Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matchmakers could have a very tough decision to make in the aftermath of the UFC 239 pay-per-view (PPV) event, which takes place on July 6, 2019 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That’s because Ben Askren could finish Jorge Masvidal on the “Jones vs. Santos” main card, generating enough momentum in the process to have mixed martial arts (MMA) fans calling for a “Funky” title shot against reigning champion, Kamaru Usman.
“I think the way the momentum is shifting, if I beat up Jorge Masvidal, I think there’s a good chance I get a title shot, and if not, I’m not very far away. I’m pretty darn close,” Askren told MMA Fighting. “I don’t see why not. At the end of the day what the UFC sees more than anything are dollar signs and right now when they look at me, that’s what I present.”
In order for Askren to get the next crack at the 170-pound crown, he would not only need to shut down Masvidal, he would also need to convince the promotion to pick him over No. 2-ranked title contender and former interim champion, Colby Covington.
“How long ago was Colby’s last fight? Last June? What is this motherfucker going to sit out for 16 months and expect to get a title shot? The only way to stay relevant in this sport is to stay in there and keep getting after it,” Askren said. “So yeah, if I go beat up Jorge, I’m going to have a lot more momentum. And if ‘Marty’ wants to make some money, I’m sure ‘Marty’ has a pay-per-view clause in his contract, you’re damn sure that I’m going to sell a whole bunch more pay-per-views against him than Colby would.”
Askren (19-0, 1 NC) held world titles in both Bellator MMA and ONE Championship, remains one of the division’s most outspoken personalities, and already captured a win over a former welterweight champion in his Octagon debut. It would be hard to look past a statement victory over a savage like Masvidal.
“I don’t think people are too into Colby’s schtick anymore,” Askren said. “They realize it’s old, it’s washed up, it’s just not that exciting. The guy is doing one of these things where you sit out and wait for a title fight and that is something I will never, ever do.”
If Covington vs. Usman was a lock, they probably would have booked it by now.
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Welcome to Midnight Mania!
There is no sports organization more expensive to follow than Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). To keep up with every fight the promotion puts on, American audiences are expected to buy UFC Fight Pass ($9.99 per month), ESPN+ (4.99 per month), some type of cable package that includes ESPN (an expensive variable depending on the plan), and purchase the pay-per-view (PPV) events for $65 a pop, which occur roughly once every five weeks.
We’re talking upward of $1,000 each year.
Around the world, different audiences have different expenses, seemingly based on the wealth of the country and the general convenience of viewing the product. In the United Kingdom, for example, fans historically have been able to keep up with a majority of UFC content by paying for BT Sports, which costs $16 to $30 euros monthly depending on the package. Cheaper than in the United States to be sure, but PPV events don’t even start until 3 A.M., so it’s a fair enough trade.
The biggest card of the year!
Two title fights ✅ Greatest ever men's fighter ✅ Greatest ever women's fighter#UFC239 is stacked!
— Watch UFC 239 live on BT Sport Box Office (@btsportufc) June 8, 2019
It’s easy to miss just from the Tweet itself, but the mention of “Box Office” means U.K. fans are expected to pay extra for the privilege of staying up until 6 a.m. local time. Naturally, there has been quite a bit of backlash. Check out the replies to the linked tweet, or this Reddit thread that encourages English fans to boycott and/or stream the event illegally.
It’s an odd move from UFC at an odd time. In general, the PPV model seems to be dying out around the world, as monthly subscriptions are proving more popular and profitable. Many assumed the ESPN+ shift was a signal in that direction. To muddy the waters further, UFC is light on stars right now — Conor McGregor is on the sidelines, which means there is no chance of breaking one million PPV buys or creating a truly mega event. Plus, while UFC 239 is decent, the title fights at the top of the card are very likely to be extremely one-sided.
Are there really enough English fans willing to pony up for a PPV at 3 a.m. to cover the seemingly larger number intent on canceling their BT Sport subscriptions? Even if it does prove profitable, is pissing off a bunch of customers really the best move?
I could write a much larger column on the warm up, fight itself, disastrous ER visit (four hours for handful of stitches???), and other assorted aftermath, but bottom line is Mania’s other Andrew fought damn well against a tough scrapper and earned the win. Follow that man, and forgive him if he looks a bit stiff in this week’s technique highlight videos: his feet and shins are banged up from landing a few dozen kicks. Whenever a video of the fight becomes available, it’ll be here!
A post shared by Andrew Coyne (@andrew_coyne) on Jun 16, 2019 at 12:15pm PDT
Jon Jones was honored at the Wall of Fame in the Resorts World Birmingham.
Jon Jones and Robert Frank Sign Wall of Fame in England - YouTube
The best adjective for the fight business will always be cold.
The hardest part of that loss, is knowing that there were so many people out there who enjoyed watching me lose. I see you all,with your negative hateful comments. I don’t respond-but they sit with me. I’m just a regular mom trying my best. I’m just doing the best i can for Annie
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to ESPN 2 this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2019) when UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” storms Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 154 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.
It’s a crossroads fight at 145 pounds inside Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2019) when the immortal “Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, faces top Brazilian Renato Moicano in UFC Fight Night 154’s main event (a.k.a. UFC on ESPN+ 12). In the co-feature, Bantamweight wrecking machine John Lineker steps up on short notice for a rematch with Rob Font (details), while Bryan Barberena faces Randy Brown in a guaranteed Welterweight slugfest and top women’s Flyweight Andrea Lee looks to take the next step against Montana de la Rosa.
UFC Fight Night 154 features six undercard “Prelims” bouts on ESPN 2, so let’s first check out the opening trio.
125 lbs.: Ariane Lipski vs. Molly McCann
Ariane Lipski (11-4) entered the Octagon as one of the division’s top prospects thanks to a nine-fight win streak that saw her win and defend the KSW Women’s Flyweight title. Despite winding up a significant favorite over Joanne Calderwood, “The Violence Queen” had no answers for “Dr. Kneevil’s” grappling, losing a unanimous decision in Brooklyn.
Her nine-fight streak included five (technical) knockouts and two submissions.
Molly McCann (8-2) brought a six-fight win streak of her own into UFC, only to suffer similar misfortune against grappling specialist Gillian Robertson in her debut. “Meatball” bounced back 10 months later against Priscilla Cachoeira, fighting through some grotesque eye swelling to claim a unanimous decision victory.
She stands two inches shorter than Lipski at 5’4.”
This has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Indeed, both of these women are extremely aggressive and entertaining when they don’t have to worry about takedowns. I expect nonstop exchanges until either the final bell rings or one of them hits the deck.
As fond as I am of “Meatball,” this looks like Lipski’s fight to lose. “The Violence Queen’s” edge in power and strike variety should serve her well in the sort of slugfest McCann will offer. Expect the Brazilian to take a competitive, but clear decision after 15 wild minutes.
Prediction: Lipski via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Deron Winn vs. Eric Spicely
Deron Winn (5-0) — a protege of Daniel Cormier who came within spitting distance of making the 2016 Olympic wrestling squad — didn’t let his 5’5” frame stop him from stopping his first four opponents in one round apiece at Light Heavyweight. This led to a step up against UFC veteran “Filthy” Tom Lawlor in Nov. 2018, and though Winn had to go to the judges, he came out victorious on the strength of his boxing and wrestling.
He is nine inches shorter than Eric Spicely (12-4), but gives up just two inches of reach.
Spicely (12-4) had an unsuccessful The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) run and fell to Sam Alvey in his Octagon debut, but emerged as an unexpected contender with submissions of Thiago Santos and Alessio Di Chirico. Three consecutive stoppage losses led to his return to the regional circuit, where he knocked out Leo Pla and fellow UFC vet Caio Magalhaes in one round apiece.
He replaces Bruno Silva, who himself replaced Markus Perez, on just five days’ notice (details).
I don’t mean this as a knock on Spicely’s abilities, but he’s the least interesting of Winn’s three scheduled opponents. “Blindado” Silva has colossal power and recently knocked out two of Russia’s best Middleweights, while Perez’s funky offense could have exploited Winn’s lack of top-level experience. Spicely, though a dangerous grappler, doesn’t present any standout stylistic issues, as he’s unlikely to get on top of Winn and is outgunned on the feet.
Winn’s issues are going to come against rangy, mobile strikers who can make him work, and Spicely just isn’t that. “Zebrinha’s” last three losses have come in the second round, so expect Winn to keep the streak going with a point-blank hook.
Prediction: Winn via second-round technical knockout
135 lbs.: Anderson dos Santos vs. Andre Ewell
Anderson dos Santos (20-7) — the last man to defeat current star prospect Ricky Simon — had won three straight when he replaced Enrique Barzola on short notice in Buenos Aires. “Berinja,” stepping up in weight, had few answers for the offense of Nad Narimani, ultimately losing a unanimous decision.
Eleven of his 16 stoppage wins have come via submission.
Andre Ewell (14-5) likewise made his Octagon debut as a late replacement, but found considerably more success, edging former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao via split decision at UFC Fight Night 137. This led to a clash with stud prospect Nathaniel Wood, who exploited Ewell’s grappling issues to choke him out late in the third.
“Mr. Highlight” stands six inches taller than dos Santos and will have a massive nine-inch reach advantage.
This is a “two true outcome” fight: either dos Santos exploits Ewell’s leaky grappling defense or Ewell uses his freakish proportions to crack dos Santos’ chin when the Brazilian inevitably leaves it out for him. It’s the sort of fight that’s going to be uncompetitive in opposite directions depending on where it takes place; one wins easily if it’s on the mat, the other wins easily if it stays on the feet.
Even with Ewell’s wrestling issues, that reach advantage and dos Santos’ iffy striking defense are too much for me to overlook. “Berinja” gets chinned before he has the chance to get his Brazilian jiu-jitsu going.
Prediction: Ewell via first-round technical knockout
Three more UFC Fight Night 154 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including the latest from “Violent Bob Ross” and a clash of top-notch “Contender Series” alumni. Same time as always, Maniacs
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 154 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will stream on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 154: “Korean Zombie vs. Moicano” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
Construction is still going strong on Las Vegas Nevada’s new stadium, which reportedly cost $1.8 billion and is set to open in August of 2020. While the new digs are set up specifically for the arrival of the Raiders NFL football team, as well as for the UNLV Rebels, the possibilities are endless as to what kind of events can take place in the 65,000 seat stadium.
According to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) chief operations officer, Lawrence Epstein, the promotion could host big events there moving forward.
“The boxing and MMA events that have gone elsewhere … we’ve done events in Australia and Brazil and Canada that if we would have had a facility here in Las Vegas, we would have done [here],” Epstein told MMA Junkie.
“There have been events at (AT&T) Stadium (in Arlington, Texas) – big boxing events there. There’s no reason why those events wouldn’t have come to Las Vegas. I think combat sports is going to have a home in this facility.”
“The stadium events are going to be special events,” he said. “They’re going to be that event that warrants this huge crowd and the ability to sell tickets associated with 65,000-seat stadiums.”
Once T-Mobile Arena opened in 2016, it became the home to all big UFC events, which were previously held at MGM Grand Garden Arena and Mandalay Bay Events Center. But just because “Sin City” is going to get a brand new stadium, doesn’t mean UFC will switch homes again.
“We’re still going to be the vast majority of our events at the T-Mobile Arena. We love the facility. The management team is incredible. We do events around the world, and I think it’s the best arena in the world,” added Epstein, who is the vice chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board.
“So we love doing events there and of course, it’s in our home town. We’re going to continue to do the vast majority of our events at the T-Mobile. But for those big, special events, we’re going to look at the (new stadium) and see what we can do there.”
Indeed, UFC has often teased a big event to be staged in Jerry Jones’ massive AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, which can easily sit over 100,000 people. While WWE has staged and event there before, UFC has yet to lock it down. But it seem the home of the Dallas Cowboys will unlikely get to host a big UFC event once Las Vegas Stadium opens up.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently announced the booking of a highly-intriguing Lightweight matchup that will see up-and-coming prospect Alexander Hernandez take on Francisco Trinaldo at UFC on ESPN 4 on July 20, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.
Hernandez saw his eight-fight unbeaten streak snapped at the hands of Donald Cerrone at UFC on ESPN+ 1 earlier this year (highlights), losing to “Cowboy” via knockout so suffer his first loss in nearly six years.
Prior to that, “The Great” had scored impressive back-to-back wins over Beneil Dariush and Olivier Aubin-Mercier and seemed poised to be a potential contender in the division.
Trinaldo, meanwhile, hasn’t competed since last September, defeating Evan Dunham at UFC Fight Night 137. With 18 fights inside the Octagon, Trinaldo will be yet another seasoned veteran thrown at the 26-year old Alexander, who is currently holding down the No. 13 spot on the official UFC rankings.
UFC on ESPN 4 will be headlined by a Welterweight matchup that will see Rafael dos Anjos attempt to get back-to-back wins for the first time in a long time when he faces off against the scorching hot Leon Edwards. Also, Greg Hardy will face Juan Adams, while Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell get it on one more time in Heavyweight action.
To see who else is competing at UFC on ESPN 4: “Dos Anjos vs Edwards” click here.
UFC 238 injuries and medical suspensions for the athletes who competed at “Cejudo vs Moraes” on June 8, 2019 from inside United Center in Chicago, Illinois have been released by MMA Junkie, who obtained the records via an anonymous source with access to the data.
According to the report, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Boxing division does not release medical records and suspensions. Leading the way in mandatory sits was Donald Cerrone, who was busted up by Tony Ferguson during their Lightweight scrap.
While it was initially deceived “Cowboy” had suffered a broken orbital bone and broken nose, the slugger revealed that was not the case. Still, he will need to get a CT scan and a doctor’s clearance before he can return to action.
Jessica Eye, meanwhile, was handed a four-month medical suspension following her devastating knockout loss to Valentina Shevhchenko during their women’s Flyweight title fight. (see it here).
Check out the full list of injuries and medical suspensions for UFC 238: “Cejudo vs Moraes” below:
Henry Cejudo: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact; needs physician’s clearance.
Marlon Moraes: Suspended 90 days with 60 days no contact; needs physician’s clearance.
Tony Ferguson: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact.
Donald Cerrone: Suspended indefinitely; needs CT of facial bones and MRI of head for physician’s clearance.
Jessica Eye: Suspended 120 days with 90 days no contact; needs clean CT scan and physician’s clearance.
Petr Yan: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact.
Jimmie Rivera: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact.
Blagoy Ivanov: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact; needs X-ray of lower right leg for physician’s clearance.
Tai Tuivasa: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact.
Tatiana Suarez: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact; needs MRI of neck for physician’s clearance.
Aljamain Sterling: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact; needs X-ray of lower leg.
Pedro Munhoz: Suspended 45 days with 30 days; needs X-ray of right foot, right and left forearm, ankles and lower leg.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact.
Ricardo Lamas: Suspended 90 days with 60 days no contact; needs neurological exam and physician’s clearance for broken jaw.
Xiaonan Yan: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact; needs X-ray of right foot, finger and clearance from orthopedic physician.
Grigory Popov: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact; needs physician’s clearance for facial laceration and neurological exam.
Joanne Calderwood: Needs medical clearance for forehead laceration.
Just a quick reminder: Fighters often return to action much quicker once doctors give them the green light. The lengthy suspensions are just a precaution in most cases. In addition, not all injuries are recorded during the post-fight examination and often times surface in follow-up tests.
For complete UFC 238 results, including play-by-play, click here.
Fresh off his win over Anderson Silva at UFC 237 (see it), Jared Cannonier is itching to get back into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon. The only problem is Middleweights aren’t too eager to see him standing across from them.
During a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Cannonier says he has had trouble locking down his next fight, going as far as to say four people were offered to headline the upcoming UFC on ESPN 4 event in San Antonio next month against him, and they all turned it down.
“We are all fighters, we all have a job to do. Picking and choosing fights is one thing I have never done. I will fight whoever comes along. I understand people have to consider their career if they want to get to a title shot and all that stuff, but in this division if you want to get to a title shot, you are going to have to meet me eventually,” said Jared.
“The longer you wait, the worse it’s going to be. So you better come see me now or wait until it’s going to be damn near impossible to beat me.”
Staying true to his respectful character, Cannonier opted to not reveal names of the men who turned down the chance to headline the event, which will now be spearheaded by Leon Edwards vs Rafael dos Anjos.
Still, “The Killa Gorilla” just wants someone to step up to face him so he can pay his bills.
“I’m not here to say that anyone is scared or anything like that. I am not going to do that and it is not my place to do that. But I will say that I would like for somebody to step up so I can get paid and pay my bills. This is an issue I had when I was a Heavyweight in Alaska, because there aren’t a lot of Heavyweight in Alaska,” he added.
“But now I am a Middleweight in the UFC, so there should be somebody to step up and fight.”
One name Jared will mention is former title contender Kelvin Gastelum, saying he’d love nothing more than to welcome him back into the cage following his loss to Israel Adesanya.
“I heard a little birdie says that one Kelvin Gastelum is looking to fight at the end or middle of September in Mexico City. So that would be a good fight and put me closer to a title shot.”
Valentina Shevchenko has solidified her status as one of the best female mixed martial arts (MMA) combatants in the world in her last few fights, taking it to former women’s Straweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the Flyweight title before knocking out Jessica Eye via head kick at UFC 238 (recap).
And let’s not forget the mauling of Priscila Cachoeira and wins over Holly Holm and Juliana Pena. In fact, her only two losses in the last eight years have come against current women’s champ-champ, Amanda Nunes.
It’s that resume and fighting style that has caught everyone’s attention, including that of Paige VanZant’s. “12 Gauge” say she doesn’t see anyone taken down Valentina anytime soon, and says by the time she ever gets a chance to fight for the title, “Bullet” will probably be long gone.
“I am going to be real honest. She is terrifying. I plan on being in the UFC, training forever. She will probably retire before I fight for the title, to be totally honest,” said Paige on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
“I am only 25 so I want to work my way up. As far as anyone I see right now to dethrone her, no there is nobody,” she added.
Valentina took exception to Paige wanting to leapfrog her in the championship race a while back, but all that beef aside, VanZant has nothing but love for the dominant champ and hopes to one day acquire her striking skills.
“I know she has said bad things about me in the past, but I don’t care. Her striking is absolutely next-level and she is so methodical and technical in her striking. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. So I am working on being like her. I want striking like hers. So, congrats to the champ, it was just an awesome performance.”
Paige’s UFC career has been very hot and cold since making her debut back in 2014.
After beginning her Octagon career with three straight wins, “12 Gauge” ultimately ran into Rose Namajunas, losing to the ex-champ via submission. Since, then, Paige has gone 2-2 and hasn’t been able to rack up back-to-back wins.
She did prove victorious in her last outing, taking out Rachael Ostovich via armbar at UFC on ESPN+ 1 this past January. Unfortunately for Paige, she went into that fight with an injured arm, and went on to break that same arm a few months later, leading to another surgery.
With a timeline of 12 weeks given to her to be able to start training again, Paige has a long road ahead of her before she can get a whiff of a title fight. If and when that day comes, it’s safe to say Paige wouldn’t be too upset if Shevchenko has moved on.
In case you haven’t heard by now (which is extremely unlikely), Henry Cejudo has become the proud owner of an Olympic gold medal, a UFC flyweight title, and a UFC bantamweight belt, which is why his nickname was upgraded from “The Messenger” to “Triple C,” standing for champ-champ-champ.
In fact, Cejudo has become so insufferable that even former UFC welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley, long considered the pound-for-pound most annoying champion in history, is asking the promotion’s newest two-division titleholder to tone it down.
“Henry Cejudo, sit down somewhere, dog. Sit down somewhere; you’re annoying everybody,” Woodley told TMZ. “He is a phenomenal fighter. It’s amazing that he’s been able to win an Olympic gold medal, which is more important to me than a UFC belt, because it’s the hardest thing that you can do in combat sports. He beat Demetrious Johnson, a pound for pound legend, won a belt in two divisions. So what I’m saying is that his resume is crazy in a very short period of time. But when you start doing that extra stuff, oof, just stop. Tone down the extraness by like 10. Take it down 10, and you set.”
Cejudo has accomplished a rare feat in mixed martial arts (MMA) and he did it without smashing a bus, getting arrested, or failing a drug test. As far as I’m concerned, he’s earned the right to be insufferable from now until his next fight.
When and where that takes place remains to be seen, but he’s got challengers waiting for him in two separate weight classes. In addition, there’s a potential jump to featherweight for what would be an unheard of three titles in three divisions (at the same time).
With just a few days to go before the UFC Fight Night 154 mixed martial arts (MMA) event on ESPN+, the promotion is making some last-minute changes to the ESPN2 “Prelims” card set for this Sat. night (June 22, 2019) in Greenville, South Carolina.
Middleweight newcomer, Bruno Silva, has withdrawn from the event for undisclosed reasons and will be replaced by UFC veteran Eric Spicely, the former “Ultimate Fighter” semifinalist who left the promotion back in late 2018.
“Zebrinha” re-signed over the weekend to battle Deron Winn, according to MMA Junkie.
Spicely (12-4) made the most of his time away from the Octagon, racking up a pair of wins under the CES banner, both of which ended by way of knockout. As for Winn (5-0), he’ll be looking to notch his first UFC win after successful appearances for both Bellator MMA and Golden Boy MMA.
To see the revised UFC Greenville fight card and line up click here.