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Bellator 207’s Kimbel Leaves Rowdy Youth Behind

Bellator 207: “Mitrione vs. Bader” takes place this Friday night (Oct. 12, 2018) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., featuring a semifinal match in the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix between reigning Light Heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader (25-5), taking on Matt Mitrione (13-5) in the Paramount Network-televised main event.

Earlier in the night two up-and-coming Bantamweight hopefuls — Mike Kimbel (1-0) and Alex Potts (1-0) — will be on the hunt for the second win of their professional mixed martial arts (MMA) careers. However, only one of them has so far been given a “blue chip” designation by the Bellator MMA — Kimbel got the promotional push by performing a powerbomb on Bellator 194’s “Prelims” undercard and then pounding out the hapless Geoffrey Then with heavy hammerfists. The powerful performance was so impressive that Bellator immediately offered Kimbel a multi-fight deal.

That victory may have caught a few people by surprise because Kimbel was just 1-2 as an amateur, but he’ll have the chance to prove it wasn’t a fluke at the expense of Potts, who like his opponent earned a return date by winning his promotional debut. It’s early in both of their respective careers, but “somebody’s OH has got to go.”

MMAmania.com recently chatted with Kimbel about the attention he’s received since his professional debut, and how he’s coming to grips with people wanting to know so much about him.

“Well, I’m glad there’s not too much on the Internet about me! I mean yeah, I have a family and things like that, brothers and sisters and stuff, but you know the world doesn’t need to know everything, you know?”

His desire to separate his personal and professional life is understandable, but the personal details are often what connect fight fans to the fighters they like most. Once I asked Kimbel the reason (s) he got into the sport he started to open up a little more.

“I got into mixed martial arts because I kept getting in trouble for fighting. My mom finally had enough of it, and thought she was putting me into a Kung Fu or like a karate type of school, but it ended up being a mixed martial arts gym. Yeah, I loved to fight, I always had something in me that was drawn to combat.”

Jim Brown once famously opined that, “fighting isn’t what we thought it was” and that was a lesson young Kimbel learned once he started to go one on one with true professionals.

“I was getting taken down and they were doing all these moves that I saw Georges St-Pierre doing and Chuck Liddell, how he was doing the kickboxing stuff, I just fell in love with it and I haven’t looked back.”

From that point Kimbel wanted to excel in the sport and live out the dream of becoming a world class athlete. School yard fights had become a thing of the past.

“I always had a feeling inside of me like I wanted to be bigger than myself. I wanted something greater than myself. I would get these rushes, like tingles, butterflies through me just randomly thinking about greatness.”

Like so many other young men who turned to martial arts for discipline and guidance, Kimbel credits it for saving his life and putting him on the right path.

“I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t fighting, I don’t know where I would be. Hopefully I would be in the military serving my country, in special operations or something like that. I don’t know. I went into the gym, I figured, ‘Okay. I can do this, I can be good at this, I can be great at this’ and I just kept showing up every day. Here I am, 21 years old, doing it.”

And as evidenced by his performance at Bellator 194, he’s doing it in a really big way.

I asked Kimbel what surprised him more — seeing his pro debut being shared all over social media, or getting a multi-fight deal from Bellator immediately after his win.

“I was actually very surprised at the six-fight deal. Every fight I’ve had, every finish I’ve had its always been, ‘Wow! I didn’t expect it to be like that. Did you see what Mike just did?’ So it’s just the fact that a worldwide platform had caught eyes of it, you know what I mean? I wasn’t surprised that it went viral, because I knew the world would be watching. The world had seen many great great athletes and many great great mixed martial artists, and I know every time I step in there, everything I do is going to be, ‘Wow! Look at this kid!’ So I wasn’t surprised at that, but I was very surprised and I was grateful for the six fight opportunity. It’s a blessing. I’m grateful to be a part of this organization. I mean, that doesn’t happen! You don’t make your professional debut for the top organization in the world and then get signed.”

MMA promotions aren’t ranked like fighters so we can’t say who is (or isn’t) on top, but we can say that Mike Kimbel wants to get on top of Potts and dominate him at Bellator 207.

“Yeah, Alex Potts, the match-up for me … I’m ready for ALL of him. I’m ready for wrestlers, I’m ready for strikers, I’m ready for jiu-jitsu artists. I’m in the gym every day with no ego, constantly trying to learn something, constantly trying to apply something. I’m ready for him.”

If you weren’t already tempted to compare him to another young Bellator prospect, Kimbel just wants you to know this: He won’t fight scrubs and only tough opponents get love.

“I’ve seen (Potts) fight. He’s well rounded. Not for nothing, I might be the only fighter in the organization on the early come up who’s not fighting bums. I’ve never fought a bum in my life. Geoffrey Then had never been finished, and he was actually 1-1, I don’t know why they said he was 0-1, and he only lost in (Bellator) by a decision. I never fought a bum in my life and I’m not gonna start. Alex Potts is another good competitor, he comes to fight, he’s a natural wrestler but he likes to strike — he’s just an overall good fighter.”

Now at last you can say you know who Mike Kimbel is and why you want to see him fight at Bellator 207. He has that unique dichotomy of being both humble and cocky, exuding the aura of a star in the making. Let’s see if that star shines on Friday night.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Mitrione vs. Bader” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Joe Rogan Questions Motivation Behind Third Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz Bout

Earlier this week, boxing powerhouse Golden Boy Promotions announced its first foray into the world of mixed martial arts.
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Alexander Gustafsson stands behind his words on Jon Jones, suspects Jones was ‘on something’ when they fought

It’s been nearly four years since Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones went toe-to-toe at UFC 165 in Toronto, and yet their rivalry has taken on an added edge over the last couple of weeks.

After stopping Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm to get another step closer to a title shot, Jones’ name was brought up in the post-fight press conference. Holding nothing back, Gustafsson said what was on his mind about Jones.

“I don’t like [Jones],” he said. “I give him that he’s the best fighter of all time, the best pound-for-pound fighter of our division — of course, everybody knows that. He hasn’t even lost a fight yet, he demolishes everyone he fights. But as a person, as a champion, he’s not a champion, in my eyes. He’s not a good person, in my eyes.”

That response prompted Jones to come back with a tirade on Twitter, in which he questioned Gustafsson’s heart. During an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Gustafsson doubled down on his words about Jones, saying he regretted nothing.

“No, I stand by it,” he said. “The thing is, they had a press conference after the fight and they asked me about Jon Jones and I told them the way I feel. I just told them the truth. I’m not a trash talker. I don’t trash talk, I don’t do that sh*t. But they asked me and I’m not going to lie. I just felt like, he’s probably the greatest fighter we’ve seen. But as a person, I don’t like him.

“I don’t like how he’s talking on the stage, doing the cocaine thing, with so many young people, kids and everything, looking up to him. I just feel like, man, come on. I don’t support that stuff at all. So I just told the media what I think of him.”

Gustafsson gave Jones his stiffest test to date at UFC 165, taking a couple of the rounds in a close decision. That fight — given the heart on display, and the swinging nature of the narrative — is considered by many one of the best in UFC history. In the aftermath, there was even a picture that was put out from the hospital of the two warriors sharing a smile together, both battered from the encounter.

Yet as time has gone on, Gustafsson has lost respect for Jones. He has publicly said he will be pulling for current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, because “I like the guy, he’s a worthy champion.”

In Gustafsson’s eyes, Jones — who is fighting Cormier at UFC 214 in July, after serving a year-long suspension for banned substances — is not.

“He’s been getting caught for everything, it feels like one thing after the other, but the way he was sitting on the stage with DC and he just said he did cocaine a week before he fought him,” he told Ariel Helwani. “He’s not even embarrassed telling that stuff, he’s just proud telling that stuff. For me it’s just, you don’t do that, come on — not [with] being such a good fighter.

“And he’s been doing so good, nobody’s been able to compete with him. He’s been pound-for-pound the best guy, and I believe he is. He hasn’t lost. He hasn’t lost yet to nobody. So that’s just how I feel.”

When it was mentioned that Jones had made concessions for his performance against Gustafsson — in which Jones said in one interview that he believed he was going to lose as he walked to the cage, after having partied so much beforehand — the Swedish fighter smiled.

“Well, I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I just know he was in shape for that fight, and I was in shape for that fight, and in many eyes, people believe I won that fight. And this may be one of his excuses. He didn’t dominate me like he’s been dominating everybody else. It was a tight fight, but I just think that was one of his excuses that maybe he didn’t finish me or he didn’t dominate me, or didn’t win every round. So, that’s just the way he talks.”

Gustafsson said he was among those who believe Jones has done PEDs — even during his own fight with Jones.

“I believe so, I believe so,” he said. “I think he’s been doing a lot of stuff that he shouldn’t be doing. It’s tragic to say, but I believe he’s been doing sh*t he shouldn’t for a long time.”

The 29-year-old Jones last fought at UFC 197 in 2016, in which he scored a unanimous decision victory over Ovince Saint Preux. He was supposed to fight Cormier at that event, but Cormier was forced out of the bout with a foot injury.

In his time away, Jones had posted pictures of himself bodybuilding, which led to speculation that he might be enhancing his physique unnaturally.

Asked if he was alarmed by Jones’ appearance for that fight, Gustafsson said it was tough to say.

“Well, you know, he hadn’t been in the cage for a long time when he fought him,” he said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if he was on it or not for that fight, but I believe he was when we fought and stuff like that. But anyway, it’s history now and new times are coming, and we probably will fight again some day.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

‘Jacare’ Souza explains reasoning behind accepting fight with Robert Whittaker

RIO DE JANEIRO — Much of the talk surrounding Ronaldo Souza ahead of his UFC on FOX 24 clash against Robert Whittaker has either been about his quest for the middleweight belt, the fact that he’s not fighting Luke Rockhold or Yoel Romero, or the upcoming title bout between Michael Bisping an Georges St-Pierre.

Make no mistake about it, though: “Jacare” is not overlooking Whittaker.

Souza and Whittaker will collide on April 15 in Kansas City, and the Brazilian is aware of the risks his opponent brings to the table. After making quick work of Vitor Belfort and Tim Boetsch in his last two fights, “Jacare” plans on ending Whittaker’s six-fight winning streak with his jiu-jitsu.

“I asked for a fight with Luke, but they realized later that he’s running, he doesn’t want to fight,” Souza said Wednesday during a media day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “I also asked for Romero, but they told me Romero would wait for the belt. So they gave me Robert.

“He’s a tough athlete, a new guy that is coming up, so I have to be careful. He’s really tough. I’m focused. I’ll follow my strategy and submit him. That’s my game plan.”

Souza is currently ranked No. 3 in the official UFC middleweight rankings, while Whittaker sits at No. 6. Critics could make the case that a win at UFC on FOX 24 won’t make any difference for the Brazilian in his title run, but “Jacare” explained why he’s taking the fight anyway.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Souza said. “I’m the champion and I believe I can defeat anyone. A champion has to act this way. I have to work and fight. If I haven’t fought Tim Boetsch, how long would I be in the sidelines? If you take a good look, every athlete that stays out for a long time doesn’t come back well, and my focus is to stay active, working. It may not seem like it, but my focus is the belt.”

Whittaker, Souza says, “has great boxing, moves forward a lot, has good combinations too, and is really fast for the middleweight division, so I have to be smart in this fight.” However, being under pressure is when Souza believes he’s at his best.

“Every time I’m under pressure, I have good results, so I don’t care about that,” he said. “I always do well when I’m under pressure. My best fights were against the toughest opponents. That doesn’t affect me at all. I’ll go there to do my job and do my best. When I’m under pressure I can do my best.”

The jiu-jitsu ace feels that UFC on FOX 24 is one of the last steps before a championship fight. He also clarified his recent comments about retirement.

“Everybody asks me when I’m going to fight for the belt and I get upset because I don’t know what to answer,” Souza said. “Fans are asking that a lot. I think that after I fight Robert, after I do one more fight, I don’t know, my time will come.

“The belt is important. I work to be the best. I was the champion in Strikeforce, I was world champion multiple times in jiu-jitsu, and my focus is to be the UFC champion as well. I have this dream. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m cool with it. When I said I can retire if I get tired of this, [I meant] that I won’t do something that makes me feel bad. I can do it, retire to teach jiu-jitsu. But I’m not thinking about it right now.

“I’m always focused in the next fight, I stopped thinking about the belt, it seems like I’m running after the wind,” he continued. “The goal is to work and move forward. In some way, I’m doing one step after the other towards my goal. Ask for what? I have to work, show my work inside the Octagon and do it for the fans. They will speak for me. (…) I have a good paycheck. I’m making more (money) than Bisping because I fight more often than him [laughs].”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Midnight Mania! Story behind Fedor’s ‘Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory’ revealed

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight …

Welcome to Midnight Mania! Tonight, Bellator raises the curtain and shares the dramatic tale behind Fedor’s “Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory,” Max Holloway will finally face off against Jose Aldo at UFC 213 in Brazil, UFC 208’s Nik Lentz contemplates metaphysical questions of existence, LFA3 knockouts and highlights, Khabib Nurmagomedov answers questions, and much more.


Ever catch a glimpse of “Last Emperor” on television and wonder where his sweater came from? Wonder no longer, Maniacs. Bellator took a deep dive into the origins, the story, and the overlooked influence of the sweater on mixed martial arts (MMA). It is a tale that will by turns shock, surprise and delight you. Without further ado, I present to you:

The Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory

This is good marketing.

Bobs and Weaves

MAX HOLLOWAY AND JOSE ALDO ARE FINALLY BOOKED TO FIGHT IN BRAZIL … and it’s not until UFC 212 … on June 3, 2017. That’s about 20 months away. Can you feel my excitement ebbing as I pack it up and put it on a high shelf in my closet?

This has got to be embarrassing … especially after the effects of a dehydrating weight cut.

It wasn’t let go, actually — Lentz knocked the towel out of official’s hands when he moved to flex.

Podcasts and Video:

UFC 208 “Embedded,” episode five:

Here’s Khabib Nurmagomedov answering questions earlier this afternoon (McGregor’s name may or may not have come up)

Khabib Nurmagomedov Q&A

Khabib “the Eagle” Nurmagomedov Q&A ahead of his title fight at #UFC209

Posted by MMAFighting.com – The Mixed Martial Arts News Website on 10hb Februari 2017

Jack Slack did a mini Friday podcast. That is evidently a cheeky thing to do.

This still looks like an interesting program:

Bronson, an amateur Navajo MMA fighter, explains the importance of his people’s history and what it means to be a “warrior.” RISE tonight at 9.

Posted by VICELAND on Friday, February 10, 2017

Quick Hits

  • Dana White says that Woodley is not booed because he is black. He also calls Woodley a drama queen. He also mispronounced Woodley’s first name. Even I know his name is Tyron. None of which hurts Woodley’s claim that he is the worst-treated UFC champion in history (as overblown as that sounds):

Slips, Rips and KO Clips

Legacy Fighting Championships 3 is tonight — enjoy the .GIFs!

This was many nights ago:

This was last night!

Anderson Silva is tomorrow night:

That covers all the nights!

Random Land

Legend says Chuck Norris has no chin. Indeed, beneath his beard is a third fist.

Google eviscerated this man.

I’m teaching my Google home to talk like me, but I created a monster ✋. She too much, these machines is out of line they will run the world. She did call me fat and handsome though
Snapchat: floodhp

Posted by Travis Cee on Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stay woke, Maniacs!

Follow me @Vorpality on Twitter

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Paul Daley Puts Weight Cut Issues, Koscheck Rivalry Behind Him Heading Into Bellator 170

Paul Daley had a rough second half of 2016.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

John Kavanagh explains why Conor McGregor put hands behind his back during Eddie Alvarez fight

Most people watching the UFC 205 main event figured Conor McGregor was putting his hands behind his back against Eddie Alvarez as part of his showmanship. It appeared that McGregor was almost daring Alvarez to take a swing at him.

There might have been an element of that in the historic fight. But that doesn’t the primary reason why McGregor did it, according to his coach John Kavanagh.

Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour that McGregor was actually clasping his hands behind his back due to an injury. McGregor’s right index knuckle was hurt during his UFC 202 fight with Nate Diaz, per Kavanagh, and that was his way of protecting it in training. Photos have surfaced online of McGregor doing that in sparring at his SBG Ireland gym.

“He found that if he actually held his right hand behind his back, it kind of reminded him not to throw it as much,” Kavanagh said. “That’s why he started reaching back and actually grabbing his hand.

“It was almost like a mental note: take care of the right hand.”

McGregor still landed the right hand on Alvarez often, including in the wicked combination that sent the then-champion to the canvas in the second round, leading to McGregor’s TKO victory. The win made McGregor the first UFC fighter to hold two titles in two separate weight classes at the same time.

Kavanagh did acknowledge that the hands-behind-the-back maneuver did have dual purposes. Whenever something like that is seen in boxing or MMA, it’s usually to draw an opponent in and get them to commit on strikes.

“If you put your hands down, an untrained person will try to swing at your head,” Kavanagh said. “It’s a base instinct — I want to punch the guy in the head.”

Someone like McGregor, with a lifetime of boxing training, can exploit that kind of aggression. Kavanagh said some in MMA are still catching up to his level of boxing and striking, much like Irish fighters are still behind Americans and other countries in wrestling.

“If you have a very high level of striking, boxing like Conor does, you understand rules like that,” Kavanagh said. “And there are many of them. And I don’t think others are kind of catching up to that level of skill.”

Maybe McGregor should injure his right hand more often.

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Donald Cerrone says Conor McGregor is disliked by all other UFC fighters, ‘scared little kid’ behind the scenes

Everyone is trying to get their hands on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstar Conor McGregor. The Irish sensation has taking mixed martial arts (MMA) by the balls and holds the key to the biggest paydays the sport has to offer. So it’s difficult to blame McGregor’s fellow combatants for jockeying for position and trying to land a bout with the one they call “Notorious.”

But just because other UFC fighters make note of McGregor’s worth doesn’t mean they can stand him. As a matter of fact, according to UFC lightweight and welterweight standout Donald Cerrone, nobody on the UFC roster likes the featherweight king.

“By all,” said Cerrone in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated Now when asked if McGregor is disliked by other fighters. “He’s not one of the fellas, he’s not a good dude. It is what it is. He does a good job promoting the sport, he does a good job of making money. So I can’t hate the guy for that, but just as a person he ain’t a fan of mine.”

Cerrone has already exchanged unpleasantries with McGregor before so this shouldn’t come as a total surprise. Still, it’s uncommon that a fighter is disliked by an entire promotion, especially considering McGregor is usually friendly off camera.

“Behind the scenes he’s like a scared little kid,” added Cerrone. “He hides from us.”

“They line us all up in a line, but they take Conor and they put him off in another room because he can’t be around the other fighters because we don’t play that sh*t.”

Love him or hate him, which apparently many UFC fighters do, McGregor is doing his thing atop the MMA world. He may have temporarily hit a road block at UFC 196 in the form of Nate Diaz, but the 28-year-old rebounded nicely with a win at UFC 202 to reaffirm his position as the biggest selling attraction in the sport today, and possibly of all time.

“He’s definitely good for the sport. He’s got a lot of eyes. He brings a lot of people,” said Cerrone. “So my hat’s off to him for that, but [to] just like hang with him like a fella, no, he’d never be my buddy.”

McGregor is currently scheduled to challenge UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York City to become the first fighter ever to simultaneously hold two divisional titles, while “Cowboy” takes on welterweight Kelvin Gastelum on the same night.

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VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at Cris Cyborg’s UFC Debut

She’s been around longer than Ronda Rousey, and has been slaying opponents since the start, but for one reason or another, Cris Cyborg had to wait the longest time to get her shot in the UFC. Actually, it isn’t really because of any other reason than the fact that Cyborg has a tough time cutting […]

The post VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at Cris Cyborg’s UFC Debut appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at Cris Cyborg’s UFC Debut

She’s been around longer than Ronda Rousey, and has been slaying opponents since the start, but for one reason or another, Cris Cyborg had to wait the longest time to get her shot in the UFC. Actually, it isn’t really because of any other reason than the fact that Cyborg has a tough time cutting […]

The post VIDEO: Behind the Scenes at Cris Cyborg’s UFC Debut appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider