Posts Tagged ‘ever’’

Vitor Belfort will take perhaps his final swing at title contention when he meets Ronaldo Souza in the UFC 198 co-main event on Saturday at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil.

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UFC welterweight Demian Maia can quickly point to one way that Matt Brown is different than any other challenge he’s faced in the octagon.

“He’s probably the most aggressive striker I’ve ever fought,” Maia told MMAjunkie Radio. “He looks to hurt you, looks to come forward all the time. He’s the guy who will try to win every single minute from the beginning of the fight. I will be in a war Saturday night.”

That’s when Maia (22-6 MMA, 16-6 UFC) and Brown (20-13 MMA, 13-7 UFC) square off on the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims of UFC 198, which takes place at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.

Maia hopes to increase a four-fight winning streak built from a pair of losses. The Brazilian submission ace said his fortune isn’t unique to fighters, but the reaction to his turnaround might be different.

“When you’re 30, and you lose two in a row, they say it’s bad luck,” he said. “But if you’re 37, people say, ‘Maybe he’s done.’ But I’ve proven I’m not, and I’m just happy I’ve won four in a row. I hope to make this win five in a row.”

Now 38, Maia will pit his grappling chops against Brown, who recently snapped a two-fight skid of his own with a submission over Tim Means.

Maia said he might not think about performance bonuses as much as he did earlier in his career, but earning one opposite Brown would be a nice add-on to a win.

“I think when I’m getting near to the fight, I don’t think about it, because I know that depends on how the other fighters are going to put on a performance,” Maia said. “My focus is to go and to my best performance, and if I get a bonus, it’s just a plus.”

For those who wrote him off, Maia doesn’t have any ill will. He takes popular sentiment with a grain of salt in his MMA career because he knows it never reflects the truth of what happens to a fighter.

“No I don’t care about that. They don’t know how things are going. They never know. It’s normal.

If he beats Brown on Saturday night, though, it will be impossible not to draw the conclusion that things are going very well for Maia. A title shot might be on the horizon.

For more on UFC 198, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Paige VanZant is currently working her way to claiming a title away from MMA.

VanZant is in the final five on “Dancing with the Stars.”

And while many believe she might never compete again inside the Octagon, VanZant posted on Twitter Wednesday that is not true.

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Everyone knows the impact which the Gracie family has had on mixed martial arts (MMA), but it’s been a while since anyone bearing that surname won a belt. That  could all change on Friday night (local time) because Roger Gracie is challenging for the inaugural ONE Championship light heavyweight belt.

The sport of MMA has evolved rapidly and the Gracies are finding that BJJ alone isn’t enough to be competitive at an elite level inside the cage. There’s a perception that the family has been left behind and Roger will have a point to prove when facing Michael Pasternak at ONE: “Ascent to Power”,

“I think when I become an MMA world champion it will be a big step for my family. A lot of people say that the Gracie’s are left behind or are not up to the standards… that will change though.”

The fight is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium and Gracie will be going up against an undefeated Polish opponent. Both men are coming off impressive ONE debuts and the Brazilian says he is not intimidated by Pasternak’s perfect professional record,

“I’m fighting someone that’s fought 11 times and has never lost. For a weaker person that can play a lot on their mind because their opponent is undefeated but its not something that I care about. He could have 50 wins and no defeats it doesn’t matter. He’ll have his first (loss) when he fights me.”

With the belt being on the line there is added pressure but Gracie knows all about pressure and is confident he will be able to cope with it better than Pasternak. It’s something he has been dealing with all his life,

“To carry the Gracie name is heavy. It’s a lot of weight on your back, there is a lot of pressure on you, people always hope that you succeed. Everyone expects me to be good already. If you learn how to deal with it you can use it in your favor. If you don’t it’s very hard to succeed.”

Gracie’s credentials as a BJJ black belt and multiple time world champion are well documented. But in his last fight he showcased a completely different aspect to his MMA game by finishing kickboxing and Muay Thai veteran James MCSweeney with strikes.

It’s an outcome which no-one could have predicted but the Brazilian says he was in no hurry to get the fight to the ground,

“My last fight I wasn’t really trying to prove anything on the stand up, it was just something that happened. My strategy in that fight was keeping the fight standing up, not rushing to take the fight down. I was taking my time… I was feeling better and better on the stand up. I tried to shoot twice and he escaped and I saw him running away so I kept the fight standing.”

Gregor, Igor and Roger Gracie have all fought for ONE Championship in the past while Kron Gracie is currently fighting for Rizin FF and Neimar Gracie is signed to Bellator. However the family doesn’t quite dominate MMA to the extend that it did during the days of Rickson, Renzo and Royce and Roger puts his down to the modern rules and regulations,

“If you realize the whole idea of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is that it’s a long fight, to neutralize your opponent until he’s tired or until he’s submitted, once you put time limits you don’t have that choice. It becomes a lot more physical. It sort of takes away the principle of Gracie Jiu Jitsu but at the same time then it becomes more competitive and more equal because you don’t have the advantage of just trying to defend and neutralize your opponent.”

However Gracie can be quietly confident that his ground game is superior to that of any opponent he’s ever going to face in MMA competition. So while he’s getting more comfortable with his striking the Brazilian’s unlikely to pass up an opportunity to take the fight to the ground,

“A TKO is not something I’m looking for (but) If there’s a big strike that connects obviously that’s welcome. If there’s an opportunity for me to take the fight down then that will happen for sure. I think (Pasternak) is an intermediate level (grappler), not even expert level. But MMA is not a grappling match and that makes everyone dangerous you’re not only grappling with him, you’re fighting.”

It’s a lesson that Gracie has sometimes learned the hard way during an MMA career that has seen him compete under the banners of Strikeforce, UFC and now ONE Championship. But with the benefit of experience, he has adapted his style and the Brazilian believes he is the best he has ever been heading into ONE: “Ascent to Power”,

“This belt came at the perfect timing.This is the best I’ve ever been there’s no denying that. Physically I’m in my prime, mentally I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. Today I’m the best fighter I’ve ever been.”

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Joanne Calderwood Faces Valerie Letourneau in First Ever UFC Women's Flyweight Fight
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The first ever UFC women's flyweight bout is set to take place on June 18 at UFC Fight Night 89 in Ottawa, Canada, between Joanne Calderwood and Valerie Letourneau. The Las Vegas-based fight promotion made the announcement on Thursday, but …
Valerie Letourneau faces Joanne Calderwood in first UFC women's flyweight
First UFC women's flyweight bout to take place at UFC OttawaBloody Elbow
Valerie Letourneau vs. Joanne Calderwood flyweight bout added to UFC Fight Night 89MMA Fighting – (press release) (blog) –TSN
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One minute. Give or take a few seconds, depending on your capacity to be alarmed, that 1/60th of an hour against John Dodson in January of 2013 is the only time Demetrious Johnson appeared to be in danger of losing his UFC flyweight title. Dropped to the mat twice in that minute by Dodson, Johnson still recovered quickly and got back to work, going on to fight three-and-a-half more rounds and retain his crown via unanimous decision.

With his first successful title defense in hand, his reign had truly begun, and no one has gotten close to him since. The most recent challeng … Read the Full Article Here

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If you follow MMA, you know the stories about Donald Cerrone.

“Cowboy” likes to live his life to the fullest, taking in crazy adventures and touring the U.S. in his RV.

Well, Cerrone – who fights Patrick Cote later this year – decided to start video blogging his adventures.

In the latest, he presents his “RV Life” for UFC 197.

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Earlier this weekend, the first-ever Bellator Kickboxing event was held at The Pala Alpitour, Italy’s largest indoor arena, and aired on Spike TV.

Bellator officials issued the following press release on Saturday, which features a complete recap of the Bellator Kickboxing: Torino event from Torino, Italy.


TORINO, ITALY. (April 22, 2016) – Italy’s largest indoor arena, The Pala Alpitour was packed with over 13,000 fans for the historic, inaugural “Bellator Kickboxing: Torino” event. The kickoff event was one for the ages with fierce competitors making a name for themselves with their world-class kickboxing on display. The card aired tonight on SPIKE through a delayed broadcast following “Bellator 153: Koreshkov vs. Henderson.”

Melvin Manhoef (37-13) was upset by Milan’s Alexandru Negrea (9-2) via decision in the evening’s main event. Negrea, also known as “The Volcano,” erupted in the second round, scoring a knockdown that forced an eight-count for Manhoef. The closely contested bout resulted in a decision victory for the Romanian-born fighter (30-25, 29-26, 29-26).

Mustapha Haida (40-5-2) and Karim Ghajji (96-12) battled it out for five hard-fought, exciting rounds of action for the ISKA and Bellator Kickboxing World Titles. At the culmination of the bout, France’s Ghajji emerged victorious with the scorecards reading (50-44, 50-44, 46-48).

Los Angeles native Raymond Daniels (11-3) has a knack for producing highlight-reel finishes, and he was back at it again during the “Bellator Kickboxing: Torino” event, flooring Francesco Moricca (15-3-1) with a spinning heel liver kick just 30 seconds into round one.

Here is the answer to a future trivia question: Veronica Vernocchi (31-7-1) was the first fighter to ever step into a Bellator Kickboxing ring. Denise Kielholtz (44-2), however, was all business from the very beginning. The Dutch striker made her historic walk to the ring to Rihanna’s hit song, “B*tch Better Have my Money,” and she fought as though her opponent showed up with empty pockets, winning a decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 28-29). With the win, Kielholtz became the first fighter to have their hand raised in a Bellator Kickboxing contest.

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Jon Jones was a terrifying man before he was stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title.

From a quantitative perspective, he was one of the best in the history of the sport, becoming the youngest champion in UFC history in 2011 and defending the strap against a who’s who of challengers. From a qualitative perspective, he was a true innovator of violence, rolling out bold new techniques on a regular basis and proving their effectiveness against high-level competition.

What made him even scarier, though, was the fact that he was that good without trying particularly hard. He partied during training camp. He drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney. Sometimes, he came into fights unprepared. 

Despite that, he just kept winning. As he told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani (h/t Fox Sports’ Elias Cepeda for the transcription):

I had a lot of my mentors, coaches, and friends that would tell me that. Like, ‘Jon, you party with the best of them and you still are able to be one of the top fighters in the world.’ But, at the time I really didn’t feel as if it was an issue. … Very few guys have gone to decision with me. Those guys were some of the top guys in light heavyweight history. So, I felt no pressure to really stop being such a wild guy because of how well everything was going.

The result of Jones’ lifestyle, of course, was the infamous 2015 hit-and-run case, which saw his title taken, his career halted and his future turned uncertain. The world was no longer Jones’ oyster, and that forced him to get serious. 

He hit the weight room and transformed from a spindly 205-pounder to a physical specimen. He sobered up and became a cerebral assassin. He pushed himself harder and vowed to live up to his potential. 

With that, the narrative of Jones’ comeback changed from “Can he bounce back from this?” to “How much better will he be?” And with that, the expectations became unrealistically high.

Jones returned at UFC 197 opposite the unheralded Ovince Saint Preux, and while the performance was flat-out dominant, many fans were left unsatisfied.

From the start of the fight, the difference in their technical prowess was obvious. Jones pressed forward, flicking kicks, working his hands and mixing in elbows. Saint Preux, for the most part, tried in vain to explode forward with a big left hand.

OSP’s raw athleticism allowed him to keep Jones honest in the early goings of the fight. A former linebacker for the Tennessee Volunteers, his constant movement and lateral quickness kept Jones uncomfortable. Despite being handily out-landed by the former champ, the proceedings remained somewhat competitive.

Unfortunately, the championship rounds came, and OSP’s cardio went.

Slower than he was in the first two frames, OSP became a training dummy for Jones. Oblique kicks landed without answer. He was outmuscled in the clinch. Eventually, he was freely lifted up and slammed down on double-leg takedown attempts. OSP would survive to the final horn, but he did little more than that.

The fight, officially, went down as a unanimous decision to the tune of 50-44, 50-45, 50-45, advancing Jones’ record to 22-1. Unofficially, though, the fight went down as a disappointment.

Saint Preux (19-8), despite being a solid talent, is far from elite. Having lost to Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira over the past two years, the expectation among fans was for the new and improved Jones to maul him the same way he mauled fighters like Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko. It was a lofty standard that was nearly impossible to live up to short of a first-round stoppage.

While many were let down by the lack of a quick finish, this was still a strong performance by Jones. There was no question that he won every single round and, outside of two solid punches, Saint Preux mustered up no legitimate offense.

In a vacuum, this win is a vintage Jones performance: dominant, thorough and practically effortless. Alas, it was not in a vacuum. It was in an MGM Grand Garden Arena packed with fans wanting to see Jones one-up himself. 

The key takeaway from this fight is that Jones is still a magnificent fighter, and despite everything else, he can outclass top-10 competition. But how good is the motivated, in-shape, clean-cut Jones? The world will just have to wait and see.

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Heading into 2015, Jon Jones was the king of the UFC, running rampant through the light heavyweight division. Then a failed drug test was promptly followed by a hit-and-run incident that saw him stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely. Now, a year to the day of his dismissal from the UFC, Jones is set to make his return against Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197. We sat down with the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter to discuss whether or not Daniel Cormier is afraid to fight him, plus why his newfound sobriety should have every other fighter put on notice.
To read the full … Read the Full Article Here

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