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Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell Is Closer to Becoming Reality – A Reality No One Wants

Here’s something to think about: the not-eagerly-anticipated rematch between ancient UFC stars Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell is edging closer to reality, but there’s a reason it’s being put together by a boxing promotion and not the UFC or Bellator. It’s because the UFC and Bellator crunched the numbers and determined it wasn’t worth the money.

First, the news, as per ESPN:

Mixed martial arts legends and longtime rivals Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz will officially meet for the third time on Nov. 24 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

Golden Boy signed Liddell, 48, and Ortiz, 43, to promotional agreements in July. The date and venue were finalized this week. The California State Athletic Commission also confirmed to ESPN this week it was in the process of finalizing both athletes’ fighter licenses.

The trilogy fight will air on pay-per-view at a cost to be determined. It is Golden Boy’s first venture into MMA.

“I’m excited for our first Golden Boy MMA event,” De La Hoya told ESPN. “It reminds me of the first-ever fight I did in boxing [in 2002]. I’m going to see how this one goes, but just the way I did in boxing, I plan on becoming a regular promoter of MMA. There’s no reason I should only promote one sport.

“I strongly feel MMA fighters are going to be pleased with the fact I’m entering the sport. Hopefully, we will sign some great fighters and go from there.”

You know what? If there were any real money to be made from pairing these old fogies up for another go-around, you have to think the UFC would’ve already done it. Same with Bellator. But neither organization did. Instead, they’re letting Oscar De La Hoya lose his investment over it.

It’s not hard to see why. The fight will suck, and the fans who tune in will probably never tune into again when De La Hoya makes more MMA bouts.

The post Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell Is Closer to Becoming Reality – A Reality No One Wants appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell Is Closer to Becoming Reality – A Reality No One Wants

Here’s something to think about: the not-eagerly-anticipated rematch between ancient UFC stars Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell is edging closer to reality, but there’s a reason it’s being put together by a boxing promotion and not the UFC or Bellator. It’s because the UFC and Bellator crunched the numbers and determined it wasn’t worth the money.

First, the news, as per ESPN:

Mixed martial arts legends and longtime rivals Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz will officially meet for the third time on Nov. 24 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

Golden Boy signed Liddell, 48, and Ortiz, 43, to promotional agreements in July. The date and venue were finalized this week. The California State Athletic Commission also confirmed to ESPN this week it was in the process of finalizing both athletes’ fighter licenses.

The trilogy fight will air on pay-per-view at a cost to be determined. It is Golden Boy’s first venture into MMA.

“I’m excited for our first Golden Boy MMA event,” De La Hoya told ESPN. “It reminds me of the first-ever fight I did in boxing [in 2002]. I’m going to see how this one goes, but just the way I did in boxing, I plan on becoming a regular promoter of MMA. There’s no reason I should only promote one sport.

“I strongly feel MMA fighters are going to be pleased with the fact I’m entering the sport. Hopefully, we will sign some great fighters and go from there.”

You know what? If there were any real money to be made from pairing these old fogies up for another go-around, you have to think the UFC would’ve already done it. Same with Bellator. But neither organization did. Instead, they’re letting Oscar De La Hoya lose his investment over it.

It’s not hard to see why. The fight will suck, and the fans who tune in will probably never tune into again when De La Hoya makes more MMA bouts.

The post Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell Is Closer to Becoming Reality – A Reality No One Wants appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC 210: Gegard Mousasi would be closer to a title shot if not for ‘stupid’ matchmaking

With a win over Chris Weidman at the upcoming UFC 210 pay-per-view (PPV) event — which is all set to go down on April 8, 2017 in Buffalo, New York — Gegard Mousasi inches himself closer to his first-ever UFC title shot.

But, he will have to wait a bit longer, though, as the upcoming Middleweight title fight between division king and Georges St-Pierre has really muddled up the division that already had plenty of worthy contenders for “The Count” to face.

“The UFC is making these fights that don’t make any sense,” Mousasi said. “Dan Henderson and now (Georges St-Pierre), so if they would have done it the correct way, Romero would have fought for his belt, (Ronaldo) ‘Jacare’ (Souza) would have got his shot by now, and I would have been afterwards. But because of this fight (between Bisping and St-Pierre) that really doesn’t make any sense, the No. 1 contenders have to wait,” said Mousasi in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.

Indeed, Romero was promised his shot at the strap before “Rush” decided to come back into the picture. That said, he, along with Souza and Mousasi have to wait a bit longer to fulfill their championship dreams.

Even if he gets a win over “All American,” Gegard isn’t too sure he’ll have to fight yet again to earn his shot. And it’s all thanks to the “stupid” matchmaking

“Let’s say after this fight, I have to put everything on the line again to get a win, and then fight for the title, where it actually should have been me already if the UFC hadn’t made those stupid fights.”

This guy feels your pain, Mousasi.

For more on the upcoming UFC 210 PPV event click here and here.

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Paige VanZant: Beating Namajunas ‘Moves Me Closer and Closer to Fighting the Champion’

A little more than a year after her Octagon debut, Paige VanZant will be headlining a
UFC Fight Nightcard as part of the promotion’s biggest weekend of the year.
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Is Cris Cyborg Getting Closer to a Rousey Fight?

By now this saga is old hat. Cris Cyborg – the former Strikeforce champ who popped hot for steroids yet destroyed everyone she’s ever faced – is dying to fight superstar UFC champ Ronda Rousey. Unfortunately, that ain’t happening unless Cyborg gets down to 135 pounds, and she usually walks around at about 800 pounds. […]

The post Is Cris Cyborg Getting Closer to a Rousey Fight? appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Michael Bisping: ‘A title fight is getting closer and closer’

UFC middleweight Michael Bisping knows his time in the sport in limited. He’s 36 and has been alternating wins and losses in his bouts since 2011. If he’s going to put together the kind of win streak that inches him closer to his long-desired title shot, it’s basically now or never. That’s why he says he’s excited to be facing Thales Leites in the main event on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 72. Leites’ name isn’t the biggest of them all, but Bisping believes there are lots of upsides.

“No, I wasn’t disappointed,” Bisping told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s The MMA Hour of his feelings when he heard this is who he’d be facing. “In fact, I was given several options and this was the one I chose. Yes, he was beneath me, but unfortunately, the facts are the facts. He came back to the UFC. He’s on a five or six-fight win streak in the UFC and he’s doing very well. Of course, he’s always had the jiu-jitsu pedigree. Now he’s attempting to knock people out. He’s had some success with that. He’s a more complete fighter. So, he certainly brings a tough challenge.”

Leites is ranked in the top 10 of the middleweight division, but just barely. Yes, Bisping concedes, that’s not necessarily taking a step up the food chain, but putting together a win streak against ranked opponents is.

“My opponent before, that was Luke Rockhold, the no. 2 guy in the organization. It’s a bit of a step back in that respect, but as I said, he’s doing very well and he’s making names. He’s becoming a contender again, so if I beat this guy – I just beat [C.B.] Dollaway – I’ve been a perennial contender for what seems an eternity. I think a title fight is getting closer and closer. There isn’t that many guys in front of me. There really isn’t.

“Some of the guys are on a hiatus,” Bisping argues. “Some of them will never be the same. Some of them are feeling the effects of injecting themselves with so many steroids that they can’t take it. They simply probably won’t ever fight again. They’re probably going to open up a day care somewhere and look after little babies because they’re developing vaginas as we speak.”

Bisping knows how many times he’s been close. He acknowledges the UFC gave him the chances and he simply couldn’t convert. He also claims, however, that the amount of performance-enhancing drug users he’s faced has immeasurably impacted his career. That’s partly why he doesn’t believe he’s ever too far from a title shot. Middleweight’s changed, he believes.

“If I was to get a title shot, I don’t think there would be an uproar or an outcry. People would be like, ‘Yeah, OK, cool. Bisping’s getting his shot.’  I’ve been in a position for title fights before. I’ve been in no. 1 contender match-ups. Unfortunately, for me, I fought people that took steroids and they robbed me of those title fights. I lost the no. 1 contender fights.

Lorenzo Fertitta came into my dressing room when I fought Vitor Belfort and said, ‘Listen, Anderson [Silva]‘s in the house tonight. If you beat Vitor, we want you to call out Anderson. He said, ‘Don’t start a riot because Brazilians are crazy, but if you want to call out Anderson, be my guest. The floor is yours.’ Now, of course, I lost that fight. I can’t be mad at the UFC. That’s down to nobody but me and Vitor, treating his backside like a dartboard.”

If anyone would be happy about the UFC’s alignment with USADA to test fighters in and out of competition, it’d be Bisping. He notes, however, the program is good in theory and he supports it, but it hasn’t really gotten off the ground.

“I’ve been tested zero times. I don’t think it’s been fully implemented yet. Of course, we’re going to see frequent out of competition testing, which is fantastic. Harsher penalties. More stringent testing, and that’s all great. I believe it will clean the sport up to a certain degree. Fact of the matter is human nature, as long as there’s been professional sports, people are always going to try and cheat. I think, human nature, some people are going to try and do that.

“When you fight in the main event, they know they’re going to be tested, but they think they can outsmart the system. There’s always going to be people that try and do that. Will they get away with it? That is the big question. Now there’s a higher percentage they’re going to get caught, but it’s not guaranteed they’re going to get caught. I just hope Thales Leites is a moral man. I hope he can look himself in the eye and I hope that he does the right thing and he hasn’t been cheating.”

In the end, Saturday for Bisping is about Rockhold or PEDs or USADA. It’s about Leites and where a potential win over him takes the Brit. It’s hard to say at this juncture, but Bisping is sure of one thing: he’s impressed with the career turnaround of his Brazilian opponent.

“For me, that’s the sign of a true fighter because a lot of guys could have a career like he did and he had a title fight, had some big fights, and then they get cut from the organization, then they pack it in. They become a coach or they go back to jiu-jitsu or whatever it may be. Thales actually went and fought all over the world, racked up some wins and actually got back in the UFC. That, to me, tells me he has the heart of a fighter and that he won’t give up in the fight, that he has the will to win. The fact that he fought his way back, that’s very impressive.

“But when I look at his fights, which I’ve done, his striking’s maybe got a little better, but when I look at his old fights, which I also have done, I don’t really see any difference,” Bisping argues. “I still see the same fighter. He still throws the same shots and he still looks for the takedown. I don’t really see him being all that much improved. He looks a little bigger. He’s obviously been on a very stringent strength and conditioning routine. That obviously paid dividends.”

There hasn’t been as much back and forth this time between Bisping and Leites, insofar as it comes to angry words and threats being exchanged. Leites took briefly to social media to express his belief he’d win via submission and Bisping responded, but it hasn’t been much more than that.

“People talk about trash talk,” Bisping observes. “I’ve never been a trash talker. I just say I think I’m going to win the fight and somehow that’s deemed as being trash talk-esque.”

In the end, though, what Bisping took away from the brief online exchange wasn’t the same kind of angry tension he shared with Rockhold or Belfort, but something familiar. It’s a part of every Bisping fight, it appears, and something he relishes. Bisping is routinely called out by opposition, almost more so than any other fighter in the division. The British middleweight says he likes it that way. It means his opponent is coming to fight, which means his win over them was hard earned. Where it takes him, though, is still up for debate.

“Good for him,” Bisping says of Leites. “Of course, he thinks he’s going to win the fight, as do I. That’s what makes it a fight.”

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CM Punk moves to Milwaukee to be closer to Roufusport gym

CM Punk is pulling out all the stops as he starts his MMA career.

The former WWE star has moved to Milwaukee, so he can be closer to the Roufusport gym where he’s training in preparation for his UFC debut, Ariel Helwani reported Wednesday on UFC Tonight. Punk still owns a home in Chicago, but he’s renting in Milwaukee to cut down on his commute time every day.

Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, told Helwani that his training is going very well. He just sparred five rounds Monday and felt great afterward. His coach Duke Roufus told Helwani that Punk’s training is going great, but there is still no timetable for his debut. They’re taking it day by day.

Punk, 36, got a lot of criticism when he signed with the UFC last December, given that he had no competition experience in MMA or any kind of martial art. But reports of his hard work at Roufusport have come from multiple well-regarded fighters, including Ben Askren, who was skeptical of Punk signing with the UFC at the start.

UFC president Dana White said recently that Punk and Roufus will let him know when they’re ready to book a fight. Punk said on the Anik and Florian Podcast last week that he wouldn’t even be upset if his first bout was in 2016.

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Fight Night 62 Aftermath/Results: Maia Dominates LaFlare, Koscheck & Baszler Edge Closer to Retirement in Night of Thrilling Finishes


(Photo via Getty.)

Fight Night 62 was one of those cards that, while appearing just abysmal on paper, actually turned out to be a rather entertaining affair. I mean, sure, the main card broadcast dragged along at it’s typical sloth-like pace — something that the UFC desperately needs to change but sadly never will — and the main event wasn’t exactly the kind of barnburner we’ve come to expect from a Demian Maia fight (sarcasm), but Fight Night 62 more than made up for its lack of name power with exciting finishes. It was also a card that signaled the (competitive) end of at least two MMA careers and the possible resurgence of another, so join us after the jump for a full breakdown of what went down in Rio over the weekend.

Let’s start things off a little off the beaten path, by awarding our official GIF-Worthy Finish of the Night (GWFotN) to Fredy Serrano, who kicked off Fight Night 62 in style by absolutely starching Bentley Syler with an uppercut in the second round.

Really, the entire undercard was a veritable potpourri of violence and terrible reffing decisions, as we’ve come to expect more and more with each UFC card. Take for instance, the second fight of the night, in which Christos Giagos submitted Jorge de Oliveira with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Yet despite the fact that Oliveira CLEARLY tapped, I don’t know, 6 times? And despite the fact that referee Eduardo Hely was in no way obstructed from seeing this tap, he allowed Giagos to continue choking Oliveira for a few more completely unnecessary seconds. You can check out a gif of that absolute bullshit here.

Speaking of absolute bullshit and/or Eduardo Hely, I’m sure that you’ve already heard by now of the Drew Dober-Leandro Silva fight, which resulted in what might just be the worst stoppage in UFC history. I…I can’t even begin to explain what the Hell was going through Hely’s mind on this one, so let’s just watch the gif and angrily spit out leftover Chinese food on our computer monitors.

I swear to God, it’s like MMA refs are doing their damndest in recent weeks to make MMA judges look like the more competent of the two. For what it’s worth, Dober was given his win bonus that night, and Eduardo Hely will likely face no action of consequence for his horrendous night at bat.

Let’s move onto the main card, wherein Godofredo Pepey continued his improbable (and incredibly flashy) run of finishes with a slick flying triangle over the heavily-favored Andrey Fili. The Team Alpha Male stud was impressive early, peppering Pepey with quick shots and generally out moving him, but as soon as he entered the clinch game with the TUF Brazil runner-up, disaster struck. Pepey used the cage to leap into a flying triangle, which he then worked for next minute or so until Fili finally gave in. It marked the third straight highlight reel finish (and performance bonus) for Pepey, who is quickly rocketing up the featherweight rankings.

I suppose I could talk to you about Gilbert Burns’ hail mary armbar over late replacement opponent Alex Oliveira, or Leonardo Santos’ second round sub of Tony Martin, but really, I want to talk about two fighters who looked in need of a Joe Rogan Career Assessment: Josh Koscheck and Shayna Baszler.

The former faced a quick turnaround against Erick Silva on Saturday following his second round submission loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 184. For those hoping a fight against a young gun would light a fire under the longtime UFC veteran’s keester, you were right. For about 30 seconds. Though he came out aggressive early, Koscheck — as he did against Ellenberger — went into retreat mode once he felt the power of his opponent. After eating a couple shots along the fence, you could practically see the confidence start to drain from the veteran as Silva took him down and locked in a fight-ending guillotine choke. Koscheck has now lost his past 5 fights in a row, and retirement seems imminent.

Baszler, on the other hand, has looked less and less effective with each passing fight. She has secured exactly 1 victory since 2010, and had less to offer Amanda Nunes than she did Bethe Correia or Julianna Pena in her only other UFC appearances (one of which was on TUF 18, but you get what I’m saying) before succumbing to a leg kick TKO in the first round. A pioneer of WMMA she may be, but Baszler’s time as a top-level fighter has clearly passed her by, and we just hope that either she or the UFC are able to recognize this.

Which brings us to the main event of the evening. In what was similarly being billed as a passing of the guard fight from Demian Maia to Ryan LaFlare, the former utterly dominated the latter with takedowns and top control for four straight rounds. Most noticeable during the fight was the 37 year old Maia’s much-improved wrestling and sweep skills, which left LaFlare looking like an overmatched grappling partner desperate searching for a lifeline. It was a fight that was supposed to announce LaFlare’s arrival into the welterweight top 10, yet ended up being one that Demian Maia proved that he’s still got something left in the gas tank (metaphorically speaking of course, as Maia was absolutely torched by the fifth round). How much exactly remains to be seen.

Full results for Fight Night 62 are below.

Main Card (on FOX Sports 1)
Demian Maia def. Ryan LaFlare by unanimous decision
Erick Silva def. Josh Koscheck by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:21, R1
Leonardo Santos def. Tony Martin by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:29, R2
Amanda Nunes def. Shayna Baszler by TKO (leg kicks) at 1:56, R1
Gilbert Burns def. Alex Oliveira by submission (arm bar) at 4:14, R3
Godofredo Pepey  def. Andre Fili by submission (triangle choke) at 3:14, R1

Preliminary Card
Francisco Trinaldo def. Akbarh Arreola by unanimous decision
Kevin Souza def. Katsunori Kikuno by KO at 1:31, R1
Leandro “Buscape” Silva def. Drew Dober by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:45, R2
Leonardo Mafra Teixeira def. Cain Carrizosa by unanimous decision
Christos Giagos def. Jorge de Oliveira by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:12, R1
Fredy Serrano def. Bentley Syler by KO at 1:34, R3

Cagepotato

Fight Night 62 Aftermath/Results: Maia Dominates LaFlare, Koscheck & Baszler Edge Closer to Retirement in Night of Thrilling Finishes


(Photo via Getty.)

Fight Night 62 was one of those cards that, while appearing just abysmal on paper, actually turned out to be a rather entertaining affair. I mean, sure, the main card broadcast dragged along at it’s typical sloth-like pace — something that the UFC desperately needs to change but sadly never will — and the main event wasn’t exactly the kind of barnburner we’ve come to expect from a Demian Maia fight (sarcasm), but Fight Night 62 more than made up for its lack of name power with exciting finishes. It was also a card that signaled the (competitive) end of at least two MMA careers and the possible resurgence of another, so join us after the jump for a full breakdown of what went down in Rio over the weekend.

Let’s start things off a little off the beaten path, by awarding our official GIF-Worthy Finish of the Night (GWFotN) to Fredy Serrano, who kicked off Fight Night 62 in style by absolutely starching Bentley Syler with an uppercut in the second round.

Really, the entire undercard was a veritable potpourri of violence and terrible reffing decisions, as we’ve come to expect more and more with each UFC card. Take for instance, the second fight of the night, in which Christos Giagos submitted Jorge de Oliveira with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Yet despite the fact that Oliveira CLEARLY tapped, I don’t know, 6 times? And despite the fact that referee Eduardo Hely was in no way obstructed from seeing this tap, he allowed Giagos to continue choking Oliveira for a few more completely unnecessary seconds. You can check out a gif of that absolute bullshit here.

Speaking of absolute bullshit and/or Eduardo Hely, I’m sure that you’ve already heard by now of the Drew Dober-Leandro Silva fight, which resulted in what might just be the worst stoppage in UFC history. I…I can’t even begin to explain what the Hell was going through Hely’s mind on this one, so let’s just watch the gif and angrily spit out leftover Chinese food on our computer monitors.

I swear to God, it’s like MMA refs are doing their damndest in recent weeks to make MMA judges look like the more competent of the two. For what it’s worth, Dober was given his win bonus that night, and Eduardo Hely will likely face no action of consequence for his horrendous night at bat.

Let’s move onto the main card, wherein Godofredo Pepey continued his improbable (and incredibly flashy) run of finishes with a slick flying triangle over the heavily-favored Andrey Fili. The Team Alpha Male stud was impressive early, peppering Pepey with quick shots and generally out moving him, but as soon as he entered the clinch game with the TUF Brazil runner-up, disaster struck. Pepey used the cage to leap into a flying triangle, which he then worked for next minute or so until Fili finally gave in. It marked the third straight highlight reel finish (and performance bonus) for Pepey, who is quickly rocketing up the featherweight rankings.

I suppose I could talk to you about Gilbert Burns’ hail mary armbar over late replacement opponent Alex Oliveira, or Leonardo Santos’ second round sub of Tony Martin, but really, I want to talk about two fighters who looked in need of a Joe Rogan Career Assessment: Josh Koscheck and Shayna Baszler.

The former faced a quick turnaround against Erick Silva on Saturday following his second round submission loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 184. For those hoping a fight against a young gun would light a fire under the longtime UFC veteran’s keester, you were right. For about 30 seconds. Though he came out aggressive early, Koscheck — as he did against Ellenberger — went into retreat mode once he felt the power of his opponent. After eating a couple shots along the fence, you could practically see the confidence start to drain from the veteran as Silva took him down and locked in a fight-ending guillotine choke. Koscheck has now lost his past 5 fights in a row, and retirement seems imminent.

Baszler, on the other hand, has looked less and less effective with each passing fight. She has secured exactly 1 victory since 2010, and had less to offer Amanda Nunes than she did Bethe Correia or Julianna Pena in her only other UFC appearances (one of which was on TUF 18, but you get what I’m saying) before succumbing to a leg kick TKO in the first round. A pioneer of WMMA she may be, but Baszler’s time as a top-level fighter has clearly passed her by, and we just hope that either she or the UFC are able to recognize this.

Which brings us to the main event of the evening. In what was similarly being billed as a passing of the guard fight from Demian Maia to Ryan LaFlare, the former utterly dominated the latter with takedowns and top control for four straight rounds. Most noticeable during the fight was the 37 year old Maia’s much-improved wrestling and sweep skills, which left LaFlare looking like an overmatched grappling partner desperate searching for a lifeline. It was a fight that was supposed to announce LaFlare’s arrival into the welterweight top 10, yet ended up being one that Demian Maia proved that he’s still got something left in the gas tank (metaphorically speaking of course, as Maia was absolutely torched by the fifth round). How much exactly remains to be seen.

Full results for Fight Night 62 are below.

Main Card (on FOX Sports 1)
Demian Maia def. Ryan LaFlare by unanimous decision
Erick Silva def. Josh Koscheck by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:21, R1
Leonardo Santos def. Tony Martin by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:29, R2
Amanda Nunes def. Shayna Baszler by TKO (leg kicks) at 1:56, R1
Gilbert Burns def. Alex Oliveira by submission (arm bar) at 4:14, R3
Godofredo Pepey  def. Andre Fili by submission (triangle choke) at 3:14, R1

Preliminary Card
Francisco Trinaldo def. Akbarh Arreola by unanimous decision
Kevin Souza def. Katsunori Kikuno by KO at 1:31, R1
Leandro “Buscape” Silva def. Drew Dober by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:45, R2
Leonardo Mafra Teixeira def. Cain Carrizosa by unanimous decision
Christos Giagos def. Jorge de Oliveira by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:12, R1
Fredy Serrano def. Bentley Syler by KO at 1:34, R3

Cagepotato

Invicta president Shannon Knapp: Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg is ‘closer than it has ever been’

The prospect of the biggest women’s MMA fight in history happening has been a giant tease up to this point.

There have been rumblings for nearly two years that UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Cris “Cyborg” Justino would meet in the Octagon. The conversations have had more starts than stops. For one, Justino has never even made Rousey’s 135-pound weight class.

Most recently, though, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told ESPN.com last month that the promotion was in negotiations with Justino. And “Cyborg” said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday that she believes the Rousey bout will happen.

Justino, 29, still remains under contract with Invicta FC, where she is the women’s featherweight champion. “Cyborg” takes on Charmaine Tweet in the main event of Invicta FC 11 on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles — which just so happens to be one day before Rousey meets Cat Zingano at UFC 184 in the same city.

The Tweet bout is not the last fight on Justino’s contract and Invicta president Shannon Knapp believes “Cyborg” will fight at least one more time for her promotion. However, she feels like the probability of Rousey-Justino happening sometime in the near future is high.

“I can’t really say that it will happen this year,” Knapp told MMAFighting.com. “But what I can tell you is the fans should not give up, because this fight is closer than it has ever been — ever. If it’s gonna happen, I think we’re gonna see it happen possibly by the end of this year or first quarter of next.”

The discussions Knapp have had with Justino have included “Cyborg” hanging around the organization for a bit longer. It’s unclear if she’ll try to cut down to 135 in her next bout or remain at 145. The fight against Tweet will be for Justino’s 145-pound title.

“Invicta is her home,” Knapp said of Justino.

The situation is a difficult one for Knapp. Of course, she has the best interests of Invicta at heart, but as a pioneer of women’s MMA herself, she’d like nothing more than to see Rousey vs. Justino happen. Knapp predicted early last year that the fight would have happened in 2014 and calls it her “all-time fight,” as in the one she wants to see the most in the future.

Knapp and the UFC have a close relationship. Invicta has a broadcast deal with UFC Fight Pass, the UFC’s digital streaming network, and the UFC is helping to promote Invicta FC 11 on its FOX Sports 1 television events. The broadcast deal started in August and has already been renewed through 2015.

“I don’t think I could have asked for a better partnership than the one I’m in right now,” Knapp said.

Next weekend in Los Angeles is primed to be one of the biggest weekends in women’s MMA history. Justino and Rousey will both defend their titles, Invicta will run an all-female card on Friday and Holly Holm will meet Raquel Pennington in the UFC 184 co-main event Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be amazing,” Knapp said. “And definitely I look at it as a landmark weekend for the women.

“Women have certainly carved out their spot in the sport and I think that’s an amazing thing for the female athlete.”

Who knows? Maybe Rousey vs. Cyborg will be the next milestone after that.

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