Posts Tagged ‘Welterweight’

Hear from UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in the video below as he discusses UFC 201 and his title defense vs. Tyron Woodley.

The video is from “UFC Tonight.”

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Robbie Lawler (20-10) and Tyron Woodley (15-3) are two former Strikeforce fighters who have hit it big in the UFC.

On Saturday night at UFC 201 in Atlanta, the reigning champion Lawler will attempt to successfully defend his welterweight championship belt for the third time as a solid -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) against Woodley at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

Woodley is listed as a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170) on the UFC 201 betting lines and has had a long layoff despite not suffering any injuries since his last fight in January 2015. He was originally scheduled to face former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks at UFC 192 last October 3, but his opponent experienced serious issues with weight-cutting and had to pull out of the bout.

Woodley has won two in a row and four of five, with the lone loss happening two years ago at UFC 174 vs. Rory MacDonald via unanimous decision.

Lawler later fought MacDonald at UFC 189 last July 11 and scored a fifth-round TKO against him for his first title defense. He followed that up with a controversial split-decision win over Carlos Condit on January 2. Three of his past four wins have come by decision, with two of them seeing the judges split on the result.

Lawler’s last loss came via unanimous decision in favor of Hendricks for the vacant welterweight title belt at UFC 171 on March 15, 2014. Four of his previous six bouts have won Fight of the Night bonuses.

Flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson was supposed to face Wilson Reis in the co-main event but had to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury. Reis has remained on the UFC 201 card, though, and will be taking on Hector Sandoval as a heavy -300 favorite on the UFC odds, per Odds Shark.

The new co-main event is a women’s strawweight matchup between third-ranked Rose Namajunas (5-2) and fifth-ranked Karolina Kowalkiewicz (9-0). Despite having four fewer wins, Namajunas has more experience inside the Octagon as a former competitor on The Ultimate Fighter 20. She is a big -260 favorite, per Odds Shark, riding a three-bout winning streak, with Kowalkiewicz a +200 underdog.

Meanwhile, Kowalkiewicz is 2-0 in the UFC, and six of her previous seven fights took place in her home country of Poland.

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MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Stephen Thompson.

Thompson is coming off a key welterweight win over former title challenger Rory MacDonald in June. On Saturday, champion Robbie Lawler puts his title on the line against Tyron Woodley. Thompson will be watching closesly – there’s a good chance he could be fighting the winner later this year.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The first hour of the show is available on SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) from 1-2 p.m. ET. You can also listen to and watch a video stream of the entire two-hour show, including the second hour, at

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

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Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC

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Melvin Guillard immediately stirred interest during his Bellator 159 post-fight interview when he called for a matchup against fellow knockout artist Paul Daley.

Guillard (33-16-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA), who stopped David Rickels (17-5 MMA, 11-5 BMMA) in the first round of this past Friday’s co-main event for his first win under the Bellator banner, announced after the fight he would be moving up to the welterweight division after a string of failed weight cuts at lightweight.

“The Young Assassin” apparently had a plan in mind when declaring entry to the 170-pound weight class, because he called out of one its biggest names in Daley (38-14-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA).

“This is officially my last fight at 155,” Guillard said during his interview with Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith. “I’m going up to 170 (and) I want ‘Semtex.’ I want Paul Daley.”

It was a timely callout because Daley, 33, competed just one week prior to Guillard, 33, in the main event of Bellator 158. He lost a unanimous decision ( to Douglas Lima in the headliner of the organization’s debut in England and had a five-fight winning streak snapped.

“Semtex” quickly was made aware of Guillard’s words and took to his official Facebook account to provide a response. He said he would happily accept the matchup because it would be the perfect way to help him rebound from the loss to Lima and get back on the road to title contention.

Although they have taken vastly different career paths to this point, Guillard and Daley share one similar trait: their love of the knockout. The two strikers have 50 knockouts in a combined 71 career victories, and each is known for his crippling power.

A fight between them almost certainly would end in a violent finish. From the sounds it, that’s something Bellator President Scott Coker would be interested in putting together.

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Four of Alex Oliveira’s six UFC fights have taken place in the welterweight division, but he’s not considering a permanent change in weight classes. “Cowboy” is a lightweight, and he’s ready to move back to 155 pounds.

“I am very happy about this win, as I came from a loss,” Oliveira said after his clearcut UFC on FOX 20 win over James Moontasri. “Now I want to go down a weight class and fight someone that is ranked.”

Oliveira would certainly seem to deserve such an opportunity. After all, thus far in his 16 months as a UFC employee, he’s been a company man, taking fights both on short notice and out of his weight class when asked.

On Saturday, Oliveira (14-4-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) fought a game striker in Moontasri (9-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC). The two met on the UFC Fight Pass-streamed prelims of UFC on FOX 20 from United Center in Chicago.

“Cowboy,” also known best as a striker, decided the smarter play was to approach the contest as a grappler, and the decision paid off, as he dominated in the clinch and on the floor and cruised to a decision win, 30-26, 30-26 and 30-25.

“It was the plan,” Oliveira said. “He’s a good striker, so we planned all that, to make the control on the ground, and I did just what my coach said.”

Oliveira is now 4-1 in his past five UFC appearances and would seem to be in line for a ranked opponent next, in whatever division he ultimately decides. Right now, that seems to be lightweight.

Of course, he’s not one to turn down a UFC request, so time will tell.

“I’m quite happy,” Oliveira said. “I was looking for the victory. I’m ready for the next one.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 20, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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When Alex Oliveira jumped into a short-notice fight against then-undefeated up-and-comer Gilbert Burns, “underdog” was a polite way of defining his status.

The Brazilian “Cowboy,” however, proved to be a tough opponent, getting the better of “Durinho” for most of their UFC Fight Night 62 scrap until being finally submitted late in the third round. Calls of beginner’s luck were quickly shut down, with Oliveira subsequently compiling three consecutive wins and one “Performance of the Night” bonus before losing in yet another last-minute affair with Donald Cerrone.

Oliveira’s impressive run so far might have taken some by surprise. But, for the Brazilian “Cowboy,” it’s simply a reflection of his innate calling.

“It started with my first week at the gym,” Oliveira told MMAjunkie ahead of his UFC Fight Pass-streamed preliminary card welterweight bout against James Moontasri at today’s UFC on FOX 20 event. “I used to work with cattle for a living, that sort of rough stuff. So at the gym I performed. … It felt like I’d been training hard for two months. So, I said, ‘I was born to be a fighter.’

“After I started training, getting straight fights, I said, ‘I’m going to be among the best in the UFC.’”

Today’s octagon outing against Moontasri (9-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) will be Oliveira’s sixth in just a little over one year – the fourth to take place one weight class above his original lightweight division. For an outside viewer, it might seem like there’s not much of a career plan there. But “Cowboy” (14-3-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) thinks otherwise.

“After this fight, I want to get back to 155,” Oliveira said. “I have a plan. I want to get a top-15 at 155-pounds and make my way to the belt. But in the meantime, they keep offering me fights at 170, so I just go for it. While they don’t call me for those, I’m going out there and brawling.

A brawl – “the entire time, back-and-forth” – is also what the Brazilian muay Thai specialist expects from Moontasri – a striker who has a U.S. national taekwondo team stint in his list of achievements. A Black House product with a penchant for finishes, Moontasri has helped tune up the striking chops of the likes of Anderson Silva.

But don’t think that’s in any way intimidating to the ever-cool Oliveira.

“I don’t care that he used to teach Anderson Silva,” Oliveira said. “Gilbert Burns used to teach Vitor Belfort jiu-jitsu, so … . He’s a fighter, just like me. I also train with the best of Rio de Janeiro, and in my hometown of Tres Rios as well.”

In fact, the Brazilian “Cowboy” was very secure in his prediction that the fight won’t go past the first round – more precisely, he expects to use his “very, very heavy hands” to add another knockout to his already impressive UFC record. As for how he’s going to do it?

“I’m calm, I’m focused, I’m well-trained,” Oliveira said. “This keeps me cool. It’s show time. I’m with my masters, they’ve trained me well. I’m relaxed. And that’s what matters, right?”

For more on UFC on FOX 20, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC

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Following two years of struggles on the scale, Melvin Guillard is putting the lightweight division behind him.

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Joe Taimanglo had one good moment in his bout with highly rated bantamweight prospect Darrion Caldwell, but it was all he needed, as he scored a shocking submission win.

Taimanglo (23-6-1 MMA, 6-2 BMMA), a 14-1 underdog, tapped Caldwell (9-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) out in the third round of their Bellator 159 headliner at Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. The evening’s main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Caldwell used his range early, moving in and out with lengthy attacks, though he eventually took the fight to the floor and settled into top position. Taimanglo scrambled well underneath and worked himself to guard, but Caldwell always looked to advance position and never really faced any counter attacks.

As they scrambled to the feet, Caldwell tried to lock in a kimura from a standing position, eventually dragging the action to the floor. But Taimanglo proved no pushover, defending and transitioning to keep himself free.

In the second, Caldwell used his striking to get inside and again take the action to the floor. The crowd got a bit restless as Caldwell controlled from the top, but Taimanglo remained active from his back to prevent any real serious offense. Referee John McCarthy stood the fighters in the final minute, but Taimanglo couldn’t take advantage of the restart.

In the third, Caldwell shot from distance but couldn’t get hold of the legs. Taimanglo took advantage of his one opportunity, wrapping up the neck and falling to his back. Squeezing hard in full guard, Taimanglo forced the frustrated Caldwell to tap for his first professional loss, just nine seconds into the final round.

Caldwell was expected to challenge for the Bellator bantamweight title with a win, but Taimanglo missed weight for the fight, so it’s unclear if he’ll be awarded a similar opportunity.

Melvin Guillard (33-16-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) missed weight for Bellator 159, marking the fourth time he had done so in the lightweight division, and confirmed his future will take place at 170 pounds. But before leaving the weight class, Guillard scored a big win over David Rickels (17-5 MMA, 11-5 BMMA).

Both men wasted little time meeting in the center of the cage and exchanging blows. Guillard threw heavy punches, while Rickels mixed in a few kicks and knees to start, though he did land early to the groin. On the restart, Guillard was able to land a big elbow in the clinch that wobbled his foe. Guillard took advantage of the opportunity and jumped on top with big punche and elbows, battering his opponent and leaving no choice but to call the fight.

After the win, Daley said he’s like to debut at 170 pounds against fellow slugger Paul Daley.

Ducote spoils Vargas’ debut, Weichel outworks Sanchez

While it was Bruna Vargas (2-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) who entered Friday night with the buzz behind her name, Emily Ducote (3-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) took advantage of the opportunity with a devastating submission victory set up by a brutal right hand.

It was Ducote who struck first, landing a pair of massive right hands that left Vargas clearly wobbled. However, she battled through the trouble and actually found herself in top position when the fight hit the floor.

Ducote came out on fire again in the second, landing another big right hand to start the frame that sent her opponent toppling to the canvas. Ducote jumped on top with punches, but as Vargas tried to cover and clear the cobwebs, Ducote switched her attention to the neck, latching in a rear-naked choke that earned an instant tap.

In a key featherweight matchup, German import Daniel Weichel (37-9 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) picked up a big win over Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3 MMA, 5-2 BMMA), though he had to sweat out the result.

Weichel started the fight quickly, pressing the action and looking to go on the attach. Sanchez proved willing to stand and trade, and he was quick to work back to his feet after a few takedowns.

The pace remained high in the second, with Sanchez pushing forward in trademark fashion, and the two exchanged shots on the feet until the final bell.

Weichel was the more accurate striker again in the third, though Sanchez never backed down, firing wild, powerful strikes until the bitter end. In the end, Weichel earned the nod by split decision, with wild scores of 30-27, 28-29 and 29-28.

Full Bellator 159 results include:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Joe Taimanglo def. Darrion Caldwell via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 0:09
  • Melvin Guillard def. David Rickels via knockout (strikes) – Round 1, 2:14
  • Emily Ducote def. Bruna Vargas via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:29
  • Daniel Weichel def. Emmanuel Sanchez split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 6:45 p.m. ET)

For more on Bellator 159, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News

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Bellator heads to London on Saturday. And while there are no belts on the line at Bellator 158, the card provides opportunities for some fighters to put themselves in the mix for future title shots.

In the main event, Paul Daley faces former Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima. Daley was originally booked opposite Josh Koscheck in a rematch of their 2010 fight, but when Koscheck fell off in June, Lima stepped in.

While the Koscheck-Daley fight might have had more drawing power, the Daley-Lima matchup could determine the next opponent for current champion Andrey Koreshkov.

In the co-main event, heavyweight Matt Mitrione fights for the second time in less than a month when he meets Oli Thompson.

Also on the card, everyone’s favorite Bellator welterweight showman, Michael Page, meets veteran Evangelista Santos.

Here are five reasons to watch Bellator 158, which takes place Saturday at The O2 in London and airs via tape delay on Spike at 9 p.m. ET.

1. That knee better be ready


Douglas Lima

Lima went 7-1 with Bellator between October 2011 and April 2014 with each of those victories coming by knockout – most of them brutal. His only loss during that run was a decision defeat to then-welterweight champion Ben Askren. When Askren vacated the title, it was Lima (26-6 MMA, 8-2 UFC) who captured the belt with a TKO win over Rick Hawn.

A 15-month layoff due to knee injuries followed that win, and when Lima came back he looked like a different fighter. His striking was not as forceful as it had been, and he lost the belt to Koreshkov by decision.

After another year off due to knee issues, Lima returns to face Daley (38-13-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), a dangerous fighter who is not afraid to throw caution to the wind and attack with powerful punches of his own. If Lima is anything less than 100 percent for the fight or is reluctant to test his knee by using his nasty kicks, he could be in for a very tough night.

However, if Lima is healed up and ready to scrap, fans should be in for a treat when he steps in against Daley, who has won his past two fights, including a January bout with Andy Uhrich, via knockout.

2. Quick turnaround for Mitrione

Matt Mitrione

Matt Mitrione

Mitrione’s Bellator debut almost ended far earlier than he hoped when Carl Seumanutafa put him on his back with a huge right hand 30 seconds into their fight at Bellator 157. However, Mitrione was able to recover and come back to stop the fight with a right hand of his own.

Immediately after the bout, Bellator announced Mitrione (10-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), an honorable mention in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, would be meeting Thompson at Bellator 158 three weeks later. That raised some eyebrows since Mitrione obviously took some damage. But Mitrione got the all clear on his medicals, allaying some fears that he’s fighting too soon after getting dropped.

Mitrione, who signed with Bellator as a free agent in March, admitted he was feeling some nerves before his Bellator debut. With those jitters behind him, Mitrione will no doubt look to correct the misstep in the Seumanutafa fight when he meets Thompson (17-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) who is coming off a TKO win over Fernando Rodrigues Jr. in December.

3. Will Page finally be tested?

Fans have been wondering when Bellator was going to put Page (10-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) against someone that could give him a test. It’s hard to tell if his opponent at Bellator 158, the 38-year-old Santos, is that man, but at the very least, he’s a name fight fans will recognize, which couldn’t be said about most of Page’s previous opponents.

The 29-year-old Page has been a superstar in the making for the past several years, but Bellator has seemed reluctant to throw him into the deep end of the welterweight pool. The slow roll might have been a good idea early in his career, but Page isn’t getting any younger. If he can dominate Santos (21-17 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), the time might be right to match Page against Koscheck or perhaps the loser of Lima-Daley.

As it stands now, on paper, this looks like another showcase for Page, and while that might sound like a reason not to watch this fight, it isn’t. You want to tune in because Page is something special.

4. SBG prospect

James Gallagher

James Gallagher

When a fighter has names such as Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh and SBG attached to him, he is going to receive some attention. Such is the case with James Gallagher. Gallagher (3-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a 19-year-old prospect who trains out of SBG Ireland, makes his Bellator debut when he faces Mike Cutting at featherweight.

Gallagher might receive some attention for his gym affiliation, but he’s also shown that he can get things done in the cage, earning first-round submission victories in each of his three pro fights.

Bellator obviously is hoping it  has another young star on its hands, as evidenced by his placement on the main card, and Gallagher sounds confident heading into his promotional debut.

“I’m going to be one of the biggest stars in the promotion, and that’s why they’ve given me such a good contract – they know I’m going to be a big star for them,” Gallagher told MMAjunkie. “I’m going to put in the work now and get that belt – that’s my goal.”

Cutting (6-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a pro since 2010, enters the fight alternating wins and losses in his past eight.

5. Prospect vs. unretired veteran

Neil Grove

Neil Grove

The last time Neil Grove fought for Bellator was Oct. 29, 2011. He lost that fight, tapping to a Thiago Santos rear-naked choke in just 38 seconds. Grove (12-7-1 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) fought three more times, going 1-2, before retiring in 2013. Now, nearly three years after his last fight, Grove returns to Bellator on short notice to face James Mulheron.

Mulheron (8-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), one of the top-ranked heavyweights in the United Kingdom, has won five of his fights by knockout. He was initially set to face BAMMA heavyweight champion Mark Godbeer, who was removed from the card in late June.

For more on Bellator 158, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News

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Paul Daley, Douglas Lima and Michael Page all likely feel they are next in line for a shot at the Bellator welterweight championship.

Daley and Lima meet this Saturday night in the main event of Bellator 158 from London, while Page takes on veteran Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. Both bouts will be part of the Spike main card.

For Daley, this contest presents another opportunity to shine in front of his English fans. “Semtex” is on a five-fight win streak that includes three straight wins inside the Bellator cage – with the two most recent being finishes.

Back in January, he knocked out Andy Uhrich, adding to a 2015 finish of Dennis Olson.

However, Lima will be his stiffest challenge since he met Tyron Woodley and Nick Diaz back in 2011 while competing for Strikeforce.

Lima is a former Bellator titleholder who has gone 5-2 over his last seven, with both defeats being via decision over five rounds to current titleholder Andrey Koreshkov and former champion Ben Askren. He finished Rick Hawn, Ben Saunders, Bryan Baker, Michail Tsarev and Jacob Ortiz between 2012-14.

Page is kind of the wild card in this whole situation.

Bellator has been grooming the Brit slowly, pairing him with over-matched opponents so far. Since going the distance two years ago vs. Nah-Shon Burrell, the 10-0 “Venom” has finished Jeremie Holloway, Charlie Ontiveros and Rudy Bear in just over five total minutes of action.

Is now the time for Page to cash-in on his “MVP” moniker and become the next contender to Koreshkov? Or will Daley or Lima make a statement and do that?

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