It has been a welcome change to relax back into the groove of watching MMA for the sake of watching MMA in November, without some of the high strung theatrics and indiscipline that accompanied the build, finish and fallout of UFC 229.
The UFC puts on four shows this month, with 3 UFC Fight Nights and 1 TUF Finale to make up for the lack of a pay-per-view.
Here is the detailed schedule for the month with all the fights that have been announced so far.
UFC Fight Night: Korean Zombie vs Yair Rodriguez (November 10 2018, Denver)
Korean Zombie vs Yair Rodriguez will obviously be great fight given that both fighters are entertainers, but the people’s main event on this card is the fight between Donald Cerrone and Mike Perry. With the Jackson-Wink gym war providing the backdrop to this one, expect absolute fireworks from two straight warriors.
Also, keep your eye on Luis Pena. He’s one to watch for the future.
UFC Fight Night: Magny vs Ponzinibbio
(November 17 2018, Buenos Aires)
Main card (10 pm ET)
Neil Magny vs Santiago Ponzinibbio
Ricardo Lamas vs Darren Elkins
Khalil Rountree Jr. vs Johnny Walker
Cezar Ferreira vs Tom Breese
Guido Cannetti vs Marlon Vera
Cynthia Calvillo vs Poliana Botelho
FS1 Prelims (8 pm ET)
Michel Prazeres vs Bartosz Fabinski
Alexandre Pantoja vs Ulka Sasaki
Humberto Bandenay vs Austin Arnett
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6.30 pm ET)
Laureano Staropoli vs Hector Aldana
Devin Powell vs Jesus Pinedo
Enrique Barzola vs Nad Narimani
Fights to watch out for:
The fight between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Neil Magny should prove to be an interesting affair. Ponzinibbio brings big power and a finishing instinct but Magny has proven in the past that he’s got bucket loads of heart to hang in there and weather the storm.
Ricardo Lamas vs Darren Elkins promises to be pure entertainment while Khalil Rountree Jr. has thunder in his hands, as he amply evidenced by knocking out kickboxing phenom Gokhan Saki in his last fight.
Curtis Blaydes has been campaigning for a Title shot for some time now, but with so many moving parts in the Heavyweight division and the impending return of Brock Lesnar, it hasn’t been the most conducive situation for him.
However, a win over knockout artist Francis Ngannou will certainly get him back into the Title picture – and he’ll be able to avenge his only loss in the UFC as well.
Also, keep an eye out for blue chip Chinese prospects Li Jingliang and Song Yadong. They make them different in that part of the world.
The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Dos Anjos vs Usman
(November 30 2018, Las Vegas)
Rafael Dos Anjos vs Kamaru Usman
Pedro Munhoz vs Bryan Caraway
Darren Stewart vs Edmen Shahbazyan
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs Antonina Shevchenko
Roosevelt Roberts vs Darrell Horcher
Tim Means vs Ricky Rainey
Rick Glenn vs Arnold Allen
Boston Salmon vs Khalid Taha
Joseph Benavidez vs Alex Perez
Fights to watch out for:
RDA vs Kamaru Usman is an extremely high level fight in the Welterweight division. Dos Anjos is a supremely well rounded fighter and former UFC Champion while Usman is – like he says – a problem for anyone in that division with his dominant wrestling pedigree. That could well be a star making fight for either man.
Also, Joseph Benavidez fights Alex Perez in what may turn out to be one of the last ever Flyweight fights in the UFC, if rumours are to be believed.
UFC Fight Night comes to us Saturday night (11/10/2018) from Denver where the Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung takes on Yair Rodriguez in a featherweight headliner. Stay with us for the live results as we cover each fight on the card.
The entire card is as follows:
Main card (10 pm ET)
Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez
A game of chess, is what this is. Yair Rodriguez opens up like an absolute surgeon, and is going to work on Korean Zombie’s front leg. Inside leg kicks, outside leg kicks and the Jon Jones obilique kick. And his jab was on point. From Yair’s point of view, keep him at a distance.
For the Zombie, it was the exact opposite. He did eat shots from outside, but in the moments that he did manage to close the distance, he had Yair flailing to create some space. A very intriguing first round.
Do these two know how to put on a show or what?! Both fighters seem much more inclined to let their hands fly as Zombie leads with his one two, trying to walk Yair into a sickening right hook that he’s throwing with power. And Yair, despite backing up, looks on point with his counter striking.
Towards the end of the round, Yair started to flow and landed a spinning elbow that possible split Zombie’s lip. But there’s no stopping the Zombie who, true to his name, just kept walking forward.
This is a fantastic fight already. Round 2 in the books.
Round 3 and Korean Zombie’s power is coming into the fore. As he walks Yair down, Zombie’s punches are really starting to tell on the flashy Mexican. Yair is by no means out of the fight, still keeping his kicks and counter left hooks busy, but Zombie’s jab and follow up right straight has busted up Yair’s nose and is slowly taking this fight away from him.
This fight has descended into a bloody mess. The Zombie’s jab and strong right hand has really busted Yair’s nose up, it’s leaking blood like a tap. Zombie isn’t in a much better state either, with Yair returning fire with gusto. Just, the power in Zombie’s strikes seems to have Yair backing up more often than not, and there was a nice right hand that stunned him and pushed him back towards the fence momentarily.
But neither man is done by any stretch of imagination. This is a proper war.
HOLY MOLY. WHAT JUST HAPPENED.
The fifth and final round seemed to settle into much like how the fourth was. Zombie’s power was the telling factor, with Yair backing up, but Yair was never out of it for even one second. The two fighters even took a second (a couple of times) to just stop fighting and take it all in.
But just as the fight was ticking down, in the final second. And I’m not exaggerating here, at the 4 minutes 59 second mark, as Zombie was rushing in with a flurry, Yair bent down and came over the top with the back of his elbow. And that flatlined the Zombie.
Flat. He slumped to the mat, lifeless.
That was unbelievable. I don’t even know how to describe that elbow. You wouldn’t have seen anything like that. What a victory for Yair Rodriguez. What a performance by Zombie.
What a way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the UFC. This is fighting, ladies and gents.
Donald Cerrone vs Mike Perry
Time for fireworks, as the people’s main event kicks off.
Both Mike Perry and Donald Cerrone square off, with neither wanting to push the pace and get caught by a big strike. Perry tries to take Cerrone’s head off with a couple of big uppercuts, but Cerrone’s just way too far away, and evades easily. They clinch, and trade knees.
Twice Cerrone tries to take Perry down, but both times, Perry stuffs the takedown. No bueno.
However, towards the end of the round, Perry takes Cowboy down with a nice outside leg trip and tries to advance position, but Cowboy bucks him to get on top. He tries to take Perry’s back but the Platinum one gets up and shucks him off.
And then he makes the mistake of getting into Cowboy’s guard. Cowboy threatens a triangle, but when that doesn’t work, he clamps on an arm bar. Mike Perry tries to slam him but that doesn’t work. The arm bar is sunk in and Cowboy gets the tap. Impressive from the veteran.
Cowboy moves on to take the record for most number of victories in UFC history and most number of finished in UFC history.
Result: Donald Cerrone def. Mike Perry via submission (arm bar) in Round 1
Raquel Pennington vs. Germaine de Randamie
Raquel Pennington tries to spring one on de Randamie with a punch off the glove touch, but the Iron Lady recovers quickly to engage again. Pennington however didn’t seem to want to exchange too much on the feet and clinched her way to the fence, where she spent the majority of the round pressuring de Randamie. In the brief separation they did get in the dying seconds, de Randamie seemed to land and briefly hurt Pennington with a crisp one two – highlighting the sense behind Pennington’s grappling heavy approach. No takedowns, but if she can control de Randamie against the fence and prevent her from doing too much damage, it’s totally worth it.
Round 2 begins and Rocky decieds to stand and trade with de Randamie – bad decision. Germaine picks her apart for the majority of the round with stiff jabs, clever distance management and hard counter shots when Pennington shoots in with single strikes. Eventually, Pennington wins back some measure of control by plastering de Randamie against the fence but not too much damage was dealt there. Strong showing from de Randamie. Pennington’s nose is busted up and bleeding.
de Randamie is such a master at distance control, weaving out of the way of Rocky’s strikes and coming back with her long reach to land stinging right counters and left hooks. Rocky is being completely outmatched on the feet, and has to resort to holding de Randamie against the cage in an attempt to get a takedown again – she hasn’t even succeeded once on the night.
Any and all the damage landed seems to be courtesy of de Randamie, the only drawback being she’s not really letting her hands go to look for a finish. Still, should be enough to get a victory.
Result: Germaine de Randamie def. Raquel Pennington via UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Beneil Dariush vs. Thiago Moises
What a crushing round for Beneil Dariush, without really threatening a finish. They start throwing a few strikes on the feet but Dariush quickly closes distance and takes the fight to the cage, where it’s all him. Dariush has grinding, wearing pressure against the cage where Moises is relegated to just defending against giving up position throughout the round. Dariush also lands a few telling blows from top position, in case there was any doubt who won that round. (There wasn’t)
Round 2 was a rinse and repeat of Round 1. Dariush quickly took the fight to the cage where Moises seems out of options, grinds against him, takes him down and controls him – this time from the back. There seems to be an inevitability about how the fight plays out when it hits the ground. There is absolutely nothing Moises has for Dariush to prevent him from having his way in the grappling department. The round ends with Dariush attempting to lock in a RNC but Moises just about defending.
Round 3 begins where Round 2 left off; Moises lands a couple of crisp right hands on the feet but Dariush throws a couple of heavy body kicks to force Moises towards the cage and from there, it’s same old, same old. The rest of the round ticks down with Dariush against controlling Moises emphatically and landing heavy shots on the ground. Complete one sided fight. Complete domination from Dariush. A good way to get back on his feet with a victory after being winless in his last 4.
Result: Beneil Dariush def. Thiago Moises via UD (30-25, 30-25,30-26)
Maycee Barber vs. Hannah Cifers
Maycee Barber opened up more free and bouncing around on the fence but Cifers has odd footwork that’s pretty hard to time. The round is fought predominantly in the clinch, with both women landing hard shots in the phonebooth. Maycee Barber seems to be the stronger physically of the two and it’s showing when they clinch. Tough round to call, but Barber may have imposed her will a tad more.
That got pretty brutal pretty fast. Maycee Barber gets into the clinch with Cifers after landing her headkick a couple of times, and nails absolutely brutal elbows that slice opens Cifers’ face. From there, all that remained was Cifers being taken down and Maycee Barber taking top position. Despite being threatened by a heel hook submission, Barber still managed to land heavy, heavy shots on the ground that looked painful even watching through the television.
Cifers was still motioning to defend herself, but such was a ferocity of Barber’s attack that the referee was forced to stop it. Impressive, impressive victory for the 20 year old Barber in her home state. A star is born.
Result: Maycee Barber def. Hannah Cifers via TKO in 2:01 of Round 2
Mike Trizano vs. Luis Pena
They both start off showing each other looks on the feet with Trizano focussing on kicking out Pena’s lead leg while Pena tries to land that straight left hand. But there wasn’t much by way of connection from either fighter and Pena probably takes the round when he goes for the take down attempt and closes the distance. They grapple against the cage for the remainder of the round with Pena pushing for the takedown while Trizano defends.
Round 2 begins on the same vein as round 1 – with neither fighter getting the clear upper hand on the feet, they hit the canvas again, but Pena ends up with a body triangle and on Trizano’s back. He attempts a rear naked choke that appears tight for a second but Trizano turns into him and ends the round on top, landing a few nice hammerfists.
Trizano comes out in Round 3 looking full of intent, and clearly has the better of the exchanges on the feet. That inside leg kick has been available to him all day and his punches seem much more crisp and on point. They engage in grappling again, though and it’s a more even playing field. Pena seems to be pushing for a takedown when Trizano reverses and tries to press his advantage. They break for the last 40 seconds and throw down on the feet, which Trizano gets the better of with a couple of nice right hands.
Another close fight this. Hard to call.
Result: Michael Trizano def. Luis Pena via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
FS1 Prelims (8 pm ET)
Ashley Yoder vs. Amanda Cooper
Amanda Cooper gets the better of the initial striking exchanges by being on the front foot but Ashley Yoder starts getting her own licks in with that her left straight. Eventually, the fight hits the cage and Cooper gets the takedown and starts to advance position. Yoder, however, reverses by threatening a triangle and ends up on top, to end the round with a measure of control. Still Cooper’s round though.
Yet another scrappy round begins with them trading strikes on the feet before the fight hits the ground. Initially Yoder maintains control but Cooper soon reverses position to land a particularly telling elbow that sort of seals the round for her. Still, a close-ish fight.
They begin by trading strikes on the feet, Cooper presses forward but Yoder stays technical and makes her shots count. Inevitably, they hit the ground yet again and both fighters seem intent to get the finish. Cooper threatens with an arm bar but Yoder escapes and attempts a crank of her own, as the time runs out. Close fight, this.
Result: Ashley Yoder def. Amanda Cooper via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Chas Skelly vs. Bobby Moffett
An eventful round 1 that starts off with both men willing to engage on the feet, sees Chas Skelly do the majority of the damage from a body triangle position having taken the back of Moffett. Moffett defends the submission attempt but has to eat a bunch of strikes in doing so. He does free himself towards the end of the round from Skelly’s clutches, but it’s probably too little, too late for him to salvage the round.
Controversy abounds as Moffett takes Skelly down in round 2 after a few crisp exchanges on the feet, and attempts to secure a submission attempt. But while Skelly tries to work himself out of the position Moffett presses his offence and starts landing strikes upon which the referee steps in to call an end to proceedings – a little too early. It was a bad stoppage and even the audience seems to know it.
Result: Bobby Moffett def. Chas Skelly via TKO in 2:43 of Round 2
Davi Ramos vs. John Gunther
Yet another early finish in this one. Yet again an errant kick proves to be a fighter’s downfall as Gunther is taken down by Ramos and immediately, gets his back taken. From then on, it’s a question of when and not if as Ramos works his way into securing a tight rear naked choke and taps out Gunther for a comfortable first round victory.
Result: Davi Ramos def. John Gunther via submission (RNC) in 1:57 of Round 1
Devonte Smith vs. Julian Erosa
This one’s over before it even really begins. Erosa’s leg kicks are punished by Devonte Smith’s one-two down the pipe that stuns him and drops him.
Smith swarms him and lands a barrage of punches on the ground and the referee has no choice but to call a stop to the proceedings.
Result: Devonte Smith def. Julian Erosa via KO in 0:46 of Round 1
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (7 pm ET)
Joseph Morales vs. Eric Shelton
Straight away Morales starts on the front foot but largely, that plays into Shelton’s plan, which is to draw his opponent on, counter him and move. Morales attempts a headkick a couple of times and get staggered with a straight right for his troubles. Morales puts a stamp on the round with a couple of nice takedowns towards the end, despite having to survive a guillotine attempt.
Shelton continues his mastery over distance to begin the round but very soon, it hits the mat. Morales attempts to lock on another guillotine – this time tighter – but Shelton’s head pops out and he sees out the round on top, landing shots. A slight scare at the end for him as Morales locks in a triangle, but with the clock winding down, nothing comes of it
Round 3 plays out largely on the ground as Shelton is on the attack for the most part, but Morales’ submission threat is always present. In the end though, it would seem that Morales’ inability to give up the takedown to Shelton could come back to haunt him.
Result: Eric Shelton def. Joseph Morales via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)
Mark de la Rosa vs. Joby Sanchez
The fighters come out both willing to trade and exchange. Joby Sanchez seemed to have the better distance control in Round 1 but de la Rosa counters that by willing to take one to land one. Late on, de la Rosa starts landing calf kicks to limit the circling movement of Sanchez.
Sanchez’ footwork is on display again in Round 2 but de la Rosa is willing to walk him down to land his power shots. There were a couple of nice grappling situations against the cage where Sanchez had to defend the takedown, but fight remained standing. Close round, but de la Rosa with the upper hand.
Joby Sanchez’ regains a measure of distance control as he keeps de la Rosa on the end of his jab for the most part of this round. de la Rosa did have his moments, with a stiff right hand that wobbled Sanchez momentarily late on – but for the most part, it was an even round.
Result: Mark de la Rosa def. Joby Sanchez via split decision (29-28, 28-29,30-27)
Preview of the main card fights
Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez
The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung is an enigmatic fan favourite who brings it every time he steps into the Octagon. Yair Rodriguez perfectly captures the essence of the next-gen fighter; a flashy, wild striker who often throws caution to the wind in search of an explosive finish.
When these two meet inside the Octagon, fireworks are a certainty.
The Zombie is coming off a very impressive knockout victory over Dennis Bermudez, but has been out of action for almost 2 years due to his commitments back home in South Korea.
Yair Rodriguez steps in as a short notice replacement for the man who he suffered a loss to in his previous fight, Frankie Edgar, after the Answer pulled out with an injury.
With both fighters keen to generate some momentum towards a title push – the Zombie after a layoff and Rodriguez after a loss – something has to give in this cracker of a main event.
Donald Cerrone vs. Mike Perry
This is, by all accounts, the people’s main event. Not only is it virtually impossible to eke out a boring fight from either Cowboy or the Platinum one, but this particular fight has all the makings of a testy affair with the whole Mike Winkeljohn – Cowboy Cerrone saga playing out around it as well.
Long story short, Cowboy left Jackson- Wink because of Mike Winkeljohn and Mike Perry, who made the gym his home at just about that time, got drawn into the affair. The UFC didn’t waste a second in booking them against each other.
As we’ve often seen, gym rivalries have thrown up some of the most entertaining contests inside of the Octagon (think back to Chuck Liddell – Tito Ortiz, Jon Jones – Rashad Evans or TJ Dillashaw – Cody Garbtandt). And heading into this one, where both fighters are vocal about wanting to add the other to their respective highlight reels, it promises not to disappoint yet again.
Raquel Pennington vs. Germaine de Randamie
The Iron Lady Germaine de Randamie perhaps holds the reputation of being the UFC’s most uneventful champion after winning the women’s Featherweight belt by defeating Holly Holm in February 2017, only to have it stripped shortly after for inactivity.
She will be returning to the Octagon, this time at 135 pounds, to try and set the record straight against another fighter who’s last fight was a title fight in Raquel Pennington.
Pennington, however, was handily defeated by Champion Amanda Nunes in her UFC 224 Title fight and will be looking to make amends by getting one over on the former Featherweight Champion.
Oh and did I mention? Both women like nothing more than to stand and trade.
This fight promises to be yet another shootout on the main card.
Beneil Dariush vs. Thiago Moises
Beneil Dariush was once a ranked fighter in the UFC Lightweight division and will want to return to the inspired 7 wins out of 8 run that put him there.
He is, however, coming off 3 winless fights and has the perfect opponent in the form of Thiago Moises, who is a UFC newcomer.
But as always in the fight business, every gilt edged opportunity is a double edged sword. This could either be the perfect fight for Beneil Darish to pick up some momentum or it could be a fantastic way for debutant Moises to announce himself on the UFC stage.
Maycee Barber vs. Hannah Cifers
Strawweights Maycee Barber and Hannah Cifers both have a golden opportunity to get noticed as they are thrust into the deep end straight away, making their UFC bows smack in the middle of a happening UFC Fight Night featuring legends like the Korean Zombie and Donald Cerrone.
With Rose Namajunas beginning her era of dominance over the division with a pair of victories over former Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and the division still seeking its next contender, this is the perfect time for the strawweights to make a statement with a strong performance.
Mike Trizano vs. Luis Pena
The fight that everyone felt had to happen at The Ultimate Fighter season 27 is finally playing out as winner Mike Trizano faces the man with the claim of the coolest nickname in MMA, Mike ‘Violent Bob Ross’ Pena as the first fight on the main card.
Many felt that Luis Pena was a strong favourite to win the season 27 of TUF, but he sustained a foot injury that ruled him out of progressing in the show.
Mike Trizano, who incidentally ended up being the eventual winner, now has the chance to show everyone that his victory was entirely deserved while Pena has the opportunity to do something very few fighters in MMA have – to rewrite history.
Even in a sport predicated on one man physically foisting his will on another, there is such a thing as going too far with words.
Conor McGregor is widely recognized as the best self promoter the sport of MMA has ever seen and that is in part due to his ability to KO an opponent verbally outside the Octagon.
The Irishman’s trash talk is something that is, by now, characteristic of the man. When you think McGregor, you think of the cutting wit, the surprising insights into his opponent’s psyche, the ready humour and the poignant delivery. Inadvertently though, you also think of the brash abuses, the loud and jarring comebacks, the under-the-belt remarks and the merciless character assassinations he dishes out.
You never quite know what you’re getting with Conor McGregor. He can charm you with his charisma one moment and send you reeling with distaste the next.
Naturally, many can’t have enough of him. The idea of a braggadocious man who calls his shots and knocks them down is an extremely appealing ideal to live vicariously through. But there are also many that are put off because of the moral issues that arise when Conor McGregor is in his element.
How many lines in the sand can he cross before they societal norms and practices cease to exist and give way to the law of the jungle?
When is it too far?
As with many things to do with Conor McGregor, that is a concept draped in the gray. But if ever there are instances which present a strong case, these would make the list.
Here are 5 times Conor McGregor’s trash talk absolutely crossed the line of decency.
UFC 229 Press Conference
If Dana White – a promoter whose interests are steeped in anything that the fighters say and do that can sell a fight and push his product – comes away from a press conference with a relieved look on his face, saying that it was the ‘darkest presser’ he’d ever been a part of, you know that what had unfolded wasn’t normal.
After spending over 2 years away from the sport of MMA, everyone had expected the Saturday Night Live version of Conor McGregor to show up – the man who was happy to roast his opponent, albeit with an undercurrent of humour attached to his jousting. What showed up, however, whiskey bottle in hand, was the most savage, unrelenting, vitriolic version of the man.
The ‘Favela’ comment to Jose Aldo
It is stuff of legend now how Conor McGregor mentally broke then UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo before dispatching of him in just 13 seconds during the fight.
But in the lead up to their actual fight at UFC 194, some of McGregor’s remarks bordered on the shocking, but were brushed aside as the novelty of his approach at the time took center stage.
One such remark, among many, was his quip about how he’d have invaded the Favelas (slums) in Rio de Janeiro on horse back if this had been a different time and killed anyone who wasn’t fit to work.
Threatening to kill Nate Diaz
Of the many colourful things that Conor McGregor said to Nate Diaz – that the Stockton Native no sold for the most part – the most telling comment would be about how he was looking to bury Nate Diaz’ body in the desert sands of Las Vegas.
Yes, Conor McGregor actually threatened to kill a man on live television.
“I like Vegas. I’ve buried three bodies clean out here and Saturday night [Nate Diaz] be a fourth body.
The dirt is clean, you can scoop it up and stuff bodies in there easily so I will continue to do that.”
That sounded like a confession of a serial killer, more than a line from a fight promotion. Definitely not PG.
Conor McGregor – “I am black from the waist down!”
Now this wasn’t exactly a verbal attack directed towards McGregor’s opponent – in this case Floyd Mayweather – but it was a comment made during the New York leg of their 4 city press tour in riposte to Floyd alleging that some of McGregor’s comments bore racial undertones.
Now, I don’t know how you’d deal with it if a coloured person levelled allegations of racism against you, but referring to yourself as ‘black from the waist down’ in an attempt to dispel them probably isn’t the smartest course of action.
Oh, the irony.
You terrorist snitch! How’s Noah?
Perhaps all of Conor McGregor’s other trash talk fades away in front of his brutal onslaught of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz.
Ali himself is no stranger to controversy, with reports that he was once part of a terrorist outfit who then turned informant to the FBI permeating the MMA space for some time now. But it was McGregor’s line to him at the end of the UFC 229 press conference face off with Khabib Nurmagomedov that truly gave it the legs that it has today.
McGregor also alluded to Noah, who is reportedly the son whose child support Ali defaulted on for a number of years.
That Ali Abdelaziz is a shady character who got what was coming to him is another issue entirely. Conor McGregor outed a deeply personal facet of Ali’s life and bared it for the world to scrutinize.
And that, in itself, certainly crossed a line it shouldn’t have.
If Jared Cannonier needed a spot of divine intervention after making his weightclass debut on short notice against a top 10 ranked opponent, he got it from an unlikely source
UFC 230 marked the middleweight debut of Jared ‘Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier, who was thrown into the deep end on first ask, stepping up on short notice to face number 7 ranked Middleweight David Branch.
However, if he was looking for a spot of divine providence to ensure that he would win in what many thought would be a stern stylistic test, he got it from an unlikely source.
As Cannonier was readying himself to make his way to the Octagon, he was encountered by a kid from the stands who kept repeating loudly to him that he could beat anybody. The kid then went on to specifically name drop the UFC Middleweight Champion and former Title challenger Yoel Romero as well, stating that Cannonier could beat any one of them.
The kid’s vocal support was such a direct and unexpected source of inspiration for Cannonier that he took off his fight jersey and threw it to the kid before making his walkout.
Remember the story @killagorillamma told on Monday’s show about the kid who pumped him up right before he walked out on Saturday night and how he wanted to find him to thank him for the motivation? I found him! Here he is firing up Cannonier right before he walked out. pic.twitter.com/rTAQGYXeJ8
Cannonier would then go on to put on a terrific performance, knocking out David Branch early in the second round in emphatic fashion.
The next day, he would be interviewed on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show on ESPN, where he would narrate how his brief interaction with the kid just before he went out to fight felt like divine intervention that filled him with positive energy to go out there and perform.
Cannonier would then ask for the kid to come forward on the interview, thanking him for his positivity and mentioning that he’d like to sign an autograph for him too.
Despite all the noise regarding the potential Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Cormier fight in the UFC, it appears as though the Beast Incarnate hasn’t given up on his WWE duties
Veteran journalist Dave Meltzer reported on MMA Fighting and on his own website, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that Brock Lesnar’s new deal with the WWE will see him stick around with the company at least until WrestleMania 35 on 7th April, 2019.
Meltzer also noted that the deal does allow him to take some time off to have a fight in the UFC as well.
For a few months now, Brock Lesnar’s return to the UFC has been spoken of repeatedly, what with him losing the Universal Title to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam earlier this year and entering the Octagon post UFC 226 to shove UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier with a view to set up that fight.
However, ever since Roman Reigns made the announcement that he was dealing with leukemia and had to relinquish the Universal Title, Brock Lesnar’s future hasn’t appeared so cut and dry.
Ample evidence of that was presented when he won back the Universal Title at WWE Crown Jewel this past week in Saudi Arabia after defeating Braun Strowman. And reports would indicate that in the absence of Reigns, Lesnar is the WWE’s choice to be the face of the company – at least until WrestleMania 35.
The UFC has never had much patience for the men’s Flyweight division, and on the heels of former Champion Demetrious Johnson’s move to ONE Championships, are looking to do with the entire setup.
According to initial reports by FloCombat, the UFC is letting the axe fall on the entirety of the men’s 125 pound division hot on the heels of long-time former Champion Demetrious Johnson’s exit from the company.
BREAKING: We're hearing the #UFC men's flyweight division is 100% being dissolved, likely done by the end of 2018.
THE KICKER: Not all flyweights are being asked to move up to bantamweight. They're just getting cut. Unreal.
The move was possibly sparked into life when Johnson made his way to ONE Championships with welterweight standout Ben Askren transferring the other way, giving the UFC the license to pull the trigger.
As much as fans sensed that the promotional push behind the lightest men’s division wasn’t quite as strong as the one that the UFC offered heavier weightclasses in the past, the presence of former Champion all time great Demetrious Johnson was probably preventing them from implementing a radical move such as this.
However, the notion that the Flyweight division hasn’t exactly been the best of draws for the UFC has long been a sticking point for the promotion.
I’m told UFC has called some managers recently to tell them that’s what they plan on doing. Others haven’t been told yet. Seems like the end is near for the 125ers. @FloCombat reported first. https://t.co/aiqEK7c4aw
However, ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani also noted that the UFC may not blatantly cut every Flyweight fighter as there is no legal precedent for the UFC to get rid of fighters who are coming off victories in their last fight – meaning that they could well be moving up to Bantamweight (135 pounds) to compete in the interim.
The outlook for fighters coming off a loss, however, doesn’t appear to be quite as promising.
If you’re coming off a loss at 125, it doesn’t look great. However, legally, if you’re coming off a win and have fights left on your contract UFC can’t release you. That’s why you’ll see some go up to 135 rather than leave (unless they really want to, I suppose).
When Brock Lesnar fought Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 in 2011, what caught the eye almost immediately was the Dutch kickboxing phenom’s vicious attack to Lesnar’s mid section.
Clinch, brutal knee to the body, brief separation. Repeat. Eventually – and it didn’t take long – Lesnar was left folded up on the Octagon mat, covering his head against unanswered strikes from Overeem.
Overeem’s approach was simple: target his opponent’s vulnerable liver. For even in the lead up to the fight, Brock Lesnar had made it public that he had been suffering from a debilitating condition of diverticulitis from 2009, and that he was still very much in the process of recovery.
Publicly addressing his weakness like that turned out to be a grave error of judgment. The strike that brought Lesnar to his knees was a kick aimed straight at the liver. And it put an ironic seal on the first phase of Lesnar’s MMA career too.
He would hang up his gloves and transition back into the WWE, where he first made a name for himself, shortly after.
From 2013 to 2016, he would reign as undisputed top dog in the WWE, holding titles and headlining pay-per-views while also affording his liver time to truly heal, away from the brutal machinations of MMA. But that fire in him that spurred his never-before-witnessed transition from pro wrestling to the pinnacle of MMA, was hardly doused.
“It was really unfair for me. To this day, I don’t know if I’d be a pro wrestler if I hadn’t gotten sick. I may not be here. I’d probably still be banging heads [in MMA]”, he admitted to Stone Cold in an episode of his podcast.
Though both his WWE runs were wildly successful, both from a monetary standpoint and in terms of embellishing his brand, Brock Lesnar’s true calling has always been real athletic competition. And the competitor in him could never really shy away from that, although he was medically forced to.
MMA fighters, and even pro wrestlers in many instances, are some of the toughest people on earth. They willingly put their bodies through the meat grinder as a way of life. But even for a man cut from that cloth, his own description of how it felt to deal with diverticulitis was bone-chilling:
“I have a high threshold for pain, higher than most guys, and I couldn’t deal with it [diverticulitis].
It felt like I had taken a shotgun blast to the stomach, and then someone poured in some salt and Tabasco and stirred it all up with a nasty pitchfork.”
It was very clear that the Brock Lesnar whose meteoric rise in MMA – where he won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in just his fourth professional fight- was mirrored by his abrupt fall from grace for a reason. And the painful defeat to Alistair Overeem gave him the time and space away from the sport to take a good hard look at what it was and address it. He needed to take a step back to reassess if his body would hold up to the rigours of MMA.
“I felt robbed by diverticulitis. I felt robbed by being sick. When I’d get halfway through a training camp [for a MMA fight] and I knew something was wrong, I thought, gosh, there’s something physically wrong with me so I need to figure it out.”
By 2016 though, Lesnar had given himself sufficient time to heal up – so much so that he could afford to yet again scratch the itch to test himself inside the Octagon. This time, standing opposite him, was another decorated striker in Mark Hunt.
But more importantly, this time, it wasn’t the same compromised version of Brock Lesnar that showed up to fight.
He took Mark Hunt down without too much fuss and beat on him throughout the three rounds en route to a dominant victory in his first fight back, but would then fail a drug test that led to the victory being overturned – at least on paper.
Because for Lesnar, a simple ‘W’ or ‘L’ didn’t even begin to signify the enormity of what he had achieved. His larger victory lay in the fact that he was Octagon ready again. Physically and mentally, he was in a place where his own body wouldn’t show him up as a shell of the man his competitive spirit willed him to be.
For an insanely competitive person like Brock Lesnar, that mattered the most.
Sometimes in life, the greatest defeats can be catalysts for the most telling changes. Learning from those defeats – even if the lesson is to stop doing what you dearly want to for a time – often paves the route to success in the future.
Now, he may never again become UFC Heavyweight Champion. But the fact that he feels ready to give it a shot anyway against a generational great like Daniel Cormier, proves that Brock Lesnar is in a much better spot now than he was almost a decade ago when he struggled against his own body. He may get ragdolled in the fight like most of Cormier’s other opponents or he may end up getting knocked out for good measure. But at least he can rest easy knowing the fact that he won’t lose to his own body.
‘We win or we learn’ said John Kavanagh, Conor McGregor’s head coach. Brock Lesnar certainly didn’t win in his fight against Alistair Overeem in 2011.
Floyd Mayweather may be fighting in an exhibition fight on December 31st, but it is probably just a boxing bout and it’s not going to affect his record.
It was announced recently that Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs) would fight the young and undefeated Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa (27-0 in Kickboxing, 4-0 in MMA) on December 31st in Japan, under the banner of RIZIN Fighting Federation.
However, not many details surrounding the bout have emerged since, leaving it up to pure conjecture as to what rules the fight would take place under.
Boxing Scene, who are usually quite reliable with their inside scoops, have reported that despite all the talk of Floyd potentially agreeing to some form of a mixed rules match-up which would incorporate other disciplines apart from just boxing, that the bout is expected to be a three 3-minute round boxing exhibition.
As such, whether Floyd wins or loses, it wouldn’t reflect either way on his unblemished boxing record.
It is also expected that the bout will not be priced and marketed like Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view events are generally done when he fights under Showtime’s promotion, i.e in the USD 75-100 range. Instead, Showtime doesn’t seem to be involved in this venture, for which the bulk of the promotional onus falls on RIZIN.
It is also rumoured that an online streaming service like ESPN + or DAZN may pick up on the bout and stream it the world over.
Since 1989, the PBA All-Star festivities brought all of the game’s greatest players under one roof. As a time to bring their guard down and have a good time, players participate in a number of special side events.
Contrary to belief, the All-Star Game was first held in 1982 — one in the South and one here in the North — with Arnie Tuadles ending up as the MVP.
The festivities, however, was only institutionalized in 1989.
The All-Star game itself that has gone through a number of formats. But whether its North versus South, Veterans versus RSJ, or Team PBA against Team Asia, the game is a treat for fans due to the plays that fill up the highlight reel.
With so many memories left behind by the PBA’s best, we weighed the most memorable moments in PBA All-Star history based on significance, drama, and hilarity.
A staple since the more recent All-Star games, players from both teams take center court to show their dance moves — or the lack of it. With a degree of difficulty that rivals office Christmas parties, these talented ballers perform cheesy steps while the crowd who try their best not to giggle while documenting the routine on video. They would even have blockings and props such as sunglasses. The most memorable of which was the 2015 edition in Puerto Princesa wherein the North All-Stars had to take their jerseys off. Oh Beau Belga, what a lasting memory.
Justin Melton’s blindfold dunk
It would have been more memorable if the diminutive guard converted it. Alas, it is now remembered for the contrary.
Aided by Joe Devance, Melton took off from the three-point area and tried a tomahawk dunk as soon as he jumped. Not only did he miss the attempt, but he was also nowhere near the basket. Some contest if it is a valid dunk try but it looks just that. This made the rounds in social media because what it lacked in awesomeness, it made up for laughs from the spectators.
1998 All-Star Game: PBA Centennial Team wins
This marks the first time that a Philippine team destined for international competition played in an All-Star Game. It is also the first time the All-Star was held at multiple venues. Before heading to the Asian Games in Thailand, the Centennial Team went up against the PBA Selection headlined by Nelson Asaytono, Jerry Codiñera, Bal David, Dindo Pumaren, and Victor Pablo.
In the first game at the Cebu Coliseum, the selection was reinforced by imports John Best, Roy Hairston, Ronnie Coleman, and Devin Davis but lost to the tune of 114-109. The second game was held at the Cuneta Astrodome and the Centennial Team had a resounding 107-92 win as Best and Davis did not suit up for the PBA selection. Manning the Centennial Team back court are Jojo Lastimosa, Johnny Abarrientos, Allan Caidic, Olsen Racela, Vergel Meneses, and Kenneth Duremdes. The front court was beefed up by Alvin Patrimonio, Dennis Espino, Andy Seigle, Marlou Aquino, EJ Feihl, and Jun Limpot.
The Pambansang Sidestep
Fans at the Quezon Convention Center were initially awed when former Barangay Ginebra Gin King Jammer Jamito pulled teammate Japeth Aguilar and asked him to stay near the rim. After all, his name is Jamme,r which adds a tad of credibility to what he will do. But the crowed had a jeer and a good laugh when Jamito took a Eurostep before dunking the ball and hugged Aguilar in jubilation.
He may have received a deservingly low 37 points but it was a perfect footage for social media and sports shows abroad. However, then commissioner Chito Narvasa was not pleased with the performance and vowed that he will not give the pride of Basud, Camarines Norte another chance to compete. Ironically, both of them are out of the league.
2015 PBA All-Star Game
The game itself is one for the record books as the North All-Stars edged the South, 166-161, making it the highest-scoring All-Star game in PBA history. Aside from that, there was a ceremony to retire Jimmy Alapag’s #3 jersey at half time. But perhaps this game in Puerto Princesa City will forever be remembered for the All-Star MVP snub of Calvin Abueva. Despite having 37 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists to lead Team North in all categories, the MVP trophy was given to Terrence Romeo.
1991 PBA Legends Game
Since the All-Star game was a late concoction, the early luminaries of the PBA were not able to participate in one. Thus, the league had the first PBA Legends Game during the 1991 All-Star extravaganza. The Narciso Bernardo-coached Light PBA Legends squad were composed of Greogrio Dionisio, Atoy Co, Manny Paner, Yoyong Martires, David Regullano, Johnny Revilla, and Jimmy Santos.
On the other hand, the Loreto Carbonell-coach Team Dark were bannered by Freddie Webb, Orly Bauzon, Jimmy Mariano, Lawrence Mumar, Arturo Valenzona, Marte Samson, and Rino Salazar. Though more known as a comedian, Santos made timely shots in the closing minutes of the match to steal the victory away from Team Dark, 103-101. He was named game MVP but fans got their money’s worth due to his funny antics as well.
Samboy torches RSJ; Yap buries North team
If the first staging of the All-Star Game was exciting, the next year was one way for the Veterans, who clobbered the Rookies, Sophomores and Juniors team.
But the game didn’t lack excitement as The Skywalker Samboy Lim pumped in 42 points, including an array of dazzling plays that allowed the more experienced players to repeat against the youngsters.
Lim’s record would stay on until it was shattered by James Yap, who would score 44 during the 2012 edition of the games.
For their feats, Lim and Yap would be named MVP in 1990 and 2012, respectively.
The first PBA All-Star game
When it comes to competitive and personal drama, nothing beats the inaugural PBA All-Star game. The Veterans, coached by Baby Dalupan, were going up against a loaded Rookien and Sophomores squad with Patrimonio, Codiñera, Pumaren, Ronnie Magsanoc, Benjie Paras, Paul Alvarez, and Nelson Asaytono.
Meanwhile, the elder statesman were led by Ramon Fernandez and Robert Jaworski who had an on-going feud due to the fall out of Toyota’s sale to Beer Hausen. Simply put, Fernandez and his group supported the deal while Jaworski and his guys opposed it and thus transferred to the La Tondeña franchise.
But with the game on the line, Jaworski made an inbound pass from the sidelines to Fernandez. El Presidente then squeaked a graceful lay-up past Paras and Patrimonio to win the game, 132-130. With the game secured, a fitting ending followed when Dalupan pulled the two basketball icons together at center-court to end the bitter rivalry. After Fernandez gave high-fives to their teammates, he faced a happy Jaworski and they exchanged a warm handshake to bury the hatchet.
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In a sport where a single point is earned through rally system, massive efforts are required to reach a scoring record.
Fortunately, the Philippine volleyball is blessed to have its diligent and dedicated players who have put monster works to achieve personal milestone in the scoring history.
In line with the celebration of the International Workers’ day, FOX Sports PH pays tribute to these volleybelles who have shown us that “great things come from hard work and perseverance.”
Just a few weeks back, UST’s Sisi Rondina equaled the milestone of Alyssa Valdez in the most number of points scored in one match in the UAAP with 35 points.
The 5-foot-6 high-leaper came into the match full-tank, firing hits from all cylinders while guarding the floor well, producing 30 kills, three blocks, and two aces in a losing effort against Ateneo de Manila University in the five sets.
Arguably one of the best open spikers produced by the Adamson Lady Falcons, Angela Benting made monster efforts in the semifinal series opener of the San Marcelino-based squad against San Sebastian College back in 2009.
Benting became the first local player to hold the scoring record in the now defunct Shakey’s V-league after she chipped in 37 points in a four-set victory versus the Lady Stags.
Mary Jean Balse
During her prime, the great Mary Jean Balse was one of the most sought-after guest players in the previous semi-pro tournament.
In her stint on the Lyceum Pirates in the collegiate conference of the V-league’s 7th season back in 2010, the other half of UST’s Double B registered an oozing 37-point performance in their quarterfinal match to avenge their five-set loss in the preliminaries against the Ateneo Lady Eagles.
She joined the ranks of Benting and Ateneo’s foreign import Lithawat Kesinee as the only players with the most numbered of points in a single game.
The former NU Lady Bulldog star Dindin Santiago showed why she was deserving of the number 1 pick in the 2014 Philippine Superliga All-FIlipino Conference when she made a spectacular debut for the Petron Blaze Spikers.
The 6-foot-2 Santiago delivered 37 points built from 36 attacks and a block to survive the PLDT Power Attackers in a thrilling five-set match.
The three-time UAAP MVP simple never gets tired of breaking records.
The Phenom shattered Benting’s and Balse’s record as the best local player to put up highest scoring outpoint when she exploded for 39 points in a five-set victory for the BOC Transformers against the Laoag Power Smashers.
Valdez was also one of the highest scoring players in the UAAP and had her career-best 35 points against the Lady Falcons in Season 75.
The younger Santiago followed the footsteps of her big sister Dindin not just in the volleyball scene but also in the scoring record.
The 6-foot-6 middle blocker became the second highest scoring local after dropping 35 points for the Foton Tornadoes in the 2016 PSL All-Filipino Conference. Santiago tallied 30 points from attacks, three from the service line, and two from blocks.
Despite failing to give San Sebastian Lady Stags a championship trophy, the ‘Impending Doom’ was able to achieve a feat that will be forever written in the SVL history books.
Bualee was the highest scoring player of all time in the 12-year old tournament. The Thai open hitter finished with 40 points in a semi final match against their rival UST Tigresses in Season 9.
Another Thai import joined Bualee in the list of scoring leaders in SVL in Ateneo’s Sontaya Keawbundit.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter was the second highest scoring foreign player in the tournament after leading Ateneo to a bronze medal finish against Lyceum in Season 7 with 38 big points.
The Philippine Superliga has its own scoring machines, with Kristy Jaeckel of the Mane N Tail lady Stallions first to break the scoreboards.
The powerful open hitter delivered 40 points from 32 attack, four service aces, and four blocks, against the Foton Tornadoes in the 2014 PSL Grand Prix just a game after she tied Dindin’s 37 point performance.
The Serbian Sensation made heads turned last year as her determination in the game was translated into a shot of history.
Klisura erased Jaeckel’s record after she logged 41 points in the score sheet from 36 attacks, four aces and a block against the eventual champions F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
Just a year after, Klisura’s record was wiped out from a powerful Cuban spiker named Gyselle Silva.
After finishing with 53 attacks and three aces for a total of 56 points, Silva emerged as the highest scoring player in the tournament and third in the world behind Polina Rahimova and Madison Kingdon.
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The University of the East Lady Warriors may not have the best volleyball program in UAAP but they have produced players who took the league by storm during their collegiate stints.
Known as a consistent cellar-dweller, it was the lack of star power that chained the Recto-based squad in the bottom of the standings almost every season. With only a few names leaving a mark in the league, recalling the school’s prized standouts will just be a walk in the park.
Here are your Lady Warriors’ all-time first six:
Mary Grace Masangkay – Setter
A steady server and setter, Acy Masangkay was one of the vital cogs for UE’s sixth-place finish in Season 74, the team’s best achievement in the past ten years. With only a few offensive options in their roster, Masangkay was still able to crack the top 5 in the setting department with 4.89 excellent sets per frame.
Acy remains an active player today as she brought her craft to the semi-pro ranks, winning a pair of titles for the Petron Blaze Spikers. She was part of Petron’s historic sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in the 2015 Philippine Superliga.
Shaya Adorador and Leuseht Dawis – Outside Hitters
Shaya Adorador is currently the face of the gutsy Lady Warriors. Equipped with ample experience from her stint with Generika in the PSL, the 5-foot-8 open spiker serves as the focal point of UE’s offense this season. Adorador has worked doubly hard from spiking to digging, enough to give UE its two wins in 11 outings.
Meanwhile, Leuseht Dawis was the lone bright spot for the Boy Dalistan-crew in Season 75. Dawis possessed a rare combination of beauty and athleticism. She averaged 8.9 points and 1.6 blocks per match after the elimination round, with a career-high of 26 points in a loss against the Lady Maroons.
Suzanne Roces and Kite Rosale – Middle Blockers
The former Rookie of the Year, Suzanne Roces, is no doubt the best product of the UE’s volleyball program. Before the emergence of Maika Ortiz, Abigail Maraño, and Maica Morada, it was Roces who was first known for her patented running and quick hits. After her dominant collegiate career, she became one of the most in-demand guest players in the now-defunct Shakey’s V-League – playing for powerhouse teams UST and San Sebastian.
On the other hand, Rosale was dubbed as the reincarnation of Sue Roces. The ex-team captain of the UE Lady Warriors single-handedly carried UE to a 3-11 finish in Season 73 with her consistent all-around performance. She was one of the most versatile players in her time who can play open, middle, and opposite. Her highest scoring output was 25 points in a massive upset win against the Lady Eagles.
Jimberly Dawn Dizon – Opposite Spiker
With Rosale carrying most of the scoring load, Jimberly Dawn Dizon served as the Robin on UE’s Batman as she provided the much-needed support on the offensive end. The lefty opposite spiker registered a career-best 18 points to escape Ateneo in a five-set thriller, followed by a 17-point production in a loss versus FEU.
Kath Arado – Libero
Winning the Best Libero Award in a tournament abroad, Rookie of the Year in Season 77, and a couple of Best Digger (Season 79) and Receiver (Season 79 and 80) Awards in the UAAP, Kath Arado is on her way to legendary status as the best libero to ever play for the Lady Warriors.
The fifth-year player currently leads the receiving category and second in the digging department and is poised to pull off an impressive UAAP exit. There is no other name to put in the libero position in UE’s all-time starting six aside from a Kath Arado.