Category Archive: MMA & UFC

MMA & UFC News

'Cyborg' vacates Invicta title, plans to pursue UFC featherweight belt

Cris “Cyborg” Justino (L), putting the finishing touches on Lina Lansberg, will surrender her Invicta FC belt and pursue the UFC title. (Getty Images)

The UFC’s newly created featherweight division received a major jolt Friday. Cris “Cyborg” Justino vacated her Invicta championship and plans to make a run at the UFC belt held by Germaine de Randamie.

Invicta president Shannon Knapp confirmed the news, first reported by MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani on Twitter, to Yahoo Sports.

Neither Justino nor UFC president Dana White could be reached for comment on Friday, but Justino’s addition will instantly drive up interest in a division that still doesn’t have rankings and has only held one fight.

De Randamie defeated Holly Holm at UFC 208 in Brooklyn last month to win the title which had been created for Justino.

Justino is a power-punching, physically strong fighter whose presence has loomed over the UFC for years. Fans had been clamoring for her to fight former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, but Justino said she couldn’t make the weight.

Justino’s dominance was central to White creating the featherweight division, but her weight issues sank White’s hopes of putting her into the first women’s featherweight bout in UFC history.

White said he offered her three fights toward the end of 2016 and that each time, Justino turned the bout down, saying she needed more time to safely reach the 145-pound featherweight limit.

Then, just before Christmas, Justino was notified by USADA of a potential anti-doping violation. Justino, though, said he was taking a medication prescribed for her doctor and retroactively applied for a therapeutic use exemption.

USADA last month granted Justino the TUE and she was cleared of a violation.

Her decision to surrender the Invicta belt and pursue the UFC title is welcome news for White and the UFC, who have been on the lookout for stars. Justino is hugely popular among the MMA fan base who have seen her rack up one-sided knockout after one-sided knockout.

De Randamie said after the victory over Holm that she injured her hand and will require surgery. There is no indication when she’ll be ready to compete again.

The real problem for the UFC will be making matches for her. There aren’t many qualified female featherweights and Justino has dominated the best of the best.

Justino is 17-1 with one no contest and is 2-0 in the UFC after catchweight victories at 140 pounds over Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg.

Megan Anderson, who had been Invicta’s interim champion, will now become the full champion.

Cris “Cyborg” Justino is 17-1 with one no contest in her MMA career and is 2-0 in the UFC. (Getty Images)

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Ex-MMA fighter War Machine found guilty on 29 charges in Christy Mack assault

Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver was found guilty on 29 of 34 charges in Christy Mack assault. (Getty)

Ex-MMA fighter Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver was found guilty on 29 of 34 possible charges by a Clark Country jury stemming from his assault case with ex-girlfriend Christine “Christy Mack” Mackinday and Corey Thomas.

The 35-year-old Koppenhaver was on trial for a brutal assault back in August of 2014 that left Mack with a litany of injuries including 10 broken bones, a broken nose, missing teeth, a punctured lung, a fractured rib and a severely ruptured liver. Thomas also suffered injuries that included multiple contusions and a bone fracture. The incident began when the former competitor on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show broke into Mack’s Las Vegas home and assaulted them both. After the attack, Koppenhaver fled to California, where he was eventually captured and arrested by police a few days later.

Mack testified for two days during the trail and detailed a troubling history of abuse she endured before it all culminated in the brutal attack.

Koppenhaver’s charges included burglary, battery, coercion, kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. A pair of attempted murder charges against Koppenhaver resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury while three other charges resulted in a not guilty verdict.

Regardless of not securing a guilty verdict on the attempted murder charges, Koppenhaver could spend life in jail without parole when he is sentenced on June 5 in Las Vegas.

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Marc 'Bonecrusher' Diakiese celebrates stunning knockout with breakdance

In the days leading up to this week’s UFC Fight Night 107 in London, Marc ‘Bonecrusher” Diakiese insisted people put some “respect” on his name.

If they didn’t hear him then, they sure do now.

The British lightweight put on a show during Saturday’s bout with Teemu Packalen, ending the fight with a sensational knockout 30 seconds into the match, and capping his victory with a celebration befitting of his emerging star.

Diakiese is known for his dynamic footwork but it was a powerful right-handed punch that dropped Packalen to the floor moments into the opening round. Equally eye-catching was the celebration the followed.

“I’ve been saying it all week and I’ll say it again: That was easy work,” the 24-year-old said on the UFC broadcast. “I’m one of the best and I will keep proving it.”

The emphatic knockout improved Diakiese to 12-0 in his career and 3-0 in the UFC.

Moments after Diakiese’s stunning knockout, Packalen took to Twitter to let his fans know he was OK.

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Dana White: Nick and Nate Diaz keep turning down fights

Nick and Nate Diaz
Dana White provided an update on the Diaz brothers. (Getty Images)

Fight fans have been waiting to see when Nick and Nate Diaz will make their respective returns to the UFC. However, it appears that neither brother is too interested in stepping back into the Octagon in the near future.

UFC president Dana White revealed that he has offered both Diaz brothers fights over the past couple of months and the Stockton, California natives have scoffed in response.

“We keep offering Nate fights and he keeps turning them down. Nick, too,” White told TMZ.

Nate Diaz was last seen in a blockbuster rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202. Diaz lost a decision but the bout earned him a massive payday as McGregor evened up the series. But with McGregor waiting to land a megafight with Floyd Mayweather, the trilogy is on hold. In the interim, Diaz allegedly shuttered a bout with former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and the belief is that he’s holding out until he lands the McGregor fight.

“I have no idea. Maybe he is [holding out for McGregor],” White said. “Conor has endless possibilities for fights.”

With the Irishman having plenty of options, a fight with Nate Diaz is likely on the lower end of the totem pole.

As for Nick Diaz, the 33-year-old hasn’t fought since January 2015 when he dropped a decision to Anderson Silva that was later changed to a no contest after both fighters tested positive for a banned substance. He was sidelined with a suspension until last August but has yet to book a fight with the UFC. He’s openly asked for bouts with Georges St-Pierre and UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. However, with both names tied to each other, Diaz is left out in the cold. He recently turned down a fight with Robbie Lawler and is showing no signs of jumping back into action anytime soon.

It appears that both Diaz brothers are content with sitting on the bench until what they deem the right opportunity comes along. Until then, we won’t be seeing the 209 representatives inside of the cage.


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Matt Hughes considering a return to MMA and possible bout with Royce Gracie

Referee Dan Miragliotta tends to Matt Hughes after Hughes was knocked out in 21 seconds by B.J. Penn at UFC 123 on Sept. 20, 2010. (The Associated Press)

Critics have alleged, with much evidence, that mixed martial arts is increasingly becoming more about money and spectacle than it is about the purity of competition.

More evidence to back that point came on Wednesday when word leaked that 43-year-old UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes is contemplating a comeback.

Should Hughes go through with it and decide to return to competition for the first time since Sept. 24, 2011, when he was stopped by Josh Koscheck in the first round at UFC 135, who is his most likely opponent?

It appears it would be none other than 50-year Royce Gracie, whom Hughes mauled at UFC 60 in Los Angeles on May 27, 2006.

“If I could find an opponent that I think I can beat, I would go again,” Hughes told Joe Buck for an upcoming episode of AT&T Audience Network’s ‘Undeniable with Joe Buck.’ The episode will air in late summer/early fall.

Ex-UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes (top) moves into position against Royce Gracie at UFC 60 in 2006. (Getty Images)

Perhaps the most shocking thing about it all is that if there is a Hughes-Gracie II, it’s likely to be in Bellator, not the UFC. Hughes has long had a close relationship with UFC president Dana White, who on Jan. 24, 2013 named him a vice president of athlete development and government relations when the former welterweight champion formally announced his retirement.

Hughes was part of a large group of employees, including ex-light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who were laid off in December by new owners WME/IMG. reported Hughes and Bellator have had some discussions about a rematch with Gracie.

“I’m not saying I am [going to fight again],” Hughes said to Buck. “The guy I am talking about fighting might have been in this chair.”

The only MMA fighter to appear on the show is Gracie, who was interviewed by Buck two weeks ago.

It’s not difficult to understand Hughes’ position. In the last year, numerous 40-plus fighters have competed, and Hughes sees an opening where he could make a nice payday against an opponent he believes he’d defeat easily.

The flip side, of course, is that fighting is a young man’s game. Fighters like Hughes and Gracie have already taken plenty of abuse, and declining reflexes make it more likely they’ll be hit at a higher rate the previously.

Bellator president Scott Coker has taken advantage of the big names in their 40s who built their reputations in the UFC such as Hughes, Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz in what he calls “tentpole fights.”

The thought process behind them is that the recognizable names will bring viewers in to watch the Bellator shows on Spike TV, and that will provide Coker the opportunity to expose the talented young fighters he’s signed to a big audience.

It reached a crescendo at Bellator 149 in Houston on Feb. 19, 2016 when Gracie, then 49, faced Shamrock, who was 52.

A large segment of the MMA fan base enjoys watching the recognizable names fight, regardless of their age.

Whether promotions will admit it or not, they bring these fighters in purely for financial reasons.

The Gracie-Shamrock match at Bellator 149 wasn’t competitive in the least. But it drew 2.4 million viewers to Spike and attracted an attendance of 14,209 to the Toyota Center, the largest in the history of the promotion.

Matt Hughes answers questions at a UFC Fan Expo. (Getty Images)

The trend is clearly moving toward these kinds of fights, which makes a spectacle out of it. But as long as fans will watch, it’s not going to stop.

And that’s why Hughes, a 43-year-old who was knocked out in the first round in each of his last two fights and who hasn’t won since UFC 117 on Aug. 7, 2010, is thinking of a return.

It’s not enticing to those who want to see the best in the world go head to head, but it is reality.

Get used to it. You’re going to see it more often.



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Anderson Silva to meet Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro

Former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, above prior to his bout with Derek Brunson at UFC 208, will meet Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212 on June 3 in Rio de Janeiro. (Getty Images)

Kelvin Gastelum will continue on his Legends Tour of the middleweight division on June 3 when he meets former champion Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro.

Since moving back to middleweight for a bout with Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 in Toronto, Gastelum has been sensational. He dominated Kennedy and stopped him in the third round of their Dec. 10 bout at the Air Canada Centre, and then blew out Vitor Belfort in one round on Saturday in Fortaleza, Brazil.

After the fight, Gastelum said he wanted Silva and on Tuesday, the UFC granted him his wish.

The significance of the bout is obvious for Gastelum, who is a young fighter on the rise and would help his name recognition by defeating the legendary ex-champion.

But for Silva, it’s not as clear. He broke a two-fight losing streak at UFC 208 on Feb. 11, when he scored a disputed unanimous decision victory over Derek Brunson.

Silva, who was suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for a year in 2015 for using a performance enhancing drug, showed sheer joy at the ability to compete once again. The crowd in Brooklyn clearly loved him and Silva loved the attention.

Silva is ranked No. 7 and Gastelum is No. 10 at middleweight, and a win would push him closer to a bout with champion Michael Bisping. Silva, who will be 42 on fight night, lost a tough decision to Bisping last year in his first fight back after his suspension.

He’d said after losing the belt to Chris Weidman in 2013 that he wanted nothing more to do with the championship, but he called out Bisping (and Nick Diaz) in an Instagram post on Monday, so he’s apparently now fine with making another run for the title.

While Gastelum is clearly a budding star, he’s ranked behind Silva in the rankings. And Yoel Romero, who is ranked first, called out Silva on Monday. A win over Romero would have created a quicker path to the title shot for Silva.

As great as Silva is, he’ll have his hands full with Gastelum, who made quick work of Belfort last week.

It figures to be an entertaining fight for however long it lasts, and it will carry significance within the division, so count us fully in on this one.

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Dillon Danis, Conor McGregor's grappling partner and close friend, signs with Bellator

Jiu-jitsu star Dillon Danis (L), along with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (C) and close friend Conor McGregor of the UFC (R), signed a promotional deal with Bellator MMA on Monday. (Getty Images)

Dillon Danis’ name isn’t as widely known as his good friend, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, just yet. But after signing a promotional deal with Bellator on Monday, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt will soon get the opportunity to make his own name.

Danis and McGregor are close friends, and Danis helped McGregor prepare for his rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August by working on his grappling.

McGregor’s trademark confidence has obviously rubbed off on Danis, who is confident enough in his grappling skills to smack UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones on Twitter.

And, like McGregor, Danis’ goals are anything but modest, even though he has yet to have an MMA fight.

He’s proud of his friendship with McGregor, but Danis, a black belt under Marcelo Garcia at Alliance New York, wants to forge his own name in MMA.

“I want to fight the best, just like Conor does,” Danis told Yahoo Sports. “We’re different people, though we’re very like-minded. We set high goals and we aren’t afraid to try to achieve. I feel he’s the best ever, in my opinion, and so if people want to compare us, well, how could it be bad if you’re a basketball player to be compared to Michael Jordan? That’s essentially what people would be saying if they compare us.

“I obviously respect what he has accomplished and will accomplish in the future. He’s incredible and the aura of confidence he has is amazing. He’s a champion for a reason. But I want to go down my own path and do it my way.”

Danis said he will start as a welterweight, but eventually hopes to fight at lightweight and, like McGregor, hopes to be a two-sport champion.

Bellator president Scott Coker, one of the sport’s finest talent evaluators, has taken to stockpiling young fighters who are elite in a specific discipline and hoping they can become MMA stars.

He’s already signed high-level wrestlers like Ed Ruth, Aaron Pico, Joey Davis, Tyrel Fortune and Jarod Trice. Adding Danis from the jiu-jitsu world will give him another star to try to develop.

“Look, when we were building Strikeforce, we signed guys like Daniel Cormier, Tyron Woodley, Ronda [Rousey], Luke Rockhold, people like that, and they all developed into stars and pretty good fighters, I’d say,” Coker said. “I want to use that old Strikeforce philosophy with Bellator: Buying the best free agents and building from the top down and signing these young guys who excel in one discipline of the martial arts, whether it is wrestling or jiu-jitsu, taekwondo or traditional karate, and then building from the bottom up.

“A guy like Dillon, with such high-level jiu-jitsu, whenever a fight goes to the ground, he’s going to be a serious threat. He’s going to have to master the stand-up game and everything else, but what I’ve found over the years is that when you take a guy like this, who has competed all over the world in big events, they’re calm and relaxed and they’ll develop if you push them along and nurture them the right way.”

Danis doesn’t lack for confidence. In January, when Jones was entering grappling tournaments, Danis didn’t hesitate to tweak him on social media.

Danis said he doesn’t have an exact date for his MMA debut, but expects it to be toward the end of the year.

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MMA fight ends with rare double knockout

There isn’t a more exciting finish to an MMA bout than the rare double knockout.

The unlikely feat has happened a few times in various promotions over the years, most notably in the legendary eight-second fight between Tyler Bryan and Shaun Parker, with the latest incident coming Saturday night at a Shamrock FC event in Kansas City.

Axel Cavares and Alan Vasquez hit each other with hard right hands simultaneously and dropped to the mat. Vasquez managed to recover before the referee called the fight, while Cavares was dazed and stumbled as he tried to get to his feet, bringing an end to the bout.

Vasquez was declared the winner via first round knockout, but was left with a nasty-looking broken nose.

Check it out in the clip below, or watch the full fight video here.

Awsome double ko tonight at #shamrockfc

A post shared by William Joplin (@thearmadillo1) on Mar 11, 2017 at 6:11pm PST

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Michael Bisping: Khabib blew his shot to fight Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor will never fight Khabib Nurmagomedov after Nurmagomedov’s failure to make weight at UFC 209, middleweight champ Michael Bisping said. (Getty Images)

Khabib Nurmagomedov may have lost more than just one payday on March 3 when he failed to make weight for his interim lightweight title fight that was scheduled for March 4 in the co-main event of UFC 209 in Las Vegas if middleweight champion Michael Bisping is correct.

A fight between Nurmagomedov and lightweight champion Conor McGregor could have been one for the ages.

It would have pitted the smothering grappling style of the Russian against the accurate, powerful striker from Dublin, Ireland. Combine those attributes with their ability as two of the best trash talkers in the sport, and it was a bout that seemed destined for 1 million pay-per-view sales as well as a career-best payday for Nurmagomedov.

If Nurmagomedov hadn’t needed to be hospitalized and had made weight and then won his UFC 209 bout with Tony Ferguson, a big-money bout with McGregor seemed certain to follow.

Nurmagomedov became sick during his weight cut and was transported in the middle of the night to Sunrise Hospital, where he was immediately given an IV to help rehydrate him. With that, he was out of the bout against Ferguson and also may have lost a chance to ever fight McGregor.

This was the second time in five years in the UFC that Nurmagomedov had to pull out of a fight for failing to make weight. “The Eagle” came in at 158.5 pounds for a UFC 160 bout against Abel Trujillo. Needing to lose 2.5 pounds to get to the 156-pound limit, Nurmagomedov refused and gave up 20 percent of his purse.

A failed weight cut cost Khabib Nurmagomedov a shot at Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 and potentially a lightweight title bout with Conor McGregor, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping said. (Getty Images)

McGregor is an astute businessman in addition to being an elite fighter, and given the difficulty Nurmagomedov has had getting to the post on a regular basis, Bisping said on his new podcast, “Believe You Me” that it would be hard to get the Irishman to fight him.

“One-million percent, it kills his chances of ever fighting Conor and it puts the UFC in a very difficult position,” Bisping said on the podcast. “If they make that rematch between Khabib and Tony, and Khabib wins, there is no way Conor is going to accept that because he is going to say, ‘I’m not going to take that risk of having an entire fight camp for him not to make it to the Octagon, so I’m not going to do it.’ ”

McGregor’s been through this song and dance before. He was set to face Jose Aldo in 2015 in the main event of UFC 189 for the featherweight championship. They went on a multi-city world tour to promote the grudge match between the heated rivals. It was all for naught as Aldo pulled out 10 days before the fight due to a rib injury.

The brash Irishman fought Aldo five months later at UFC 194, knocking him out in 13 seconds.

Times are different now. McGregor is the biggest star in the UFC and one of the most popular male athletes in the world. He’s in the driver’s seat when it comes to picking opponents.

At the time, he needed Aldo to get to where he’s at and was willing to wait him out. He doesn’t need Nurmagomedov to continue bringing in record-setting numbers at the gate and on pay-per-view.

“Look, he’s only competed once in eight years,” McGregor said of Nurmagomedov at the UFC 205 post-fight news conference after knocking out Eddie Alvarez to capture the lightweight title. “You know what I’m saying? He ain’t fight too frequent for my liking. He’s a consistent pull-out merchant.”

The only way Nurmagomedov is going to sniff the lightweight title is for him to face someone not named McGregor.

It’s a shame, too, because this could have been Nurmagomedov’s shining moment. His lack of discipline, however, cost him everything.

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Joe Rogan on GSP-Bisping: Why even have championships at all?

Joe Rogan isn’t fond of the idea of Georges St-Pierre getting an immediate title shot against Michael Bisping. (Getty)

UFC commentator Joe Rogan isn’t too fond of the idea that former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is returning after a three-year hiatus to face Michael Bisping for his middleweight title. And Rogan isn’t holding back his feelings about the recently announced fight.

Rogan appeared on ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast to voice his opinion on the fight, which doesn’t have a date but all signs are pointing to UFC 213 in July.

“As a person who deeply respects the position of champion – if you’re gonna do this whole interim title thing and you’re gonna have guys come back after being out of the sport for three years and get a shot right at the title, why have [expletive] championships at all?” Rogan said.

“Why have a champion at all? Just set up great fights,” Rogan continued. “And if you’re just setting up great fights, well that’s a great fight. Bisping versus GSP is a great fight. If you’re going to have a title, this is the champion of the world, then the champion should be defending his title against the number one challenger and that right now is Yoel Romero.”

Romero became the No. 1 contender when he knocked out former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 205. It was assumed that Romero would be next in line to face Bisping. However, once St-Pierre announced his return, he was immediately thrust into the title picture. The French-Canadian had never fought in the 185-pound division but jumped the line because of his popularity and his tenure as UFC welterweight champion before taking a hiatus from the sport.

“I don’t like it in terms of the hierarchy of the division,” Rogan said. “I think that, as far as the division goes, it’s not good at all. It sort of hijacks the whole situation.”

With the UFC in a precarious position as Conor McGregor sits on the sidelines in wait for a possible boxing match with Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey’s future in doubt, new owners WME-IMG perhaps felt the need to push Georges St-Pierre into the title picture in an effort to draw as much attention to the product as possible.

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