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Tag: UFC bookings

UFC Booking Alert: Rory MacDonald to Face Demian Maia at UFC 170


(If MacDonald’s fighting career doesn’t pan out, he can always get a job as a male model. / Photo via Getty.)

The UFC announced that welterweights Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia would face off at UFC 170 this February. They made the announcement when the MMA world was abuzz with talk about the stellar fight card taking place. You know, the one that hosted one of the most exciting main events ever? So the news didn’t really stick.

Maia is coming off a disappointing loss to Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 29 back in October. He looked his age, 36, during the fight.

MacDonald recently had his hype train derailed by a resurgent Robbie Lawler at UFC 167, snapping a five-fight winning streak and presumably a fight with Georges St.Pierre.

MacDonald-Maia is good booking. The well-rounded MacDonald is an atrocious match-up for Maia—who has average striking and deficient takedowns. It’s clear that the UFC wants to get their 24-year-old, Canadian prospect back in “the mix” as soon as possible, and the best way to do that is give him a name opponent that he has a high chance of beating. They want to make him their next GSP sooner rather than later.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Re-Re-Booked for UFC 171, March 15th in Dallas


(“MR. JONES, MR. JONES, TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS ‘GATORADE’ DRINK. IS IT TRUE THAT IT QUENCHES THIRST *AND* RESTORES ELECTROLYTES?” / Photo via Getty)

Super Bowl weekend didn’t work. February 22nd didn’t work either. But we have a good feeling that the latest date for Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira is going to stick, you guys. As revealed by UFC press secretary Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of UFC Tonight, the impending light-heavyweight title fight has been scheduled to headline UFC 171, March 15th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Though the UFC wanted Jones to return to action earlier, the champ couldn’t commit to a February date against Teixeira due to lingering injuries from his last fight, as well as the desire to spend Christmas with his family. As for Teixeira, he’s been twiddling his thumbs since his TKO win over Ryan Bader in September, but other than a bout of indigestion, the Brazilian slugger is ready to roll.

No other fights have been announced for UFC 171 yet, although there’s a rumor floating around that Daniel Cormier could make his light-heavyweight debut on the card against none other than Rashad Evans. We’ll keep you posted…

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UFC Fight Night 37 Booking Update: Ilir Latifi Is Back, Baby!


(Ilir’s the blurry guy getting punched. / Photo via Getty)

Swedish light-heavyweight Ilir Latifi — the UFC on FUEL 9 emergency fill-in who lost to Gegard Mousasi and still lacks a Wikipedia page nearly eight months later, for God’s sake — has finally booked his second fight in the Octagon. As confirmed by UFC officials yesterday, Latifi will return at UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa (March 8th, London) against French kickboxer Cyrille Diabate.

It’s not a booking that suggests the UFC has long-term plans for Latifi. Though Diabate is coming off a loss to Jimi Manuwa via injury TKO (mind bullets) in February, “The Snake” has racked up a respectable 4-3 record in the UFC overall, including first-round stoppages of Luiz Cane and Chad Griggs. In other words, Diabate should be a heavy favorite in this one, and Latifi’s permanent status as a trivia answer/punchline will likely be secure.

UFC Fight Night 37 will take place at London’s O2 Arena, and will mark the first event in the promotion’s 2014 European Tour.

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TUF 18 Finale Lineup Complete With Pena vs. Rakoczy, Modafferi vs. Pennington + More


(Jessica Rakoczy vs. Raquel Pennington full fight video, via TheUltimateFighterFX)

Assuming you had better things to do on Wednesday night, you probably missed the 13th and final episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18, in which Team Rousey dark horse Jessica Rakoczy fought through an injured shoulder to win a unanimous decision over Team Tate’s Raquel Pennington. (Now everybody pat Jared on the back for calling it.) Rakoczy, who came into this season with a rather stinky professional record of 1-3, now heads into the TUF 18 Finals against Julianna Pena. New prediction: Bruce Buffer will announce Rakoczy’s record as “4-3,” including her exhibition bouts on the show. Call it a hunch.

After Wednesday’s episode aired, the UFC released the full fight lineup for this Saturday’s TUF 18 Finale. Headlined by the lightweight grudge match between Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard, the main card will kick off with two bouts between female TUF 18 castmembers, including the Happy friggin’ Warrior herself. None of TUF 18‘s male castmembers made the cut, besides Chris Holdsworth and David Grant in the men’s final. Harsh, but fair, considering how badly some of these dudes embarrassed themselves.

Check out the full TUF 18 Finale lineup after the jump, and come back to CagePotato.com tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT for our liveblog of the main card.

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John Moraga Out of UFC on FOX 9, Replaced by Turkish Dude Named “Alp”


(Watch this video right now. We’ll explain later. Props: Gavin Halbert via MiddleEasy)

The injury curse that’s been plaguing UFC on FOX 9 (December 14th, Sacramento) has already claimed Anthony Pettis, Ian McCall, Kelvin Gastelum, and Jamie Varner, turning a once-loaded free show into a half-decent one that we’ll still watch because OMFG BROWN vs. CONDIT YOU GUYS. Today, we regretfully add one more body to the casualty list: Former flyweight title contender John Moraga, who has pulled out of his prelim match against Darren Uyenoyama due to an undisclosed injury that will sideline him for four weeks.

Stepping up on short notice to face Uyenoyama will be Alptekin “Alp” Ozkilic, an 8-1 native of Turkey who now trains out of St. Charles MMA in St. Peters, Missouri. Luckily, Ozkilic is more qualified to compete in the Octagon than some other people we could mention. His only career defeat came in a decision loss to current UFC flyweight Chico Camus in April 2012, and since then Alp has won three straight fights, including a 30-second TKO of former WEC mainstay Antonio Banuelos.

But it’s Ozkilic’s TKO of Josh “Shortstack” Robinson from February of this year that will surely become a viral-video sensation. Captured in the video above, we see Ozkilic on top, bashing Robinson with elbows. Then, in one of the dumbest displays of bravery absolute fucking stupidity we’ve ever seen, Robinson shouts “COME ON HIT ME YOU MOTHERFUCKER,” and Ozkilic happily obliges, laying into Robinson’s head with even harder elbows. There’s some controversy about what happens next. Robinson’s arms appear to go limp and the referee jumps in to stop the fight, but apparently Robinson wasn’t defending himself on purpose, and he immediately protests the stoppage. As Josh writes in the comments section on the YouTube video:

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UFC Booking Alert: Cerrone vs. Martins, Amagov vs. High Added to January Cards


(Hey, right back atcha buddy. / Photo via @Cowboycerrone)

Though he was considering a drop to featherweight following his recent submission win over Evan Dunham at UFC 167, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will remain at lightweight for his next Octagon appearance, which will take place at UFC on FOX 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (January 25th, Chicago), just two months after his last fight. It was confirmed over the weekend that Cerrone will face Adriano Martins, a Brazilian veteran and former BJJ world champion who won his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 32 with a Submission of the Night-earning armbar of Daron Cruickshank.

Prior to the Cruickshank win, Martins scored a decision win against Jorge Gurgel at Strikeforce’s final show in January. Those are fairly impressive victories for a fresh UFC prospect, but a meeting with Cerrone is a major step up in competition. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a squash match, but it’s certainly an unexpected booking for Cowboy, who has consistently faced well-known opponents throughout his UFC career. Still, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear him complain about it. The man loves to fight, and he has to pay for bull-feed somehow.

In other booking news…

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ICYMI: Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson Booked for UFC on FOX 10 Headliner


(Hastily thrown-together poster via FansofUFConFOX)

In the midst of all the panic and fury surrounding UFC 167‘s aftermath, a rather notable fight-booking completely slipped past us. Apparently, Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson are fighting in the main event of UFC on FOX 10 (January 25th, Chicago). I had no idea. I found this out randomly today while reading one of Crooklyn’s interviews on BloodyElbow, in which Thomson describes his match-up with Henderson as “like looking in a mirror” and suggests that Anthony Pettis doesn’t really need surgery for his PCL tear.

This will be Henderson’s first fight since losing his UFC lightweight title to Pettis in August — and marks his return to FOX, the channel that didn’t quite make him a star. As for Thomson, he’s been on ice since his TKO of Nate Diaz in April, and was supposed to fight Pettis for the belt next month at UFC on FOX 9 before Showtime pulled out.

With TJ Grant’s return still in question, the winner of this fight would seem poised for a title shot. Your predictions, please.

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‘Jacare’ Souza vs. Francis Carmont Booked as UFC Fight Night 36 Co-Main Event


(He used to be one of the greatest middleweights in the world. Now he’s just another statistic. / Fan art via @UFCONFOX)

Already headlined by Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi, UFC Fight Night 36 will feature a second high-profile middleweight matchup in its co-main event. The UFC announced yesterday that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Francis Carmont will also meet at the February 15th show in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil.

Souza’s recent TKO of Yushin Okami, gave him his second win in the UFC and his fifth-straight win overall; his last four fights have all ended by first-round stoppage. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion is quickly becoming a top UFC contender at 185 pounds, but to stay “in the mix,” he’ll have to find a way to beat Carmont, the French veteran who has gone 6-0 in the UFC since making his Octagon debut two years ago. Carmont most recently cruised to a unanimous decision win over Costa Philippou at UFC 165, using a takedown-heavy gameplan that Philippou clearly wasn’t expecting.

Though UFC Fight Night 36 was originally reported to take place on February 8th with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 2, the UFC decided to bump it back a week, and the event is now slated to air on FOX Sports 1.

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Luke Rockhold vs. Costa Philippou Booked for Main Event of Strikeforce Challengers UFC Fight Night 35


(Luke’s been training hard with his acting coach, Tim Kennedy. / Props: @lukerockhold)

Eleven days after swinging through Singapore with UFC Fight Night 34: Ellenberger vs. Saffiedine, the UFC will be hosting another completely non-essential Fight Night card in Georgia. The UFC confirmed last week that UFC Fight Night 35 will take place Wednesday, January 15th at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA.

Headlining the event will be a five-round middleweight bout between Luke Rockhold and Costa Philippou — both of whom are coming off losses. Rockhold became one of Vitor Belfort’s head-kick KO victims during his UFC debut in May, and then pulled out of a UFC 166 matchup with Tim Boetsch due to a knee injury. As for Philippou, the Cypriot striker just had a five-fight win streak snapped when he was dominated by Francis Carmont at UFC 165, losing by unanimous decision.

Rockhold and Philippou still rank among the better contenders in the UFC’s surging 185-pound division, but their last performances wouldn’t seem to qualify them for a UFC headlining spot, even on an irrelevant small-market Fight Night show. But hey, nobody’s forcing you to watch it, and if anything crazy happens, we’ll be sure to link to the GIF on our Facebook page. That’s the CagePotato Promise™.

Two other bouts — Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia and T.J. Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton — have also been reported for Fight Night 35, which marks the UFC’s first stop in Georgia since Jones vs. Evans in April 2012. The event is slated to air on FOX Sports 1.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Confirmed Scratched From UFC 170, Feb. 22nd in Las Vegas [UPDATED, WTF]


(Damn. Even his rope is fabulous. / Photo via GQ)

UPDATE: Uh…just kidding. MMAJunkie reports that the Jones vs. Teixeira fight will *not* take place at UFC 170, as Jones will be unavailable for an undisclosed reason. This is the second time that this shit has happened.

The previously announced light-heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira will headline UFC 170, scheduled for February 22nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The date and venue were announced on yesterday’s edition of UFC Tonight.

Jones is coming off his record-setting sixth title-defense, which came in a squeaker against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September. The hard-slugging Teixeira is riding one of the longest win streaks in the sport — 20 straight victories, unbroken by draws or no-contests — and TKO’d Ryan Bader in September to pick up his fifth win in the UFC.

UFC 170 marks the UFC’s second pay-per-view event scheduled for February 2014, and means that three of the UFC’s nine titles will be up for grabs that month, including the bantamweight and featherweight title fights slated for UFC 169 on February 1st. And of course, the Machida vs. Mousasi fight will also take place that month in Brazil. Rest up now, fight fans.

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