What’s next for the losing fighters of UFC 253?

Last night at UFC 253, we saw two incredible title fights. The promotion’s first PPV back on Fight Island featured a fight for the vacant light heavyweight title and the undisputed middleweight crown. It was a huge night for the UFC.

In the end, Israel Adesanya (20-0) and Jan Blachowicz (27-8) walked out with UFC gold wrapped around their waists. That left Paulo Costa (13-1) and Dominick Reyes (12-2) behind. Both fighters were finished in the second round of their title fights last night.

It was a rough night at the UFC office for those two. Also, it was a rough night at the office for my predictions as I missed both title fights. I predicted Costa and Reyes to walk out as champions. It was not meant to be for either man at UFC 253.

What does the UFC do with Costa?

Dana White had been pumping up the main event as a potential fight of the year because of the two men’s styles. I was extremely excited for UFC 253 because it seemed like a true bull versus matador matchup. It was anything but that last night.

Paulo Costa normally fights with reckless abandonment as he did at UFC 241. He normally pushes forward and throws bombs that causes his opponents to fold. That’s what he needed to do at UFC 253 against Israel Adesanya.

Instead, Costa stayed tentative on the outside. Adesanya had his way with Costa as he was just picking him apart. Eventually in the second round, Adesanya put Costa down for good in what was a bizarre finish to UFC 253.

This is going to be a tough fight to get over for Costa. He didn’t fight like himself and he played right into Adesanya’s hands. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for him, but I think there’s a good fight that could be already materializing.

Derek Brunson (21-7) makes a lot of sense for Costa. Brunson is currently ranked seventh in the division and is on a three fight winning streak. His last loss is also against Adesanya. To me, this would be the perfect fight for the UFC to make for Costa’s return. Brunson has already called for the fight.

What’s next for Dominick Reyes?

It’s been a tough 2020 for Dominick Reyes. Back in February, Reyes got the shot of a lifetime against Jon Jones. Reyes fought his heart out and many people believed that he defeated Jones back at UFC 247. However, the judges disagreed and Jones walked out with the belt.

After Jones vacated the title, Reyes got another chance. It was almost looked at like a title defense for Reyes. Reyes was stifled from the very beginning by Jan Blachowicz. Blachowicz hurt Reyes bad with kicks and combinations.

The Polish Power was in full effect last night. In the second round, Reyes succumbed to Blachowicz’s power. It was a crushing defeat for Reyes and he has now gone 0-2 in UFC title shots in 2020. So what’s next for The Devestator?

There are a couple of options out there for Reyes. I think one that makes a lot of sense is taking on the loser of the Thiago Santos – Glover Teixiera fight which takes place in November. The winner is likely to get a title shot, so it would make sense that Reyes fights the loser.

A couple of other possibilities could be Aleksandar Rakic or Jiri Prochazka. Although, I think the UFC would be better served making those two fight each other next. I think Reyes will need a little time off after this one which would lineup perfectly with facing the loser of the Santos – Teixiera fight.

What’s next for the winning fighters of UFC 253?

Last night at UFC 253, we saw two dominant performances in two title fights. The promotion’s first PPV back on Fight Island featured a fight for the vacant light heavyweight title and the undisputed middleweight crown.

Israel Adesanya (20-0) and Jan Blachowicz (27-8) put on incredible performances and walked out with UFC gold wrapped around their waists. In fights that were very even on paper, these two put forth dominant performances which left no doubt.

The main event failed to deliver a war like UFC president Dana White was hoping for, but instead we saw continued brilliance from Israel Adesanya. The co-main event saw a new king emerge in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division, and that king has some serious Polish Power.

What’s next for Israel Adesanya?

Last night, Israel Adesanya completely blew me away with his performance. I thought he was going to have a difficult time at UFC 253, but he got Paulo Costa (13-1) to play right into his hands. Adesanya finished off Costa in the second round of a one sided beating.

After the fight, Adesanya made it pretty clear who he wants in his next UFC title defense. Adesanya said that he’s looking at fighting Jared Cannonier (13-4) in his next fight. Cannonier has won all three of his fights by knockout since dropping to middleweight.

Cannonier does have his hands full as he’s fighting Robert Whittaker (21-5) next at UFC 254. Despite Adesanya’s dominant win over Whittaker back at UFC 243, a rematch would be a massive fight especially if Whittaker defeats Cannonier.

Whittaker is coming off of a win against Darren Till back in July. Safe to say that the UFC is going to have Adesanya face the winner of the middleweight clash that’s scheduled for UFC 254. Or perhaps a light heavyweight showdown with Jon Jones could be in the cards.

What’s next for the UFC’s Polish Power?

What more can you say about Jan Blachowicz? Blachowicz lost to Patrick Cummins back at UFC 210 in 2017. That was the second straight loss for Blachowicz who had just turned 34 years old. His UFC career didn’t look the brightest after that fight.

However, Blachowicz went on a run after that point that nobody could have seen coming. Jan Blachowicz has won eight of his last nine fights and it all led to UFC 253. Blachowicz knocked out Dominick Reyes (12-2) in the second round to claim UFC gold.

Blachowicz spent his time calling out Jon Jones in the post fight interview. However, despite the callouts, I don’t think Blachowicz will get Jones next. I think Blachowicz is going to be taking on the winner of the Glover Teixiera – Thiago Santos fight which is booked for November.

You would have to think that the UFC and Blachowicz want to see Santos win that fight. The lone loss that Blachowicz has on his record during this stretch came to Thiago Santos. Santos knocked Blachowicz in the third round of their fight.

If Santos is able to get by Glover, it will make for a very good rematch for the Polish fighter’s first UFC title defense. Either way, fans around the world should be very happy for Jan Blachowicz.

Conor McGregor to UFC President: ‘Stop lying!’

Conor McGregor, UFC

It has been a wild couple of days involving Conor McGregor and the UFC. First, the former champion releases screenshots of a conversation between him and Dana White proving that McGregor was eager to have a busy 2020 in the UFC.

Then McGregor said he would be boxing Manny Pacquiao next. Pacquiao’s camp confirmed the talks yesterday. However, Dana White was not really pleased with McGregor when it comes to the way he tweeted all of this out. White said McGregor broke, “Man Code,” at the UFC 253 post-fight press conference.

Well, early this morning, McGregor had a rebuttal for the UFC President. In his response, McGregor pointed out that White broke code first, and he said that White is in on the Pacquiao talks. White said last night that he didn’t know anything about the boxing match.

UFC vs McGregor

Right now, we are in a classic battle of he said-he said. McGregor is right in that White originally commented that McGregor didn’t want to fight months ago. However, White clarified his comments later saying he was referring to McGregor not wanting to be a replacement.

That statement was confirmed by the former UFC champion’s screenshots. White came out last week and said that the UFC was working on something fun for McGregor in early 2021 so I find it a little hard to believe that White said that he didn’t know anything about the potential boxing match.

Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported that the UFC was in on the talks to make that happen. I believe that White was more annoyed by the entire situation and threw the response out there to focus more on UFC 253 versus what’s happening with McGregor.

It has been a frustrating year for McGregor and the UFC. McGregor wanted to be active in 2020. A fight with Justin Gaethje made sense. However, when Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC lightweight title, that fight went out the window.

The promotion was targeting McGregor – Gaethje for their event in July. That would have headlined the UFC‘s first trip to Fight Island. However, Gaethje is now fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 for the undisputed lightweight title.

I don’t think public spats over Twitter help anything. McGregor and the UFC have always had a good relationship, and I think that White and McGregor just need to talk it out. Although things look bleak at the moment, I still expect McGregor to fight in the UFC sometime next year.

UFC working on Jorge Masvidal – Colby Covington per Dana White

Following UFC 253, Dana White was asked about a variety of topics at his post-fight press conference. One of the questions he was asked was about Nate Diaz. Diaz had posted a trailer earlier in the day essentially trying to pump up fans for a rematch with Jorge Masvidal.

However, the UFC seems to be switching up their plans after last weekend. The UFC was close to finalizing the rematch between Masvidal and Diaz, but after Colby Covington‘s victory at UFC Vegas 11, the promotion has other plans.

When asked about what’s next for Masvidal, White said that a fight with Colby Covington makes sense. When asked if the UFC was looking to book that fight, White responded saying, “It’s very possible,” with a smile.

Ultimate UFC Theatre

White is right about one thing, and that is that Masvidal – Covington is the fight to make. Both of these UFC welterweights rank inside the top four in the division. Both have lost to the current champion Kamaru Usman, but are primed for rematches.

In addition to their UFC rankings, there is a ton of personal beef between the two men. Masvidal and Covington were former training partners and roommates. At one point, the two fighters labeled each other as brothers.

However, when Covington changed up his style to benefit his career, it created a riff between the two UFC welterweights. Masvidal and Covington have grown to have a strong hatred for the other, and they’ve been jawing at each other for a while.

A fight between the two of them makes perfect sense for the promotion, and it’s a much better fight for the UFC than the Diaz rematch. White made another point at the press conference saying the rematch with Diaz will, “Always be there.”

Covington said after his victory at UFC Vegas 11 that Masvidal needed to answer for all the things he said. This would be the perfect title eliminator for the promotion. The winner should be next in line to face the winner of Kamaru Usman – Gilbert Burns which takes place in December.

UFC 253 Recap: Israel Adesanya demolishes Paulo Costa to retain title

Tonight, the UFC returned to Fight Island to kick off a five week stint. The promotion was starting things out with a fight that Dana White was labeling as the potential fight of the year. UFC 253 was headlined by the middleweight title contest between Israel Adesanya (20-0) and Paulo Costa (13-1).

Fight Island got off to another good start for the UFC. Action was great from the prelims through the main card. Let’s take a dive into the fights from the main card of UFC 253.

Israel Adesanya retains UFC title in one sided main event

In the main event of the evening, we had the highly anticipated UFC middleweight contest between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa. These two entered the octagon as unbeaten fighters both looking to show they were the best in the world.

As the main event of the evening got underway, Costa immediately took the center of the cage. Adesanya threw a big leg kick early that Costa waved on. Costa looked patient in the first minute of the fight as Adesanya kept landing leg kicks.

Costa landed a big leg kick of his own a minute into the fight. Adesanya was doing well early landing from the outside. Costa landed a massive body kick that Adesanya countered with a clean leg kick. A much more patient Paulo Costa in this one.

Adesanya continued to batter Costa’s lead leg. Halfway through the first, Costa waved Adesanya on with his hands down. Adesanya landed a clean jab followed by a leg kick. Costa tried to push forward with one his flurries, but Adesanya was no where to be found.

Adesanya continued to land brutal leg kicks and a big body kick. Costa smiled at everything that Adesanya would land. Both men were talking a lot to each other as the round ended. Clear first round for the champion.

As the second round started, Adesanya continued to pepper the lead leg. Costa seemed really tentative early on in the second round. Adesanya appeared to be snipping Costa every time Costa thought about coming in.

Costa landed two massive leg kicks to switch things up a minute in. Adesanya landed another big leg kick and a smooth jab behind it. Costa pushed forward but ate a leg kick and left hook from Adesanya. Adesanya went right back to work with leg kicks.

A massive headkick cut Costa and Adesanya went right back to kicking the legs. Costa wasn’t throwing his hands at all. A close quarters combination floors Costa. Adesanya follows with some big shots and it’s over. Adesanya proves that he’s the best in the world as he retains his UFC middleweight title.

Polish Power gives Blachowicz the UFC light heavyweight title

In the co-main event of the evening, Dominick Reyes (12-1) and Jan Blachowicz (26-8) went to war to determine who would be the new UFC light heavyweight champion. After Jon Jones vacated the title and left the division, the winner would be crowned the new UFC king of 205.

As the co-main event got underway, Blachowicz pushed forward with a calf kick. Reyes countered with a leg kick of his own. Both fighters were trading leg kicks early on. Reyes landed a body kick and two big lefts behind it.

Blachowicz just got out of the way of some big shots early on. Blachowicz was plotting forward and landed a big body kick. Reyes continued to look to score points from the outside. Both men appeared to be feeling the other out early on.

Blachowicz landed a couple of nice leg kicks. However, Reyes countered those with a good left hand. Reyes landed a good body kick with about two minutes left in the round. Blachowicz landed a giant left hook and he followed it with a huge body kick.

Reyes had a dark purple welt that was already forming around the ribs after some of Blachowicz’s kicks. Blachowicz was throwing with some serious power with everything early on. Close round, but I will give the first to Blachowicz with the damage.

Reyes pushed forward aggressively to start the second round. Blachowicz seemed really calm as he started pushing forward with power shots of his own. Reyes was light on his feet, but seemed really tentative after a big combination from Blachowicz.

Blachowicz came forward with another big combination which he finished with a smooth right hand. Every time Blachowicz landed, it seemed to effect Reyes. Blachowicz landed a few big hooks that seemed to stagger Reyes for a moment.

Reyes did start to pick up the pace with about two minutes left in the round. Blachowicz kept pushing forward with massive combinations that appeared to hurt Reyes. Both men started trading massive shots and a massive shot drops Reyes.

Blachowicz follows up with a few big shots and it’s over. Jan Blachowicz is the new UFC light heavyweight champion of the world. A masterful performance from Jan Blachowicz who calls out Jon Jones after the fight.

Brandon Royval subs Kara-France in a classic

The third fight of the UFC 253 main card featured a flyweight contest between Brandon Royval (12-4) and Kai Kara-France (21-9, 1 NC). After making a successful UFC debut back in May, Royval was trying to make it two in a row. Kara-France was also looking to make it two a row in the UFC following a loss to Brandon Moreno.

As the first round got underway, Royval opened with a headkick. Royval kept looking for a headkick early, but Kara-France dropped him with a right hand. Kara-France pushed forward and dropped Royval again. However, Royval dropped Kara-France coming in with a back fist.

A scramble found the two on the ground with Kara-France on top. However, Royval was able to use some submission attempts to gain top control. Kara-France was able to use another scramble to get the fight back to the feet.

Once they were back on their feet, Royval was pushing forward with headkicks and spinning attacks. Royval then dropped Kara-France with a big knee and looked for a guillotine. Kara-France was able to pop his head free and land on top. Royval used a sweep to get back to his feet.

Royval kept pushing forward and pressuring Kara-France. However, Kara-France landed a massive right hand that stopped his momentum. After stopping for a second, Royval kept pushing forward. Although Kara-France dropped Royval early, Royval takes the first round on my scorecard.

As the second round got going, Royval continued to look to strike from distance. He was really putting everything together early in the second. Kara-France looked to be weathered as Royval continued to press forward.

A gassed Kara-France shot for a takedown, but landed right into a guillotine. It’s tight and Kara-France is forced to tap. A massive victory inside the UFC for Brandon Royval.

Ketlen Vieira outpoints Sijara Eubanks

The second fight of the UFC 253 main card featured a women’s bantamweight contest between Ketlen Vieira (10-2) and Sijara Eubanks (6-5). Vieira was looking to bounce back from her first UFC loss while Eubanks was trying to win her third straight including two in the past two weeks.

As the first round started, Vieira pushed forward immediately and got into a clinch position. Eubanks did a good job of turning around Vieira and pressing her against the fence. The two separated after the brief clinch.

Eubanks did a good job of landing early especially considering the disadvantage in size. Vieira looked much slower in the standup exchanges early, and she kept looking to force a clinch. Eubanks did a good job defending and broke again with a nice uppercut.

Halfway through the round, both ladies pushed forward and exchanged big shots in the pocket. Eubanks landed a good shot over the top, but Vieira countered nicely with a straight shot. Vieira really started finding her range late in round one. She also landed a takedown late which clinches round one for Vieira.

As the second round got underway, Vieira looked to continue to work off her jab. The two fighters came close in an exchange and Vieira used the close quarters to land a trip takedown. Eubanks worked back to the fence to try and use it to get up.

However, Vieira was doing a really good job of controlling Eubanks from the top. The referee decided to stand the fighters up with about half the round remaining. Eubanks tried to push forward with big shots.

Vieira was doing a very good job of catching Eubanks with clean shots on the exit. Eubanks landed a pretty nice side kick to the body and followed that up with a solid right hand. Vieira landed a pretty good 1-2. Less action in round two, but I give the round to Vieira.

Both fighters touched gloves as the final round started. Eubanks had a sense of urgency knowing she was down two rounds. Vieira was looking to work off her jab as Eubanks was pushing forward. Eubanks pushed forward and landed a big left hook which caused Vieira to look to clinch.

A big headkick landed for Eubanks and she followed it up with a big hook. Both of these ladies were trading serious leather in the third round. Vieira continued to really land some stiff jabs. Halfway through the final round, Eubanks did a good job coming over the top with a clean 1-2.

Again, both women landed big shots in close with about two minutes left. 90 second left in the round, and Eubanks lands a big shot to the body. Eubanks was doing much better in the third round. A late scramble found Eubanks on top at the end of the round.

I gave the final round to Eubanks, but the fight goes to Vieira on my scorecard. The judges scored the fight (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) for Ketlen Vieira. Vieira gets back in the win column inside the UFC after losing her first fight back in December.

Hakeem Dawodu edges Zubaira Tukhugov

Kicking off the UFC 253 main card was a featherweight contest between Hakeem Dawodu (12-1-1) and Zubaira Tukhugov (19-5-1). Tukhugov missed weight badly for this contest coming in at 150 pounds. Dawodu was looking to make it his fifth straight UFC victory.

As the first round started, Dawodu came forward with leg kicks. Both men seemed to be feeling the other out throughout the first minute of the fight. After the initial feeling out period, Tukhugov caught Dawodu with a clean left counter.

Two minutes into the first round, the action started to pick up a bit, but both men were still tentative. Dawodu kept throwing leg kicks, but wasn’t throwing much else. Tukhugov kept pushing forward with a few 1-2s.

A ton of respect was being shown by both men, but Tukhugov was getting the better of the exchanges early. Dawodu ripped a good body shot, but Tukhugov countered with some good shots. Slower first round that I lean towards Tukhugov.

As the second round started, both men looked a little more energetic. Dawodu opened with a spinning back kick and a nice leg kick. Tukhugov came forward with a shot from the outside, but Dawodu countered with a clean 1-2 on the exit.

Dawodu was doing a much better job of opening up in the second. Tukhugov then started finding a good amount of success with a counter left hook and uppercut combo. These two seemed content with just standing and trading in relatively close quarters.

With two minutes left in the round, both men threw everything into shots at the other. Tukhugov had a nice level change which he used to try to take Dawodu down, but Dawodu defended very well.

Dawodu was doing a better job of landing clean shots as the second round went on. However, with one minute left in the round, Tukhugov landed a nice takedown. Dawodu was getting the better of the striking, but with a takedown and minute of top control, I give the second to Tukhugov.

As the final round got underway, Tukhugov’s pace seemed to have slowed down. Dawodu kept looking for leg kicks from the outside. A minute into the round, Tukhugov landed a nice left and check left hook. However, Dawodu’s leg kicks were starting to add up on Tukhugov.

Two minutes in, Tukhugov shot forward for a couple of takedowns, but couldn’t land one. Dawodu landed a flush left hook which caused Tukhugov to shoot for another takedown. Dawodu was really starting to take over in the standup.

Tukhugov worked hard for a takedown, but he couldn’t land it. Tukhugov looked tired with about a minute and a half left. Dawodu landed a big shot to the body and followed that up with pointing to ground.

Tukhugov was gassing and Dawodu was really starting to show his swagger. Dawodu was putting his hands down and screaming at Tukhugov in the final minute. Clear final round for Dawodu, but I lean Tukhugov 29-28. In the end, the judges scored the fight (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) for Dawodu. A fifth straight UFC victory for Dawodu.

UFC 253 Co-Main Preview: Who will be the new UFC light heavyweight champion?

Dominick Reyes

For the first time since 2011, the UFC will have a light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier. Dominick Reyes (12-1) and Jan Blachowicz (26-8) will battle tomorrow night for the vacant UFC light heavyweight crown.

There hasn’t been much parody in the division since Shogun Rua held the title. After Jon Jones won the belt at UFC 128, the division was ruled by him. The only time the belt changed hands was when Jones’ outside issues stripped him from the title.

In those times, Daniel Cormier led the charge. However, with Cormier retired and Jones moving to heavyweight, it’s a new and exciting day in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. The two top contenders are fighting to lead the charge on this new day.

In addition to this UFC title fight, there is a title eliminator between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixiera booked for November, and Anthony Rumble Johnson is coming back. Exciting times are ahead for the light heavyweight division.

UFC 253 Prediction

For Dominick Reyes, he’s trying to right the wrong that occurred at UFC 247. In the eyes of many, Reyes did the unthinkable which is beat Jon Jones. However, all three of the judges gave the fight to Jon Jones. There were some debatable rounds, but many thought Reyes won.

A lot of people look at this fight more as a UFC title defense for Reyes versus him challenging to become champion. The uncrowned UFC champion will have his hands full tomorrow night, but he does have the skills to match.

Reyes has been very good since making his debut back in 2017. Outside of a controversial win against Volkan Oezdemir, Reyes has looked relatively dominant in his UFC career. His athletic ability, good/long striking and strength have made him a handful.

Standing across from Reyes tomorrow will be some Polish Power. Also since 2017, Jan Blachowicz has turned the corner in his UFC career. He had one slip up in a TKO loss to Thiago Santos, but outside of that, he’s been very good.

He’s racked up wins over Jared Cannonier, Jimi Manuwa, Nikita Krylov, and Jacare Souza. However, his most impressive victories have been his knockouts over Corey Anderson and former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold.

Blachowicz will definitely have the power advantage between the two men when they step into the cage for the UFC light heavyweight title tomorrow night. It’s going to be a fantastic fight.

In terms of a prediction, this one is easier for me to predict than the main event. I think Reyes is going to give Blachowicz a lot of issues with his speed. While the reach actually favors Jan, Reyes does a better job of striking from range.

I think Reyes is also going to show much improved cardio over the span of this one. I expect both guys to have their moments throughout the fight, but I think Reyes will do enough to win it on the scorecards. This time, Reyes will walk out of the cage with a UFC title.

Prediction: Dominick Reyes by Unanimous Decision

UFC 253 Main Event Preview: Will Adesanya or Costa remain unbeaten?

Tomorrow night, arguably the most anticipated UFC title fight of the year takes place. Two undefeated fighters will fight for the middleweight title. It’s the first time two undefeated fighters have fought for the title since 2009.

Israel Adesanya (19-0) and Paulo Costa (13-0) have been building to this moment for over a year. These two UFC rivals have been chomping at the bit to get after each other. They do not like each other, and they both want to hurt the other.

Paulo Costa was supposed to get the UFC title shot earlier this year. However, a bicep injury forced him to wait until now. Instead, Adesanya defended against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in a fight that left fans unimpressed.

Romero didn’t move forward, and the counter striker, Adesanya, seemed content with throwing leg kicks from the outside. We shouldn’t have that problem with Adesanya taking on Borrachinha. Costa only knows one way to move and that’s forward.

UFC President Dana White has already been saying that this fight will be the fight of the year. Two undefeated fighters who are at the top of their game. A true bull versus matador type of fight. Who will walk away as the champion?

UFC 253 Main Event Prediction

Adesanya comes into this contest having faced little adversity in his UFC career. Since joining the promotion back in 2018, Adesanya is 8-0 with really only one fight pushing him significantly and that was his interim title fight with Kelvin Gastelum.

Adesanya is an elite striker. He uses his long limbs to catch guys coming in and sniper like precision to hurt fellow fighters. He’s an extremely difficult person to prepare for. Many thought he would run into his first loss against Robert Whittaker.

However, Adesanya’s precise counter striking was on full display at UFC 243. Adesanya knocked out Whittaker in the second round to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion of the world.

Paulo Costa hasn’t faced much adversity in his UFC career as well. While he didn’t win on the Ulitmate Fighter, he’s never lost in his professional career. Costa is 5-0 with four knockouts in his UFC career. His last fight also came against Yoel Romero.

Instead of playing it safe from the outside, Costa went right into the fire with Romero. It was a very close fight, but Costa had his hand raised in the end. Costa is going to come forward with vicious hooks and get right into Adesanya’s face.

At UFC 253, I’m really torn on the result. On one hand, it’s easy to see Adesanya getting the better of Costa and just catching him every time he comes in. On the other hand, it’s easy to see Costa giving Adesanya problems with his pressure.

It’ll truly be the first time that Adesanya will have to endure the hurricane like pressure in those first couple of rounds. Costa will push forward and I think body shots could be a key strategy for Paulo Costa in this one.

I’ve gone back and forth, but I’m actually going to lean towards the upset in this one. I don’t feel great about this pick at all, but I keep seeing Costa landing something massive in the first two rounds.

Prediction: Paulo Costa by TKO – Round 2

UFC: Glover Teixiera – Thiago Santos booked for the third time

Anthony Smith, UFC

The UFC is going to try to book a light heavyweight title eliminator for the third time. COVID-19 has had their way with this contest, but the promotion is determined to make it happen. This fight will determine who will face the new UFC light heavyweight champion.

For the third time, the UFC has booked Glover Teixiera (31-7) against Thiago Santos (21-7). Originally the two men were scheduled to square off at UFC Vegas 10 in the main event of the evening. However, Teixiera came down with COVID-19 which scrapped the fight.

The UFC then pivoted to book the fight for Fight Island. The fight was to take place on the October 3rd card. This time, Santos came down with COVID-19 and the promotion was once again forced to cancel the fight.

Now, per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the UFC is once again booking this fight for the main event on a Fight Night on November 7th. The fight will take place at the APEX in Las Vegas.

UFC Title Eliminator

The UFC will crown a new light heavyweight champion this weekend at UFC 253. Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will go head to head to determine who will be the new light heavyweight king.

The fight between Glover and Santos will crown a clear number one contender. For years, the light heavyweight division was ruled by Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Because of their dominance, there wasn’t a lot of parody in the division.

Now, we will actually see some fluidity in the division. This weekend is going to be a big night for the UFC in crowning a new champion. This fantastic fight in November should generate an exciting number one contender for the first title defense.

Both Santos and Teixiera have fought for the UFC light heavyweight title before. Both fell short, although Santos came a lot closer to defeating Jones than Teixiera did. This should be a fantastic fight on November 7th.

UFC President on trash talk: ‘We don’t muzzle anybody here’

UFC, Dana White

A topic that’s been making the rounds in the media this week is trash talk. Specifically tied to what Colby Covington had to say last weekend at UFC Vegas 11 after he destroyed Tyron Woodley. Many took issue with what Covington had to say.

Several UFC athletes labeled the talk as racist, and several in the media have sang that same tune. Media members have called for the UFC to step in when talk gets to what Colby Covington said last week. However, the UFC President doesn’t agree.

“We don’t muzzle anybody here. We let everyone speak their mind. I don’t know what he said that was racist,” White said in today’s UFC 253 pre-fight press conference. White has stuck to the same position relaying the fact that this is the fight game.

When pushed on if he would step in if something was directly racist, the UFC president responded, “Come on, I’m not going to play these games with you (the media). Would I step in if something was racist? Of course.”

The UFC is right in their position

I completely agree with what the UFC has said on the matter. I detailed the position yesterday in a piece for ESM. The UFC should let fighters say exactly what they want when building up to a fight as long as it’s not directly racist or hate speech.

Dana White is taking that stand and says that’s what the UFC will do. Nothing Colby Covington said last week in my opinion should warrant suspensions or fines. It’s part of the buildup to another fight, and he will have to back up those words.

I’ll remind everyone again that he had his jaw broken at UFC 245 last year. The fight game makes you pay when you talk, and can’t back it up. The UFC and fighting in general is not the sport that should muzzle competitors and I’m happy to see White take that position.

I completely agree with him in that there’s a line that you cannot cross obviously. Those lines should be pretty elementary to understand. You can’t just say you believe that all people of a skin color should burn in hell. If you think that should be allowed, I really don’t know what to tell you.

However, there’s been nothing said by any fighter that should warrant punishment. These are men and women who have to step into a UFC cage and fight at the end of the day. This isn’t the NBA, this is the UFC. It’s a completely different world because at the end of the day, there’s a fight.

Diego Sanchez ready for the final stretch of UFC career

It’s been quite the ride for UFC veteran Diego Sanchez (30-12). A career that has seen him win the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, and a career that has seen him spend 15 years in the octagon. Sanchez is heading towards the final few fights of his career.

Sanchez started his MMA record at 17-0. Primed for stardom, Sanchez ran into a speed bump back at UFC 69 where he lost to Josh Koscheck. Since then, it’s been a career of highs and lows for the nightmare. The high point came in 2009.

After competing in the UFC at middleweight and welterweight, Sanchez moved down to lightweight. After winning four straight contests, he got his lone UFC title shot against B.J. Penn back at UFC 107. Sanchez was overwhelmed by Penn and lost by a doctor’s stoppage.

Since that defeat, Sanchez has gone 9-9 over the last 11 years inside the UFC. Last year, he signed a four fight deal which would be the final new contract he would ever receive. Sanchez is ready to ride off into the sunset once the contract is up

A UFC Legend

“I’ve let all those dreams of trying to become a UFC champion go. I’m just trying to enjoy the experience and finish out these last four fights on legendary status,” Sanchez told the media today. It’s been quite the career for Sanchez.

Sanchez already has a spot in the UFC‘s Hall of Fame for his legendary fight with Clay Guida. The two men had an absolute war and the fight was inducted into the Fight Wing of the UFC‘s Hall of Fame last year.

Sanchez has always been entertaining and a bit of an odd duck. However, he’s been loved by fans for a very long time, and it will be a sad day to see him go. Earlier this week, I thought of a very good fight for Sanchez regardless of the outcome this weekend.

I think that the promotion should really look to book fun fights as Sanchez finishes out his UFC career. Who wouldn’t want to see a fight with Cowboy Cerrone? Sanchez will compete this weekend against Jake Mathews.