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  • UFC 179 preview show - MMA Fighting
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Posts Tagged ‘Welterweight’

A UFC welterweight the past five years, Paulo Thiago has been cut by the world’s top MMA promotion.

Since Thiago had lost three in a row, the release was widely expected. confirmed the UFC’s decision on Wednesday.

In his first trip to the Octagon during February 2009, Thiago shocked the 170-pound class with a knockout win over Josh Koscheck. That looked to be the beginning of a great UFC career, but Thiago was never able to top that victory.

While a submission win over Mike Swick gave the Brazilian some momentum in February 2010, Thiago has struggled since then. In the four years and eight months since that submission, Thiago has only beaten David Mitchell and Michel Prazeres while losing seven times.

Following his win over Prazeres, Thiago was stopped by Brandon Thatch. Thiago then dropped very winnable bouts against Gasan Umalatov and Sean Spencer, which made it tough for the UFC brass to keep him around despite his popularity among Brazilian fans.

At 33 years old, Thiago might not have much time left in MMA. Unless he gets on a roll against some big-name veterans outside the Octagon, it’s possible Thiago never earns his way back onto the UFC roster.

With a 5-8 UFC record, Thiago had his moments. However, with the buzz he generated by stopping Koscheck in his initial UFC outing, Thiago‘s career will likely go down as a disappointment.

Given his career with Batalhao de Operacoes Policiais Especiais in Brazil, there’s a chance Thiago steps away from fighting now. If not, World Series of Fighting has a pretty solid welterweight division he might be interested in competing in.

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Bloody Elbow
2015 Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report: #10 – #6 Welterweight Prospects
Bloody Elbow
The Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report is getting a jump on 2015 as T.P. Grant and Zane Simon start their quest through hours of regional MMA to find the next great generation of MMA fighters. The search starts at Welterweight, a division with a deep

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Latest UFC/MMA rankings (welterweight), Oct. 2014: Askren and Shields move
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) continues to reshuffle its welterweight rankings in the wake of recent events like UFC Fight Night 54, where Rory MacDonald slept Tarec Saffiedine on FOX Sports 1. Unfortunately, the highlight-reel win (watch it

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Kelvin Gastelum is often overlooked.

That’s the story of his career, mostly, at least since making his debut on The Ultimate Fighter in 2013. Gastelum was a prodigious underdog, picked last by coach Chael Sonnen. Throughout the season, Gastelum was the guy standing on the periphery, a shadowy figure who sometimes got background television time when the cameras focused on Uriah Hall accidentally showed him.

But then Gastelum got a phone call from Ronda Rousey. Rousey told Gastelum that if he won his next fight, she would make a personal appearance at the gym to teach everyone on the team a little bit of judo. And I don’t know if it was Rousey, or some other kind of magical mojo, but Gastelum went out and choked out Bubba McDaniel.

It was the first instance of the public seeing Gastelum overcome the odds. It would not be the last. He beat Josh Samman—also a heavy favorite to make the finals of the show—and moved on to face Hall in the finals.

Gastelum was supposed to be cannon fodder for Hall, who was quickly rising the ranks of the most hyped Ultimate Fighter contenders in the history of the reality show. Sonnen told Hall he could beat Anderson Silva right now, which seemed like a bit of bad advice to give a man not even in the UFC, and especially since Sonnen had twice failed to beat Silva. But Hall seemed like a monster, and everybody waited for him to crush Gastelum and get started with his proper UFC career.

Again, someone neglected to inform Gastelum that he was a placeholder. He went in the cage on April 13, 2013 and beat Hall by split decision. Since then, he has continued to overcome the odds, beating Brian Melancon, Rick Story and Nico Musokue, and has moved to the cusp of being a Top 10 welterweight in the UFC’s official rankings.

It is quite the thing, really. Gastelum, a top-tier welterweight and potential title contender? If you were to think such a thing back when Gastelum first stepped into the Ultimate Fighter house, you might have been legitimately laughed at.

Literally, as Dana White is so very fond of incorrectly saying.

But that’s the reality Gastelum and the rest of the world face as he prepares to face Jake Ellenberger at UFC 180. Though official lines have yet to open at sports books, Gastelum expects to be an underdog to the veteran Ellenberger, who has spent continuous time near the top of a talent-rich UFC welterweight division. But he is fine with being the underdog because he is always the underdog. It feels like home.

“I like proving people wrong. Mostly I do it for myself. People will try and say you can’t do this or that,” Gastelum says. “Just watch me do it. It’s not going to be an easy task. I like the position I’m at where I have everything to gain.”

Ellenberger, ranked eighth in the UFC’s official rankings, is the highest-ranked opponent of Gastelum‘s career. It is a fight fraught with peril for Gastelum, who is undefeated but has yet to face someone with the kind of wrestling and power-punching skills Ellenberger possesses. But a win over Ellenberger? That will do wonders for his career.

Because Gastelum is young, but he’s impatient. He wants to ascend the ladder as quickly as he possibly can, and that means taking on and defeating a steady stream of top-tier opponents. He’s already beaten Story, who announced his return to the welterweight pack with a win over the highly-touted Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson. Gastelum believes a win over Ellenberger will give him the right to face a Top 5 opponent.

“A win over Jake will definitely put me in a great position to ask for a good fight, a fight that will lead me towards a title shot. It’ll definitely put me in a good position for a Top 5 opponent,” he says. “He’s one of the best fighters in the world that hasn’t fought for a world title. He’s very dangerous and explosive. He’s definitely the biggest test of my career.”

All quotes were obtained firsthand. 

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It’s all lining up for Rory MacDonald.

After winning his third straight contest last Saturday, the gifted young Canadian will receive the next shot at the UFC welterweight title. He will also do so on his home soil in an event that could take place as soon as March.

That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who reported the news to Sportsnet.Ca on Wednesday.

Robbie Lawler is set to challenge champion Johny Hendricks to a title rematch this December. MacDonald, White said, will face the winner. 

“It’s pretty impossible to deny Rory that, whoever comes out of that Hendricks-Lawler fight, he’s the next guy in line,” White said, according to the report. 

Though White did not specify a date or exact location for such a match, he did say that MacDonald would “absolutely, positively” fight for the strap in front of his countrymen.

“He’s next in line and that fight will be in Canada,” White said.

The UFC has previously indicated it has a March event date secured in Montreal. 

At UFC Fight Night 54, MacDonald earned a TKO victory of Tarec Saffiedine to run his winning streak to three. The 25-year-old British Columbia native also is 18-2 overall.

Interestingly, his last loss came to Lawler by decision at UFC 167 in November 2013. In his subsequent bout the following March, Lawler would lose by decision to Hendricks. Hendricks and Lawler were the first two men in more than seven years to engage in a welterweight title fight not involving Georges St-Pierre.

St-Pierre, as most fans know, is a training partner and mentor to MacDonald, and vacated his belt voluntarily after defeating Hendricks by decision in the very same UFC 167 where Lawler bested MacDonald.

Since that fateful night, MacDonald has turned things around, handling Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley before finishing Saffiedine on Saturday.

Though MacDonald would surely be willing to fight either man, a rematch with the most recent man and only second man ever to beat him in Lawler could make for a particularly satisfying title-fight experience.

Scott Harris covers MMA for Bleacher Report. For more, follow Scott on Twitter.

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Rory MacDonald’s third-round technical knockout victory over Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight in Halifax has vaulted the Canadian welterweight to No. 1 contender status.

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Rousimar Palhares will defend his World Series of Fighting 170-pound title against Jon Fitch at WSOF 16 on Dec. 13.

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MMA Fighting
A weekend of welterweight wackiness (and other stories)
MMA Fighting
What a weekend for UFC welterweights. In the span of a few days, the division's past, present and future kind of went rogue in the post-GSP era. Start with Josh Burkman, the homecoming welterweight, who joked on Sunday that he lost to Steve Carl on …
Trading Shots: As Askren and Burkman battle on Twitter, an old question rears
Exclusive: Josh Burkman explains WSOF release, insists Hector Lombard fight at
Josh Burkman Returns to the Octagon to Face Hector Lombard at UFC 182MMAWeekly
ninemsn -Bloody Elbow -MMATorch
all 34 news articles »

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The UFC’s return to Canada at UFC Fight Night 54 was headlined by prodigy-turned-star Rory MacDonald, who was appearing at the top of the marquee for the first time in his career against Tarec Saffiedine.

It was a memorable one for MacDonald, as he stopped Saffiedine in the third round with a beautiful combination, likely staking a claim to a title fight in the relatively near future.


What We’ll Remember About This Fight

It marked the most convincing execution in the rise of MacDonald.

He’s long been seen as a solid talent, but at times as he began to approach the top of the mountain, he seemed content to ride his skill to listless decisions. Saturday night in Halifax, he did nothing of the sort, starching his opponent and then calling for a title shot at the first opportunity.

It was quite a night for the British Columbia native.


What We Learned About Rory MacDonald

He has developed finishing power on the feet.

Historically, his finishes have been grappling-based, be they submissions or TKOs that have come from his wrestling and positional understanding. No one ever doubted his ground-and-pound, but many wondered if he’d ever graduate beyond a heavy jab.

With the perfect finish of Saffiedine, he answered those questions thunderously.


What We Learned About Tarec Saffiedine

He needs to fight more often than once every 10 months, and when he does we may come to understand that the Strikeforce welterweight division was easier to lord over than that of the UFC.

Saffiedine is very talented, but it’s hard to remain sharp when injuries and inactivity leave you sidelined for long stretches. The 170-pound division is a shark tank, and if you’re not fighting regularly against the best in the world, you fall behind.

You can only rest on the laurels of two years ago for so long before people start asking questions.


What’s Next for MacDonald

Probably the winner of Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks in December. No one else is clearly ahead of him as a contender, and no one else can lay a claim to fight him, so he’s probably sitting pretty for a title shot in 2015.


What’s Next for Saffiedine

A bout with Dong Hyun Kim might be good or perhaps one with Demian Maia when he gets healthy.


Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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The UFC’s live broadcast from Sweden Saturday afternoon was shown on its always reliable Fight Pass. Headlining the card was a welterweight scrap between Rick Story and Gunnar Nelson, which was intended to be a showcase for the Icelandic native. 

Instead, in turned into a spoiler for Story. He won a split decision, which should not mean the fight was as close on the scorecards, as it was pretty one-sided for the American.

What did we learn from this five-round bout? Let’s take a look right now.


What We’ll Remember from this Fight

How bad Story made Nelson look. It is something that Story has been doing for years, but it came front and center due to his main event status. 

Story used wrestling, counterwrestling and superior striking against Nelson, something that paid dividends throughout the fight. Nelson was unable to get comfortable throughout, which made it an easy ride for Story.

For now, Nelson’s hype train is off the tracks and Story is back in the good graces of the upper echelon.


What We Learned About Nelson

He may have been pushed into the limelight too quickly.

Nelson is undoubtedly talented and will stick around the UFC for a long time. However, he went from fighting guys like Zak Cummings and DaMarques Johnson to an established guy like Story, who’s known for playing the spoiler.

Not only that, he was thrown into the main event when he may not have been ready. For the near future, the UFC needs to let Nelson develop more until he is fully ready for a big step up in competition.


What We Learned About Story

Honestly, we didn’t learn a whole lot. That was a classic Story performance where he made his opponent look uncomfortable.

However, he is now on the comeback. We have learned a change in training camps has been the right call at this point in his career.


What’s Next for Nelson?

How about a fight with another prospect pushed to the limelight quickly in Erick Silva. That is the type of matchup that could be Fight of the Night.

Both guys can strike and both guys can grapple well. It’s an interesting stylistic matchup. 


What’s Next for Story?

There are two guys on two different paths in their careers that would be suitable for Story at this point: Ryan LaFlare and Jordan Mein.

LaFlare is an up-and-comer who is looking to jump to the next level. It would be either sink or swim against Story, though LaFlare could have a good chance.

As for Mein, he is gunning toward the top 10, especially with his recent performances. A bout with an American wrestler would really show us where he is.

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  • Bellator 130 Results – Lashley Earns 91-Second Stoppage, Newton Retains Title
    Former WWE Superstar and current TNA Wrestling star Bobby Lashley turned heads with an impressive, brutal first-round stoppage of Karl Etherington, forcing the previously unbeaten prospect to tap out due to strikes at just 91 seconds of the first round. Check out a video of Lashley's stoppage above. Below are quick-match results of the event. […]
  • Conor McGregor On Brazil Death-Threat Chants: “P*ssies, I’m Still Here! What You Got?”
    Conor McGregor, who dealt with an extremely hostile crowd at the UFC 179 Fight Club Q&A on Friday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, recently took a shot at those same Brazilian fans on Twitter. During the Q&A chat, which mostly consisted of fans telling McGregor that Jose Aldo would kick his ass, the fans chanted […]
  • Joe Lauzon On Fans Criticizing Him For Pulling Out Of UFC 180: “I Lost $3,000 On Flights Alone”
    After the news broke recently that Joe Lauzon suffered an injury and had to pull out of his UFC 180 bout with Diego Sanchez, many in the mixed-martial-arts community were quick to criticize, claiming many of today's generation of fighters are simply taking advantage of the company's generous insurance coverage policy. "J-Lau" was quick to […]
  • UFC Executive Claims Company Did Enough To Remedy Botching Cung Le’s Drug Test
    In response to Cung Le demanding an apology from the UFC for mishandling his post-fight drug test for his bout with Michael Bisping in August, UFC executive Lawrence Epstein spoke to the L.A. Times and made the claim that the company did enough to remedy the situation. Below are some quotes from Epstein from the […]
  • McGregor Calls Siver Out For Cheating, Says He’s Going To End His Career
    The headlines keep coming. After dealing with a very hostile Brazilian crowd at the UFC 179 Fight Club Q&A on Friday, "The Notorious" Conor McGregor took part in a media scrum to talk about a number of topics, among them, his next fight in January against Dennis Siver. McGregor was quick to point out the […]
  • Chad Mendes On Conor McGregor: “I’m Gonna Whip His Ass Next”
    Number one ranked UFC Featherweight contender Chad Mendes, who challenges Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship for the second time this Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, promises he's going to shock the world. "The goal is to go out there and surprise everybody." Mendes said during his UFC 179 media scrum. Mendes […]
  • VIDEO: UFC 179 Fight Club Q&A With Conor McGregor
    Above is a full video archive of the UFC 179: Fight Club Q&A with UFC Featherweight contender "The Notorious" Conor McGregor. McGregor will be sitting front row in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday night as he watches Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes battle for the UFC Featherweight Championship live on pay-per-view. Make sure to […]
  • UFC 179 Weigh-In Results From Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Video Included)
    Below are results from the official weigh-ins for Saturday's UFC 179: Aldo vs. Mendes II event, which takes place live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Main card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET) - Jose Aldo (145) vs. Chad Mendes (145) - Glover Teixeira (205) vs. Phil Davis (205) - Fabio Maldonado (205) vs. Hans Stringer […]
  • UFC Confirms Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver For January 18th In Boston, Mass.
    UFC officially confirmed reports that "The Notorious" Conor McGregor will be fighting Dennis Siver in his Octagon return at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachussetts on January 18, 2015 for a special Sunday-edition of UFC Fight Night, airing on FOX Sports 1 live at 10pm EST. Tickets for the event will go on sale on […]
  • Conor McGregor Continues To Steal The Show Heading Into Saturday’s UFC 179 PPV
    How can anyone not love Conor McGregor? Seriously? "The Notorious" one has been providing entertainment all week long as we head into Saturday's UFC 179 pay-per-view in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Jose Aldo defends his UFC Featherweight Championship in a rematch against Chad Mendes. While Aldo and Mendes are the headliners this weekend, no […]
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