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‘Lionheart’ Vows To Drill Hole Through ‘Piece Of S–t’ Rockhold

It’s safe to say that Anthony Smith is not a fan of Luke Rockhold. If he is, he sure has a weird way of showing it.

While Smith and Rockhold have actually never fought inside of the Octagon, their feud is quickly boiling over outside of it. “Lionheart” certainly hasn’t been innocent in his verbal exchanges with the former UFC middleweight champion, but Rockhold ultimately struck the first blow late last year when discussing Smith’s abilities at light heavyweight.

“Anthony Smith, yeah. I mean, what, (Thiago) Santos came up just recently too. These guys, I’m just not impressed,” Rockhold told Submission Radio back in December. “They’re a little sloppy in so many ways and I see openings and I’m ready to move up. I mean, the rest of the division, there’s a couple of good guys up there, but I don’t see much. I’m ready to come up and I’m ready to shut it down. [Smith] looked like sh-t. He didn’t look good in his last fight. I’m not gonna say… he looked like a bum, truthfully.”

Since those comments were made, Smith has gone on to lose to current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in his first ever UFC title shot back in March and Rockhold has announced his official move up to 205 pounds. Now that they are in the same weight class and seem to be lining themselves up for a potential showdown inside of the Octagon, Smith is turning the heat up.

“That guys a f—king piece of sh-t,” said Smith during UFC’s seasonal press conference early Friday (video replay HERE). “F—k Luke Rockhold. The first opportunity I get, I’m gonna drill a hole through Luke Rockhold’s f—king face. I promise you guys that.”

Smith, who would gladly scrap with Rockhold inside of a Walmart, is currently scheduled to fight former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson this June at UFC on ESPN+ 10. Even though a win over Gustafsson could put “Lionheart” one more win away from a rematch with Jones he’s willing to cast that aside for a grudge match with Rockhold.

“The first opportunity I get after this fight [with Gustafsson],” Smith said when asked when he’d like to fight Rockhold. “It doesn’t matter what happens. I’ll fight Luke Rockhold with one f—king leg. I’m going to beat that dude’s f—king ass.”

Rockhold, who is coming off a disappointing knockout loss to Yoel Romero back at UFC 221 last year, is currently slated to make his 205-pound debut opposite divisional staple Jan Blachowicz at UFC 239 this July, which is an event expected to be headlined by a Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos title fight. Should Rockhold get past Blachowicz and back into the UFC win column it would make complete sense for the promotion to book the grudge match with Smith.

Of course, a loss for either man would likely cancel out a potential clash inside of the cage.

What say you, Maniacs? Is Smith vs. Rockhold a matchup you want to see at 205 pounds? Who has the early advantage?

Sound off!

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Ngannou: ‘I’ve Been Through Hell To Be Here Today’

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title contender, Francis Ngannou, was heavily marketed by the promotion while “The Predator” was knocking out every fighter the matchmakers put in front of him.

Then it all came crashing down against a more well-rounded combatant in the form of Stipe Miocic, followed by a lame-duck performance opposite Derrick Lewis.

Because this is combat sports, which is no different than any other sport, the Cameroonian started hemorrhaging fans while UFC President, Dana White, buried him in the mixed martial arts (MMA) media, claiming Ngannou “completely lost his mind.”

Maybe the power-punching heavyweight doesn’t have a fighter’s mentality?

“Mentality is what brought me here,” Ngannou told the MMA media. “If I did not have that mentality, I could not have gone through what I went through. I was born and raised in Africa in a very poor family but I just have this mentality that I can’t give up. I’ve been through hell to be here today, so it’s all about fighting mentality. I have the ability to overcome that because I’ve been through worse than that, believe me when I say that.”

He’s fighting not only for himself, but also for the dreams of an entire country.

Ngannou was able to right the ship with a dominant performance against Curtis Blaydes at UFC Beijing back in November. No question a win over Cain Velasquez, long considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, would launch “The Predator” right back into title contention.

We’ll find out this Sunday night in Phoenix.

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Every Fighter Needs To Go Through A Zombie Vs Yair-Type War

This past weekend (Sat., Nov. 10, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 139 in Denver, Colorado, Chan Sung Jung and Yair Rodriguez put on a memorable five-round performance for the ages culminating in a spectacular last-second knockout win for “Pantera.”

Relive it again here.

When it was all said and done, both men had to take post-fight trips to the local hospital to tend to their battle wounds (see the picture here).

Still, both Jung and Rodriguez will take a lot from the epic scrap, as Yair’s coach — Israel Martinez — says every fighters needs to go through one of those battles at least once in his or her career.

“We believe every fighter needs one of those. It’s one of those things you tell a young athlete, you tell a young fighter, even the older guys: You need to get your ass kicked to kinda be woken up a little bit, and you need to go through some dirty fights, some trenches,” said Martinez on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting).

And once is enough, says Martinez, as engaging in such fights on a regular basis can’t be good for the mind, body or soul.

“But you don’t need to do that every day. You don’t need to get punched in the head every day. And that’s one of those fights that we’re gonna have in our bag and we’re always going to be able to pull out all the things we’re learned from that, but there’s no way we want that type of fight again,” he added.

“Those things are deadly. Yair is beat up, and that’s going to be stuck in his head, good and bad, for the rest of his life. So we want to make sure that we take the positives over the negatives and move forward. But yeah, definitely, you know that — you don’t want to be getting hit in the head, you don’t want to get beat up every day, and those long five-round fights are good for the fans, but they’re not good for us. We want to try to [win] early.”

Battles such as the “Mile High City” classic have become the norm for “The Korean Zombie, for better or worse, and he has the countless post-fight bonuses and scars to prove it. As for Rodriguez, now that he has a win under his belt after a brief separation from the promotion, he could be in line to face another man who knows no other way to fight than to move forward.

All he has to do is say his name.

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Watch Ronda Rousey Slam Triple H Through A Table

Ronda Rousey was on hand at the WWE Elimination Chamber event and ended her appearance with a bang.

An emotional Ronda Rousey was on hand at the WWE Elimination Chamber event tonight to officially sign her WWE contract in the ring. Well, I’m sure she’s already signed her real contract, but of course the WWE is going to play it all out in front of the crowd to hype up the anticipation of her first real match at WrestleMania on April 8th.

That match will apparently be Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. You can watch some of the promo cutting that went down below, and keep in mind Rousey was close to tears after the crowd reaction she received, which may be why she sounded like a malfunctioning robot the entire time.

But if there’s one thing Ronda Rousey can certainly do, it’s toss a bitch. Tonight that bitch was Triple H and she slammed him through a table quite convincingly.

Rousey is still unbelievably green and it’s kind of amazing that she’ll be performing a full match at WrestleMania, but kudos to her for having the balls to go big right from the start. Regardless of how it turns out, we imagine she’s only going to get better. And when in doubt, she can just revert back to her legit judo skills and throw some people on their heads.

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Gokhan Saki tried to train through a bucket handle meniscus tear for UFC 219

Who is crazy enough to try and fight through a torn meniscus? Gokhan Saki, that’s who.

Gokhan Saki is one tough son of a bitch.

As if his crazy back and forth war with Henrique da Silva in his first UFC fight wasn’t enough proof of that, it turns out the kickboxing legend tried to train through a bucket handle meniscus tear to fight at UFC 219.

The issues with Saki’s knee started all the way back in 2012 but really started to impede him following the da Silva fight in September. After that, his knee started swelling up while training for UFC 219 , and he finally went to a doctor to have it checked out.

“They took me to an MRI and they found that I had a bucket handle tear in my meniscus,” Saki told MMA Fighting. “So there’s just a big hole in the middle of my meniscus. I told the doctor that I really wanted to fight on Dec. 30th. I told him even with the injury I wanted to fight. He told me to take one or two weeks rest and then to start training again, but not jiu-jitsu or anything that’s too tough on your knees.”

“I took the two weeks off and I flew to Miami to do a camp there and in the first training I hurt it more. I threw a kick, I didn’t turn my leg enough and now the tear is even bigger.”

Whoops.

Now that he’s stopped trying to fight through the injury, Gokhan could be recovered in time to fight in March or April.

“For so long I have been dealing with this injury,” he said. “And now that it’s fixed I’m going to be able to do a lot more.”

That’s a scary thought for those in the Light Heavyweight division. Saki is already looking extremely dangerous this early into his UFC career. Now he’ll have both legs firmly under all his power punches. Watch out!

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UFC, USADA consider 24/7 tracking of fighters through their phones

What’s meant as a way to simplify testing comes across as pretty creepy.

Well this isn’t creepy at all.

While the addition of USADA drug testing has largely been a positive change for the UFC, one of the downsides is the burden it places on the promotion’s 600+ fighters. Not only do they have to be ready at any time to submit to random drug testing, they need to keep USADA up to date on wherever they are. If a fighter isn’t where they say they’re going to be when USADA comes calling, they get a warning. Multiple warnings can lead to a suspension — something Nick Diaz is currently facing.

Now, USADA is considering simplifying the tracking process by adding a tracking feature to an app fighters would have running on their phones. Welterweight fighter Sean Strickland shared a survey sent out to fighters that floated the idea.

The idea has its advantages: It takes the burden off fighters needing to constantly update USADA of their whereabouts and consequently makes it easier for USADA to do their jobs.

That being said, it’s a pretty huge invasion of an athlete’s privacy. As usual when it comes to overbearing policies like this the UFC sometimes tries to enact, we’d like to remind you that UFC fighters are technically private contractors and not employees. There’s supposed to be a pretty clear limit to what the company can ask from private contractors, and call me crazy but I think tracking their whereabouts all day every day may just be past that.

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How to buy Mayweather-McGregor tickets: Two per customer, no guarantees, and lots of hoops to jump through

Tickets for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing super fight will go on sale this Monday (July 24, 2017) at 1 p.m. ET for the Aug. 26 showdown inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In order to purchase tickets, which start as low as $ 500 and reach as high as $ 10,000, fight fans will have to prove they are living, breathing customers and not automated bots programmed to scoop up the best seats. Ticketmaster, therefore, will require identity verification.

We call that “Big Brother” ‘round these parts.

How does it work? First you have to create a Ticketmaster account, then complete a detailed registration form. Once that’s finished, all you can do it sit around and wait to be verified.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be eligible to purchase tickets.

Instead, Ticketmaster will randomly select verified customers from a pool of gazillion and send out a unique identification code, which then in turn allows fans to purchase two tickets for next month’s extravaganza.

For all the relevant links and to get yourself verified click here — but hurry — registration closes TONIGHT (July 20) at 10 p.m. PT.

Good luck!

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Eduardo Dantas believes he will clean the division after he ‘runs through’ Darrion Caldwell

Eduardo Dantas avenged his only Bellator loss with a dominating performance against Joe Warren at Bellator 166, and the bantamweight champion believes only one title defense separates him from making history.

Bellator announced the night after Dantas beat Warren that he would defend his title against Darrion Caldwell, who beat Joe Taimanglo in the main event of Bellator 167, and “Dudu” already expected that move.

“I really wanted to fight Daniel (Straus, Bellator’s featherweight champion) next,” Dantas told MMA Fighting, “but Bellator promoters like Caldwell, so I already expected that he would get a title shot if he won, especially because he’s the only one left in the division. He deserves the title shot, so he’s still left so I can 100 percent dominate this division. I will run through him.”

Bellator has yet to announce a date and location for the championship fight, but the Brazilian expects to put his title on the line “in late March or early April.” And should he successfully defend his belt one more time, the Nova Uniao talent says it only makes sense to face Straus next and become a two-division champion.

“There’s no one left at the top,” Dantas said. “There’s Caldwell, and I’ll love doing this fight with him, and after that, that’s it. I want a superfight. I will beat him, and then I’ll move up to featherweight for a superfight.”

And if he indeed moves up to 145 pounds, Dantas is not interested in any fight besides Straus.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me to go up and fight someone else,” he said. “I have to go up and fight the champion. Bellator always asks me that. I only train with heavier guys in the gym, featherweights and lightweights, so I’d feel more comfortable at featherweight. Faster, stronger, more explosive. I’d do well in this division. It makes sense to have this superfight at 145, against the champion.”

Dantas enters his fight with Caldwell coming off a majority decision win over Warren, but his performance was dominant despite the scorecard from one of the judges.

“When they said ‘majority decision’, I got scared,” Dantas said. “I couldn’t believe it. This judge probably slept during the fight, went to the restroom or something like that. That’s impossible. It’s disrespectful.

“We train so hard, I had no scratches after the fight. He only took me don’t once, and I went right back up two seconds later, and this guy scores the fight a draw? It’s unbelievable. You can’t score this fight draw, even with John McCarthy taking a point in the fifth round. The important is that who watched the fight knows that I won all five rounds.”

Dantas improved to 9-1 under the Bellator banner, and wanted to give Warren a beating to avenge his 2014 loss.

“If you look at Joe Warren’s record, you’ll see that he has lost by knockout and submission before, but he never lost a decision in his career,” Dantas said. “Despite his age, he has a great cardio, so my strategy was to win all five rounds. If I had the chance I’d obviously finish him, but my idea was to win every round. If he thought he was fighting the same ‘Dudu’, he was wrong.

“Anywhere in the world, I will dominate this division.”

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Bernard Hopkins knocked out through ropes in final fight

While one retirement fight got its storybook ending this weekend, the other most certainly did not.

At the age of 51, legendary boxing champion Bernard Hopkins suffered the first knockout loss of his 28-year career on Saturday night — and it was a bad one.

Midway through the eighth round of his farewell fight, Hopkins (55-8-2, 2 NC) ate a big flurry of punches from Joe Smith Jr. and toppled out of the ring. He was eventually counted out on his feet, ending his bid for the WBC International light heavyweight title. Watch video of the finish below, courtesy of HBO Boxing.

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UFC On Fox 22: Has Mickey Gall Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew Or Will He Run Through Sage Northcutt?

And the hits just keep on coming as the UFC sets up for yet another event this Saturday night as Paige Vanzant clashes with former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson. But before these two women meet head to head we’ll get to see Mickey Gall get his wish to face off against the natural lightweight Sage Northcutt in a welterweight match up. It’s a fight that has generated enough interest for it to be genuinely appealing, especially considering how early each of these young men are in their career. Will Gall’s callout prove to be the wise move or has he bit off more than he can chew against Northcutt?

From what I’ve gathered from Mickey Gall so far in his career is that he has solid striking with an affinity for grappling. As far as his stand up goes we only have a handful of examples both in which featured the young upstart battling men with little experience. We got to see his grappling game as he faced off against the inexperienced CM Punk back at UFC 203. The fight may have done more to answer questions about the former WWE wrestler than it did to measure Gall’s potential in the UFC. Being the longer, bigger man, Gall will most likely aim to get this fight to the ground as soon as possible rather than play around on the feet. Expect him to follow a similar game plan to what we saw in the CM Punk fight. Gall will throw some strikes and feints on the feet in order for Northcutt to counter and over compensate. Once that happens expect for Gall to shoot for a double leg takedown.

From what we’ve seen from Sage Northcutt this far in his MMA career, there’s a lot to like. He can wrestle, he can grapple, but he does much of his best work on the feet. What he’s missing is technical savvy. At times he finds himself too far forward against opponents who are obliged to take the karate expert down once he’s in their range. Gall is likely to employ a wrestling based game so it’s going to be important for Northcutt to keep his distance in this fight. He will likely have a speed advantage which he should consistently exploit with jabs or lunge punches then shuffle out before Gall can counter with strikes or a takedown attempt. Fighting in a broken rhythm will be key to throwing Gall off of his game and maintaining a gulf in between them will only enhance Northcutt’s chances of landing devastating power punches when he feels so inclined.

Both of these young men are still prospects with a ton of upside. While Northcutt has falter d against wrestlers in the past, working with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has likely given him the preparation he needs to counter Gall effectively. Look for Sage Northcutt to pull out the victory with a second round TKO.

Will it be Sage Northcutt or Mickey Gall at UFC on Fox 22?


Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

The post UFC On Fox 22: Has Mickey Gall Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew Or Will He Run Through Sage Northcutt? appeared first on Cagepotato.

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