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The UFC returns to Atlanta this week for UFC 201, and the promotion has rolled out the “Embedded” treatment for a preview of Saturday’s pay-per-view event.

The online series previews the card, which takes place at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the fifth episode, welterweight champ Robbie Lawler (27-10 MMA, 12-4 UFC) and fellow headliner Tyron Woodley (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) wrap up camp and handle media obligations, with some family time. Co-headliner Rose Namajunas (5-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) walks her dog while opponent Karolina Kowalkiewicz (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) makes her way through Atlanta in style.

Check out the full episode above.

Also see:

And for more on UFC 201, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga.Thursday was a punt, pass and kick sort of day for the UFC. A handful of guest fighters at UFC 201 this Saturday night – women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, rival Julianna Pena, Kelvin Gastelum, Chase Sherman and Nina Ansaroff – visited the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons training facility in Flowery Ranch, Ga., for a unique afternoon where they met with players, showcased their athletic abilities, and spent time with performance coaches as well as the team’s strength and conditioning coaches to discuss techniques and ideas.

@Atlanta … Read the Full Article Here

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A tweet is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to mixed martial arts (MMA). In just a matter of 140 characters, a MMA fighter can demand to be paid, defend oneself when labeled a cheater, call out an opponent or interact with the millions of Internet warriors that make up cybertown.

For Jeremy Stephens, who recently utilized Instagram to blast MMA fighters who can’t handle a savage fight, Twitter has allowed him to address more than one topic in a single tweet. Stephens not only blasted current interim Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a recent Twitter submission, but he commended Aldo’s teammate, Renan Barao, for his heart and chin in a unanimous decision loss to “Lil’ Heathen” back at UFC Fight Night 88.

Stephens, 30, is one of the most brutal strikers in UFC today. He has reinvented himself at 145 pounds since dropping down from Lightweight and has often demonstrated the standup skills needed to contend alongside the Featherweight elite.

While it’s possible that Aldo did dodge Stephens because a matchup didn’t make sense as far as divisional rankings are concerned, the Brazilian is the best 145-pound fighter of all time and has never avoided anyone. So it’s more likely that Stephens is trying to prod Aldo while paying tribute to the war he had with Barao in the same breath.

Without a scheduled fight, Stephens has asked his fans who he should knockout next. What say you, Maniacs?

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A key strawweight contest is set for the UFC 201 co-main event Saturday night, as Rose Namajunas takes on Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Namajunas has scored successive wins over Tecia Torres, Paige VanZant and Angela Hill since a 2014 loss to Carla Esparza in the finals of the tournament to crown the first-ever UFC 115-pound champion. “Thug” finished both VanZant and Hill, while scoring a decision in April over Torres.

Kowalkiewicz made her Octagon debut last December with a decision win over Randa Markos before adding a May decision triumph vs. Heather Jo Clark to her resume.

In this special edition of “The Matchup,” both fighters offer up their thoughts on the other.

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It’s main event time, and we have Alexa Grasso – an undefeated fighter who likes to bang – taking on Jodie Esquibel. Esquibel lost a close decision trying to get into the TUF House, so she’s back in the Invicta cage to re-establish herself as a badass strawweight. The big question mark hanging over this […]

The post Invicta FC 18 Results: Alexa Grasso Turns Jodie Esquibel Into a Bloody Mess appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC on Fox 20 hit Chicago, and the main event featured another bantamweight shake-up.

Valentina Shevchenko up-ended Holly Holm by unanimous decision. Ever since Holm’s stunning KO of Ronda Rousey, the division has been topsy-turvy. This is just another cog in that wheel. Shevchenko’s fantastic counter-striking game propelled her to a new level.

In the co-main event, Edson Barboza defeated Gilbert Melendez in a battle of elite lightweights.

The event started with a fun few bouts, hit a slow-moving middle and finished with some top-end performances from the elite of their respective divisions. UFC on Fox 20 gave fans a little taste of everything that MMA offers.

So, what’s next? That’s always the question. MMA never rests, and UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby have the toughest job in the sport.

These are the matches to make for the UFC matchmakers to book moving forward.

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After a year and a half away, Alexa Grasso left a statement for the strawweight division in the Invicta FC 18 main event on Friday night.

Grasso (8-0) returned from a lengthy injury layoff to take a unanimous decision from Jodie Esquibel (5-2), leaving Esquibel a bloody and battered mess in the process.

Grasso and Esquibel headlined Invicta FC 18 at Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. The card streamed live on UFC Fight Pass. With the win, Grasso put herself in position to potentially challenge champion Angela Hill.

Grasso swung hard early – but so did Esquibel, who answered with both punches and kicks. A minute in, Esquibel caught a kick from Grasso and tried to use it to take the fight to the ground. But Grasso stayed upright, and a minute later briefly had the fight on the ground herself. A kick to the body from Grasso had Esquibel hurt and looking for a defensive takedown. But Grasso wailed away on her head with elbows as punishment, and Esquibel gave up the takedown attempt. When they broke, Grasso landed a hard right hand, then worked the body again. With 40 seconds left, Grasso landed a kick to the head, but Esquibel stayed standing and landed a good punch of her own.

Esquibel seemed to get more comfortable with her striking in the second round, but that didn’t mean Grasso was taking any kind of back seat. Both fighters had their moments, but Grasso seemed to be a step ahead more often.

The third was more of the same until midway through, when Grasso landed a hard right hand that hurt Equibel. The punch and subsequent follow-ups had Esquibel a bloody mess, and the referee briefly stopped the fight to have a doctor check on Esquibel’s cut nose. The fight continued, and Esquibel got aggressive. But Grasso landed a hard elbow, then pushed the fight back to the middle with 100 seconds left. The fight stayed on the feet for the rest of the fight, and while Grasso couldn’t get the finish, she got the sweep from the judges.

Grasso stayed unbeaten with the win. Esquibel had a two-fight winning streak halted.

Niedzwiedz shuts out Stanley with ease
At Thursday’s weigh-ins, Agnieszka Niedzwiedz and Christine Stanley made it pretty clear they didn’t like each other. In the co-main event, the flyweights went all 15 minutes, but it was Niedzwiedz (8-0) who was ice cold in her dominance. She picked up a sweep of the judges’ scorecards to top Stanley (5-2) by decision.

Niedzwiedz came out swinging, and Stanley tried to answer back with a kick to the lead leg. Stanley tried some showboat-style flashiness, waving her hands around, then dropping them to her sides. But when she landed, she landed nicely. And when Niedzwiedz landed, forcing Stanley to backpedal, Niedzwiedz mocked her. Seconds later, Stanley – who missed weight for the flyweight bout – started talking to Niedzwiedz. With 90 seconds left in the round, Niedzwiedz landed a takedown, and when Stanley got back to her feet, Niedzwiedz stuck to her and worked another takedown. She got it with 45 seconds left and worked a few punches on the ground before tripping her back down again.

In the second, Niedzwiedz stood with Stanley in the first two minutes. But then, Niedzwiedz again took Stanley to the canvas – despite a fence grab from Stanley. Midway through, they went back to the center, where Stanley at least could fire back. Niedzwiedz got another takedown late in the frame for anotehr dominant round.

It was more of the same for Niedzwiedz in the third. She landed another perfect takedown 90 seconds into the frame. Working from side control, Niedzwiedz tried to work for an arm, but also threw elbows. She grinded out Stanley with ease through the remainder of the fight – including a submission attempt late.

Niedzwiedz stayed unbeaten. Stanley had a four-fight winning streak snapped.

Inoue gets textbook armbar tap from Alvarez
Fighting for the first time in two and a half years, and just the fourth time in six years, Lynn Alvarez looked to be a game opponent for Mizuki Inoue. But when the fight hit the ground in the second, Alvarez (6-4) was in Inoue’s (12-4) world, and there was no turning back. Inoue forced Alvarez to tap to an armbar at the 3:00 mark of the frame.

Inoue tried to track Alvarez down early, then two minutes in was able to catch her to push the fight to the cage. When Alvarez got out, it was just briefly. Inoue tracked her back down and again pressured her on the fence. She dropped down for a single, then tossed Alvarez to the canvas and went to work from half-guard. With 1:45 left in the round, she easily passed to mount. Alvarez regained half-guard, but was stuck playing defense with Inoue on top. Alvarez got out of the bad spot and to top position to close the round, though.

The fighters started to brawl in the second, but when the fight hit the ground, it was all Inoue. The Japanese strawweight grabbed Alvarez’s right arm and quickly had her opponent verbally tapping from the armbar. Alvarez has dropped three of her past four. Inoue has won four straight.

Dandois taps Duke with perfect first-round armbar
Cindy Dandois said after her submission win over Jessamyn Duke she didn’t work on grappling much during her camp. Like it mattered. With perfect and reasonably undefenseable technique, Dandois (7-2) tapped Duke (3-5) with a first-round armbar.

After standing for the first 90 seconds or so, Dandois threw Duke with relative ease and fell right into side control. There, she instantly had Duke’s arm – and Duke was furiously tapping while Dandois was using her right hand to start to pound away at her face.

The stoppage came just 1:33 into the first round, and Dandois barely had to break a sweat. Dandois won for the second straight time and third time in four fights. After a 3-0 start to her career, including a win at the TUF 18 Finale, Duke now has dropped five straight fights.

Anderson wrecks Morgan’s face for TKO win
By the time Megan Anderson was done with Peggy Morgan in their featherweight fight, the left side of Morgan’s face looked like something out of a horror movie. And with less than a minute left in the first round, Anderson continued her ascension in the 145-pound class with a TKO victory – and a potential future fight with champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.

Anderson landed big early and put Morgan in a bit of a precarious position. But Morgan stayed composed and got Anderson to the clinch up against the fence. There, the two traded knees, then traded position. Two minutes in, Anderson landed some more heavy punches and put Morgan in trouble. But again, Morgan used the clinch to her advantage. But Anderson stayed upright.

Not long after that, though, Morgan was the one no longer upright. A big left hand put Morgan on the canvas, and with the left side of Morgan’s face a candidate for worst swelling in MMA history, Anderson honed in. A giant right hand on Morgan’s swollen cheek put her down again, and after a few more punches, the fight was over. The end came at the 4:09 mark of the first round.

Simpson gets past Soukupova in ‘Fight of Night’ contender
It was a tale of two fights between atomweights Tessa Rose Simpson and Simona Soukupova. Simpson owned the first two rounds, but Soukupova made things interesting with a dominant third – only to come up short on the judges’ scorecards. Simpson (5-1) took a unanimous decision from Soukupova (5-4-1), getting scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27.

Simpson worked combos early on, finishing with jabs. Soukupova tried to get inside with kicks, but Simpson threatened by trying to catch those kicks. Simpson answered with heavy kicks of her own. Simpson was in constant movement, and even though she was moving backward, she oustruck Soukupova and left her face a bruised and battered mess after the first five minutes.

Soukupova continued to come forward in the second and found a little more success than in the first. Simpson’s pace slowed a little in the round, but when she threw, she continued to land. With a minute left in the second, Simpson landed a hard teep to Soukupova’s chin, and with 30 seconds left in the round Soukupova tried to tie things up. But Simpson wisely broke her way out and went back to striking range.

Soukupova came forward early in the third, likely believing she was down two rounds and would need a finish to get a win. She landed a solid right that seemed to briefly stun Simpson 30 seconds in, then 30 seconds later tied things up on the fence. Simpson reversed position, though, and landed a right to break things off. Two minutes in, Simpson threw a spinning back fist that just missed, and a punch on top of it. After some more clinch work, Soukupova landed a big right elbow, and Simpson continued to fade. Simpson’s face looked nearly as beat up as Soukupova’s did, and with 90 seconds left, Soukupova continued to land bombs and kicks, trying to steal the fight with a finish.

But the two tied up in the final minute, and that was to Simpson’s advantage. With 30 seconds left, Soukupova landed a kick, then a big right hand with 25 seconds left. The right hand put Simpson on the canvas, but it wasn’t enough to finish her. Soukupova came forward in the final seconds, but couldn’t get the stoppage.

The first 10 minutes were all Simpson. The final five was all Soukupova. Both fighters’ faces were battered bruised, and despite the potential for 10-8 third round for Soukupova, the judges all gave it to her 10-9, and that kept her short of getting a draw. Simpson won for the third straight time. Soukupova is back to the loss column and has dropped two of her past three.

Ladd stays unbeaten, pounds out Hoy in second
Jessica Hoy didn’t seem to go away easily for Aspen Ladd on the feet, so she took her to the ground. That was the difference maker on the way to a second-round TKO. Ladd (4-0) came forward consistently in the first minute, popping off jab after jab, then returning fire with left hands after Hoy tried to kick to the body. Hoy (1-1) was able to work to the cilnch and got Ladd pressed against the cage. There, the two traded positions for a prolonged period until they finally broke and went back to the middle. The two traded kicks and left hands, but Ladd continued to push forward. It seemed for every punch Hoy landed, Orr landed three or four.

Hoy was quicker to tied Ladd up in the second and tried to use her height advantage to work knees. But that height probably worked against her when Ladd took her to the canvas. Ladd went to work from side control and tried to work toward an arm triangle. But seconds later, she perfectly passed to full mount and had more than half the round to work.

She landed punch after punch while Hoy covered up and gave her back. Some of the punches were to the back of Hoy’s head, and Ladd was warned by referee Mike England. But shortly after it was more of the same. Big punches and elbows punished Hoy until Ladd finally got the stoppage at the 3:14 mark of the second. Ladd stayed perfect with all four of her wins coming under the Invicta banner. Hoy lost for the first time in her pro career.

Eubanks punishes Orr for first-round TKO
Sijara Eubanks made Amberlynn Orr’s pro debut one she’d probably prefer to forget with a fairly dominant first-round TKO. Eubanks (2-1) worked strong right hands early in the bantamweight bout. Orr (0-1) chose to work outside and counterstrike. But two minutes in, Eubanks decided to scoop Orr up for a takedown along the fence. Eubanks eventually worked her way to side control and dropped down dozens of punches to the head and body. Orr briefly threatened with a triangle choke, but Eubanks shook it off and went back to work with the short punches. With the referee looking in closely, Eubanks finally landed enough unanswered shots to get the TKO stoppage with 19 seconds left in the round. Eubanks got back in the win column after a loss this past October to recent UFC signee Katlyn Chookagian. Orr dropped her pro debut.

Invicta FC 18 results:

  • Alexa Grasso def. Jodie Esquibel via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Agnieszka Niedzwiedz def. Christine Stanley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Mizuki Inoue def. Lynn Alvarez via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 3:00
  • Cindy Dandois def. Jessamyn Duke via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:33
  • Megan Anderson def. Peggy Morgan via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:09
  • Tessa Rose Simpson def. Simona Soukupova via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Aspen Ladd def. Jessica Hoy via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:14
  • Sijara Eubanks def. Amberlynn Orr via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:41

For complete coverage of Invicta FC 18, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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View full post on News | MMAjunkie

ATLANTA – The UFC’s women’s bantamweight belt has been passed around quite a bit over the past few months. And, throughout all the changes, it seems to remain haunted by its original owner.

At a fan Q&A at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre ahead of UFC 201, less than one month after violently taking the belt from Miesha Tate’s hands, current women’s 135-pound titleholder Amanda Nunes didn’t hesitate when questioned about who she’d like to fight next.

“I look for the biggest fights,” Nunes said. “Only Ronda Rousey, if she comes back. I’m ready for her and I want to make this fight for you guys. A big card in New York City – I hope so.

“I’ve been training jiu-jitsu since I started – jiu-jitsu and judo together. I know how to block the judo throws very well. I know how to use my hips very well. I know, if Ronda Rousey comes back, I’m going to keep the belt. I’m going to beat Ronda Rousey and wait for the next. I’m going to prove everybody one more time I deserve to be here.”

In case the “if” turns out to be true, and inaugural women’s bantamweight champ Rousey (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) ends up never making an octagon return, Nunes (13-4 MMA, 6-1 UFC) mentioned two other names. The first was “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Julianna Pena (8-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) – who was quick to call out the champ right after both their wins at UFC 200.

The second was Valentina Shevchenko (13-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who Nunes fought and beat at UFC 196. After pulling off a dominant decision win over ex-champion Holly Holm less than a week ago in the UFC on FOX 20 main event, Shevchenko has been a highly talked-about name in all title contention conversations.

When asked about possibly venturing outside the 135-pound division, Nunes’ initial “no” turned into a “maybe.” Though she immediately shot down the idea of fighting Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino in a catchweight bout, the champ did seem to put some thought into a possible 125-pound stint – should the division ever become a fixture in the UFC.

“Actually, my weight cut is pretty easy,” Nunes said. “I keep eating clean the whole time, and on fight week my weight drops like crazy. And everything’s easy for me. So maybe I could go to 125. This is a good idea. I’m going to think about that.”

Nunes’ belt symbolized a few firsts: not only did she become the first Brazilian woman to obtain a UFC title, but also the first openly gay athlete to do so. Currently in a relationship with UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff, who she mentions regularly and fondly, Nunes answered candidly when questioned about how being gay has impacted her career.

“I always take it like everything is normal and supposed to be,” Nunes said. “I want to show everybody that I’m happy. Love is love. I think everybody has to respect it. And whatever I have to do to make this be normal, I’m going to do it. That’s the way I see it.”

Still enjoying the excitement of conquering UFC gold, Nunes also spoke about the emotional aftermath of her accomplishment.

“I couldn’t sleep for a week, I had a hard time sleeping,” Nunes said. “I slept with the belt, I posted pictures of it. And Nina was like ‘get the belt away from here.’ I know a lot of people were happy for me, too. It was amazing. I’m blessed to have the belt with me.”

For more of Nunes’ answers to fans in Atlanta, check out the video above. Below, her fellow fighters weigh in on who they think she should fight in her first title defense.

View full post on News | MMAjunkie

Friday night at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Kanvas, Invicta FC is set to deliver its 18th action-packed night of fights, including a main event that will decide the No. 1 contender for the strawweight division.At Invicta FC’s previous event in May, striking savant Angela Hill claimed the Invicta FC strawweight belt in an upset, split decision win over Livia Renata Souza. Without a doubt, “Overkill” has had an incredible 2016, with three consecutive wins in Invicta FC, including two KOs and now Hill is the proud owner of the 115-pound championship strap. Live on U … Read the Full Article Here

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Despite an injured champion and unsuccessful weight cut, UFC 201 will go on as planned tomorrow (Sat., July 30, 2016) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

With a main card featuring current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, top contender Tyron Woodley, brawler Matt Brown, rising title threat Rose Namajunas and a desperate Jake Ellenberger, the post-UFC 200 event should deliver on more than one occasion.

Considering Lawler, Brown, Woodley and Ellenberger have combined for 14 Octagon finishes since the start of 2013, UFC 201 may produce some memorable fireworks. In order to get your blood boiling and wallets ready, UFC has released a video compilation of the top five…

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