Tag Archive for Headliners

Predictions! Breaking Down UFC Fortaleza Headliners

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Marlon Moraes and Renato Carneiro want to fight for the UFC title.

To do that, they’ll first need to dispose of two longtime veterans in the form of Raphael Assuncao and Jose Aldo, in what is an all-Brazilian affair atop the UFC on ESPN+ 2 mixed martial arts (MMA) fight card this Sat. night (Feb. 2, 2019) inside Northeast Olympic Training Center in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Moraes and Assuncao are no strangers, having fought to a split-decision at UFC 212 in June of 2017. It was the Octagon debut for “Magic,” who was forced to settle for a split-decision loss. As for Aldo, this will be his opportunity to prove he’s still got some gas left in the tank.

Well, at least enough to last three rounds.

Before we take a closer look at the UFC Fortaleza main and co-main events, let’s see what pro fighter and MMAmania.com fight analyst Andrew Richardson had to say about the rest of the ESPN+ main card by clicking here.

Odds and betting lines for all of this weekend’s action can be located here.

135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes

Raphael Assuncao

Record: 27-5 | Age: 36 | Betting line: +150
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 10 SUB, 13 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’5“ | Reach: 66” | Leg reach: 38.5”
Stance: Orthodox | Striking accuracy: 796 of 1961 (41%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt | Takedown attempts: 13 of 61 (36%)

“Magic” Marlon Moraes

Record: 21-5-1 | Age: 30 | Betting line: -170
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’6“ | Reach: 67” | Leg reach: 37”
Stance: Orthodox | Striking accuracy: 103 of 304 (34%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt | Takedown attempts: 1 of 4 (25%)

I’m always fascinated at how Raphael Assuncao can make any fight boring, which sounds like a biting critique, but it’s actually kind of an amazing attribute and a testament to his complex game. The Brazilian has a way of shutting down explosive fighters and making dynamic strikers like Marlon Moraes look … well, ordinary. That’s what happened in their first go-round and I would not expect much of a difference in their bantamweight rematch.

Part of what makes Assuncao so difficult to open up against is his counterattack, as well as his formidable grappling. He’s not perfect, of course, but 7-1 over the last eight years is pretty damn close and his patient, defensive-minded style is well suited for five rounds. I think the big question for me, is how healthy he is at age 36 in a career that saw its fair share of debilitating injuries.

Like his opponent, Moraes has been a tough nut to crack at 135 pounds. Jimmie Rivera learned — after waking up — that trying to stand and bang with “Magic” will make your consciousness disappear. That performance, along with his blistering knockout over Aljamain Sterling, is exactly what Moraes needed after the first Assuncao fight, which he followed up with a ho-hum win over flyweight export John Dodson. That tells me he’s settled in and comfortable in his new home. Hopefully not too comfortable.

I think Assuncao is a bad match up for Moraes, much like he was the first time they fought. That said, “Magic” is firing on all cylinders and is competing in his athletic prime. Assuncao turns 37 in July and speed — as well as timing — are the first to go. Look for something clean to land, and land early, making Moraes the clearcut contender at 135 pounds.

Prediction: Moraes def. Assuncao by knockout

Jose “Junior” Aldo

Record: 27-4 | Age: 32 | Betting line: +115
Wins: 16 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 10 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 70” | Leg reach: 40”
Stance: Orthodox | Striking accuracy: 943 of 2115 (45%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt | Takedown attempts: 12 of 19 (68%)

Renato “Moicano” Carneiro

Record: 13-1-1 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -135
Wins: 0 KO/TKO, 6 SUB, 7 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 72” | Leg reach: 42”
Stance: Orthodox | Striking accuracy: 404 of 861 (47%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt | Takedown attempts: 6 of 11 (55%)

It’s weird to hear people talk about Jose Aldo like he’s some old, washed-up relic from the days of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). The Brazilian is still just 32 years old and his only losses in the last 14 years have come against Conor McGregor and Max Holloway, two of the best strikers in the world, in any weight class. I think it’s the manner in which he lost that has everyone jumping ship, but his finish over Jeremy Stephens tells me that Aldo isn’t done just yet. He’s still a dangerous striker with blistering speed and a resume that boasts the best fighters to ever compete at 145 pounds.

Where Aldo runs into trouble is his cardio. When opponents allow him to operate at a measured, defensive pace, “Junior” shines through a combination of precision striking and punishing leg kicks. Unfortunately, as we saw against Holloway and even as far back as Mark Hominick, his meaty frame will often betray him in high-output fights. Limbs become heavy, breathing becomes labored, and the Brazilian is essentially a sitting duck. Sorry, I don’t believe that crap about title shots when it comes to choosing a three-round fight.

Carneiro, 29, is touted as one of the premiere grapplers of the featherweight division and for good reason. Not only is he adept at out-thinking his opponents, that long, lean frame bodes well for wrapping up limbs during a ground scramble, much like Charles Oliveira. That said, he doesn’t get enough credit for his striking, which may be because he doesn’t have any wins by knockout in 15 trips to the cage. Cardio has never been an issue and I don’t expect this fight to be the exception.

It’s no secret that MMA is a cruel mistress and when she’s done with you, she’s DONE. Has Aldo been door slammed? Maybe, but I think this is the fight that makes (or breaks) that case. Carneiro has been impressive to date, but his level of competition has been “good” and never great. Submitting Cub Swanson is something that has been done seven times and “winning the Brian Ortega fight until…” is a poor argument. You’re only winning a fight when it’s over and your hand is raised and “Moicano’s” wasn’t. Without a victory over a Top 5 opponent, I can’t see a reason to pick him over someone as decorated as Aldo.

Prediction: Aldo def. Carneiro by decision

There you have it.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 144 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.

For the complete UFC Fortaleza fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.

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Midnight Mania! See How UFC 227’s Headliners Look in Mullets

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

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Sometimes, things just don’t come out right, and that’s okay. Artist Adam Nelson decided to have some fun with this poster he made, but ultimately wasn’t happy with.

He decided to draw the UFC champions and contenders… with mullets.

I’ll be honest… Henry Cejudo looks amazing. The former Olympian should think about adopting this mustache and hair for his permanent look.

Demetrious Johnson just looks strange with a mullet. He’s such a clean-cut, professional fighter, both in his near-flawless technique and in his interviews, that a mullet just seems out of place on him.

I can see the TJ Dillshaw mullet… but why does the KO’ed version of Cody Garbrandt wear these sunglasses??

Cody Garbrandt, who actually takes meticulous care of his hair and beard at all times, looks the most true to life of any of these fighters, which is frightening. Maybe it’s the Ohio roots- if it’s anything like rural Pennsylvania or western New York or where I grew up, there are surely more than a few Ohio natives who still rock a mullet.

Sometimes mistakes can be a good thing in the end. Cody Garbrandt and Henry Cejudo both attempt to make their own lemonade out of lemons in their rematches this weekend, each fighter professing to have learned from their mistakes against Dillashaw and Johnson, respectively. Their tasks, presumably, won’t be as easy as painting mullets on canvas. They must paint violence in the Octagon better than their opponents, or wind up in no man’s land in their divisions.


Belal Muhammad says that fighters lie about their weight cuts… could that be worrying for Henry Cejudo?

Colby Covington Goes to the White House

The memes were happening

It’s great that Colby got to use his belt that Dana is planning on stripping soon.

Dreams do come true @colbycovmma

A post shared by ORIGINAL MMA CONTENT (@beaversmash) on

Trump supporter Ben Askren was confused

The memes went on and on

Kamurashops drew Nick Diaz in there, just for fun.

History in the making

A post shared by kamura (@kamurashops) on

Combat sports this weekend

Slips, Rips, KO Clips

Vinny Maghales scored this grazing headkick knockout at PFL 5 tonight!

What a remarkable beginning and ending to a fight by Chris Wade!

Highly entertaining

Remember when Demetrious Johnson effortlessly destroyed Henry Cejudo?

Old, but remarkable KO by Ricardo Ramos over Justin Rader. He knocks Rader down moving backwards on one foot.


Podcasts and Video

Follow MMA Mania on Youtube

Heavy Hands

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality. Support my Kickstarter despite my doofy haircut

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UFC 199 headliners react to new CSAC weight-cutting rules

LOS ANGELES — Dominick Cruz was taken aback when he first heard that the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) was enacting new weight-cutting rules.

The main catalyst was that Cruz heard that CSAC didn’t want fighters to dehydrate at all to make weight.

“I kind of had a little heart-attack moment,” the UFC bantamweight champion said Wednesday at a media day in Downtown LA. “Like, wait a second, you need me to be hydrated in California to fight? You guys are playing around, because you know I’m not hydrated up on that scale. Ever. And you know Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold are not hydrated up on that scale in a million years. It’s not gonna happen.”

Cruz defends his title against Urijah Faber in the co-main event of UFC 199 on June 4 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Rockhold, the middleweight champion, will face Weidman in a title fight that headlines that card. It’ll be the first UFC event in California since CSAC passed its new regulations in February.

While CSAC would prefer fighters did not dehydrate at all before hitting the scale, the process is inevitable. CSAC is taking measures to prevent severe dehydration with an eye toward fighter safety.

The commission will now be doing specific gravity tests to determine if fighters are properly hydrated on fight day. On the day of weigh-ins, fighters will be examined by doctors to see if they are severely dehydrated. If a fighter fails a specific gravity test, or a physician determines they are severely dehydrated, the fighter will be pulled from the bout.

One of the biggest changes will be the weigh-in procedure. Fighters will have the option of weighing in earlier, as early as 10 a.m. the day before the event. The idea is that it gives athletes more time to rehydrate. If they chose to, athletes will be able to go to a room in the host hotel in the morning, weigh-in before commission officials and then they’re done. No more waiting around until the weigh-in show in the afternoon.

The UFC’s weigh-in show will be more of a spectacle than the official procedure. Fighters will likely still come out and square off as always, but it won’t be the real weigh-in from a regulatory perspective. If a fighter doesn’t wish to hit the scale early, he or she can still weigh-in at the normal time of 4 or 5 p.m. as part of the UFC’s weigh-in show.

While the four UFC 199 headline fighters are wary and uncertain about dehydration and specific gravity testing and what it will mean for them, the ability to weigh-in earlier was met with unanimous approval.

“You sit there dehydrated just waiting for that stage to be built,” Rockhold said of the normal weigh-in procedure. “Being able to go in there and just weigh-in, make weight, get it done with — with nobody around — it’s a great thing for the fighters. Health-wise, it’s a lot better. We’re not gonna sit there drained of the fluid and it’s sucked away from your body and brain. You can put that back in. Dehydrating for the least amount of time as possible, I think, is key.”

The Kansas Athletic Commission has already enacted the earlier weigh-in and used it for Bellator 150 in February. Mohegan Sun in Connecticut will try the same thing for Bellator 153 next month.

CSAC has also banned IVs for rehydration purposes, which was already instituted by the UFC when it partnered with USADA on an anti-doping program last year. UFC vice president of health and performance Jeff Novitzky told MMA Fighting in a recent interview that the promotion is in favor of CSAC’s actions. He said that he has already seen fighters cutting less weight after the implementation of the IV ban.

“What [CSAC executive director Andy Foster] is doing is great,” Novitzky said. “We fully support what he’s doing and we love working with him. … A big part of this is just getting the conversation going and getting the media to start writing about it. As fighters start hearing people talk about it, they then start evaluating what they’re doing.”

The top fighters from UFC 199 have not been fully informed of what the new rules will entail yet. None of the four knew about the ability to weigh-in earlier and were unclear about the details as a whole. Faber said his MMA Inc. management team is looking into it. He is concerned, because he cuts from 163 pounds to reach the 135-pound bantamweight limit.

“I don’t think it’s going to apply to this fight,” Faber said. “If it does apply, moving forward, I probably won’t be able to compete, because I cut a lot of weight.”

A former college wrestler, Faber said knows how to game the specific gravity tests.

“I understand the science of the body,” he said. “I understand how to manipulate that a little bit. Will I ever be hydrated at the weigh-in? Absolutely not. Could I have a bladder full of water? Yes.”

None of the UFC 199 fighters interviewed Wednesday thought weight cutting was a real problem in MMA. Studies have shown, though, that extreme weight cutting can lead to athletes being more susceptible to knockouts, concussions and traumatic brain injury because there’s not enough time to rehydrate the fluid on the brain. Plus, there are also other long-term hazards, especially with regards to kidney functions.

Many of the UFC’s elite fighters have nutritionists and treat cutting weight like a science. Weidman said it was miserable cutting 32 pounds in 10 days to fight Demian Maia on short notice in 2012, but otherwise he doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal.

“I’m fighting twice a year and I really try to do it the right way,” Weidman said. “It’s not like I’m cutting weight every weekend like a wrestling tournament. I think your body can handle it.

“People should know a safe amount of weight to drop. You shouldn’t try to kill yourself. If you use your brain, and do it right, it really shouldn’t be a problem.”

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