Demian Maia and Jimmie Rivera no longer with the UFC

It appears that two long-time UFC veterans are officially no longer with the promotion. John Morgan of MMA Junkie confirmed today with promotional officials that Demian Maia (28-11) and Jimmie Rivera (23-5) are no longer with the promotion.

Per Morgan, both guys fought out their UFC contracts and the promotion is not bringing them back. For Jimmie Rivera, this is a little bit of a puzzling development. Rivera was ranked 13th in the UFC‘s bantamweight division.

His last fight with the promotion came back in February when he took on Pedro Munhoz. The fight was a rematch from a few years ago when Rivera got the better of Munhoz. This time around, Munhoz was able to pick up the victory.

That loss dropped Rivera to just 2-4 in his last six UFC appearances. Back in 2017, Rivera looked like a guy who could become a future champion. Overall, he was 22-1 and he had been perfect with the promotion.

However, that’s when he ran into Marlon Moraes he knocked him out in just over 30 seconds. From there, he would go 2-3 in his next five fights. Granted, his losses were to Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan, and Munhoz.

So, two of his losses were to the last two guys to hold the UFC bantamweight title. Letting Rivera go was likely a decision based on pay and deciding whether or not he could become a champion. Obviously, the promotion didn’t see Rivera climbing the latter so they let him go.

Maia’s UFC Run Officially Over

Demian Maia made his debut with the promotion all the way back in 2007 at UFC 77. Maia scored a win and began his career at 5-0 with the promotion which included a submission win over Chael Sonnen.

During Maia’s run with the UFC, the jiu jitsu legend made his way to a title shot twice in two different weight classes. Maia fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title and fought Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title.

While Maia came up short in both attempts, he’s been the model of consistency in the UFC for a long time. It was known that his fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC 263 was the final fight on his contract.

Maia lost the fight which was his second straight loss. After the event, Maia was hopeful the UFC would give him one more fight, however, it doesn’t appear that it’s going to happen. No telling what’s next for Maia, but if it’s the end, we should all solute the Brazilian legend.

After coming up short at UFC Vegas 20, what’s next for Jimmie Rivera?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 20, Jimmie Rivera (23-5) and Pedro Munhoz (19-5, 1 NC) went to battle for the second time. The two men had previously fought back in 2015 with Jimmie Rivera edging out a split decision victory.

It was apparent from the opening bell that this fight would go a little differently. Like the first fight, this fight was very competitive. However, from the first round at UFC Vegas 20, Pedro Munhoz had the advantage.

Rivera was able to land some big punches early on, but Munhoz was doing serious damage with calf kicks. By the end of the first round, Rivera was walking with a limp and was trying to disguise how badly he was hurt.

From that moment on, Rivera couldn’t get any momentum going. Munhoz seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges due to the fact that Rivera couldn’t plant down on his shots.

In the final round at UFC Vegas 20, Jimmie Rivera did go for it. He was swinging with everything he had trying to get the finish he needed, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, Pedro Munhoz walked away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 20?

Jimmie Rivera started his UFC career at 5-0. At that point in his career, he was 21-1 heading into a matchup against Marlon Moraes. Since that matchup, Jimmie Rivera is just 2-4 in six matchups.

However, it is worth noting that all four of the losses came against guys who are inside the UFC’s top eight at bantamweight. Rivera has only lost to some of the elites in the division so it’s not time to write off El Terror just yet.

With the loss, I think you need to look down in the divisional rankings for his next matchup. One fight I would be interested in is seeing Rivera take on Chito Vera (16-7-1). Vera has looked great over the last couple of years and he’s 15th in the division.

He’s coming off of a loss as well so the timing makes sense. Another potential matchup could be Rivera against Merab Dvalishvili (12-4). Merab has won five in a row and he’s currently ranked 12th. From a rankings perspective, this could be the angle the UFC goes with.

After snapping losing streak at UFC Vegas 20, what’s next for Pedro Munhoz?

Pedro Munhoz, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 20, we got to see the highly anticipated rematch between Pedro Munhoz (19-5, 1 NC) and Jimmie Rivera (23-5). The two men had previously met in 2015 and prior to this, their rematch had fallen through every time the UFC tried to book it.

Well, the rematch was worth the wait. From the opening bell at UFC Vegas 20, both guys were slinging heat. Rivera was able to crack Munhoz with some serious punches throughout the fight. However, Munhoz’s primary weapon was doing the most damage.

As soon as the fight started, Munhoz started working the low calf kick. This kick has revolutionized the sport over the last year or so and it made an impact very quickly on Saturday night. Rivera stands heavy on his front foot with relying on his boxing power.

This left his calf exposed for powerful kicks. Halfway through the first round, Rivera was already exploring with changing stances and limping. Throughout the rest of the fight, Munhoz continued to work that leg and it limited Rivera’s ability to attack.

While Rivera did have moments where he landed good shots, he couldn’t string together enough attacks. Munhoz peppered him throughout and was able to avenge his loss in their first fight and snap his two-fight losing streak in the UFC.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 20?

UFC Vegas 20 was a must-win for Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz wasn’t in danger of getting cut had he lost, but if he wants to be a serious contender, he couldn’t afford to lose three fights in a row.

With this win, Munhoz is in a little bit of an awkward spot in the division. Most of the guys in front of him are either coming off losses or are currently booked. I don’t believe he’s going to get a top five opponent unless that person is coming off of a loss.

With that in mind, I think the UFC will explore a couple of options. One option would be the winner of the Dominick Cruz – Casey Kenney fight. More than likely it would make sense if Cruz wins that fight.

Another potential option for Munhoz could be the loser of this weekend’s title fight. I’m sure the UFC will find Munhoz a great option for his next fight. He’s said that he wanted to fight TJ Dillashaw, however, I think the promotion has other plans for Dillashaw at this time.

Pedro Munhoz chops down Jimmie Rivera at UFC Vegas 20

Pedro Munhoz, UFC

On the UFC Vegas 20 main card we got to see a matchup between two top ten bantamweights. Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC) took on Jimmie Rivera (23-4). This was actually the second time that these two met inside the octagon.

The two first met in the UFC back in 2015. that night, Rivera was able to win by split decision. The rematch has been scheduled a couple of times but fell through each time. This booking was originally supposed to take place at UFC 258.

However, a positive COVID test pushed the matchup back to tonight. Rivera was looking to pickup his second consecutive win and build his case towards a top five opponent. Jimmie Rivera has only lost three times in the UFC and those three losses were to Marlon Moraes, Petr Yan, and Aljamain Sterling.

Rivera has some big wins including the victory over Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz was looking for redemption against Rivera tonight and redemption against the judges from his last fight. The last time we saw Pedro Munhoz, he dropped a razor thin split decision to former UFC champion Frankie Edgar.

The loss was the second straight loss for Munhoz. At UFC Vegas 20, he was looking to get back on track and looking to get closer to the top five and an eventual title shot at 135.

UFC Vegas 20 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 20 bantamweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Munhoz opened with a big headkick and the two started fast. Rivera and Munhoz traded big calf kicks and then Rivera cracked Munhoz with a couple good shots.

Munhoz started looking for kicks while Rivera was content with swinging big punches. A clean combination from Rivera is countered by a big calf kick from Pedro Munhoz. These two were going for it in the first two minutes.

Munhoz is wobbled by a massive shot from Rivera. However, Munhoz quickly regained his composure. A big right hand lands for Jimmie Rivera. Both men then exchange another round of big calf kicks. A nice body shot lands for Pedro Munhoz.

Munhoz pushes forward and lands another nice body shot. The two men then sit down on their shots and exchange power punches. Another stiff calf kick lands for Munhoz and Rivera is hurt. A nice jab from Munhoz and Rivera can’t put pressure on his leg. Incredible first round, but I lean 1-0 Munhoz at UFC Vegas 20.

Round 2

The second round at UFC Vegas 20 started with more pressure from Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz went right back to looking for calf kicks. Rivera is able to land a takedown, however, Munhoz forced a scramble by going for a leglock.

Both men stood up and Munhoz landed a massive knee. Rivera then pushed forward with a couple of clean shots. Munhoz countered with another big calf kick. As Munhoz goes for a head kick, Rivera lands his own calf kick that drops Munhoz.

Munhoz gets immediately up and lands a nasty calf kick that really wobbled Rivera. Rivera immediately shot for a takedown, but he couldn’t land it. Munhoz was just plotting forward looking for his openings. Rivera was being very active with his strikes despite being hurt.

A massive calf kick and left hook lands for Pedro Munhoz. Rivera pushes forward, but Munhoz briefly drops him with another leg kick. Both men exchange big shots with thirty seconds left in the round. Good shot lands for Rivera before the final bell, however, it’s 2-0 Munhoz at UFC Vegas 20.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 20, Jimmie Rivera needed a finish on my scorecard. He pushed forward to start the final round looking for that finish. He landed a few clean shots, but Munhoz took them well.

Munhoz retook the center of the octagon and he went right back to looking for calf kicks. A headkick from Munhoz just misses. Munhoz seems to be mixing up the kicks to all levels here in the final round. Rivera then pushed forward with a few big shots.

A big uppercut lands for Rivera that briefly stiffens up Munhoz. However, Munhoz went right back to pushing forward. A stiff jab lands for Pedro Munhoz. A big calf kick lands that caused Rivera to collapse. Rivera got up extremely gingerly.

Another nice jab lands for Pedro Munhoz. Rivera finally switches to southpaw and Munhoz lands a big body kick as soon as he does. Rivera moves forward and throws some major heat. A big left from Rivera hurts Pedro Munhoz.

However, Rivera couldn’t take advantage. Rivera throws a few more massive shots, but Munhoz counters with big shots of his own. Both men swing massively to end the final round and that fight was incredible. Pedro Munhoz should get the nod here at UFC Vegas 20.

Pedro Munhoz def. Jimmie Rivera by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

UFC Vegas 20 Preview: Pedro Munhoz – Jimmie Rivera 2

Pedro Munhoz, UFC

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 20, we will see a very important fight in the bantamweight division. Top ten contenders will go head-to-head for the second time as Pedro Munhoz (18-5,1 NC) takes on Jimmie Rivera (23-4).

Originally, this fight was supposed to take place on the UFC 258 main card, however, a positive COVID test scrapped the fight. The matchup was pushed back a couple of weeks and now fight fans will get to see this rematch tomorrow night.

In their first fight, Jimmie Rivera was able to pickup the split decision victory. Their first matchup took place way back in 2015. Rivera will be looking to pickup his second consecutive win tomorrow night.

Rivera has only lost three fights inside the UFC. Those losses came against Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, and Marlon Moraes. Needless to say, whenever Rivera has been bested inside the octagon, it’s only been against the best.

Pedro Munhoz will have his chance at redemption tomorrow night. However, it’s not just going to be redemption from his first matchup with Rivera. Munhoz will also be looking for redemption after his last loss which was by a razor thin split decision.

Pedro Munhoz has some very solid wins which have made him a top contender. Most notably his knockout win over former UFC champion, Cody Garbrandt. Munhoz is much improved from the first fight, but are his improvements enough?

UFC Vegas 20 Prediction

This is such a fun matchup and a big one for the bantamweight division. These two are ranked eighth and ninth in the UFC’s bantamweight division and whoever wins is likely to get someone in the top five in their next fight.

With Jimmie Rivera, things that stick out in this matchup are his defensive wrestling and his good boxing. Rivera is a very good wrestler, but his boxing to me is where he shines in the octagon. He also should have the strength advantage tomorrow night in the grappling.

Now when it comes to power shots, you have to favor Pedro Munhoz. I’ve been very impressed with the improved striking of Munhoz and his ability to mix things up inside the octagon. These two are so evenly matched that it’s really tough to pick a winner.

One weapon I want to watch for at UFC Vegas 20 is the leg kicks of Munhoz. If he can work those early, I believe he can get the decision. However, if he lets Rivera get too comfortable, I think the fight is there for Rivera to take. Expect another razor close decision and I’m going to go with Munhoz to get redemption here.

Prediction: Pedro Munhoz by Split Decision

Jimmie Rivera – Pedro Munhoz is off UFC 258; fight to be pushed back

A highly anticipated matchup is off of this weekend’s UFC 258 main card. MMA Fighting was the first to report that the bantamweight matchup between Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC) and Jimmie Rivera (23-4) has been called off.

The UFC has not come out with a statement, but MMA Fighting is reporting that a positive COVID test has cancelled the fight. The tentative plan is for the promotion to push back the fight to the Fight Night on February 27th.

UFC 258 isn’t the most stacked card for a PPV and losing this bantamweight matchup is a pretty big hit. The lightweight matchup between Jim Miller and Bobby Green is getting promoted to the PPV main card.

Jimmie Rivera was looking to pickup his second consecutive win on Saturday night. Rivera has always been known as one of the best in the UFC, however, every time he’s approached a title shot, he’s stumbled.

His three losses with the promotion have come against Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, and Marlon Moraes. This matchup at UFC 258 was actually a rematch from a fight back in 2015. Rivera defeated Munhoz by split decision that night.

UFC redemption for Munhoz

Pedro Munhoz has lost twice in a row and he was looking to bounce back this weekend. UFC 258 was his opportunity to settle the score with Jimmie Rivera and it was his opportunity to end his current losing streak.

Munhoz rose to the top of the UFC’s bantamweight division after he knocked out former champion, Cody Garbrandt. However, he would then go on to lose decisions to Aljamain Sterling and Frankie Edgar which shuffled him back.

By all indications, there should be no issues with this fight taking place in two weeks. Of course, that has yet to be confirmed by the UFC. I was personally really looking forward to this one. Hopefully fight fans will get to see this one sooner than later.

State of the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021

One of the divisions that has really flipped in 2020 is the UFC‘s bantamweight division. I’m not sure anyone saw the division going the way that it did when the year started. Granted, I don’t think anything about 2020 went as planned.

When the year started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) was the reigning UFC bantamweight king. He was angling for a fight with former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (29-7), after Aldo lost by split decision to Marlon Moraes.

Cejudo and the UFC brass felt that Aldo won the fight. The two men were scheduled to fight in May. However, after the pandemic hit, Aldo was not able to travel for UFC 249 to take on Cejudo.

That’s when former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3), stepped to the plate. Cruz had been out since 2016, but in that fight he lost his world title. The two men met at UFC 249.

That night, Cejudo finished Cruz in the second round then retired after the fight. The promotion decided to give Aldo a title shot after he was promised one and paired him against top contender, Petr Yan (16-1) for the vacant title.

At UFC 251 on Fight Island, Yan and Aldo met for the bantamweight championship. Aldo had some good moments early, however, Yan took over late. Ultimately, Yan finished Aldo in the fifth round to become bantamweight champion.

UFC’s Bantamweight Division in 2021

We already know the first title fight, we just don’t know when. Yan was supposed to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) at UFC 256. However, Yan had to pull out for undisclosed reasons. That fight is supposed to be setup early in 2021.

An interesting wrinkle in the division is the return of former champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw never lost his UFC title in the ring, but his suspension forced him to be stripped of the 135 pound title.

Dillashaw’s two-year suspension is up in January and he’s looking to get right back in the mix. Jose Aldo is one of the men that wants a shot at Dillashaw. Aldo is coming off of a big win against Chito Vera at UFC Vegas 17. 

The two former UFC champions could make for a very compelling matchup. Another key matchup early in the year is the matchup between Cory Sandhagen (13-2) and former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1).

That matchup on February 6th might be a title eliminator. Rob Font (18-4) might be the one contender to watch in 2021. Font just knocked out Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17. His hands looked incredibly crisp and he’s busted into the top five at bantamweight.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division is absolutely stacked. I didn’t even mention the matchup between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera that’s booked on January 20th. So many incredible matchups in that division.

Petr Yan looks like a world-beater. However, his division is full of guys who are waiting to take away that crown. So many interesting storylines and potential matchups surround the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021.

What’s next for Rob Font after UFC Vegas 17?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 17, Rob Font (18-4) made the walk for the first time in 2020. Font carried a two-fight winning streak into the octagon as he took on former title challenger, Marlon Moraes (23-8-1).

For Font, it’s been a struggle to get back into the octagon. The UFC bantamweight has only fought twice since December of 2018. He’s dealt with a number of injuries and he also dealt with COVID this year.

However, he was finally healthy and ready to go at UFC Vegas 17. Font is really known for his outstanding boxing, but I figured he would have a little trouble with the kicking game of Marlon Moraes.

When the fight started, Moraes actually shot for a takedown on Font. It really gave you an idea of how much Moraes respected the hands of Rob Font. Font was able to work his way up to his feet, and from there Moraes was in trouble.

After the two got back to their feet, Font rocked Moraes within seconds. His hands looked extremely crisp and he wobbled Moraes a few times. A big uppercut put Moraes down for good and gave Font the biggest win of his UFC career.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 17?

Font entered UFC Vegas 17 ranked as the 11th bantamweight while Moraes was ranked third. With the performance that he put on Saturday night, I’m expecting Font to jump into the top five when the rankings come out today.

I was incredibly impressed with his performance. After the fight was over, Font called out former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw’s two-year suspension is up in January and he needs a new opponent.

In reality, it’s a fight that makes a lot of sense especially if Font is ranked in the top five. There are a couple of additional options for Font including Jose Aldo who defeated Chito Vera on Saturday night. 

Both Font and Aldo called out Dillashaw, but the UFC could pair the two winners against each other. One additional option would be the winning of the Pedro Munhoz – Jimmie Rivera fight which takes place in January.

UFC books Pedro Munhoz – Jimmie Rivera 2

Pedro Munhoz, UFC

The UFC has booked a big time bantamweight matchup for their card on January 30th. First reported by MMA Junkie, the promotion has finalized a rematch between top bantamweights Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC) and Jimmie Rivera (23-4).

These two top ten UFC bantamweights first fought back in 2015. That night, Rivera was able to edge Pedro Munhoz by split decision. For Jimmie Rivera, he will be looking to pick up his second consecutive victory.

The last time we saw Rivera was back on July 15th when he took on Cody Stamann. That night, Rivera was able to snap his two fight losing streak and pick up the unanimous decision victory.

Rivera has been one of the best bantamweights inside the UFC for some time now. Since joining the promotion back in 2015, he’s lost three times but those three opponents were Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, and Marlon Moraes.

Outside of those three, Rivera hasn’t been challenged much in the UFC. He’s gone to a decision multiple times and the only man to have forced a split decision will be the guy he’s taking on January 30th.

UFC bantamweight showdown

Pedro Munhoz will be trying to avenge the first Rivera loss and get back on the winning side of things on January 30th. Munhoz has lost two which is the first time that’s happened to him in his UFC career.

Munhoz is coming off of a split decision loss to Frankie Edgar back in August. The former UFC lightweight champion was making his bantamweight debut against Munhoz. In a five round war, either man could have walked away with their hand raised.

The majority of media members believed that Munhoz won that fight. However, the judges gave it to the former UFC champion. Prior to that loss, Munhoz had lost a unanimous decision to Aljamain Sterling which snapped a three fight winning streak.

Both of these men are looking to take another step towards the UFC title. A win is massively important for both, however, there has to be a ton of pressure on Munhoz having lost two in a row. Should be a fun one on January 30th.

After UFC Vegas 7, what’s next for Frankie Edgar?

Frankie Edgar

Last Saturday night at UFC Vegas 7, former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1), made a successful bantamweight debut. Edgar edged out the fifth ranked bantamweight in the UFC, Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC).

This was the third weight class that Edgar has competed in during his hall of fame career. Given Edgar’s size, he looked like he was finally in his natural weight class after always being the smallest guy at lightweight and featherweight.

Edgar is expected to debut this week in the top five of the bantamweight rankings after his victory over Munhoz. With Aljamain Sterling getting the next shot at the champion Petr Yan, what should the UFC do with Edgar’s next fight?

UFC and Edgar’s next steps

Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that Edgar needed to win one or two more times before he could get a shot at the UFC bantamweight title. Realistically, I would say he just needs one more win to earn that shot.

The UFC loves Edgar, and if he comes out and looks impressive in another win, I could see them giving him a title shot. However, booking Edgar against another contender might not be easy.

If you examine the rankings, all of the guys who will be in front of Edgar are already booked. The UFC champ, Yan, is likely fighting Sterling. Marlon Moraes is booked to fight Corey Sandhagen in October. Cody Garbrandt is moving down to flyweight so he’s not in the picture.

That leaves Edgar with no one in front of him in the rankings at the moment. He just defeated Munhoz, and I can’t see the UFC booking him against Jose Aldo, who is ranked sixth, for the third time. So who should he fight?

Two Options

To me, there are two options that the UFC could go with right now. If the promotion wants to give him someone that makes sense with rankings, I’d go with Jimmie Rivera (23-4). Rivera is ranked seventh and is coming off of a win against Cody Stamann at UFC Fight Island 1.

Rivera tried to step in to fight Edgar on short notice after Munhoz originally tested positive for COVID-19, but Edgar decided to wait on Munhoz. El Terror felt that Edgar was dodging the fight. A matchup between the two could bring a little heat.

The other option would be the biggest one the UFC could make on name recognition. How about a fight with former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3)? Cruz is coming off of a title fight loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249.

The two men are legends of the sport, and it would make for an extremely interesting matchup. The winner could likely jump right back to a UFC title shot. If I’m Dana White, I would start with this one, but if I’m a fight fan, I’d be happy to see Edgar fight either one of Rivera or Cruz next.