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  • Diet Scam: Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Which Includes MMA Fighters Among Its ... - International Business Times
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Referee Herb Dean will oversee the flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso at UFC 178.

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After being sidelined for nearly three years, Dominick Cruz will make his long-awaited UFC return at UFC 178 against Takeya Mizugaki.

There’s one problem, though: The fight won’t be featured on the actual pay-per-view card.

Cruz, a former UFC champ and arguably the greatest bantamweight in MMA history, will be competing in the prelims of the Fox Sports 1 portion of the upcoming fight card. Most fighters in Cruz’s position would balk at the mere notion of being snubbed for a main card spot.

It isn’t like he lost consecutive fights and stumbled out of the spotlight. In fact, it can be argued that Cruz is still the uncrowned champ in the bantamweight division. No one actually defeated him for the title. Prolonged difficulties dealing with a torn ACL and a groin injury forced the UFC to officially strip Cruz of the belt and award the undisputed title to interim champ Renan Barao back in January.

During Wednesday’s episode of UFC Tonight, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani contended that Cruz was completely OK with the idea of fighting on the undercard. In a text message, per Dave Doyle of MMAFighting.com, Cruz told Helwani that he was just happy to be fighting again, period:

FS1 is in 90 million households. It did 735k viewers on my teammate Ross Pearson’s fight. At this point with the last two-plus years off, I’m just pumped to FINALLY be in there fighting again, period.

My team at FOX Sports has been with me through this entire injury, witnessing me go crazy watching each and every fight card. Now I get to go show them, alongside the rest of the world, how I can fight. It’s not a downfall in any way at this point in the fight world to be on prelims anymore with these kind of views that FOX gets. It’s my pleasure, and I’m absolutely PUMPED to just compete again!

Cruz appearing on the prelims should be attributed to an incredibly stacked pay-per-view card. Even after losing Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier as the main event, UFC 178 still stands as one of the meatiest fight cards of the year.

Demetrious Johnson is set to defend the UFC flyweight title against Chris Cariaso in the headliner, while the co-main event features a showdown between Donald Cerrone and former Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez.

Other bouts on the card include an epic grudge match between top featherweights Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, and a pair of title-eliminator bouts, featuring Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero, and Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes.

UFC 178 will take place on September 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

 

Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.

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Scott Coker revealed last week that Bellator MMA was getting back into the business of women’s mixed martial arts.

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A major fight in the UFC middleweight division is reportedly under discussion. 

Luke Rockhold, who has won two straight and has long requested a big-time opponent, may face Lyoto Machida, the former light heavyweight champion who just lost a five-round decision to middleweight champion Chris Weidman.

That’s according to Rockhold‘s training teammate and current UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier, who holds a side job as a commentator on the TV program UFC Tonight and announced the discussions on that program Wednesday night (h/t MMA Fighting).

Rockhold (12-2) was the Strikeforce middleweight champion when that promotion folded. Riding a nine-fight win streak that included victories over current UFC standouts like Jacare Souza and Tim Kennedy, Rockhold made his Octagon debut in May 2013 against Vitor Belfort. However, Belfort stopped the Rockhold hype in its tracks with a first-round head-kick knockout. 

Since the loss, Rockhold has notched first-round stoppage wins over Costas Philippou and Tim Boetsch. However, the 29-year-old has been spoiling to avenge the Belfort loss, repeatedly taking Belfort to task for his use of TRT and calling him a “dirty” athlete.

Rockhold may get closer to his desired rematch—or even a middleweight title shot—if he can get past Machida

Machida (21-5) has been impressive since dropping down to middleweight. He’s 2-1 in the UFC at 185 pounds, with wins over Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi before earning the shot at Weidman, which he lost despite a solid performance.

If it does indeed take place, the matchup between the two could be an interesting contrast of styles. Rockhold is a grappler first and foremost. He won two world jiu-jitsu titles in 2007, around the time he made his pro MMA debut. The BJJ black belt now trains alongside Cormier, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and a slew of other standouts at American Kickboxing Academy in California.

Machida is renowned for bringing an unabashed karate style to the cage. The quick, elusive light heavyweight is often criticized for a perceived lack of action, but he is admired among hardcore devotees for his finely tuned offensive and defensive skills. Machida, also a BJJ black belt, works with Anderson Silva and the luminaries of the Black House gym.

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Resolution to the Wanderlei Silva saga will have to wait.

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Tickets to UFC Fight Night Stockholm featuring Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story and Korean Zombie vs. Akira Corassani are available from Friday August 22nd. Tickets: http://www.axs.com/UK/events/253305/ufc-tickets?cid=ufc_website

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The UFC returns with a double header this Saturday, as UFC Fight Night 48 and 49 comes to you in the morning and nighttime.

Following UFC Fight Night 48 will be UFC Fight Night 49 in Tulsa, OK. The card is headlined by Benson Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos, who are both in the lightweight title picture and could get closer to a shot with a win…

The UFC’s inaugural trip to Maine only had four prelims, which saw me go 3-1. This weekend will see a total of 11 prelims, which will make an impact on the overall record going forward.

The card has some interesting prelims that precede the main card. Let’s take a look at those fights and make some predictions.

 

2014 Riley’s Record: 109-71

Last Event: UFC Fight Night 47 (3-1)

Begin Slideshow

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On occasion, the UFC finds itself in a real pickle.

They have cards announced, venues booked and tickets sold, and no fight. Now, that wasn’t the case even as recently as a few years ago, but trying to deliver nearly a card a week across a handful of platforms can make strange bedfellows.

It can cause cards to look different than advertised.

It can cause them to be cancelled outright.

It can cause them to be headlined by guys no one really cares about.

It can cause them to be headlined by guys no one really cares about for a title.

Whatever. Buy it if you like it, don’t if you don’t.

But in the event you are, or you even kind of think you maybe might, you should probably know what you’ll be getting yourself into come September’s UFC 178.

Initially the card was to be headlined by that quarrelsome duo of press conference brawlers, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Those dudes are big, and they hate each other. Once they took it to the streets (foyer?) and started throwing ‘bows on a press tour, it was all but a guarantee to be the biggest fight of the year.

Then Jones got hurt and the fight was pushed to January, letting the air out of the MMA community’s collective balloon.

In its place?

You’ve got a champion no one cares about fighting a challenger no one knows about. They’re small, and they don’t seem to have any real opinion on each other. Certainly no press conference ‘bows to be thrown, that’s for sure.

Yes, that sound you hear is the sound of money not being spent, pay-per-views not being bought.

Demetrious Johnson, fresh off his dreadful debut as a pay-per-view headliner, will defend the flyweight title against Chris Cariaso, who is basically just a guy.

He’s better than some, not as good as others. Probably good to his wife and his mom. Yup, just a guy.

Presently sitting at #8 on the UFC’s official flyweight rankings, Cariaso is a 33-year-old former bantamweight who sits at 4-2 as a flyweight and 17-5 overall. Every time he’s jumped up in competition at 125 he’s lost–Jussier Formiga and John Moraga are both higher ranked and hold wins over him–and he most recently managed to score a split decision over Louis Smolka.

Why yes, Guy Who Just Asked, that is the Louis Smolka who doesn’t have a Wikipedia page!

You can all have a moment to tug your collars and ring your hands now. We’ll wait.

Cariaso has looked solid at times as a flyweight, but he’s essentially become a title challenger by happenstance. Anyone who deserved it as much or more on merit was tied up fighting someone way tougher than Louis Smolka, anyone else had either already fought Johnson or was coming off a loss.

That isn’t to say he doesn’t have a hope (we all remember how those claims can sometimes end up), but it is to say that three wins over totally irrelevant names in the promotion’s thinnest division do not a challenger make.

At a time when Johnson is only getting better and pulling further away from the 125-pound pack, a fight with Cariaso is about as easy as it’s going to get for him as champion.

He’s made better men look awful in his reign, and unless he shows up totally underestimating his foe, this should resemble his win over Ali Bagautinov. The only difference could potentially be that this one would be more one-sided.

It’s not particularly fair to Cariaso, either, as he’s earned a chance to rematch Moraga or Formiga, or get another highly ranked name thanks to his win streak. He’s obviously not going to turn down a title shot, but there’s been little to suggest he’s ready for one in his performances.

A slower build would have been much more reasonable and perhaps would have made him more of an obvious, saleable threat if he was in a title fight he’d truly earned down the line.

All in all though, that’s what you’re looking at in Cariaso. The next man to challenge for the flyweight title isn’t flashy, hasn’t gotten into the fight via any wildly convincing exhibition in the cage and could be in for a very long night at UFC 178.

That’s why they fight the fights, though: One punch and he could wake up the next day as champion of the world.

Everyone will know who he is then.

 

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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The MMA Beat on Wanderlei Silva's future, Eddie Alvarez to UFC, UFC 178
MMA Fighting
On this week's episode of The MMA Beat, the panel will discuss Wanderlei Silva's future, Eddie Alvarez getting released by Bellator and then signing with the UFC, the new UFC 178 lineup, what's at stake for Michael Bisping this weekend, and much more.
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Invisibility will always remain a superpower most of us dream of acquiring.

As a kid, I remember pulling a blanket over my head and walking around my house pretending to be unseen.

I would creep up on my mom, peer around the corner at my dad or run around like a banshee with wings.

But as magnificent and pure as that was, being invisible in today’s world doesn’t necessarily equate to immediate awesomeness.

From coffee lines to UFC supremacy, we are often better seen for what we are—no false representations, transparent masteries or undiscovered potential.

Because whether we’re ordering an iced latte with sugar and milk (my girlfriend’s favorite) or defending the UFC middleweight throne in succession, it’s almost always beneficial to be noticed.

I guess that’s why champion Chris Weidman remains such an anomaly in the current state of mixed martial arts.

In hindsight, Weidman is everything we could ask for.

He’s humble, a true sponge in the gym, capable of handling himself on the mic and an undefeated titleholder who has shown nothing but excellence inside of the Octagon.

Not to mention the 30-year-old is young enough to prolong his current dominance and put the middleweight division back on the proverbial map since you-know-who was overtaken.

For Weidman‘s stock, one which is currently in a state of limbo, everything seems to add up.

But for some reason, he remains the UFC’s invisible champion.

He’s the very same champion who rewrote the history books by snuffing out Anderson Silva’s every move on two separate yet monumental occasions.

He’s the same polarizing athlete who recently stood and exchanged with Lyoto Machida, a former light heavyweight champion who is regarded as arguably the best counterstriker of all time.

Yeah, he’s that guy. The one who has racked up five UFC finishes, three title-fight victories and has a perfect takedown defense.

For some unforeseen, uneducated reason, Weidman has flown under the radar like a sixth-grader at varsity tryouts.

People might point out the fact that his titanic finishes of Silva were sparked by an unknown source of fortunate timing and calculation, but that sort of argument is a farce.

Others might point out the fact that Weidman hasn’t defended his title as many times as other standout kingpins like Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, Jose Aldo and even Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

The rest of the pack will remark over the New Yorker’s lack of natural ability, citing striking imperfections, a lack of technicality and the aforementioned knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Is it fair?

Not one bit.

But this business is built around images, not necessarily skill sets or resumes. Just look at Conor McGregor’s popularity, which came even though he hasn’t fought anybody within the featherweight division’s Top 10, let alone defeat them.

In any case, Weidman‘s image is somehow faded. Like a flickering flashlight in a room of lamps, his presence has not completely manifested itself.

However, that’s subject to change, especially if he can decisively knock off Vitor Belfort and defend his title for the third straight time at UFC 181 on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas.

If he can do that then there will be no denying his superstar bravado. There will be no more excuses, no more silly proclamations regarding his in-cage effectiveness and no lackluster assaults on his future potential.

With one more victory, Weidman will finally be recognized for what and who he is: one of the best pound-for-pound middleweights this sport has ever seen.

 

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LowKickMMA
Manager: Gray Maynard intends to continue his fighting career
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UFC Fight Night 48 media day photos
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Big_mmaf_logo_light.v46a9908 · Home · UFC · Videos · The MMA Hour · Photos · Schedule · Fight Results · News · Odds · Store · Sections · Bellator · Results · Rankings · Full Archive · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines. More. SB Nation · All 307
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Understandably, most were excited about the news that Eddie Alvarez had signed with the UFC and will meet Donald Cerrone at UFC 178 on September 27, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. Lightweight contender Bobby Green probably wasn’t among those pleased, though.

With Alvarez being paired up against Cerrone, Green is left without a scheduled bout. Green was originally booked to meet Jorge Masvidal at UFC 178, but he later had his adversary switched to Cerrone only to see that matchup fall apart with the UFC snatching up the former Bellator MMA lightweight champion.

Having won his first four UFC fights and eight in a row overall, Green has earned a bout with another top-10 lightweight contender. A matchup with Cerrone gave him that, but UFC matchmakers will now have to find another noteworthy combatant to stand across the Octagon from Green.

Luckily, in a stacked 155-pound class, options are abundant for the Strikeforce veteran.

Currently, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson are the top-10 lightweights available to be booked. However, the winner of an August 23 bout between Benson Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos will also soon be freed up. Additionally, inactive contenders TJ Grant and Nate Diaz are out there and could soon be looking for fights.

Because he was ready to go next month, Green will probably be looking for a quick turnaround. For that reason, some of the potential opponents mentioned above can probably be eliminated right away.

Nurmagomedov injured his knee during July and is expected to be out of action until 2015. Similarly, Johnson underwent shoulder surgery recently and isn’t likely to be back inside the Octagon very soon as he recovers. Furthermore, Diaz has been disputing his contract, and little progress has been made toward him returning to competition.

While Grant has had a long road back from a concussion, he has said he hopes to return in the coming months, per Dann Stupp of MMA Junkie. The winner of the UFC Fight Night 49 main event between Henderson and dos Anjos would also be a very appropriate foe for Green as he looks to climb the lightweight rankings.

It has been 15 months since Grant last competed, so he could probably use a tuneup bout before competing against somebody like Green. For that reason, via process of elimination, I expect Green to meet the winner of Saturday’s contest between Henderson and dos Anjos, assuming that person emerges healthy.

Although Green would be a slight step down for either man, he might end up being the best option out there for them as well.

With two losses to 155-pound champion Anthony Pettis, Henderson won’t be getting a title shot any time soon. Should he upset Henderson, dos Anjos will probably still need another win or two before getting a title shot, as it would appear likely Cerrone and Alvarez will be battling to be next in line for the winner of an upcoming title fight between Pettis and Gilbert Melendez.

Green had some tough luck in losing his bout with Cerrone, but the disappointment might prove to be worth it should it result in a bout with a former titleholder like Henderson.

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The UFC’s novelty circuit is alive and well.

Truly, don’t cry for it. Yes, it lost Rich Franklin earlier this year. Then it lost Chael Sonnen just as Uncle P. was riding in to reinforce it. It was robbed of Chris Leben before he even got there. Vitor Belfort is still getting title fights.

I know it looks bleak, but there’s still much to celebrate. Michael Bisping is visiting the tour with his upcoming bout against perennial novelty Cung Le. Will he be there to stay? We’ll soon have our answer. Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt will throw down this September in the biggest circus bout of 2014. Big guys. Big fists. Big personalities. Big paydays.

But perhaps the most heartening news is that the circuit still has two of its very best standard-bearers: Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva. Neither age nor trauma nor the banning of TRT will stay them from the completion of their appointed rounds.

In fact, Silva challenged Henderson just three weeks ago. Hendo accepted. And you know what? That’s a good thing, because this is a fight that needs to happen. 

For the uninitiated, novelty or “fun” fights basically involve pitting big-name but past-their-prime fighters against each other in a bout that has no larger implications whatsoever but attracts interest because of the name value involved.

Franklin made money this way for years. Ditto for Forrest Griffin and the still-enduring-in-some-form Tito Ortiz, whose 2012 rubber match with Griffin might be one of the most notable (and depressing) examples of the subgenre.

So, you can see how Hendo and Wandy fit the mold like fingerless gloves. Both men are surefire Hall of Famers. Their combined age (81) is almost as impressive as their combined professional record (65-24-1-2). Both are decorated ex-champions. Both have one-name recognizability.

As with all the best novelty fights, the entertainment factor is strong, if schadenfreude-tinged, with this one. Silva is the most aggressive fighter in the history of big-time MMA, and none of his 38 years are slowing down his will to finish—even if his fists, feet and, uh, neurotransmissions are a touch more lethargic these days.

Henderson is the walking embodiment of a puncher’s chance, using his Olympic wrestling pedigree as a simple deterrent, a preventive measure that forces opponents to expose themselves to his curtain-closing right hand.

And MMA fans are a nostalgic bunch. They will all surely remember (or at least pretend to remember) the Pride days, when Silva won the open-weight grand prix and Henderson held belts in two different weight classes, among other accomplishments. They’ll also remember that these two have twice fought before, with Silva prevailing by decision back in 2000 and Henderson capturing revenge and the middleweight title with a first-round knockout in 2007.

But none of that is what makes this a must-book. All joking aside, the fact is, both of these guys could probably stand to hang up the gloves. It’s not like either of these MMA celebrities are without prospects after fighting. Their prospects in the cage, though, are dimmer than ever. Henderson has lost four of his last five. Silva is 4-5 since joining the UFC in 2007.

This will be Silva’s 50th pro fight, and there’s clear symmetry in a rubber match. Despite their age, both these men are capable of inflicting a big knockout. Could they send the other permanently out of the cage?

No one roots for a fighter, much less a Hall of Famer, to leave under duress. But this novelty stuff, as fun of a diversion as it can be, is beneath these guys. No one’s suggesting it’s not their decision to make. However, you like to see people make good decisions when possible. Especially in a sport that common sense and, increasingly, hard science tell us has a very negative and decidedly snowballish effect on brain health and safety.

Given these factors, it stands to reason that playing out the string as a shell of your former self is something better avoided in MMA. Nevertheless, that’s solidly where these two are, for reasons that are hard for us outsiders to discern. What will make them see the light? Maybe this is finally it.

Scott Harris writes about the serious and silly aspects of MMA, sometimes both at the same time, for Bleacher Report. For more of this sort of thing, follow Scott on Twitter.

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One Fighting Championship continues to bolster its roster, as the Singapore-based promotion announced that it has signed Roger Gracie to a multi-bout deal.

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