Tito Ortiz gets emotional discussing Veteran’s Day visit with estranged father

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — At Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 open workouts at Kings MMA, Tito Ortiz discusses why he’s coming back to MMA, if this will be his biggest payday, if this is a one-off bout for him, his Veteran’s Day visit with his estranged father and more.

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Bellator MMA Inks Ex-UFC Champ Benson Henderson to New Long-Term, Exclusive Deal

Benson Henderson isn’t going anywhere. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC Unfiltered 246: Forrest Griffin, Maycee Barber, Paul Felder, and UFC Denver Recap

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T.J. Dillashaw says he’s being sent to ‘kill’ the flyweight division, but what happens if he aims and misses?

What in the world is going on with the UFC’s men’s flyweight division?Here’s the situation as it stands now, as near as we can piece it together from various public statements.

According to UFC President Dana White, the company is “working on some things right now” with the 125-pound weight class. What kinds of things? Well, casting off the talent for starters. But also, paradoxically, booking another title fight amid rumors of the division’s total demise.

Those rumors were not quieted when bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw went on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week and bragged that he’s being paid a “f–k load of money to kill the 125 (pound) division and collect a second belt.”

That’s a statement that’s remarkable for two reasons: 1) It has the ring of something that maybe Dillashaw wasn’t supposed to repeat in public, and 2) It basically forces us to ask what’s going to happen if he loses?

Flyweight champ Henry Cejudo isn’t an easy night of work for anybody. He’s fought at bantamweight, though it wasn’t exactly by choice. He beat an all-time great in Demetrious Johnson to capture the 125-pound belt. If he can beat Dillashaw to retain it, then what’s to become of this plan to “kill” the flyweight division?

Cejudo has begun talking about free agency and a potential rubber match with Johnson in a promotion to be named later. Whether the UFC would let him go that easily – and whether it would be forced to after eliminating his division – remains to be seen. But at the moment, the whole thing feels like a big mess that’s only getting messier.

If the UFC wants to rid itself of men’s flyweight for reasons of profitability or roster bloat or any other explanation, fine, you get to do that when you’re the promoter. But why send a bantamweight assassin when you can just throw the switch any time you want?

White’s explanation was pretty simple.

“Dillashaw wants to win two belts,” White told the FS1 post-fight show on Saturday. “There’s five or six guys who have done it, he wants to do it.”

But maybe this is the point where the whole double champ thing starts to seem played out. Based on all available evidence, it sure seems like flyweight will be going away soon no matter what happens in this fight.

If you’re keeping the division alive just long enough for Dillashaw to pad his stats with a second title that will essentially fail to exist almost as soon as he wins it, that feels more like a gimmick than an accomplishment.

Granted, beating a guy like Cejudo is always going to mean something. But admitting that you’re only keeping a belt around because you want to temporarily put it on one specific fighter really drains a lot of the fun out of the situation. It’s like telling us that one guy gets a trophy if he wins, while the other just gets fired.

That makes it tough to know how to feel about this bizarre approximation of a champ-vs.-champ “superfight.” Is it a clash between two of the best in the world? Is it a going-away party disguised as a coronation? Is it all an elaborate hit job wherein one fighter seems weirdly upbeat about putting colleagues out of work?

We don’t really know. And, at least for now, no one with the power to make the big decisions seems to be willing to explain it to us.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Bibiano Fernandes says contract clause guarantees immediate rematch with Kevin Belingon at ONE

Bibiano Fernandes (left) suffered his first defeat in eight years at ONE Championship.

Bibiano Fernandes is at peace with his defeat even though he disagrees with the judges, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go after a third fight with Kevin Belingon.

Belingon evened the score against the Brazilian in the main event of ONE Championship: Heart of the Lion last Friday in Singapore, winning a close split decision after five rounds of war. “The Silencer” unified the bantamweight belts and gave Fernandes his first loss in eight years.

“I will fight him,” Fernandes told MMA Fighting when asked if he was hoping for an immediate trilogy with Belingon. “It’s in my contract. If I lost the belt, we would automatically do a rematch. I had that in my contract way before this fight. Especially in a loss like this, I’m glad I have this clause.”

Fernandes, who dropped to 22-4 in the sport after having his 14-fight winning streak snapped in Singapore, says he wouldn’t mind facing other opponent if he had suffered a clear defeat.

That wasn’t the case against Belingon, though.

“If I had lost, if he had submitted me or broke me, he’s the champion, leave it be,” Fernandes said. “But the way it was, I didn’t lose the fight. We have to do a rematch. Honestly, I don’t feel I lost that fight, so my conscience is very clear. I didn’t lose that fight. I didn’t lose to Kevin. I lost to the judges, but not to Kevin.”

“When I look at the ONE judging criteria, what they count more, it’s near knockout or submission first, and then damage, control… When I saw it, I knew I won this fight. I almost submitted him three times. That punch he landed, I threw a kick and only had one foot on the ground when it hit me, so I lost balance. I waited for him to come, grabbed his leg and came back up. I know I won this fight.”

“The Flash” had the longest reign in ONE Championship history ahead of the event in Singapore, and thinks that local fans made a difference in how the judges saw the fight with the Philippines-native.

“Thousands of fans there, and I think half of them were Filipinos,” Fernandes said. “I was alone there against Kevin, the judges and the fans. Anything he did would drive the crowd nuts. If I lose, I lose, I don’t cry about it, but I think the judges were affected by the fans. I’m a fighter and I do my best, but I can’t fight against the judges and the fans.”

The first fight between Fernandes and Belingon lasted only a round, with the jiu-jitsu specialist submitting Belingon with a kimura in the first round in 2016. Belingon got his revenge two and a half years later, and the Brazilian promises to be more patient in an eventual trilogy.

“I won’t rush things next time. I wanted to submit him. I will be more patient,” Fernandes said. “Another thing is, every time I took his back the referee would ask me to work, to move. ‘Wait a minute, I just got to this position…’ He rushed me. Next time, I will be more patient.

”I have look at some things I have to work adjust as well,” he added. “I can fight tomorrow, but Kevin can’t. I saw him afterwards and he couldn’t even walk, so I have to respect his recovery, his rest, let him enjoy the belt because he fought bravely, too.”

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Louis Smolka Returns to UFC, Meets Sumudaerji Sumudaerji in Beijing on Nov. 24

As the Ultimate Fighting Championship continues its flyweight purge, former 125-pound competitor Louis Smolka will return to the Las Vegas-based promotion at bantamweight. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Fight Night Buenos Aires: Fight-by-Fight Preview

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Suman Mokhtarian vs. Sodiq Yusuff added to UFC Fight Night 142 in Australia

A bantamweight matchup between a pair of octagon newcomers is official for UFC Fight Night 142 in Australia.

UFC officials recently announced Suman Mokhtarian (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) for the event, which takes place Sunday, Dec. 2, at Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Due to the time change, the card airs on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass in North America on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Mokhtarian was a cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter 27,” competing as a member of Team Miocic. However, Mokhtarian injured his knee in training and then suffered a decision loss to Ricky Steele in their quarterfinal matchup. Mokhtarian, a grappling specialist with six submission wins among his eight career victories, now makes his official UFC debut on home soil.

Meanwhile, Yusuff made his way to the UFC as a competitor on Dana White’s Contender Series 14. Yusuff proved a rarity on the show, fighting to a decision win over Mike Davis but still earning a contract despite failing to finish his opponent.

With the addition to the card, UFC Fight Night 142 includes:

  • Junior Dos Santos vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Mark Hunt vs. Justin Willis
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Mauricio Rua
  • Paul Craig vs. Jim Crute
  • Alexey Kunchenko vs. Yushin Okami
  • Ben Nguyen vs. Wilson Reis
  • Kaiwhare Kara-France vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
  • Keita Nakamura vs. Salim Touahri
  • Tony Martin vs. Jake Matthews
  • Suman Mokhtarian vs. Sodiq Yusuff

For more on UFC Fight Night 142, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Mirsad Bektic believes win over Renato Moicano solidifies title contender status

Mirsad Bektic has been considered a top prospect at featherweight ever since his UFC debut in 2014, and with a win over fellow high-flying featherweight Renato Moicano at UFC 231, the Tristar fighter believes he will solidify himself as a title contender.

Speaking on the latest episode of Eurobash, Bektic explained how he feels his skillset will be undeniable if he clinches victory on Dec. 8.

“I think each performance I have sends a message to everybody about my potential and my skillset,” Bektic said.

“I rarely hear guys call me out and I think that’s for a reason. Stylistically, I feel like I’m a bad matchup for everyone. It’s all about timing and it looks like it’s unfolding the way it’s supposed to and I just happen to be a part of it.

“It’s a great opportunity against a guy like Moicano, he’s a top competitor. Beating somebody like him who has beaten a lot of top guys [would send a message]. We’ve got similar records, so beating him really pushes me up there and solidifies my spot in the rankings and as a title contender.”

Max Holloway is scheduled to defend the featherweight crown in the main event of the Toronto card against Brian Ortega. Bektic believes that competing on the same card will only help his chances of ascending to a title showdown should he have his hand raised.

“[Moicano and I] are similar because we’ve both flown under the radar, but he brings a lot to the table. He has a lot of strengths and a good skillset. We’ve both flown under the radar and now we have an opportunity to showcase our ability against each other. Having the 145 title fight on the card is going to make a lot of other things make sense, as in who should fight next for [the belt] and who is going to lead the pack from now on,” said Bektic.

Given that Moicano occupies the fourth slot in the UFC’s featherweight rankings, Bektic is confident that a win will put him in pole position to face the champion in his next outing.

“He’s the number four guy and I’m number eight,” he explained. “If I beat him I’m going to close the gap in terms of who I can fight next, especially if I go out there and dominate like I do in most fights.

“As far as what the UFC thinks, I don’t know. As far as I’m thinking, if I go out there and perform the way I can and will, it’s going to be hard to deny me. But I don’t mind fighting someone else; it’s just another chance for me to get to where I want to go. At the end of the day I’m going to keep knocking until I get the chance. Once I get that chance I’m going to capitalize on it and win that belt.

“It’s hard for me to go backwards, especially with a dominant over Moicano. It’s only going to propel me forward. As you said, there are only three guys ahead of him, so we can roll the dice and see which one comes up.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Mirsad Bektic interview begins at 17:00.

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Israel Adesanya on Yair Rodriguez’s KO: ‘It’s Not Luck’

Yair Rodriquez earned a win over Chan Sung Jung last Saturday night at UFC Denver, knocking the Korean senseless with a no-look upward elbow strike. The dazzling technique led some critics to claim the Mexican was “lucky” to land the killer blow. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

With Paulo Costa unavailable, Yoel Romero wants Anderson Silva at UFC on ESPN+ 1

Yoel Romero is not interested in waiting around for Paulo Costa and instead has turned his attention to former UFC champ Anderson Silva for his next fight.

After their original booking for UFC 230 earlier this month fell apart due a Romero (13-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) injury, the middleweight contender matchup with Costa (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) was expected to take place on the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card on Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Unfortunately, Costa suffered an injury of his own that prevented the fight from happening.

Costa said he would be healthy by March and urged Romero to wait for him. “The Solider of God” has made it clear he’s not interested, though, and is still keen on fighting in January. And if he could have his desired opponent, he would face longtime 185-pound champ Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC).

Romero made his message clear on social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Waiting on an opponent for #january 19 in #brooklyn the very first card for #espn we making history! #iluhju #seeyousoonboi Are you afraid of 🕷?

Romero, No 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, hasn’t fought since he fell short against UFC champ Robert Whittaker in a non-title bout at UFC 225 in June. He missed weight for the fight, spurring talks about a potential move up to light heavyweight. Romero has seemingly squashed those plans, though.

The 41-year-old Olympic silver medalist wants No. 10-ranked Silva, who hasn’t fought since a February 2017 victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 and is coming off a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspension. “The Spider” will turn 44 in April, but has made it clear he has no intention of retiring from MMA as he pursues a bout with Conor McGregor.

Whether the UFC is interested in booking Romero against Silva remains to be seen.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 1, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Morning Report: T.J. Dillashaw: ‘The UFC is paying me ‘a f*ck-load of money to move down and kill the 125-pound division’

Last week, rumors began circulating that, with the departure of former champion Demetrious Johnson, the UFC intended to shutter the 125-pound division by next spring. Multiple UFC flyweights corroborated this rumor, announcing that they had been released by the organization, ostensibly due to the impending removal of the division. Now, the UFC bantamweight champion has all but confirmed the reports.

Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN yesterday, T.J. Dillashaw told Helwani that for his upcoming flyweight title fight with Henry Cejudo, he’s essentially a button man for killing off the 125-pound division.

“The UFC wants to get rid of the division and they hired me to go down and close it and get another belt in the process,” Dillashaw said.

“It’s a win-win for me. They’re paying me a f*ck-load of money to move down and kill the 125-pound division and collect a second belt. So, it’s game time.”

But while all signs point to the UFC dissolving the flyweight division after the Cejudo-Dillashaw superfight, there has still been no official word that that’s the plan. Over the weekend, UFC President Dana White even suggested that they are “working on some things right now with that division” though he didn’t elaborate on what those things are. But for Dillashaw, it all seems pretty clear once he beats Cejudo.

“It seems like I’m gonna take it over, man,” said Dillashaw. “I mean, if I’m the champ in both weight classes, why even have it? All the attention is at 135 anyway so at the end of the day, make the guys that they believe should stick around, come up and challenge for the belt.”

Dillashaw has been campaigning for a flyweight title fight since 2017, when an injury forced then bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt to pull out of their bantamweight title fight. Instead of waiting on Garbrandt, Dillashaw wanted a fight with flyweight king Demetrious Johnson who wasn’t keen on fighting a man who had never made 125 pounds before. Ultimately, that bout never came to fruition but the idea stuck around, and when Cejudo beat Mighty Mouse at UFC 227, the idea gained new life. Now that the fight is on the books, Dillashaw says he has no doubt he will make the weight, and when he does, he’s going to add to his legacy by being the last man to hold the UFC flyweight title.

“I’m already starting the process, already working on it,” said Dillashaw. “It’s gonna be better this way, anyway, because there’s no excuse. No excuses that I’m the bigger man, that I’m bigger when I’m fighting him. Because I’m gonna come down and make the weight.

“I believe we’re on the same weight, anyways, I’m a small 135’er. I’ve got no problem making 125. It’s gonna be a little more work, I’m gonna be a little more dedicated and be in better shape. So I’m excited for the opportunity. Like I said, it’s a win-win for me. I’ll continue to grow my legacy, get another belt, and be the last flyweight champion ever.”

T.J. Dillashaw challenges Henry Cejudo for the UFC flyweight title on Jan, 26 at UFC 233 in Anaheim, Calif.


MUST-READ STORIES

Title Fight. Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum set for UFC 234 in Australia.

Notorious. Oscar De La Hoya: Conor McGregor could command Canelo-like money in streaming service deal.

Lionheart. Anthony Smith responds to ‘smartass’ Jon Jones’ comments: ‘I don’t give a sh*t’.

Money. Chas Skelly will only appeal controversial loss if Bobby Moffett keeps his win bonus: ‘I’m not taking money out of anybody’s pocket’.


VIDEO STEW

The MMA Hour.

Yair detailing his numerous injuries.

Yair vs. Korean Zombie.

Izzy got the remix treatment.


LISTEN UP

The Co-Main Event. Looking back at UFC Denver and the 25th anniversary of the UFC.

Wonder Twins. Discussing blood chokes, and rehydration after weight cutting.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Tito with the old school belts is pretty dope.

Friends.

View this post on Instagram

Face time!!! #danawhite #thankyou #iloveyou #friend #ufc

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Taking the loss well.

Comeback.

Poirier’s timetable for return.

Someone smarter than me tell me if this is photoshopped or not.

A damn cool poster.

Hero.

Remember when TJ Grant had a title shot and then just never fought again? MMA is wild.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Kaitlyn Young (8-9-19) vs. Sarah Patterson (5-4); Invicta FC 32, Nov. 16.

Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (15-3); UFC 234, Feb. 9.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2010: Yushin Okami won a unanimous decision over Nate Marquardt at UFC 122.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember when T.J. joined the fighter’s association, like, two years ago because he didn’t like being screwed over by the UFC? Welp, now he’s relishing in putting people out of work. This is why a fighter’s union is never gonna happen.

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, and like us on Facebook!

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One Announces Flyweight, Lightweight Tourneys Featuring Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez

One Championship’s two recent high-profile acquisitions will take part in grand prix tournaments in the near future. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Twitter reacts to the UFC’s 25th anniversary

The UFC is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its first event today, and many within the MMA community have shown appreciation for the industry-leading organization.

After traveling back Denver, which was the birthplace of the octagon, for UFC Fight Night 139 this past weekend, Monday marked exactly 25 years since UFC 1 unfolded and changed the landscape of combat sports forever.

Such a monumental landmark in the sport’s history is worthy of celebration, and plenty of fighters, personalities and others in the sport took to social media to reflect and celebrate. Check out some of those reactions below.

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For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors 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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Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum set for UFC 234 in Australia

Robert Whittaker (pictured) will defend his middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in Australia next year.

If Kelvin Gastelum wants to claim UFC gold, he’s going to have to head into enemy territory to get it.

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (20-4) will defend his middleweight title against Gastelum (15-3) at UFC 234 on Feb. 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, the promotion announced Tuesday morning. The date was first reported by ESPN.

Whittaker and Gastelum are currently being featured as opposing coaches on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter and it was previously announced that Gastelum would challenge for the middleweight title at an unconfirmed date. Both fighters appeared on the show as contestants earlier in their careers (Gastelum on TUF 17, Whittaker on TUF: The Smashes), winning their respective seasons.

This will be Whittaker’s first official title defense. The 27-year-old Sydney resident won a split decision over Yoel Romero at UFC 225 this past June in what was supposed to be a championship bout, but Romero failed to make weight for the contest, rendering himself ineligible to win the title.

It was the second straight decision win for Whittaker over Romero. He also defeated Romero at UFC 213 to claim an interim title that was later promoted to undisputed status when champion Georges St-Pierre vacated his belt for health reasons. In all, Whittaker has won his last nine fights.

Gastelum has won three of four fights (excluding a TKO win over Vitor Belfort that was overturned to a no contest when Gastelum tested positive for marijuana) since returning to 185 pounds. The 27-year-old was an emerging contender at 170 pounds, but the move was necessitated by his inability to consistently hit the welterweight mark. At middleweight, he has firmly established himself as a top talent and title contender.

After his last outing at UFC 224, Gastelum is coming off of back-to-back wins over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and former UFC champion Michael Bisping.

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Prospect Maycee Barber Calls Out Mackenzie Dern Following UFC Denver Win

Maycee Barber doesn’t lack for confidence just one bout into her Ultimate Fighting Championship tenure. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

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Bellator 209 pre-event facts: Patricio Freire goes for several marquee records

Bellator action returns this week with Bellator 209, which takes place Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. The card airs on Paramount and streams on DAZN via tape-delay.

In the main event, featherweight champion Patricio Freire (27-4 MMA, 15-4 BMMA) looks to continue one of the great careers in Bellator history when he puts his title on the line against streaking contender Emmanuel Sanchez (17-3 MMA, 9-2 BMMA).

For more on the numbers behind the card, check below for 15 pre-event facts about Bellator 209.

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Main event

Freire competes in his 20th Bellator bout, tied with David Rickels and his brother, Patricky Freire, for most appearances in company history.

Freire competes in his 19th Bellator featherweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Freire is one of eight two-time champions in Bellator history. Three of those have been in the featherweight division.

Freire competes in his eighth Bellator title fight, the second most in company history behind Michael Chandler (nine).

Freire’s five victories in Bellator championship fights are tied with Chandler, Eduardo Dantas and Ben Askren for most in company history.

Freire’s 15 victories in Bellator competition are tied with Chandler for most in company history.

Freire’s 10 stoppage victories in Bellator competition are second most in company history behind Chandler (11).

Freire’s six knockout victories in Bellator featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Freire’s four submission victories in Bellator featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Sanchez’s four-fight Bellator winning streak in featherweight competition is tied for the second longest active streak in the division behind A.J. McKee (12).

Remaining main card

Ryan Couture (11-6 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) is 1-3 in his past four fights dating back to January 2016.

Couture has suffered all three of his Bellator losses by stoppage.

Phil Davis’ (19-4 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) two-fight Bellator winning streak in light-heavyweight competition is tied with Ryan Bader for the longest second active streak in the division behind Alessio Sakara (three).

Vadim Nemkov (9-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) has earned all of his career victories by stoppage.

For more on Bellator 209, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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