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Jon Jones Wants to Fight Three Times This Year: ‘I’m Going to Kick the S–t Out of 2019′

In the past, Jon Jones claims he would fill his life with “partying and nonsense” following a big victory. However, in the aftermath of his light heavyweight championship triumph over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, Jones only wants to fill his schedule with more fights.
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‘Hey, This Girl Is Really Tough’

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 18: Paige VanZant celebrates defeating Felice Herrig in their women’s strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Prudential Center on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweight, Rachael Ostovich, was hospitalized last month with “major injuries” after her husband, pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Arnold Berdon, allegedly assaulted her in their Honolulu home.

But her injuries were not enough to stop her from accepting a Paige VanZant fight at the upcoming ESPN+ card in Brooklyn. So, if “extreme trauma” couldn’t break the Hawaiian, don’t expect something like a cage fight to do the trick, either.

A fact not lost on her opponent.

“Of course, I don’t know all the details of what happened, I just knew a little bit,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “But I know that when she did come back and say, ‘I want to fight anyway,’ it gave me an alert, like ‘Hey, this girl is really tough.’ So I know I’m fighting somebody that’s very strong and very mentally strong, because she’s gonna go in there and fight after going through some extreme trauma like this. It just tells me that I’ve gotta be ready for the fight and be ready for somebody to come out there and have a lot to fight for.”

VanZant knows a thing or two about overcoming extreme trauma.

Despite coming up short on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 26, Ostovich (4-4) was able to fight her way into the promotion with a submission win over Karine Gevorgyan in last December’s live finale. Unfortunately, her momentum was halted by Montana De La Rosa her next time out.

As for VanZant (7-4), this is clearly a must-win situation. After failing to get something going in the strawweight division, “12 Gauge” jumped up to flyweight where she was promptly turned away by Jessica-Rose Clark earlier this year.

Who ya’ got?

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Zabit Vs. Stephens In The Works For UFC 235 This March

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is targeting an intriguing featherweight matchup between rising contender Zabit Magomedsharipov and veteran Jeremy Stephens for UFC 235 on Mar. 2 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, per a recent report by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

Magomedsharipov, 27, is coming off an impressive modified kneebar submission over Brandon Davis back at UFC 228. The man known as “ZaBeast” has looked downright unstoppable since his UFC debut back in 2017, recording a 4-0 record with three finishes since then. Stephens will be Zabit’s biggest competition to date, but it’s a friendly matchup for the Russian striker as he tries to lock down a title shot sometime in 2019.

Stephens, 32, just got done losing to former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo via TKO back in July. Before that loss, “Lil Heathen” racked off three-straight victories at 145 pounds, including knockout finishes over Josh Emmett and Doo Ho Choi. While this matchup would be Stephens’ 30th fight inside of the Octagon the hard-hitting contender still remains one of the most dangerous outs in the division.

While UFC 235 currently has no main event in place, the PPV card is expected to feature the Octagon debut of newly acquired welterweight contender Ben Askren and the long-awaited return of MMA favorite Nick Diaz.

For more UFC 235 fight card news click here.

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Chuck Liddell Wants ‘Rampage’ Next After This Weekend’s Fight With Tito Ortiz

At 48 years of age, one would think former Ultimate Fighting Championshiphall of famer Chuck Liddell would be enjoying retirement.
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UFC Denver, The Morning After: This Is What Makes MMA Great

What you may have missed from last night!

Sometimes, even after 25 years, this sport still comes up with completely new surprises. Sometimes, historic events have a way of living up to the hype. UFC 189, the arrival party of the rising Conor McGregor and the greatest UFC card of all time, featured the classic bloody battle between McDonald vs. Lawler 2 in the co-main event. (McGregor has had incredible luck- UFC 196, 202, 205 and 229 were all wildly entertaining) UFC 100 featured Dan Henderson’s classic knockout of Michael Bisping, probably the most iconic moment of Henderson’s UFC career. The last WEC round of the last WEC fight of the last WEC event ever, featured a five-round classic between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis, capped off with Pettis’ infamous Showtime Kick off the cage for all the marbles.

The UFC’s 25th anniversary main event between the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, and El Pantera, Yair Rodriguez, was such a historic moment.

It was always a fascinating clash of styles, a perfect showcase for the cross-cultural violence that built the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Both men are known for excitement and originality; Chan Sung Jung owns what is still the only twister submission in UFC history, and his battles with Dustin Poirier and Leonard Garcia are legendary contributions to the annals of fighting history. Yair Rodriguez lands kicks no one else even attempts in the Octagon- I’m not even sure they all have names. This wasn’t supposed to be the main event, but Frankie Edgar had gotten injured. The gods of war had other plans, and Yair stepped up on short notice for a five-round fight at altitude.

It became clear early on that this fight would live up to the hype. The Korean Zombie was blitzing in, landing big rights and lefts, and Yair was countering with lightning-fast kicks that looked like they could take his head off. He was also landing crippling low kicks, but those went away after the first few minutes. After the fight, he revealed to Rogan that he had injured his foot on one of them in the first round, joining Jose Aldo on a list of fighters who have hurt themselves kicking the Korean Zombie.

In the second round, Chan Sung Jung got his jab going, and seemed to get getting the distance on Rodriguez. He used it to measure for his big right hand, and broke the rhythm with wild blitzes. He ended the second round with such a blitz, an exchange so quick you might have missed the back elbow Yair landed in the exchange. That will be important later.

In the third round, blood was flowing, and both men were tired. This fight was at altitude, in Denver, making it a feat of endurance to fight five rounds at all, much less five rounds at the pace these two were keeping. Yair’s body kicks looked like they were taking their toll, but the Korean Zombie was living up to his name and no-selling them as he always does. He was landing heavy punches of his own. He caught a headkick, then somehow ate two punches as Yair recovered his balance. The third round also ended with a wild exchange that saw Rodriguez try a rolling thunder, eat a hook for his troubles, then improvise a spinning backfist that missed as the Korean Zombie swung wildly.

In the fourth round, the Korean Zombie sent Yair staggering backwards with a huge right hand. He was taking over this fight in the championship rounds, despite Yair’s game approach. Yair’s creativity was bringing out the best in Chan Sung Jung; there kept being little moments of creativity that were utterly fascinating. Yair tried an Iminari roll but bailed quickly after Sung Jung eagerly engaged in the grappling. The scorecards showed that Jung was ahead, 39-36, on two of the three scorecards headed into the fifth round.

The fifth round saw more of the creative destruction, but also the jovial camaraderie that has been characteristic of many UFC fights over the past 25 years. Sometimes, in fights that seem lackluster, it can be frustrating to watch fighters congratulate each other; in fights like this, it only adds to the experience. Some fans like to see acrimony, but some of the best moments in fighting history come when two men go from beating the shit out of each other, to grinning from the sheer joy of expressing themselves through consensual violence, then going right back to beating the shit out of each other. Donald Cerrone, who broke the UFC win and finish record in the co-main event, is known for this. Two men or women often earn each other’s respect in the cage after throwing down. This was that kind of fight. Jung and Rodriguez embraced at the start of the round, then had a bizarre moment midway through where they each turned to the crowd and smiled. Even for those used to seeing the odd glove touch here and there, it was an odd break of the fourth wall, an armistice for a moment of mutual appreciation for each other and the enthusiastic crowd. When the battle resumed, Yair landed a clean head kick; Chan Sung Jung hit him with a hard right hand. They paused again for a moment of mutual congratulation with ten seconds to go, then went all out for the finish. Chan Sung Jung leaped in with one last signature blitz, but it was his undoing. Yair bent at the waist, moving backwards, and as he ducked under Jung’s wild swings, he threw his elbow up over his own back. It landed flush on Jung’s jaw, and he faceplanted forward. He had no sooner hit the ground that the horn sounded to end the fight. Rodriguez had landed a knockout at the very last second of the fight, 4:59.

It was, in many ways, the perfect end, though a gut-wrenching one for Chan Sung Jung. Sometimes the best stories are tragedies. Just like Rory Macdonald at UFC 189, Jung was winning the fight, right up until he wasn’t. The finish was totally original- in my years as a fan and of catching the most obscure finishes from combat sports in Midnight Mania, I have never seen anything quite like it. 25 years in, and we are still seeing new things in MMA. It might not even be the weirdest knockout this year (remember Niko Price’s hammerfists from the bottom?) but when you combine the timing and placement with the sheer creativity needed to even think of throwing that shot — so quick that some thought it was accidental — this one might just be the greatest knockout of all time.

Chan Sung Jung and Yair Rodriguez are what make this sport great- fighters who put their health at risk to try to hurt each other in the most creative, original, and exciting ways they can think of. Sometimes they pay for it with their consciousness. Sometimes they win it all at the last second. For all time, they are legends.

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Dana White Disputes Notion That He Hates Ben Askren: ‘This Deal Was My Idea’

A few years back, it seemed laughable that UFC President Dana White would have any interest in signing Ben Askren.
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Jon Jones Responds to George St. Pierre’s PED Comments: ‘You’re Better Than This’

Many prominent figures in the mixed martial arts community have opinions on the Jon Jones situation, and not a lot of them have been positive.
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Bellator 206 Primer: Rampage Is Fighting This Weekend and the Joke Is on Us

Bellator is hitting us over the head with a big show this weekend – Bellator 206 to be exact. It will air on that new DAZN platform, which is sort of the equivalent of the UFC’s Fight Pass, and there are some big, compelling fights on the card.

There’s also a very much not-eagerly anticipated rematch between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva, because, I don’t. Maybe promoter Scott Coker thought he could squeeze more money out of these long-faded warriors’ names.

Listen, the joke is on us, people. Neither Rampage nor Silva should be fighting anymore. And they certainly shouldn’t be fighting each other!

They’ve fought three times already. The first two meetings were in PRIDE FC, where Silva destroyed Jackson with knees. Then the UFC had the rubber match, and Jackson won via knockout.

That bout – back in 2008 – was pretty much the last time Rampage looked awesome. Since then, he’s gotten older and slower and infinitely more bitter.

And of course Silva has gotten old, too, and his last fight was a dismal one against Chael Sonnen last year.

There are plenty of other good fights on the Bellator 206 card. Gegard Mousasi versus Rory MacDonald is probably the best match-up Bellator could make in all of their divisions, and it’s always fun watching Aaron Pico.

But Coker is relying on whatever residual love fans may have for the ancient Rampage and Silva, and if you haven’t been living in an underground bunker for the last ten years, or maybe in jail, it’s hard not to see this bout for what it is.

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Yoel Romero Wants None Of This

It’s not enough for Paulo Costa to merely call out Yoel Romero, he must also take off his shirt and get super beefy in the process. I’m not sure if that’s going to be any more enticing for the “Soldier of God,” but at least it gives the haters (you know who you are) yet another reason to be suspicious.

Costa was expecting to fight Romero at the upcoming UFC 230 pay-per-view (PPV) event in New York, but the Cuban slugger withdrew from the bout as a result of lingering health issues and provided no definitive timetable for his return.

That leaves “The Eraser” without a date to the big dance. Another option was the bigger and harder Chris Weidman, but “All American” has since been paired off with Luke Rockhold this November in “The Empire State.”

The more likely scenario is that Costa will wait for Romero to get his ducks in a row, then throw hands with the two-time middleweight title contender in early 2019. Until then, he’ll have plenty of time to clomp around the pool with his shirt off.

Much to the chagrin of the salty surf community.

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UFC Fight Night 136 Results: Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovksi and Thiago Alves Are Too Old for This

This UFC broke new ground in Moscow, Russia today, with UFC Fight Night 136 giving us the usual “home team vs. fading stars” routine.

The main event had Mark Hunt saddling up against Oleksiy Oliynyk, while elsewhere on the card Andrei Arlovski faced Shamil Abdurakhimov and Thiago Alves took on Alexey Kunchenko.

It was pretty much a slaughter. Because of course the UFC wants the locals to leave the venue with a good taste in their mouths and a desire to see more UFCs whenever the show comes to town.

But geez, Hunt, Arlovski and Alves… they are getting too old for this.

For Hunt, that meant tagging his foe good early, but then totally crapping the bed before the first round was done. The once-great Kiwi warrior eventually tapped out to a rear naked choke.

Arlovski was out-gunned and out-worked for three rounds. He lost the decision, and it’s gotten really painful to repeatedly see the aged former champ struggle when it’s so obvious his old body no longer has the attributes that made him such a stud.

Alves… Alves just took a beating. And on the prelims, CB Dollaway was just utterly wrecked by Khalid Murtazaliev. It was ugly. Sad and ugly.

So yeah, hooray for the UFC finally coming to Russia. But let’s definitely shed a tear for the blood of ancient heroes spilled to that end.

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