematches in 205-pound history. “This rematch was always going to happen,” Cormier said. “He (Jones) has been out apologizing and lifting weights since the last fight, while I’ve been improving and beating the best guys in the world. This rematch with Jon Jones is a new chapter, and it will be a whole different story.”The championship action … Read the Full Article Here

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CM Punk (finally) has an opponent, now all he needs is a date and venue.

The former pro wrestler was cage side for all the mixed martial arts (MMA) action at UFC Fight Night 82 last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, because the fighter hand-picked to welcome him into the Octagon, Mickey Gall, was competing on the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims.”

After the New Jersey native subbed Mike Jackson, he went face-to-face with the ex-WWE champ (his reaction here).

“I said to him up there, ‘that’s the way you wanted to win,'” Punk told MMA Fighting. “He said, ‘I plan on continuing that.’ I said, ‘good for you, good for you.'”

Not only does Gall have a 2-0 record in pro MMA, as well as a 2-0 record on the amateur circuit, he’s also younger by more than a decade. While Punk has been criticized for his slow start, he is facing a legitimate threat once he finally finds himself locked inside the cage.

“They have no idea what I’m gonna bring to the table,” Punk said. “That’s an advantage.”

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Bleacher Report
UFC Fight Night 82 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
Bleacher Report
Thompson dusted former champion, and No. 1-ranked contender, Hendricks inside of the first round at UFC Fight Night 82 in Las Vegas. He was accurate and deadly with his strikes. Hendricks stood in front of him, eating punches and kicks until he could
UFC Fight Night 82 post-fight facts: 'Wonderboy' winning at welterweightMMAjunkie.com
Making the Grade: Passes/Fails for UFC Fight Night: Hendricks vs. ThompsonFOXSports.com
Thoughts & Shots From UFC Fight Night 'Hendricks vs. Thompson'Sherdog.com
MMAmania.com
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LAS VEGAS – Ovince Saint Preux had an interesting way of dealing with an ankle injury during the first round of his fight with Rafael Cavalcante.

He just told his brain to make the pain go away or something. Whatever he did, it worked. Or at the very least, it didn’t hold Saint Preux (19-7 MMA, 7-2 UFC) back from dominating Cavalcante (12-7 MMA, 1-4 UFC) for a unanimous decision win on the main card of UFC Fight Night 82 on Saturday night.

Their fight wasn’t a barnburner on the FOX Sports 1-televised main card at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but it was impressive for Saint Preux in other ways.

“I was backing up and he started going forward,” Saint Preux told MMAjunkie at the post-event news conference, describing how he came to injure his right ankle to begin with. “The initial game plan was to press him, and that’s what I was doing. And he started pressing me, and he knew I was hurt. I basically just bit down on my mouthpiece and told my pain sensors to go away. It kind of worked. There were times during the fight where I felt it, but I kind of just bit down on my mouthpiece and let that go.”

Saint Preux was more than a 3-1 favorite in the fight, and he wound up with a pair of 30-27 scores and a 29-28 from one judge who gave “Feijao” the first round over “OSP.” Every major MMA media outlet tracked by MMA Decisions gave Saint Preux a sweep, and several outlets even gave him a 10-8 round, making judge Glenn Trowbridge’s 29-28 score even more questionable.

But that probably doesn’t matter much to Saint Preux, who got back in the win column after a submission loss to Glover Teixeira in the UFC Fight Night 73 main event this past August in front of his home Tennessee crowd in Nashville. The light heavyweight now has won three of his past four, though the decision victory was the first time he had gone to the judges for a win since his promotional debut at UFC 159 nearly three years ago – and even that one didn’t go the distance because Gian Villante couldn’t continue after taking an accidental eye poke.

For now, Saint Preux said the ankle injury will give him some downtime, but he believes it will be short lived.

“I’m just being careful about it,” he said after coming into the post-fight news conference on crutches. “I don’t think it’s going to get worse. I’ll probably be sitting around two weeks or so. It just happened – you fight, it happens.”

 

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The UFC debuted its latest pitch for UFC 196 on Saturday night during UFC Fight Night 82.

A month from today, we’ll know if Conor McGregor made history or not. The featherweight champ goes after a second concurrent belt when he takes on lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in the UFC 196 main event.

UFC 196 takes place March 5 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card, including dos Anjos (25-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC) vs. McGregor (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC), airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The last time a champion-vs.-champion fight happened in the UFC, lightweight titleholder B.J. Penn moved up to challenge welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre for his title at UFC 94 in 2009. Penn fell short.

Dos Anjos is ranked No. 1 in USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings and No. 6 pound-for-pound; McGregor is No. 1 at featherweight and No. 4 pound-for-pound.

Dos Anjos won the lightweight title from Anthony Pettis in March 2015, then defended it with a first-round TKO of Donald Cerrone in December. McGregor has become one of the sport’s biggest stars. He won the interim featherweight title at UFC 189 with a second-round TKO of Chad Mendes, then knocked out longtime champ Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December.

But that’s not all UFC 196 will feature. Women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will put her title on the line for the first time since her historic knockout of Ronda Rousey when she takes on Rousey rival Miesha Tate (17-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in the co-main event.

Check out the new commercial above for next month’s blockbuster card, and an additional and lengthier preview for UFC 196 below.

 

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MMA Fighting
The MMA Hour with Rafael dos Anjos, Alexander Gustafsson, Ben Rothwell, Yoel Romero/Malki Kawa, Eddie Alvarez
MMA Fighting
The MMA Hour is back in your life. Below is a rundown of Monday's show: 1:00 p.m. ET — After an unsuccessful UFC debut, Mike Jackson will put his media hat back on to recap UFN 82. 1:25 p.m. — Ben Rothwell will look back at his win over Josh Barnett

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A lightweight world title shot will be up for grabs on Saturday, April 16 when unbeaten powerhouse Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov faces former surging Ultimate Fighter winner Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson in the five-round main event of the UFC on FOX card at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Plus, four mixed martial arts superstars meet in the Octagon that night in Florida, when Rashad Evans battles Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a clash of former UFC light heavyweight champions, and Lyoto Machida squares off with Dan Henderson in a rematch at 185 pounds.Stay tuned to UFC.com for ticket on-sa … Read the Full Article Here

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It was supposed to be a perfect weekend for Alex Nicholson.

Not only was he making his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut, but his girlfriend accepted his proposal during the weigh-ins on Friday (see it here).

His frown was quickly turned upside down, as Misha Cirkunov imposed his brute strength on him during their bout on Saturday (Feb., 6, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 82 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cirkunov landed a takedown in the second round, which was the beginning of the end, as Misha executed a painful neck crack that ultimately fractured Nicholson’s jaw.

See it again if you dare here.

Now, Nicholson will undergo surgery to repair his busted up jaw, which may or may not be the same one he broke in a previous bout, according to UFC video president of operations, Dave Sholler’s comments during the post-fight press conference (via MMA Junkie).

 

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Mickey Gall vs. Mike Jackson isn’t your typical UFC fight. While the promotion bills itself as the one true home for top-level MMA, Gall and Jackson combined for just one professional bout entering Saturday’s Fight Night 82.

They aren’t quietly sitting on an impressive resume, mind you. Neither man owns a strong combat sports pedigree outside the realm of MMA. They’re not Glory kickboxers leaping from the ring to the cage, nor are they Judoka or wrestlers who had their Olympic dreams dashed by injuries.

Gall and Jackson, plain and simple, are unknown commodities. However, Gall won the right to face former professional wrestler Phil “CM Punk” Brooks with a first-round submission in Las Vegas on Saturday. 

Two years ago, this fight never would have happened in the UFC. Two years ago, however, CM Punk was still a professional wrestler. 

The UFC threw out its playbook when it signed the Straight Edge Savior, and it’s had to call audibles ever since to accommodate his presence. One of those audibles was finding similarly experienced opposition (that is, fighters with something close to a 0-0 professional record), and the UFC got back to basics to do so, slapping together a reality show for the express purpose of finding a foe for Punk.

That desperate need led the UFC to Gall and eventually to Jackson. It then established some incredibly high stakes for what would otherwise be an inconsequential fight. The victor would win the CM Punk lottery. The loser may be outright released by the UFC.

Whether or not those stakes weighed on Gall’s mind is impossible to tell, but he most certainly performed like a man on a mission. From the get-go, he came out pumping his jab, and after closing the distance, he rocked Jackson with an overhand right.

Jackson crashed to the canvas and Gall immediately pounced on him, hunting for a rear-naked choke. With little difficulty, he managed to get it, forcing Jackson to tap in just 45 seconds. After the official decision was read, UFC commentator Jon Anik entered the cage and made the long-awaited matchup official:

While CM Punk vs. Gall is still a spectacle lacking almost any value from a sporting perspective, this was a perfect performance by Gall. As Ben Fowlkes of MMA Junkie spelled out on Twitter, things couldn’t have been scripted better, as Gall wowed fans with his quick win and gave Punk and his head coach, Duke Roufus, basically no film to work with:

Unfortunately, it’s unknown when or where Punk vs. Gall will happen, with Punk telling Fox Sports’ Ariel Helwani he wanted to fight at UFC 200 in July, while UFC President Dana White muttered about UFC 199 in June in a post-fight interview on the broadcast. Either way, after more than a year of mystery, there are finally some concrete details when it comes to Punk’s UFC debut.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

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Bloody Elbow
Junior Dos Santos vs Ben Rothwell among 4 bouts added to UFC: Zagreb
Bloody Elbow
For the last 3 years Ben Rothwell slowly turned away his status as a solid gatekeeper to the top 5 of the UFC heavyweight division. After his loss to Gabriel Gonzaga in 2013, "Big Ben" scored four consecutive finishes over Brandon Vera, Alistair
UFC Zagreb: Ben Rothwell set to face Junior Dos Santos in hard-hitting main eventThe Sun

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