UFC Fight Night Denver Draws 840,000 Viewers to Fox Sports 1 for 25th Anniversary Card

UFC Fight Night 139 drew the promotion’s best ratings in nearly six months, as 840,000 viewers tuned in to Fox Sports 1 watch the evening’s main card, according to ShowBuzz Daily. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters

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Sergio Pettis explains decision to return to bantamweight, where ‘I can just be myself’

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Sergio Pettis could keep making the flyweight limit if he wanted to, but he believes he’s got the skills to make it at the bantamweight division where he started his octagon run.

Pettis’ (17-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) decision to move back up was first announced by his coach, Duke Roufus, after a UFC 229 loss to flyweight contender Jussier Formiga. Shortly after, the UFC confirmed a 135-pound matchup between Pettis and Rob Font (15-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) at UFC on FOX 31, at Pettis’ hometown of Milwaukee.

That was in early October, meaning former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson had yet to be “traded” with ONE Championship’s Ben Askren. And, of course, reports of the UFC’s trimming down of its flyweight roster had yet to start circulating.

UFC president Dana White won’t specifically say that they’re shutting flyweight down, but amid talks of pink slips being handed out, it’s an interesting time to be departing the shaken-up division.

Speaking to reporters, including MMAjunkie, at a recent UFC on FOX 31 media day, Pettis talked about the circumstances around his decision to move back up.

“Obviously, I heard the rumors and I didn’t want to fight outside the UFC – I love the UFC,” Pettis said. “I’ve been with them for the past five years. I thought it was time to go back to 135, honestly. Just the way my body is growing. I’m 25 years old now. I might not be growing taller, but sideways, man, I’m getting bigger.

“The weight cut at 125 wasn’t hard, but that’s because I’m a strict athlete. I made it easy on myself. I could fight at 125 if I want to, but I also can fight at 135. I have the skillset to fight at 135. And I think it’s time. I don’t need to do these hard weight cuts anymore. I think I can just be myself.”

Pettis has shown that he can hang with heavier competition, having gone 3-1 in his early bantamweight run. It was at flyweight, though, that the UFC’s youngest Pettis brother came closest to title contention, going on a four-fight winning streak before the division’s current champ, Henry Cejudo, halted his momentum.

Pettis went 1-1 after that, beating multiple-time title challenger Joseph Benavidez via split decision before Formiga stopped him via unanimous decision. The fight in front of his home fans will mean a quick turnaround for Pettis, less than two months after the setback.

Font, in turn, comes off a losing effort against Raphael Assuncao. While he gone 3-3 in his past six, it’s worth noting that the setbacks were only to proven competitors in longtime 135-pound contender Assuncao, as well as stand-outs Pedro Munhoz and John Lineker.

With big finish wins over Thomas Almeida and Douglas Andrade in his record, the gritty Font is generally viewed as a stiff test for any bantamweight. And while that group includes Pettis, he welcomes the type of challenge that Font provides.

“I’m expecting a war,” Pettis said. “I know Rob Font is a tough athlete. He’s going to come at me, he’s going to try to knock me out. He’s not going to hold back. Especially, moving up a weight class. He’s going to think he has the size advantage and use that against me. But I fight so much better when people are pressing me and people are trying to actually bring the fight to me. It brings out the better me.”

To hear from Pettis, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC on FOX 31, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Guido Cannetti UFC Argentina open workout highlights

BUENOS AIRES — At the UFC Argentina open workouts, Guido Cannetti worked out with young fans ahead of his main card fight against Marlon Vera.

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UFC Fight Night Denver Medical Suspensions: Yair Rodriguez Facing Potential 180-Day Layoff

Yair Rodriguez is facing a potential 180-day layoff following his memorable battle with Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night 139 in Denver. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Elkins: “I’m The Guy That Doesn’t Quit”

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Reebok Women’s UFC Fight Kit Decorated Jersey

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Israel Adesanya has ‘business’ meeting with UFC President Dana White in Australia

Israel Adesanya had the chance to sit down with UFC President Dana White this week in Australia, and he’s teasing big things on the horizon.

Following his scintillating first-round knockout victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 230 earlier this month, Adesanya (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) said he wanted to have a sit-down with the UFC boss to discuss his future plans and hopes for the next middleweight title shot.

White happened to be in Australia this week to help promote February’s UFC 234 event in Melbourne, and it’s not a long trip from New Zealand, where Adesanya resides. “Stylebender” made the trip over to Sydney and was able to meet with White. Afterward, he put out a bit of a teaser (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“Dana and I were never friends.” 😂😂😂
After discussing business I held court alongside Dana in a meeting and maaaan…the man is still going strong with his plans. Even hearing the story of the ups and downs of the @ufc again but straight from the horses mouth, (expletive) was inspiring!! Stay tuned…
#withouthimnoneofthiswouldbepossible #pinkyandthebrain #crazymoney

White has expressed nothing but high praise for Adesanya, who is No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings. He thinks the former kickboxing standout can have a bright future, and further expressed that position when discussing Adesanya with news.com.au while in Australia.

“He is amazing, incredibly talented, his technique is perfect,” White said. “He’s been on a run. Good looking kid and speaks really well. He’s got the whole package.

For complete coverage of UFC 230, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly seriously, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

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Emmanuel Sanchez credits last loss for putting him on path to Bellator 209 title shot

Emmanuel Sanchez (pictured) challenges Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for the featherweight title at Bellator 209 on Thursday in Tel Aviv, Israel

The first split-decision loss of Emmanuel Sanchez’s career may have been the catalyst for his transformation into a world title contender.

It’s not as if Sanchez wasn’t already making waves in Bellator’s featherweight division. He won six of his first seven fights for the promotion, with his lone loss coming at the hands of two-time champion Pat Curran, and looked to be one or two victories away from a title shot before running into Daniel Weichel in July 2016.

Sanchez went on to lose a split decision to Weichel at Bellator 159, a judgment that he disputes, but has learned to live with. After all, Sanchez was on the winning end of three consecutive split calls himself, and though he truly believes he beat Weichel, he realizes now that something had to give.

His next four fights saw him defeat former World Series of Fighting champion Georgi Karakhanyan, former Bellator bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao, former Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus, and 12-fight UFC veteran Sam Sicilia. Sanchez actually managed to submit both Straus and Sicilia, and those convincing finishes propelled him to his first title shot and first headlining spot in Bellator.

Sanchez challenges Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for the featherweight championship Thursday in the main event of Bellator 209 in Tel Aviv, Israel, and it’s an opportunity that may never have come about if the loss to Weichel didn’t force him to step up his game.

“I think a big jump was after losing to Daniel Weichel, another split decision,” Sanchez told MMA Fighting. “Looking back on it, I’m glad I lost to Daniel Weichel. I don’t believe I lost to him, I truly, wholeheartedly believe I beat him and he knows I beat him. But I’m glad the judges gave it to him because had I won another split decision I probably would have been doing the same thing and had the same mindset, same mentality. Also, who the hell wants to set the record for most split decisions? That’s a bunch of bulls**t.

“After that loss, I had to really re-think things, look back and watch myself, and have a big, major change.”

Though he didn’t get into specifics as far as what needed to be changed, Sanchez said he had to “take out the weeds” and suggested that some of the trappings of fame and success were having a negative effect on his fighting career. Coincidentally, Sanchez just celebrated the 10th anniversary of that career earlier this month.

Sanchez recalled taking his first amateur bout on Nov. 1, 2008, which he won by unanimous decision. Even as his hand was being raised, Sanchez was hoping that the judges would give him two more rounds to work, that’s how enamored he was with the sport at the time. He turned pro three years later, also in November, and though he started off with an 8-1 record before joining Bellator in 2014, Sanchez realizes that his reach was always exceeding his grasp until now.

“I wanted to be world champion at 21, who doesn’t,” said Sanchez. “Who doesn’t want to be the youngest champ to ever do it? Youngest, best guy out there to ever do it. But I’ll stand here and tell you that I was not ready for it then. I thought I was. Everyone thinks they are, you want it that bad, you have that desire and that passion, but I know I wasn’t ready for it.

“I wasn’t ready for the limelight, wasn’t ready for the money, wasn’t ready for any of that stuff back then. Now, almost 30 years old, I just turned 28, I can honestly say that I believe I’m ready for it. It’s taken this long to make it happen, for all of it to come to fruition, what a blessing.”

After defeating Sicilia in April, Sanchez was in prime position to get the next featherweight title shot, but he had to wait on the result of the “Pitbull” vs. Weichel rematch at Bellator 203. Freire retained, and though Sanchez would love to get the Weichel fight back, he believes his fight with Freire is one fans have wanted to see for a while.

Sanchez is hoping that a championship win leads to more title fights overseas (Bellator 209 marks his first time competing outside of the United States) and maybe even a boost to his Q-Rating. Currently honing his talents at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Sanchez didn’t shy away from the possibility of someday following in the footsteps of teammate and current UFC commentator Paul Felder when asked if he’d consider a career in broadcasting when his fighting days are done.

“Maybe I should, in Portuguese or Spanish, because I study a lot and I watch a lot of MMA in Portuguese or in Brazil, and a lot of Spanish boxing and MMA. I would love to,” said Sanchez. “I think I have the charisma and I’m animated, I don’t think I’m too ugly for TV and screen time — too beat up I should say, from fighting. But yeah, that’s something my coach says too. Having the charisma, having the attitude, being able to be in front of the camera, having the microphone on you. For me, that’s how I’ve always been. …

“Yeah, in the future I should talk to Paul because that is something that I wouldn’t mind doing as a guest or eventually being able to do it full time. Something to have after fighting, for sure.”

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UFC Veteran Cody McKenzie Handed 4-Year Suspension for Submitting Fake Urine Sample

Cody McKenzie tried to pull a fast one before his most recent scheduled bout, and now the former UFC talent has to suffer the consequences. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

25 Years – The Knockouts – Part 3

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Photos: Bellator 209 weigh-ins

Check out the photos from today’s Bellator 209’s official weigh-ins and face-offs in Tel Aviv, Israel (Photos by Bellator MMA).

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Sean O’Malley receives six-month NAC suspension for failed drug test

Sean O’Malley

Sean O’Malley could be back in action in the first quarter of 2019.

On Wednesday, the Nevada Athletic Commission voted to give the 24-year-old fighter a reduced suspension of six months retroactive to Oct. 6 (the date of O’Malley’s last scheduled fight) for a potential United States Anti-Doping violation that O’Malley initially announced himself via social media. It was agreed upon that O’Malley “[took] responsibility for the adverse analytical findings.”

According to that ruling, O’Malley will be eligible to compete again on March 6, 2019; however, he could still face a maximum suspension of two years from USADA.

O’Malley was also ordered to pay $472.42 in legal fees.

It was O’Malley who broke the news that he was under investigation, following USADA recently changing policy in regards to the public disclosure of potential violations. Unlike in the past, flagged athletes will only be identified after the conclusion of the adjudication process.

Soon after the news surfaced, O’Malley told ESPN that he tested positive for a low dose of ostarine, a performance-enhancing drug. He added that he believed the banned substance entered his system via a tainted supplement.

O’Malley, 24, is 10-0 in his MMA career so far with two of those wins coming inside of the Octagon. After earning a Dana White’s Tuesday Contender’s Series contract in July of last year with a first-round knockout of Alfred Khashakyan, “Sugar” went on to pick up a pair of unanimous decision wins over Terrion Ware and Andre Soukhamthath.

His next bout was to be in Las Vegas against Jose Quinonez at UFC 229 in October, but that fight was canceled as a result of O’Malley’s positive test.

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NSAC Extends Temporary Suspensions for Those Involved in UFC 229 Post-Fight Brawl

Those involved in the post-fight melee following the UFC 229 headliner could have their fates decided in December by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Rountree Wants To Be Watched, Remembered For The Right Reasons

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RDX Boxing MMA Gloves UFC Sparring Grappling Training Punching Fightin

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Bellator 210 headliner Chidi Njokuni ‘staying away from 170’ after big cuts caused potentially permanent damage

At 6-foot-3, Chidi Njokuani says his days as a welterweight are done.

After a few high-profile misses under the Bellator banner, Njokuani believes he may have suffered permanent damage due to cutting weight and refuses to deal with it ever again.

“Tired of taking 20 percent – that hurt,” Njokuani recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “Physically, man, it took a big toll on me. My body won’t ever be the same. My insides, like, everything just feels different now. Even my voice, I think I might have damaged my vocal cords.

“I did like two big cuts back-to-back in the same month, and ever since then, my voice hasn’t been the same. I’m done trying to make that cut. It ain’t even worth it.”

Fighting professionally since 2007, Njokuani has had a few weight misses along the way but always assumed the welterweight division was his proper home. But after he struggled to even make 175-pound catchweight limits in a few recent appearances, Njokuani said he was forced to evaluate whether or not it made sense to keep pushing his luck.

He consulted doctors, who said he may have developed lymph nodes, and Njokuani was certain the complications came from his hard weight cuts.

“My theory came from that because every time I cut weight, I lose my voice,” Njokuani said. “I know when I’m about under 180 because my voice starts to go. The second time I did that big cut in a month, my voice never came back, so I was like, ‘Yeah, it must have had something to do with that cut.’”

Njokuani (18-5 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) made his Bellator middleweight debut in December, picking up a unanimous decision over Hiasaki Kato. He returns to action later this month against John Salter (15-4 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) in the main event of Bellator 210, which takes place Nov. 30 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla.

Njokuani was originally expected to face Melvin Manhoef on the card, but the Dutch striker was forced to withdraw, and in stepped a grappling standout, instead.

“It’s a whole different fight,” Njokuani said. “They’re not even the same – not even a little bit.

“We trained like six weeks straight for a 5-foot-8 brawler, and we got switched to a 6-foot-something southpaw jiu-jitsu guy.”

It’s a huge change, indeed, but Njokuani said it’s not an impossible task. But ever returning to welterweight? That’s a different story.

“I’m staying away from 170,” Njokuani said.

Check out the video above to hear more from Njokuani.

For more on Bellator 210, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Justin Gaethje vs. Anthony Pettis targeted for early 2019

The UFC is in the process of booking a lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis.

Following an initial report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, sources confirmed that the lightweight matchup is in the works to MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al Shatti, and is being targeted for early 2019.

Gaethje (19-2-0) recently got back to his winning ways with a monstrous first-round knockout win over James Vick in their main event clash at UFC Nebraska. The former WSOF champion has gone 2-2 with the UFC since his signing, with his debut win over Michael Johnson and his victory over Vick framing two losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier.

Pettis (21-8-0) is coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson on the UFC 229 main card. The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion has failed to put a win streak together since losing his title to Rafael Dos Anjos in March 2015, with every win he has registered since being followed by a defeat. His last win came against Michael Chiesa, who succumbed to a triangle armbar in the second round of their meeting on the UFC 226 main card.

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Israel Adesanya To Meet With Dana White In Australia, Discuss Potential Title Fight

Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White will be meeting up with UFC middleweight contender Israel Adesanya during his time down under to discuss a potential future title fight in the 185-pound division. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC 230 main card results

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