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UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will have the opportunity to avenge the only stoppage loss of her MMA career. But it won’t be an easy time.

Shevchenko will face pioneering fighter Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 14 in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Aug. 10. MMA Junkie confirmed an initial report by ESPN.

Shevchenko (17-3 MMA; 6-2 UFC) is coming off an epic knockout victory over Jessica Eye in her first title flyweight title defense Kyrgyzstan. That was the 12th finish among her 17 career wins.

Carmouche (13-6 MMA; 5-4 UFC), meanwhile, has long left her mark on the sport. The first high profile out LGBT mixed martial artist also competed in the first women’s fight in UFC history, where she gave Ronda Rousey a run for her money at UFC 157 before losing late in the first round. And her victory over Katlyn Chookagian in the opening bout of UFC 205 put her in the record books as the first fighter to win a legalized sanctioned MMA fight at Madison Square Garden.

Carmouche, who has won two straight and four of her past five, defeated Shevchenko at “C3 Fights: Red River Rivalry” in Oklahoma in 2010, earning a doctor stoppage TKO at the end of the second round. The only other fighter who has defeated Shevchenko is current featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, who earned a pair of decisions over Shevchenko.

With the additions, the latest UFC on ESPN+ 14 lineup includes:

  • Valentina Shevchenko vs. Liz Carmouche
  • Taila Santos vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
  • Rogerio Bontorin vs. Raulian Paiva
  • Enrique Barzola vs. Bobby Moffett
  • Marina Rodriguez vs. Tecia Torres
  • Cyril Gane vs. Raphael Pessoa
  • Veronica Macedo vs. Rachael Ostovich
  • Geraldo de Freitas vs. Chris Gutierrez

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 14, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Bellator 222 full post-fight press conference - YouTube

Over the past few months, notable UFC flyweights, from former title challengers John Moraga and Wilson Reis to contenders Brandon Moreno, Dustin Ortiz, and Matheus Nicolau, have all been released from the promotion.

Will the top-ranked flyweights aggregate under another banner?

Time tell, but don’t expect Bellator to addd men’s flyweights to their roster any time soon.

Despite the UFC’s recent releases of over a dozen 125-pound combatants, some of whom were ranked in the top 10, Bellator president Scott Coker isn’t jumping at the opportunity to add another division.

At the Bellator 222 post-fight news conference, Coker said the promotion had considered adding flyweights, but felt it was not a direction they want to head at this time.

“We’ve talked about it, but we haven’t taken any action obviously,” Coker told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “For right now, we’re going to focus on the divisions we have. We’re very excited about the finals of the welterweight tournament and we’re very excited about the launch of the featherweight tournament. We’re going to have our hands full with these events.”

RelatedBellator 222 post-event facts: Kyoji Horiguchi makes historyFight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator 222, where Eminem curse didn't workJoseph Benavidez on fate of UFC flyweight division: 'It's not over until it's over'

Bellator could become a home for male flyweight competitors at some point down the road, but not for the foreseeable future. Coker remarked Bellator has a lot of other projects to work on before any new divisions are added.

“We’re going to have our hands full,” Coker said. “If at some point, we felt like it was something we wanted to do, we’d really think it through. I don’t want to be jumping in and out of different weight classes. If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right.”

Coker said Bellator’s main goal right now is expanding global outreach, while increasing the number of events the company holds per year.

“This is a company when I came on board, we were doing 14-15 events a year,” Coker said “Next year, we’re going to end up being 30 events worldwide. It could grow up to 40 very easily, depending on certain television deals we’re working on. This is a company that’s owned by Viacom, which owns networks all over the world and is a media company all over the world. We have a lot of requests to come to different territories [and] start doing big fights like we’re doing here.”

For more on Bellator 222, check out our Events page.

Gallery Rory MacDonald def. Neiman Gracie at Bellator 222: Best photos
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LAS VEGAS – Dana White’s Contender Series 17 takes place tonight, and you can follow along with live results on MMA Junkie.

DWCS 17 takes place at the brand new UFC Apex. The four-fight card, which sees athletes trying to secure a UFC contract, streams live on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.

* * * *

In the night’s first contest, heavyweight underdog Yorgan De Castro (5-0) grinded through his opponent’s wrestling attacks before using a bit of well-placed striking to steal away a first-round TKO win from Alton Meeks (3-1).

Meeks stalked at the start, and while De Castro’s corner begged for him to move away from the fence, he soon found himself against the cage. De Castro tried for a leaping knee as Meeks moved inside, but it didn’t quite land clean, and he was taken briefly to the floor.

De Castro battled his way quickly to the feet, but Meeks gave him absolutely no room to work and continued to trip him to the canvas. Undaunted, De Castro continued to get back to his feet, even if he only had brief moments to attempt offense.

As the round wore on, Meeks seemed to tire, and De Castro started to find a home for thudding low kicks and the occasional right hand. Meeks continued to move forward, but he was taking the worst of it. Eventually, De Castro landed a thunderous low kick that saw Meeks drop to the canvas. De Castro followed with punches to seal the deal at the 4:45 mark of the opening round.

The complete four-fight lineup includes:

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 17, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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MMA Junkie Radio #2943: Chris Leben and Juan Archuleta - YouTube

MMA Junkie Radio kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) with special guests Juan Archuleta and Chris Leben.

Archuleta is one of the sport’s hottest bantamweights, regardless of company. He is coming off a big win at Bellator 222. The legendary Leben, meanwhile, returns to the Bare Knuckle ring Saturday night when he faces Dakota Cochrane.

MMA Junkie Radio airs from 8 to 10 p.m. ET (5 to 7 p.m. PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live above or on MMAjunkie’s YouTube page. Additionally, SiriusXM Fight Nation (Ch. 156) airs the show live, or you can catch an on-demand replay on the SiriusXM app.

MMA Junkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ONLINE): Watch a live stream on MMA Junkie’s YouTube page.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMA Junkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call the MMA Junkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMA Junkie Radio live and in person at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s sports book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com. (Note: You must be 21 or older to enter the casino.)
  • HOW TO INTERACT: Follow MMA Junkie Radio on your favorite social-media platforms, including TwitterFacebook and Instagram.
  • HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: Never miss an episode of MMAjunkie by subscribing via iTunesStitcher or Audioboom.
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LAS VEGAS – Dana White’s Contender Series returns tonight, and MMA Junkie has you covered with a live preview of the third season’s first show.

DWCS 17 takes place at the brand new UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The four-fight card, which sees athletes trying to secure a UFC contract, streams live on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.

You can join MMA Junkie’s John Morgan and Dan Tom for a preview at 7:15 p.m. ET.

The complete four-fight lineup includes:

  • Punahele Soriano (186) vs. Jamie Pickett (186)
  • Hannah Goldy (116) vs. Kali Robbins (116)
  • Bill Algeo (146) vs. Brendan Loughnane (146)
  • Yorgan De Castro (253) vs. Alton Meeks (262)

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 17, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Photos: Dana White's Contender Series 17 official weigh-ins
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Paige VanZant underwent arm surgery for the third time last week and is expected to be sidelined for about 12 weeks. With so much time on her hands, she is considering a move back down to strawweight for the final fight on her UFC contract.

VanZant (8-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) has struggled to make the cut down to 115 pounds on numerous occasions, which prompted her move up to flyweight. She split her two appearances competing at 125 pounds, losing to Jessica-Rose Clark via unanimous decision and then rebounding with an impressive submission win over Rachael Ostovich one year later.

Now VanZant finds herself in the recovery process once again. With all this time ahead of her, it’s time to work full time with a nutritionist.

“Now that I have so much time, I can get my diet in check and work with a nutritionist and cut down to 115,” VanZant told MMA Junkie. “And have my last fight on my contract and try strawweight out again with a full-time nutritionist. I think there are really big fights in the strawweight division for me and really big fights at 125 for me.”

RelatedPaige VanZant has surgery on arm, shares absolutely grotesque photos of itPaige VanZant's SI swimsuit photos revealed: 'This is my way of not holding anything back'

With one fight left on her deal, VanZant was hoping to make a statement, but those plans will have to be put on hold as she recovers from yet another surgery on her arm. She elbowed a training partner in the head, which resulted in another non-union fracture. She though it was best to undergo surgery so she can guarantee a comeback at full strength.

“I had a non-union fracture again but in a completely different spot,” VanZant said. “So, they said yeah, eventually it will heal, but it’s like rolling the dice. Like it could be nine months before the crack fills in. I had options of sitting and hoping that sometime in nine months it’ll heal or having surgery, and knowing I’ll be back and able to train in three months.”

With the exciting news of VanZant’s current home, Gracie Barra Portland, collaborating with American Top Team, she hopes to head East to ATT in South Florida for some training.

Gracie Barra Portland is now officially American Top Team West Coast, and VanZant hopes that now, with a bigger gym name, people will start to show the team more respect.

“It helps to have the franchise name,” VanZant said. “We have a huge roster of UFC fighters, Bellator fighters, just really talented people. But because we’re working with Gracie Barra, everyone thought it was a jiu-jitsu academy, which we had a full fight team, so it’s cool now that we have the name, and we can have fighters come out and train with us.”

“We’re hoping to go down to Coconut Creek,” VanZant added. “I was going to go down with Fabiano, our head coach, and our owner Brandon. Austin and I were going to go down and help with cross training and stuff like that.”

RelatedUFC's Maycee Barber targets Paige VanZant but knows 'she doesn't want any of this'Feeling amazing at flyweight, Maryna Moroz calls out Paige VanZant after UFC Philadelphia

For now, VanZant will have to hold back on her plans, but a trip down to ATT, one of the top gyms in the world with the likes of bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she won’t be short of world-class training partners.

“I would like to go once I can start training,” VanZant said. “I’m down and out for probably another 12 weeks before I can hit the gym super hard, and I can start training full time.”

That won’t deter her, though, as she is determined to come back stronger at the end of the year.

“It’s making me more driven,” VanZant said. “I’ve had longer layoffs than this, so I’m just going to suck it up and stop whining and feeling sorry for myself because I do know there are so many people that wish they can be in my shoes. It’s knowing how blessed I am.

“This just shows the world how tough I am. If you didn’t think I was tough, here you go. I’m not even questioning what’s next for me. I’m just taking it easy for a little while and not messing things up if I’m going to fight again.”

For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Gallery Photos: Paige VanZant through the years
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BAD BLOOD, GOOD BUSINESS: The Story of Rivalries Fueling the Biggest Fights - YouTube

Gallery Photos: Best of Daniel Cormier
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UFC officials recently announced that the promotion’s Emmy-nominated short film series, “UFC 25 Years in Short,” is no longer exclusive to UFC Fight Pass.

Originally released in 2018, the compilation of 25 short films was produced to celebrate the UFC’s 25th anniversary. In April, the docuseries received a Sports Emmy Award nomination in the “Outstanding Edited Sports Special or Series” category.

“‘UFC 25 Years in Short’ premiered on UFC Fight Pass in fall of 2018, so the time is right to showcase it to a new audience,” UFC senior vice president of production and programming Chris Kartzmark stated.

On Tuesday, the promotion released the 22nd film in the series, “BAD BLOOD, GOOD BUSINESS: The Story of Rivalries Fueling the Biggest Fights.”

The official description, courtesy of the UFC:

In 2014, a brawl between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier in the MGM Grand lobby led to one of the most successful Pay-Per-Views in company history because “bad blood” sells.

Check out the full video above.

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

Gallery Photos: Jon Jones through the years
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Anthony Pettis’ manager, Abraham Kawa, believes a fight with Conor McGregor is imminent. All Pettis has to do is take care of business against Nate Diaz.

The former lightweight champion Pettis is scheduled to take on Diaz in a welterweight bout on Aug. 17 in the UFC 241 co-main event.

McGregor last fought at UFC 229, losing to current 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov via fourth-round submission. McGregor has been chomping at the bit for a rematch with Nurmagomedov, but the UFC decided to go in a different direction, booking a title-unification bout vs. interim champ Dustin Poirier in September at UFC 242.

McGregor is yet to sign his next fight. But if Pettis beats Diaz, Kawa believes McGregor should be next for his client.

“Even Conor fighting Khabib, I don’t think that’s the fight,” Kawa told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “I actually don’t want to see that fight right now. Maybe after a while, yes. But right now I think Conor vs. Anthony is the fight. I’m looking at it as (if) Anthony beats Nate, and I think Conor is next on the horizon.”

RelatedDaily Debate results: Does Nate Diaz belong at welterweight?Nate Diaz done with lightweights, Khabib Nurmagomedov: 'I own all those (expletive)'

Pettis made an emphatic statement in his welterweight debut when he knocked out Stephen Thompson with a highlight-reel Superman punch in March. Prior to that, Thompson had never been finished in his combat sports career.

Now Pettis draws Diaz, who hasn’t competed since his unanimous-decision loss to McGregor back in August 2016. It took Pettis to bring Diaz back from his long layoff, and Kawa believes Pettis’ statement in his last fight is what motivated Diaz.

“We needed Anthony to do what he did to Thompson,” Kawa said. “If Anthony doesn’t do that to Thompson, I don’t think anyone would go, ‘This is the fight to make with Nate and Anthony.’ So, Anthony did his part.”

RelatedCoach Roufus: Nate Diaz's hatred toward Anthony Pettis will backfire at UFC 241

And he’s expecting the best version of Diaz.

“He has a following, he has a name, he’s one of the OG’s of the sport, and I take nothing away from Nate,” Kawa said. “To get Nate to get up in the morning and say that’s the dude I want to fight, I think we’re going to see fireworks.

“We’ve seen Anthony vs. ‘Cowboy’ (Donald Cerrone), and now we’ll see Anthony vs. Nate,” Kawa added. “They genuinely don’t like each other. They genuinely don’t see eye to eye, and they’re two guys that are going to come forward and throw. The better man is going to win, and I think if Anthony does what he’s supposed to do, he will win.

“I think next in line should be Conor. I don’t think there should be anyone else.”

For more on UFC 241, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Darrion Caldwell arrived at Madison Square Garden for Bellator 222 in a good mood, upbeat, full of positive energy. He left the cage following his loss to Kyoji Horiguchi the complete opposite, and an innocent camera operator felt the brunt of it.

After five rounds in his title fight with Horiguchi, Caldwell came away the loser, dropping a unanimous decision by scores of 48-47 and 49-46 twice.

Afterward, Caldwell and his team made the slow walk out of the cage and into the backstage area while a camera followed along. Caldwell spoke directly to the camera – calmly, but you could sense the frustration slowly building.

“I know y’all pulling stunts on me. I know y’all pulling stunts on me,” Caldwell said. “It’s all good. I know the real outcome. I know y’all pulling stunts on me.”

Moments later, things took an ugly turn.

“Suck a f*cking d*ck. That’s what I got to say for real,” Caldwell said. “Go suck a f*cking d*ck. None of y’all n***as put the time and effort that I put in. Y’all f*cking cons.”

AND THEN WHACK. HE SLAPS THE CAMERA TO THE GROUND.

It’s hard to tell if Caldwell’s words were directed at the judges, Bellator or Horiguchi, but the emotions understandably were running high. Still no excuse for taking it out on a cameraman like that.

You can watch the scene in the video above (warning for profanity). For the full fight night video, check out below:

Fight Night | Darrion Caldwell - Bellator 222 - YouTube

For complete coverage of Bellator 222, check out the MMA Eventssection of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

Gallery Kyoji Horiguchi def. Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 222: Best photos
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Gallery Luis Pena def. Steven Peterson at UFC Nashville: Best photos
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At UFC on ESPN+ 12 on Saturday night, Matt Wiman will fight for the first time in 1,673 days.

The 35-year-old lightweight hasn’t competed since November 2014, when he defeated Isaac Vallie-Flagg at UFC Fight Night 57. When Wiman (16-7, 10-5 UFC) last made the walk to the cage, the promotion hadn’t entered the Reebok era, Barack Obama was midway through his second term, and Conor McGregor hadn’t fought on a pay-per-view.

No one was more surprised to hear of Wiman’s return than Luis Pena, his opponent Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.

“I’m not gonna lie,” Pena told MMA Junkie. “They said Matt Wiman – I thought that guy was retired. He hasn’t fought since the fight with Isaac Vallie-Flagg, and then he tried to come back in 2015. He pulled out with a back injury. I was a little surprised, but at the same time, it’s just another name on the contract.”

Matt Wiman

A veteran of Season 27 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Pena (6-1, 2-1 UFC) is trying to focus most of his energy on the controllable – what he brings to the table with his abilities. However, the 25-year-old lightweight admitted there are challenges preparing for an opponent who hasn’t competed in almost five years.

“I am super focused on myself and getting better and being in the best shape possible for this fight,” Pena said. “But at the same time, I can’t lie. It is a little difficult to form a gameplan because all of my fights in the UFC [my coaches] have essentially formed some pretty good gameplans to take these guys out.

“With this matchup, we don’t really know where to go. You look at his early fights, he likes to take guys to the ground and beat them up. You look at his later fights, he likes to stand up and beat them up. It’s kind of like a catch-22. What are we going to get? I’m just kind of preparing for the best Matt Wiman I’m going to see.”

Regardless of which version of Wiman enters the cage Saturday, “Violent Bob Ross” thinks their meeting is the odds-on favorite to win the UFC’s “Fight of the Night” bonus.

“This is the biggest candidate for ‘Fight of the Night,’ just looking at the card right now,” Pena said. “We’re both guys who like to come forward and like to fight. We like to throw hands. I feel like both of our styles match up well for the fans.

“You can expect pure violence from this fight – bell-to-bell violence.”

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 12, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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