Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

UFC 239 was a crowning moment for fighters such as Jon Jones, Amanda Nunes and Jorge Masvidal. But for others, it marked what could be the end of the road inside the Octagon.

UFC president Dana White believes former champions Luke Rockhold and Holly Holm should both retire following defeats in knockout fashion this past Saturday night from Las Vegas and the T-Mobile Arena. Rockhold was finished by Jan Blachowicz and Holm lost to Nunes.

“I think Luke should talk about hanging it up,” White said during his portion of the post-fight press conference. He’s been knocked out viciously a few times. He has had a good career, been a great fighter; I’d like to see him hang it up.”

Rockhold, who will turn 35 in October, is a former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion. He has now lost three of his last four, with all three of the defeats coming via knockout to Blachowicz (at light heavyweight), Yoel Romeroand Michael Bisping.

As for Holm, added “I don’t want to start going retirement crazy. (Holm) has had an amazing career, is one of the sweetest human beings you can meet. I think she needs to take a look at (her future).”

Holm, who will be 38 in October, won several titles in boxing before transitioning full-time to MMA. She won the UFC title in 2015 with a head-kick knockout of Ronda Rousey but is just 2-5 since.

Not even an earthquake could prevent the UFC from inducting former champions Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans, and Rich Franklin into the promotion’s Hall of Fame on Friday as part of the 2019 class.

Tremors from a 6.9 magnitude quake originating in California shook the stage at The Pearl at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas as Evans delivered a speech, prompting “Suga” to remark “That’s me bringing that heat.”

Evans and Bisping join the Modern Wing, while Franklin was enshrined in the Pioneer Wing. The all-time war between Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida in 2009, which the former won by split decision, was also the fifth bout to go into the Hall of Fame’s Fight Wing.

Bisping, a former 185-pound king, stunned the UFC world by knocking out Luke Rockhold during the first round of their June 2016 bout to earn the middleweight title.

The veteran fighter, who was known for his biting trash talk, spent 12 years in the UFC before finally earning gold. Bisping retired in 2018 while tied for the promotion’s all-time lead in fights (29) and wins (20), and he remains the only English fighter to capture a UFC belt.

Evans, meanwhile, exploded onto the MMA scene by winning the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter” as a heavyweight in 2005. 

The American fought at light heavyweight afterward, winning six of his next seven bouts (one draw) – including victories over Bisping and Chuck Liddell – before beating Forrest Griffin via third-round TKO to earn the 205-pound belt. Evans was beaten by Lyoto Machida in his first title defense, and he retired in 2018 after losing five straight.

Finally, Franklin won the middleweight crown in 2005 at UFC 53 and defended his belt twice before losing to the legendary Anderson Silva the following year. He’s currently the vice president of ONE Championship.

The UFC is finalizing a strawweight bout between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson for UFC Fight Night on Oct. 12, multiple sources told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

Agreements have not yet been signed, but both fighters have reportedly verbally agreed to the matchup.

Jedrzejczyk (15-3) is a former women’s strawweight champion but fought for the flyweight title last December, losing to Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision.

Waterson (17-6) is riding a three-fight winning streak. She picked up a decision victory over Karolina Kowalkiewicz in March.

Despite Jedrzejczyk losing three of her last four bouts, the winner of the Oct. 12 matchup could receive a shot at the strawweight title. Current champion Jessica Andrade took the belt from Rose Namajunas in May and is scheduled to defend that title against Weili Zhang on Aug. 31.

The UFC has yet to announce a venue for the October Fight Night.

UFC president Dana White will apparently remain with the promotion for the foreseeable future.

White said during a radio interview with Alan Snel of LVSportsBiz.com that he signed a 10-year deal to remain with the UFC.

The 49-year-old said in March that he had inked a new seven-year pact with the promotion.

White also expressed an interest in partnering again with former UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta to expand his profile to other sports.

“TMZ just got Lorenzo the other day in New York and Lorenzo confirmed that they are looking at NFL teams. I heard the (Carolina) Panthers, that the (Denver) Broncos were available, that the (Los Angeles) Chargers might be up for sale,” White said. “We’ll have to see how this plays out, but yeah, if they buy a team, I’m in. I will partner with them.”

The Panthers were purchased by hedge fund founder David Tepper in May 2018 for $2.2 billion, the Chargers are owned by Dean Spanos after Alex Spanos died in October, and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen died Thursday but had no role in running the team since 2014.

Chael Sonnen’s illustrious MMA career is over, as the veteran fighter announced his retirement following Friday night’s loss to Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222.

Machida ended the final fight of Sonnen’s career in the second round by TKO thanks to a flying knee and punches. The loss marked the second straight defeat for Sonnen, as he fell to Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 208 in October 2018.

The 42-year-old’s lengthy professional career spanned numerous promotions including WEC, Bodog Fight, and the UFC before concluding with Bellator. He finishes with a record of 30-18-1, with eight wins by TKO/KO and four by submission.

Jessica Andrade will reportedly defend her strawweight belt for the first time against Weili Zhang on Aug. 31, sources told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. The championship bout is set to headline a UFC Fight Night in mainland China.

Andrade (20-6) captured the strawweight title after knocking out Rose Namajunas in the second round at UFC 237 in May. The 27-year-old has gone 6-1 since dropping to the strawweight division in late 2016.

Zhang (19-1), meanwhile, has won 18 straight fights and hasn’t lost since her professional MMA debut in November 2013. “Magnum” recently defeated Tecia Torres at UFC 235 in March, pushing her UFC record to 3-0. This championship fight will serve as a homecoming for the 27-year-old, who trains out of Hebei, China.

UFC president Dana White said at the UFC 238 press conference that he doesn’t want to rush Tatiana Suarez into title contention due to the neck injury she suffered in her victory over Nina Ansaroff.

In addition, White said Michelle Waterson won’t get the next 115-pound title shot because she doesn’t want to fight until the fall.

No other matchups have been announced for the card.

The 2009 battle between Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida will be enshrined forever this July in the “Fight Wing” of the UFC Hall of Fame. The bout will be inducted in the same venue it took place in almost 10 years ago to the day.

The UFC Hall of Fame ceremony takes place Friday, July 5 from The Pearl at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. It will stream live on UFC Fight Pass. 

“There are certain guys that when you match them up, there’s no doubt in your mind that it’s going to be a good fight, and this was one of those fights,” UFC president Dana White said. “This fight represents everything that fans around the world love about UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts. Diego and Clay are two maniacs and as soon as the fight began, they both came out blasting each other, it was crazy! This was an absolute war and both guys gave everything they had for all three rounds. This fight was so good it was named the 2009 Fight of the Year. It is one of the best displays of heart, endurance and will to win that you will ever see. Congratulations to Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida on a fight that will always be remembered as one of the best ever!”

Sanchez came into the bout 22-2 with victories over former champions Nick Diaz, Karo Parisyan and Joe Riggs. Guida, meanwhile, was 25-6 and held victories over Nate Diaz, Mac Danzig and former titleholder Josh Thomson. 

“When you take a rampaging beast like Diego Sanchez, and a wild Tasmanian devil like me, you get a recipe for Fight of the Year, and that’s what we gave UFC fans that night,” said Guida. “The fans were the true winners and they deserved it more than anyone. Thank you for inducting this prolific battle into the UFC Hall of Fame! On behalf of my team, family, and friends that helped us prepare for that fight, we are truly honored!” 

After 15 minutes of intense, back-and-forth action, Sanchez was declared the winner via split decision. The victory would catapult him into a title fight vs. then-champion BJ Penn at UFC 107. 

“The fight with Guida was really fun,” said Sanchez. “My mentality was that it was time to get street on this wrestler and that’s exactly what I did!”