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Posts Tagged ‘Welterweight’

Now 37 years old, Demian Maia is looking to make one more run at a second UFC title shot.

At UFC Fight Night 62, the Brazilian took a step in the right direction. His conditioning left something to be desired, but Maia controlled Ryan LaFlare on the ground and cruised to a decision victory.

With two wins in a row, Maia is now back in the hunt for a shot at the 170-pound championship. Was a win over LaFlare enough to push Maia into the Top Five, though?

Here are the latest official UFC rankings, via UFC.com, which are voted on by the MMA media.

Begin Slideshow

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Conor McGregor is booked to fight one of the most fearsome fighters on the UFC roster on July 11 at UFC 189. He will face 25-1 featherweight champion Jose Aldo. 

But he’s already planning future moves. 

Speaking with the press during the ongoing UFC 189 World Championship Tour, McGregor said he can make the move to lightweight—and beyond—immediately. 

“To be honest, I would go up [now]. I’ve campaigned for many lightweight fights since I’ve been in the UFC,” McGregor said. “If it presents itself, I’ll take it. I’ve fought in multiple weight divisions before. I have no problem going right up to welterweight.” 

However, should he defeat Aldo at UFC 189, McGregor admits there will be a slight hurdle in his quest to conquer multiple divisions. He’ll be the featherweight champion, and he may have to stick around to defend his belt. 

“Obviously, with the belt on the line it’s a little bit different,” McGregor said. “Because it’s the belt now. They don’t just allow you to move freely. So we’ll see.” 

McGregor then mentioned that he almost convinced the UFC brass to give him the UFC 180 showdown against Diego Sanchez he so desperately desired. 

However, UFC President Dana White shot that idea down, favoring to work toward the bigger picture that is currently unfolding in McGregor’s career.

While the Irishman has talked the talk and walked the walk so far in his MMA career, I’m personally not a huge fan of the lightweight and welterweight discussions.

He’s fighting Aldo in July, and as six UFC opponents have found out the hard way, getting past the Brazilian is a daunting and nearly impossible task.

While McGregor boasts the sharpest stand-up skills Aldo has faced so far, there’s no doubt the champ is on an entirely different level than the Dennis Sivers and Dustin Poiriers of the world. 

Beyond Aldo, the lightweight division is packed with talent, boasting arguably the deepest roster of any class in the UFC. McGregor would have his hands full with any top-10 lightweight and even some outside that rank. 

While it’s fun to consider McGregor becoming a three-division star for the UFC, the talk is a little premature until he proves he can handle the man right in front of him. 


All quotations and paraphrases obtained in a press conference, courtesy of MMAJunkie.com’s Rick J. Lee.

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Demian Maia is ready to start the next chapter of his career on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro.

For the better part of the past decade the 37-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace has been honing his craft under the UFC banner, and in the process has become a multi-divisional threat inside the Octagon. Where he was a former contender and title challenger in the ranks of the middleweight division, Maia has since dropped down a weight class and become a major player in the welterweight fold.

The highly touted submissions artist got off to a great start as welterweight as he established himself as a surging contender by winning his first three showings at 170 pounds. Yet, a rough patch would follow as Maia found victory only once in his three most recent outings. Those issues compounded when a staph infection spread into his collarbone and force him onto the sidelines for the majority of his 2014 campaign.

With years of competition and a surplus of fights under his belt, it was uncertain whether Maia’s mixed martial arts would continue. Nevertheless, Maia has forged his success on the sport’s biggest stage by his ability to adapt and endure, and he will make his official return to action to face welterweight upstart Ryan LaFlare this Saturday at Fight Night 62 in his home country of Brazil.

Simply returning to compete inside the Octagon is an accomplishment Maia takes great pride in, but competing in front of his countrymen on Saturday night will set the perfect stage for him to make the ideal return to what is arguably the most talented division under the UFC banner.

“To come back after this layoff and fight in Rio—especially the main event—it’s a great feeling and opportunity for me,” Maia told Bleacher Report. “I think as an athlete who is competing in the UFC for almost eight years you learn how to keep your mind focused. It makes you very mentally tough. That made me able to hold this equation. I knew I was going to come back and it was very important to keep focused and keep training.

“I love to be here and UFC is the biggest event in the world. It’s the place every fighter wants to be. This will be my 20th fight for them and that’s a dream for me. Other than that, my goal is to fight for the title and win it. I’m going to do my best to make that happen.”

Before Maia’s comeback can be stamped as triumphant, he will have to derail one of the hottest up-and-coming talents in the welterweight ranks. The 31-year-old New York native is undefeated in 11 bouts, with four of those victories coming under the UFC banner. Many consider his bout with Maia to be the biggest test of his career and will ultimately decide whether he’s ready to handle what the elite level of the division has to offer.

Maia understands the circumstances surrounding the bout and believes it will be his experience under the bright lights that ultimately makes the difference when things go live.

 “LaFlare is up and coming and he’s very hungry,” Maia said. “ He’s never lost in his career, but I have a lot more experience inside the Octagon. I’m sure that is going to be very helpful for me. I haven’t seen him make too many mistakes in his past fights, but if he makes a mistake on Saturday I’m going to do my best to capitalize on that and end the fight with a submission.”


Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

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UFC Fight Night 62 pre-fight facts: Koscheck to set record for welterweight bouts
UFC Fight Night 62 was hit hard by injuries, but the end result will see a welterweight headliner in the organization's 21st event in Brazil. Demian Maia (19-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC) battles Ryan LaFlare (11-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) at the top of the 12-fight lineup
UFC Fight Night 62 complete fighter breakdown, Demian Maia editionMMAmania.com
Ryan LaFlare's message to fans soured on UFC Fight Night 62: 'Give me a shot'MMA Fighting
UFC Brazil: Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlareMMA Kanvas
Sportsnet.ca (blog) -FOXSports.com -Bloody Elbow
all 24 news articles »

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Max Griffin will defend his welterweight title against Chidi Njokuani at Tachi Palace Fights 23 on May 7.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

RFA 24 results: Benjamin Smith wins welterweight title in lopsided main event
rfa-24-poster Benjamin Smith did exactly what he'd talked about in the lead up to his welterweight championship bout with Indalecio Tat Romero at RFA 24 and used his grappling and length to nullify the big striking of his hard-hitting foe. The bout
RFA 24: Smith vs. Romero Live Results and Full RecapMMA Corner
RFA 24: Smith Vs. Romero On AXS TV Friday Night, Card InsideFightLine.com

all 8 news articles »

View full post on MMA -mobile – Google News

It wasn’t one for the record books, but Benjamin Smith did what he had to do to get the win against a curiously inactive opponent.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Sammy Vasquez will meet Emmanuel Lartey in the main event of a 10-round welterweight bout on Friday.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Robbie Lawler will defend his UFC welterweight title against Rory MacDonald July 11 at UFC 189, according to UFC President Dana White

White announced the news Wednesday during a press conference in Las Vegas that aired live on UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1. 

This fight against MacDonald will mark Lawler‘s first attempt at defending the UFC strap. He won the title at UFC 181, taking a split-decision victory over then-champion Johny Hendricks in a rematch of their UFC 171 classic, which Hendricks won via unanimous decision. 

Against MacDonald, Lawler finds himself in another rematch. The 170-pound champ previously defeated the Canadian MacDonald at UFC 167 via split decision. 

Since that time, Lawler has gone 3-1 under the UFC banner, losing only to Hendricks. 

Similarly, MacDonald has looked sensational since dropping that bout. He’s undefeated in his last three fights, with his most recent victory coming via TKO over Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine in October 2014. 

After that fight against Saffiedine, MacDonald was briefly scheduled to face Hector Lombard in an apparent No. 1-contender’s bout at UFC 186, but Lombard was pulled from the fight after failing a drug test for the anabolic steroid desoxymethyltestosterone, per MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani

In the wake of Lombard’s drug-test failure, MacDonald is rewarded with a chance at gold. 

While he already lost to Lawler once, that bout was competitive, and there’s no doubt that the 25-year-old Tristar Gym standout is constantly evolving and polishing his game. He looks better each time he steps into the Octagon, and it’s likely many will favor him in the rematch with the current champ. 

With this news, UFC 189 is shaping up to be an absolute must-buy event. 

Lawler vs. MacDonald joins a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor on the July 11 card, a one-two punch at the top of the event that is sure to generate significant buzz and excitement.

In fight cards with two title fights, typically the heavier weight class receives top billing. 

At UFC 189, however, Aldo vs. McGregor will serve as the main event, with Lawler vs. MacDonald taking co-main event honors, according to a report from the UFC relayed by Helwani:

Who do you favor in this welterweight showdown? Personally, I think MacDonald keeps his distance, picks his shots and works in a few takedowns to avenge his earlier defeat and take a unanimous decision. 

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David didn’t tempt fate after he toppled the almighty Goliath and neither should Benson Henderson.

In the UFC’s version of Two and a Half Men, the former lightweight champ, welterweight science project Brandon Thatch and referee Herb Dean all stepped into the Octagon on Saturday night for legal fisticuffs in the main event of UFC Fight Night 60.

Faced with the daunting task of going toe-to-toe with the real-life Blanka, Henderson bit down on his toothpick and went to work. The obvious speed disparity reared its head early as Thatch Fee-fi-fo-fum’d his way into range, whiffing on haymakers.

Henderson, always cool and collected, was the matador to Thatch’s bull for the early portion of the bout before taking the fight to the ground and reintroducing MMA fans to his world-class grappling.

Bloodied, battered and forced to fight on an empty gas tank, Thatch finally succumbed to a rear-naked choke in the fourth round by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

The 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, erupted into applause as Henderson pointed to the heavens in celebration, reminding fans that size wasn’t everything and anything was possible. After successfully pulling an Evel Knievel-like stunt, it was thought Henderson would go back down to the lightweight division and resume his journey of reclaiming the UFC title.

Instead, Henderson opted to move past the shallow waters into the welterweight shark tank by calling out perennial 170-pound contender Rory MacDonald.

“I hear there is a big guy up in Canada who needs a fight. I’m game,” Henderson said in a post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

Henderson’s call-out even surprised MacDonald.

Size isn’t everything in fighting, but it is something when you are competing against equally skilled opposition. After losing to Henderson, Thatch admitted in his post-fight interview with Rogan that he needed more experience to contend with the top fighters.

Just as his nickname implies, Henderson looked smooth against the larger fighter, but the physical toll the fight took on his body was noticeable as well. Conditioning has never been an issue for Henderson, who has made a living off going the distance in main event fights. But against a larger opponent like Thatch, he was forced to exert more energy in dealing with heavier weight.

The upper-echelon lions in the welterweight division aren’t exactly small guys either. Robbie Lawler, Johny Hendricks and MacDonald are all exceptionally large welterweight fighters, especially in comparison to Henderson. They are also well conditioned and highly skilled.

Losses to Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos aren’t any reason to turn tail and flee to another weight class. Many, including UFC President Dana White, thought Henderson won the Cerrone fight. As for the loss to Dos Anjos, he got caught up in wild, stand-up exchanges and succumbed to a flash knockout in the first round.

There are plenty of reasons for Henderson to stick around at 155 pounds, besides making another run at the UFC title. It only takes one big punch to change the course of a fighter’s career, and those risks steadily climb the heavier you go in weight.

Henderson was able to avoid taking significant damage from Thatch, but next time, he might not be so fortunate. 


Jordy McElroy is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon and FanRag Sports.

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