Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion Conor McGregor recently held an open workout to promote his upcoming boxing match against Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26, 2017 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After showing off his best moves, “Notorious” held court with a bevy of media members on hand to see the fiery Irishman show off his best moves ahead of the biggest — and most profitable — fight of his career.
UFC’s Megan Olivi was on hand to catch all of the punches and all of the soundbites coming from McGregor, so click play in the embedded video above to see a full recap of everything that went down.
Now, the Swede’s previous foe at UFC on FOX 14, Anthony Johnson (19-4), has opened up about the controversial decision.
“In my opinion, Bader deserves it,” Johnson told MMA Fighting. “He’s on a four-fight win streak. He deserves it. I fought three times and I got a title shot. Bader fought four times and he’s still behind me.”
“Rumble” has a meaningful viewpoint, considering the Blackzilian star flattened “The Mauler” (16-3) with a second-round technical knockout in the latter’s backyard of Stockholm, Sweden. The 31-year-old slugger went on to lose in the UFC 187 main event against “DC” for the vacant light heavyweight strap and will now face Jimi Manuwa (15-1) at UFC 191 next month.
Though he marketed himself accordingly, Johnson counts how Bader conducted himself inside the Octagon — as opposed to outside it — as the main reason behind UFC’s decision to overlook him against Cormier.
“I think it’s about selling tickets. Selling tickets and getting the fans excited,” said Johnson. “He has to go out and start knocking people out instead of sitting there and waiting and side-to-side and throwing jabs. Whatever he does. That’s just not entertaining people. Bader doesn’t talk that much and when he fights, it’s just not that entertaining.”
Granted, the NCAA Division-I All-American wrestler is not the most flashy fighter, having won the vast majority of his fights via takedowns, but a 12-4 Octagon record speaks for itself. What is UFC going to do, keep giving him the Jon Fitch treatment?
Like Johnson said, it is about entertaining fight fans and that is something Gustafsson does. At UFC 165, he nearly toppled former longtime ruler of the 205-pound kingdom, Jon Jones, in a hotly-contested, five-round bloodbath.
It is those kinds of competitive exchanges that have propelled past fighters like Chael Sonnen toward a title shot. The same can be said for former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, whose famous personality garners the attention of the mixed martial arts (MMA) masses.
Johnson maintained his No. 1-ranking in the light heavyweight division, despite being submitted by Cormier in the third round of their UFC 187 headliner. A finish over the No. 7-ranked Manuwa inside the Toyota Center could propel him into title discussions once again.
Meanwhile, Bader takes on former 205-pound champion Rashad Evans, who returns to the Octagon following an extensive layoff due to knee troubles. Should he emerge victorious, UFC might be hard-pressed to deny him a shot at the winner of Cormier vs. Gustafsson.
For the full UFC 191 and 192 fight cards, click here and here.
Michael Bisping isn’t quite the fighter he once was, but he’s still got a deep gas tank.
And endurance turned out to be the difference in Bisping’s entertaining middleweight scrap with C.B. Dollaway at UFC 186. Bisping maintained his pace, while Dollaway slowed over the second half of the bout, powering Bisping to a unanimous decision victory at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
The judges’ scores were 29-28 across the board.
“CB Dollaway, he’s tough man,” Bisping said. “Hell of a fighter. I thought he would be easier, but this is the UFC and everyone can fight.”
Dollaway (15-7) got Bisping’s attention late in the first round, when Dollaway cracked him with a huge left hand which dropped Bisping and followed up with a ground-and-pound flurry, which did enough damage to take the round.
The Power MMA fighter managed to tag Bisping (26-7) several more times in the second round, but by the fight’s midpoint, it became clear Dollaway was beginning to flag. Bisping sprawled Dollaway’s takedown attempts and began to land cleanly with him combos.
Bisping, whose three previous fights were scheduled five-round main events, continued to turn on the heat in round three and while he never came close to a finish, Dollaway could never turn up the heat.
The win was Bisping’s 12th at middleweight in the UFC, which ties him with Chris Leben for third-best all-time. Bisping won for the second time in his past three fights and has alternated wins and losses over his past eight.
“Believe me, I’m going nowhere,” Bisping said. “I’m far from done. I will be the champion one day.”
PHOENIX — Justin Gaethje isn’t oblivious to the realities he sees around him. The World Series of Fighting lightweight champion is one of the most exciting, go-for-broke fighters in the division, and in a culture where proven winners like Jon Fitch and Jake Shields get cut from the UFC with just a single loss marring years of dominance, Gaethje says there’s a reason he retains his breakneck style.
“I know for a fact entertainment is more important than winning,” Gaethje told MMAFighting.com. “Those guys (who win boring decisions), they aren’t making money. I know some guys in Colorado who are undefeated, they have 14 or 15 fights, but they’re making $ 2,000 to fight because they’re not exciting. No one wants to see them fight. You only have to go on a couple message boards to know what the fans want, and the fans want you to put it on the line and to entertain them. That’s the easy part. It’s easy to go out there and go balls to the wall.
“When you’re in there just trying to win, you’re thinking the whole time, ‘what do I gotta do to win?’ Screw that. I want to know what I gotta do to make you remember me, to build my stock. The UFC is out there and they pay a lot of money. I have to build my stock in order to get paid what I want to get paid.”
So far Gaethje has tasted the best of both worlds. The owner of a flawless professional record, the 26-year-old Gaethje has raged over the WSOF lightweight division since his debut in 2013, riding a streak of ferocious knockouts all the way to the organization’s title. Life remains tough for a world-class fighter trying to earn respect outside of the UFC, but with each passing win, Gaethje’s stock continues to climb, and he attributes his success largely to the one thing that most fighters fear most — an absolute disregard for that ‘0′ in his 13-0 record.
“[Fighters] are lying out of their ass if they’re saying that they’re never going to lose,” Gaethje said. “You could be the best in the world, but it doesn’t matter. It’s four-ounce gloves. I’ve been dropped in practice with a knee to the body. I take a good knee to the body and break my ribs in the fight, I lost. I mean, it’s a fight. … I could lose and it could be the best fight ever, it still does great things for me.
“That’s the key to this game. I’m my own employer right now and I have to put myself on the line, put my life on the line to be where I want to be and make the money I want to make.”
Gaethje will look to defend his belt against fellow free-swinger Luis Palomino this Saturday in the main event of WSOF 19. It’s a hometown fight for the Arizona native — his first since his Rage in the Cage days — but it’s also the culmination of something Gaethje has been waiting for ever since the day he took that belt — namely, his desire to meet a like-minded foe.
“I’ve been waiting for this kind of fight,” Gaethje said. “The last, I’d say, four guys I’ve fought, they didn’t want to fight me. And I don’t see that being the case with Palomino. It’s bound to be good for TV and all I need right now is a knock-out, drag-out war to go viral. It’s perfect.
“Fans love that. I haven’t been able to show my skills really, because like I said, everyone’s always running from me so I have to chase them. I can’t even set my feet. I have to be running forward when I punch them. Now it’s going to be a real fight and I’m ready for it.”
Another few scalps on his mantle and Gaethje could start forcing his way into people’s mouths when they talk about the top lightweights in the world. It’s a discussion Gaethje already feels he deserves to be in, but he understands these things take time. For now, he’s content to settle for being the best fighter around to not own his own Wikipedia page.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Gaethje said, laughing. “But I mean, I couldn’t even use Wikipedia as a source in college, so it can’t be that important.”
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Last year was a pretty good one at the Serra Longo Fight Club, as Chris Weidman became UFC middleweight champion.
This year’s off to a pretty good start, too. Lightweight Al Iaquinta, the TUF 15 finalist, won his third straight fight on Saturday night, scoring a unanimous decision against a game Kevin Lee at UFC 169 in Newark, N.J. Iaqunita won an entertaining scrap on cards of 29-28, 29-28, and 28-27.
Iaquinta (8-2-1) got off to a fast start in round one, greeting Lee in his Octagon debut with a big left that dropped him, and followed up with strikes to his grounded foe. Later in the round, Iaquinta got a deep heel hook, but couldn’t get the submission.
Lee (12-1), for his part, showed poised beyond his 21 years. The Detroit native shook off his poor first round and dominated the second. He got Iaquinta’s back early in the ground and got a tight rear-naked choke. Iaquinta escaped, but Lee continued to pour it on and bloodied Iaquinta’s nose in a borderline 10-8 round.
WIth the fight hanging in the balance, both guys turned up in round three. But Iaquinta was a little faster, a little stronger — he stuffed seven of Lee’s eight takedown attempts in the fight — and he landed often over the final minute, which likely sealed the decision in his favor.
Maybe one day there will be a Bellator lightweight contender who’s talented enough to defeat champion Michael Chandler — but it ain’t gonna be the dinosaur guy. (No offense.) Season 8 lightweight tournament winner David Rickels had a good head of steam going into his title challenge against Chandler last night at Bellator 97, with four straight wins including a TKO of Saad Awad back in March. But against a truly world-class lightweight, the Caveman was in way over his head.
As you can see in the video above, Rickels didn’t even have a chance to get started. Chandler swarmed as soon as he staggered Rickels with a right straight, landing more follow-up power shots and diving after Rickels when the challenger hit the mat. In just 44 seconds, Rickels was unconscious and Michael Chandler (now 12-0 overall) had made his second title defense with another fearsome display of killer instinct.
Chandler’s next fight will likely come against Dave Jansen, the Season 7 lightweight tournament winner who hasn’t been able to face Chandler yet due to injury. Jansen is 6-0 in Bellator, and is clearly the most qualified man for the job. And yet, we can’t help but wonder how Chandler would stack up against some of the top 155′ers in the UFC — not like that would ever happen.
Speaking of dominant Bellator champions who could use a higher level of competition…
If you’ve watched any of Askren’s performances before, I probably don’t need to tell you what happened, but in short, Funky Ben took Koreshkov to the mat in every single round, and threw down enough half-hearted strikes to avoid being stood up by the ref. He racked up a truly absurd striking differential, and there were moments in the fight where Askren was confident enough to do absolutely nothing without fear of reprisal. That’s undoubtedly impressive, although not particularly entertaining to watch.
But while Askren was successfully able to lead the crowd in chants of “USA!” early in the fight, the fans eventually turned on him, as they always do. After nearly 18 minutes of Askren’s safe, stifling, tedious top control, the referee called it a TKO, more out of boredom than anything else. Afterwards, Askren accused the fans of being Communists. If booing lay-and-pray makes you a Communist, then yes, I believe the workers should own the means of production. Fun fact: Ben Askren is currently without a contract. Let the bidding war begin!
Bellator 97 July 31st, 2013 Santa Ana Star Center; Rio Rancho, New Mexico
- Michael Chandler def. David Rickels via KO, 0:44 of round 1 [for Bellator lightweight title]
- Ben Askren def. Andrey Koreshkov via TKO, at 2:58 of round 4 [for Bellator welterweight title]
- Muhammed Lawal def. Jacob Noe via verbal submission (punches), 2:51 of round 3 [light-heavyweight tournament final]
- Vitaly Minakov def. Ryan Martinez via TKO, 4:02 of round 3 [heavyweight tournament final]
- Patricio Freire def. Jared Downing via TKO, 0:54 of round 3
- Bubba Jenkins def. Mike Barreras via TKO, 1:05 of round 2
- Anthony Leone def. Frank Baca via submission (rear-naked choke), 1:07 of round 3
- Rafael Silva def. Rodrigo Lima via submission (rear-naked choke), 2:03 of round 3
- Will Brooks def. Cris Leyva via TKO, 2:20 of round 3
- Jeremy Kimball def. Keith Berry via KO, 1:45 of round 2
- Shawn Bunch def. Russell Wilson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Donald Sanchez def. Cliff Wright via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Adrian Cruz def. Felipe Chavez via TKO, 4:24 of round 2
- Javier Palacios def. Richard Jacques via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)