With UFC decision looming, Kayla Harrison issues a warning to Julianna Pena

MMA, PFL

Last weekend at UFC 269, we saw one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world when she dethroned Amanda Nunes (21-5) and became the bantamweight champion of the world.

However, it wasn’t just the fact that Pena beat Nunes, it was the way she beat her. Pena stood toe-to-toe with Nunes in the pocket and backed the champion down. Nunes was forced to clinch and Pena threw her to the ground.

Once there, Pena was able to get her back and submit her. The result sent shock waves throughout the UFC audience. One member of the audience who was especially upset was the hottest free agent on the MMA scene, Kayla Harrison (12-0).

The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and PFL champion was there to watch her teammate Amanda Nunes. However, Harrison is also being courted by the UFC and was given the free agent camera treatment.

The promotion has expressed interest in booking Harrison against Nunes at 145 pounds. Dana White said after UFC 269 that a bout between Nunes and Harrison would be one of the biggest fights in women’s MMA history.

However, that’s been put on ice for the moment due to Nunes’ shocking loss. Pena was asked about Harrison this week and she labeled the PFL champion the lesser of the two referring to her and Nunes.

Harrison didn’t take kindly to those comments and she made that clear on Ariel Helwani’s MMA hour. She made it clear that if she signs with the UFC, Pena needs to watch where she steps.

Will Harrison sign with the UFC?

Harrison made it clear that Pena needs to watch what she says because she’s not one to just talk about things. She also said that she could beat Julianna Pena with one arm taken away.

Should Harrison sign with the UFC, she would be fighting at 145 pounds. Pena has never expressed interest in moving up, in fact, she’s talked about even trying to make 125 pounds to fight Valentina Shevchenko.

However, her talk of Harrison this week makes me wonder if she’d ever think of competing up in weight. If she did, Kayla Harrison would be glad to take that fight. Currently, Harrison is trying to decide where she wants to sign.

The UFC, Bellator, and PFL are all making plays to sign Harrison. She told Helwani yesterday that PFL is making the biggest financial offer which should come as no surprise. PFL has made her a start and they can’t afford to lose her.

However, she also knows that the UFC and Bellator contain a higher level of competition. She said she’s currently weighing her options factoring in compensation as well as her legacy.

When this free agency began, I thought she might end up in Bellator or resigning with PFL. However, I’m really starting to think she’s leaning towards the UFC and ultimately, I think she ends up in the octagon.

With that being said, Julianna Pena might have to see Harrison at some point.

UFC: Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier down to fight each other

UFC 269 was this past weekend and Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC) was fighting for the lightweight title. It was Poirier’s second opportunity at undisputed lightweight gold.

Charles Oliveira (32-8) was able to defeat Poirier on Saturday by submission. The loss made Poirier 0-2 in bids to become the UFC‘s undisputed lightweight title.

A dejected Poirier appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show yesterday and talked about the fight. Poirier mentioned that he hadn’t watched the fight back yet and that he didn’t know what would be next.

In fact, Poirier mentioned that he doesn’t know if he’s going to fight at lightweight ever again. Poirier has expressed interest for a while in moving up to the UFC’s welterweight division.

When asked about potential opponents, Poirier said there’s only one name that gets him excited. That would name is Stockton’s own Nathan Diaz (20-13).

Both interested in January UFC fight

These two were supposed to fight a couple of years ago. However, Poirier had to pull out of the fight with an injury and fans never got to see the highly anticipated matchup.

Diaz took to Twitter yesterday and said that he would fight Poirier next month. Poirier then responded saying that he would fight Diaz this month and the two went back-and-forth.

UFC 270 is the January PPV and one of the main card fights just dropped off. Derek Brunson and Jared Cannonier has shifted to UFC 271 in February.

With the main card opening there, the writing is on the wall if the UFC is interested in making it happen. Ariel Helwani reported last night that it’s not just Twitter talk and that both Diaz and Poirier have serious interest in fighting.

My guess is that the UFC is going to start working towards making this happen. The promotion has been trying to figure out the perfect fight for Diaz as he only has one fight left on his contract.

I think everyone can agree that a fight with Dustin Poirier would be perfect. This will definitely be something to watch over the coming days.

What’s next for Dominick Cruz after UFC 269?

Dominick Cruz

This past Saturday at UFC 269 Dominick Cruz (24-3) took on Pedro Munhoz (19-7, 1 NC) on the prelims. It was the second fight of the year for Dominick Cruz who was looking to inch his way back up the bantamweight ladder.

In the first round, Cruz was looking like vintage Cruz. The footwork looked sensational and he was beating Munhoz to the punch virtually the entire round. However, Munhoz completely changed everything with one shot.

Cruz darted in after landing a shot and ran right into a left straight from Munhoz. The shot put Cruz down and really hurt him badly. Munhoz would go on to drop Cruz again shortly after and the referee was close to stopping it.

However, the fight was allowed to continue and Cruz fought on. As the round progressed, Cruz got his legs back underneath him and looked solid. The rest of the fight was all Dominick Cruz.

The former UFC champion looked sensational in the second and third rounds. His combinations were on point and his speed was giving Munhoz a ton of problems. In the end, it was a lopsided decision win for Cruz.

What’s next after UFC 269?

This was a really big win for the former UFC champion. Dominick Cruz returned earlier this year and got a close decision win over Casey Kenney. However, he really didn’t look like himself in that fight.

He looked a lot like himself at UFC 269. In fact, you could say that he looked a lot like prime Dominick Cruz and prime Dominick Cruz can still be a factor near the top of the UFC’s bantamweight division.

So, with that, what does the promotion do with Cruz next. Well, I’ve seen some people suggest that he fight Cory Sandhagen next. However, I’m not a fan of that at all. I think Sandhagen – Font is a much better route to go.

For Cruz, I look right above him in the UFC rankings. The opponent I’m thinking is Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Merab has won seven fights in a row and he could use a fight with a former UFC champion.

For Cruz, he needs to beat someone like Merab who’s on a big winning streak and is proving to be a threat at 135. Whoever could win that fight would provide one half of a future title eliminator bout in 2022.

What’s next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 269?

Sean O'Malley

This past Saturday at UFC 269, The Suga Show kicked off the main card. Sean O’Malley (15-1) took on Raulian Paiva (21-4). Both men were just on the outside of the rankings and were looking to crack the top fifteen.

The fight was expected to be a good test for O’Malley. Paiva had just defeated the highly regarded Kyler Phillips who is also one of O’Malley’s training partners. His overall skills presented a unique challenge for O’Malley.

In the first round, O’Malley circled a lot on the outside and seemed a tad gun shy. However, upon reflection, he was mainly just trying to gauge the timing of Paiva. There was no rush from O’Malley on Saturday night.

In the second half of the first round, O’Malley really turned it on. He timed a perfect right hand that hurt Paiva badly and once Paiva was hurt, he was given no time to recover.

O’Malley pounced and unleashed massive shots. He timed a beautiful body shot that lowered Paiva’s hands before delivering the finishing blow up top. It was a perfect performance from O’Malley at UFC 269.

What’s next after UFC 269?

O’Malley revealed after the fight that he nearly pulled out of UFC 269 with a rib injury. He also suffered a hand injury during the fight which could keep him on the shelf for a couple of months.

However, whenever he’s ready to go, the UFC needs to bump up the competition level. In my opinion, O’Malley is already in a position to take on someone in the top ten.

However, I think he will continue to stay patient and gradually increase the competition level. When thinking of potential next opponents, there’s another prospect that makes too much sense.

Right next to O’Malley in the UFC rankings is Song Yadong (18-5-1). Song is a very highly regarded young bantamweight and he would definitely test The Suga Show. A win over Song could put O’Malley just a couple of fights away from a potential UFC title shot.

After shocking loss at UFC 269, what’s next for Amanda Nunes?

This past weekend at UFC 269, Amanda Nunes (21-5) returned to the bantamweight division. She was defending her title against Julianna Pena (12-4) who most people weren’t giving a chance.

Admittedly, I was not giving Pena a chance on Saturday night. Nunes is considered to be the greatest female fighter of all time and for good reason. Once she hit her stride, she’s defeated all the greats at both 135 and 145 pounds.

Not only that, but nobody has been competitive with her. For that reason, UFC 269 was expected to be another cakewalk for the champion. However, it turned out to be anything but.

Nunes opened the fight strong and sat Pena down with a big jab and a leg kick. Immediately, I started thinking that it was just a matter of time before Nunes stopped Pena and retained her UFC title.

However, the second round proved to be a round that would be remembered forever. Pena stood toe to toe with Nunes on the feet and actually got the better of the champion. Pena’s jab was sharp and she was hurting Nunes.

Nunes looked incredibly discouraged and exhausted after these exchanges. She desperately clinched with Pena which resulted in Pena taking her down. Once there, Pena immediately took the back of Nunes.

Pena locked up a choke and Nunes tapped almost immediately. Julianna Pena shocked the world and became the UFC bantamweight champion.

What’s next after UFC 269?

I’m still stunned by the result days later while typing this out. I can’t believe that Amanda Nunes is no longer the UFC’s bantamweight champion and I’m sure she can’t believe it either.

When the shock is gone, the question then becomes what’s next? Well, the UFC had the plans mapped out for a Nunes win, but I don’t think they envisioned a Nunes loss.

Amanda Nunes has already made it clear what she wants next. The former UFC bantamweight champion has come out and said that she wants the rematch with Pena and that is what the promotion will move to make.

Had Nunes won, the plan was for the UFC to make the superfight with Kayla Harrison (12-0) at 145. However, the Nunes loss through a wrench into everything. While some might think this throws a wrench in the plans to sign Harrison, I think the UFC will push forward with those plans.

Now, the UFC can establish Harrison while Nunes prepares to rematch with Pena. Should Nunes run through Pena in a rematch, you can still build the superfight and chalk Nunes’ loss as being unprepared and overlooking Pena.

I expect the UFC to make the rematch pretty quickly perhaps around March or April. Don’t expect a big break before we see the rematch between the new champion and Nunes.

What does the UFC do with Cody Garbrandt?

cody garbrandt

This past weekend at UFC 269, Cody Garbrandt (12-5) made his highly anticipated flyweight debut. On the main card of the PPV, the former bantamweight champion took on contender Kai Kara-France (23-9).

Originally, Garbrandt was supposed to make his flyweight debut last year. However, the former bantamweight champion came down with Covid and also suffered a bicep injury that delayed his flyweight debut.

In that original debut, Garbrandt was set to get a UFC title shot. However, after the dust had settled, Garbrandt stayed at bantamweight for a fight with Rob Font. He lost that fight by decision.

With the title tied up, Garbrandt took a fight at 125 to get settled in his new weight class. That fight was with Kai Kara-France at UFC 269. Well, if you watched, you know the fight didn’t go well for ‘No Love’.

After a feeling out process to start the round, Kara-France blasted Garbrandt with a right straight that floored him. Ultimately after a few more exchanges, Kara-France put away the former bantamweight champion.

What’s next after UFC 269?

Nobody would have ever predicted the fall from grace that Cody Garbrandt has had in the UFC. Just a few years ago, he was crowned bantamweight champion after he dethroned Dominick Cruz.

Garbrandt was a perfect 11-0 and looked like he was well on his way to becoming a superstar. He then faced off with former teammate turned rival TJ Dillashaw. When the two fought, Garbrandt looked sensational early and dropped Dillashaw.

However, Dillashaw would finish Garbrandt in the second round of their fight. The two would rematch where Dillashaw would once agains stop Garbrandt this time in the first round.

In his first non-UFC title fight in a few fights, Garbrandt was knocked out in the first round by Pedro Munhoz. He then bounced back by knocking out Raphael Assuncao. However, since that win, he’s now lost two in a row.

Garbrandt is now 1-5 in his last six fights and he’s been dropped a total of seven times in those six fights. The UFC now find themselves in a very delicate position.

Garbrandt is not the cheapest fighter on the roster. The former champion gets paid well, but the performance has to merit the pay and it just hasn’t over the past few years.

I think the UFC will give him one more chance at 125 pounds. However, the next time we see Cody ‘No Love’, his job will likely be on the line.

Is Kayla Harrison UFC bound?

MMA, PFL

We are getting closer and closer to finding out where Kayla Harrison (12-0) will be fighting next and it could be the UFC. Harrison attended UFC 269 this past weekend where she watched Amanda Nunes take on Julianna Pena.

While Harrison is teammates with Nunes, the general thought was that Harrison could face Nunes at featherweight should Nunes get past Pena. This would be a superfight for women’s MMA and the UFC was very interested in making it happen.

Harrison was in the front row and even received camera treatment from the promotion. However, a giant wrench was thrown into the plans when Julianna Pena did the unthinkable and submitted Amanda Nunes in the second round of their fight.

A visibly upset Kayla Harrison was seen in the front row following the result. After UFC 269, Dana White said that a potential matchup between Harrison and Nunes would’ve been a massive fight that they were interested in making.

However, given the result, the fight has lost a little luster. Now, Nunes is going to be faced with some questions. Dana White acknowledged that the UFC was in talks with Harrison and he acknowledged it with a smile.

Harrison also said at the MMA awards last week that the UFC took her out to dinner and was recruiting her over.

Is she UFC bound?

Harrison became a superstar under the PFL banner. The former Olympic Gold Medalist has spent the majority of her career with PFL and she is a two-time PFL champion. The promotion is desperately wanting to bring her back.

However, the competition is stiff. Bellator is also interested in bringing Harrison in for a potential superfight with Cris Cyborg. When Cyborg won her last fight, Harrison was in the front row and also got the camera treatment from Bellator.

At first, the UFC seemed on the outside in terms of the interest in Harrison. However, that has changed dramatically over the last week or so. The UFC now appears to be going after Harrison hard and it’s clear why.

Kayla Harrison has superstar written all over her. The UFC is the biggest stage and they can take her to the next level in terms of her career. However, the biggest money fight isn’t as big as it was just days ago.

Nunes is likely going to face off against Julianna Pena again. Perhaps the UFC signs Harrison and books her on the undercard of that PPV. If they both win, people can chalk up this Nunes loss as overconfidence and not being prepared enough.

If Nunes regains her status as double champ and Harrison dazzles in her UFC debut, the fight once again becomes incredibly interesting. While all promotion’s are interested, I definitely think the UFC has the inside track as of now.

After falling short at UFC 269, what’s next for Dustin Poirier?

This past weekend at UFC 269, the undisputed lightweight title was on the line. Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC) was looking to finally get his hands on undisputed gold when he took on Charles Oliveira (32-8).

For Dustin Poirier, the fight couldn’t have started better at UFC 269. The former interim champion dropped Oliveira and hurt him a couple of times in the first round. Things were going according to plan.

However, the second round saw the momentum completely shift. After a grappling exchange, Poirier found himself on the bottom. Fearful of the submission game of Oliveira, Poirier rode out the round on bottom while eating plenty of elbows.

In the third round, Oliveira charged forward and forced another grappling exchange. This time, the UFC champion was able to immediately get the back of Dustin Poirier.

Once there, the fight was essentially over. Oliveira started attacking a rear-naked choke and was able to lock one in. Poirier tried to fight it off but was forced to tap as Oliveira successfully defended his UFC lightweight title.

What’s next after UFC 269?

There are no other words to describe Poirier’s loss other than crushing. Poirier admitted at the post-fight press conference that he was heartbroken and devastated by the result.

Make no mistake about it, Dustin Poirier is one of the best fighters in the UFC. However, undisputed gold has been outside of his reach his entire career.

He got his first shot two years ago against Khabib Nurmagomedov and suffered the same result. Now, The Diamond must go back to the drawing board and figure out whats next.

The UFC does have a couple of options they can look at. An obvious choice from a rankings perspective is Michael Chandler (22-7). Chandler is on a two-fight losing streak but the losses came to Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

A fight between Poirier and Chandler would re-establish one of them right in the title picture. If Poirier is looking for a big money fight, I love the idea of him and Nate Diaz (20-13).

These two have wanted to fight for years and now could be the perfect time. Diaz needs a fight and Poirier might want a money fight over a contender fight with Chandler.

That fight could setup a potential fourth matchup with Conor McGregor (22-6) once McGregor is ready to return over the summer. There are still plenty of big fights out there for Poirier and don’t rule him out just yet.

Charles Oliveira submits Dustin Poirier at UFC 269

In the main event of UFC 269 we saw a highly anticipated matchup for the lightweight title. The champion Charles Oliveira (31-8) took on ‘The Diamond’ Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC).

Poirier finally got another crack at the undisputed lightweight title. After capturing the interim title, Poirier got a shot at the UFC‘s undisputed title back in 2019 against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Poirier was submitted in that fight.

However, since then, he hasn’t lost. This year alone, Poirier has defeated former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor twice.

Charles Oliveira might be the most complete lightweight in the UFC and it should be no shock to anyone that he’s become lightweight champion.

With Oliveira, it was never a question regarding talent. On pure talent and skill, you can easily make the argument that he’s near the very top of the UFC. However, he always struggled to put everything together.

You cannot say that anymore. Oliveira has gone on an incredible run and that run culminated at UFC 262 when he stopped Michael Chandler to become undisputed lightweight champion.

UFC 269 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 269 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Immediate pressure from Oliveira who throws a flying knee. Big elbow inside from Oliveira. However, Poirier sits him down briefly with a big right hand.

However, Oliveira goes right back on the pressure. Big shots from both men. Nice knees to the body from Oliveira but Poirier cracks him with a big shot to get some space. Beautiful lead uppercut from Oliveira. However, again, Poirier lands a nice shot to back him off.

Oliveira shoots for his first takedown. Poirier defends well but eats another knee to the body. Big shots from Poirier seem to rock Oliveira. Oliveira lands another knee to the body. Big body kick from Oliveira.

Big hook from Poirier sits down Oliveira again. However, Oliveira brings him right into the guard to recover. Poirier stands up and he starts pressuring big. Big shots from Poirier and Oliveira looks rocked.

However, Oliveira is standing in the pocket and he’s throwing back heavy shots of his own. Crazy pace and a crazy round one at UFC 269 that should go to Dustin Poirier.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 269 and I’m almost out of breath just following this fight. The second round starts with a touch of the gloves. Immediate pressure from Oliveira to start the second round. Big body kick from Oliveira and he shoots for a takedown.

Poirier defending well here against the fence. Knee to the body from Oliveira who is trying to drag Poirier to the ground. Poirier scrambles and Oliveira tries to attack an arm. Oliveira uses that to get the top position.

The champion settles into the guard and he lands a nice elbow. Another big elbow from Oliveira. Nasty ground and pound here from the champion. Poirier is just holding Oliveira here in the second.

Massive elbows from Oliveira who is dominating the challenger here in round two. Thirty seconds left and this has been a very one-sided round for the UFC champion. Punch to the body and elbow up top from the champion. Dominant second round comes to a close for Oliveira.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 269 and it’s 1-1 after two. Immediate pressure again from the champion and he starts with a body kick. Right straight from Oliveira and he transitions right to a takedown attempt.

Oliveira immediately transitions to the back of the challenger. The champion gets on Poirier’s back and he’s trying for a choke here. Poirier is trying to defend but Oliveira locks the choke in. Poirier tries to fight it but is forced to tap. The UFC lightweight title stays in Brazil.

Charles Oliveira def. Dustin Poirier by Submission – Round 3

Julianna Pena submits Amanda Nunes at UFC 269

In the co-main event of UFC 269, the greatest female fighter of all time made her bantamweight return. Amanda Nunes (21-4) will defended her bantamweight crown for the first time in two years as she took on Julianna Pena (10-4).

For years now, Amanda Nunes has dominated everyone she’s faced in the UFC. From featherweight to bantamweight, she’s simply been the best. Nobody has seemingly wanted to fight her.

That is, everyone outside of Julianna Pena. To Pena’s credit, she’s been calling for a fight with Nunes ever since UFC 200. Pena has always said that she had the style to defeat The Lioness.

Tonight, on the heels of a win over Sara McMann, Pena got that shot. However, she might’ve been the only person who thought she was going to win at UFC 269

UFC 269 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 269 bantamweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Nunes immediately takes the center and she’s light on her toes. Pena feinting but not coming forward. Big leg kick from Nunes sits Pena down briefly.

Pena eats another leg kick as soon as she gets up. Nunes steps in and Pena fires a combination. Pena gets set down by a jab fro Nunes. The power discrepancy is huge here. Nunes throws some ground and pound, but Pena gets up and goes for a takedown.

Hip toss from Nunes and Nunes ends up on top. The champion settles into top position and she takes the back of Julianna Pena quickly. Pena is trying to defend and is able to get back to half guard. Nunes remaining patient just controlling the challenger.

Big smile from Nunes as she’s in full control here. Pena continues to try and defend and she starts attacking a kimura. However, there’s not a ton of time left here in the opening round. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Nunes at UFC 269.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 269 and Nunes is smiling from ear to ear. Body kick from Nunes starts the striking. Both women exchange jabs. Big jab from Nunes. However, Pena rocks Nunes and the crowd is going crazy.

Nunes lands a big shot and Pena backs up. Nunes is getting reckless here in teh second round and Pena lands some big counters. Oh my goodness Pena hurts Nunes again. These two are just swinging.

Pena hurts Nunes badly and Nunes looks exhausted. Pena gets the back of Nunes and locks up a choke. Nunes is exhausted and taps. Julianna Pena pulls off the biggest upset arguably in UFC history.

Julianna Pena def. Amanda Nunes by Submission – Round 2