Posts Tagged ‘Comeback’
Since knocking out Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 to claim the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight title, current champion Tyron Woodley has been handpicking opponents like he was shopping at a fruit stand. Not only did the 34-year-old powerhouse call out Nick Diaz, but he made a case for returning mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Georges St-Pierre.
But after UFC president Dana White announced earlier this week that Woodley will first defend his 170-pound strap against Stephen Thompson, Woodley’s rampant parade was rained on. Contrary to the champ’s belief, Thompson deserves a shot at divisional gold after dismantling former champion Johny Hendricks and former title challenger Rory MacDonald in back-to-back contests.
However, it now seems as if Woodley leaked a conversation he had with GSP regarding a potential comeback fight. The secret texts can be seen below, courtesy of Woodley’s Twitter account:
So it can forever be broken! pic.twitter.com/J6cZM1LbJJ
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) August 12, 2016
Interesting to say the least. This sport has seen some wild things when it comes to lobbying for a payday, but it’s rare that a fighter, let alone a champion, goes out of his way to duck a deserving challenger like Thompson and release private correspondence he had with another fighter to the public eye.
It’s safe to say that Woodley is looking to cash in as much as possible since capturing the title at UFC 201. But with GSP’s return uncertain at this time, “T-Wood” will have to bite the bullet, prepare for “Wonderboy” and attempt to knockout another premier Welterweight striker.
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I know this is going to sound crazy, but it seems working full time for the North Weld County Water District, ripe with exciting endeavors like subdivision review, is not the adrenaline rush it appears to be.
That’s probably why former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin is going to reconsider his retirement and get back into the hurt business.
When your manager emails Joe Silva:
I’m ready to @ufc
— Shane Carwin (@ShaneCarwin) July 27, 2016
Too bad he already missed this window of opportunity.
The 41-year-old Carwin (12-2) hasn’t see the Octagon in over five years, retiring in the wake of his three-round shellacking at the hands of fellow division power puncher Junior dos Santos. That said, a lot has changed since the non-USADA days of heavyweight havoc.
One thing I’m sure that hasn’t changed, is Carwin’s five-ounce kill switch.
Any potential opponents come to mind?
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Here’s an interesting little tidbit about your favorite “Bad Guy,” who may finally be listening to the voice of reason.
It seems former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight No. 1 contender, Chael Sonnen, has re-entered the United States Anti-Doping (USADA) testing pool, which would allow him to compete without applying for the dreaded Brock Lesnar loophole.
But don’t pencil in that comeback just yet.
“Not if the test is as good as I remember it being,” Sonnen told MMA Junkie about his chances of scrapping retirement and returning to mixed martial arts (MMA) later this year.
Despite a couple of high-profile losses to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, the part-time grappling promoter holds some pretty impressive wins inside the Octagon, including finishes over Brian Stann and Mauricio Rua, as well as a unanimous decision against Michael Bisping.
Unfortunately, the recent lows overshadow the longtime highs, but there is certainly a way to change that…
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Holly Holm went from little-known underdog to Ronda Rousey slayer to forgotten in under four months.
Now, after months of Miesha Tate bashing a mostly silent Ronda Rousey and the fighting world wondering when Rousey will make her return, Holm is set to make hers.
Holm is back for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night Chicago, where she’ll take on No. 7 -ranked Valentina Shevchenko, and like the low-key killer she’s always been, Holm isn’t following in Tate’s trash-talking footprints.
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Michael McDonald was once the next big thing in MMA. A long, strong, and incredibly young bantamweight, he won the Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight title at just 20 years old, made his way to the UFC not long after and earned himself a title shot shortly thereafter by beating respected veterans Chris Cariaso and Miguel Torres.
The good times ended there for McDonald.
Then-champion Renan Barao handily defeated him at UFC on Fuel TV 7, and Urijah Faber dominated him not long after. Then he suffered a series of injuries.
Two years passed and McDonald returned to a radically different bantamweight division. When he left, it was largely comprised of WEC holdovers like Takeya Mizugaki, Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett. When he returned, the top-10 was almost entirely made up of a newer, better bred 135-pound fighter.
While his first fight back was a come-from-behind submission win over Masanori Kanehara, one serious question still lingered: How does Michael McDonald stack up against today’s breed of bantamweight?
At UFC Fight Night 91, where he faced John Lineker, the answer proved to be “not especially well.”
From the first bell, the effects of Lineker’s power punching were felt. The normally aggressive McDonald was on his bicycle, working from along the periphery of the cage, relegated to using little more than a fadeaway jab. Eventually, however, Lineker found his opening and exploded into it.
A right-hand liver shot was followed by a clean left hook to the chin, which sent McDonald crashing to the canvas. Lineker chased him to the mat with ground-and-pound, but McDonald managed to escape…for a time. Another brutal left hand would land with a series of uppercuts behind it, leaving McDonald limp and thoroughly, deeply unconscious.
The fight was waved off at 2:43 of the first round, sending many into a state of introspection.
It’s not an especially surprising outcome. Lineker has established himself as one of the pound-for-pound best power punchers in MMA today, earning 13 knockout wins and topping that with more than a few strike-induced submissions on top of it. He has starched a number of solid names and very easily could have fought for the UFC flyweight title if he didn’t have consistent trouble cutting down to the 125-pound limit.
Despite the fact there is no shame in being floored by Lineker’s punches, this leads to an unflattering audit of McDonald’s overall abilities.
McDonald owned a substantial size advantage over Lineker—standing five inches taller—and had plenty of tape to work with on his relatively predictable foe. Still, Lineker managed to get inside McDonald’s guard repeatedly, had no real trouble implementing his “press forward, throw shots to the body and follow up with headshots” game plan.
It’s a win for Lineker that could easily line him up for a title shot. With fighters like Raphael Assuncao, Urijah Faber and Aljamain Sterling all coming off tough losses, Lineker stood tall here and could be just one win away from earning a crack at the belt.
McDonald, on the other hand, finds himself in rebuilding mode. That’s not necessarily a bad place for an immensely talented 24-year-old, of course. Fighters like Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos have both weathered far more dire straits and exited with UFC gold. He remains a young, high-upside prospect who can endure in the division for years to come and could easily challenge for the bantamweight title some day.
Not today, however. Today belongs to John Lineker.
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So, how much money does it take to bring back a surprise mega-star for a featured bout on your biggest event of all-time? How does a cool $2.5 million sound?
According to Yahoo! Sports reporter Kevin Iole, current WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar will be earning a $2.5 million purse for his Octagon return tonight against Mark Hunt at the landmark UFC 200 event.
Whether that figure is the overall figure Lesnar will be earning for tonight’s fight, or if he will also earn a percentage of the pay-per-view profits as he did in the past, was not specified by the veteran fight journalist.
UFC President Dana White noted during his UFC 200 pre-fight media scrum in Las Vegas on Friday evening that the deal, which heavily involved Vince McMahon and Triple H of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where Lesnar is still a contracted performer, will also include some sort of WWE-related promotion on the actual UFC 200 pay-per-view broadcast as well.
Lesnar vs. Hunt is one of the co-featured bouts at the UFC 200 pay-per-view event, which takes place live from the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. For live coverage of the show, which is in progress now.
Brock Lesnar's purse tonight is $2.5 million
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 9, 2016
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When international fans struggle with her unwieldy last name, Joanna Jedrzejczyk likes to joke that we can just call her “Joanna Champion.”
In the wake of her stellar come-from-behind victory over Claudia Gadelha Friday at The Ultimate Fighter season 23 finale, that nickname fits the fiery, 28-year-old Polish striker better than ever.
For 10 minutes, it seemed as though Gadelha was about to unseat the UFC’s dominant strawweight titlist. Jedrzejczyk, however, proved too well conditioned, too quick and perhaps just too plain mean to lose.
She took everything Gadelha had during the first two stanzas of their crackerjack five-round fight and emerged relatively unfazed and unscathed. She rallied down the stretch to turn away the stiffest challenge of her career and retain her 115-pound crown via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-45, 48-46).
“I’ve been preparing for this fight for three months,” Jedrzejczyk told UFC play-by-play announcer Jon Anik in the cage when it was over. “I put in work—lots of blood, tears, bad moments—but like Muhammad Ali says: Survive and live for the rest of your life as a champion.”
So ends—for now—the first bitter feud in UFC strawweight history.
It’s also possible someday we will look back on this fight as the signature win of Jedrzejczyk’s championship run.
She wasn’t the fight company’s first 115-pound titlist, but she has been responsible for assigning the fledgling weight class its personality since winning the gold in March 2015. Jedrzejczyk has earned a cult following in MMA circles, and every attribute that has made her popular with hardcore fans was on display here.
After digging herself a considerable hole during the two opening rounds, Jedrzejczyk turned the tide using the impeccable cardio and startling striking skills that have launched her to 6-0 in the UFC, 12-0 overall.
She whittled away at the spirited Gadelha with pressure and beautiful, lightning-quick stand-up combinations. Jedrzejczyk isn’t a knockout artist—who is at that weight?—but once things started to go her way, her creeping, relentless style built and built until her momentum couldn’t be undone.
Even before the official scores were announced, the outcome was obvious, as was the enormity of Jedrzejczyk’s performance. As Bleacher Report’s Patrick Wyman put it:
If the first couple of rounds showed us the potential holes in Jedrzejczyk’s game—namely takedown defense—the last three illustrated exactly how hard it will be to beat her in a 25-minute fight using a slow-and-steady, grappling-based game plan.
After weathering the early assault, she touched-up Gadelha to the face and body with a dizzying arsenal of punches, kicks, knees and elbows.
Jedrzejczyk was emotional in the cage after the decision was announced, apologizing to Gadelha for the bad blood that had festered between them. At one point Gadelha seized the mic for an ostensibly feel-good moment, though it was difficult to read her comments as either reconciliation or a further rebuke.
“This is very important,” Gadelha said, pointing at Jedrzejczyk’s championship belt, “but more important is here [in your heart], respecting people and being humble.”
The pair had shared a simmering beef ever since Jedrzejczyk won a split decision over Gadelha in a three-round fight in December 2014.
The heat got turned up on the rivalry earlier this year when they were cast as opposing coaches on TUF 23. Jedrzejczyk opted for an in-your-face approach to the reality TV gig, turning in a performance that felt like an extension of the psychological games she had used against her opponents in the past.
At times, things crossed the line from competitive to ugly. Once, cameras caught her telling the 27-year-old Brazilian challenger to “go [back] to the jungle, where it’s your place.”
That intensity carried over into fight week. Gadelha said all along that Jedrzejczyk’s mind games wouldn’t distract her, though UFC president Dana White had to step between the two to avoid a confrontation following Thursday’s weigh-in.
Gadelha was all smiles as she jogged to the cage on Friday, looking as though she’d waited a long time to get her hands on her nemesis again. She dropped Jedrzejczyk with the first punch she threw in the fight—a stiff left jab that found its mark square on the nose—and from there used takedowns and an oppressive clinch game to seize control of the fight’s first act.
Jedrzejczyk couldn’t get Gadelha off her. The challenger’s sticky grappling game effectively smothered the champ’s vaunted striking attack, and Gedelha constantly peppered her with short shots from close range.
In the end, Gadelha landed just 4-of-13 takedown attempts, according to Fightmetric’s official statistics, but her wrestling-heavy style allowed her to dictate the action early on.
It was a high-stakes gambit, however, and by the final minute of the first round, Gadelha was already starting to look winded. She just didn’t have the conditioning to keep it up for the duration. Meanwhile, Jedrzejczyk didn’t appear to slow down much at all.
The champion’s speed advantage was apparent from the jump, and once Gadelha lost the energy to constantly bull her into the fence, Jedrzejczyk was able to maintain distance and let her near-peerless kickboxing skills do the work.
Gadelha afforded herself surprisingly well on the feet, and when she landed, her strikes appeared to hurt Jedrzejczyk. But her one-off counterpunches were no match for Jedrzejczyk’s pinpoint accuracy and high-volume combinations.
After the first two rounds, Jedrzejczyk crafted a sizable advantage in significant strikes—outpacing Gadelha 40-18, 69-11, 37-11 in that category during the final three rounds. She also more than doubled Gadelha’s overall output during those 15 minutes.
The tipping point came with a little more than a minute on the clock in the third. A visibly fading Gadelha shot for a takedown, but Jedrzejczyk warded it off and came out on top as the fight segued to the ground.
Sensing Gadelha waning, Jedrzejczyk didn’t follow her down but instead turned her back and walked to the center of the cage, emphatically waving for the challenger to get back to her feet.
It was a clear sign that things were about to get worse for Gadelha—and they did.
The victory marked Jedrzejczyk’s third title defense since taking the belt from inaugural strawweight champ Carla Esparza with a one-sided beatdown last spring.
Coming into this fight, Gadelha was viewed as Jedrzejczyk’s biggest threat. Now, however, the champion may soon face challenges from up-and-coming contenders like Rose Namajunas, Tecia Torres and former bantamweight Jessica Andrade.
At 28 years old, possessing one of the UFC’s coveted individual Reebok sponsorships and now having served as a TUF coach, it’s clear the fight company recognizes Jedrzejczyk’s charisma and modest star potential.
Her style likely won’t bring her the popularity of Ronda Rousey or even Paige VanZant, but she figures to remain a favorite among the UFC’s most zealous fans for a long time to come.
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ONE Championship staged its latest mixed martial arts (MMA) event this past weekend (July 2, 2016) with “Dynasty of Champions” going down in Hefei, China.
It was a wild night of fights that saw Narantungalag Jadambaa defeat Erik Kelly with an emphatic first-round knockout in the main event of the evening. In other action, Bu Huo You Ga won the Flyweight tournament by taking out Li Hao Jie via unanimous decision.
Also, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Roger Huerta’s returned to the cage to face Ariel Sexton. “El Matador’s” comeback, though, was unsuccessful as he was forced to verbally submit in round three.
Check out the full results:
Official results for ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (HEFEI)
Featherweight bout: Narantungalag Jadambaa defeats Eric Kelly by KO at 0:44 of round 1
Flyweight bout: Bu Huo You Ga defeats Li Hao Jie by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 minutes of round 2
Featherweight bout: Li Kai Wen defeats Keanu Subba by Unanimous Decision
Middleweight bout: Aung La N Sang defeats Aleksei Butorin by Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) at 1:57 of round 2
Bantamweight bout: Wu Ze defeats Zheng Xiao Liang by TKO (Strikes) at 4:49 of round 1
Lightweight bout: Ariel Sexton defeats Roger Huerta by Submission (Verbal) at 3:53 of round 3
Flyweight bout: Ann Osman defeats Haiat Farag by Submission (Armbar) at 3:59 of round 1
Flyweight bout: Tang Ren Xing defeats Zhang You Liang by Submission (Triangle Armbar) at 4:42 minutes of round 1
Flyweight bout: Bu Huo You Ga defeats Wan Jian Ping by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:24 of round 2
Flyweight bout: Li Hao Jie defeats Maimai Tituo Heti by Unanimous Decision
For more on ONE ‘Dynasty of Champions’ click here.
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In a fight that broadcasters Ron Kruck and Pat Miletich said afterward was one of the best they’ve ever called, a new Legacy FC featherweight champion was crowned on Friday.
In the Legacy FC 57 main event, Kevin Aguilar (11-1) took a split decision from Tony Kelley (3-1) in a five-round war that had both men battered and bloodied up after 25 minutes. And the blood and battering started in the first round.
Afterward, both Kruck and Miletich lauded Aguilar and Kelley, saying either fighter could have won the title fight, and that both were worthy of a call from the UFC.
Legacy FC 57 took place at DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City, La. The main card aired on AXS TV.
Prior to the main event, Legacy FC 57 featured four stoppages in the first five fights. Former welterweight champ Derrick Krantz (18-9) tapped out Dave Burrow (14-8) with a slick rear-naked choke in the co-main event.
Charles Byrd (7-4) survived an early onslaught from middleweight Quentin Henry (10-4) and came back for a TKO win. And Dan Ige (4-1) got past some early struggles to finally get Craig Campbell (1-2) to the ground, but he ran into trouble there. He solved that by knocking Campbell out – in a bizarre finish that had Campbell wake back up after a final punch, wondering why the fight had been stopped.
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