Ed Herman’s “Short Fuse” Used For Motivation On TUF

Ed Herman developed a chip on his shoulder early in TUF 3 and used to his advantage

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Henry Cejudo wants to box Ryan Garcia, says talks for Saudi Arabia fight ongoing

Former UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo apparently doesn’t plan on staying retired from all active competition.

Cejudo, the former flyweight and bantamweight champion, announced his retirement from MMA last month following his second-round stoppage win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. Cejudo relinquished the 135-pound title and has been removed from the UFC rankings, but the Olympic wrestling gold medalist is now looking to conquer another sport.

“Triple C” wants undefeated WBC Silver lightweight boxing champion Ryan Garcia and says Saudi Arabia, which held the heavyweight championship rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua, is interested in hosting the event.

“I think I’ve done everything in MMA, Olympic champ, flyweight champ, bantamweight champ, I’ve defended both of my titles,” Cejudo told TMZ. “I think the only one I want to do it is to make Ryan Garcia bend the knee.

“I really don’t think he’s that good. I really don’t. I think with a proper team, the right game plan, I believe I could make him bend the knee in front of Oscar De La Hoya. I feel like I have the tools, the power, the strength, the experience, and we wanna make this happen, potentially in Saudi Arabia so we got the money guy. We got the money guy that’s willing to pay both of us. It’s just up to ‘Randy Candy’ Garcia to sign that contract.”

Garcia, 21, is 20-0, with 17 of those victories by knockout. He’s scored finishes in his past four fights, including back-to-back first-round KOs in his two most recent bouts.

Cejudo, 33, recently made an appearance at All Elite Wrestling’s “Dynamite” show, alongside boxing legend Mike Tyson and former UFC champs Vitor Belfort and Rashad Evans, as he continues to dabble in other forms of sports and entertainment.

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Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov back on for UFC headliner on June 20

Curtis Blaydes (pictured) holds wins over Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt and Aleksei Oleinik. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov will meet each other on June 20 after all.

The heavyweight duo was scheduled to fight that night in the main event of UFC Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, but the card was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the event re-scheduled for a yet-to-be-announced location, the UFC has once again paired “Razor” and “Drago” for a five-round clash, the company announced Wednesday.

Blaydes (13-2, 1 NC) is on an impressive three-fight winning streak that includes knockouts over former champion Junior dos Santos and Shamil Abdurakhimov. The 29-year-old’s only losses have come against Francis Ngannou. Blaydes has stopped 10 of his other opponents since 2014.

Volkov (31-7) holds a 5-1 octagon record with wins over Fabricio Werdum, Greg Hardy, Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and Timothy Johnson. In his pre-UFC days, the former Bellator heavyweight titleholder defeated the likes of Blagoy Ivanov, Brett Rogers and Ricco Rodriguez.

The June 20 UFC Fight Night card also includes Roxanne Modafferi vs. Lauren Murphy, Belal Muhammad vs. Lyman Good, Tecia Torres vs. Brianna Van Buren, Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos, and Cortney Casey vs. Gillian Robertson.

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UFC 250 free fight: Felicia Spencer earns title shot with first-round stoppage

Felicia Spencer’s last outing saw her emerge as a top contender for the UFC women’s featherweight title with a dominant display in Norfolk, Virginia.

Former Invicta FC featherweight champion Spencer (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) faced Zarah Fairn in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN+ 27 on February 29.

Despite being fresh off her first career loss to former UFC 145-pound champ Cris Cyborg, Spencer was a massive betting favorite heading into her fight with Fairn, and she proved the oddsmakers right with a powerful display to catapult herself into title contention.

Fairn started out lively and landed some solid strikes, but around a minute and a half into the fight, Spencer took control. The “Feenom” took the fight to the ground and Fairn simply had no answer.

Spencer transitioned to full mount immediately before raining down a barrage of punches and elbows until the referee stopped the fight. The Canadian’s victory means she will now step up to challenge featherweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 250.

UFC 250 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Before she faces Nunes, relive Spencer’s finish over Fairn in the video above.

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Morning Report: Colby Covington comments on Tyron Woodley’s loss: ‘Just like I told you guys, he’s washed up’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This past weekend, Tyron Woodley was dominated by Gilbert Burns at UFC on ESPN 9. It was such a one-sided performance that even Woodley was not terribly upset by it, saying he had “a weird piece for someone who just got they ass whooped.” It was the second dreadful performance from Woodley in a row, following his title-losing showing against Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 in 2019, and now the wolves are coming out for the former welterweight champion.

Speaking yesterday with Submission Radio, former UFC interim welterweight champion and foil for Woodley, Colby Covington, took some time to revel in the downfall of his longtime rival.

“Let’s start off by having a moment of silence for Woodley’s career,” Covington began. “Hold on just one second. Moment of silence, (pours liquid out of his coffee mug onto the floor). That’s Woodley’s career going down the drain. Just like I told you guys, he’s washed up. He don’t want to fight no more, he’s TMZ Woodley. He’s out there rapping making songs about me, hurting people’s ear drums.

“Who called it? I said he’s washed up. I said he’s 40 years old. He’s a 40 year old virgin. He doesn’t want to fight anymore. All he did was show up for a paycheck, so I figured we’d have a moment of silence for him and I’d pour out a beer for his career and just like his career, it went right down the drain.”

Woodley and Covington have spent the better part of three years trash-talking one another and posturing for a fight that never came. First, Woodley and Covington were expected to face one another after Covington won an interim title in 2018, but Covington was unavailable and instead, Woodley defended against Darren Till. Then Covington was against seemingly on tap to face Woodley next but instead, was passed over for Kamaru Usman, reportedly due to contract negotiations from Covington. Usman, of course went on to defeat Woodley but the rivalry matchup was again in discussion as a short-notice replacement fight when the coronavirus began upending the best-laid plans of the UFC. Instead, Woodley faced Burns and now, it seems like he and Covington will never fight, something “Chaos” says is what Woodley wanted all along.

“In my opinion, business goes on,” Covington said about losing the fight with Woodley. “It sucks. I built that fight for three or four years. I was begging to fight that guy on five days’ notice because I know how washed up he is. He never wanted to fight me, plain and simple. Even when he was the champion and I had the interim title, he was begging to fight lightweights, he was begging to fight anybody but me, and I’m the first guy to scare the champion into elective shoulder surgery. The guy’s been scared of me since day one. I think people just found out how much I am a man of my word. Every time I say something, it’s the truth. Maybe it’s the brutal, honest truth, but it’s still the truth. He ducked me his whole career and that’s that. He can go and know that he was a coward. He didn’t want to fight the best guys in the division.

“The thing is, he’s happy now. He got these two losses out of the way and he got these paychecks, but you know what? Woodley didn’t have to lose to me so he can ride off into the sunset and go to his retirement home and be happy that he doesn’t have to deal with the psychiatric (treatment) that he would have had to deal with if he would have had to fight me. So he’s thankful and he’s lucky. He dodged a bullet.”

But Woodley’s loss to Gilbert Burns didn’t just take that potential fight away from Covington, it also moved Covington even further away from a title shot. With his win, Burns skyrocketed to the number one ranking in the UFC welterweight division and there are now talks of him getting the next title shot against Kamaru Usman. But, ever the optimist, Covington says that will work out just fine because it means the UFC can focus on making the real money fight in the welterweight division, him vs. his former teammate and “best friend,” Jorge Masvidal.

“I could care less (about Burns getting the next title shot). Nobody knows who that guy is,” Covington concluded. “Let them fight. That just means the biggest fight in the welterweight division has opened the door, and that’s me versus ‘Street Judas’ Masvidal. Everybody knows that’s a real beef and that score needs to be settled. ‘Judas’ Masvidal, he’s got nowhere to go. We know he ducked Marty ‘Fake Newsman’ but he’s got no other fights to be made. The biggest fight that can happen is the man, me, versus the loser, ‘Street Judas’ Masvidal.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Protests. Chuck Liddell horrified by George Floyd’s murder, felt a responsibility to de-escalate tensions at protest.

Games. Jan Blachowicz doesn’t buy Jon Jones vacating the title or retiring.

GOAT. Dan Lambert: Amanda Nunes deserves recognition as one of the pound-for-pound greatest of all-time.

RDA. On last fight of UFC deal, Rafael dos Anjos welcomes fight against three possible opponents.


VIDEO STEW

Between the Links.

Embedded.

Inside the Octagon: Nunes vs. Spencer.

Most UFC title fight wins.

Cejudo selling the boxing idea.

Gilbert Burns calling out Kamaru Usman.

How good was Michael Bisping?


LISTEN UP

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Billy Quarantillo and Brandon Royval.

Believe You Me. Discussing Jon Jones, Tyron Woodley, and Mackenzie Dern.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Masvidal seems unhappy.

Leon Edwards.

Dead.

Good lord.

Already back at it.

That pillow is pretty dope.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N.A.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.

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UFC 250 free fight: Amanda Nunes knocks out Cris Cyborg to claim featherweight title

Amanda Nunes’ resume in women’s mixed martial arts is unmatched.

After defending her UFC bantamweight title three times, including wins over former 135-pound champ Ronda Rousey and current UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, Nunes attempted to move up in weight and take on the unstoppable Cris Cyborg.

Nunes (19-4 MMA, 12-1 UFC) faced then-UFC featherweight champion Cyborg at UFC 232, looking to join an elite few fighters to claim two titles simultaneously.

Cyborg immediately drew Nunes into a firefight, backing her against the fence and throwing heat in the pocket. But that cost Cyborg, as Nunes landed a perfectly-timed short counter right that stumbled her and spelled the beginning of the end. Nunes poured it on, putting the finishing touch with a big overhand right that flattened Cyborg.

Since then, Nunes has defended her 135-pound title two more times, adding two more former champions in Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie to her resume.

Nunes will defend her featherweight title for the first time when she faces Felicia Spencer this Saturday at UFC 250, looking to become the first fighter in UFC history to defend titles in two different weight classes while holding both belts simultaneously.

Before she faces Spencer, relive Nunes’ knockout over Cyborg in the video above.

UFC 250 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.


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MMA Junkie’s ‘Submission of the Month’ for May: An ankle lock out of nowhere

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie looks at the best submissions from May 2020: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMA Junkie’s “Submission of the Month” award for May.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Thiago Moises def. Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN+ 29

Thiago Moises (13-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) showed why one should never be counted out of a fight when he turned the tables on Michael Johnson (19-16 MMA, 11-12 UFC) for the biggest win of his career.

After getting picked apart for the first round, Moises came out in the second and bum-rushed Johnson. He managed to tie Johnson up and falling back into an ankle lock. The tap came quickly after, and Moises was awarded the victor in a stunning comeback.

Cortney Casey def. Mara Romero Borella at UFC on ESPN 8

Cortney Casey (9-7 MMA, 5-6 UFC) picked up arguably the best win of her UFC career on Saturday when she finished Mara Romero Borella (12-8 MMA, 2-4 UFC) in resounding fashion at UFC on ESPN 8.

Casey not only finished Borella in the first round, but she did it with an armbar that caused the Brazilian to scream out loud while tapping out. The victory marked a successful move up to the women’s flyweight division for Casey after spending her previous 10 octagon appearances at strawweight.

Casey Kenney def. Louis Smolka at UFC on ESPN 9

Bantamweight prospect Casey Kenney (15-3-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) submitted veteran Louis Smolka (16-7 MMA, 7-7 UFC) in perhaps the best performance of his career.

Kenney wobbled Smolka early in the first round and then sunk in a one-arm guillotine choke to finish the bout. With the win, Kenney rebounded from his first octagon defeat.

Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott at UFC on ESPN 9

Former LFA champion Brandon Royval (11-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) took the first step toward getting to title contention at the highest level when he put away Tim Elliott (15-11-1 MMA, 4-9 UFC) in a “Fight of the Night” affair.

Royval submitted longtime UFC fighter and former title challenger Elliott with an arm-triangle choke. Royval was a slight underdog in the fight and got the stoppage at the 3:18 mark of the middle round.

Mackenzie Dern def. Hannah Cifers via kneebar at UFC on ESPN 9

Mackenzie Dern (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) had to work through a relentless Hannah Cifers (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in the early going, but ultimately did what she does best.

Dern made relatively quick work of Cifers – but only after she was able to get the fight to the canvas, where she forced Cifers to tap with a kneebar. The finish for Dern, the biggest favorite on the card, was the first leg-related submission in a women’s UFC fight.

* * * *

The Winner: Thiago Moises

Moises picked up the biggest win of his career when he defeated Johnson in a stunning turnaround.

In the beginning of the fight it seemed the version of Johnson who owns victories over the likes of Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier had arrived. He stopped Moises’ takedowns and got his striking off in the first round of the lightweight bout, which took place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.

Then the second round came, and Moises was a different fighter. He rushed Johnson immediately and pulled guard when he was met with resistance. From there, he fell back and locked in a tight heel hook that forced Johnson to tap out at the 0:25 mark of Round 2.

The defeat put Johnson on a three-fight skid and dropped him to 3-8 in his past 11 UFC appearances. He appeared to suffer damage to his knee during the finish, too.

Moises, for his part, completed his UFC contract with a big finish. He made it clear he wants to stick around with a new contract, and called out former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis.

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Chuck Liddell horrified by George Floyd’s murder, felt a responsibility to de-escalate tensions at protest

Chuck Liddell understands why so many people are seething with anger right now.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion was admittedly horrified after watching the video where 46-year-old George Floyd was murdered after Minnesota Police pinned him to the ground and kept a knee on his neck until he eventually died after repeatedly telling them he couldn’t breathe.

In the wake of Floyd’s tragic death, protests have started across the United States, and while most have been peaceful, numerous others have resulted in rioting. Many stores and businesses have been vandalized with confrontations taking place between protestors, police and business owners.

The UFC Hall of Famer found himself in the middle of an escalating situation in Huntington Beach, Calif. this past weekend where he took it upon himself to intervene and stop a volatile dispute from turning violent.

“I’m all for protesting,” Liddell explained when speaking to MMA Fighting on Monday. “You want to protest, whether I believe what you do or not, I support your right to protest. These [protests], I get it. I think anyone that has watched [the George Floyd video], it’s hard to watch.

“I hadn’t heard what happened at first and then I see it and I was watching it like ‘hold on, guys, get your knee off him’ and at that point I didn’t know he died. Watching it like are they going to stop? Is nobody going to say anything? Watching it in disbelief. So I understand the anger but violence begets violence. It’s not going to solve anything. I just did my best to keep people safe.”

According to Liddell, he’s been living in Huntington Beach for the past couple of weeks while repairs are being done to his house after a pipe burst in his kitchen.

After hearing about the protest turning violent nearby, the former 205-pound champion and a friend went down to see what was happening and that’s when Liddell decided he needed to get involved.

“I went down to see what was going on and try to keep the peace a little bit,” Liddell said. “Try to keep people level headed. I was able to talk some people down and I heard some crazy stuff from all sides. It was crazy.

“I understand the people were there to defend their city. They didn’t want their city destroyed over this. They didn’t want people coming in from out of town and ripping down the city. It was one of those wild situations where there were bullies that try to pick on the easy targets. Not necessarily the big burly guy that looks pretty tough. They tend to bully on the smaller guy. They tend to pick on people. I can’t watch that.”

Numerous celebrities have been involved in protests including actress Tessa Thompson, who documented the experience on her Instagram as well as Halsey, who took video of police firing rubber bullets into a crowd.

For Liddell, he just couldn’t stand by and see an unfortunate situation potentially turn deadly, especially in the wake of a tragedy that he believes should be bringing people together for a common cause.

“I made it down there to see what was going on and I couldn’t leave,” Liddell explained. “I needed to help out and try to help people on both sides. I wanted to help people with their businesses and the people who were there to speak their mind, I didn’t want to see them get hurt either.

“A lot of these businesses [being vandalized], they are on your side. They’re not hurting people that are hurting you.”

If there’s one message that Liddell wanted to pass along it’s that he completely understands why so many people are upset but escalating violence isn’t going to help anybody.

“I know people are angry,” Liddell said. “The hate doesn’t combat hate. You’ve got to love. Perpetuating more violence and more violence, it’s not a good thing.”

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UFC 250 free fight: Aljamain Sterling outstrikes Pedro Munhoz for fourth win in a row

Aljamain Sterling looked to enter the race for title contention when he squared off with a fellow streaking bantamweight.

Sterling (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) faced Pedro Munhoz at UFC 238, with both men looking for their fourth consecutive win. Many expected Sterling’s route to victory to be on the ground, but instead he stood toe to toe with Munhoz for all three rounds.

In Round 1, Sterling used his length, attacking Munhoz with a variety of kicking techniques. Munhoz pressed forward, trying to close the distance, but Sterling did a good job of evading any significant shots.

Sterling continued to stick and move in Round 2, using his reach advantage to continuously pepper Munhoz with strikes. But Munhoz started to find some success with his forward pressure, digging into Sterling’s body and hurting him low to the legs.

In Round 3, the pace started to slow down from both men, but Sterling was still able to find a home for his jab. Munhoz managed to stuff all of Sterling’s takedown attempts but after three rounds, Sterling had out-landed Munhoz, sweeping all three judges’ scorecards.

Sterling returns this Saturday when he takes on Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 in a fight that will likely determine the next title contender.

UFC 250 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Before he faces Sandhagen, relive Sterling’s big win over Munhoz in the video above.

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On last fight of UFC deal, Rafael dos Anjos welcomes fight against three possible opponents

Rafael dos Anjos (right) won the lightweight belt with a win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 185. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has one bout left on his current contract with the company, and sees a rematch with the man who he took the belt from as one of the options for his next — and maybe final — step in the octagon.

Dos Anjos continues to train in his house in San Diego, Calif., alongside coach Jason Parillo and a few training partners, including fellow UFC fighter Beneil Dariush, during the current health crisis caused by COVID-19. The Brazilian is still waiting for a call to get his next fight booked and possibly discuss a new deal with the UFC, and is open to competing as soon as June.

“I want to fight. I fought in January, so June or July would be good dates,” dos Anjos told MMA Fighting. “I’m going for the last fight in my contract with the UFC, so we have to see if the UFC wants to re-sign me. It’s a bunch of things.”

The Niteroi native started his UFC career more than a decade ago, eventually capturing the 155-pound gold in 2015. A welterweight since 2017, dos Anjos says he’s willing to sign a new contract before entering the octagon again.

“I’m in the UFC for many years, since 2008, and the UFC is a very solid company,” he said. “I have a great relationship with Dana White, I have almost 30 fights in the organization, and I would like to re-sign with the UFC. That’s what I want, but it’s not only up to me, it’s up to them as well, if they want to re-sign me.”

Dos Anjos fought four times in Las Vegas throughout his UFC career, and thinks it would be “cool” to be in one of UFC’s “Fight Island” shows. As for an ideal opponent, the Brazilian has a short list of suggestions: Anthony Pettis, Stephen Thompson, and even Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Pettis would be a rematch of their UFC 185 title bout, a five-round clash which dos Anjos dominated from start to finish. “Wonderboy” was an idea once offered by the company, according to dos Anjos, and Ponzinibbio is a rivalry that keeps burning on social media for years but never materialized.

“I thought about Pettis because he once said, after a victory, that he was interested in fighting me at 170,” dos Anjos said. “Since he fought (Donald) Cerrone at welterweight, I think this could be the fight.”

“Man, Ponzinibbio is crazy,” he continued, referring to Ponzinibbio’s claim that RDA recently turned down the fight. “(The UFC) hasn’t said anything. This guy hasn’t fought in a year and a half. F*ck, I fought (four) times since his last fight. I have no problem fighting him, but, brother, no one told me anything. He throws some crazy stuff online, it’s hard to understand. But I have no problem fighting Ponzinibbio.

“I’m in a situation that I can’t call anyone out. I’m coming off a loss and I know that’s in the past and I will bounce back, but what the UFC offers me, something that makes sense… I think Pettis would make sense for the history. The market is starting to move now. Stephen Thompson and I, there was some talk in the past, so I think that could be the fight. The division is very jammed, let’s see how it plays out.”

According to Ponzinibbio, the UFC allegedly informed him that the RDA fight would not happen because the Brazilian was heading back to the lightweight division.

Dos Anjos shoots down that claim.

For RDA to cut extra 15 pounds, he explains the UFC would have to give him plenty of time to prepare, the perfect opponent, and the biggest purse of his life. According to the Brazilian, a recent trip to Las Vegas’s UFC Performance Institute concluded he would have to be “a whole other human being” to hit 155 pounds again.

“I was doing some tests, but, man, I’m not going down to 155,” said dos Anjos, who currently weighs 187 pounds. “That was an idea, a possible… In order for me to go to 155, I would need at least four months’ notice before a fight, and it would have to be a fight that is really worth it financially. For the money I make today, a normal purse, the toll on my body isn’t worth it. But for a great money, one that changes your life completely, I would do that sacrifice on three or four months’ notice. But not now.”

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Raphael Assuncao Has Earned Appreciation

Raphael Assuncao has worked as hard as possible to be a mainstay in the UFC rankings for the better part of the past decade

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USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, June 2: Gilbert Burns shoots up charts

When you earn the biggest win of your career, big things tend to follow. And that’s the case with Gilbert Burns.

Burns put on an impressive performance this past Saturday in the UFC on ESPN 9 headliner as he dominated former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley for five rounds to earn a unanimous decision. The victory made it six in a row for Burns (19-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC), while Woodley (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) dropped his second consecutive fight for the first losing streak of his career.

As expected, both men went in opposite directions in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie welterweight rankings. Burns, who entered the fight No. 12, climbed all the way to No. 5 with the victory. As for Woodley, he dropped out of the top 5 for the first time in five years, to No. 6, after his second straight lackluster performance in defeat.

Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal and Bellator champion Douglas Lima all benefited from the shakeup near the top.

There was more movement coming out of UFC on ESPN 9 and surely more to come with UFC 250 on Saturday. You can take a look at the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings across all divisions in the dropdowns above.

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Bellator signs TUF Brazil 4 bantamweight veteran Matheus Mattos

Matheus Mattos trains with Bellator stars Patricio and Patricky Pitbull in Natal, Brazil. | Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Matheus Mattos is the latest member of the Pitbull Brothers team to sign with Bellator, MMA Fighting has learned.

The Brazilian bantamweight competed on the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil in 2015 and fought under the ACB and Jungle Fight banners before signing with the North American company. Mattos has only lost once in 14 professional bouts, a third-round stoppage to future UFC contender Petr Yan in Russia.

Bellator has yet to schedule Mattos’ promotional debut.

Mattos (12-1-1) has “high expectations” for his future with Bellator, which serves as the home for teammates Patricio Freire, Patricky Freire and Leandro Higo.

“It’s the culmination of a 12-year career in MMA,” Mattos told MMA Fighting. “I moved to Natal, have new home and new team, and now I train with Patricio, the best fighter in Bellator history. Patricky is also someone I look up to.”

“Adamas” hasn’t fought since March 2018, when he beat Nashkho Galaev via majority decision. Mattos was returning to the cage just six months after suffering a broken orbital against Yan and ended up fractured his jaw versus Galaev. According to Mattos, he fought in “autopilot mode” against Galaev and has no recollection of the last round or even his post-fight interview.

“This is the chance of a lifetime, the opportunity I’ve been waiting and preparing for,” said Mattos, who turns 28 this week. “I have great training here, (Henry) Cejudo and (Kelvin) Gastelum were training here not that long ago, and we have captain Eric Albarracin giving us a great wrestling background.”

Five years after losing to TUF Brazil 4 season winner Reginaldo Vieira and going back to the regional circuit in his native country, Mattos celebrates a shot in the big league.

“Now I feel prepared to be part of such a big promotion,” Mattos said. “Both physically and mentally, I’m better than ever after going through everything I’ve experienced. I was 10-0 in Brazil and went to ACB, one of the toughest places to fight. I had the best fight of the year in 2018 and feel ready to be part of Bellator now.

“I’m more mature now, and that made me decide to come to Natal and be a part of this great team. Patricio and Patricky are in the prime of their careers and they keep evolving every single day. They get better both physically and mentally and the whole team grows with them. Now I feel I have what it takes to enter Bellator and become champion there.”

Watch Mattos’ last fight below.

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UFC, WEC Veteran Takeya Mizugaki Retires from MMA

Takeya Mizugaki, a veteran of 39 professional fights, has called it a career at 36 years old. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Rashad Evans Risked It All On TUF

Rashad Evans took a chance and bet on himself when he decided to fight in a heavier weight class during Season 2 of TUF

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