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PORTLAND, Ore. – Who wins Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 96 headliner between John Dodson and John Lineker? Their fellow fighters give their predictions.

UFC Fight Night 96 takes place Saturday at Moda Center in Portland, Ore. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the headliner, former flyweight title challenger Dodson (18-7 MMA, 7-2 UFC) meets fellow former flyweight Lineker (28-7 MMA, 9-2 UFC) in their new bantamweight division. The oddsmakers have made Dodson just a slight favorite in the headliner.

So, who wins? Check out the predictions above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 96, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Eddie Alvarez isn’t backing down to Conor McGregor ahead of their champion vs. champion main event on the historic UFC 205 fight card later this year.

Earlier this week, Alvarez (28-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and McGregor (20-3 MMA, 8-1 UFC) came face-to-face for the first time ahead of their lightweight title clash on Nov. 12 at UFC 205, which marks the organization’s first event in New York City.

The pay-per-view headliner at Madison Square Garden marks just the second time in UFC history two active champions will collide inside the octagon, and featherweight titleholder McGregor has the chance to place himself in the record books by becoming the first to hold two UFC belts simultaneously.

Alvarez, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings is the one standing in the way of that monumental achievement, though, and he has no intention of allowing No. 1-ranked featherweight McGregor to take the gold away from him. He made that much clear at Tuesday’s UFC 205 news conference.

“This guy’s got eight minutes of fight in him, that’s it,” Alvarez said. “He quits after eight minutes every fight. He’s not a championship fighter, he’s never been. And he’s never, ever fought anyone in the UFC like me. Ever.”

Alvarez said he’s not trying to put down the entirety of McGregor’s skill set, and how could he when the brash Irishman has six knockouts in eight UFC wins, including a title-fight record 13-second finish of Jose Aldo at UFC 194? However, the fact remains there are different levels to the sport, and Alvarez said McGregor isn’t prepared for the level of danger he’s going to put him in at UFC 205.

“When I mention fighter you guys are thinking about technique; I’m not thinking about technique,” Alvarez said. “When I mention fighter, I’m talking about how you deal with adversity, how you deal with bad situations. He deals terribly with bad situations and doesn’t come back.”

Although Alvarez doesn’t think highly of his next opponent, McGregor appears to feel the same way. He called Alvarez “blessed” to be in his current position and predicted a first-round knockout for the matchup. Alvarez firmly denied that prediction as a realistic outcome, then made a prediction of his own of what he thinks McGregor’s career will look like in the aftermath of their bout.

“You ain’t got a shot,” Alvarez said. “You’ll be belt-less Nov. 12. You’ll be belt-less. Not at 145, not at 155. You’ll have to give up the little boy belt and you’re not getting the big boy belt.”

Outside of a pair of welterweight fights with Nate Diaz in which each side earned a win, McGregor has been dominant and rarely challenged inside UFC competition. Alvarez, on the other hand, has been forced to endure hardship in all his octagon appearances with the exception of his title-wining TKO of Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 90 in July.

Alvarez expects UFC 205 to be the smoothest of all his UFC fights, though, and he went as far as to call McGregor “easy money.” He appears to truly believe that statement, as well, and said the rest of the world will believe it after UFC 205, too.

“Come Nov. 12, you guys will see,” Alvarez said. “There is no Santa Claus.”

For more on UFC 205, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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EFN 52 Preview (live on UFC FIGHT PASS this Saturday, 10am ET/ 7am PT)Former UFC veteran Fabio Maldonado returns to EFN coming off of that thrilling three-round war with Fedor Emelianenko in June. After almost knocking the famed former PRIDE FC champion out in the opening minutes and dominating much of the fight, many observers believed the Brazilian was the clear victor in what was one of the wildest fights in FIGHT PASS history. But now he returns to EFN to take on the talented 26-year-old Mokhnatkin. Experience is on Maldonado’s side, of course, but the momentum lies with Mokhnatkin – … Read the Full Article Here

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CM Punk didn’t fare too well in his Ultimate Fighting Championship appearance at UFC 203, losing by rear-naked choke to Mickey Gall in the opening round after getting handled for the entirety of the bout. But the mixed martial arts (MMA) novice is back training at Roufusport in Milwaukee, WI once more, according to his teammate, UFC Welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley.

Woodley was a guest on The MMA Hour recently and spoke about Punk returning to training.

“For sure, he was in the gym the other day,” Woodley said. “I was there. I saw his car outside, and I came in, I was going to say what’s up to him. And then I guess he was in the shower when I was changing, so I missed him, but yeah he’s back in the gym training.”

Gall took Punk down immediately at UFC 203 and dominated him on the canvas before locking in the fight-ending submission at 2:14 of the first round (highlights). Woodley said he and other teammates were surprised that Gall went in for the takedown so quickly, and disappointed Punk didn’t get to strike at all during the bout.

“We expected the guy to [try to] out-strike him, so we were going to try and bum-rush him and… I’m not going to tell the whole game plan, we might have to use it again. But in general we tried to close the gap quickly and get hands on him, and the take down just surprised me and everybody else. We all knew there was a chance he could potentially lose, but I would have liked him to just show a little something, because he has worked so damn hard.”

After an embarrassing defeat, Punk’s UFC return remains uncertain as UFC president Dana White said he “probably shouldn’t have his next fight in the UFC,” but Woodley definitely wants to see his teammate return to the Octagon.

“For sure,” he said. “I want to see him fight the dude that that Belal Muhammad just fought, the dude with the red mohawk [Augusto Montano]. I think he’s a dude from a TUF [The Ultimate Fighter] show, a TUF show guy. I think Mickey Gall was pretty good. That was a big cup of coffee for [Punk].”

Woodley defends his UFC Welterweight title at UFC 205 against No.2-ranked UFC Welterweight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson on November 12, 2016.

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In WWE they called Ryback ‘The Big Guy’ and he certainly looked the part at 6’3″ and 291 pounds. Could this monster of a man trim down to 265 pounds and join the world of mixed martial arts? Bellator President Scott Coker weighs in on the rumors.

Another former pro wrestler is thinking about starting a career in mixed martial arts (MMA).

Former WWE star Ryan Reeves aka “The Big Guy” recently filed court documents to make his pro wrestling name his real name. If he wants to be called Ryback we’ll call him Ryback, but he also wants to be called a Bellator fighter. Stories of Ryback, 34, negotiating to join Bellator have been circulating around the internet.

As the buzz continued to escalate around the 6’3″, 291 pound monster of the squared circle giving MMA a try, Bellator President’s Scott Coker addressed it during an interview with Eric Bischoff. Here’s what he had to say.

“Really it’s a very short conversation because their management did reach out. We had a very brief conversation. I’m not sure where it’s at but I don’t think it went very far. If they don’t have some type of background in either jiu-jitsu or collegiate wrestling or thai boxing or a combat sports background it’s tough for them.”

Perhaps another reason it was a short conversation was the recent spectacle of CM Punk at UFC 203.

“It’s like someone from a martial arts background trying to be a pro wrestler. If you’re not schooled and don’t go through the education process of how to do it then you’re going to have a hard time. I think that’s what you saw with the CM Punk situation.”

While Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley proved that it can be done, both had amateur college wrestling credentials before their eventual jump to mixed martial arts — Mr. Ryback does not.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Bellator MMA featherweight champion Daniel Straus has been cleared to compete again after being sidelined for much of 2016 due to a broken left hand.

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Jeremy Stephens answered just two questions at Tuesday’s UFC 205 news conference in New York City. However, with those two answers, he caught the attention of many who wouldn’t have noticed him otherwise, including UFC champion Conor McGregor.

Stephens (25-12 MMA, 12-11 UFC), who fights Frankie Edgar (20-5-1 MMA, 14-5-1 UFC) in a featherweight contender bout at the Nov. 12 event at Madison Square Garden, was quietly tucked away in the back corner of the news conference dais while event headliners McGregor (20-3 MMA, 8-1 UFC) and Eddie Alvarez (28-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) bickered back and forth.

But when a media member asked McGregor which of the 11 other fighters on stage would give him the toughest fight. “Lil’ Heathen” didn’t wait for a response before butting in.

“Right here, right here,” Stephens interrupted. “The hardest hitting 145 pounder. The real hardest hitting 145er, right here. This guy TKOs people. When I knock people out they don’t (expletive) move. Little leprechaun.”

Although Stephens inserted himself into McGregor’s situation with the comment, his high came crashing down hard when the reigning 145-pound champion looked around, puzzled about who walk talking to him before expertly brushing Stephens away with a perfectly-crafted response.

“Who the (expletive) is that guy? Who the (expletive) is that? Oh my god.”

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Despite the fact Stephens, No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, and No. 1-ranked McGregor are on two different career paths at the moment, the call out of “The Notorious” wasn’t entirely unjustified. If McGregor ever comes back to the 145-pound division to defend his title there will be a bevy of contenders hungry to challenge him, and Stephens could be one of them.

That depends on whether he can get past No. 2-ranked Edgar at the historic UFC 205 event, but if he could, Stephens would have to be considered among the top of the list of such contenders. Topping “The Answer” will be no easy feat, though, especially with Stephens competing against a New Jersey-born fighter in his neighboring state of New York

That doesn’t fluster Stephens, however, he said. Instead, it’s a source of motivation. He claims to embrace the task at hand and intends to deliver in spades, promising to become the first fighter top stop Edgar in his 26-fight career.

“I love knocking people out in their own back yard,” Stephens said. “This isn’t the first time I’m going to do it. MSG it’s going down. Your boy is getting knocked the (expletive) out. Guaranteed.”

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Things sure have changed since John McCain called the UFC “human cockfighting” and it was banned from PPV. It’s crazy to think that was only fifteen years ago, now the UFC is consistently breaking gate and PPV records while being broadcast on FOX in a mainstream timeslot while selling out Madison Square Garden. What a time to be alive and a fight fan.

We all knew the UFC was getting big, but only a few people ever believed it was $4.2 billion big. That’s how much the UFC sold for over the summer to WME-IMG, the talent agency run by Ari Emanuel, the guy who Ari from Entourage is based on. These new owners are dipping into their clientele to bring on celebrity investors for a small ownership stake of the UFC. The report states that 23 A-listers are involved, including Venus and Serena Williams, Jimmy Kimmel, Tom Brady, Sylvester Stallone and Tyler Perry.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Emanuel, co-chief executive of WME-IMG and one of the new owners of the UFC, found his investors the old-fashioned way — he just approached the fans he represented. “They would always ask for tickets,” he said.

And so, now we have Conan O’Brien, part owner of the UFC.

Of course, Conan has his reasons — he wants to fight.



Conspiracy theory alert: Conor McGregor doesn’t have the lightweight belt. He’s fighting Eddie Alvarez for it in November. Maybe the new owner is going to pull some strings for his Irish brethren so he gets the win, hmmmmm?

MMA sure has gotten weird, eh?

(Via The Wall Street Journal)

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PORTLAND, Ore. – MMAjunkie was on scene for today’s ceremonial fighter weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night 96. Check out our photo gallery of the festivities.

The ceremonial weigh-ins took place at Oregon Convention Center’s Hall C. The nearby Moda Center hosts Saturday’s event, which includes a main card on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

For a full rundown of the results, which were actually registered during today’s official (early) weigh-ins, check out our UFC Fight Night 96 weigh-in results post.

And check out all the images from the ceremonial weigh-ins above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 96, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Wonderboy Thompson and Frankie Edgar join Jim and Matt in-studio to discuss their fights on the stacked UFC 205 card, Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor, staredowns, the best KOs they’ve ever seen, and more. Later, Cowboy Cerrone joins in-studio to talk about everything from BJJ and squirrel jumping, to CBD oils and his respect for the Diaz brothers.Some of the highlights from Episode 30 of UFC Unfiltered include:Wonderboy and Frankie talk about fighting without emotionWonderboy doesn’t feel more pressure fighting for the titleWonderboy will kill you with nicenessCowboy would ride a sh … Read the Full Article Here

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