Posts Tagged ‘ever’’

Chas Skelly and Maximo Blanco started out the fight trading flying kicks in the middle of the Octagon, and then just seconds later, it was over. Skelly had his arm raised and his name entered into the history books. Kelly now has the fastest submission in UFC and WEC featherweight history clocked, at 19 seconds.

You have to think that if Blanco hadn’t gone out on his shield and gone to sleep, it’s possible that Skelly could’ve broken Ronda’s record, or at least came close to it. Here’s how his submission currently ranks in the modern era (post-UFC 30):

Ronda Rousey/Cat Zingano (UFC 184) – 14 seconds.

Marcus Aurelio/Ryan Roberts (UFC Fight Night 13) – 16 seconds.

Terry Etim/Edward Faaloloto (UFC 138) – 17 seconds.

Chas Skelly/Maximo Blanco (UFC Fight Night 94) – 19 seconds.

Seven out of ten of the fastest submissions in history came before UFC 29, which shows the improvement in submission defense over the years, and also shows how damn hard it is to submit someone in the UFC, let alone a pro in under 20 seconds.

We just saw an impressive unicorn of a submission, and the wildest part is that this blazing fast sub came after a flying kick. Wild.

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Outside of a 170-pound Nate Diaz and a reserved Max Holloway, nobody has withstood the power of current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight king Conor McGregor inside of the Octagon. That includes No. 9 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier, who made a jump to 155 pounds after losing to “Notorious” at UFC 178 via first-round knockout.

According to Poirier, who takes on Michael Johnson later tonight (Sat., Sept. 17, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 94 live on FOX Sports 1 from State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas, McGregor is the hardest puncher he has ever faced. That’s quite the compliment, especially considering “The Diamond” has faced notable strikers like Chan Sung Jung, Bobby Green, Diego Brandao, Yancy Medeiros and Holloway.

“For sure man,” said Poirier in a recent interview with Matt Serra when asked if he considers McGregor a heavy hitter (h/t “I have 33 fights, and I gotta say, unless it was just the spot but, the track record speaks for itself, he’s the champ right now. He’s the hardest hands I’ve ever felt.”

Despite the knockout blow that sent Poirier packing and straight to the lightweight division, the 27-year-old finisher believes that loss made him into the better fighter he is today.

“In that Conor fight, I learned a lot,” added Poirier. “I learned a lot about myself and about the fight game through that experience. I can’t blame it on the weight or the talk, he just hit me with a good shot and I tried to circle and I planted my feet and he hit me with another good shot and I went down.”

If Poirier can continue his quick ascension up the 155-pound ladder, he may one day find himself across the cage from McGregor again. Poirier will have to defeat Johnson tonight at UFC Fight Night 94 to further pad his resume, but his reinvention at the lightweight level has been spectacular to say the least.

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After a good night’s rest (but not really), it’s hard not to look back on UFC 203 with a raised eyebrow. There was no question that it was a solid event. Jimmie Rivera and Jessica Andrade established themselves as must-watch fighters, Yancy Medeiros picked up a great win and Nik Lentz gained some momentum at 155 pounds. There was a lot of strange stuff on this card.

But there was nothing stranger than the co-main event bout between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne.

It was clear right from the get-go that this wasn’t going to be a normal fight. Werdum, whose base is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, began the fight with a flying side kick and would later follow it up with a forward flip kick.

Eventually, things would calm down a bit…until a wild right hand from Werdum ended up breaking Browne’s finger. That led to a weird sequence where Browne called for a timeout in order to reset his finger (which should have resulted in an immediate TKO loss, as was detailed during the broadcast). What fans didn’t see at the time was just how bad the break was, and they’re probably better off for it (Warning: NSFW image):

From there, the fight was a pretty standard affair. Well…pretty standard. Werdum dusted off one of his older, odder tools for this fight: the “lie down and hope the opponent jumps into his guard” technique.

Werdum has a huge advantage on the ground over almost any opponent but lacks the wrestling skills to reliably take things to the mat. One of his ways to compensate for that is trying to bait opponents onto the ground by lying on his back. If it works, it lets Werdum show off his amazing BJJ skills. If not…well, this happens:

Despite the fact that Werdum intentionally spent a good portion of the fight on his back, Browne still struggled to muster up any offense. To his credit, he still found the opportunity to land his go-to eye poke (Warning: NSFW image):

Eventually, the final horn sounded with a fairly clear winner. The action didn’t stop there, however, as Werdum had words with Browne’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, and surprised many by actually popping him with a light front kick:

Both corners would be shooed out of the cage and Werdum was declared the winner via unanimous decision.

The fight ended with a chorus of boos due to the lulls in action, but there are plenty of great fights that nobody remembers a month later. This one, though, will live on.

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AXS TV broadcasters Michael Schiavello and Pat Miletich have watched countless fights over the years, yet Friday’s RFA 43 event found a way to leave even them dumbfounded.

During the midway point of the broadcast, which aired on AXS TV from 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo., a fight ended in controversial fashion, and – according to a flabbergasted Schiavello – resulted in “one of the largest robberies I’ve ever seen in mixed martial arts.”

Hard-hitting bantamweight prospect Boston Salmon (5-1) battered Colorado fighter Zac Riley (5-3) fairly thoroughly over the three-round bout. In fact, the cageside commentators had it 30-26 for Salmon. Yet, the judges inexplicably gave a split decision to Riley via 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 scores.

As you can hear in the above highlights, Schiavello was as irate after the event as he initially was at the bout’s conclusion (via Twitter):

Elsewhere on the card, Brian Camozzi (7-2) claimed the organization’s vacant welterweight belt with a 100-second win over Nick Barnes (11-2), featherweight Cory Sandhagen (3-0) earned a shutout decision victory over Clay Wimer (3-0), and in the main-card opener, 21-year-old light heavyweight Alonzo Menifield (2-0) scored a dazzling second-round knockout of Brock Combs (2-2).

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The absence of Ronda Rousey has certainly been felt by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Outside of Conor McGregor, and Brock Lesnar every five years, the former women’s Bantamweight champion is the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) draw in mixed martial arts (MMA) today. Hate her or love her, fans tune in to see Rousey step inside of the Octagon.

Since losing her title to Holly Holm back at UFC 193 via second-round knockout, Rousey has not made her return to the cage. In her absence, McGregor has carried the promotional torch with ginormous PPV events like UFC 194, UFC 196 and most recently UFC 202. All three of those cards did well over 1,000,000 PPV buys with UFC 202 reportedly doing 1.5 million. Still, UFC president Dana White believes that Rousey will take over where she left off, use her return as a way to create buzz and even surpass the numbers that “Notorious” has posted over the past nine months.

Yes,” said White on a recent edition of “The Herd” when asked about Rousey’s PPV potential (h/t MMA Junkie). “I think that Ronda Rousey’s return will be the biggest pay-per-view we’ve ever done.”

“If you had told me 15 years ago that women would be fighting in the UFC -€” and if you told me that women would be as technically sound as the men and the fights would be loved by millions of people all over the world and it’d be the hottest thing going on in the UFC -€” I would have never believed it.”

Obviously White is going to promote Rousey’s return to high heaven, especially since she’s no longer champion. But when you consider that Rousey’s biggest PPV showing was 1.1 million buys for UFC 193, it’s difficult to believe she’ll surpass McGregor after sitting on the sidelines for over one year. Add in the fact that Rousey will be returning to compete against the likes of either champion Amanda Nunes, top contender Valentina Shevchenko or TUF winner Julianna Pena, and it becomes apparent that she’ll be fighting an uphill battle to promote a title fight that doesn’t involve Holm or Miesha Tate.

Stick with Mania as more Rousey news and coverage becomes available.

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What did you do over the summer?

The staff of UFC Fight Pass went to work creating an incredible library, uploading every single fight from The Ultimate Fighter.

That includes 671 bouts with 178 knockouts and 238 submissions.

Of course, with two new seasons set to start in the coming days, the collection will quickly be out-dated.

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United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) sure has caught a lot of flack as of late.

Especially from this guy.

Now, Mirko Filipovic is also expressing his displeasure with the organization after he was suspended for two years after he admitted to taking the banned substance human growth hormone, which eventually led to him being pulled from his fight against Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 79 last November.

According to “Cro Cop’s” comments on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting), it isn’t fair that he received the same sentence as the other fighters who actually failed a test. In his eyes, that simply isn’t justice.

“The whole thing that happened with USADA, it just isn’t supposed to happen. It just isn’t supposed to happen. I could be warned. I could be, at the end of the day, suspended a few months. Six months, whatever. But when your test comes completely negative and you suspend that person for two years, the same sentence like some other fighters who was caught after the fight, so they did the fight under doping, under prohibited substances that was found in their body. And they get the same suspension? That isn’t justice.”

Sure, had Mirko not informed USADA of the transgression prior to his fight, it would’ve surfaced after the bout anyway. But as the Croatian striker sees it, he was being honest while others hid the facts and got to fight (and get paid) only to get busted soon thereafter.

“They were caught after the fight. So they put the money in their pocket, they fought, they earned the money and they get the same sentence like I did. It’s not fair. But let’s not talk about it anymore. I just had to mention it. From my point of view, that is not justice.”

Furthermore, Mirko wasn’t too pleased with the fact that USADA offered him a reduced sentence if he snitched on other potential violators; an actual option that legally exists under the UFC anti-doping policy.

“Offering a fighter that the suspension will be reduced if I snitched on someone, it is below every level. That’s how I see it. If I’m guilty punish me, but don’t come with that kind of offer. And if you punish me for being completely negative, which means I didn’t use any prohibited substance, you cannot give me the same punishment.”

Mirko ain’t no snitch.

While Filipovic isn’t happy how his UFC career ended after he was granted his release earlier this year, reiterating that the promotion treated him well, he has now moved on to RIZIN FF.

He will make his debut with the promotion when he takes part in the upcoming Open Weight Grand Prix, which is set to go down on Sept. 25 in Tokyo, Japan.

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Eddie Alvarez isn’t going to be heading up any Conor McGregor Fan Clubs anytime soon, and the new UFC Lightweight Champion isn’t shy in letting that fact be known.

During a recent discussion with celebrity-gossip website, the only man to hold the 155-pound titles in both the UFC and Bellator MMA made it clear that he would like to make his first defense of the UFC Lightweight Title against the winner of the UFC 202 main event between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.

While announcing that he has his eye on the McGregor-Diaz 2 winner, he couldn’t help but take a shot at McGregor’s recent WWE-related comments and rumored lackluster ground game, which ultimately cost him his first loss inside the Octagon, as Diaz choked him out in the second round after rocking him on the feet with punches.

“The only wrestler Conor will actually challenge is a fake wrestler. I got my eye on Nate Diaz-Conor, I would love to fight the winner of that whole crew. You fight all the best guys in the world and at the end of the day, the media asks you about Conor McGregor. I’m sick of being asked about his name.”

UFC 202:Diaz vs. McGregor 2 takes place on Saturday, August 20, 2016 from the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Join us here at on 8/20 for live coverage of the UFC 202 PPV!

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In this week’s Twitter Mailbag, turns out there’s a UFC event this weekend – but wait, the main event is actually worth your time, even if it’s just through DVR.

Also, “Cyborg” Justino has another UFC fight in a weight class that doesn’t exist, and GSP keeps talking like he’s really going to come back and fight again, for real this time.

Got a question of your own? Tweet it to @BenFowlkesMMA.

* * * *

Probably because any fight that is dependent on Georges St-Pierre (23-2 MMA 19-2 UFC) coming out of retirement still feels like a bit of a fantasy. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like GSP has been teasing a return for so long that there must now be fans of this sport who only know him as that guy who used to fight and keeps threatening to again.

Last time we went through this, it was over his talk about fighting Michael Bisping. Now that there’s been a shakeup at welterweight, suddenly he’s more interested in that division.

I’m not saying St-Pierre won’t come back, or even that he won’t come back to fight new champ Tyron Woodley (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC). But all this talk over all this time, and now you want me to believe that it’ll all get wrapped up and signed in time for a fight three months from now? I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, I’ll save my excitement for the stuff that’s actually happening.

Two things here: 1) Yeah, I get what you’re saying. I mean I really, really get it, especially when I picture myself sitting through the same four commercials while slogging through a six-fight main card on FS1. 2) That said, this UFC Fight Night 92 main event should be a whole hell of a lot of fun once we finally get there.

Yair Rodriguez

Yair Rodriguez

You’re not necessarily wrong to label Yair Rodriguez vs. Alex Caceres an early prelim fight, but it could be more accurately described as a pay-per-view kickoff fight. You know how the UFC loves to start those main cards with an action fight to get everybody on their feet early? It’s not always the biggest names, but it is usually a pairing that can be counted out to result in some fast-paced, brutal action.

That’s what this feels like to me. Rodriguez (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC)? That guy will try anything out there, and often enough he actually makes it work. Caceres (12-8 MMA, 7-6 UFC) has a similar thing going on, though with a little more polish as the years progress.

You put these two in a cage together, I don’t see how we don’t end up with a bloody good time. It’s not a fight with much in the way of star power, and I wouldn’t blame you one bit for using the magic of DVR to skip through all the filler. But unlike that stockpile of “House Hunters” episodes, this is not one you’re going to want to let languish in the DVR queue for very long.

I suspect the point is to keep Cristiane Justino (16-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) busy and make sure we don’t forget about her while the UFC figures out what’s next. We keep hearing about all these potential blockbuster bouts for “Cyborg,” but they all require either her going down to 135 pounds or someone of note from that division coming up.

The former seems less and less likely, especially when you see the mummified version of Justino that shows up to make 140 pounds. As for the latter? It’s kind of like running with the bulls, in that a lot of people seem to think it’s a good idea in theory, something they’d like to have done, but maybe not something they want to do right now. Until that changes, feels like we’re treading water here.

One of the points of having so many fighters on the roster is keeping them away from other promotions. Another is having them ready as backups when you need them. That’s how Ross Pearson (29-12 MMA, 6-5 UFC) ended up in his most recent fight at UFC 201, his second in the month of July. He filled in as a short-notice opponent right after losing a decision to Will Brooks, then he nearly got knocked out by Jorge Masvidal three weeks later.

Jorge Masvidal

Ross Pearson and Jorge Masvidal

As strategies for longterm health and career advancement go, this doesn’t seem like the best move by Pearson. On some level, I understand. You want to help out, get in the UFC’s good graces by saying yes when the phone rings, and you also want to get that money while you can.

Still, watching Pearson wander around after the second round, clearly under the impression that the fight was over, it was hard to feel like he’d done himself any favors here. He took two losses instead of one. He absorbed a mountain of strikes rather than just a small hill. He came into July on a win. He leaves on a two-fight losing streak.

I understand that it’s hard to find a suitable replacement for a guy like Masvidal. Most of the UFC’s hundreds of fighters simply won’t do. But you raise a good point. With all those guys under contract, we couldn’t find one who wasn’t still nursing his wounds from the last fight?

As someone who is never more than three beers away from pulling his DVD of the 2005 PRIDE GP off the shelf, I love this idea. Unfortunately, UFC President Dana White has said many times that he’s no fan of tournaments, and he’s slated to stick around after the sale, so we may still be out of luck.

Dan Henderson

Dan Henderson

But also, come on, Jay. How are you going to mention divisions in which a grand prix might work and not bring up middleweight? If Dan Henderson (32-14 MMA, 9-8 UFC) beats current champ Michael Bisping (29-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC), and then follows through on his promise to retire immediately thereafter, a grand prix-style tournament to crown a new champ just makes sense.

It’s a bit of a longshot, what with all the things that have to happen first, but if the MMA gods love us at all they will grant us this one thing. Please. We’ve been so good.

Good question, though I’d point out that one of the two drug tests Brock Lesnar (6-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) failed was the fight-night test at UFC 200, so there is still some hope that people will keep screwing up even if they’re not constantly under the microscope.

But you’re right that, especially for those using more sophisticated methods, fewer tests means a better chance of getting away with something. The good news is, it’s not like those fighters know how many times they’ll be tested, or when. That’s kind of the whole point of a program like this.

And, really, if you’ve only been tested once or twice in the last year, you might reasonably conclude that another test must be coming, and soon, especially when you look around and see everyone else getting hit with multiple tests.

On the flip side, if you get tested five times in a month? That might be when you start to think you’ve got some breathing room before the next one. And maybe you’re right. Unless you’re wrong.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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It didn’t take the MMA world long to get comfortable with Robbie Lawler as UFC welterweight champion.

Any initial doubts about the future of the 170-pound division without Georges St-Pierre quickly subsided in 2014 after Lawler and Johny Hendricks authored an epic title struggle spread across two fights and 10 rounds at UFCs 171 and 181.

When Lawler emerged with the belt, it felt like more than just a changing of the guard. After seven years of more or less uninterrupted dominance by St-Pierre, fans were ready for something new. Lawler’s ferocious stand-up-oriented style and general preference for wild brawls made the battle-tested veteran an instant fan favorite.

In the wake of Lawler‘s championship loss to Tyron Woodley by surprising but emphatic first-round KO at Saturday’s UFC 201, will spectators now extend the same level of admiration to Woodley?

At first glance, it was tempting to be disappointed by Lawler’s defeat. In a world that is becoming increasingly chaotic for UFC champions, this latest upset could be seen as just another step toward anarchy.

It at least temporarily scratched plans for a hotly anticipated fight between Lawler and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, and at this juncture, we don’t yet know what kind of champion Woodley will be or who he will fight next.

Perhaps contrary to popular belief, however, there is still plenty of room for optimism. Company-wide, the UFC title scene may be devolving into a hot mess, but welterweight figures to remain hotter than ever.

As it so often does, a change at the top has given new life to nearly the entire 170-pound division. With Woodley’s unexpected reign just getting underway, it frankly seems like anything is possible.

Credit the new champion for trying to get out in front of the news cycle with a few ideas of his own.

Woodley caught some flak when—instead of Thompson—he immediately tabbed St-Pierre or the recently reinstated Nick Diaz as his preferred opponents for a first title defense.

Obviously, this is pretty much the same tactic Diaz himself has used throughout his own career when attempting to drum up the biggest paydays. Somehow, though, when Woodley did it, fans accused him of ducking Thompson:

The truth of the matter, though, is that this was actually a pretty shrewd move. After spending the first seven years of his professional career toiling in relatively anonymity, it’s no wonder Woodley is suddenly interested in seizing his chance to earn a few big paydays.

And after UFC President Dana White inexplicably labeled him a guy who “chokes in big fights” back in 2014, per MMA’s Dave Doyle, you can understand how Woodley might want to take this opportunity to flex his newly won political muscle.

Perhaps he also inherently understands that as the lowest-profile welterweight champion in recent memory, the UFC will want to book him against a bankable first opponent.

While the top-ranked Thompson has the best resume, he’s arguably the least well-known of anyone in the 170-pound top five. If we’re making matchmaking decisions these days based entirely on which choices are the most economically viable, Wonderboy is likely going to end up taking a back seat for the time being.  

Here’s Woodley breaking the news to Thompson himself as part of Fox Sports 1’s UFC 201 postfight show:

“Stephen Thompson said he wanted to fight Robbie Lawler…,” Woodley quipped at the postfight press conference. “He’ll get the opportunity to have that fight [now]. I feel no obligation to go by the rankings. We all know how those rankings are produced anyway. I want to fight the money fights.”

But if Thompson won’t be his huckleberry, then who is most likely to actually land a date with The Chosen One?

For starters, there is the issue of a potential rematch for Lawler to figure out.

After running off five straight wins and becoming one of the UFC’s most beloved recent champions, the fight company could probably book Ruthless Robbie an immediate return bout against Woodley and get away with it.

That would work. Nobody would complain about that. After what we saw last weekend, the idea of a Lawler-Woodley rematch even sounds more exciting and interesting than their first meeting did. At least now we know the outcome isn’t a foregone conclusion.

But if rankings are no object and Woodley is only interested in maximizing his earning potentialand assuming GSP doesn’t suddenly end his quasi-retirementthen Diaz stands as the most intriguing pick.

The trouble might be convincing the Stockton bad boy that the fight is worth his time.

Diaz‘s suspension in Nevada over a dubious marijuana test lapsed this week, and his return thickens the plot considerably. But his last fight at welterweight was a loss to top star St-Pierre in a 2013 championship fight.

Diaz lamented this week there were “no superstars” left for him to fight, per MMA’s Jed Meshew. If that’s how he feels, would a shiny gold belt and a bout with a dangerous guy like Woodley be enough to entice him to return to the cage?

Maybe not.

Even if the shoot-the-moon options all fall through for Woodley, however, there is still a robust crop of 170-pound contenders lining up behind him. A few of the options aren’t too shabby as a worst-case scenarios, either.

Demian Maia and Carlos Condit are scheduled to scrap in late August. The winner of that bout would clearly shape up as an able opponent. Condit’s aggressive stand-up skills and Maia’s very traditional grappling style would make compelling matchups for the new champ.

While it’s probably far-fetched to think that a matter as simple as the title changing hands might affect the free agency of Rory MacDonald, it’s tough not to notice that MacDonald’s prospects may have also improved.

He appeared locked out of the title picture after a recent loss to Lawler. With Woodley on top, the Canadian phenom would suddenly make a fresh challenge, if he decides to eschew other offers and return to the UFC.

Oh, and you want a wild-card option?

What about Conor McGregor?

Prior to McGregor’s welterweight loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196, there were whispers he might land a shot at Lawler’s title. With the Irishman set to rematch Diaz at UFC 202 on August 20, it’s unclear where a win would leave him.

McGregor has been adamant that he will return to featherweight to defend his 145-pound title, likely against new interim champion Jose Aldo. But what if a chance to win Woodley’s belt were dangled in front of his nose?

Would McGregor jump on it, the same way he seemed eager to test his skills against Lawler?


The only thing we do know for sure is that Woodley currently enjoys a wealth of options for his first fight as champion.

Everywhere you look, the welterweight division brims with intriguing possibilities, with or without Lawler

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