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Tag: Anthony Pettis

Gilbert Melendez Re-Signs With UFC, Will Fight Anthony Pettis for Lightweight Title Following ‘TUF 20′ Coaching Gig


(Melendez tags Diego Sanchez during their three-round dogfight in October. / Photo via Getty)

Gilbert Melendez is officially back in the UFC — and he’ll be getting another lightweight title shot later this year. According to a press release distributed last night, Melendez has agreed to a new contract with the UFC, and will challenge reigning champ Anthony Pettis for his belt after the two 155-pounders appear as rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 20: The Strawweights. The season will begin filming in May, and will premiere on FOX Sports 1 on September 10th. The date and venue for Pettis vs. Melendez haven’t been announced yet.

Outside of the TUF gig, which almost seems like punishment, Melendez’s brief flirtation with free agency couldn’t have gone any better. Before Bellator tried to snap him up, Melendez was being offered high-risk, low-reward fights against undefeated Russians in the UFC, along with contract terms that were clearly less than he was hoping for. Now, his price has been pumped up in a bidding war, and he’ll be strolling right back into a title fight. (It seems likely that Bellator offered Melendez an immediate title shot themselves, and the UFC was forced to match this perk in order to secure a new contract for El Niño.)

And so, the UFC hangs on to one of the most talented and entertaining lightweights in the world, and the fans get to keep watching Melendez on MMA’s biggest stage. The only loser here is Bjorn Rebney, who was thrilled at the prospect of having Melendez on his roster, only to have the UFC re-sign him, basically out of spite. Ah well. At least he can comfort himself with the fact that he performed a very important role in the marketplace.

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Jose Aldo’s Coach Suggests Meaningless Non-Title Catchweight Fight Against Anthony Pettis


(“Tell you what…if Pettis wins, we can give him that Bellator belt as a souvenir.” Photo via UpperBrazil.com)

For UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, the prospect of a super-fight against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis sounds like a pretty damn good idea — except for that part where Aldo would have to give up his belt to take the fight. That part kind of sucks. And so, Aldo’s coach and manager Andre Pederneiras has suggested a solution: A 150-pound catchweight fight where nobody’s title is on the line. Essentially, a meaningless exhibition. Wouldn’t that be fun?

(A catchweight) would be interesting for both,” Pederneiras told Ta na Area. “They would keep the belts and do the fight everybody wants to see. Nobody wants to take the other’s title, we want to see the fight and do a great show for everybody. Aldo would move up a little, Pettis cuts a little, and it’s good for everybody.”

“Nobody wants to take the other’s title?” What kind of pussified patty-cake bullshit is this? Why wouldn’t Aldo want to become the third two-division champion in UFC history? Why fight Anthony Pettis at all, if a title wasn’t on the line? And how on Earth is this “good for everybody” if it requires Pettis to cut extra weight for a non-title fight?

Clearly, the Aldo camp has gotten cold feet about vacating the featherweight title to pursue a matchup they might not win. And as you can imagine, nobody’s jumping out of their seats to take Pederneiras up on his offer:

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The Unsupportable Opinion: With a Victory at UFC 169, Jose Aldo Should Earn the Next Lightweight Title Shot


(Or at least a weekend trip for two to lovely Bahia.)

By Adam Martin

Two judges screwed up the UFC’s plans this past weekend, but it may ultimately be for the best.

When Sal D’Amato and Brian Puccillo decided that Benson Henderson did enough to earn a split decision victory over Josh Thomson in the main event of UFC on FOX 10, the lightweight division had a wrench thrown into it. Had he received the judges’ decision, Thomson was already confirmed by UFC president Dana White as the next title challenger for currently-injured UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

“Showtime” has stated that he wants to return in July and his timeline would have matched up well with Thomson’s. Not only that, but Thomson had been scheduled to fight Pettis back at UFC on FOX 9 before the titleholder pulled out with an injury. Many thought Thomson got that fight with Pettis more due to timing than anything else, but had he defeated the former champion this past weekend, Thomson would have truly earned his title shot.

But then Henderson had his hand raised. As soon as that happened, the UFC lightweight division had to be rejigged because Henderson has already lost to Pettis twice and isn’t anywhere close to getting a trilogy fight with him. The other top contender, TJ Grant, has been out since last summer with post-concussion symptoms and isn’t even training yet, so he’s out of the picture. Nate Diaz, who has been vocal on Twitter about wanting a title shot, isn’t getting one anytime soon because c’mon. Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez is still out there, but it’s hard to say he deserves a title shot just because he defeated Diego Sanchez at UFC 166, even if his resume is amongst the absolute finest in the division. There’s also guys like Rafael Dos Anjos, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller, but none of them are deserving of a crack at the crown right now.

Cue Jose Aldo.

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The Benson Henderson Problem


(Photo via Getty)

Benson “Smooth” Henderson is a talented fighter with a knack for winning the fights he loses. But on the oft-overlooked business side of MMA, Henderson is a dud.

As champion, he consistently failed to move the needle in terms of PPV buys and ratings. His rematch against Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 drew a paltry 190,000 buys—one of the worst buyrates in recent UFC history.

The UFC shipped Henderson off to FOX for his next two outings, presumably to build his name via fighting on a massive television network. Henderson headlined UFC on FOX 5 and UFC on FOX 7. They both earned modest numbers, with the former receiving an average of 3.41 million viewers (1.6 rating in the adult 18-49 demo) and the latter 3.3 million viewers (1.6 rating in the adult 18-49 demo).

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UFC on FOX 10 Results: Sergio Pettis Is a Victim of His Last Name


(A crestfallen Sergio Pettis. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Sergio Pettis isn’t ready for the UFC.

This opinion might be unpopular, but it’s true. UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis‘ younger brother just isn’t ready.

Sergio Pettis is talented, of that there is no doubt. While most 20-somethings were complaining about trivial social justice issues on Thought Catalog or watching Girls, Sergio Pettis was kicking ass en route to the UFC, showing that he has ample technique and a bright future. The hype wanted us to believe Pettis’ future was now. Fuck the Super Mario Brothers, it was time for the Super Pettis Brothers.

Alas, like with nearly every young, buzzworthy prospect, Pettis faltered. The hype train managed to steamroll over his pedestrian UFC debut, but not so for his follow-up fight against Alex Caceres at UFC on FOX 10. Pettis lost via submission in the third round. Even though the fight was close and well-fought up until the submission, a loss is still a loss.

“He’s just not as good as his brother,” some will say. Others will be harsher, citing Alexander Emelianenko syndrome. “If it wasn’t for his last name, you’d have never heard him; he’s nothing special.”

They’ll be right, but only about the “if it wasn’t for his last name” part.

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Injury Updates: Pettis Hoping for Early July Return, Bisping Possibly Facing Additional Layoff


(via Fox Sports.)

Suffice it to say, the past couple years have been injury-plagued (or perhaps even, cursed) ones for the UFC, but especially so for the promotion’s champions and biggest stars. Dominick Cruz has been out of action since Eisenhower was in office, Jose Aldo fought just once in 2012, and Anderson Silva, Anthony Pettis, and Cain Velasquez have all undergone major surgeries recently. Jon Jones is arguably still recovering from his war with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, as his next title fight with Glover Teixeira has been delayed some three times since initially being announced.

But not all is hopeless; Jones and Aldo both have their next fights lined up, and Cruz and Silva have either vacated their titles or been removed from the title picture, freeing up some space in their respective divisions. And Pettis, who underwent successful knee surgery back in November to fix a torn PCL suffered in his title-earning win over Ben Henderson at UFC 164, expects to be back in action just in time for the UFC’s annual Fourth of July card.

“The doctor said six to eight months, so I’m hoping six months,” Pettis told UFC Tonight yesterday evening. Unfortunately, Cedars-Sinai Medical Group orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Klapper also appeared on the program (video above) and seemed slightly less positive about the lightweight champion’s recovery timetable:

In my opinion, this is about the toughest thing you can come back for. Of all the injuries that can happen to a knee, when you’re talking about the ACL or the meniscus, these are the structures in the front. It’s easy for us as surgeons to get there. When you’re talking about the back of the knee, where the arteries and nerves are, a much trickier area to get to, the results are not as terrific as they are with the structures we rebuild in the front. I would pray for him. Coming back in July? That’s really optimistic.

My God, an injured UFC champion is becoming a more frequent occurrence than a tween star meltdown these days (I’m sorry). At least Pettis has that amazing UFC healthcare to fall back on, whereas Bieber only has enough money to turn major highways into his own private race tracks. I guess it’s not easy growing up anywhere.

Keeping with the string of terrible, injury-related news, UFC Tonight also touched on a potential health issue that could further delay Michael Bisping‘s octagon return. News on that after the jump…

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The Nine Most Disappointing Debuts in UFC History


(Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

Tomorrow night in Georgia, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns to the Octagon for the first time since having his face kicked into space by Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 8 last May. Although Belfort was coming off a blistering head kick KO of Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7, many were still picking and betting on Rockhold to defeat “The Phenom” in his UFC debut, and the betting line surprisingly closed as a pick ‘em.

Things didn’t go Rockhold’s way that night, to say the least. In hindsight it’s not such a bad loss considering what Belfort did to iron-chinned Dan Henderson in his next bout, but it was still incredibly disappointing for the highly-touted Californian to be knocked out in less than five minutes when — on paper at least — the fight with Belfort should have been much more competitive.

Of course, Rockhold isn’t the first UFC fighter who fell short of expectations in his Octagon debut. The question is, will he rebound in his second fight, or fall deeper into “bust” territory? Read on for our list of eight other fighters who didn’t live up to the hype in their first UFC appearances, and let us know if we’ve left out any notable disappointments.

Ben Rothwell

(Photo via Getty)

After the IFL collapsed, the promotion’s former heavyweight champion Ben Rothwell made his way over to the UFC and debuted against fast-rising contender Cain Velasquez at UFC 104. Although Rothwell’s aura of invincibility had been cracked by Andrei Arlovski’s limbs at Affliction: Banned the previous summer, there was still hope that he could get back to his winning ways and make a run for the UFC heavyweight title.

But against Velasquez, it was clear that Rothwell was thoroughly outclassed by a far superior mixed martial artist, and “Big Ben” suffered the second true knockout loss of his career. In hindsight, it’s not surprising that Rothwell couldn’t hang with Velasquez, the current UFC heavyweight champion, but at the time it was a harsh reality check for those hardcore MMA fans who believed in Rothwell after his IFL run.

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The Most Important Lesson MMA Needs to Learn: Shooting Jesse James Doesn’t Make You Jesse James


(Photo via Getty)

The new guard’s success in the Octagon might not translate to success in the box office, much to the detriment of the UFC’s future.

There’s no doubt that in terms of skill, the new generation of fighters is superior. Chris Weidman beat Anderson Silva twice without ever being in danger. Jon Jones is ten times the fighter any previous light heavyweight champ ever was. The recently arrived era of fighters are to the previous era what the previous era was to old time greats like Mark Coleman. There’s a skill disparity; MMA has evolved.

However, just because the new breed has more aptitude, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have more drawing power. The old guard, through their battles on the early TUF seasons, Spike TV and various PPVs, brought the UFC from fringe-level oddity status (think FX Toughman or Slamball) to global sports powerhouse—complete with a network TV deal and a burgeoning international audience. The UFC’s current crew simply can’t carry the company into growth like this in 2014 and onward.

It’s no secret that the UFC’s numbers haven’t been stellar lately. Despite having more exposure than ever before, 2013′s ceiling is looking a bit like 2008/9′s floor.

Will the new faces be able to reverse the UFC’s decline in popularity? If not, will they at least be able to help the UFC tread water until the storm is weathered?

The lighter, male, weight classes won’t, for starters. It’s widely-known that they don’t draw well. MMA’s casual fan—the guy who does bench presses in the squat rack and needs skulls on everything he owns—hears 125-pounds and immediately (wrongly) thinks “Fuck watching a fighter I can throw through the wall.”

It’s too early to tell whether the new generation of greats from lightweight, welterweight, or middleweight, or even the females will produce a “future of the company”/”franchise athlete”/choose your buzzword.

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Interview: Duke Roufus Discusses GLORY, The Pettis Brothers, And the Chaotic Art of Striking


(Roufus [at far left] with Sergio Pettis, Anthony Pettis, Ben Askren, and Roufusport BJJ coach Daniel Wanderley. Photo via Dave Mandel/Sherdog.)

By Elias Cepeda

Duke Roufus had an illustrious career as a kickboxer before becoming even more well-known as an MMA coach. In recent years, his highly regarded Roufusport camp has produced such talents as UFC champion Anthony Pettis, his younger brother Sergio, and former Bellator champ Ben Askren. In advance of the Glory 13 event in Tokyo this Saturday that Roufus is doing color commentary for, CagePotato sat down with him to look back on the twists and turns of his career, and look towards the future of some of his biggest stars.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: What would you say your role with Glory is, Duke? We hear and see you doing color commentary during events but when you were in Chicago last fall, you also had a big presence in all sorts of other pre-event activities.

DUKE ROUFUS: Well, about ten years ago they had me do color commentary for K-1 on pay-per-view broadcasts. This was really a natural progression when they came back with Glory. My role is that of a color commentator but I’m also just a huge kickboxing enthusiast. I love the sport. I’m just as big a fan as a participant.

We’ve always heard Joe Rogan talk about “K-1 level striking” in certain UFC fighters — meaning that a particular guy had great striking, so much so that he could survive in K-1, which was recognized as the top kickboxing promotion in the world. Has Glory replaced K-1 in that role?

Yeah, for sure. K-1 just struggled internally. Japanese kickboxing and MMA have had some internal issues. The guys from Glory have really stepped up. They are also huge kickboxing enthusiasts. Now, all the best fighters are fighting for Glory. We also did something similar to what MMA did with unified rules, and we’ve tried to set that up for kickboxing. We want to make it a fan-friendly fight. The fans can really tune in and enjoy the fights. We created a rule set that makes it fun for the fan.

As an expert kickboxer and one who knows Muay Thai so well, don’t you think that the Glory rules could be better, though? You have many fighters who have trained and competed under full Muay Thai rules — using elbows, using the clinch, using sweeps — and now they get to this point and they’re not allowed to use these effective weapons.

Well, with those things allowed, the tournaments would have a different outcome, that’s for sure. There would be more cuts from elbows and so more guys wouldn’t be able to move on in the tournament. And clinching is how you defend not getting elbowed.

The uneducated fan boos when the clinch happens. Uneducated MMA fans do the same thing when Jiu Jitsu happens in a fight. I understand clinching and the art of it. I understand trips and dumps. Unfortunately here in America, people want to see big punches and big kicks. It can be difficult to understand Muay Thai. Even the scoring is a little difficult to follow. Kickboxing is very similar to boxing. That makes it easy to follow.

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Friday Link Dump: Chael Asks Anderson to Be His Assistant Coach on TUF, Velasquez and Pettis Post-Surgery Photos, Male Athletes Wearing Makeup + More


(“In Klong Prem high-security prison in Bangkok, inmates box outsiders for money, shorter sentences, and the greater glory of Thailand.” Crazy stuff, via Fightland/VICE)

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