A realistic matchup for Donald Cerrone after UFC Vegas 11

Donald Cerrone

Saturday night at UFC Vegas 11, Donald Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) fought to the first draw of his career against Niko Price (14-4-1, 1 NC). However, Cowboy was looking at it as the fifth straight loss for him inside the octagon.

If it had not been for a point deduction in the first round, Cerrone would have lost a split decision. The fight was close, but it should have been a fifth straight UFC loss for Donald Cerrone. Many thought it was do or die for Cowboy leading up to UFC Vegas 11.

Cowboy, who is notorious for staring slow, almost appeared to be out before the fight even started. Price blitzed him to start and nearly got a finish, but Cerrone hung in there. He battled back and even won the third round on all scorecards.

Cerrone was clearly dejected after the fight was over. Dana White suggested that the UFC needed to have a talk with Cerrone which could signal the end. However, Cerrone isn’t ready to give up. He’s looking for one more chance to prove himself.

Intriguing matchup for the UFC to consider

I kept trying to wrap my brain around who I would pair Cerrone with in his next fight. Who could the UFC give him that would make for a compelling fight, but it would be a winnable fight for Cerrone?

It’s crazy to think, but we are just a little over a year removed from Cerrone being a win away from a UFC title shot. Cerrone’s fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 238 was considered a title eliminator. If Cerrone had won that night, he would have fought for the title.

Instead, that night started this steep downhill tumble for Cowboy. I think I’ve come up with the perfect opponent for Cowboy and it’s an opponent who’s going to be fighting this weekend at UFC 253. That opponent is Diego Sanchez (30-12).

Sanchez will be taking on Jake Mathews this weekend, but regardless of the result, a fight with Cowboy makes sense. Both guys are obviously past their primes, and there’s a little history there. Sanchez really wanted to fight Cowboy back in 2018.

The options for the UFC and Cerrone are relatively limited. I don’t think the promotion should book him with a top contender or an up and comer. Give him someone with a name, but someone that he can fight competitively with. The original ultimate fighter makes a lot of sense to me.

 

UFC 253: Paulo Costa Has Big Words For Israel Adesanya

UFC 253 competitor Paulo Costa doesn’t care if Israel Adesanya is broken for their fight in late September. At least, that’s what Costa said during a virtual media day. He had some other things to say, too. Costa’s nickname is the Eraser, and based on what he said, it looks like he’s planning to erase Adesanya from the top spot in the division.

“If he’s [expletive] his pants for before the fight, bad for him. Too bad for him. I’m confident. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in my training, I know what I did on sparring days. I know everything I am working for. I worked for cut his head off. I don’t care if his mind is broken or not. I don’t care. I go there. I will erase him,” Costa stated.

Their fight looks like it might be one for the ages. It’s only the second time in UFC history that two male fighters with undefeated records have contested a belt, after all. The last time it happened, it was in the light heavyweight division when Rashad Evans took on Lyoto Machida. That fight was in 2009, at UFC 98.

With that one being a decade in the past, this is our first time in a good while with a matchup of this sort. Fittingly, the fight will happen on the exotic Fight Island.

Costa not playing mind games before fight

Costa would clarify that he isn’t playing mind games with his opponent. He claimed not to care if Adesanya is “mentally broken” for the fight or not. According to Costa, he’ll get the result he’s looking for either way.

“That’s why I train so hard to not prepare for my opponent. I prepare for me, as good as I know I am now. I can fight for no weights, free weights, like the old times of Vale Tudo. That is my mindset. That’s how I feel about that,” Costa said. Vale Tudo, of course, is a Brazilian form of fighting with little rules. It’s known for its rougher and grittier feeling compared to most martial arts.

Before his last fight, against Yoel Romero, Costa had defeated every opponent with a finish. The run up to the Romero fight had five straight TKO victories, in fact. Only two fights in Costa’s career have not ended in TKO. The first was a submission victory, and the second was the unanimous decision against Romero.

Adesanya, on the other hand, is a bigger star who doesn’t have as impressive of a record in finishes since arriving in the UFC. But he’s already been tested at the highest level, unifying and defending the middleweight title.

That title will either remain in Adesanya’s hands or will find its way to a new owner later this month. But no matter who wins, the fans will be treated to a clash of two of the more entertaining fighters the UFC has in its arsenal.

The UFC has set their next run for Fight Island

UFC, Dana White

The UFC‘s next run on Fight Island is officially set. The promotion hadn’t announced the location of several big fights coming up because things were not finalized. However, Brett Okamoto confirmed last night that the promotion will be returning to Fight Island on September 26th.

The promotion is going to be doing a five week run on Fight Island with the first fight being UFC 253. The promotion will conclude their run towards the end of October with UFC 254.

UFC cards on Fight Island

There are going to be some incredible fights that are coming to Abu Dhabi. Of course, the first card is headlined by what Dana White is dubbing the fight of the year already. UFC 253 is headlined by Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa for the middleweight title.

The co-main event of the evening is going to be crowning the first UFC light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier since 2011. Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will go to war to determine who will be the new king of 205.

So many great fights are sandwiched in between the the PPVs including Brian Ortega – Chan Sung Jung, Marlon Moraes – Cory Sandhagen, Thiago Santos – Glover Teixeira and many more.

This run on Fight Island will conclude with UFC 254 that is headlined by the undisputed lightweight title fight between UFC champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and interim champion, Justin Gaethje. The card isn’t finalized yet, but the rumor mill is saying the card will be unreal.

Robert Whittaker – Jared Cannonier will be on that card as well. A fight with Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier is expected to be the co-main event. The UFC has big things planned for this trip to Fight Island.

 

 

Claudia Gadelha out of UFC 253 (Reports)

One of the more anticipated matchups in the UFC‘s strawweight division for the fall has been cancelled. Per Combate and MMA Fighting, Claudia Gadelha (18-4) has been forced to withdrawal from her UFC 253 matchup against Yan Xiaonan (12-1-1).

Gadelha was riding a two fight winning streak going into UFC 253. The former title challenger was looking to make it three in a row inside the octagon. Gadehla is trying to climb the latter towards another shot at the gold. This is the second time Gadelha has had to deal with a knee injury.

UFC’s Next Steps

This is tough news for the tenth ranked fighter in the strawweight division, Xiaonan. She has gone 5-0 since joining the UFC with wins over Angela Hill and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. A win over Gadeha would be the biggest win of her career.

The UFC is building a very solid presence in their Asian markets on the shoulders of their first Asian champion, Weili Zhang. Xiaonan is another great fighter that has come out of China to show how good their talent pool is.

One has to think that the UFC would love to build up Xiaonan to the point of having her contend for the title. Xiaonan could be another bright spot for the promotion in their Asian markets.

This fight was a big fight to see exactly where Xiaonan was in her journey to be a top contender. There is no word on if the UFC will look to book Xiaonan against someone else or if they will just wait for Gadelha to heal up.

Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa have heated interview ahead of UFC 253

One of the more anticipated fights of 2020 is the fight between Israel Adesanya (19-0) and Paulo Costa (13-0). The two undefeated fighters will fight for the middleweight crown at UFC 253.

The one thing that is very clear it’s that these two do not like each other. In fact, you could say the two top UFC fighters hate each other. Their hatred for each other was on full display in a recent interview on SportsCenter.

UFC 253 is Getting a War

“He’s (Adesanya) not a respectable guy,” Costa said. “The sport doesn’t need his attitude to sell a good fight. He says he’s not boring, look at his last fight…If you fight someone like Romero or me, you need to come to fight. He just stood there… I will bring the fight, I will bring the war,” Costa yelled at Adesanya.

Adesanya responded quickly showing off his 2019 UFC Fight of the Year trophy saying, “That’s just one, I’ve got many.” Adesanya yelled back at Costa saying, “When someone brings the fight, I f–cking fight. You say you’re going to bring the fight, bring that s–t! I’ll show you what I’m about.”

This was just one of the many exchanges throughout the full eleven minute video that you can view above. This fight is truly a matchup between the two best in the UFC‘s middleweight division. We have not seen a title fight between two undefeated fighters since UFC 98 back in 2009.

Technically we had DC/Jones, but Jones had that one DQ loss on his record. These two are undefeated and two of the baddest men on the planet. Costa is right about one thing, all he knows how to do is bring war to his opponents.

Adesanya might be the best technical striker in the UFC and he will have to lean on his countering skills in this one. Costa is going to give him no room to operate so Izzy is going to have to be elusive and catch him coming in. I can’t wait for this fight and we have just over a month to wait.

BREAKING: UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, vacates title

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier today, it was announced that the UFC was planning to have Dominick Reyes face Jan Blachowicz on September 26th. Many were wondering what that meant for the light heavyweight title.

Last week, Dana White said that the UFC would be having a light heavyweight title fight before the year was over. However, he didn’t say what that meant for Jon Jones. He said they were waiting to hear back. Well, the man himself just gave us our answer.

Bones going for the UFC’s heavyweight title?

It’s been clear for some time that Jon Jones was wanting to move up to the heavyweight division. There is really not a lot left for him to accomplish at 205 pounds. The only thing there would be the rematch with Dominick Reyes after many thought he lost to Reyes earlier this year.

However, the UFC‘s light heavyweight king seems to be ready to move on. I don’t believe he’s done because as of two days ago, Jones was very active on Twitter discussing his desire to compete for the heavyweight title. He made it clear that he wanted to fight Stipe Miocic after UFC 252.

Where do we go from here?

That is a very interesting question. White said in the post-fight press conference that Francis Ngannou was definitely next for the title. So does Francis still get the shot with Jones more than likely moving up?

That is a question that only the UFC knows the answer to. Obviously, there is no one more deserving of a heavyweight title shot than Ngannou. However, can the UFC turn down the opportunity to have the GOAT fight the heavyweight GOAT? Time will tell on this one.

UFC: Dana White says that Abu Dhabi will be the new fight capital; will return in Sept. or Oct.

UFC, Dana White

When UFC President Dana White started talking about Fight Island earlier this year, the fans imaginations ran wild. There were mockups of fights on the beach and fighters making the walk in the sand.

When the UFC announced Fight Island, it was incredible to see what they had put in place. The protocols and the infrastructure was just incredible. Not to mention, the fights were pretty good which kicked off with UFC 251.

White appeared on TMZ today and discussed when the promotion would be making their return to Abu Dhai.

UFC’s New Fight Capital

“Everyone wants to go there. We’re working on fights right now for the next run. Obviously the big international stars will fight over there. This next trip over there, I’ll probably be there for five weeks,” White told TMZ.

It is unclear when the UFC will be returning, but it will probably hinge on the travel status for some of the international fighters. We know for sure that the UFC is planning on UFC 254 being on Fight Island which is headlined by the Khabib – Gaethje title fight.

Again, depending on travel, the first event that could be back on Fight Island is UFC 253. That card is headlined by the Paulo Costa – Israel Adesanya title fight. That fight is tentatively booked for the APEX, but I could see that one switching venues.

White is expecting Abu Dhabi to remain a staple for big fights in the future. “Abu Dhabi is going to be the fight capital of the world. The infrastructure that’s already built and the stuff were talking about, this is going to become a destination if you’re a fight fan.”

No question that the UFC is planning on continuing their partnership with Abu Dhabi for a long time. The pandemic has increased their partnership and I believe we are going to see Abu Dhabi be a main location for big fights for a very long time.

 

 

Johnny Walker – Ryan Spann booked for UFC 253

The UFC has booked a light heavyweight matchup for the main card of their September PPV that is expected to be headlined by Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.

According to multiple reports, Johnny Walker (17-5) will be taking on Ryan Spann (18-5) at UFC 253. The fight pairs these two contenders who are heading in opposite directions.

UFC Crossroads

Back in 2017, Ryan Spann was knocked out on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. After that, he went back to the regional circuit where he won three consecutive fights by first round stoppage.

After those three wins, Spann got another shot on Dana White’s show. This time, Spann didn’t disappoint submitting his opponent in just 26 seconds which earned him a UFC contract.

Since earning that contract, Spann is 4-0 inside the octagon. The biggest win came against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira back at UFC 237. Spann knocked out Little Nog in the first round.

For Johnny Walker, his career has taken a steep downturn. After winning his first three UFC fights by sensational first round knockouts, he’s lost back-to-back fights.

Walker injured himself in his post-fight celebration after he knocked out Misha Cirkunov at UFC 235. Walker has not been the same fighter since.

This fight will be a massive fight because a loss for Walker puts him in no man’s land. Meanwhile a win for Spann would likely earn him a shot at someone inside the top ten.

 

UFC: Khabib Nurmagomedov-Justin Gaethje title fight targeted for UFC 253 on Sept. 19

Arguably the most anticipated UFC title fight of 2020 is getting closer to being official. Combate is reporting that the UFC is close to finalizing the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Justin Gaethje (22-2). The anticipated matchup would headline UFC 253 on September 19th. UFC President, Dana White, has recently said that they were targeting this matchup for September.

Nurmagomedov looks to overcome a tough 2020

For champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, 2020 has not been the best of years. He was scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, but was forced to pull out of the event due to travel restrictions in Russia. Following that, his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, was diagnosed with COVID-19. He’s been in critical condition for a significant portion of time. Despite all of this, Khabib has been in the gym and said to be more motivated than ever to defend his UFC lightweight title. He’s said to be using everything from this year as motivation for him to put on the best performance of his career.

Nurmagomedov has been one of the more dominating fighters the UFC has ever seen. His record is almost confusing because you never see someone reach a record like 28-0 in MMA. Nurmagomedov’s last two performances were the best of his career. At UFC 229, Nurmagomedov smashed bitter rival, Conor McGregor, then submitted him in the fourth round. After being suspended due to a post-fight brawl, Nurmagomedov made his return last September against Dustin Poirier. Poirier had won the interim lightweight title in Khabib’s absense. The fight was very similar to the McGregor fight in that Nurmagomedov had his way before submitting Poirier in the third round. Nurmagomedov might be facing his biggest challenge yet in the form of current interim champion, Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje looks to continue his run to the undisputed UFC title

Back in April of 2018, Justin Gaethje was knocked out in the fourth round by Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 29. It was the second straight knockout loss for Gaethje, and he realized he needed to make a big career change. Gaethje said that he would start to have fun in the middle of a brawl which would leave him susceptible to counters which would hurt him badly. Gaethje and coach, Trevor Wittman, started working on Gaethje being more technical and patient inside the octagon. Since the mental change, there has been nobody more impressive in the UFC‘s lightweight division than Gaethje.

Since the loss to Poirier, Gaethje has gone 4-0 with four knockouts including three in the first round. Gaethje’s last performance against Tony Ferguson was truly the “Highlight” of his career. Despite Nurmagomedov being the champion, many people believed that Tony Ferguson was the best lightweight in the world. The two were scheduled to fight before Khabib couldn’t leave Russia. Gaethje decided to step in, and he put on the best performance of his career. Outside of getting dropped in the second round, Gaethje controlled the entire fight before stopping Ferguson in the fifth round to win the UFC‘s interim lightweight championship. These two lightweight superstars are on a collision course, and only one man will leave the undisputed lightweight champion.

The Takedown

This is a very fascinating matchup to breakdown when you think about it stylistically. To date, nobody has been able to stop Nurmagomedov from taking them down. Gaethje is a tremendous wrestler, but in college, he was known for his defensive wrestling. He was incredibly hard to take down. Looking at the two, Gaethje definitely has the advantage on the feet. Gaethje has incredible hands and arguably the best leg kicks in the business. This fight will truly come down to the takedown. If Nurmagomedov can get Gaethje to the ground, it will be just like another Khabib fight. If he can’t, it could be a long night for the Russian. I cannot wait to break this fight down as we get closer to UFC 253.