Tag Archive for Keeps
A flyweight title fight between Johnson vs. Borg won’t take the headline slot on October 7th.
Edmonton’s loss was Las Vegas’ gain when a flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg schedule for UFC 214 ended up getting cancelled last minute due to illness. The fight was quickly rescheduled for UFC 216 on October 7th … the only question remaining after that was whether the fight would become the new main event over an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.
Now we know: according to MMA Fighting, Ferguson vs. Lee will remain the main event, putting Johnson vs. Borg into the co-main slot. Typically in the event of multiple title bouts on a card, the fights are sorted with the heaviest weight class at the top of the card. But in the past, the UFC has put ‘real’ belt fights above interim belt fights, like at UFC 200 when Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes for the women’s bantamweight title was above Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title.
The lack of clear protocol is undoubtedly going to lead some to assume this is UFC president Dana White slighting Demetrious Johnson once again. Johnson recently earned White’s ire by refusing to face former bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw in what would have been TJ’s first fight at flyweight. Things got so bad off arguments stemming from that moment that rumor had it the UFC considered shutting down the entire flyweight division.
While that may not be happening, this latest move certainly reinforces the perception that the UFC doesn’t put much stock in their flyweights, even when the champion is on the verge of breaking the record for most consecutive title defenses in a row.
Bringing you the weird and the wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight…
Welcome to Midnight Mania, our nightly round up of all the mixed martial arts (MMA) odds and ends. Andrew is out enjoying a rare night of sweet, sweet freedom so you’re all stuck with me. But, if you think that’s bad, imagine how Demian Maia feels having to rely on Dana White sticking to a promise he made about Maia being next for a 170-pound title shot!
Maia, the wily Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, is currently sitting on a six-fight win streak and has apparently gotten assurances that he’s next in line — no cutsies! But, with Jorge Masvidal calling him out and White suggesting a fight between Maia and Nick Diaz was in the works, Demian has decided to speak out on Facebook regarding his situation:
When Dana White said at UFC NY post fight press conference, after Wonderboy and Woodley fought to a draw for the WW title, that I would get the next shot if I want to wait or I could fight somebody else, my understanding was that I had earned my title shot and that it was going to happen sooner or later, and it was my choice if I wanted to remain active or not. I have the biggest respect for Dana, I trust him, and I had seen how Woodley could wait for longer than a year and get his title shot, that ultimately crowned him as a champion, so why would I believe it would be any different with me?
Maia makes a more than rational argument for sitting back and waiting a little longer rather than taking a huge risk fight against tough opponents.
If others got their opportunities with less wins, or sometimes close fights? If the next WW fight was months away, I could understand any urgency’s, or a scenario where people feel other guys had to have their chance to claim a spot as the next contender right away. But the WW title fight is pretty much one month away, so It seems only natural to wait, and finally have my chance at WW, as this is what I really care about.
But, with both Tyron Woodley and UFC on the prowl for big money fights, who know what will happen next?
Slips, Rips, and KO Clips
Here’s Fabricio Werdum hanging out with controversial leader of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who recently got into a fight with Fedor Emelianenko over children competing in MMA that resulted in Fedor’s daughter being attacked.
Add “El Guapo” to the list of fighters singing the praises of CBD oil.
I #LoveCBD because it has restored my energy, strength, and endurance. I heard my kisses are also much softer What do you think @Rileecoyote? Tell us what you think by using #LoveCBD in a post on #Instagram and you could win free #CBD products from @ReceptraNaturals ! Visit BasCBD.com to get yours! @adams1212 @baiano97 @LRaptor @Ianheinischmma #hemp #Receptra #cbd #ufc #health #wellness #contest
Is it too late in the night for a Throwback Thursday to when “Korean Zombie” was young?
Super Sodiq Yusuff with more Throwback Thursday to his first pro knockout. Stick around for that shoulder shake after the killing blow.
Tbt. First pro fight. you never get a second chance to make a first impression pic.twitter.com/ynnxYvPPwk
— Sodiq yusuff (@deekyyyyy) February 2, 2017
Last throwback to this great axe kick knockout from Alfie Davis vs Nick Baker from last June.
Four years ago, Tyron Woodley made his UFC debut and knocked his opponent stupid with the same overhand right that’s dropping people today.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) February 2, 2017
Sage Northcutt and Tyron Woodley continue to explore interesting new realms of Bromance.
Amanda Nunes gives her Super Bowl prediction … sorta.
— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) February 2, 2017
“Rowdy” Bec Rawlings figures if you can’t eat pizza while cutting weight … be pizza.
— Bec Rawlings (@RowdyBec) February 2, 2017
Li Jingliang really wants a fight with CM Punk.
— UFC Li Jingliang (@UfcJingliang) February 1, 2017
— UFC Li Jingliang (@UfcJingliang) February 1, 2017
Now that we know Travis didn’t leave Edmond, he has Travis AND Winkles. Checkmate, haters.
— Photoshop_Steve (@photoshop_steve) January 20, 2017
Podcasts and Videos
Luke Thomas droppin’ dat knowledge.
Jack Slack taking us back to classic boxer Jack Johnson and his unique clinch work.
“Korean Zombie” vs. Leonard Garcia, just in case you forgot how awesome Chan Sung Jung is.
Apparently, Joe Riggs competed in a bareknuckle boxing match last weekend.
Ice Cube and Charlie Day on “UFC Tonight?” Okay then.
Odds and Ends
- BJJ champion Mackenzie Dern has her second MMA fight scheduled for Legacy Fighting Alliance on March 10, 2017, in San Antonio against Katherine Roy. Fortunately, if you don’t happen to live in the Lone Star state, you can still see her fight on AXS TV.
- Thiago Tavares has left UFC. The Brazilian veteran has been with the promotion since 2007 and amassed a 10-7-1 record over that time. He becomes the latest fighter to walk away from the promotion rather than sign a new contract. Instead, he’ll be getting back to action on Feb. 17, 2017, for Brazilian promotion Aspera FC.
- The HBO boxing pay-per-view (PPV) between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland originally set for Feb. 25, 2017, is off due to a broken nose suffered by Kirkland.
This bit of video randomness comes to us via Derrick Lewis …
Stay woke, Maniacs!
With rumors flying about the state of the UFC welterweight division, Demian Maia took to Facebook on Thursday to clear the air about his recent decisions.
Maia, 39, is currently riding a division-best seven-fight win streak and was expected to be the next title contender before UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson fought to a majority draw at UFC 205. The result forced Maia back into the division’s queue, with UFC president Dana White stating after UFC 205 that Maia would be given the choice of waiting for the next title shot or fighting again in the interim.
Maia elected to wait on the sidelines and has done exactly that, turning down an offer in late-2016 to fight former champion Robbie Lawler. But with the March 9 rematch between Woodley and Thompson at UFC 209 a little over a month away, Maia again found his name in the news, as Jorge Masvidal told MMA Junkie this week that Maia declined an offer to fight him.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday, Maia responded to Masvidal’s comments and explained his frustration with the situation at hand.
“When Dana White said at UFC NY post fight press conference, after Wonderboy and Woodley fought to a draw for the WW title, that I would get the next shot if I want to wait or I could fight somebody else, my understanding was that I had earned my title shot and that it was going to happen sooner or later, and it was my choice if I wanted to remain active or not,” Maia wrote. “I have the biggest respect for Dana, I trust him, and I had seen how Woodley could wait for longer than a year and get his title shot, that ultimately crowned him as a champion, so why would I believe it would be any different with me?
“I have fought many of the top fighters at MW and WW, including maybe the best ever at his prime, and I never had any problem fighting anyone at the right time. I would fight anyone at WW for a belt right now, interim or linear, and when we got the Masvidal fight offered we explained our reasons for being frustrated and wanting to wait for a title shot, how the proposed card could impact us financially, but said we would discuss it and come up with a decision. We [hadn’t] even said ‘no’ yet, when news starting to pop up that we had declined the fight. Fair enough I guess, as it’s not what we had in mind anyways.
“During the course of my WW journey, I have seen other fighters get title shots with win streaks that went from just one win, to three wins, and even people get a title shot coming of a loss,” Maia continued. “The only exceptions were (Johny) Hendricks on his first title shot, and Wonderboy on his title shot, and I always went on record agreeing and understanding that they were the rightful contenders.
“Even though I was naturally frustrated, I understood that a draw between Wonderboy and Woodley warranted a rematch, even though I had a different take on their fight. But with their next fight just four weeks away, why can’t I have my shot after they fight? If others got their opportunities with less wins, or sometimes close fights? If the next WW fight was months away, I could understand any urgency, or a scenario where people feel other guys had to have their chance to claim a spot as the next contender right away. But the WW title fight is pretty much one month away, so it seems only natural to wait, and finally have my chance at WW, as this is what I really care about.”
Maia’s recent run through the welterweight division has been highlighted by dominant victories over Neil Magny, Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson, and, most impressive of all, a two-minute romp over longtime contender Carlos Condit.
Maia pointed to his résumé as reason for his decision to wait, explaining that over the course of the past four years he has accepted numerous fights that benefitted him little in the UFC rankings, and that after striving for so long to reach the point where the title shot should be his, it was finally time to do what is best for himself and hope that the UFC follows through on its promise after UFC 209.
“I have been doing this for a long time, and my dream continues to be the same,” Maia wrote. “There’s nothing I want more right now than fighting for the belt, and with the rematch just weeks away, I hope that I hadn’t understand wrong and that I can have my chance. All I want is an opportunity that others had, sometimes with much less done to get their chances.
“This is a sport in the end, and even though it’s entertainment, there is no reason why it can’t be treated as a sport and still entertain lots of people. Whatever happens next, I trust Dana and the UFC, a place I have been calling home for the last 10 years, and I’ll continue on my path to become the best I can be.”
Maia’s full statement can be read below.
When one looks down the list of talent in mixed martial arts to reach top-tier status without ever stepping foot inside the Octagon, it doesn’t take long to see the name Michael Chandler. The current and two-time Bellator lightweight champion has reigned as one of Bellator’s posterboys for nearly half-a-decade, carving a wide, unforgiving swathe across the 155-pound landscape since his 2011 breakout win against Eddie Alvarez.
Over that time, Chandler has emerged alongside WSOF champion Justin Gaethje as one of only two homegrown lightweights in the division to be consistently ranked among the world’s best while never entertaining the call of the UFC.
But the fight game is a mercurial beast, and with Bellator continuing to emerge as a major player for talent under president Scott Coker, Chandler suddenly finds himself poised to be one of the greatest beneficiaries to the rise of free agency in MMA.
Whereas Chandler’s first Bellator title run was comprised of solid but relatively unheralded foes like the Rick Hawns and David Rickels of the world, the 30-year-old All-American now finds himself flush with attractive options for his second championship reign, ranging from ex-UFC and Strikeforce champions at 155 pounds, to budding stars and respected veterans at 170 pounds. Such a freshly stacked cupboard presents Chandler with exactly the kind of opportunity he has craved for years — the right mix of opponents to validate him as one of the best in the world — and that road to glory begins on Saturday night at Bellator 165, when Chandler seeks to defend his belt against former UFC champion Benson Henderson.
“Benson’s had a phenomenal career,” Chandler told MMA Fighting. “Definitely, back in the day, he was the UFC champion, I was the Bellator champion. He was ranked No. 1, I was ranked No. 3 in the world, and it was kind of that ‘what if’ match-up. What if these guys could fight? Now we finally get to see. He’s continued to impress. He’s continued to win. And great careers and great legacies can’t be had without great opponents. I look at Benson Henderson like that.
“He’s been champion of the WEC. He’s been champion of the UFC. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to step into that cage Saturday night and lose this belt.”
Henderson was one of Bellator’s prized pick-ups in early 2016, and for good reason. The 32-year-old put together a WEC and UFC résumé that rivaled any in the sport, defeating the likes of Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez over the course of a championship reign that matched UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn for the most successful in UFC lightweight history.
But it is no secret that Henderson has struggled to replicate that success under the Bellator umbrella. He first handily lost a welterweight title challenge to Andrey Koreshkov in his promotional debut, then escaped with an uncharacteristically listless win against Patricio Freire in his sophomore outing after “Pitbull” suffered a broken shin. And when it comes to the nature of those performances, Chandler has taken notice.
“I haven’t been too impressed,” Chandler said. “It’s one of things. When you come in and you lose a fight, and then you have another fight where he wasn’t necessarily doing that well and a guy breaks his leg, there’s really not a ton to be impressed with. But like we’ve seen before, the man is a champion. The man is a professional. Just because he has a couple bad performances doesn’t mean he’s not still one of the best in the world, and so I have to prepare accordingly.”
For Chandler, much of that preparation has been understanding how to not get sucked into Henderson’s game. A methodical and relentless tactician, Henderson and head coach John Crouch have long been considered among MMA’s most respected problem solvers. But Chandler has watched the two work from afar for years, and he is confident he knows how to crack through that plan of attack.
“Benson is a gameplan artist,” Chandler said. “He gets his gameplan, he sticks to it, and he’s focused on winning. I’m focused on dominating. I want to go out and I want to try to get the finish, so we’ll see how the chips fall on Saturday night.
“If the Benson Henderson of late shows up, it could be a better night than I thought it was going to be. But I believe he’s prepared. It’s no secret that him and I have been watching each other fight for the last six, seven, eight years, so we’re very familiar with each other, where those holes are, where those deficiencies are, and where those strengths are. So I’m excited to go out there and implement my gameplan, bite down on my mouthpiece, come out swinging like I always do, and I have full confidence that I’m going to go out there and get a dominant victory.”
Considering the accolades Henderson brings with him into the cage, a win on Saturday night would unquestionably be the biggest for Chandler since his first breakthrough triumph against Alvarez. It would also open the floodgates to a slew of challenges that could further cement Chandler’s place in the sport, and after spending the past five years slowly figuring out who he truly is as a martial artist, Chandler has come to understand exactly how important the names are on the other side of the cage.
“It’s key. It’s absolutely vital,” Chandler said. “I didn’t come into this sport to just fight and do well. I came into this sport to be great. I truly believe I was called to this sport to be put on a platform and reach new heights and reach people and do some great things, both athletically and in so many (other) aspects. In order to solidify my legacy, in order to continue to grow my brand, in order to continue to accomplish my mission, I need great opponents. That’s what I’ve said in the past and now we’re seeing a very interesting MMA landscape, with different guys coming over and guys leaving Bellator and going to the UFC.
“It’s awesome to be right here in the middle of it, getting the opportunity to go out and fight Benson Henderson. Getting the opportunity to fight Josh Thomson — he’s next. Getting the opportunity to possibly go up to welterweight and fight a guy like Rory MacDonald, fight Paul Daley, fight these guys, fight these names. There’s no doubt that there’s going to keep on being more shuffling of the MMA promotion rosters, and it’s great for me. The chips are falling great for me and I’m excited to be able to go out there and compete against a former world champion like Benson.”
Jon Anik made good.
The UFC play-by-play man now infamously bet his podcast and broadcast partner Kenny Florian that he would get a 209 tattoo if Nate Diaz managed to defeat Conor McGregor at UFC 196. He did Thursday — and posted a photo on Instagram.
The number 209 is the area code of Stockton, Calif., the home of the Diaz brothers and has has been kind of a calling card.
The bet became the object of scorn from the Diaz camp. Diaz tweeted about it during fight week and McGregor mentioned Anik during the pre-fight press conference.
“F*ck you and f*ck Jon Anik,” Diaz replied.
Of course, Diaz ended up beating McGregor, to the shock of many, via second-round submission. Diaz, in true Diaz fashion, closed the press conference with another shot at Anik.
“Yo, yo!” Diaz said. “Jon Anik better get a mother*cking 209 tattoo or I’m gonna whoop his little ass.”
Dada 5000 continues to bring up Kimbo Slice leaving Perrine, Fla., and Slice wants to “dislocate his jaw” so he’ll stop talking about it.
HOUSTON – Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000 are heading into the cage this Friday night (Feb. 19, 2016), serving as Bellator 149′s Heavyweight co-main event inside Toyota Center. And the back-and-forth between the two former bareknuckle fighters off the streets of Perrine, Fla., has been ongoing.
Dada, real name Dhafir Harris, still resides in the old neighborhood, while Slice has long since moved on. That really bothers Dada. And it has been a focal point in most of his interviews throughout the lead up to their grudge match this weekend.
Slice, 42, real name Kevin Ferguson, became an Internet sensation more than one decade ago when his street fights began to circulate on YouTube, which led to his overwhelming popularity and eventually a contract for his first professional fight in mixed martial arts (MMA), a spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and several fights in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Dada, 38, ran with Slice and his crew, but eventually broke off and turned the bareknuckle street fighting into a backyard promotion called “BYB,” where he was both promoter and referee. The underground promotion was featured in the 2015 Netflix documentary, “Dawg Fight,” which was directed by Billy Corben, who was behind the lens for “Cocaine Cowboys” and “The U.”
The film took six years to see the light of day, and Dada 5000 made his professional MMA debut in 2010. The man who once worked with the Department of Children and Families has a bachelor’s degree in education with a specialization in early childhood from Barry University. He is a big voice in his community and has been outspoken and adamant that Slice turned his back on Perrine and has since forgotten about his old neighborhood after he became a star.
“Well, I’m going to be honest with you, he has a small head, but a big mouth and he continues to stick his foot in his mouth,” Dada said at a recent open workout. “He stated he is a seven-figure n**ga, right? Then he stated that all his friends are with him, they are rich, and they are successful, right? He said, ‘What the hell am I coming back to my old neighborhood for?’ Right? He was like, ‘I don’t ‘F’ with none of those dudes down there like that.’ Hold on bro, you still got dudes that helped you out. Even when you was losing, people kept affiliating you with my movement. So, in actuality he needs to be telling me, ‘thank you,’ because indirectly I kept his career on life support when he got knocked out by Seth Petruzelli and all this other stuff. He needs to be telling me, ‘thank you,’ because if I wasn’t doing the backyard (fighting), he would’ve been forgotten about.”
When you ask Slice about the matter, he doesn’t have much tolerance for the topic, saying he wants to “dislocate his jaw” so Dada will shut up.
“What bothers me the most is that hood shit he’s talking about,” Slice said. “You know, talking childhood friends. I was a child at that time. I lived in that neighborhood at that time. I haven’t been a child for over 30 years. I haven’t been in that neighborhood in over 25 years. So, for him to say I left the hood, what sense are you making? You know what I’m saying. I got kids and possibly grandkids out there. I’m not worried about no hood shit right now. Not at this point in my life. No disrespect to my homies from back in the days, but come on man, you gotta be a fool. You know I ain’t talking about some hood shit.”
Dada thinks Slice turned his back on his old neighborhood and the people who live there and that he only came back recently because the segment was being filmed for the Spike TV special that previewed the card.
“Of course,” Dada said. “Listen, listen, listen, I thought it was going to be a riot when he came down the Sudamar Shop because people gathered around him. That was hurtful. You said all your friends are with you? They are rich and successful? You know what I’m saying? You have individuals that helped him out tremendously. He didn’t get here by his self? Neither did I. The difference between me and him is I acknowledge the people that help me.
“He only came on because I put him under the gun. I stated that he doesn’t come back to the hood. I stated that, you know, he only comes back when it’s beneficial to himself. His heart ain’t like mine. You know what I’m saying? You see, he’s one individual. You know what I’m saying? Theres many within me. He who dwells within me is stronger than him and he’s going to feel it.”
Slice was then asked if there was ever a time where the two of them could’ve spoken, because most of the beef between them came second hand from either side and not from a direct conversation.
“That sounds like a novel, that sounds like a book for a relationship, what you just said,” said Slice, drawing laughter from the attending media. “But, respectfully, you know what I’m saying? He’s a grown man as well as I am. No one needs to put shit into his head for him to feel the way he feels. No one definitely doesn’t it to me. Whatever is going on in his head spawned from him, his feeling, his thoughts. Whether it was jealousy, or again, beef toward ‘Icey Mike’ (Imber) and our crew. That motherfucker came up with this shit. He decided — you know we were done with the street fights — to pick up and run with it and fuck it up, or try to fuck it up.”
In regard to when Dada started to build resentment toward him, Slice claims he, “never knew the shit was coming” and was only aware of it when Dada “called him out.” Time has long since passed on ironing out any of their issues in a diplomatic fashion, and Slice says they will get to the root of the problem on Friday evening and settle things the old-fashioned way:
With their fists.
“We are getting to the bottom of it now,” he said. “This is how we get to the bottom of it: Two grown men handling and settling their beef in the cage as fighters. There’s no other way. There’s no sitting down talking over a glass of wine and dinner. That’s not going to happen.”
Paige Van Zant may be way too green to be worthy of a fight with UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but she’s scrappy as hell and pretty damn easy on the eyes. And with her performance in the opening bout of tonight’s UFC 191 main card, the UFC has to be happy that their budding star […]