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Midnight Mania! Nunes Gets Closest Cyborg Odds Since Carano

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Welcome, to Midnight Mania!

It is the era of the superfight. Women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino vs. bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes is happening, and the odds are closer for any fight Cyborg has had since she fought Gina Carano in Strikeforce in 2009.

The fighters will clash at the big end-of-year UFC 232 card, on December 29 in Las Vegas, so there is plenty of time for those odds to shift. Nunes brings legitimate knockout power with her to 145 lbs., where she faces perhaps the most feared woman in mixed martial arts. It isn’t the superfight Cyborg has been angling for all these years — the only way she faces Ronda Rousey is in the WWE ring at this juncture — but Nunes does represent the most credible challenge to the current biggest female draw in combat sports.


Andrea “KBG” Lee posted this today asking for privacy while she deals with the fallout from alleged domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, Donny Aaron.

I wonder if McGregor still spends $ 300,000 on his fight camps

Suga Sean O’Malley working his elbows on the pads

Joanne Calderwood is back, possibly the quietest fighter on the UFC roster

Football wrestling

Suplex city

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Georges St. Pierre working on his gymnastics

Chael Sonnen vs. Fedor Emelianenko has a suitably over the top poster from Bellator.

Speaking of posters, Justin Gaethje is doing the heavy lifting in this one.

Michael Chandler will be staying put at Bellator, which is kind of a shame, but probably the best decision for him given how easy it would be to become lost in the shuffle in the UFC’s lightweight division.

Bryce Mitchell is keeping those bloody boxers, and he expressed it in the most Southern way possible.

It’s a living

Yoel Romero says he’s going to start charging USADA rent, they visit so often.

Matt Brown posted this clip of an excellent jiu-jitsu display in the face of aggression. What made me mad watching it was all the aggressor’s buddies trying to peel off his grips so their guy could break free and throw punches. If you are gonna let them fight, let them fight. Otherwise break it all the way up, but don’t just help out your guy.

Jiu-Jitsu for the win

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Slips, Rips, KO Clips

I missed all these fight clips from the weekend so y’all can relive them now.

Moving backwards on one leg. Still getting the KO. Winning.

This fight got wild before the finish

Not bad at all.

Lethwei is even more brutal than MMA. No gloves, just hand wraps, head butts allowed.

Headbutts like this one…

When the light bill is due

Walking on a dream

Random Land

Imagine this guy thinks he can tell anyone anything about fitness.

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Watch The Most Violent Head Kick KO In WMMA Since Holm Vs. Rousey

Jenni Kivioja scored the huge KO kick en route to winning silver in a three day 8-woman tournament.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) just held its 2018 Senior European Championships in Bucharest, Romania over the week and the amateur tournament event featured one of the meanest kicks to the face since Holly Holm dethroned Ronda Rousey in 2016.

Finland’s Jenni Kivioja caught Sweden’s Jessica Forslund Reis with the fight stopping headkick at 2:38 of the first round in their women’s featherweight fight. Watch it now:

The fight was Kivioja’s first of three in as many days. She’d go on to beat Italy’s Fabiana Giampa on the scorecards in the semis before losing in the finals via decision to Germany’s Julia Dorney. That landed Kivioja a silver medal in her weightclass and a highlight that will live on forever.

A quick explanation on why Kivioja was fighting so often: the IMMAF dubs itself “the global governing body for amateur MMA, working for Olympic recognition” so their events are structured to simulate what Olympic MMA could look like. In this case, that’s fourteen weight classes worth of 8-fighter tournaments contested over three consecutive days of fighting.

Who knows how big of a role the IMMAF could play in MMA’s inclusion in the Olympics (if it ever happens at all). But it’s pretty cool that this massive amateur tournament worked out without half the competitors getting injured after day one.

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Former Fedor, ‘Minotauro’ Foe Wagner ‘Zuluzinho’ to Fight for First Time Since 2010

Super heavyweight Wagner da Conceicao Martins, better known as Wagner “Zuluzinho,” will return to action for the first time in nearly eight years when he faces “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3” competitor Job Kleber Melo at an Imortal FC event on June 2.
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Video: Aleksander Emelianenko Wins First MMA Bout Since Release From Prison

Aleksander Emelianenko made a successful return to mixed martial arts on Wednesday, defeating Geronimo dos Santos via first-round TKO at WFCA 42 in Moscow.
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Rory MacDonald Feels ‘More in Touch with the Promoter’ Since Moving from UFC to Bellator

Although it feels like he’s already been around forever, Rory MacDonald is still just 27 years old.
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Daniel Cormier Disputes Notion That Anthony Johnson is Different Fighter Since First Bout

There is no doubt that Anthony Johnson has been on a roll since falling to Daniel Cormier in their bout for the vacant light heavyweight championship at UFC 187.
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Daniel Cormier Disputes Notion That Anthony Johnson is Different Fighter Since First Bout

There is no doubt that Anthony Johnson has been on a roll since falling to Daniel Cormier in their bout for the vacant light heavyweight championship at UFC 187.
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Eric Del Fierro says Dominick Cruz has been in a ‘good place’ since loss

When Dominick Cruz lost his bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, it had been a little over nine years and nine months since he’d suffered his last defeat. A decade is a long time to go without losing, but Cruz handled himself afterwards like a man given to exploration. He didn’t present excuses, nor did he lean on stock fight game adages to pull him through as he faced the media. He simply accepted that he lost to Garbrandt that night, right there on the spot, and it was up to everyone else to reach his level of acceptance.

An hour after losing his belt, he was well into the process of moving on.

Now three months later, Garbrandt is coaching opposite his nemesis T.J. Dillashaw on The Ultimate Fighter in preamble to a fight between the two, and Cruz is left to pick up the pieces. His longtime coach at Alliance MMA, Eric Del Fierro, says Cruz has been much the same man he’s always been in dealing with a loss.

“It’s no different than dealing with Dominick after a win,” Del Fierro told MMA Fighting recently. “You go back and you look at what went great, and you look at what went wrong. We do that when we win, as well. This sport is evolving everyday, and we knew this was going to be a tough fight — there’s no such thing as Dominick having an easy fight, period. Win or lose, he knows what he needs to do. He knows what little mistakes to work on, and what Cody shined on. At this point, it’s just sitting back and making the right decision on when he wants to fight again.”

Though Cruz hadn’t lost a fight in that 10-year span as the WEC and UFC champion, he’d suffered plenty of setbacks throughout his career — namely with his health. He dealt with a series of hand and knee injuries and a severe groin tear that kept him out of action for a prolonged period of time. Between late 2011 and early 2016, Cruz fought just once, against Takeya Mizugaki in 2014. That fight lasted just 61 seconds.

Yet even after being stripped of his title and watching others in his division fight for it, Cruz made a triumphant return at a UFC Fight Night in Boston in 2016 against Dillashaw. After winning a five-round unanimous decision to regain the title, he was asked if — given all he’d been through — holding the belt again was the greatest moment of his life.

“No,” he deadpanned. “The greatest moment of my life was realizing that I didn’t need a belt to be happy.”

In winning back his title, Cruz held onto an ounce of melancholy. In losing it, he clung to his resolve. Del Fierro said that’s Cruz in a nutshell, a unique fighter in that he can assess the big picture as well as he can a single jab in a fight.

“I’ve been blessed in the sense that he’s been with me for so long,” he said. “I know when everything is 100 percent perfect, and I know when certain things are missing, or when things weren’t executed, due to him or due to Cody. It just didn’t work out the right way. He knows it and I know it, and you just go back and make adjustments. It’s no different if he had won the fight. We would still make the adjustments, and we’d figure out what went right and what went wrong.”

Cruz has demonstrated through his analyst work with FOX that he’s one of the brightest minds in the game. During the UFC 209 pay-per-view, he sat in with Jon Anik and Joe Rogan and effectively gave the in-cage action meaning to a casual viewer, walking through set-ups, pointing out inclinations and offering crystal clear ideas on how to counter what it was he was seeing. In short, he gave a fight a sense of telegraphy, making even the most chaotic sequences come off as not only accessible, but perfectly reasonable.

Not an easy thing to do.

Del Fierro says that Cruz sees his own fights with similar clarity. “It’s easy for me to sit back and look at the video game of it, and say, ‘do this, this, and this,’” Del Fierro said. “It’s getting the opponent to cooperate, and Dominick going in there and executing. Does Dominick have all the tools in his arsenal that he needs to win that fight [with Garbrandt]? For sure. But my job’s a lot easier than the actual athlete.”

Recently Cruz did an in-depth, two-hour interview on the Joe Rogan Experience, in which he talked about life growing up, his family, why he got into fighting, and why he was equipped to get over losing his title as quickly as he did.

If you listen to that, his coach says, you’ll see why “Dominick is in a good place.” Building a normal fighter after a loss can be a process of rebuilding a psyche. With Cruz it’s an experience.

“He’s learned a lot about himself and who he is. And honestly, fighting is a big part of his life, but it’s something he’s still having fun with. When it becomes a job, or when it becomes more than that, maybe it’ll be too much of him. But right now he loves it, and he’s looking forward to competing again. I think this is the best version of Dominick that’ll be coming back to fight again.”

Del Fierro said that right now he’s not sure who Cruz will fight next, but the inclination is to wait and see how Garbrandt-Dillashaw plays out. If it’s Garbrandt, it’s a chance to right the ship (like he did with Urijah Faber). If it’s Dillashaw, it’s a chance to do better than he did the first time out in Boston.

In either case, Del Fierro said Cruz took what he needed from both fights, and — if anything — losing for the first time in 10 years contains some novelty.

“Don’t get me wrong, Dominick is human like everybody else,” he said. “There’s no happiness in losing. We’re happy to be alive, happy to be competing, happy to have these gifts, but we’re all competitors here, and he is too. He’s not 100 percent happy with losing, let’s just say that.”

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Mike Dolce blames coaches for fighters missing weight since start of early weigh-ins

Exponentially more fighters have missed weight in the UFC since early weigh-ins began last June. Mike Dolce believes he knows why.

The high-profile MMA nutrition coach, who has worked with the likes of Ronda Rousey and Chael Sonnen, blames his coaching peers for not adapting to the new time to weigh-in, he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.

“It’s lack of credible coaching, lack of credible oversight,” Dolce said. “They’re not working with teams that are not truly skilled in proper nutrition, medical nutrition, therapy and weight management. We know exactly what time we have to weigh in. We know that months in advance.”

Between Jan. 1, 2016 and June 3, 2016, before the advent of the earlier weigh-ins, only one UFC fighter missed weight. Since then, more than 20 have either missed weight or not made it to the scale due to weight-cutting issues. No one seems to have a firm handle on why that is, other than the fact that fighters have not properly adjusted to the new time. Dolce doesn’t see any good reason for that being the case.

“There’s no excuse for that,” he said.

The earlier weigh-ins were first put into effect early last year by Kansas and then Mohegan Sun for two Bellator shows. The idea was broached at a California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) weight-cutting and dehydration summit in December 2015. The format is setup to give fighters more time to rehydrate before the fight, following the common practice of dehydrating to make weight.

A byproduct has been that fighters are also spending less time severely dehydrated since early weigh-ins take place in the fighter hotel, rather than athletes having to be shuttled to the fight venue.

CSAC passed state legislation to allow morning weigh-ins ahead of UFC 199 on June 4. That has been the norm in the UFC, Bellator, Invicta FC and other promotions ever since.

Though more fighters are missing weight, early weigh-ins are not the problem, Dolce said.

“I love the early weigh-ins only because it allows the athlete more time to rehydrate, which all credible data shows protects their health, their longevity,” he said. “It allows the cerebral spinal fluid more time to replenish. We didn’t have that opportunity [before]. Truly, a 48-hour weigh-in would be ideal. I don’t know that that will ever happen, but this is a step in the right direction if we’re truly talking about the health and the safety of the athlete.”

The common criticism of allowing more time to rehydrate is that it could give fighters incentive to cut even more weight. Dolce does not think that has been the case at all.

“That’s not true, simply because the athlete can’t cut more weight,” Dolce said. “I believe the athletes are already cutting too much weight as it is. Having a greater amount of time to rehydrate is not going to let them cut more weight, it’s simply going to allow them to be healthy when they step into the Octagon.”

Regulators and doctors believe weight-cutting through the practice of severe dehydration is one of the biggest problems facing MMA. Dolce bashed coaches who put their athletes in a sauna before the weigh-ins to sweat out more weight. Johny Hendricks and Neil Magny were both in the sauna before their UFC 207 weigh-in and Hendricks, who formerly worked with Dolce, missed weight by 2 12 pounds.

“The fact that athletes are still locking themselves in f*cking — pardon my language — in 180-degree saunas is ridiculous,” Dolce said. “It is the most barbaric method of weight cutting known to man and the athlete is the one that suffers — not the coach who’s standing outside drinking a Coca-Cola and eating a cheeseburger.

“They’re tough already. You don’t have to prove they’re tough by locking them in an oven. We don’t do that.”

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Conor McGregor has handled himself exceedingly well since first UFC loss

The last time Conor McGregor fought Nate Diaz, the novelty of the pairing couldn’t help but play at the fight game libido. It was wildly imaginative, crossing the stalkton with the Irish feather, and it was equally ridiculous for McGregor to just say “yes” to another opponent switch on 11 day’s notice at a weight that was twice removed from the only weight he’d known in the UFC. Yet he did, he threw reckless dice, and Diaz was only too game to roll along with him. Those were compelling reasons to tune in. Just the many audacities in play. The foolishness of the “why not” spree on both ends. The sudden uselessness of rankings and good sense and all those superficial laws we place over fights. There was a complete deficit of f*cks to be given.

In other words, captivating.

This time it’s a little different. The string orchestra that swelled up is now a subway trio with a tuba. This time it’s a vanity trip with muffled stakes, a thing that has to play out so that we might see what the next thing is.

McGregor wants to duplicate the setting so that he can avenge his only loss without asterisks. If the public has been slow to understand the UFC’s reasoning for allowing one set of matchmaking whims (in a makeshift situation to save an event) grow into a series, McGregor has been patient in explaining it. He did it again at his McGregor-themed gym in Las Vegas on Friday, hosting a workout and Q&A with an assembled media. Bespectacled and chewing his gum in a most thoughtful (and audible) way, McGregor once again used even tones to explain his thinking behind the rematch under the original alignment. Quite simply, he’s pored over the blueprint and is convinced, within a shadow of a doubt, that he knows better how to handle the situation the next time through. He wants to prove it.

It’s really that basic.

He also spoke for nearly 35 minutes like a man who’s come to believe his first loss in the UFC was nothing more than cosmetic, just an unsightly wrinkle on his expensive suit. He’s identified some problems, and made the according changes. The alignment is the same, but it’s vastly different. McGregor has extracted every positive — i.e., that he was laying waste to Diaz before he petered out in the second round — and reloaded it into his celestial way of thinking. He acknowledges Diaz’s chin, but says his face is soft, and he’s going to open it up. He has recalibrated his power punches to stretch for five rounds, but suspects he’ll only need two. Like an obsessive, he has gone over the nine minutes of the first fight and addressed every shortcoming, while promoting each near miss as a harbinger of Diaz’s pending doom.

McGregor demanded the mulligan, and he has mastered that mulligan before it has had a chance to occur.

And you know what? It’s been a telling ride with McGregor, observing his behavior after that loss against Diaz. He has, in short, handled himself like a champion in the true sense of the word. The great Irish firebrand has somehow managed to update the perception that losing in MMA is not only something inevitable, but also an expansion of character. The loss has only served to fill in some blanks on Conor McGregor, who is just as boastful, just as materialistic, and just as outspoken after a loss as he was when he knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds.

It’s inexact, but perhaps his handling of himself stands out more against the backdrop of how women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey handled her first loss. Those two were transcendent stars 1A and 1B during the UFC’s boom era, and both drove the UFC’s ultimate sale price to where it landed at four billion dollars. Rousey, other than some Hollywood obligations, simply disappeared.

Meanwhile McGregor happily rides shotgun with the new owners as they embark on the ride. It’s business as usual. He wants two titles. He starts up his TheMacLife media site, calls the WWE roster a gang of p*ssies, says he has no use for Brock Lesnar or Jon Jones, and sets fire to Floyd Mayweather on every occasion he gets. When people talk to him about the featherweight division he has hijacked while he plays out the Diaz ordeal, about all those fighters there waiting for his return, he says they are “praying” he doesn’t come back. He still forks perception,, and he’s lost nothing of his bombast. He iterates and reiterates that he’s a “true champion,” and it’s hard to disagree, even if he is enjoying the spoils of his fame at the expense of so many around him.

He referred to Nate Diaz as Homer Simpson. He also said he was grateful for the way things played out with Rafael dos Anjos, who “p*ssied out” of UFC 196, by his estimation, and made way for Diaz. Diaz, who beat him. Diaz, who stole his thunder a bit. Or did he?

The thing is, McGregor seems to have lost nothing more than a fight. Should he lose to Diaz again at UFC 202 on Aug. 20, who knows if that flies. But heading into the rematch, the novelty of simply seeing Diaz versus McGregor doesn’t hold as much intrigue as the evolution of the players.

Particularly McGregor, who has proven there’s a lot more to him heading into the second fight.

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