Posts Tagged ‘looks’

Bellator 160: “Henderson vs. Pitbull” takes place this Friday night (Aug. 26, 2016) inside Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., featuring a No. 1 Lightweight contender eliminator between former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 155-pound champion Benson Henderson against former Bellator Featherweight kingpin Patricio Freire in the Spike TV-televised main event of the evening.

Henderson and Freire will not be the only 155-pound fighters competing for Lightweight supremacy — Saad Awad and Derek Anderson will also lock horns, each looking to put together back-to-back win streaks. Awad is an interesting case because he lost his last fight in the weight class to Patricio’s older brother, Patricky Freire, at Bellator 141. Most recently, he did take a short notice fight at Welterweight, scoring a  technical knockout of Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos at Bellator 154.

Anderson should be a good challenge for Awad in his return to the division. He’s 3-2 over his last five fights and would actually be 4-1 over that span were it not for a close split decision loss to Brent Primus. In a recent interview with, Awad explained his confidence going into a what is essentially a hometown bout as he looks to once again assert his position in Bellator’s most competitive division.

“I’m sure you know fighters always say that it’s the best camp I’ve had, but I can honestly say that this one has been really good. I’m really confident going into this fight.”

As far as confidence goes, there’s one Bellator fighter who Anderson holds wins over and Awad does not. Indeed, Anderson has beaten Patricky Freire twice. Does this affect Awad’s mindset going into a key Lightweight fight?

“If you want to look at that and do the MMA math, a win over Derek gives me a win back over Patricky. It’s going to be a nice little circle after I beat him, because that means I beat him, he lost to him, and he beat him — so it’s a little threesome that we have going on.”

Awad is joking around a bit and this comes across clearly in the audio, but what’s also clear is that the fight itself is no joke. When it comes to straight up punching power (eight knockouts versus five) Awad believes he’s got the edge.

“I always look at fighters and believe I hit harder than a lot of them. A lot of guys with his style that like to stand right in front of you, they usually pride themselves on being able to take punches. He obviously can because he took some pretty hard ones from Patricky, but I’m happy with that. That means he’s going to stand in front of me and take punches just so he can deliver ’em. I think he’s going to have a really short night if he does do that.”

There were no shortage of hard punches thrown in Awad’s fight with Santos. In fact, much like the viewers at home, Awad was a bit perplexed as to why referee Jason Herzog didn’t stop the bout sooner.

“I stopped about two or three times in mid-punch and looked at Herzog like, ‘What else do you want me to do?’ I understand (though) sometimes referees stop fights early, they get criticized, they stop ’em late they get criticized. I didn’t knock him out cold so he couldn’t jump in there and just stop it. He’s really a ‘Cyborg.’ I was hitting him so many times that I’d hit him and see his eyes go out, and I’d hit him again and he’d wake up and try to pull on my leg.”

The only thing that Awad could do to convince Herzog that Santos wasn’t intelligently defending himself was to bust out the elbows and bust him open. And since his left hand was already hurting, he had motivation to try it anyway.

“That was one of the reasons, but (also) I fractured my left hand. As I was hitting him, I was trying to hit him with my left and then I hurt it so I was hitting him with my right. I was afraid that I was going to keep hitting him with my right and lose my balance — then somebody yelled, ‘ELBOWS!’ and I was like, ‘Oh yeah!!’ He got cut from the first elbow I threw, so I was like, ‘Oh I better keep this up because at least that’s gonna stop the fight.'”

The left hand is something of a chronic injury, but as Awad tells the story, even his doctors are mystified by what he does to it and how his body recovers from it.

“I broke my left hand when I fought Patricky. I broke it in the first round, I had surgery (and) they put a plate on it. This time I got a x-ray right after because it was hurting and they said, ‘It looks like you broke it, but the plate is holding it together so there’s nothing we can do about it.’ I got a second opinion from my original doctor and she said, ‘Let’s wait two weeks and take another x-ray.’ I went and did another and she said, ‘I’ve been doing surgeries for 15-20 years and I’ve never in my life seen somebody break a bone that has a metal plate on it. You bent the plate in your hand and you broke the bone, but it’s already healed up — it was a clean crack right in the middle.'”

Awad’s not worried about using his left in the fight with Anderson, though. His goal this weekend is to hit him hard and often and worry about getting another x-ray if he has to later.

“I go into every fight with a positive mindset. If anything, my hands are stronger, that’s how I look at it, and if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen. You know if I’m gonna break my toe, I’m gonna break my toe. I just put it in my mindset that my hands are stronger, I have metal in them, and that I’m gonna go out there and throw the way I know how to throw and pray to God I come out with the win and no injuries.”

Perhaps “Wolverine” is a more appropriate nickname than “Assassin” for Awad, especially if the steel in his hand is able to “Barbaric” Derek Anderson down for an early — and violent — nap.

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.



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The UFC makes its second of three stops in Canada this year on Saturday when UFC on FOX 21 takes place at Rogers Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.

A matchup of welterweight contenders headlines the FOX-televised main card following prelims on the same channel and UFC Fight Pass. Demian Maia (23-6 MMA, 17-6 UFC) and Carlos Condit (30-9 MMA, 7-5 UFC) continue their pursuits of the 170-pound title and new champ Tyron Woodley when they face off in a five-round bout.

Although the card isn’t the most stacked of lineups, four strong matchups close the bill. For more on the numbers behind the UFC’s fourth trip to Vancouver, check below for 50 pre-fight facts about UFC on FOX 21.

* * * *

Main event

Demian Maia

Demian Maia

Maia is 8-2 since he dropped to the UFC welterweight division in July 2012.

Maia’s five-fight UFC winning streak in welterweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Stephen Thompson (seven).

Maia’s 17 victories in UFC competition are fifth most in history behind Georges St-Pierre (19), Michael Bisping (19), Matt Hughes (18) and Donald Cerrone (18).

Maia’s eight submission victories in UFC competition are tied for third most in history behind Royce Gracie (10) and Nate Diaz (nine).

Maia is 17-2 in UFC bouts in which he lands at least one takedown. He’s completed at least one takedown against 19 of his 23 UFC opponents.

Maia’s 55 takedowns landed in UFC competition are eighth most in history.

Maia completed just two of 22 takedown attempts in his unanimous-decision loss to Rory MacDonald at UFC 170. Those 22 takedown attempts were the most ever in a single UFC welterweight bout.

Maia has absorbed just 12 total significant strikes in his past three UFC appearances.

Carlos Condit

Carlos Condit

Condit has alternated wins and losses over his past five UFC appearances. He was defeated in his most recent bout.

Condit has earned 28 of his 30 career victories by stoppage. He’s earned five of his seven UFC victories by knockout.

Condit’s 10 stoppage victories in UFC/WEC welterweight competition are the third most in combined divisional history behind Hughes (11) and Matt Brown (11).

Condit’s 176 significant strikes landed against Robbie Lawler at UFC 195 marked the second most in UFC title-fight history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s 220 at UFC 193.

Condit is one of three welterweights in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in three separate bouts. St-Pierre and Chris Lytle have also accomplished the feat.

Condit is one of 17 fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout victory stemming from a flying knee. He accomplished the feat against Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 132.

Condit has been taken down at least once in 14 of his 17 UFC/WEC appearances. He’s given up a total of 51 takedowns in that stretch. He’s 2-1 in UFC fights in which he hasn’t given up a takedown.

Condit has received 10 fight-night bonuses for UFC/WEC welterweight bouts, tied with Lytle for most in combined divisional history.

Co-main event

Anthony Pettis

Anthony Pettis

Anthony Pettis (18-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) enters the event on a career-worst three-fight losing skid. He hasn’t earned a victory since December 2014.

Pettis makes his UFC featherweight debut after competing his entire career at lightweight and winning UFC and WEC championships in the weight class.

Pettis is the only fighter in UFC history to win consecutive UFC lightweight title fights by submission.

Pettis’ three knockout victories in UFC/WEC competition stemming from a kick to the head or body are tied for fourth most in combined promotional history behind Cerrone (five), Vitor Belfort (four) and Edson Barboza (four).

Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira (21-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is 7-3 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in January 2012.

Oliveira has earned eight of his nine UFC victories by submission.

Oliveira’s eight submission victories in UFC competition are tied with Maia and Frank Mir for third most in company history behind Gracie (10) and Diaz (nine).

Oliveira’s six submission victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Oliveira’s six stoppage victories in UFC featherweight competition are tied for most in divisional history behind Conor McGregor (six) and Max Holloway (six).

Oliveira is one of two fighters in UFC history to start his career by winning with six different submission techniques. Ken Shamrock also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira is the only fighter in UFC history to earn a calf-slicer submission victory. He accomplished the feat against Eric Wisely at UFC on FOX 2.

Oliveira lands 52.2 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC featherweight competition, the second highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Jimy Hettes (57.3 percent).

Oliveira has earned nine fight-night bonuses in his UFC career. His six fight-night bonuses for UFC featherweight bouts are tied with McGregor for most in divisional history.

Remaining main card

Paige VanZant

Paige VanZant

Paige VanZant (6-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) returns to competition for the first time since Dec. 10, 2015. The 261-day layoff is the longest of her more than four-year career.

VanZant makes her fifth UFC strawweight appearance, tied for second most in divisional history behind champion Jedrzejczyk (six).

VanZant earned the first stoppage victory in UFC strawweight history with her knockout of Kailin Curran at UFC Fight Night 57.

Bec Rawlings’ (7-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) two-fight UFC winning streak in women’s strawweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Jedrzejczyk (six) and Karolina Kowalkiewicz (three).

Jim Miller

Jim Miller

Jim Miller (26-8 MMA, 15-7 UFC) competes in his 24th UFC lightweight bout, the second most appearances in divisional history behind Gleison Tibau (26)

Miller’s 15 victories in UFC lightweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Tibau (16).

Miller’s nine stoppage victories in UFC lightweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Joe Lauzon (12).

Miller’s six submission victories in UFC lightweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Lauzon (seven) and Diaz (seven).

Miller’s 35 submission attempts in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Joe Lauzon

Joe Lauzon

Joe Lauzon (26-11 MMA, 13-8 UFC) competes in his 22nd UFC lightweight bout, the third most appearances in divisional history.

Lauzon has earned 25 of his 26 career victories by stoppage. He’s recorded 18 of those finishes by submission.

Lauzon’s 12 stoppage victories in UFC lightweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Lauzon’s seven submission victories in UFC lightweight competition are tied with Diaz for the most in divisional history.

Lauzon’s 26 submission attempts in UFC competition are third most in company history behind Miller (35) and Lytle (31).

Lauzon has been awarded 14 fight-night bonuses during his UFC career, the second most in company history behind Diaz (15). UFC/WEC vet Cerrone holds the all-time combined promotional record with 18 total bonuses.

Lauzon and Miller’s 46 combined UFC appearances are a single-fight record for most total bouts between two opponents in a matchup.

Preliminary card

Sam Alvey

Sam Alvey

Sam Alvey (27-8 MMA, 4-3 UFC) makes his third UFC appearance in a 70-day span. He also competed at UFC Fight Night 91 in July and UFC Fight Night 89 in June.

Alvey has earned all four of his UFC victories by first-round stoppage.

Alvey’s four stoppage victories since 2014 in UFC middleweight competition are tied for second most behind Luke Rockhold (five).

Kevin Casey’s (9-4-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) two no-contest results in UFC competition are tied with Thiago Silva and Matt Riddle for the most in company history.

Chad Laprise (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) enters the event with back-to-back losses after starting his career on a 10-fight winning streak.

Adam Hunter (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has earned all eight of his career victories by stoppage. He’s earned all but one of those finishes in the first round.

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Jon Jones dropped a bit of a bombshell on his Instagram recently when he said he expects to be back in the cage “really soon.”

That came as a surprise, given he’s awaiting a potential suspension for an anti-doping violation that took him out of the UFC 200 card in July. But now there may be something else to support his claim.

Today on “The Jim Rome Show,” UFC President Dana White told the host that Jones’ claim to “have found out lots of really good news, and I am expecting to be back in the octagon really soon” might be spot on.

Dana White

Dana White

“It’s coming back now that it looks like he did not take the supplement that everybody thought he took,” White said on the radio show. “We’ll see how this thing plays out. I don’t even know if this is public. I don’t even know if I can talk about it,” White said. “Normally, I’ll talk about anything, but when it comes to medical stuff, you can’t do it. But it’s looking like Jon Jones did not take the drug that everybody thought he took. It looks like it’s something else.

“I’ll let this thing play out and if that’s true and that’s what USADA and the Nevada State Athletic Commission say happened, it could look good for Jon Jones.”

White told Rome that even if Jones is cleared, though, it won’t be a matter of him getting a “bum rap.”

“He definitely didn’t get a bum rap, but the substance that he was (alleged to be) on was a pill that you take when you’re coming down off of steroids,” White said. “But this thing is apparently in other things. Jon took something else. Where he doesn’t come off clean is, you have to tell USADA everything you put in your body leading up to the fight – and he did not. Absolutely (every athlete is responsible for what they put in their body).”

UFC interim light heavyweight champ Jones is No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, and he’s No. 2 pound-for-pound behind flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

After a history of out-of-the-cage troubles prompted UFC officials to strip him of the division’s primary belt, Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC) defeated Ovince Saint Preux in April to set up a title-unification bout with reigning champ Daniel Cormier (17-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC). However, just three days before the event, USADA, the UFC’s drug-testing partner, notified Jones of a potential anti-doping violation – due to the anti-estrogen drugs clomiphene and letrozole – and “Bones” was pulled from the card.

Jones is currently under temporary suspension from USADA and the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

But in a private Instagram video, that he doesn’t expect a full two-year ban (video via Twitter):

“I’ve been doing really good – been training, spending time with family, attacking some of these legal issues that I’ve gotten myself into,” Jones said. “(I’m) really trying to just leave that all behind once and for all. I’m sure you guys are curious about what’s going on with this USADA situation. Obviously I can’t get into it because it’s still pending, but what I can say is that we have found out lots of really good news, and I am expecting to be back in the octagon really soon.”

Neither USADA nor the NSAC have had any recent updates on Jones’ situation, though other fighters have received shortened suspensions when arguing their failed tests were the result of tainted supplements.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has had quite the tumultuous relationship with interim Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, which appeared to finally hit a tipping point when “Bones” was removed from UFC 200 during fight week when United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) flagged a drug test for a potential violation.

In fact, White was so furious with the mercurial mixed martial arts (MMA) star that he refused to talk to him after his latest transgression even though Jones pleaded his innocence in a tear-soaked press conference. It didn’t get any better when his B-sample confirmed the original finding, but that is often the rule rather than the exception in cases like these.

Over the weekend, however, Jones expressed optimism that he could return to the Octagon sooner rather than later despite facing a two-year suspension from the sport (watch his video message here). He hinted that perhaps he had possibly discovered the substance that triggered the positive result, which was first revealed as an anti-estrogen substance that is often used when coming off a cycle of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

That might not be the case, according to White, who today carefully confirmed that there could be a possible explanation for the positive test that is not PED-related.

“It looks like Jon Jones did not take the supplement everyone thought he took,” Jones just revealed to Jim Rome on CBS Sports radio. “It’s in other things,” he explained.

Because it is a “medical issue,” White did not offer much more context, preferring instead to let the legal process take its course, during which time Jones and his team will have the opportunity to share their findings. Jones is not yet on the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) agenda, but that could change very soon now that his situation has seemingly improved.

Regardless of what happens next, Jones and the rest of UFC’s roster are responsible for what they put on their bodies — there is no getting around that. But, perhaps, he will be allowed to return to action sooner than later if he presents a compelling case when the time arrives.

The post Dana White: ‘It looks like Jon Jones did not take the supplement everyone thought he took’ appeared first on

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Yabba Dabba Doo… drugs?

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Michael Bisping recently announced his Dan Henderson rematch for the five-round headliner of the upcoming UFC 204 pay-per-view (PPV) event, set for Sat., Oct. 8, 2016 in Manchester, England.

More on that showdown here.

But now that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has been banned from mixed martial arts (MMA), Bisping expects Henderson to find new and creative ways to cheat, flat out telling his SiriusXM Rush listeners (via MMA Fighting) that “Hendo” will be juicing.

Pretty sure he doesn’t mean green smoothies, either.

“I think he’s gonna juice because if he gets popped, he’s just gonna get suspended. That is no consequence to him and people will remember that he retired as champion even though it would be a No Contest. If he was to get the win, he could still retire saying, ‘I just beat the world champion.’ I’m gonna make sure this guy is thoroughly tested and if he was to test positive, then the fight would be off. So that is the only deterrent I think. Because he’s gonna earn a lot of money for this fight and if he wants to collect on that paycheck, he’s got to make it to the octagon. So he’s playing with fire but we’ve seen it time and time again, people do play with fire even though they know USADA might turn up…People do make these stupid fucking mistakes. Dan Henderson being a weird version of bloody Fred Flintstone – that’s what I’m gonna nickname him, he looks like Fred Flintstone – he will probably make that mistake.”

Barney! My Pebbles needles!

Henderson nearly killed Bisping at the UFC 100 event back in 2009. That said, this was long before United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was on the scene and making life miserable for those athletes who needed a little extra pep in their step.

“Hando” was also seven years younger.

The former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion turns 46 later this month and is expected to retire — win or lose — after his clash with “The Count” in Manchester. Let’s just hope Henderson can stay healthy between now and then but if not, we already have someone on standby.

See you in October.

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Tyron Woodley finally reached the pinnacle of the mixed martial arts (MMA) mountain after knocking out Robbie Lawler in the very first round last night (Sat., July 30, 2016) at UFC 201 in Atlanta, Georgia to claim the Ultimate FIghting Championship (UFC) Welterweight title.

Shortly after the biggest win of his career, Woodley spoke to the UFC on FOX Sports crew and reflected on his monumental achievement. Plus, he also looked forward to his next challenges, which could include big fights against Nick Diaz and former division champion, Georges St-Pierre.

Sorry, Stephen Thompson.

Furthermore, Woodley spoke about the pressure he felt about going to work back on the FOX desk without the belt, as he would be expecting some friendly ridicule from his colleagues and fellow champions, Michael Bisping, Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz.

The post Video: Tyron Woodley reflects on winning UFC gold, looks toward future challenges appeared first on

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Chael Sonnen reinvented the mixed martial arts game, at least from a promotional point of view, during his decade-plus career as a perennial UFC contender. Known for his motor mouth, even more so than his nonstop pace and powerful takedowns, Sonnen turned himself into one of the most popular and interesting fighters in a sport filled to the brim with characters of all kinds.

He’s stayed close to the sport since his 2013 retirement, joining the media horde he once wrapped around his finger as part of ESPN’s MMA crew. Now, however, he turns his attention to what could very well be his true calling: fight promotion.

On Sunday, Sonnen debuts ‘Submission Underground’, a submission grappling event at the Roseland Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, that will air exclusively on Sonnen sat down with Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Snowden to talk about his latest venture and the challenge inherent in launching another new sport into a very busy combat sports landscape.


Bleacher Report: You know people have always said ‘Chael Sonnen, he’d be a great promoter.’ Because you were so great at promoting your own fights. I know you’ve promoted locally forever in Oregon. But what are you learning about this side of the business, as you kind of step into the Dana White role for this Submission Underground thing on a national level?

Chael Sonnen: I knew what I was getting into. The side of it that I enjoy is the promoting, but there’s a lot of stuff that goes into it before you get those opportunities. You’re an event coordinator on top of everything else. You’ve gotta get a whole event together. So as far as the planning and the coordinating go, you know, we’ve got great help, we’ve got a great staff and all that good stuff.

But the promotion is the fun part. Dana has got certain guys he wants to work with; we got certain guys that we want to work with. And if somebody is a pain in the ass, we don’t want to work with them. It’s as simple as that.  

You know it’s an Olympic year. I’m teamed up with Olympic guys, with wrestling guys.  And the right guy always steps forward. The right guy doesn’t let anything get in the way. There has never been an Olympic gold medal put around someone’s neck for sitting at home watching. The right guy comes forward every single time. And you know that’s all we’re looking for.


B/R: What can people expect when they tune in? Will this just be a few cameras pointed at some mats? There’s not really a template for what a grappling event will look like?

Sonnen: We’ve got a great environment. We’ve got every bell and whistle you could think of, but people don’t know that yet. It’s a first show, so we’ve gotta deal with certain struggles that we won’t have in the future, in the second and the third event.  

We can come out and tell everybody what a special and great event this is, but you’ve gotta prove it, and that’s what the first one is. So that’s where we’re at. We’re cognizant of that; we’re patient with it. From a promotional standpoint, there is no stone unturned. What happens after that, man, we give the guys an opportunity and it’s up to them.


B/R: I don’t mean this to sound insulting, but the entirety of the show, when you have one of these events, is the part of an MMA fight where people scream ‘stand ’em up.’ That’s like the entirety of a grappling event. Is there a challenge when it comes to selling this?

Sonnen: Is there a challenge there? Sure, there is. Everybody knows what a fight is. Not everybody understands grappling. But I disagree with the idea that people don’t like grappling. We’ve been misled to believe that for a while now. We’re told that people want to see people stand up and bang.

Well, people wanted to see Brock Lesnar and they loved every second of it. He is the last thing for stand up and bang. The biggest star ever aside from Brock Lesnar is Georges St. Pierre. He doesn’t stand up and bang with anybody. So, we have been misled over time and then somehow we fought it, but it’s not true and it’s not the only thing people want to see.  

As far as the groundwork goes, there is an educated crowd out there that knows what they’re doing and what they’re seeing. I belong to a gym. We’ve got 200 members. Of those 200 members, when it’s MMA practice, six guys show up. The other 194 members show up when it’s grappling practice.  

MMA fans outnumber grappling fans 20 to one. Participants of grappling outdo participants of MMA 20 to one. So there’s a big base out there and those athletes need somewhere to compete. There’s not a lot of opportunity.


B/R: I think that the audience for these grappling events does consist of a lot of participants, and I think in some ways that makes it a very good fit for FloSports, where, you know, they’ve had great success with sports like wrestling and track and field, where I think they are attracting an audience of participants who also are fans of their sports at the very highest level.  

So is that what you’re hoping here is that the 194 people from each major gym all across the country, the ones who are interested in doing this stuff, are also willing to put some money down and watch it being performed at a high level?

Sonnen: I think that’s a fair way to say it. You know we’re bringing excitement and grappling is very exciting, particularly when there has to be a finish. Under the Eddie Bravo Invitational rules, which is what we will be contested under, somebody is going to win.  


B/R: That’s pretty compelling, because as a fan of the grappling arts, one of the most frustrating things is the prevalence of the draw. Especially, apologies in advance, because of the American wrestler’s predilection to simply grab a position and hold it.

Sonnen: And I can just tell you, as a grappler, I’ve been in matches where I’ve been in over my head. I just wrestled Babalu, purely grappling. And about 40 seconds into it I knew I was in over my head. And there’s always this parachute you can deploy if I can’t beat him, if I can’t find position or a submission that’s better than what he’s trying to do to me, I’ll just run out the clock. And that’s a reality.

But under these rules, you don’t get to do that. You are putting it on the line. Somebody will win. The goal is to just find out who is the best submission grappler alive. That’s it.

We’re not dangling carrots and trying to find out who the most popular guy in grappling is. We’re trying to find who the best is. Forget about belts and everything else. If you think it’s you and you raise your hand, we will give you a chance to prove it.  


B/R: In the old days of grappling competitions, somebody, would get that top position and just hold it forever. Maybe they would occasionally pass to half guard so they would get a point. It was dreadful. It sounds to me like you fixed a lot of that, to minimize stalling and encourage action.

SonnenThat’s what we’re trying to do. And you know the one that did it first was Eddie Bravo. We took a look at his rules, and they were perfect.

When you’re trying to build a division, you have to have a winner. You have to. There has to be a winner to have any kind of competitive architecture. If you want to call somebody a champion, somebody has got to get their hand raised.  

And I talked to Eddie about this and just said ‘Hey, we’re jumping in this space.’ Eddie is the one who said to me ‘Listen, why don’t you take my rules?’ He said, ‘Chael, it’s not just about an event, it’s about an industry.’  

You make one set of rules, you get everybody on board, you have every gym training the same set of rules, and that’s when you actually have a sport as opposed to an event. You walk into any basketball practice in the country, they’re all doing the same thing. Four quarters, this is worth two points, this is worth three. 

You can’t have four or five guys over in the corner because they’ve got Abu Dhabi trials coming up and then three or four guys over here because they’re doing this guy’s show and two or three guys over here because they’re doing Eddie Bravo and another group of guys over here because they’re doing Submission Underground. There’s got to be one set of rules.  


B/R: So, how will these matches work? Instead of a draw, this has kind of like a college football setup, where when you move into overtime both guys get the opportunity to score. And if only one does, they’re the winner. And then, if not, you go onto another overtime. Is that roughly how this works?

Sonnen: It’s precisely how this works. It’s nasty.  

So here’s the deal, there’s eight minutes. No scores, no judges, no points. They have eight minutes to go play a game of uncle with one another. There’s nothing off limits. You can do anything you want besides strike him or bite him. Any choke, any manipulation, all the way down to foot locks and heel hooks, which are often banned. Everything goes.  

If they can figure it out within eight minutes, then that guy wins. If they can’t, the referee will stop them, they’ll go into overtime. And they start in overtime with a very precarious position on one another. You can start with a guy’s back, you can start spider guard, you can start with an arm and go.  


B/R: It’s not easy to stop a great grappler from those positions is it?

SonnenThere are positions that you get in with high level black belts where you yell ‘Go,’ and two seconds later there is a tap. They’re that vulnerable of positions. Six seconds later there’s a tap, eight seconds later, you know, they’re very vulnerable positions.

But let’s say it doesn’t happen. Let’s say you and I are wrestling, I get away, and you get away. We go to the next set and the next set and then eventually we’ll just look at the time. Did Jonathan escape those positions quicker than Chael escaped those positions? If the answer is, yes, then you win.  


B/R: So there’s sort of like a riding time component?

Sonnen: There you go. Yes. You understand amateur wrestling. I would have used that example, I just thought nobody would get it. Yes, just like riding time.  

I mean that’s pretty clear once you see it. Somebody wins and somebody loses. There is no default button and there is no draw, there’s no golden parachute. Someone is going to lose. The guys are putting their name and their reputation on the line here.


B/R: For a lot of the guys you’ve got signed up, Chael, that’s kind of a big deal, right? You’ve convinced some fairly major mixed martial arts stars to compete in this other sport where they do have a lot to lose. What is it about these men that compels them to go try to prove they’re the best at this, even though maybe it could hurt them in their other sport?

Sonnen: Here’s all I can do. All I can do is follow the golden rule, treat other people the way you want to be treated. I just ask myself, what would it take?  

I want to compete. I’ve never said no. If somebody calls me to grapple, I never say ‘Who’s the opponent?’ I just say yes. I want to do this. But as willing as I am, and as much as promoters would love to have me, I’ve wrestled twice in two years. There’s just no opportunity. There’s just nowhere to go do it at.  

All we did was set up the environment. It’s like that movie, Field of Dreams, with Kevin Costner. You build it and they will come. We had a match today that tried to get on the card for Sunday. It’s a hot match, Uriah Hall versus Dan Miller, and there’s just no time. And we told them no, but they were calling us. We didn’t call them. 

Ulysses Gomez, Tony Ferguson, Mike Chiesa, Frank Mir and Lyoto Machida—I mean the list goes on and on of guys that want somewhere to do this sport. And I get it, I’m the same way. I’m the same way. It’s like, hey, I’m practicing this every day, let me go show it off.

Or on the other side of it, show me a better way. You know, it’s okay to go out in these kind of events and get beat if there’s something you can learn and take with you to whatever it is you want to do in MMA.


B/R: It’s attracting some guys we haven’t seen for awhile too, like former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez and Chris Lytle, last seen running for political office.

SonnenRicco is one of these guys that just left. He was a world champion, biggest prize in all of MMA, the world heavyweight championship, and one day he just stopped doing it. He was never cut. It wasn’t that Dana didn’t want him, it wasn’t that Pride wouldn’t take him in a heartbeat, he just stopped doing it. He never retired, he never announced anything, he just walked away.

When we announced that he was gonna wrestle, everybody was calling me and going, ‘Hey, that’s the same name of the guy that beat Randy Couture.’ I’m going, ‘It’s not just the same name, that’s the guy. It’s that Ricco Rodriguez.’  

And people couldn’t believe it.  They’d be, you got to be kidding. What the hell? What’s Ricco been doing?  

Lytle is coming out of retirement to take on Jake Shields, who Georges St. Pierre says is the best Jiu Jitsu player in all of MMA. And Lytle has never called me once. One text message, I’ve never heard from him since.  

I hear from all these guys. ‘I heard the place is sold out, how do I get my mother in?’ My phone goes off all day long. I’ve never heard from Chris Lytle. And he’s walking into a hell storm against Jake Shields. He jumped at it. I mean, come on, these are the kind of guys that you want to get behind.


B/R: You’ve told me several times how much you would enjoy getting in there. Why didn’t Chael Sonnen the promoter contact Chael Sonnen the athlete?  

Sonnen: I was a little reluctant to do it because, again, if I go in, it takes away an opportunity from somebody else, and we are trying to push opportunities.  

I wanted a match with Tim Kennedy and Tim accepted. But Tim is doing some very important work with the state department, and I’ll have to leave it at that, but he gets a full pass, right?

You don’t get to pick on Tim. ‘Oh, you chickened out.’ Not when you’re doing that kind of honorable stuff for the nation. So if you’re in my shoes, you step aside. But Tim did agree to the match and has agreed to a future one. He said any time after August 1, I’m there.

He didn’t say it quite as nice as I just said it. There is some heat there. But the bottom line is, yes, that was talked about, and yes I have an opponent, and yes that will happen down the road. And Jonathan, I will whip his ass.


Jonathan Snowden covers combat sports for Bleacher Report.

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Paul Daley

Paul Daley

Even when he was staring down Josh Koscheck, Bellator welterweight Paul Daley had his doubts whether they would ever actually fight.

Despite the Viacom-owned promotion’s efforts to build toward a showdown between the longtime rivals, six years after Daley (38-13-2 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) infamously sucker-punched Koscheck (17-10 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and was cut from the UFC, the British veteran suspected his American counterpart wouldn’t face him a second time.

In fact, Daley wondered whether Koscheck ever will fight again.

“Maybe it was a bit of an anchor, if things didn’t work out with his other business ventures, or whatever else that he’s got going on that he can fall back,” Daley, who now meets Douglas Lima (26-6 MMA, 8-2 UFC) on Saturday at Bellator 158, told MMAjunkie. “He had some security with Bellator. He still has. Maybe things have gone better than he thought they would go with whatever he set up after fighting.”

It’s no secret Koscheck lives a comfortable life after more than a decade in the industry-leading UFC. So he can’t fault the MMA veteran from stepping away – he might do the same if given the same opportunity.

“That’s why I say best of luck to him,” Daley said. “I would definitely do the same thing. I’d be driving a Ferrari.”

As of yet, Daley’s mode of transportation is a lot more modest. But as ever, his career plans are ambitious, with Lima serving as a dress rehearsal to a title shot. Although he’ll never be mistaken for Koscxeck’s advocate, Daley isn’t particularly bent out of shape about the way things turned out for the ill-fated headliner at London’s The O2, which airs on Spike via tape-delay.

“It was a slight disappointment, but I kind of got the feeling that he didn’t really want to fight,” Daley said. “I was surprised he came to the press conference. I got the feeling he was pretty much done with fighting. He seemed really on edge. He seemed to be a little scared, like genuinely scared.

“I wish him the best of luck if he doesn’t want to fight any more. You’ve got to want to fight, especially against a guy like me. You can’t do it half-heartedly.”

Lima was Bellator’s welterweight champ before losing a decision to current titleholder Andrey Koreshkov, who’s now the No. 13 ranked fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, and Daley thinks he’ll be in line for the belt if he wins on Saturday.

If the fight with Koscheck never materializes, Daley claims he’s made peace with it. That, or he’s perhaps trying a different way to motivate his rival to join him in the cage.

“I’m going to take Douglas Lima out, and the thing I’m waiting on is a title shot against Andrey Koreshkov, or whoever is the champion when my title shot comes around,” Daley said. “We’ll see if (Koscheck is) going to fight. If he fights, and he’s doing well, and they put us in line again, then yeah. I’ve never been one to turn down a fight.”

View full post on News | MMAjunkie

Brock Lesnar came, he conquered, and now he’s heading back to his day job.

For now.

UFC’s Megan Olivi caught up with “The Beast Incarnate” backstage shortly after his successful Octagon return and dominant performance against top-ten ranked UFC heavyweight contender Mark Hunt in the co-main event of what will likely go down as UFC’s biggest event in history.

Lesnar spoke about his thoughts on his performance against the dangerous striker, noting that he managed to take some of his shots and keep implementing his game en route to what was ultimately a dominant return to the Octagon after more than five years away from the sport.

When asked what is next following such an impressive victory, Lesnar, with a giant smile on his face, “Well, I think it’s SummerSlam [and] Randy Orton for right now!”

Lesnar makes his return to the professional wrestling world at the WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view event on Sunday, August 21, 2016 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he will face WWE Superstar Randy Orton.

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For the first time in the history of “The Ultimate Fighter,” two opposing coaches off will face off for a title on the finale card where their team members fight for a UFC contract.

Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena sees Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) put her strawweight title up for grabs in a rematch with longtime rival Claudia Gadelha (13-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). It’s a rematch of a December 2014 bout that Jedrzejczyk won by controversial split decision.

Jedrzejczyk has been dominant since besting Gadelha and wants to prove their first meeting was no fluke. Gadelha, meanwhile, is eager to avenge the only loss of her career and subsequently capture UFC gold for the first time.

The main event isn’t the only compelling matchup on the card, however. Check below for 50 pre-fight facts about The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale.

* * * *

Main event

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Jedrzejczyk became the first Polish-born champion in UFC history when she defeated Carla Esparza at UFC 185.

Jedrzejczyk became just the ninth fighter in UFC history to win a championship belt with an undefeated pro record when she won at UFC 185.

Jedrzejczyk’s competes in her sixth UFC strawweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Jedrzejczyk’s five-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Jedrzejczyk’s five victories in UFC strawweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Jedrzejczyk’s two stoppage victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for the most in divisional history.

Jedrzejczyk has earned six of her 11 career victories by decision. That includes three of her five UFC wins.

Jedrzejczyk has outlanded her past three opponents 399 to 132 in significant strikes landed.

Jedrzejczyk outlanded Jessica Penne 126-25 in significant strikes at UFC Fight Night 69. Her +101 differential is the second greatest advantage in a UFC championship fight behind Rich Franklin’s +106 advantage against David Loiseau at UFC 58.

Jedrzejczyk’s 220 significant strikes landed against Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193 are a UFC title-fight record.

Jedrzejczyk’s 220 significant strikes landed at UFC 193 are second most in a UFC fight behind Nate Diaz’s 238 significant strikes against Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 in December 2011.

Jedrzejczyk’s 70 leg kicks landed at UFC 193 are the single-fight UFC record.

Claudia Gadelha

Claudia Gadelha

Gadelha earned the first victory in UFC strawweight history when she defeated Tina Lahdemaki at UFC Fight Night 45.

Gadelha competes in her fourth UFC strawweight bout, tied for the second most appearances in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (six).

Gadelha has earned both of her UFC victories by decision.

Gadelha completes 5.33 takedowns per 15 minutes of fighting in UFC competition, more than three times the UFC average of 1.75.

Remaining main card

Ross Pearson

Ross Pearson

Ross Pearson (19-10 MMA, 11-7 UFC) is 6-4 with one no-contest since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in December 2012.

Pearson has alternated wins and losses over his past eight UFC appearances.

Pearson’s five knockout victories in UFC lightweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Melvin Guillard (seven) and B.J. Penn (six).

Will Brooks

Will Brooks

Will Brooks (17-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will make his UFC debut after being released as Bellator lightweight champion in May.

Brooks has earned six of his past seven victories by decision.

Doo Ho Choi (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) enters the event on a career-high 11-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since June 2010.

Choi has earned 10 of his 13 career victories by knockout.

Choi has earned both of his UFC victories by first-round knockout in a total fight time of 1:51.

Choi’s 18-second knockout of Juan Manuel Puig at UFC Fight Night 57 stands as the second fastest debut in UFC featherweight history behind Makwan Amirkhani’s eight-second win at UFC on FOX 14.

Thiago Tavares

Thiago Tavares

Thiago Tavares (20-6-1 MMA, 10-6-1 UFC) is 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in August 2014.

Tavares has earned both of his UFC featherweight victories by submission.

Tavares has completed at least one takedown against 15 of the 17 opponents he’s faced in UFC competition.

Tavares’ 39-second submission of Clay Guida at UFC Fight Night 77 is the third fastest submission in UFC/WEC featherweight history.

Andrew Holbrook (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned 10 of his 11 career victories by stoppage. He’s earned all but one of those finishes in the first round.

Preliminary card

Gray Maynard

Gray Maynard

Gray Maynard (11-4-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC), 36, is the oldest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Maynard drops to the UFC featherweight division for the first time in his more than nine-year career with the organization.

Maynard enters the event on a four-fight losing skid. He’s 1-5-1 in his past six octagon appearances and hasn’t registered a victory since June 2012.

Maynard has earned his past eight UFC victories by decision. He is one of two fighters in UFC history to go eight wins without a stoppage, along with Benson Henderson.

Maynard has suffered five knockdowns in his past four UFC bouts.

Maynard’s nine-second knockout of Joe Veres at UFC Fight Night 11 stands as the fastest knockout in UFC lightweight history.

John Moraga

John Moraga

John Moraga (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) competes in his eighth UFC flyweight bout, tied for the third most appearances in divisional history behind Demetrious Johnson (11) and Joseph Benavidez (11).

Moraga’s four stoppage victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Johnson (five).

Moraga’s three submission victories in UFC flyweight competition are tied with Johnson for most in divisional history.

Moraga is one of 16 fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from standing elbow strikes. He accomplished the feat against Ulysses Gomez at UFC on FOX 4.

Moraga was the first fighter in UFC flyweight history to be stopped between rounds when John Dodson defeated him by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at UFC Fight Night 42.

Cezar Ferreira (9-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC middleweight division when he defeated Oluwale Bamgbose at UFC on FOX 19 in July.

Ferreira has earned four of his five UFC victories by decision.

Anthony Smith (25-11 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC for a second stint after he was first released from the organization in June 2013.

Smith is 8-1 since he was released from the UFC in June 2013.

Smith has earned 22 of his 25 career victories by stoppage.

Jake Matthews

Jake Matthews

Jake Matthews (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), 21, is the youngest of the 24 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Matthews has earned all four of his UFC victories by stoppage.

Kevin Lee (12-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has earned four of his five UFC victories by decision.

Li Jingliang (10-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his four-fight UFC career. He suffered a defeat in his most recent bout.

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

View full post on News | MMAjunkie