Tag Archive for comain

The Iceman Agree-eth: Making Conor McGregor Co-Main Is Dumb

The UFC has been making some real head scratcher decisions lately. Turning down Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is stupid, but makes a certain amount of sense when you understand UFC president Dana White’s general disdain for GSP. Then there’s Conor McGregor’s latest fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, which according to some is being held up because the UFC wants it to be the co-main event.

Wait, what? McGregor as co-main? The biggest draw in UFC history? Well, you see, the UFC is apparently so obsessed with the concept of title fights always being the main event, they won’t even allow a beltless McGregor to headline a card if a championship fight is included.

”It’s a main event fight for sure, no matter what,” MMA legend Chuck Liddell told TMZ Sports when asked about the situation. “Come on, Conor McGregor and Cowboy? F**k. Those are two of my favorite fighters. I love watching those guys fight. Whether you like those guys are not, personality wise, those guys are studs. They fight, they fight tough, they fight brave.”

As for whether McGregor is actually willing to sign on the dotted line against “Cowboy?”

”I think he’ll fight him, he’s a fighter, they should fight,” Liddell said. “It’s a great fight, they’re both good strikers, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. I’m excited for that fight, I hope it happens. I think McGregor’s pulling back to make sure he gets paid right. I think he’s playing it soft cuz he’s ‘I’m not backsliding on this fight, you gonna pay me enough to do this.’ I hope they pay him well for that fight. They should.”

Many are assuming there must be more to it than just the main event slot. Whatever the case, Chuck definitely thinks it’s a fight worth putting together.

”Conor, I don’t have to tell Conor anything,” he said. “He’ll get to it, Conor’ll fight anybody, anyplace, anytime. He’s a businessman too, he’s trying to make some money. I ain’t getting in the way of him making money, but make it happen, boy. I wanna see you and Cowboy get at it!”

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The Iceman Agree-eth: Making Conor McGregor Co-Main Is Dumb

The UFC has been making some real head scratcher decisions lately. Turning down Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is stupid, but makes a certain amount of sense when you understand UFC president Dana White’s general disdain for GSP. Then there’s Conor McGregor’s latest fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, which according to some is being held up because the UFC wants it to be the co-main event.

Wait, what? McGregor as co-main? The biggest draw in UFC history? Well, you see, the UFC is apparently so obsessed with the concept of title fights always being the main event, they won’t even allow a beltless McGregor to headline a card if a championship fight is included.

”It’s a main event fight for sure, no matter what,” MMA legend Chuck Liddell told TMZ Sports when asked about the situation. “Come on, Conor McGregor and Cowboy? F**k. Those are two of my favorite fighters. I love watching those guys fight. Whether you like those guys are not, personality wise, those guys are studs. They fight, they fight tough, they fight brave.”

As for whether McGregor is actually willing to sign on the dotted line against “Cowboy?”

”I think he’ll fight him, he’s a fighter, they should fight,” Liddell said. “It’s a great fight, they’re both good strikers, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. I’m excited for that fight, I hope it happens. I think McGregor’s pulling back to make sure he gets paid right. I think he’s playing it soft cuz he’s ‘I’m not backsliding on this fight, you gonna pay me enough to do this.’ I hope they pay him well for that fight. They should.”

Many are assuming there must be more to it than just the main event slot. Whatever the case, Chuck definitely thinks it’s a fight worth putting together.

”Conor, I don’t have to tell Conor anything,” he said. “He’ll get to it, Conor’ll fight anybody, anyplace, anytime. He’s a businessman too, he’s trying to make some money. I ain’t getting in the way of him making money, but make it happen, boy. I wanna see you and Cowboy get at it!”

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Rogan: UFC Wanted Cowboy-McGregor As Co-Main Event

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) megastar, Conor McGregor, sounded eager to make his mixed martial arts (MMA) return against longtime lightweight “Cowboy,” Donald Cerrone, in a planned 155-pound showdown for later this year.

Then the bout fell apart just as quickly as it came together.

Promotion president, Dana White, failed to provide any details or clarify what the obstacles were. Color commentator Joe Rogan, however, heard that UFC wanted to make “Cowboy vs. Cerrone” a pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event.

“They were trying to do ‘Cowboy’ versus Conor and apparently the sticking point was that it was going to be a co-main event,” Rogan said (via MMA News). “I think the idea is that they have to have world titles as a main event for pay-per-view. I think [McGregor is] only interested in big fights. Like things that excite him now because he’s got so much money and so much success. It’s just one of those things.”

When it comes to headlining an event, there is more at stake than just ego. Every fighter contract is different, of course, but payouts can be impacted by PPV points, depending on where a fighter is placed on the card.

It should also be noted that McGregor has the top three highest grossing PPV fight cards in the history of MMA, two of which were headlined by non-title fights (UFC 196, UFC 202). His “good knock” at UFC 229 holds the record at roughly 2.4 million.

Cerrone is now rumored to be facing Al Iaquinta this summer.

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Predictions! Breaking Down UFC 234 Main, Co-Main Event

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will take a break from its ESPN+ fight cards to bring mixed martial arts (MMA) fans its latest and greatest pay-per-view (PPV) offering, headlined by a middleweight title fight, as well as a 185-pound No. 1 contender’s clash.

Front and center will be Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, who battle for “The Reaper’s” belt across five rounds of middleweight action. Unless, of course, something dramatic happens before the 25 minutes expire.

Speaking of dramatic, former 185-pound champion, Anderson Silva, makes his return to the Octagon against kickboxing import Israel Adesanya. The winner is expected to compete for the title, which means the winner of Whittaker-Gastelum already has his next opponent lined up.

Before we break down the main and co-main event (stream them on Amazon by clicking here), let’s take a look at what “Prelims” maestro, Patrick Stumberg, had to say about all the action spread across the ESPN and UFC Fight Pass cards by clicking here and here.

UFC 234 odds and betting lines can be unpacked here.

185 lbs.: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker

Record: 20-4 | Age: 28 | Betting line: -235
Wins: 9 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 73” | Leg reach: 43”
Stance: Orthodox | Striking accuracy: 774 of 1901 (41%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt | Takedown attempts: 4 of 7 (57%)

Kelvin Gastelum

Record: 15-3, 1 NC | Age: 27 | Betting line: +195
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 5 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’9“ | Reach: 71” | Leg reach: 39”
Stance: Southpaw | Striking accuracy: 637 of 1458 (44%)
Ranks: 10th planet jiu-jitsu purple belt | Takedown attempts: 9 of 18 (50%)

I know Kelvin Gastelum doesn’t always get the respect he deserves, and sometimes he brings the problems upon himself. Whether it’s smoking pot before a big fight or refusing to skip pasta night the day before weigh ins, the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) champion has relied more on talent than hard work. That should give you a pretty good idea of just how good he is (and can be), as the porky welterweight masquerading as a middleweight has been able to notch wins over some notoriously tough outs in the form of Tim Kennedy, Michael Bisping, and Ronaldo Souza. He also neutralized Tyron Woodley back when Uncle Dana allowed him to fight at 170 pounds.

He’s solid in just about every area and should not be taken lightly.

Unfortunately for Gastelum, he’s facing someone his own age and not a thirty-something veteran who’s been through the proverbial mill. Also a former welterweight, Whittaker has been an absolute monster at 185 pounds and is now the winner of nine straight with five finishes. The big selling point is “The Reaper’s” ability to withstand the bludgeoning power of Yoel Romero and for good reason: it’s something no other fighter has been able to accomplish in UFC. How those brutal, five-round wars affected Whittaker’s ability to compete at the highest level is certainly a question worth asking, but at age 28, I’m not sure he’s going to exhibit any signs of deterioration just yet.

This fight is fairly simple for me, at least in terms of predicting. Gastelum is like that entry level video game character who comes with a basic set of sills, enough to get the journey started, and would eventually become Whittaker after a series of level-ups and in-game bonuses. “The Reaper” is simply better in every department and I don’t see where the challenger has an advantage. Gastelum is not the better boxer, certainly does not have the better cardio, and won’t be able to wrestle his way to a decision. He is one tough S.O.B., however, and will likely be in the fight for all five rounds, but don’t expect the scorecards to be close.

Prediction: Whittaker def. Gastelum by unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya

Anderson “The Spider” Silva

Record: 34-8, 1 NC | Age: 43 | Betting line: +450
Wins: 22 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 3 DEC, 1 DQ
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 77” | Leg reach: 42”
Stance: Southpaw | Striking accuracy: 740 of 1213 (61%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt | Takedown attempts: 3 of 4 (75%)

Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya

Record: 15-0 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -600
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’4“ | Reach: 80” | Leg reach: 44”
Stance: Switch | Striking accuracy: 241 of 436 (55%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt | Takedown attempts: 0 of 3 (0%)

I know all the cool kids already have Anderson Silva dead and buried, based on his age and tough run over the last couple of years, but let’s not break out the pine box just yet. I think in the case of “The Spider,” his extended layoff was a positive (just like his last drug test), because it gave his body and mind the ability to heal, refocus, and reenergize. We know going into this fight against Israel Adesanya that the action is going to play out on the feet and that will actually work to “The Spider’s” advantage. Keep in mind, this is only a three-round contest and we can already call the opening frame a wash, as both strikers settle in, establish range, and flick the jab, waiting for the other to commit.

We never got the chance to see Silva test his striking — both offensively and defensively — against any real competition. Finishes over guys like Chael Sonnen, Stephan Bonnar, and Yushin Okami look great in the highlight reels, but are they a true measure of one’s technical prowess? Adesanya, meanwhile, was making his mark in the kickboxing circuit which admittedly, has a depressingly shallow talent pool as the marquee names jump ship in search of those MMA bucks. But even Silva’s most challenging opponents who were best known for their hands, like Vitor Belfort and Rich Franklin, would get embarrassed in stand-up fights against most of Adesanya’s past opponents, like Bogdan Stoica and Simon Marcus.

Silva is over the hill and hasn’t looked impressive in many moons, but that doesn’t change him as a competitor. Why does he still fight at this age? He certainly doesn’t need the money. “The Spider” is a fierce competitor and loves to win, and I would expect the very best version of the Brazilian come fight night. It won’t be enough, but I think some fans are going to be surprised at just how competitive this bout is, and Silva may even leave with a moral victory. If Marvin Vettori and Brad Tavares can make it a fight against Adesanya, so can the former champ.

Prediction: Adesanya def. Silva by unanimous decision

There you have it.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 234 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 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.

To see who else is fighting at UFC 234 click here.

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Greg Hardy Is The Co-Main Event For UFC’s First ESPN Card

The special treatment for disgraced former NFL player Greg Hardy continues.

Many members of the MMA media and martial arts scene in general have been unhappy with Dana White’s decision to sign Hardy to the UFC, due to his controversial past which includes an extremely disturbing incident of domestic violence. That unhappiness grew when it was announced that Hardy would make his debut January 19th on the first UFC show broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+. And we imagine some will be even less impressed to learn Hardy’s fight has now been slotted in the co-main event spot, just under the champion vs. champion fight between TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo.

It’s a somewhat surprising move considering the amount of pushback the UFC has received on the fighter. Leading up to UFC 231, the promotion attempted to block questions from reporters about Hardy, and Dana White flat out told media during a scrum that he was done talking about it before abruptly storming off.

”I’m not going to talk about Greg Hardy any more,” White said. “I already covered this. I’m not playing this bulls**t with you guys. He’s on the UFC roster. Period. End of story.”

Placing the 3-0 Hardy so high up the card is the UFC making it very clear that they’re all in, and done listening to moralizing about his past. Someone obviously thinks the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end could turn into a real star for the organization, and they’re providing Sage Northcutt levels of favorable treatment to make Greg Hardy happen.

The UFC fast tracked him into the league via Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, then signed him to a rare development deal where they got him a fight in the minor leagues. Now his fight sits right in the spotlight under the main event on a historic card. If he beats Allen Crowder (9-3 MMA 0-1 UFC) on January 19th, you better believe the Hardy hype train will be full steam ahead.

The big question: can the UFC turn this already tainted tale into one of redemption or will it produce a dark cloud over every event Hardy participates in, making your average Jon Jones fiasco or Colby Covington interaction seem quaint by comparison?

Here’s the full card:

Main Card (ESPN+, 10 PM ET)

Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Allen Crowder vs. Greg Hardy
Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz
Rachael Ostovich vs. Paige VanZant
Ion Cutelaba vs. Glover Teixeira

Preliminary Card (ESPN TV, 8 PM ET)

Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez
Joanne Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski
Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Moreira
John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen

Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 6:30 PM ET)

Randy Brown vs. Chance Rencountre
Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal
Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards

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Dana White: UFC on Fox 31 Co-Main Event ‘Should’ve Been Stopped Earlier Than It Was’

Edson Barboza unleashed a savage beating on Dan Hooker in the UFC on Fox 31 co-main event, but “The Hangman” showed incredible toughness for surviving as long as he did.
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Gegard Mousasi to Defend Middleweight Belt vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. in Bellator 214 Co-Main

Bellator MMA’s Jan. 26 tent-pole event just got a little bit bigger.
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Predictions! Breaking Down UFC Argentina Main, Co-Main Events

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is charging full steam ahead, which means a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card every night for the rest of the year (that’s seven, for all you math wizards). That includes the UFC Fight Night 140 event on FOX Sports 1, taking place this Sat. night (Nov. 17, 2018) inside Parque Roca Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Leading the charge will be welterweight title hopefuls Neil Magny and Santiago Ponzinibbio, who may not be mainstream stars (yet), but are definitely in “the mix” with a big performance this weekend. The former sits at No. 8 in the official rankings (see them here), whereas the latter clocks in at No. 10.

Before the 170-pound headliner pops off, former featherweight title contender, Ricardo Lamas, will look to prove he’s not yesterday’s news by turning away the venerable Darren Elkins. Separated by just one spot in the official rankings, this 145-pound showdown is a pivotal fight for both combatants, who are both in their mid-thirties.

Before we go ahead and look at the main and co-main events, be sure to see what pro fighter and resident analyst Andrew Richardson had to say about the rest of the main card bouts by clicking here. In addition, the UFC Fight Night 140 preliminary fights were dissected by the indomitable Patty Stumberg here and here.

Let’s finish the job here and now.

Welterweight: Neil Magny (21-6) vs. Santiago ‘Gente Boa’ Ponzinibbio (26-3)

Biggest Win For Magny? Unanimous decision victory over Carlos Condit
Biggest loss? Submission defeat to Rafael dos Anjos
Biggest Win For Ponzinibbio? Unanimous decision victory over Mike Perry
Biggest loss? Technical knockout defeat to Lorenz Larkin
Latest Odds: Magny (+240) vs. Ponzinibbio (-280)
How these two match up: Consistency is the biggest issue with Magny, who always seems to stumble right at the precipice of greatness. After a dreadful 1-2 start to his UFC career, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 veteran put together seven straight wins with four finishes. Then came a high-profile submission loss to perennial title contender Demian Maia. Certainly no shame in that, and Magny rebounded by winning his next three, including back-to-back victories over Hector Lombard and Kelvin Gastelum. Similarly, his journey to the 170-pound title was derailed by submission, courtesy of former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos. Do we once again put faith in Magny based on his recent wins over Carlos Condit and Craig White?

I think we have to first decide what condition Condit was in during that contest, something that is applicable to earlier victories, as well. “The Natural Born Killer” has dropped four of his last five, Johny Hendricks coughed up five of his last six, and Hector Lombard is the loser of six straight. Was Magny the superior fighter, or the beneficiary of shot journeymen who no longer had the chops to compete at the elite level? I want to put more stock in the Kelvin Gastelum victory, but that was 2015 and the UFC 234 headliner performs far better at middleweight. I think my biggest issue is that Magny looks great, even against “names,” until he faces them in their primes, like Maia and Dos Anjos.

I suppose a similar critique is warranted for Ponzinibbio. The Argentinian has looked outstanding in recent years, capturing eight of 10 under the UFC banner. It’s kind of hard to find the downside to a six-fight win streak, because there really isn’t one, but in the interest of objectivity we also need to be real about his level of competition. Mike Perry has dropped three of his last four, Gunnar Nelson is just 3-3 over the last four years, and Nordine Taleb has been finished twice in 2018. I would like to see a signature win that was beyond reproach and right now … I got nothing. I don’t want to blame “Gente Boa” for that because he’s not the matchmaker and he can only work with the tools he’s given. By that same token, I’m not going crazy over his technical knockout loss to Lorenz Larkin. Not only was it over three years ago, it was just his second defeat since 2011, a span of 11 fights.

This is an interesting clash of styles. Percentage-wise, Magny is by far the more accurate striker, one of the benefits of having an 80-inch reach, which leaves Ponzinibbio at a seven-inch disadvantage. He’s also the more consistent grappler, landing 41 takedowns in 86 attempts. Considering how “Gente Boa” has only attempted nine takedowns in his UFC career, it’s understandable to think he might keep this fight upright, but we also can’t sleep on his takedown defense after stuffing Zak Cummings four out of five times and giving Court McGee nothing in four attempts.

If Magny fights to win, he is likely to cruise to a decision. That would require him to spam the jab and work in well-timed shoots. Does he have the discipline for that? It’s hard to stay focused when a power-punching bruiser is walking you down and dropping bombs. I want to pick Ponzinibbio for the finish, but Magny is such a difficult fighter to figure out because of his length, as well as his craftiness. I’m sure there will be a handful of close calls, but I think Magny lets “Gente Boa” gas himself out while swinging for the fences — in an attempt to please the hometown crowd — before taking over and mopping up the final three frames.

Winner: Magny by unanimous decision

Featherweight: Ricardo ‘The Bully’ Lamas (18-7) vs. Darren ‘The Damage’ Elkins (24-6)

Biggest Win For Lamas? Submission victory over Cub Swanson
Biggest loss? Knockout defeat to Josh Emmett
Biggest Win For Elkins? Submission victory over Michael Johnson
Biggest loss? Unanimous decision defeat to Alexander Volkanovski
Latest Odds: Lamas (-200) vs. Elkins (+170)
How these two match up: Ricardo Lamas is about halfway to his 37th birthday and coming off back-to-back losses to Josh Emmett and Mirsad Bektic. The former is the most troubling, as it represented the fourth time “The Bully” has been stopped by strikes and he was unable to rebound from that loss with a strong performance. In fact, I think we have to go all the way back to his Dennis Bermudez fight to find a victory over a Top 10 opponent. That’s traveling back more than four years and since that time, Lamas has been handily defeated by the upper echelon of the weight class. That includes losses to both Max Holloway and Chad Mendes. Those sorts of defeats would be more forgivable if the Illinoisan was blowing out the mid-card middlemen, but he’s struggling there, too.

His record just doesn’t hold up very well as we start to put some distance between now and the names of yesteryear. How much stock do we put into unanimous decision wins over guys like Hatsu Hioki and Hacran Dias? I’m probably being too hard on him, but my job here is to stack him against an opponent who is looking to take his soul. Regardless of his performances or his consistency, Lamas is, and always was, a complete fighter. He hits with power, has sneaky submissions, and can compete for five rounds without batting an eyelash. As we’ve learned in this unforgiving sport, the physical tools are not enough. Mental acuity, gameplanning, and poise under pressure are also part and parcel of any successful fight.

Everything said about Lamas can, for the most part, be applied to Darren Elkins, an equally battle-tested veteran with a long and fruitful run under the UFC banner. “The Damage” climbed to No. 10 in the official rankings after putting together six straight wins, including January’s submission over former lightweight, Michael Johnson. I’m sure it was massively disappointing for the 34 year-old bruiser to give it all away in his unanimous decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski, but that’s life in the fight game. No doubt a highlight-reel finish over Lamas would go a long way in erasing that memory and let’s face it, the clock is ticking for Elkins, who cannot afford another defeat if he hopes to position himself for a run at the strap.

Elkins, like Lamas, brings with him two post-fight performance bonuses. I don’t think anyone expects this bout to be a snoozefest. I am a bit concerned that “The Damage” has only secured two finishes in his last eight fights, especially when you consider he opened his MMA career by stopping nine of his first 10. By that same token, he’s only been finished once over the last eight years and that came by way of Chad Mendes and his Duane Ludwig-trained fists. His biggest threat is his wrestling, where he won a state championship as a high school senior before hitting the mats at University of Wisconsin Parkside. Elkins scored six takedowns against Steven Siler and seven apiece against Chas Skelly and Rob Whiteford. Lamas is successful in defending about half the shots taken against him, but if Hatsu Hioki can score four of five takedowns, it’s pretty clear to me that when “The Damage” wants to take “The Bully” down, he’s going down. The question remains, what will he do once he gets there?

I like Lamas if this fight stays on the feet, where the reach (71”) is the same for both combatants. He’s the better striker and has more stopping power. I’d probably favor him in the submissions, as well, but only if he’s in top position, unlikely against a grinder like Elkins. Since this is a three-round fight, and the winner only needs to capture two for the victory, I have to side with the wrestler, because judges love those last-second takedowns, even when they yield little-to-no results. I think Lamas will look great in the opening frame, then get walled and stalled in rounds two and three. I’m not anticipating a finish in a fight that may have some fans (and judges) divided when the final numbers are tallied.

Winner: Elkins by split decision

There you have it.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 140 fight card tomorrow night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard bout at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.

To see who else is fighting at UFC Argentina click here.

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‘Jacare’ Souza Replaces Luke Rockhold in UFC 230 Co-Main Event

After the dust settled following Luke Rockhold’s injury withdrawal from UFC 230 rematch against Chris Weidman, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has stepped in to face Weidman.
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‘Jacare’ Souza Replaces Luke Rockhold in UFC 230 Co-Main Event

After the dust settled following Luke Rockhold’s injury withdrawal from UFC 230 rematch against Chris Weidman, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has stepped in to face Weidman.
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