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Tag: UFC bookings

Scratch That — Daniel Cormier Will Compete at UFC 170, Against 4-0 Prospect Patrick Cummins


(Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Durkin? What does that even mean? / Photo via MMAJunkie)

When Rashad Evans pulled out of his scheduled UFC 170 match against Daniel Cormier, Cormier was devastated. “I don’t want this work to be for nothing,” he told Ariel Helwani. “I’ve killed myself in this gym. I’ve spent ten weeks away from my family…I’d fight Chael in a heartbeat. I’d fight Anthony Johnson in a heartbeat. I’d fight any of those guys. There’s somebody out there who wants to fight. Line ‘em up…I just want to fight now.”

And so, in an apparent move to keep him happy, the UFC has allowed Cormier to remain on the February 22nd “Rousey vs. McMann” lineup. No, he won’t be fighting Chael Sonnen, or Rumble Johnson, or anybody else you’ve heard of. Instead, Cormier will fight 4-0 light-heavyweight prospect Patrick Cummins, who will be making his Octagon debut.

A former two-time All American wrestler for Penn State, Cummins trains out of Mark Munoz’s Reign MMA gym in Orange County, and he’s finished all four of his pro fights in the first round. Cormier, of course, is one of the greatest MMA fighters in the world. Be sure to tune in, folks, because you might not see a bigger squash match all year. Seriously, how in the hell did the Nevada State Athletic Commission approve this friggin’ thing? KEITH, GET BACK HERE!

Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. Not that Cormier vs. Cummins is going to jack up the buyrate for this zombie card, but at least the entire show won’t rest on Ronda Rousey‘s shoulders now. Your thoughts?

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Khabib Nurmagomedov Finally Gets an Opponent to Say ‘Yes’, Will Face Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 11


(The first guy to show any form of emotion has to buy dinner. / Props: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Instagram)

It’s funny how life works out sometimes. You accept a fight against “the Russian,” thinking you’ve been offered a match against the UFC’s undefeated Dagestani phenom, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Instead, you find out you’ll actually be facing Rustam Khabilov, a still-dangerous but slightly-less-established Russian. Disappointment washes over you. But then, Khabilov suffers an undisclosed injury and you get to fight the Russian you thought you were going to fight in he first place. Hollywood couldn’t write it any better.

That inspirational story has just played out in the life of Rafael Dos Anjos, who was originally slated to fight Khabilov at UFC 170, and will now be fighting Nurmagomedov at the increasingly-stacked UFC on FOX 11: Werdum vs. Browne (April 19, Orlando). UFC officials confirmed the booking yesterday. Dos Anjos has won his last five fights, most recently a unanimous decision win against Donald Cerrone in August. Nurmagomedov has won his last 21 (!) fights, and has been inactive since September as other top UFC lightweights tried to justify why they weren’t fighting him. Dos Anjos may not have been on Nurmagomedov’s 2014 to-do list, but in the absence of any other options, this is a pretty solid matchup.

In addition to the heavyweight headliner, Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche, and Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza, UFC on FOX 11 will also feature a middleweight battle between the streaking Brad Tavares and Cuban knockout machine Yoel Romero, and a lightweight meeting between Pat Healy (aka, the last guy Nurmagomedov beat) and Jorge Masvidal (aka, the last guy Khabilov beat). If you’ve got predictions, fire away.

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Barnburner Alert: Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza Added to UFC on FOX 11


(Bitches be like “#nomakeup #nofilter” / Photo via @cowboycerrone)

Fresh off his latest Knockout of the Night performance against Adriano Martins at UFC on FOX 10, Donald Cerrone will be back on network television two months from now when he faces Edson Barboza at UFC on FOX 11: Browne vs. Werdum (April 19th, Orlando). The lightweight bout was confirmed by FOX Sports yesterday.

Known for his savage kicks — of both the leg and wheel varieties — Barboza went on a 3-0 run in 2013, culminating with a comeback decision win against Danny Castillo at UFC on FOX 9, which won him Fight of the Night honors. Cerrone and Barboza are unquestionably two of the most entertaining fighters in the lightweight division, but aren’t currently “in the mix” when it comes to title shot consideration. An impressive win for either fighter could change that. Your predictions, please.

In a related story, Khabib Nurmagomedov has tweeted out a frowny face.

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Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva Booked for UFC 173 Co-Main Event


(…let us never forget the Battle of the MGM Grand, and the brave American who gave his life that day. / Props: Facebook.com/ChaelSonnen)

As confirmed this weekend by UFC president Dana White, UFC 173: Weidman vs. Belfort (May 25th, Las Vegas) will be supported by another high-profile American vs. Brazilian rivalry. Fresh off their unsanctioned fight on the set of TUF Brazil 3, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will meet in the co-main event, at light-heavyweight. And for once, the phrase “grudge match” isn’t just promotional hot air; don’t expect these two to hug it out like homeboys after the fight is over.

Of course, there’s more at stake here than personal animosity. Wanderlei Silva has been competing professionally for over 17 years (!), and is coming off his bar-brawl KO of Brain Stann last March. A victory over Sonnen would give Silva two wins in a row for the first time in his UFC career. A loss would inevitably invoke calls for his retirement. That’s just the reality for a 37-year-old legend in a young man’s game.

Sonnen — who is a year younger than Silva and has been competing for nearly as long — recently got smoked by Rashad Evans at UFC 167. The American Gangster already has a promising broadcasting career in front of him, and a decisive loss against Wandy could speed up his transition out of the sport. So who are you pulling for?

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Booking Alert: Chris Weidman Will Face Vitor Belfort at UFC 173


(Chris Weidman cheers on NSAC officials as they deliberate. / Photo via Getty)

Chris Weidman‘s first middleweight title defense against someone not named Anderson Silva will take place at UFC 173 on May 24th. Weidman will be facing the young dinosaur Vitor Belfort, who is on a three-fight winning streak and most recently became the first man to knock out Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32.

Of note: The fight is taking place in Las Vegas. Belfort’s last three fights were located in Brazil. Conspiratorially minded individuals suspected this clever booking had something to do with Belfort’s much-maligned TRT use. When venerable MMA journalist Kevin Iole tried to separate himself from Dana White’s cheerleaders (aka the MMA media) and call attention to the issue, he was reprimanded.

The TRT issue will, in some ways, overshadow the combatants and the other narratives present in the fight—Weidman coming into his own as champion after definitely proving his superiority over Silva, Belfort’s resurgence as a top contender, etc. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is unsure of whether they’ll award Belfort a therapeutic use exemption, while Dana White has switched stances on the TRT issue. He’s now hoping the commission denies Belfort’s TUE request and TRT gets banned from MMA. Go figure.

It’s going to be an interesting spring.

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Michael Johnson vs. Melvin Guillard Booked as New UFC Fight Night 37 Co-Main Event, With Ross Pearson Out Due to Knee Injury


(“Wait, so Ross Pearson’s not on this card anymore? F*ck it, I’m not going.” — Nobody. / Photo via Getty)

UFC officials confirmed this morning that Ross Pearson has pulled out of his lightweight do-over fight against Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa (March 8th, London) due to a knee injury suffered in training. Details about the exact nature and recovery time of Pearson’s injury are scarce, though Pearson claims that he’ll require surgery.

I know what you’re thinking: Does this mean that Ilir Latifi vs. Cyrille Diabate gets bumped up to the UFC Fight Night 37 co-main event? LOL, of course not. Luckily, the UFC has already found a replacement for Pearson — Michael Johnson, who’s coming off an impressive knockout of Gleison Tibau at UFC 168, and has been calling out Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov since then in an attempt to land a big fight. And while those call-outs may have been slightly premature, a decisive win against Guillard could go a long way in making Johnson’s case as a contender worthy of top competition.

Johnson vs. Guillard has a personal hook to it as well. The two hard-hitting 155′ers were Blackzilian training partners for a while, until Guillard left the crew. A few months later, Guillard took some shots at Johnson on Twitter for no apparent reason. Your predictions for this one, please.

“Gustafsson vs. Manuwa” will air on UFC Fight Pass (unfortunately), and will also feature Brad Pickett vs. Ian McCall and the return of Gunnar Nelson.

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Browne vs. Werdum, Tate vs. Carmouche Announced for UFC on FOX 11, April 19th in Orlando


(Yeesh…even the Lizbos wouldn’t go near that mug. / Photo via Getty)

The UFC announced this evening that the rumored heavyweight title eliminator between Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum will take place at UFC on FOX 11, April 19th at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. It’s not yet clear whether Browne vs. Werdum will serve as the event’s headliner, but the winner of the fight will likely receive a title shot against Cain Velasquez at the end of this year, after the champ recovers from shoulder surgery.

Also on the UFC on FOX 11 lineup, women’s bantamweight contenders Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche will face off in a meeting of fighters who know what Ronda Rousey‘s armbar feels like. Tate is riding a two-fight losing streak, thanks to her unsuccessful performance against Rousey at UFC 168, which followed her TKO loss to Cat Zingano in April. (Both of those matches won Fight of the Night, by the way.) Meanwhile, Carmouche is coming off a decision loss to Alexis Davis at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 in November. Tate and Carmouche were originally slated to fight each other last July, before Tate got drafted to coach on TUF 18.

Tickets for UFC on FOX 11 will go on sale February 14th. We’ll let you know when more fights are added to the card.

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Wait Until You Hear What Nate Diaz Said About Dana White [UPDATED]


(Does this look like the face of guy who would duck a fight? / Photo via Getty.)

Remember when the UFC showed they could still book great matches when they paired off Khabib Nurmagomedov and Gilbert Melendez? And remember how they canceled that fight for no reason?

The UFC apparently had other plans for Nurmagomedov—the kind that involved a fight against Nate Diaz. According to Dana White, Diaz wanted none of it.

Needless to say, Diaz wasn’t happy with White’s words. He rushed to twitter to protect his Stockton street-cred.

 

We all probably think our bosses are full of shit to some extent, but saying it in public isn’t the smartest idea.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira (Finally) Official for UFC 172, April 26th in Baltimore


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com)

After being tentatively scheduled and scrapped three separate times, the UFC light-heavyweight championship fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira has been officially announced for the main event of UFC 172, which will take place April 26th at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. It will be the UFC’s first visit to Baltimore, a magical place known for its scenic beauty.

Though Baltimore isn’t exactly a big-money fight town, Jones does have a geographical connection to the city, as his older brother Arthur Jones is a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens. Plus, the champ’s east coast roots in New York State have led the UFC to repeatedly book him in Toronto and Newark during his title run, and Teixeira is a longtime resident of Connecticut, which is close enough I guess.

Jones is currently sitting as high as a -750 favorite for his bout against Teixeira. But this is MMA, and anything can happen. Right, Dalai Lama?

No other matchups for UFC 172 have been announced yet.

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Dong Hyun Kim vs. John Hathaway Booked for TUF China Finale Headliner; Menjivar vs. Hioki Win-or-Get-Fired Fight Also Added


(Kim’s Knockout of the Night-winning comeback KO of Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 29 in October. / Video via FoxSports)

Coming off three consecutive victories against Paulo Thiago, Siyar Bahadurzada, and Erick Silva, South Korean welterweight Dong Hyun Kim is one of the most successful Asian fighters currently competing in the UFC. Naturally, the UFC has booked him to headline the TUF China Finale, which goes down March 1st at the CotaiArena in Macau. Kim will face British vet John Hathaway, who is riding his own three-fight win streak, although against somewhat weaker competition. Plus, Hathaway was inactive for all of 2013 due to ulcerative colitis, so yeah, this kind of feels like a squash match. The fight will be scheduled for five rounds; neither Kim nor Hathaway has ever competed in a five-rounder before.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the contender spectrum, TopMMANews is reporting that Hatsu Hioki and Ivan Menjivar will face off in a featherweight bout at the TUF China Finale that could end with the loser getting the axe. Once considered to be one of the greatest featherweights in the world, Hioki has struggled to find his footing in the UFC, and has lost three consecutive decisions to Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida, and Darren Elkins. As for Menjivar, the “Pride of El Salvador” went 0-2 in 2013, dropping fights against Urijah Faber and Wilson Reis.

The TUF China Finale will stream live on UFC Fight Pass, that online subscription thing that the promotion has been hawking lately, which means that most of you probably won’t see these fights anyway. Personally, we’re going to hold off on signing up until we’re sure that the shy yoga instructor has been added to the card, hopefully in a match against Bobby Ologun. Make it happen, Mark.

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