Holloway Wants Khabib And Conor To Combine Powers Captain Planet Style

After a colder than usual spring, Max Holloway wants people with platforms to raise awareness for real issues, not trashy feuds.

In a sport currently dominated by trash talk and outside the cage brawls, Max Holloway continues to be a class act and a gentleman. Perhaps that’s to his disadvantage, as tales of bad behavior from people like T.J. Dillashaw and B.J. Penn continue to overshadow his move up to 155 at UFC 236 to challenge Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title.

But even if it costs him (and us!) some clicks, Holloway is keeping it positive. He even had a suggestion for Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, whose feud continues to generate ugly moments. Why talk trash when you can encourage people to do something about trash? Help clean the world up because it’s going to hell and soon climate change is going to KO us all.

”Climate change is for real,” Holloway told Sports Illustrated in a recent interview. “Look at the climate change, stop looking at these guys talking about what they’re talking about. They’re not talking about fighting any more. That’s what it’s about.”

When asked about the Khabib-Conor thing by TMZ Sports in another interview, Holloway again turned things back to climate change.

”At the end of the day it’s not even about the sport any more, so I don’t even want to talk about that,” he said. “I’m glad Dana White said he’d intervene. You know, these guys got a big platform, they should talk about more important stuff like climate change.”

”Like right now in New York it’s not supposed to be this cold, I’ve heard it’s supposed to be warmer. And in Hawaii it’s been pretty cold, in the 70s. I know I sound like a big cry baby about 70s, but us Hawaiians are not used to this weather! What’s up with the climate control?”

As Holloway said, an overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human made climate change is happening and screwing up our spring. The polar vortexes that hit us several times this winter and the colder than usual temperatures we’re experiencing on the Eastern seaboard right now are caused by rising temperatures slowing down the gulf stream, meaning the polar jet stream heads further south.

It’s all part of thermohaline circulation, and while as usual there’s some disagreement on how badly it’s going to bitch slap us in the future, there’s no denying what it’s doing in the now. But are you going to listen to some random blogger on an MMA site if you’ve got doubts? Probably not. That’s why we need Khabib and Conor on board.

Holloway and Poirier are main-eventing UFC 236, with Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum under them in a fight for the interim middleweight title. Keep in mind this is the first UFC pay-per-view that you can’t order via traditional cable pay-per-view in the United States. Now all orders must go through ESPN+, so keep that in mind when preparing for this must-see event on Saturday April 13th.

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Midnight Mania! If TJ Was Juicing The Whole Time, Should Cody’s Title be Reinstated?

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TJ Dillashaw has been suspended two years for EPO, an injectable Performance Enhancing Drug (PED). You can read all about it here. He voluntarily gave up his title, and the UFC’s current plan is to have Marlon Moraes fight flyweight champion Henry Cejudo for it. Once they had the positive result, USADA also went back and tested some older samples from Dillashaw, one of which also came back positive. This raises a couple questions: why aren’t they testing every sample for EPO (even if it does require a special test), and secondly, if Dillashaw was using EPO before he fought Cody Garbrandt, should Garbrandt’s title be reinstated? As Garbrandt pointed out, all of his losses (the two to Dillashaw and one to Pedro Munhoz) have been to fighters that have failed drug tests in the past. Of course, Garbrandt was self aware enough to realize that isn’t the only reason he lost.

The question was originally posed on Twitter. It seems like a far-fetched scenario, given that the UFC have no actual legal rules governing their belts. The Olympics does reverse old decisions, and Lance Armstrong had his title retroactively stripped. It would be an odd decision for a promoter to return the belt to a fighter who just lost three fights by knockout, even if two of those losses were to someone who is now known to be a PED abuser.

The question, therefore, is not whether the UFC will (they won’t), but whether they ought to return Cody’s belt to him, if his opponent was cheating to win. If not, Dillashaw may have been caught, but the damage has been done to Cody’s career.


Insomnia

Cody knew it the whole time- after all, he said TJ was the guy who taught Team Alpha Male how to do it!

The memes abounded. All those supplements to blame, and you got busted for something that can only be done via needle.

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Of course Conor McGregor had to get his two cents in.

Imagine Jon Jones being the snitch behind the TJ Dillashaw drug bust

The commentary is the best part of this video by far

Dillon Danis apparently had his eyes dilated right before this press conference

Maybe I’m a sucker, but I’m still interested in seeing how Machida vs. Sonnen plays out.

Don’t mess with the jiu-jisu competitors!

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l Unleash the Beast

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Weight classes

Destroyer of worlds

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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McGregor Commends Garbrandt Following Dillashaw Drama

Back in 2015, Conor McGregor labeled former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw a “snake in the grass” and predicted that “Viper” would turn on Urijah Faber and the whole Team Alpha Male (TAM) camp down the road.

A few years later, TJ and the Sacramento-based fight team had an ugly separation, with both sides slinging dirt at one another after Dillashaw opted to leave the team to form his own in Colorado, leaving Conor with a big “I told you so” smirk on his face.

At the time of Conor’s comment, he and Urijah Faber were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), and everything was right as rain with TAM, including Cody’s friendship with TJ. Taking offense to Conor running his mouth about Dillashaw and Faber’s refusal to see “Viper’s” true motives, “No Love” got in a brief tussle with “Notorious,” proving that his loyalty was deep for his team.

Fast forward four years later, and McGregor is applauding Garbrandt for willing to go to war for his team.

“Respect Cody! The loyalty you showed for Urijah and your team on that faithful day in the TUF gym will forever stand out to me!” wrote Conor on Twitter. “Enjoy this moment and these returned victories to you! Clean and Unbeaten!”

Willing to let bygones be bygones, Garbrandt showed some love back to Conor.

“Loyalty we both understand, I hope the family is well,” he wrote.

Of course, Conor’s comments are a result of the news that Dillashaw was suspended two years for testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) after his knockout loss to Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN+1 in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jan. 19, 2019.

Like “Mystic Mac” — who knows a thing or two about loyalty to friends — predicting Dillashaw would turn his back on TAM, Garbrandt had been screaming at the top of his lungs for over a year now that Dillashaw was dabbling with EPO.

With the news of TJ failing multiple United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA)-administered tests, it does give “No Love” some sort of satisfaction of saying he was right all along.

That said, much to the chagrin of Conor and Cody, it won’t do anything as far as reversing the two knockout losses Garbrandt suffered to TJ, as all of Dillashaw’s tests for those bouts came back clean.

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Thicc Hoss Levels Fans During Wild BKFC Brawl

Combat sports fans who attended the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) pay-per-view (PPV) event last Sat. night (April 6, 2019) inside Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss., got exactly what was advertised.

And then some.

Not only did the competitors inside the ring throw down, sans gloves, so did a handful of fans, evidenced by this recently-published video of some thicc hoss laying waste to half the cheap seats. And that wasn’t even the best part.

Can we get this commentator a Sports Emmy nomination?

BKFC 5 was highlighted by the main event bloodbath between Artem Lobov and Jason Knight, with “The Russian Hammer” nailing a unanimous decision win (highlights here). He’s expected to move on to face Paulie Malignaggi at some point in June.

As for that heavy hitter in the stands, his next opponent has yet to be determined, but I suggest they pack a lunch (and perhaps event a battle axe).

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Midnight Mania! Holloway Reveals It Was Really Son That Called The Round Against Ortega

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UFC featherweight champion Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway has turned in 13 incredible wins in a row, but it was his last that broke records. Before the 4th round of his title fight with tough-as-nails Brian Ortega, Holloway could be seen ‘calling his shot’, pointing down to indicate this was when he would finish the fight. He landed a record 134 strikes in that round, and Ortega called it quits on the stool afterwards. I highly recommend watching the entire fight again.

Only now had Holloway revealed who really called the shot: his son, affectionately known as ‘Mini Blessed’. Check it out:

Max Holloway next faces Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship this Saturday at UFC 236. Poirier defeated Holloway in his UFC debut in 2012. In fact, both men have rebounded from early career losses- including to Conor McGregor- to go on impressive runs exceeding all expectations. Poirier has only lost one fight in his last 10, defeating Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, and Eddie Alvarez. The UFC 236 headliner promises to be a barnburner, as neither man seems capable of being in a boring fight.


Insomnia

My fighting namesake, Ross Pearson, has retired

Truth

Accurate

Jason Knight posted this afterwards, which makes him awesome on so many levels

LOBOV IS UNDEFEATED

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If Dominick Cruz had never won a world title, then came back and won it back, we would all be relentlessly making fun of how he looks when shadowboxing.


Slips, Rips, KO Clips

Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller was a fun fight, as are all Dustin Poirier fights

THE DREADED FALCON KNEE!!!

Sometimes it’s not the impact, it’s the fallout

Tornado kick knockouts are never not cool

You can so clearly see how one guy’s night is going amazing while the other’s guy’s night is going very badly


Random Land

I’ve seen some bad mistakes in my time, and made even worse mistakes, but this may be the worst… ever…

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Predictions! UFC 236 Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ Preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both UFC Fight Pass and ESPN this weekend (Sat., April 13, 2019) when UFC 236: “Holloway vs. Poirier 2” storms State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC 236 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

A rematch seven years in the making helms the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view (PPV) offering this Saturday (April 13, 2019) inside State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Ga., as Featherweight champ Max Holloway dukes it out with Dustin Poirier for the interim Lightweight title. Thirty pounds north, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner Kelvin Gastelum faces unbeaten phenom Israel Adesanya for the interim Middleweight strap, while knockout artists Eryk Anders and Khalil Rountree Jr. duke it out at Light Heavyweight.

UFC 236 features eight “Prelims” undercard bouts this weekend, half on Fight Pass and half on ESPN. Let’s have a look!

170 lbs.: Belal Muhammad vs. Curtis Millender

A 1-2 UFC start gave way to a four-fight win streak for Belal Muhammad (14-3), including an upset of Tim Means that saw Muhammad out-strike the vaunted Muay Thai artist. His run came to an end in January against Geoff Neal, whose power striking proved too much for “Remember the Name.”

He faces a three-inch height and four-inch reach discrepancy.

Curtis Millender (17-4) took home a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his knee knockout of Thiago Alves in his Octagon debut (watch highlights), which he followed up with decisions over Max Griffin and Siyar Bahadurzada to extend his win streak to nine. In his biggest fight to date, he took on the surging Elizeu Zaleski last month, tapping to a rear-naked choke midway through the first round.

His six knockout wins include two by head kick.

This is going to sound harsher than is warranted for someone who’s 3-1 in the Octagon, but I think this might be Millender’s ceiling. His takedown defense just hasn’t caught up with his striking — he’s been taken down at least once in all of his UFC fights, surrendering three to the compact Bahadurzada and one to Zaleski, who has a takedown accuracy of 15 percent.

Muhammad is tough as hell, isn’t lost against rangier strikers, and can wrestle. That seems like just the formula to handle “Curtious.”

Millender’s knees and head kicks will be a persistent threat, but as soon as Muhammad gets inside those limbs, he should be able to drag Millender to the mat with relative ease. Expect him to grind away for 15 one-sided minutes.

Prediction: Muhammad via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath

A series of fouls in his “Contender Series” victory kept Montel Jackson (7-1) from getting an immediate contract, but he got the chance to step up on short notice against Ricky Simon less than two months later. Though he struggled with Simon’s grappling in defeat, he showed what he could do with a full training camp in Dec. 2018, dropping and choking out Brian Kelleher in 100 seconds.

He has knocked out five opponents as a professional and several more as an amateur.

Andre Soukhamthath (13-6) made UFC history in the worst way possible when he insisted on taking down Sean O’Malley despite the latter being unable to stand because of a foot injury, resulting in him losing a decision. He returned to action seven months later against late replacement Jonathan Martinez, winning a unanimous decision to raise his UFC record to 2-3.

He is one inch shorter than Jackson and will give up nearly a half-foot of reach.

I’m impressed Soukhamthath’s foot still works considering how many times he’s shot it, and his insistence on throwing away winnable fights is made only more frustrating by the fact that he’s legitimately powerful and dangerous when he wants to be. He’s the better striker on paper, but it’s impossible to have faith in his ability to execute an effective gameplan.

To make matters worse, Soukhamthath can’t fall back on his wresting against a superior takedown artist, and the reach disparity means that Soukhamthath will have to put himself in clinch danger if he wants to rip his customary body shots. Jackson mixes his long-range striking with regular takedowns, never letting Soukhamthath find a rhythm on his way to a dominant decision victory.

Prediction: Jackson via unanimous decision

125 lbs.: Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller

The UFC debut for Poliana Botelho (7-2) was one of the stranger in recent memory, taking place almost entirely on the fence as Pearl Gonzalez failed to take her down, but Botelho gave a glimpse of her action potential with a 33-second body kick knockout of Syuri Kondo her next time out. She entered her next bout with Cynthia Calvillo as the favorite, only to tap to a rear-naked choke late in the first round.

All but one of her professional victories have come by knockout.

Lauren Mueller (5-1) put on a strong performance on “Contender Series,” then followed that up with a decision over TUF veteran Shana Dobson in her Octagon debut. She was doing well with her wrestling against Wu Yanan in her sophomore appearance, but got caught in an armbar four minutes into the first round.

She steps in for the injured Paige VanZant on six weeks’ notice.

This fight should tell us whether Botelho is a legitimate contender or just a fun action fighter. Mueller is a strong infighter with some wrestling she can fall back on, two areas that Botelho needs to prove she can hold her own in. It’s a competitive match up that looks fit to deliver plenty of entertainment in a division that, let’s face it, has been a disappointment since its inception.

Botelho’s the bigger hitter, sports a three-inch height advantage, and has more experience in insane brawls, so unless her takedown defense is a bigger Achilles’ heel than I thought, expect her to bomb Mueller out late in the first.

Prediction: Botelho via first-round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Randy Costa vs. Brandon Davis

Randy Costa (4-0) went undefeated (3-0) as an amateur in 2014, but several issues delayed his professional debut until 2018. “The Zohan” has made up for lost time, knocking out all four of his professional opponents in less than 80 seconds apiece.

One of his knockout victories came via head kick in 11 seconds.

Brandon Davis (9-6) put on one of the best fights against Austin Arnett on “Contender Series,” earning a UFC spot despite the lack of finish. He’s just 1-3 in the Octagon itself, though, most recently tapping to a kneebar from Zabit Magomedsharipov.

He will be making his Bantamweight debut.

Costa’s one of the stranger UFC signings in recent memory in terms of both the circumstances and the way he fights. As far as the former, his opponents’ records when he fought them were 0-4, 0-0, 5-9, and 0-1. As far as the latter, he mixes fast, dexterous and powerful head kicks with wound-up punches as heavy as they are telegraphed. It’s an inefficient style, and if nothing else, Davis is stupid durable and doesn’t get tired.

This one won’t be ending in one minute and 20 seconds.

I have concerns about Davis cutting to 135 pounds, since his issues appeared to stem more from technical limitations than being outsized. If the weight management puts a dent in his durability or gas tank, he’s defensively porous enough to get drilled early. Assuming he’s still at or near peak capacity, though, I say he weathers Costa’s early onslaught and settles down to win a war of attrition.

Prediction: Davis via third-round technical knockout

We’ve got four more UFC 236 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including an undefeated Chechen Welterweight with eight knockouts in eight wins and the long-awaited debut of Boston Salmon. Same time as always, Maniacs!

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 236 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 236: “Holloway vs. Poirier 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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Rewind! Watch ‘Countdown To UFC 236’

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will makes its official pay-per-view (PPV) debut using the ESPN+ digital streaming service (details here) beginning with UFC 236: “Holloway vs. Poirier 2” event, taking place this Sat. night (April 13, 2019) inside State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

Headlining the championship doubleheader is the interim lightweight title fight pitting Max Holloway against Dustin Poirier. “Blessed,” who currently holds the promotion’s featherweight strap, is jumping up to 155 pounds to avenge his 2012 loss to “The Diamond” (see it again here).

And become the next contender for the M.I.A. Khabib Nurmagomedov in the process.

In the UFC 236 co-main event, also contested for an interim title, top middleweight contenders, Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum, will collide for the substitute strap while Robert Whittaker recovers from his recent stomach surgery.

Watch both championship showdowns get the full “Countdown” treatment in the embedded video above and to check out the rest of the UFC 236 fight card and line up click here.

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Highlights! Ronda Rousey Loses At WrestleMania 35

Check out highlights from Ronda Rousey’s WrestleMania 35 main event with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.

Ronda Rousey may have been the catalyst for the first all women’s WrestleMania main event, but that didn’t stop the WWE from picking “The Man” Becky Lynch for the winner. Five hours into WrestleMania 35 (seven if you count the kickoff portion), Rousey took on Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a winner take all fatal three way. For 20 minutes the three women battered each other in the ring, but in the end it was Lynch pinning Rousey for the win and both WWE women’s titles.

Take a look at some of the highlights:

What’s next for Ronda Rousey is unclear. Rumors that she would be leaving the WWE following WrestleMania 35 have followed the former UFC champ for months, with Rousey not exactly denying them outright.

”I really don’t feel like I should have to respond to that kind of thing,” she told ESPN at the end of January. “It’s my vagina, my life, keep the speculations to yourself. Leave me and my reproductive organs alone.”

”I’ve not kept it a secret that I would definitely want to start a family,” Rousey continued. “But how do you go about doing that? I love this way more than I thought that I would. So do you just keep going until you just happen to get pregnant? Or should you stop and go try and get pregnant? Or is going and trying to get pregnant putting yourself on the spot and then you’re less likely to get pregnant? I’ve never had a baby before, I don’t know these kinds of things.

”There’s a lot of things up in the air. A lot of decisions that we’ve gotta make as a family. I’m trying to figure it out as I go along.”

With Rousey dropping her belt, she’s now free to go off and make that family bigger. Keep your eyes peeled for more on her fake fighting future.

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Brock Lesnar Loses At WrestleMania 35, Clearing Path For UFC Return

Lesnar losing the title is a good sign for those hoping he’ll fight Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight strap in August.

WrestleMania 35 kicked things off big, forgoing a number of smaller matches to throw us right into things with the Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins match for Lesnar’s WWE Universal Championship title.

According to Lesnar’s ‘manager’ Paul Heyman, if Brock couldn’t be main event he’d rather open the show and get things over with and go to Las Vegas where he is “ultimately appreciated.”

In the end the only one who got over was Rollins, who pinned Lesnar to take the title.

Now here’s the part you MMA fans care about: Lesnar dropping the title is good news for the UFC, who is looking to book Brock against current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 in August. Lesnar has already been on a reduced schedule with the WWE for a while, but if he’s going to face “DC” in the UFC he’s going to have to devote the summer months to a training camp to prepare. This loss of the title sets that up.

Lesnar was supposed to fight Cormier earlier — the two even engaged in a shoving match at UFC 226 in July of 2018 when Cormier won the heavyweight title off Stipe Miocic. But the WWE threw a ton of money at Lesnar after their top big man Roman Reigns had to take time off to treat his leukemia. Reigns is competing tonight at WrestleMania … just another sign that Lesnar is free and clear to return to the Octagon to challenge for the title.

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Manny Pacquiao Is Headed To RIZIN

RIZIN president Noboyuki Sakakibara shared photos of Pacquiao signing a contract to appear on the promotion’s April 21 card in some capacity.

Manny Pacquiao is coming to RIZIN.

Following the massive amount of publicity the Japanese promotion gained from their Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa ‘exhibition’ over New Years Eve, it looks like RIZIN is looking to repeat that success with Manny Pacquiao at their RIZIN.15 event on April 21st.

RIZIN president Noboyuki Sakakibara made the announcement over Twitter in a post that included pictures of Pacquiao reviewing what looks like a contract with pen in hand. Take a look:

”Now, I’m actually in the Philippines. Following Mayweather, RIZIN.15 will make a new gimmick with this guy,” Sakakibara wrote. “I will announce it as soon as I return home, so please look forward to it!”

It’s important to note the absence of the word ‘fight’ from his post. With RIZIN.15 being a short two weeks away, it would be pretty surprising to see Manny Pacquiao step into the ring to compete. But we had our doubts when the promotion made a $ 9 million deal with Floyd Mayweather, and he showed up on fight night to destroy Tenshin Nasukawa in front of 30,000 fans at the Saitama Super Arena. So anything is really possible.

Speaking of Tenshin, he just signed a new contract with RIZIN. Are they about to feed him to Manny?

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