Fantasy MMA News
Per Tim Burke, Bloody Elbow -
"Kamaru Usman's dominant decision win over Tyron Woodley saw him enter the P4P list inside the top 10 as well as placing him atop the welterweight division. The three new contenders - Pedro Munhoz, Zabit Magomedsharipov, and Weili Zhang - are all going to likely get feature spots the next time they fight and could be as little as one win away from a title shot ...
"Light Heavyweight - Thiago Santos is up one to three, bumping Anthony Smith to four after his decision loss to Jon Jones in the headliner ... Johnny Walker is up two to 13 ... Misha Cirkunov, holds on at 15 ...
"Welterweight - Obviously we have a new champion. Tyron Woodley is still the top contender. Colby Covington drops to two. Ben Askren enters the list at six after his controversial win over Robbie Lawler. Lawler drops two to eight ...
"Featherweight - Zabit is up seven huge spots to sit in the six position now ...
"Bantamweight ... Munhoz is up five spots after stopping former champ Cody Garbrandt. He's at four, while Garbrandt fell four spots to six ... Cody Stamann is up two spots to ten ...
"Women's Bantamweight ... Macy Chiasson cracks the rankings at 14 after her UFC 235 win ...
"Women's Strawweight - Zhang became an immediate contender with an impressive win over Tecia Torres. She's up eight spots to seven. Torres drops one to eight."
UFC official rankings get a ton of flack from fans and media alike, but they are still referenced far and wide when determining title landscapes. - MagWar
Jan Blachowicz --> Anthony Smith | bit.ly/2C3BnMP
Aljo Sterling --> Marlon Moraes | bit.ly/2ETNpKi
Santiago Ponzinibbio --> Kamaru Usman | bit.ly/2HmJUh5
Johnny Walker --> Alexander Gustafsson | bit.ly/2EFRccZ
Public call outs are where the seeds of future fight matchups are planted. They are worth noting. - MagWar
Per Brett Okamoto, ESPN -
"[Donald] Cerrone (35-11) has been in talks with the UFC since his last fight in January, regarding a potential non-title bout against Conor McGregor. According to Cerrone, the UFC initially wanted it to happen on April 13, before exploring the possibility of July 6 ... UFC commentator Joe Rogan recently said on a podcast that talks with McGregor hit a snag because the UFC wants him to appear in a co-main event. Cerrone, who met with UFC president Dana White last week in Las Vegas, confirmed to ESPN he has been told the same ... [Cerrone] intends to fight by July 6, one way or another. White told ESPN last week the UFC is considering booking a fight between Cerrone and ranked lightweight Al Iaquinta."
Per Cerrone -
"Conor won't fight unless it's a main event. I don't know if it's an ego thing or a status thing for him. I don't give a s---. I'll fight anyone, anywhere, and I stand by that all the time. I guess he's a prima donna and only takes main event spots ... I don't know how in one breath you can say, 'I'll fight anyone, anytime, anywhere,' and the next one say, 'I'm not ready for that one.' ... I'm more annoyed that he went radio silent after putting it out. I get it, you want to stay relevant by putting it out there, but then you can't go radio silent. Sack up, b----. Sign the f---ing paper."
Conor McGregor sold 2.4 MM PPVs the last time he fought, which by point of reference is about 3 times more than the next highest UFC draw, and about 10 times more than low level UFC PPVs. On one hand, we agree, sign the f***ing paper, Conor. On the other hand, he's by far the biggest star in the UFC. Making him the co-main event is silly, especially as a hard line in the sand in a fight negotiation. - MagWar
Per Jed Meshew, MMA Fighting -
"Justin Buchholz was the head coach of Team Alpha Male in 2016 and helped guide [Cody] Garbrandt to a bantamweight title shot and victory in just one year ... Buchholz was ousted as head coach of the gym by gym owner Urijah Faber before Garbrandt faced off with former TAM fighter T.J. Dillashaw. Not too long after that, Buchholz left the gym entirely and since then, Team Alpha Male has fallen on hard times, results-wise. Buchholz places the blame squarely on Faber's shoulders and believes the results speak for themselves."
Per Buchholz -
"They're like, 'Oh, he decided to throw caution to the wind.' Well where was that guy, where was the guy who threw caution to the wind, kill or be killed, I'm just gonna go run across the cage holding my right hand out with my hands down, where was that guy when he fought Dominick Cruz? ... It's not kill or be killed. It's win this fight. Get the W. It just pisses me off when people say, 'Oh he just got emotional. He just decided to do this.' That's all from training! That's all from the camp. That's all from the cues you receive from your coach ... Dominick Cruz was the best out of all of [Garbrandt's opponents] and he master-classed him but he couldn't get past those other guys. It has a lot to do with coaching, the program, it's all that ... it's like the owner of the team got jealous of the head coach and then showed up on the field and started coaching instead of sitting back and kicking his feet up ... But some people can't understand that because they can't see past their own ego ...
"I would never go back to that gym ... I thought that I was gonna die as head coach of Alpha Male but c'est la vie. Things don't always work out the way you think they are and sometimes they turn out better for you ... For me to ever coach Alpha Male again, that door is closed. Urijah would have to lick my boot if he wanted me to go back in that gym and even then I don't think I'd do it."
Buchholz is the second recently successful TAM coach [after Duane Ludwig] to leave the team spitting fire at owner Urijah Faber. There seems to be a pattern forming here. "Lick my boot." Whoa. - MagWar
Here we go with another new signee breakdown, courtesy of Shawn Bitter, Cageside Press -
"[Roman] Kopylov, before going into MMA, had an extensive career in Combat Sambo. He was a multi-time Russian and European Champion and also a five-time world hand-to-hand combat champion. In April of 2016, Kopylov made his MMA debut and it has been smooth sailing since. He's fought for some big promotions out of Russia in Fight Nights Global and ACB. In March of last year, Kopylov won the FNG middleweight title and nine months later defended his belt ...
"Kopylov is a stud and one of the best signings in a while from the UFC ... Kopylov is mainly a striker and he's been able to stay upright in his fights with excellent takedown defense. He has some of the best fundamentals I've seen in a bright up-and-comer. Kopylov has a good jab and dangerous left hand. It's the small things that make a difference and that's his constant twitches/feints to keep his opponents guessing. He's very accurate and his IQ in covering distance and staying at range is fantastic. Kopylov also likes to utilize kicks and he will throw some nice spinning kicks to the liver, which he excels at."
Click the source link for Bitter's full take, including his assessment of Kopylov's first UFC matchup, opposite Krzysztof Jotko at UFC St. Petersburg in April. - MagWar
Per Peter Carroll, MMA Fighting -
"An unbeaten sensation before he signed with the UFC, Marc Diakiese has returned to his old U.K. stomping ground in preparation for his critical UFC London fight with Joe Duffy having spent his last three camps at U.S. powerhouse, American Top Team ... Diakiese is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, with each defeat coming on the back of a camp in the Florida gym. Now training at AVT under the watchful gaze of UFC veteran Danny Mitchell, 'Bonecrusher' feels as though his receiving the attention he needs to thrive.
Per Diakiese -
"I'll probably go [back to ATT] off camps and stuff to build my wrestling, but obviously ATT is a big gym ... it's not really worked out for me. Whereas here, I get more attention, I've got a team. That's why I've not gone back to ATT, I've got a team; I've got people working around me ... That's the kind of fighter I am; I need attention. I feel like I'm getting it in the U.K. and that's why I've come back ...
"For my last fight, I had the game plan made on Friday and all of the coaches I worked with didn't come with me. They went with [another fighter] when they were supposed to come with me ... It didn't make sense to me, I need guys to be there for me ... I didn't feel disrespected. There are fighters that are there that are higher ranked than me, the coaches have big names as well. I don't take it as [disrespect] ... I felt [like my best assets were neglected at ATT]. Where I was at was a wrestling gym, it wasn't a striking gym. There weren't many striking coaches, so I wasn't doing as much striking as I usually did in the U.K. I'm back to what I know best and I'm comfortable; I'm going to show that on March 16th."
Diakiese is a very talented striker. We'll see if the move back home pays dividends. He has no room for error in his next UFC fight, after three consecutive losses. - MagWar
Per Alexander K. Lee, MMA Fighting -
"[Johnny Walker] caused a minor scare following his 36-second KO of Misha Cirkunov at UFC 235 on Saturday in Las Vegas when his elaborate post-fight dance resulted in him hurting his shoulder ... Fortunately for fans of the fast-rising contender, Walker's manager Lucas Lutkus told MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz that Walker (17-3) has only suffered a mild shoulder injury and that he will be ready to return to action in a month. The exact nature of the injury is a Hill-Sachs deformity."
Great news here for the UFC's meteoric prospect-turned-contender. - MagWar
Per MMAjunkie -
- Jon Jones: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears left foot with X-ray. Additionally, suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days for left eye laceration.
- Anthony Smith: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears nose and ribs with X-rays. Additionally, suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days.
- Tyron Woodley: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears right thumb with MRI. Additionally, suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
- Tecia Torres: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears right ankle and right foot with X-rays. Suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days.
- Pedro Munhoz: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears right hand and right thumb with X-rays. Additionally, suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days.
- Zabit Magomedsharipov: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears left ankle and left foot with X-rays. Additionally, suspended 30 days with no contact for 21 days for left eye laceration.
- Johnny Walker: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears left shoulder with MRI.
- Macy Chiasson: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears left hand with X-ray.
- Gina Mazany: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears nose and left hand with X-rays. Additionally, suspended 60 days with no contact for 45 days.
- Hannah Cifers: Suspended 180 days unless doctor clears broken left forearm. Additionally, suspended 45 days with no contact for 30 days.
This is the list of 180-day suspensions. Click the source link for the full list of all suspensions. - MagWar
Per MMAjunkie -
"Petr Yan has Pedro Munhoz's attention ... after beating [Cody] Garbrandt, Munhoz said he's looking for a championship fight at 135 pounds ... Yan, who is arguably the current top prospect in the UFC at 135 pounds and is coming off a decision win over John Dodson at UFC on ESPN+ 3, found that notion laughable (via Twitter). The callout didn't appear to sit well with Munhoz."
Per Yan -
"This guy who lost to Dodson won by lucky punch today and now thinks he will fight for the title :laughing face:"
Per Munhoz -
"[Yan] just got in UFC now, he has a bunch of fights to go. He just beat recently John Dodson. I just knocked out the former champion now, and I will fight any fighter in that division. Tell him to suck my balls right now, because he just literally got in the UFC right now. He's tough, everyone is tough in the division, but now I have to fight for the title."
Yan's Response -
"you are an filthy animal after response like that! You and I will definitely meet as soon as you take off your skirt!"
Heading into UFC 235 Munhoz was #9 and Yan #8 in the BW rankings. That's right - Yan was ranked higher. Munhoz needs to get off his high horse and acknowledge this dude as a legit contender and potential next opponent. Besides, BW champ T.J. Dillashaw is already lining up to rematch Henry Cejudo next, and #1 contender Marlon Moraes has a much stronger claim on the next title shot than Munhoz. - MagWar
Per Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting -
"UFC strawweight Mackenzie Dern announced on Feb. 22 she was expecting a baby, but she's actually planning to be back in action inside the Octagon in the fourth quarter of 2019 ... Dern says she hasn't gained a single pound during pregnancy, and plans on fighting again between October or November."
Per Dern -
"I don't even know if I'm having a normal delivery or a C-section. Everything makes a difference. But I'm confident that I'll fight in October. That's what I told my manager."
Hopefully Dern has a seemless pregnancy and delivery, and she's able to get back to action this quickly. It certainly seems abitious, but we've learned never to doubt UFC fighters when it comes to recovery and rehab timelines. These people are from a different planet. - MagWar
If there was any doubt about Colby Covington getting the next shot at the WW title vs. newly crowned champ Kamaru Usman, it can be laid to rest. The two nearly brawled in Vegas yesterday, as captured by TMZ -
Update: Covington claims Usman's manager Ali Abelaziz threatened to kill him during the incident -
"I'm waiting in the buffet line. I'm just trying to get some crab legs. Can't the man get some crab legs? Can the man, the champ, get some crab legs in peace? All of a sudden low-energy Marty comes, that terrorist rat Ali comes and some other Sasquatch and they start pushing and swinging and start putting innocent kids' lives in danger and a pregnant lady.
"There's a pregnant lady, and she's screaming, 'I'm pregnant, stop this!' Ali is still pushing, trying to make a scene. Usman is still trying to scream at me, 'I'm going to get you!' And his Sasquatch is trying to throw punches at my friend and trying to punch me. It's a complete joke. I cant believe that they allow that in Vegas and just a bunch of filthy animals ...
"You know what else [Abelaziz] told me? He told me he was going to track me down and shoot me and kill me. He said that to me. I swear to God on my life. I have witnesses that heard him say that."
Cringy moment here by two UFC elites. Thankfully, calmer heads prevailed. Shout out to the lil old lady with the red backpack who was getting in between to stop the action. - MagWar
Per Matt Erickson, MMAjunkie -
"After another UFC win [over Jeremy Stephens this past weekend at UFC 235], and his 13th straight overall, Zabit Magomedsharipov is starting to think about the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow ... Magomedsharipov moved to 5-0 in the UFC and is thinking about being in position to potentially fight for a title next ...
"Things are in flux right now since champion Max Holloway is moving up to lightweight to challenge for a second concurrent title against Dustin Poirier in an interim 155-pound title bout at UFC 236. The outcome of that fight next month clearly will affect where featherweight fighters like Magomedsharipov fall into place afterward."
Per Zabit -
"I think I'm close enough - I'm 5-0, and the belt is up for grabs. I'm ready to fight my next fight for a title, or wait for the winner of [Jose] Aldo and [Alex] Volkanovski."
Zabit was #13 and Stephens #6 in the official UFC FW rankings heading into their fight. While this win should improve his stock considerably, it seems Magomedsharipov is still another win or two away from earning a title shot. - MagWar
Following UFC 235, Dana White indicated the following targeted next matchups.
- Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos | bit.ly/2TvWSQd
- Daniel Cormier vs. Brock Lesnar | bit.ly/2C4dyEJ
- Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington | bit.ly/2GWIZop
- Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler II | bit.ly/2IQp5NC
Meanwhile, Ben Askren says he's done fighting Lawler and wants the winner of Jorge Masvidal vs. Darren Till next. - MagWar
Per Steven Marrocco, MMAjunkie -
"Fight week wasn't a cruise to the finish for newly minted UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman ... On the ESPN+ post-fight show for UFC 235, Usman revealed he suffered a fractured foot in the run up to his title shot against Tyron Woodley ... Even when he was in the cage, Usman had to fight through more hardship. He suspects he aggravated a hernia in the third round of the fight."
Amazing that Usman was able to dominate Woodley from pillar to post even with these injuries. UFC fighters are made of iron. - MagWar
Per Steven Marrocco, MMAjunkie -
"A metabolite for the oral turinabol steroid continues to pulse in Jon Jones' system prior to his fight with Anthony Smith at UFC 235 ... A quintet of drug test results released today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission show the UFC light heavyweight passed three and failed two for the M3 metabolite that's periodically been in his system since a positive test in July 2017 ... The [NV State Athletic Commission] has ordered that all of Jones' pre-fight samples are to be expedited, but has cleared him to compete Saturday at the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena ... As with previous findings where trace amounts of the steroid metabolite have shown up in Jones' system, he is not being sanctioned because the metabolites are considered residual from the 2017 test that resulted in a 15-month suspension."
Seems like this metabolite is going to cast a shadow over Jones for the rest of his career. All indications are that it is from prior, not current PED use, if that's any consolation for teams facing him this weekend and beyond. - MagWar
Per Mike Bohn, MMAjunkie -
"[Paige] VanZant, a women's flyweight prospect and one of the UFC's best-known female fighters, claims she has suffered a right arm fracture for a third time in her career ... The severity of VanZant's fracture is unknown at this time. She did not add whether or not surgery would be required after the initial injury kept her out of action for one year prior to her successful octagon return with a submission Rachael Ostovich at UFC on ESPN+ 1 [this past January].
Huge bummer for Paige. Get well soon. - MagWar
Per Mike Bohn, MMAjunkie -
"After a recent [Conor] McGregor at UFC 239 on July 6, UFC President Dana White ... threw some cold water on it ... White did not specify who Cerrone could be fighting instead of McGregor, or when it might take place. According to ESPN.com, though, Al Iaquinta is a potential suitor to face 'Cowboy.'"
Per White -
"These two have been talking about this and I said if they want to fight, I would do it. But we're nowhere close to a fight. We're actually looking at other opponents for 'Cowboy' Cerrone now ... 'Cowboy' was in my office yesterday - you know him. He wants to fight. He's ready to fight again, he wants to fight again, so we're looking at another opponent for him. Maybe 'Ragin' Al."
Reading between the lines, we'd say McGregor wants more money than the UFC wants to pay to see him fight Cowboy, and Dana is negotiating by threatening to hand the fight to Raging Al. Fine. Let's see Cowboy vs. Al and Conor vs. Cucuy. All good. - MagWar
The main and co-main event fighters for April's UFC 236 appeared at a press conference today during UFC 235 fight week, to hype their event. Afterward, they each interviewed with ESPN's Brett Okamoto. Here are the links for those interviews -
Israel Adesanya - bit.ly/2EGVCBJ
Kelvin Gastelum - bit.ly/2EpfGqM
Dustin Poirier - bit.ly/2GVpUTD
Max Holloway - bit.ly/2H921Hr
Here are the press conference face offs. Look at the height difference between Stylebender and Kelvin ... bit.ly/2EpkQmB
Independent MMA journalist Farah Hannoun recently interviewed UFC LHW contender Volkan Oezdemir, ahead of his upcoming UFC London fight vs. surging prospect Dominick Reyes.
Click to watch: t.co/hVQhcfdy1z
Per Alexander K. Lee, MMA Fighting -
"A video of Colby Covington forcing an impromptu meeting with UFC president Dana White at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas made the rounds on Friday, and it appeared that the encounter was a brief one ... Covington said that on Thursday evening he did manage to get a few words in with White when his camera was off, though it doesn't sound like 'Chaos' was satisfied with what he heard."
Per Covington -
"He said some good things that I like to hear from him and I got some things off my chest. He was trying to tell me, 'You've got to accept the fights when they accept the fights.' I said, 'Dana, man, I f*cking had nose surgery. Your UFC doctors, your UFC doctors - not my private doctor, your UFC doctors said I wasn't clear to fight and I couldn't fight. I've never turned down a fight one time in my life ... I've been begging for the last two years to fight Tyron Woodley. He's ducked me at every stop. He ducked me in January, he ducked me in November, he ducked me last year in December at the year-end show, so I wanted an explanation from him. All he could say is, 'You've got to accept the fights.' Dude, I've accepted every single fight you've given me. Just tell the people the real reason this is going on. This is corruption and it needs to stop ...
"He was pissed. He was real pissed. But I don't give a shit. I'm not here to make him happy and I wanted to let him know that this ain't fair. There's justice. You robbed me out of a title fight this week. I'm supposed to be fighting for the title. All the fans want to see me fight for the title, they don't want to see f*cking 'Snoozeman' ... I'm the people's champ, I'm what everybody came to see. So he was pissed, but you know what? I don't care about his feelings. I don't care about anybody's feelings. Him and everybody else, they're a bunch of snowflakes."
LOL. Never change, Colby. - MagWar
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