Bellator looking at signing Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos

Bellator is looking to potentially add two of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history. Scott Coker said today that the promotion was looking at potentially signing Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) and Junior Dos Santos (21-9).

Both heavyweights were released by the UFC in early March. Releasing Dos Santos made sense for the UFC seeing as he’d lost four in a row, but many were caught off guard with their decision to release Overeem.

Nevertheless, both heavyweights have been on the open market for a month and Scott Coker is interested in both of them. Bellator‘s heavyweight division is really nothing to write home about.

Their heavyweight champion is a natural light heavyweight in Ryan Bader and there’s not a lot of star power there. The only real star in their heavyweight division is a 44 year old Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC).

Coker said that Bellator isn’t interested in long term deals, but he’s definitely interested in those two. He said, “We’re not going to sign these guys to, like, a two-year, six-fight deal or build them up. They’ve already proved themselves. They are legends of the sport already. But what I will say is we do have legends of the sport here. If we go down the road, and we think a Fedor opponent will work, Alistair and Fedor will be very interesting to me. Junior Dos Santos and Fedor will be very interesting to me.”

Will Bellator book one against Fedor?

Bellator has been looking at fights for Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor is looking for a final fight and the promotion wants to make it a big deal. They’ve even had preliminary discussions around having an event in Russia with a full crowd.

Fedor has faced many of the greats, but he hasn’t faced either Alistair Overeem nor Junior Dos Santos. Him and Overeem came close to fighting in Strikeforce, but the fight never materialized.

Now, Bellator can make it happen. Of course, there’s also the former UFC heavyweight champion in JDS. Both fights are interesting to Coker and I believe both would interest fans. Yes, none of them are in their primes anymore, but I think a lot of fans would still tune in.

Junior Dos Santos preparing for post-UFC career; talking with multiple promotions

Former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (21-9) is preparing for his next venture in MMA. The former heavyweight champion was released just a few weeks ago by the promotion. 

In the case of Junior Dos Santos, things have changed quickly over the past couple of years. In March of 2019, Dos Santos knocked out Derrick Lewis at a UFC Fight Night. This win put JDS in a title eliminator against Francis Ngannou.

At that point, Cigano had won three fights in a row and he looked like he was the old JDS. However, that is where things turned drastically. Dos Santos was knocked out by Ngannou. After that, he suffered three more knockout losses.

The final loss came to Ciryl Gane at UFC 256. However, that loss is currently being appealed by JDS and his team due to the final blow being around the back of the head. Nevertheless, it’s a loss as of right this second.

After that loss, the UFC decided to let Dos Santos walk. The promotion had been making cuts over the past couple of months and after the fourth straight loss, the writing was on the wall for the former heavyweight champion.

Where will JDS go after the UFC?

Dos Santos appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week where he talked about his future. He said that his team is talking with multiple promotions and that he is training as we speak. However, he said that he’d like at least three months to prepare for his next fight.

The former UFC champion already has offers on the table that his team is working through. Obviously, Bellator is being rumored right now. Bellator is needing a little star power in their heavyweight division and JDS would certainly bring that to their heavyweight division.

However, they are not the only game in town for the former UFC champion. PFL is also being rumored, however, they are looked at as a long shot given where they currently stand. PFL already has their heavyweight roster set for their 2021 season.

Time will tell what the next move will be for JDS. If I had to put money on it, I think it’s likely that he ends up in Bellator. Again, their heavyweight division could use some bigger names and despite the losing streak, Cigano would be a great signing for them.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division

MMA, Stipe Miocic

The last month has been incredibly busy for the UFC‘s heavyweight division. In the month of February alone, three fight nights were headlined by heavyweight clashes that shook up the heavyweight division.

However, outside of fighting, we also saw some big news come in last night regarding the heavyweights. The UFC released former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-9) and former title challenger, Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC).

Both men were ranked inside the top 12 at heavyweight so the news is shaking up the rankings a bit. The release of JDS wasn’t surprising, but Overeem had just headlined UFC Vegas 18 against Alexander Volkov (33-8).

Volkov looked better than ever and stopped Overeem in the second round. However, Overeem had won two in a row prior so the decision to release was rather interesting. Nevertheless, Overeem is no longer with the promotion.

After Volkov’s big win, we saw UFC Vegas 19 which was headlined by Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Curtis Blaydes (14-3, 1 NC). Both of these men were looking to stake their claim as a top contender and that’s exactly what Derrick Lewis did.

After Curtis Blaydes easily won the first round, Lewis put him to sleep in the second round. Lewis is now tied for the most knockouts in UFC history and he’s ranked second in the heavyweight division.

Last weekend at UFC Vegas 20, we saw the conclusion of the heavyweight main events. Ciryl Gane (8-0) took on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2). It was the only fight that went the distance and it lacked for action, but Ciryl Gane dominated his way into the top five at heavyweight.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division

After all of these fight nights, there is a big more clarity in the heavyweight division. At the end of this month at UFC 260, Stipe Miocic (20-3) will take on Francis Ngannou (15-3) for the heavyweight championship in a rematch.

After this fight, we already know what is next. Regardless of the outcome, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is getting the next crack at the heavyweight title. Jones vacated his light heavyweight championship to pursue the heavyweight title and he’s getting an immediate title shot.

I would say that whoever loses the title fight in March will likely face Derrick Lewis next. Lewis would be the number one contender if Jon Jones wasn’t moving up. Given where Stipe and Francis both stand, the UFC will likely let Lewis fight the winner after UFC 260.

With that, I believe that Volkov will likely be fighting Ciryl Gane next. Both are now ranked inside the top five and a win for either man would probably put them just one more win away from a title shot.

By the process of elimination, we could also see Curtis Blaydes and Rozenstruik fight next. Both are coming off of a loss, but both are still ranked inside the top six. The top of the heavyweight division is looking very exciting and I can’t wait to see how 2021 plays out for the big boys in the UFC.

The UFC releases Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem

Tonight, there has been a massive shakeup in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. The promotion has moved forward with cutting two of the all time greats. This evening we learned following a report from MMA Junkie that the UFC has cut both Junior Dos Santos (21-9) as well as Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC).

A couple of months ago, Dana White announced that the promotion would be letting go of some big names in 2021. However, it’s been relatively quiet for the last couple of months which made many of us think that the cuts were over.

However, the UFC has cut a former heavyweight champion and a former title challenger. Both, Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem were ranked inside the top 12 of the heavyweight division at the time of their release.

The decision to cut Overeem is an interesting one. Alistair Overeem was just in a main event a couple of weeks ago at UFC Vegas 18. Overeem was on this last leg of his career where he was searching to become a UFC heavyweight champion.

That is one of the few things that Overeem has not achieved in his career. The Demolition man had won two in a row leading into his main event against Alexander Volkov. Overeem was dominated which derailed his heavyweight title dreams. Now, it appears that the dream will never come to fruition.

Former UFC heavyweight champion and fan favorite gone

The decision to release former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos, made more sense than Overeem for the promotion. Despite JDS being one of the more popular fighters in the history of the division, Dos Santos has fallen on hard times.

The 37 year old has been knocked out in four consecutive fights. This four-fight losing streak followed a three-fight win streak which included a win over Derrick Lewis. After the Lewis win in 2019, it appeared that JDS had one more run towards UFC gold.

However, Francis Ngannou stopped that and then Dos Santos was knocked out three times in 2020 alone. According to reports, both heavyweights are still planning on competing. You can imagine that other promotions will be calling these two up sooner than later.

As roster cuts loom, who could be let go from the UFC?

After Yoel Romero was released, UFC President Dana White stated that the promotion was likely going to cut 60 plus fighters before the end of the year. He said we’d likely see some big names exit the UFC.

Since the Romero release, we haven’t seen a ton of high profile names get released from the UFC. We saw Rachael Ostovich be let go, however, that really isn’t that much of a surprise considering she’s lost a lot in her tenure.

One of the fighters that I’ve speculated about is Tyron Woodley. The former UFC welterweight champion has been completely dominated in three straight fights. Factoring that in with his age and he’s a prime release candidate.

Woodley doesn’t have the looks of someone who can be UFC champion again. Combining that also with the fact that he’s been a headache for Dana White and again, you have more reasons as to why he could get released.

Of course, there has been no official talk of this, but I’m just thinking of logical candidates. There are several other high profile fighters who could be released by the UFC. Let’s take a look at a few options.

Three big names the UFC could release

Shogun Rua

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (27-12-1) could be one of the fighters that will be on the UFC chopping block. The former light heavyweight champion just turned 39 years old and really doesn’t have the looks of a top contender anymore.

Shogun was just stopped by Paul Craig at UFC 255. It was a really poor performance from Shogun and he ultimately tapped to strikes in the second round of the fight. Shogun has had a great run, but it’s clear that he’s nearing the end.

After the fight was over, Shogun said that he would think about retiring from the sport altogether. However, if he doesn’t want to retire, he might finish off his career with another promotion. If he wants to continue, he could be a fighter released by the UFC.

Mike Perry

There might not be a fighter who is more of PR nightmare for the UFC than Mike Perry (14-7). Outside of actually competing in the cage, Perry’s 2020 has consisted of domestic violence allegations, punching an old man in a bar, and getting rid of all his coaches.

His last two UFC fights, he’s been cornered by his girlfriend and another friend of his. Perry also badly missed weight for his last UFC fight. He’s incredibly fun to watch, however, he has a lot of issues. He also doesn’t appear to be taking his fighting career seriously.

I personally don’t think the UFC is going to cut Perry at the moment. Dana White seems to be a fan of watching him inside the cage. However, it’s very clear that Perry is on thin ice right now and I wouldn’t be shocked if things turned around and he was cut by the promotion.

Junior Dos Santos

Out of all the potential UFC roster cuts, this is the one I don’t want to see. However, it’s one that could happen. Former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-9) could find himself on the chopping block.

JDS is looking at a four-fight losing streak where he’s been finished in all four fights. There are moments in those fights where you can see glimpses of the former UFC champion. However, all four have reminded us that he’s no longer the same fighter.

I’m a massive fan of JDS as a person and a fighter. However, the reality is that he’s no longer a serious contender in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He appears focused on continuing to fight, but the UFC might not want him to continue with their promotion with that finish streak.

What’s next for Ciryl Gane after his UFC 256 victory?

Ciryl Gane UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 256, heavyweights Ciryl Gane (7-0) and Junior Dos Santos (21-9) kicked off the PPV main card. It was the first fight of 2020 for the French prospect, Gane. He had several cancellations leading to UFC 256.

Gane is being looked at as a future title contender. He’s a former Muay Thai world champion and he just has the looks of a guy who the UFC would love to have break through in the heavyweight division.

During the fight on Saturday, Gane did a really good job of keeping JDS at range with his kicks. Gane would throw powerful leg kicks and kicks to the body that never let the former heavyweight champion get comfortable.

Dos Santos was winging power punches, however, nothing really got close to landing. In the second round of the fight, Gane really started to take over. About halfway through the round, Gane stepped forward with a jab that rocked JDS.

He followed up with a couple of brutal elbows that sent the former heavyweight champion to the mat. The referee called a stop to the action and Gane improved to 4-0 inside the UFC with his biggest win to date.

What’s next after UFC 256

This was the biggest test for Gane and he passed with flying colors. When the new rankings come out later today, I’m expecting to see the Frenchman inside the top ten of the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

So, what should the promotion do with Gane next? I think there is a very logical next opponent for Gane. That opponent would be the UFC‘s eighth ranked heavyweight, Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-5).

The UFC has tried to make this fight twice in 2020. Back in April, Gane had to pull out of the fight then in October, Abdurakhimov had to pull out of the matchup. Maybe the third time will be the charm for the promotion.

Given the way the rankings look, this would be the most logical next fight. I don’t see the need to rush Gane just yet towards the top tier of the heavyweight division. Let him get one more top ten win before rushing him to the UFC‘s top five.

What’s next for Junior Dos Santos after UFC 256?

This past Saturday at UFC 256, Junior Dos Santos (21-9) took on Ciryl Gane (7-0). The former champion entered Saturday on a three-fight losing streak, but more concerning, he had been finished in all three fights.

As the fight got started, Cigano was having a tough time getting inside on Gane. Gane kept the former UFC heavyweight champion at range with a steady kick attack. Whenever JDS would get close, he was throwing everything he had into shots.

It appeared that Dos Santos was just looking for one big knockout blow at UFC 256. He wasn’t putting together crisp boxing combinations, he was head hunting for a knockout. Granted, I figured that’s how he’d need to win, however, he wasn’t sharp in doing so.

After clearly losing the first round, things went really down hill for Dos Santos in the second round. Gane started picking up the pace a little and staggered Cigano with a stiff jab. Dos Santos turned away and Gane followed the former champion to the cage.

Once the fighters were along the fence, Gane landed some massive elbows that floored the former UFC champion. Follow up shots caused the fight to get stopped and Dos Santos had suffered his fourth straight loss all by KO or TKO.

What’s next after UFC 256?

Dos Santos protested after the fight at UFC 256 was over. JDS was angry telling the referee that the shot landed to the back of his head. The shot did catch a lot of the backside of his head, however, that was because of the way JDS was turning.

The shot was not intentional and had Dos Santos not been moving, it would’ve landed on the ear. Thus, the shot was legal and the former champion suffered another defeat. I think we’ve seen the last of JDS inside the octagon.

That pains me to say as someone who’s always been a massive fan of Junior Dos Santos. I’ve always been a fan and he’s arguably the nicest guy in the UFC. However, four straight KO or TKO losses doesn’t spell well for the former champion.

Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that JDS might be done with the UFC. Considering the roster cuts that are also occurring, I think JDS will be looking for a new home after this loss.

I don’t think Dos Santos will retire. He will likely move on to another promotion, but it’ll be interesting to see where he goes. If I had to take a guess, I would say that PFL would be the favorite to land the former champion.

Ciryl Gane stops Junior Dos Santos at UFC 256

Ciryl Gane UFC

Kicking off the main card tonight at UFC 256 was a heavyweight clash between Junior Dos Santos (21-8) and Ciryl Gane (6-0). The former champion’s back was against the wall coming into this one.

Dos Santos entered the cage riding a three-fight losing streak. However, it was the way he’s lost his last three that have UFC fans wondering if he’s near the end. Cigano has been stopped in three straight outings.

Gane is on the other end of the spectrum. The French heavyweight prospect is looked at by many as a future champion. After tough year full of UFC cancellations, Gane was looking to make a massive statement tonight against Junior Dos Santos.

UFC 256 Recap:

Round 1

As the opening round at UFC 256 got underway, both were very light on their feet. Gane was frequently switching stances then used front kicks to start the striking. Dos Santos was trying to find his range with straight shots.

Gane continued to bounce and throw leg kicks. Dos Santos landed a decent uppercut as Gane got on the inside. Gane then countered with a very decent body kick. Dos Santos started to put a little pressure on Gane, but he was a little out of range to land shots.

Gane continued to land some decent kicks halfway through the round. The former UFC champion was throwing everything into his shots, but nothing was landing in the first. Gane continued to pepper Dos Santos’ legs with kicks.

Dos Santos threw a spinning back kick, but again couldn’t land. One minute left in the round and Gane lands another really good body kick. Dos Santos tried to catch a kick and get a takedown, but couldn’t land it. Dos Santos landed some good shots at the end, but a really good first round for Gane.

Round 2

As the second round at UFC 256 got underway, Gane went right back to throwing leg kicks. Dos Santos appeared to be trying to time Gane, but Gane was staying just out of range of Cigano’s big shots.

A minute into the round and Gane continued to land good kicks. Dos Santos landed a good right hand and Gane pushed JDS against the fence. Dos Santos was able to separate and get things back to striking.

Then out of no where, Gane lands a massive jab that hurts the former UFC champion. An elbow drops JDS and Gane finishes him off with a couple of shots.

Ciryl Gane def. Junior Dos Santos by TKO – Round 2

UFC 256 Preview: Junior Dos Santos – Ciryl Gane

Kicking off the UFC 256 PPV main card tomorrow night is a fantastic matchup in the heavyweight division. Former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-8), will be taking on top heavyweight prospect Ciryl Gane (6-0).

This is an incredibly important fight for the former UFC heavyweight champion. Junior Dos Santos is facing a very difficult reality after his last three performances. Dos Santos has been knocked out in three straight UFC appearances.

In March of 2019, Dos Santos finished Derek Lewis in what was his third win in a row. The former champion looked to be poised to make another run at the title. However, then he ran into Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou finished Dos Santos in just 71 seconds. After that fight, Dos Santos was knocked out by Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Dos Santos looked really good early in the Rozenstruik fight, but a blitz by Bigi Boy resulted in a knockout.

Given the UFC‘s recent announcement about cutting the roster down, a loss could spell the end for Dos Santos. While Cigano is potentially fighting for his career, Ciryl Gane is fighting to make the next leap in his MMA career.

The former professional kickboxer turned mixed martial artist is off to a fantastic start in his career. Gane is a massive heavyweight, but he moves like a guy in the middleweight division. Extremely explosive but also very efficient when he’s in the cage.

In addition to his incredible striking, Gane has very good skills on the ground. Half of his wins so far have come via submission. He even pulled off a heel hook which is not something you see normally for the heavyweights. He has all the makings of a future champion.

UFC 256 Prediction

The sad reality of this fight is that I don’t think it’s that hard to predict. A few years ago, I would have loved this UFC 256 matchup. It would have been incredibly hard to predict given the skillsets of both men.

However, it is a different time now and Junior Dos Santos is not the same fighter he used to be. We see glimpses of the old Cigano whenever he’s in the cage. He looks to be in great shape and his hands still look incredibly crisp.

However, he still doesn’t have answers for fighters who really push him against the fence and his chin is deteriorating. I see Gane marching Dos Santos down in this fight and I think he’ll give the former champion a lot of problems.

Dos Santos’ only chance to win this fight is catching Gane and knocking him out. I do not see this fight going the distance and unfortunately for Cigano, I see him suffering his fourth straight knockout loss at UFC 256.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane by TKO – Round 1

UFC currently working on Junior Dos Santos – Ciryl Gane

It has been a tough 2020 for UFC prospect Ciryl Gane (6-0). Gane came into 2020 as one of the brightest prospects in the division. A massive heavyweight with incredible striking and power to go along with it. The UFC had high hopes for Gane this year.

However, the promotion has attempted to book Gane in four fights through the year. None of which have come to fruition. He was supposed to fight today at UFC Fight Island 6, however, that fight was called off earlier this week. 

Gane needs an opponent with name recognition and a ranking for the UFC to build him. Well, Dana White said yesterday that the promotion is working on an opponent that checks both of those boxes. That opponent would be former champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-8).

We last saw JDS back at UFC 252 when he took on Jairzinho Rozenstruik. That night, Dos Santos looked very good early on in the fight. Definitely won the first round in my opinion. However, JDS was caught with a flurry in round two that put him down for the count. His third straight TKO loss.

Thoughts on the UFC matchup?

This is a very good matchup for the UFC to make in my opinion. The former UFC champion has been struggling over the last year having suffered three straight knockout losses. JDS won three fights in a row prior to those losses.

Gane is being built up as a big time prospect for the heavyweight division. The division needs fresh faces to make things exciting, and the UFC couldn’t ask for a more exciting prospect than Ciryl Gane who currently trains with Francis Ngannou.

There will be a number of storylines that will surround this potential matchup. For Dos Santos, if he gets knocked out again, he might need to look at retirement, however, if he wins, he could look at one final run in the UFC before hanging it up.

For Gane, this is his chance to really introduce himself to the general MMA fans. Most know who Ciryl Gane is, but for the casuals, a big win over JDS would announce his arrival. It’s a fascinating matchup that I’m looking forward to.