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Semifinals! TUF 27 Results, Recap For Ep. 9

For complete results and recap of episode eight click here.

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) returns to FOX Sports 1 (FS1) later tonight (Weds., June 13, 2018) for episode nine of its first-ever “Undefeated” season. Coaching the cast of 16 mixed martial arts (MMA) hopefuls — split between the featherweight and lightweight divisions — are UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and UFC 205-pound kingpin Daniel Cormier.

“DC” is jumping up in weight to challenge Miocic at UFC 226 in July.

Episode nine kicks off the semifinals and we have two familiar faces returning from elimination, thanks to a pair of fight-related injuries. Replacing Luis Pena is lightweight John Gunther while Jay Cucciniello takes over for Ricky Steele at featherweight.

Here’s the TUF 27 semifinal line up:

155 lbs.: Mike Trizano vs. John Gunther

145 lbs.: Brad Katona vs. Bryce Mitchell

155 lbs.: Joe Giannetti vs. Allan Zuniga

145 lbs.: Tyler Diamond vs. Jay Cucciniello

Be sure to tune in tonight at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and follow along with us in the comments section below. Then hit us up again just as soon as the credits roll for our complete results and recap.

See you tonight!

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RECAP! Till Tops Thompson In Controversial Decision!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight contenders Stephen Thompson and Darren Till faced off last night (May 27, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 130 from inside Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

Thompson entered the bout last night looking to build a win streak and continue to hold his position as the top-ranked contender in the world. The Welterweight division has been shaking up with Kamaru Usman’s recent win and the upcoming interim title fight, but “Wonderboy” had to remain in the win column to ensure he was ahead of the pack. Alternatively, Till was the young, dangerous upstart looking to jump the line and immediately move into title contention. In front of his home crowd, Till looked to turn in a second consecutive star-making performance.

The bout opened with lots of feints from both men and pressure from Till. Thompson stayed light on his feet, changing directions frequently and avoiding the fence. Much of the round featured more feints than exchanges, as both high-level strikers felt the other out. Both men mostly landed with low kicks, and “Wonderboy” was able to score with a couple of sudden punches forward.

The opening five minutes were fairly uneventful.

Till turned up the pressure in the second. Marching forward, Till chopped at his opponents legs with round kicks and stomps. He also adjusted to Thompson’s bursts, attempting to catch his opponent in the double-collar tie. Till was still unable to fully cut off the cage, but his jab did connect on the circling Karateka more often. Meanwhile, Thompson landed some side kicks, but he wasn’t able to do all that much to his advancing foe.

The scorecards were likely tied after two rounds.

Despite his slower second round, Thompson seemed to have found his range in the second. Previously, neither man connected on many clean power punches, but “Wonderboy” began to find a home for his counter cross repeatedly. Till’s response to getting punched in the face was to throw more punches, which generally created more counter striking opportunities for Thompson.

Till scored a big left hand near the bell, but otherwise found little success in the third.

Till opened the fourth with heavier pressure, kicking Thompson towards the fence and trying to find a home for his left hand. Instead, Thompson scored with counters. Still, Till’s left hand was scoring occasionally and generally getting closer to landing flush. After the initial fast start of the round, sadly, the pace slowed back down and reverted to something of a stalemate.

Till scored some nice jabs and a cross to end the round, but it was a very difficult round to score.

Neither fighter diverted from the game plan in the fifth. Just as the fight seemed to be destined to walk its way to a decision, Till scored with a couple sharp jabs and cracked Thompson with a follow up left. Thompson hit the mat briefly and jumped back up, returning to his own offense in an attempt to back Till off. It somewhat worked, as the two slowed back down until the end of the round.

Till clearly won the fifth round, seemingly leaving the decision riding on the uneventful fourth. Despite the apparent closeness of the fight, Till was awarded a wide decision win.

Personally, I scored the bout 3-2 in favor of the Liverpool-native, although I also feel that 3-2 Thompson is certainly reasonable. The 49-46 for either man strikes me as bizarre, but luckily I don’t have to try to analyze judges.

Instead, let’s talk about the most effective weapon from either man: Darren Till’s jab. It may not have been the most powerful shot of the fight, but Till’s jab found Thompson’s chin more than any other punch. Early on, Till was too focused simply on landing the left, and he frequently came up short as a result. Once Till adjusted and began popping Thompson with the jab whenever in range, he found more success.

“Wonderboy” had to circle away from the left, so the jab was very effective.

In Thompson’s case, his counter crosses are usually his best weapon, and that held true last night. Whenever he did convince Till to over-commit, he stung him with a hard cross on the jaw. Till has some weight on Thompson and a big ol’ head, and both helped him a lot, as those counter crosses would’ve dropped a lot of fighters.

This being a controversial decision makes the consequences interesting for both men. A rematch in the future is possible, but the slower pace as a result of matching up counter strikers is not ideal. Instead, Till will likely receive a title eliminator next — Kamaru Usman? — and “Wonderboy” will remain a Top 5 staple still in range for a shot whenever Woodley loses the crown.

Last night, Darren Till scored a narrow victory in his home town. Who will the knockout artist face next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 130: “Thompson Vs. Till” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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Bellator 200 ‘Carvalho vs Mousasi’ Recap & Highlights!

Bellator 200

Bellator 200 ‘Carvalho vs Mousasi’ aired Friday night (May 25, 2018) from SSE Arena in London, England. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where Rafael Carvalho put his Middleweight title up in a fight with Gegard Mousasi!

Bellator 200 “Carvalho vs. Mousasi” took place last night (Fri., May 25, 2018) at SSE Arena in London, England. The Middleweight event was guaranteed to make sparks fly. Reigning champion Rafael Carvalho (15-1) had the biggest test of his career to date in former DREAM and Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2). Who would emerge the victor in this exciting bout?

Mousasi’s wrestling and his ground game was the difference maker in this fight. He took the champ down, Carvalho got up, and Mousasi took him right back down again. He transitioned to full mount, started to unload with strikes, and Miragliotta stepped in and stopped the fight at 3:35 of the first round, giving the legend Mousasi yet another world title around his waist in only his second Bellator fight. Here’s what he had to say after claiming what was once exclusively Carvalho’s property.

“It feels good, I worked hard for this. All my friends that came, all the audience that came, thank you. Spending the money to come watch the fights, thank you very much. I was thinking it could go five rounds but I fight with heavy guys so my strength is up to there. Once I’m on top position I’m good I think. I think everyone want to see Rory MacDonald, hopefully he doesn’t chicken out and we have a fight.”

Undefeated Welterweight Michael “Venom” Page (12-0) soaked in the adulation of his home country fans before he prepared for a striking exchange with head hunting, snake head biting “Caveman” David Rickels (19-4, 2 NC).

If the opening round seemed like “The MVP Show” that’s only because it was. The crowd whooped and roared for his antics as he danced around a befuddled Rickels, dropping him with right hands whenever he chose, stopping to breakdance or strike a pose whenever he wanted. Rickels had no answers for anything Page threw his way – not even his attempt at a spinning backfist that missed. MVP was clearly having a good time.

Rickels verbally submitted to strikes after his eye was exploded by a perfectly timed right hand, ending the fight at 0:43 of the second round. Page spoke to “Big” John McCarthy about improving to a perfect 13-0 afterward while wearing a replica Infinity Gauntlet.

“LONDON!!!!! The one and only MVP is back!! I would just, sorry guys, I would like to just dedicate this fight to Helena Ramsey. My little cousin unfortunately died out there and got caught with a bullet so I want to dedicate this fight to her. I’ve got an amazing team. I’m saying to anybody now. Any kind of sparring you want, come to London Shoot, we’re always ready. You know what? This is the sharpest I’ve felt. I went through a hellish training camp back to back to back because I was preparing for a fight that never happened, and I’m here in front of the best crowd in the world, supporting me to the end. London I love you. These guys give me energy. I never feel pressure in front of these guys. Are you crazy? I will never feel pressure. Just let me click my fingers, I’m taking over everybody… EVERYBODY.”

On the road to regaining his Light Heavyweight crown, former champion “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (18-4, 1 NC) would have to go through two time No. 1 contender Linton “The Swam” Vassell (18-6, 1 NC).

Both men seemed content to ram home leg kicks in the first round, with Vassell scoring repeatedly on Davis’ lead left leg, but Davis was the better striker despite Vassell owning a size and reach advantage. Davis threw straight shots that connected while Vassell threw looping hooks that Davis could avoid. Davis drove home the point late in Round 1 with a knee straight up the middle, but this round was a war.

The second round turned into a wrestling battle, which as you might expect favored Davis, but it wasn’t without merit for Vassell. He charged his way into takedowns and seemed to muscle “Mr. Wonderful” to the canvas, but Davis would quickly backdoor escape and wind up on top, and once they were back on their feet Davis was once again outscoring Vassell with significant strikes including a right head kick.

At the pace both men had set in the earlier frames you might have expected this one to go to a decision. Phil Davis had other plans and timed a wildly missed overhand by Vassell, baited him with a feint, then landed a sterling right kick to the head that put Vassell out cold at 1:05 of Round 3.

“Big” John McCarthy stepped into the cage to speak to Davis after his sensational finish.

“I knew Linton was tough, and I knew he was strong, but God dog he’s really tough and strong as an ox. Hostile territory, loud crowd, I can’t leave anything to change. Whoever steps in this cage has to deal with me. If that doesn’t give you heebie jeebies, if that doesn’t keep you up at night, I don’t know what does!”

The SSE Arena was also host to fan favorite Anastasia Yankova (5-0) for a Flyweight bout with local favorite Kate Jackson (9-3-1).

Jackson had the experience edge going in, but Yankova had been a darling of the Flyweight division until the first round of this fight. The first five minutes may have been the most one sided beating she’s ever had outside of a sparring session on her first day in training. She was taken to the ground by Jackson and fed a 10-8 diet of brutal left hands.

Yankova did better in Round 2, but let’s put “better” in quotation marks because it was only a 10-9 beating. She did manage to stuff a few takedown attempts against the fence and throw a few nice left hands late when Jackson rolled for a heel hook after being warned by Leon Roberts to get more active. It was a moral victory but Yankova was still in a deep hole going into Round 3.

There was one brief moment of glory for Yankova in round three as Roberts gave Jackson another “get busy” warning and her takedown attempt wound up putting Yankova on top. She worked her way to side control and was looking for an armbar, but Jackson was able to sweep, get a full mount, and unload with elbows to cement the round. The judges scored it 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 for Jackson. No post-fight interview followed.

At a catchweight of 163 lbs. undefeated reality TV story Aaron Chalmers (3-0) took on this week’s can of tomato soup named Ash Griffiths (4-6).

Griffiths took his one shot to overwhelm Chalmers by going for a takedown right away, but Chalmers popped up immediately and Griffiths redoubled his efforts. A potentially controversial knee struck Chalmers as he was posted on one hand getting back up from the next takedown, but he shook it off and clipped Griffiths with a hard shot then stood him up and leaned back for the guillotine choke. It was all over in a minute and fifty-five seconds.

“Erm, I’ve been working a lot on me ground game. Took a knee, moved myself, bang — sit down son! Geordies if you don’t like it then f—k off – simple as that! I’ve got a top team (like) Tom Breese, that’s why I just put him away in the first round once again.”

A late addition to the main card saw up and coming prospect Mike Shipman square off with Carl Noon, and he only needed 11 seconds to finish off a man who hadn’t fought in six+ years. One solid right hand dropped Noon immediately, and Dan Miragliotta waved it off as Shipman landed multiple hammerfists.

The fight was over so fast that Bellator didn’t even attempt to go to a commercial break, and Shipman got some interview time with John McCarthy after the bout ended.

“It’s my switch step right hook. It’s my trademark move and it’s my pleasure to introduce it to the world. That’s my quickest (knockout) so far. I knew he was going to come out lively but he had to worry about what I’ve got as well. I’m not in any hurry. That was an impressive finish so hopefully I’ll get a well recognized fighter next time and work my way up to a contender.”

For complete Bellator 200 results and coverage click here.

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RECAP! Sterling Dominates Johns In AC!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight grapplers Aljamain Sterling and Brett Johns dueled last night (Sat., April 21, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 128 from inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Sterling had the misfortune of winding up on the wrong side of one of 2017’s most violent knockouts, which set him back from the title mix considerably. Sterling returned to the cage for the first time since that loss last night, and he hoped to return to the win column as well. Alternatively, Johns entered the cage undefeated. 3-0 inside the Octagon, Johns also recently scored a ridiculously slick calf slicer in his last bout. Safe to say that the European athlete had some momentum behind him, but he was also taking the biggest step up in competition available.

Sterling opened the fight by taking advantage of his range, attacking the lead leg and working the jab. Johns pressured in response, looking to answer with counters. Early on, Sterling did a great job of hand-fighting from the opposite stance, occupying his foe’s lead hand before landing with his cross or kick.

A clinch takedown attempt from Sterling led to a mount from Johns, but the end result of the immediate scramble remained that Sterling gained top position. Johns worked up quickly and freed himself from the clinch with a minute remaining int he round, chasing Sterling and trying to make up lost ground.

Johns finished the round with a single leg takedown, but he clearly lost the opening five minutes.

“The Pikey” opened the round with a lot of aggression, and he soon found his way into another single leg attempt. It was a deep shot, but Sterling defended well then flurried, landing heavy shots to chin and body. Johns ate some nasty shots, but he fared better in the brawl than the kickboxing match, stinging Sterling with some power of his own and a nice left hook to the body.

Sterling got the better of the exchanges but shut them down with a brief double leg takedown. The fight moved into the clinch, where Sterling kept his foe jammed into the cage.

The second ended with more exchanges, but Sterling’s range allowed him to land the cleaner blows.

Neither game plan changed moving into the final five minutes, but Sterling’s kicks-and-takedowns combination was a lot for Johns to deal with. It led to another clinch along the fence, but this time Sterling was able to complete the takedown and briefly take the back. Johns was never in the much trouble, but the back take and continuing clinch transitions cost him a huge chunk of time, something the Welsh athlete needed for any type of comeback opportunity.

Johns didn’t gain separation until there were 90 seconds remaining in the bout. Johns immediately tried to attack, but Sterling smartly jammed him back in the fence at every opportunity.

Sterling finished the bout in style, slamming Johns, taking his back, and dropping some heavy ground strikes before the bell rang.

This was a dominant performance from the New Yorker and an excellent way to bounce back. From the first bell to the final second, Sterling imposed his will and executed a very smart game plan. He made a game fighter with legitimate skills look out-classed, which is exactly what a top 10 fighter should do.

Sterling’s range was brilliant. Johns wanted to get into the pocket and land big shots, but Sterling only allowed him into that distance when he wanted it there. Otherwise, Sterling was stinging Johns with hard kicks and long punches then shooting when Johns tried to step forward. Furthermore, Sterling used the clinch very well, winning large portions of the fight and frustrating his opponent by stuffing him into the cage.

The only thing missing was a finish, but Sterling came somewhat close in the final 10 seconds. “Funk Master” called out Dominick Cruz in his post-fight interview, which would be a reasonable match up IF Cruz has working knees, elbows, and feet.


Johns faced a step up in competition, and it showed. A few times, he was in deep on a takedown, a position he usually finishes right away. When faced with a far better defensive wrestling than usual, Johns was slow to react, and that allowed Sterling to gain the advantage in 50-50 situations.

On the whole, Johns was not aggressive enough, which is definitely the result of Sterling’s excellent game plan. At the same time, Johns should have reached a point where he just let loose and chased the win. Keeping a high pace was a major key for Johns here, but he allowed Sterling to dictate that, and any potential cardio edge never came into play as a result.

Last night, Aljamain Sterling out-classed his opponent for 15 minutes. Who will Sterling face next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 128: “Barboza vs. Lee” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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Bellator 197 ‘Chandler vs Girtz’ Recap & Highlights!

Bellator 197 ‘Chandler vs Girtz’ aired Friday night (Apr. 13, 2018) from Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where former two time champion Michael Chandler took on top contender Brandon Girtz!

Bellator 197 “Chandler vs. Girtz” took place last night (Fri., Apr. 13, 2018) at Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. The main event featured two Lightweights looking to tear the house down as both seek a future title shot against current champion Brent Primus.

Last year’s injury TKO loss loss to Primus left a sour taste in the mouth of Michael Chandler (17-4) to the point that he claimed he didn’t want the title back, but on this night at least he wouldn’t have to worry about that as he’d have to go through the resurgent Brandon Girtz (15-7) first.

Girtz landed an accidental left kick to the groin that forced referee Jason Herzog to call for time. After the restart Chandler landed an accidental finger to the eye that led to another time out and a doctor coming in to check Girtz’ vision. Once both of these moments were over the fight really got underway.

At one point Girtz seemed to have control when he threw a flurry, stuffed a takedown and landed a hard uppercut on the exit. Chandler edged Girtz backward toward the fence, threw a right hand and immediately went for the double leg, sailing Girtz high through the air before slamming him down. He went for the arm triangle choke and Girtz passed out without tapping out at the 4:00 mark of the very first round.

“Big” John McCarthy talked to Chandler after his 15th Bellator MMA win.

“It’s an honor to step in this cage man. This is something that I will never ever take for granted and I thank everybody for coming out. I felt him crumble a little bit there on the slam. Brandon Girtz is the kind of guy we need in this sport. The future is bright and I’m excited to see what the future holds. I just now hit my prime so I might be fighting into my 40’s. We’ll have to find out.”

Speaking of flawless fighters, A.J. McKee ran up a perfect 10-0 record heading into Bellator 197, but to remain unbeaten he’d have to take on durable Ultimate Fighter veteran Justin Lawrence (11-4) and take him apart. McKee indulged the date on the calendar with a Friday the 13th inspired entrance.

Lawrence pushed the pace in the first round and came forward aggressively. McKee was content to be on his back foot given he had a seven inch reach advantage, and he used it to repeatedly pummel his opponent with hooks and jabs, even throwing in some flashy body kicks and switch kicks to mix things up.

Midway through the second round Lawrence rolled his left ankle and started backpedaling. McKee immediately gave chase and started targeting it with kicks. It was another 10-9 round for “Mercenary” and now he had a target with a bullseye on it for the final five.

Lawrence seemed to recover from his leg injury for the final five minutes to the point he could continue to battle, and he even managed to stuff McKee’s takedown attempts, but he had no answer for the kicks that punished him each time they’d break. A.J. McKee made it a clean sweep with a 30-27 X3 unanimous decision and spoke to John McCarthy about a “p**sy” from Ireland.

“I’m fantastic man. I feel great. Ready for war! Thanks to Justin Lawrence. Now you see what it is when I fight somebody at my level. Hey, James Gallagher, you keep pulling out of fights. Let me and my father fight the same night and I’ll whoop yo’ ass homey. You’re nothing like Conor McGregor and I’m gonna expose you. Let’s do this shit homey!”

The continually improving “Baby Slice” Kevin Ferguson Jr. would have another chance to show his mettle and potentially pick up a third win against the unbeaten (1-0) Devon Brock at 160 lbs.

“Baby Slice” wasn’t getting paid by the hour last night — he was getting paid by the second. After crushing Brock with a right hand behind his ear, he pounded away on the ground until Brock gave up his back, sinking in the rear-naked choke for a tapout at 0:34 of the first round.

After his quick and thrilling finish, Ferguson had plenty of energy left to chat with John McCarthy.

“Me and my coach Antonio McKee and Team Body Shop, Team Kimbo, we were working on the overhand right hook. I was trying to set it up but I waited until he got close and I let it loose. It’s position before submission first but the ground and pound wasn’t working because the guy had a hard head. I could see his equilibrium was off though so I took advantage. There’s a couple of guys on the list in Miami I’d like to fight so let’s see if we can make that happen.”

Rounding out the main card was a tough Welterweight showdown between Logan Storley (7-0) and local favorite Joaquin Buckley (8-1) looking to notch his third-straight win in Bellator.

It should come as no surprise that a wrestler trained by Brock Lesnar was ready and willing to take Buckley down quickly in Round 1. Storley kept yanking Buckley down every time he got back up, preferring to stay in half guard to grind away, ending the first frame with a series of hard shots and elbows. The second verse was the same as the first save for a full mount for ground-and-pound with 25 seconds left.

Buckley felt the sting of the takedown even more quickly in the third frame with Storley picking the leg to a chorus of unfriendly boos at the Family Arena. Their displeasure did nothing to change the outcome as Storley continued to ride Buckley, take the back whenever he tried to get up, and take side control whenever he put him back down.

The judges made it 30-27 and 30-26 X2 all for “Storm” Storley, who spoke to “Big” John McCarthy after the win as more boos rained down.

“I feel great! I wish I could have got the finish and made it more exciting but at the end of the day I got the win. I’m undefeated 8-0 so I don’t know what else you want. The biggest thing I felt tonight stepping in this cage was it felt like home. I went in there and did my job. I listened to my corner and got the W. Thank you St. Louis!”

Hall of Fame NFL running back Marcus Allen was there to take in all of the action!

For complete Bellator 197 results and coverage click here.

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RECAP! Griffin Picks Perry Apart!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight head-knockers Mike Perry and Max Griffin threw down last night (Feb. 24, 2018) at UFC on FOX 28 inside Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Perry has seen ups-and-downs in his short UFC career, but he’s also demonstrated a ton of natural ability and more charisma than most of his peers. Last night, Perry was looking to return to the win column with a big knockout and get back on track. Griffin, meanwhile, was brought in to brawl with Perry in front of his hometown crowd, but “Pain” didn’t intend to lay down for his opponent. For the first time, Griffin had a full fight camp unhindered by other work, and he brought a new confidence into this fight as a result.

It showed in the cage.

Perry came out firing, looking to land his big right hand and lead leg kick. Grffin did a good job to avoid the heavy shots, looking to return with kicks and slow down Perry. He also worked the jab, looking to sting Perry as he worked his way inside. Outside of the low kick, Perry had a lot of trouble landing on his opponent. He tried to force the exchanges, resulting in him eating punches instead. However, Perry flipped the switch in the final minute, landing a big takedown and finishing the round in mount.

It wasn’t quite the brawl we all expected, but five competitive minutes of combat were in the books.

Griffin picked and moved early in the second, landing good straight shots to Perry’s face. Perry changed his approach a bit, showing more patience and targeting the body and legs more often. He was throwing one strike at a time too much though, which allowed Griffin to pick up points. Griffin’s jab and reach advantage were giving Perry a lot of trouble throughout the round, as his punches came up short much of the time. Griffin connected with a big left hook near the end of the round, dropping his foe to the mat. Perry seemed nearly asleep, but “Platinum” hung tough and managed to recover nevertheless.

Heading into the final frame, Perry was in desperate need of a big comeback.

A big counter right from Perry wobbled the knees of Griffin to open third round, giving Perry a chance to get back into the fight. Perry briefly took his foe’s back but fell off, and after that grappling exchange his opponent seemed to have recovered. However, a minute later, a massive left hook and right hand stumbled his opponent once more.

Griffin was smart though, as he continued looking to avoid the pocket. Perry was able to force the issue, continuing to land big shots as he pursued Griffin relentlessly. Perry hurt his foe a couple times but was unable to earn the finish.

Griffin was awarded the unanimous decision win as a result.

“Pain” fought beautifully here. He did a good job to kick the lead leg and slow Perry down, but it was really Griffin’s boxing that separated him from Perry. He established the jab early before using the threat of the jab to make Perry hesitate. Then, Griffin alternated between counters and bursts to land heavy shots on Perry, which further broke the athletic fight down.

Griffin showed great composure as well. Perry put heat on him and tried to force him into a brawl, but Griffin never fell too far off the game plan and always returned to his distance whenever Perry’s offense did get through.

Once again, this fight showed that Perry needs a real camp or at least a dedicated high-level coach. He shows some amount of development in each fight, but the game plan to defeating him has been written. Unless he’s able to really push forward technically and develop a new approach, he’s never going to have easy fights in the UFC.

He’s young and talented enough to do it, but Perry needs guidance.

Last night, Max Griffin out-worked his opponent en route to a decision win. Who should “Pain” face next?

For complete UFC on FOX 28: “Stephens vs. Emmett” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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Bellator 194 ‘Mitrione Vs Nelson 2’ Recap And Highlights!

Bellator 194 ‘Mitrione vs Nelson 2’ aired Friday night (Feb. 16, 2018) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where Matt Mitrione and Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson met for a second time!

Bellator 194 “Mitrione vs. Nelson 2” took place last night (Fri., Feb. 16, 2018) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The second bracket of the Heavyweight Grand Prix was filled out by two former UFC fighters who know each other of old.

Both “Big Country” Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione competed on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, but would not meet until “Meathead” Mitrione filled in for Shane Carwin at the TUF 16 Finale. Mitrione lost that first encounter by TKO. How would he fare in the rematch?

The first round went solidly to Matt Mitrione. Multiple takedown attempts were stuffed all while “Meathead” punished Nelson with leg kicks and uppercut hands. Nelson finally got a takedown with a minute and change left but scored no offense on top even while he had side control. Round 2 was as Mike Goldberg would say “virtually identical” right down to the late takedown, only Mitrione was also able to open up a cut around Nelson’s left eye, giving him multiple bullseyes to target.

Nelson got the takedown much earlier in Round 3 and it proved to be a huge difference maker, leading to an eventual mounted crucifix where he was pounding on Mitrione. He repeatedly told referee Dan Miragliotta “I’m good. I’m good!” Miragliotta did not stop it. Nelson went for an armbar instead and Mitrione was able to escape. Nelson took him back down again with under a half minute left. “Big Country” won Round 3, but what about the fight?

The judges scored this contest 28-28 and 29-28 X2 for Mitrione by majority draw.

Mitrione spoke to “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen after the scores were announced and Mitrione begged his daughter to go to the father-daughter dance the next night.

“Why is he so damn tough? I hid that cat so damn hard with so many shots. I’m not a judge. I’ll see you guys the next round. I think I’ll see Bader (in) the next round.”

That was not the only rematch in Uncasville. Lightweight fighters Patricky Freire and Derek Campos squared off, with “Pitbull” Freire having won the previous battle via TKO.

The second fight looked much like the first one, only it happened a lot faster this time. Freire let Campos be the aggressor and danced back and forth on the outer circle, making him spin around when he occasionally landed the leg kick, picking the perfect moment to uncork a left hand. When Campos wobbled Freire poured it on, making him stumble a second time, then drop to his knees and face plant for the finish at 2:23 when Kevin MacDonald stopped it and made “Pitbull” the TKO winner.

Chael Sonnen spoke to Freire afterward when he picked up his third straight win.

“It felt great! Like a fun day where I play with my kids at my house. My motivation is the belt. I will beat the champion easy. Mark my words. I’m the next champion!”

Something Freire said was bleeped out after that. Sonnen wasn’t done yet and tried to follow up.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I want just the belt, and beat the champion, I want to beat all champions in my house, HERE, BELLATOR IS MY HOUSE.”

A former Light Heavyweight champion looked to get back on track against a hard hitting Russian as Liam McGeary donned the four ounce gloves to face Vadim Nemkov.

Even though McGeary is the taller man with the longer reach, Nemkov showed no fear of either advantage and continually had McGeary backpedaling. At one point Nemkov unloaded four straight kicks to McGeary’s lead left leg. It was a dominant and one-sided first round for the Russian.

The second round was just as lopsided in Nemkov’s favor. The lone chance that McGeary had was when Nemkov got on top after a clinch and McGeary tried to cinch up his patented triangle. Nemkov quickly backed out and threw kicks until McGeary stood up at 1:20, then battered the left leg with heavy kicks until the bell ended Round 2.

The end was inexorably and inevitably coming as Nemkov continued to hammer the kicks home in round three. It was quickly clear that McGeary was having problems standing when he fell down throwing a kick and couldn’t get back up. Nemkov targeted the bullseye on the left leg when he finally stood up again and each time McGeary winced and wobbled. When one final kick caused McGeary to turn his head away and fall to the ground Dan Miragliotta waved it off at 4:02.

Two MMA fighters with boxing know-how put their records on the line in the first of two contests between them as Heather Hardy (1-1) faced Ana Julaton (2-3) at Flyweight.

The first round was not the fireworks and excitement that many expected from the experienced strikers. We had long stalemates against the cage with Julaton looking for a takedown and Hardy looking for a choke. Hardy finally won that war in the last minute and was going for the finish on the ground until the bell but Julaton resisted and did not tap.

Julaton did marginally better in Round 2 by scoring a takedown 45 seconds in, but she felt so threatened by Hardy’s submission attempts that she backed away when it got near the fence and let Hardy get her back and go for a second choke. Hardy had more chances to win so she barely edged out Round 2.

The third round was so dull that referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the clinch against the fence and reset them to the center multiple times. Each time Julaton would drive Hardy back into the cage… and do nothing. By all rights this should be a 10-10 round. Even when Hardy got a late takedown Julaton swept her way on top before the bell, meaning neither fighter gained anything from it.

The judges sorted out this snooze fest and handed down a 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 Hardy decision.

After scoring a highlight reel flying knee knockout in his Bellator debut, Featherweight Tywan Claxton returned for a main card fight against Jose Antonio Perez.

This one won’t get a million views on YouTube, but it was no less of a one sided victory. In the first round Claxton took Perez down and unloaded heavy right hands and elbows from half guard. In the second frame Claxton did more of the same only he managed to pin Perez’ head against the fence, forcing referee Keith Peterson to step in at 3:39 after seeing Perez take an uncontested battering.

Despite the domination Claxton sounded frustrated in his interview with Chael Sonnen.

“Yeah I’m just really disappointed you know. My debut I got a beautiful flying knee, and I wanted to come out and put on a show. I had to take him down and finish him with elbows but I wanted to get another knockout and it just didn’t happen. I’m going to go back to the gym and start working again. I went for it. I wanted to hit it again. I’m just going to have to come back with different set-ups. I changed my name to ‘Air’ Claxton so I’m going to have to try for it in every fight.”

For complete Bellator 194 results and coverage click here.

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RECAP! Matthews Survives Eye-Gouge, Wins Decision!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight bruisers Jake Matthews and Li Jingliang battled last night (Sat., Feb. 10, 2018) at UFC 221 inside Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.

When Jingliang was first signed, it was with few expectations. However, the Chinese athlete has come a long way since then, securing multiple knockout wins and entering this bout on a significant win streak. Interestingly, the opposite was true for his opponent. Matthews entered UFC hyped as an Australian wunderkind, and he lived up to early expectations. Since then, however, “The Celtic Kid” has struggled, seemingly unsure of his own mid-fight decisions.

The 23-year-old turned that around last night, looking better than ever.

After a brief feeling out process, Matthews began to find success with his in-and-out combinations, scoring some hard shots on his advancing foe. Jingliang did not back off, moving forward behind the jab and trying to time a heavy right hand across his foe’s joe.

Jingliang had trouble finding his range and tried to force the issue, but he ran into a brutal counter right hand from Matthews that saw him hit the mat. Matthews immediately jumped into mount, dropping punches and transitioning into back mount. Matthews controlled the fight from there until the end of the round, trying to sink in a rear naked choke.

It was a drastically different start for Matthews compared to his tentative Welterweight debut.

An early exchange saw both men land power shots and gave Matthews a chance to jump on a guillotine, but Jingliang used toughness and some fingers in the eyes to escape. From top position, Jingliang dropped hammers on the Aussie, who scrambled up quickly and returned to the favor.

At the halfway point of the round, Jingliang’s forward march was beginning to wear on “The Celtic Kid.” Matthews found himself backed into the fence more often, where Jingliang’s big combinations were far more accurate. Matthews was not done though, he fired heavy shots back despite his obvious fatigue.

Cheater tactics or not, Jingliang was back in the fight.

Jingliang, as usual, continued walking his foe down into the third, firing right hands and low kicks. Matthews answered with a double leg takedown, but he was unable to hold “The Leech” down, who continued to stalk his foe with power shots.

A big right hand from Matthews stunned the Chinese athlete, but Jingliang somehow immediately scrambled into top position. Matthews was able to return to his feet rather quickly, and the pair scrapped to the final bell.

All three judges awarded Jake Matthews the victory.

This was a vastly superior “Celtic Kid” compared to his last few bouts. The biggest improvement was some mix of confidence and comfort, as Matthews has always shown skilled-but-inconsistent kickboxing. In this bout, he really did let his hands go, and the results were pretty stunning.

Matthews did a great job of maintaining an extra step of distance. Jingliang tried to lead with the cross and 1-2 all night, but Matthews stayed just out of range. When Matthews led, it was with a big movement — like a flying knee or lunging punch — but much of his success came by countering when Jingliang came up short.

All in all, both men found success in the grappling, so it really was Matthews’ improved kickboxing that earned him the victory.

First and foremost, Jingliang’s eye gouging is something I’m obligated to address. It was obviously an illegal way for Jingliang to escape the guillotine, and it was definitely intentional. From a fighter’s perspective, however, I have no real issue with “The Leech.” Those who fight tend to understand that anything goes, and if the referee doesn’t call it, it never happened.

Most fans will be pissed, but Jingliang’s tactic kept him in the fight and gave him a chance to win. Ask yourself, “would I cheat to give myself a chance at $ 20,000?” Jingliang’s win bonus is somewhere around that figure, and more than that, simply not wanting to lose on the big stage is a motivator to do crazy things. Outside of the foul, only Jingliang’s toughness and cardio kept the fight close. “The Leech” made few adjustments and made poor tactical errors throughout the fight, which allowed Matthews to do so much damage. In the future, Jingliang must do a better job of closing the distance.

Last night, Jake Matthews scored the biggest win of his pro career. What’s next for the young prospect?

For complete UFC 221: “Rockhold vs. Romero” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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UFC 220 results from last night: Rob Font vs Thomas Almeida fight recap

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight kickboxers Thomas Almeida and Rob Font squared off last night (Jan. 20, 2018) at UFC 220 inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Almeida entered this bout having lost two of his previous three, putting some pressure on him to perform in this match up. Opposite a fellow striking specialist, the Brazilian was hoping to get back in the win column and title mix. Font was in a similar situation of beating up all non-contenders but struggling against the best. The Boston-native has scored some highlight reel finishes in the past, and one more here would do big things for his career.

Font took advantage of his opponent’s habit of starting slow by walking his foe back. Working behind the jab, Font set up his right hand and hunted for the takedown. It didn’t come, but Font was scoring well early on the Brazilian athlete.

As Almeida grew comfortable, he began to make adjustments. First and foremost, Almeida began to time the jab, countering with low kicks and the cross counter. Additionally, Almeida stopped backing off, standing his ground in exchanges and back Font up more often.

It was a competitive round, but Almeida finished strong.

Font didn’t like the end of the round one bit, and he went after Almeida at the start of the second. The Boston-native landed a pair of right hands that followed his jab, and the second one dropped Almeida badly. Font very likely could have finished his foe with punches, but he chose to wrestle instead, and Almeida was able to recover.

Ultimately though, it didn’t matter. Just as Almeida seemed to have his feet back under him, Font fired a head kick as the Brazilian slipped over to land a body shot. It connected clean, and Almeida slumped to the mat.

This had all the makings of a firefight, and both men delivered. It was a back-and-forth scrap that saw both men land hard shots, but ultimately it was Font who pulled ahead in the second round.

Stylistically, Font’s boxing seemed to match up well with Almeida’s historic lack of head movement. The Brazilian relies on distance to keep him safe, but that tends to fall apart opposite an intelligent jab. Font used the jab to work his way forward as Almeida back away, setting up his hard right hand repeatedly.

For a moment, it seemed like Font made a mistake by choosing to wrestle his rocked opponent. Once the two were back up, however, Font continued to pick his shots well, switching to the uppercut as his foe tried to block the cross. Finally, the right high kick was wonderfully timed, designed to counter Almeida’s favorite punch: the left hook to the liver.

More than anything else, it’s notable that Font managed to stick to the game plan this time around. Previously, adversity has caused him to abandon the strategy. Opposite Almeida, he definitely ate some hard shots and lost moments of the fight, but Font was able to trust in his skill set and pull out the finish.

Font is back in the win column and ready for another top 10 foe.

As for Almeida, his defense continues to plague him. Almeida looks wonderful on offensive, throwing great combinations at a high pace. His shots are punishing and the strike selection is great.

Unfortunately, Almeida’s defense style is not well-suited to MMA. For the most part, he either backs straight up or covers up in place and fires back. That’s great from a volume point of view, but smart strikers like Font will make sure his shots count more as Almeida focuses on returning.

In all likelihood, it’s an issue Almeida will need help to solve, likely by working with a different coach or camp.

Last night, Rob Font scored the biggest win of his career in front of his home crowd. Who should the knockout artist face next?

For complete UFC 220: “Miocic vs. Ngannou” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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UFC 219 results from last night: Carla Esparza vs Cynthia Calvillo fight recap

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight grapplers Carla Esparza and Cynthia Calvillo faced off last night (Dec. 30, 2017) at UFC 219 inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Esparza has struggled to build momentum since losing her title. Luckily, this was a step back up in competition for Esparza, as she returned to facing top 10 opponents. Additionally, it was more high-profile than her recent bouts, which added up to a big opportunity for the former champ.

Calvillo entered this bout with three previous UFC victories in 2017 and a ton of momentum behind her. Building on her win streak with a win over a former champion would go a long way, potentially securing Calvillo a title shot.

Calvillo opened the fight with real aggression, stalking Esparza and landing an early takedown. From bottom position, Esparza clung tight and limited Calvillo’s offense, but she wasn’t able to return to her feet either.

When Esparza attempted an armbar from guard — which, to her credit, was pretty well setup — Calvillo was able to pass into side control. Once in a more dominant position, Calvillo opened up with her ground strikes, landing some solid shots and controlling the scrambles.

Esparza countered a rear naked choke attempt to land in top position, but she still lost the round badly.

Calvillo continued to stalk into the second, whereas Esparza burst in-and-out with combinations. Both women landed some strong right hands, but Esparza seemed to be less comfortable in exchanges.

All in all, it was a pretty close round. Calvillo seemed to land the harder shots, but Esparza had a slight volume edge. Esparza also landed a pair of takedowns, but Calvillo was back up to her feet just seconds later both times.

Things were very much up in the air with five minutes remaining.

Calvillo started the third round strong, landing a big right hand and stuffing a takedown with some offense of her own. Esparza answered with some nice low kicks, but otherwise was having difficulty landing consistently.

The former champion did find her range a bit more in the second half of the round, but neither woman was able to find a home for her takedown. The two finished the round with a flurry, but neither fighter was really able to dominate.

Ultimately, it was still pretty up in the air as Bruce Buffer made the call, awarding Carla Esparza the decision victory.

While this was a very close fight, Esparza’s improvement on her feet kept her in the fight. Historically, she’s never been able to win a fight without dominating the wrestling. That didn’t happen opposite Calvillo, but Esparza’s in-and-out striking allowed her to pick up some points.

The most important weapon for Esparza was the low kick. Despite the increase in kickboxing skill and confidence, Esparza still did not look super comfortable in the pocket, but her low kicks allowed her to do damage without trading. Plus, the low kick is a great weapon opposite a pressuring fighter.

After this win, Esparza should be given a top contender. For example, Karolina Kowalkiewicz is a top five Strawweight in need of an opponent, and that fight would make plenty of sense.

It’s been a fast rise for Calvillo, and this close loss does slow it. She looked great in the first round — and her wrestling/grappling was very on point for the entire 15 minutes — but she didn’t show her opponent enough respect on the feet. Esparza didn’t beat her up or even do more damage, but judges tend to value volume more than anything else when there isn’t a knock down.

Ultimately, it’s a learning experience for Calvillo, who is still extremely young in her professional career. She’s still a top 10 fighter and close to the mix, so a match up with a fellow top 10 fighter coming off a loss — someone like Michelle Waterson? — could be next.

Last night, Carla Esparza out-worked her opponent to win a close decision. What’s next for the former champion?

For complete UFC 219 “Cyborg vs. Holm” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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