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Bellator 194 highlights: Matt Mitrione advances as Vadim Nemkov tenderizes Liam McGeary's leg

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We have a new semifinalist in the heavyweight grand prix, but Bellator 194’s buzziest finish likely came from main-card fighter Vadim Nemkov.

At Friday’s event, which aired on Paramount from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Matt Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) edged fellow vet Roy Nelson (22-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) via majority decision to advance to the final four of the yearlong eight-man tourney.

RelatedRoy Nelson has two fingers to let you know what he thinks of Matt Mitrione's Bellator 194 win

However, earlier on the card, light heavyweight Nemkov (9-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) posted one of the night’s more painful stoppages after battering and tenderizing ex-champ Liam McGeary’s (12-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) leg to set up a third-round TKO victory.

Also on the card, lightweight Patricky Freire (19-8 MMA, 12-7 BMMA) renewed his title hopes with a dominant first-round TKO victory over Derek Campos (19-7 MMA, 8-5 BMMA), and flyweight Heather Hardy (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) topped fellow pro boxer Ana Julaton (2-4 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) via decision in a sometimes-sloppy affair.

RelatedTwitter wasn't happy about Heather Hardy and Ana Julaton's lackluster Bellator 194 fight

Additionally, in the main-card opener, featherweight Tywan Claxton (2-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) didn’t score another flying-knee knockout but he did show off some wrestling and ground and pound in a second-round TKO win over Jose Perez (0-2 MMA, 0-2 BMMA).

Check out all of the highlights above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator 194, where the Eminem Curse reared its ugly head

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While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s Bellator 194 in Uncasville, Conn., went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Matt Mitrione def. Roy Nelson via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Matt Mitrione: “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Roy Nelson: “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen

Patricky Freire def. Derek Campos via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:23

Patricky Freire: “Bate Pesadao” by Pregador Luo

Derek Campos: “Cinderella Man” by Eminem

Heather Hardy def. Ana Julaton via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Heather Hardy: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

Ana Julaton: “Can’t Judge a Book” by SZA & Ruby Ibarra

Vadim Nemkov def. Liam McGeary via TKO (injury) – Round 3, 4:02

Vadim Nemkov: “Nightwish” by Nemo

Liam McGeary: “Ivar the Boneless” by Eminem & Tupac

Tywan Claxton def. Jose Perez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:39

Tywan Claxton: “Express Yourself” by N.W.A.

Jose Perez: “My House” by Flo Rida

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Matt Mitrione won't mess with weight ahead of next Bellator tourney fight

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Matt Mitrione heard the boos when he got on the microphone with Chael Sonnen after Bellator 194.

How could he not? The majority of the fans at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., seemed to believe Roy Nelson (22-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), not Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), should have won the main event.

But it was Mitrione who escaped with a majority decision – a pair of 29-28 scores and a dissenting 28-28 draw from a third judge. But the boo-birds didn’t bother him, given he’s moving on to the semifinals of Bellator’s heavyweight tournament.

“I don’t care (that the fans booed),” Mitrione told MMAjunkie after the fight. “I won two (rounds) to one. Anybody who doesn’t think so and thinks that (third) was a 10-8 round, I pieced him up in the first half of the first round.”

Mitrione appeared to win the standup battle in the first two rounds, but Nelson made things interesting with takedowns toward the end of those two frames. And depending on the judges, MMA certainly has seen its share of rounds get stolen by takedowns.

But Mitrione maintains Nelson didn’t do much with those takedowns until the third, when it was clear to even Mitrione he didn’t have an argument to make to win that round.

RelatedPresident Scott Coker has high praise for youthful Matt Mitrione after Bellator 194

“He held me down – he does a great job,” Mitrione said. “He has really good top control, he’s really tight on his doubles and he’s strong and has got really good positioning. But I won the first two rounds easily – he didn’t do anything on the ground the end of the first two rounds. He did a really good job in the third.”

Nelson was far from thrilled with the outcome – and Mitrione even said when he tried to offer a congratulatory word or two to Nelson for a good fight, he was “salty.”

Their fight was a rematch from 2012, when Nelson knocked Mitrione out in the first round when both fought in the UFC. But Mitrione, regardless of how and who scored it in what ways, is moving on in the bracket to face either light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader or Muhammed Lawal. They fight in May, so Mitrione will wait quite a bit till he meets the winner.

But even though barring an injury to the winner, Mitrione will be fighting a much smaller opponent, he said he won’t mess with his weight prior to his semifinal fight.

Check out the video above to hear Mitrione talk about Nelson, as well as his weight and the potential to fight Bader or “King Mo” Lawal.

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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President Scott Coker has high praise for youthful Matt Mitrione after Bellator 194

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The Bellator 194 main event was not without controversy, to be certain – at least from the fans in attendance in Connecticut.

Matt Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) took a majority decision from Roy Nelson (22-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) on Friday night with a pair of 29-28 scores. A third judge had it 28-28 after giving the first two rounds to Mitrione, but a 10-8 third to Nelson.

Nelson had takedowns in all three rounds, but the third frame was the one in which he exerted some dominance on the canvas. In Rounds 1 and 2, Mitrione won the striking battles until he was taken down later in each round.

RelatedRoy Nelson has two fingers to let you know what he thinks of Matt Mitrione's Bellator 194 win

Bellator 194 took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., with a main card on Paramount. With the win, Mitrione moved on in the Bellator heavyweight tournament and sent Nelson out of the grand prix field.

Bellator President Scott Coker on Friday night told MMAjunkie he didn’t truly score the fight, but praised Mitrione for the win. He also gave a reminder that had a second judge scored it a draw, there would’ve been a fourth sudden-victory round to determine a winner.

“That was a fight that was tough,” Coker said. “I could’ve seen if it went to an extra round. But for the most part, I just sat there and watched it as a fan. I wasn’t writing down every round and monitoring every second of the fight like a judge would. To me, it was entertaining. Matt’s legs really impressed me – not just his kicking ability, but here’s a guy moving around like he’s 25 years old. So I thought he did a good job.”

Mitrione said afterward he didn’t expect to have the trouble with Nelson’s takedowns that he did. He now moves into the semifinals against the winner of Ryan Bader and Muhammed Lawal – who are known for their wrestling.

Coker wouldn’t commit to a prediction that Mitrione might struggle with either guy if he struggled with Nelson’s takedowns, though.

“That’s something – we’ll see,” Coker said. “Bader and ‘King Mo’ are both wrestlers of a high level. Either one of them will be a challenge for anybody. Matt’s a great fighter, Bader’s a great fighter, ‘King Mo’ is a great fighter. It’s going to be fun to watch. We have this tournament, and it’s an all-year-long affair, and it’s just getting better and better and better.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Roy Nelson has two fingers to let you know what he thinks of Matt Mitrione's Bellator 194 win

Roy Nelson

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – It’s safe to say Roy Nelson is going to head back to Las Vegas less than thrilled about the outcome of his Bellator 194 main event.

With Bellator’s camera crew in the cage after his majority-decision loss to Matt Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) on Friday night, Nelson (22-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) had two fingers that told pretty much the entire story.

Check out the photo above from just after the main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It aired on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Nelson took Mitrione down in all three rounds. The third round, in particular, was a dominant one for him. His takedowns in Rounds 1 and 2 came later in the frames. When the fight was standing, Nelson got his punches in, but Mitrione was landing more.

When the scores were read, the first set of numbers was a 28-28 draw – meaning that judge gave Mitrione the first two rounds, despite Nelson’s takedowns late, but gave Nelson a 10-8 third round for a dominant five minutes.

But the next two were 29-28s for Mitrione – meaning those two judges said Mitrione’s striking in the standup game was worth more than Nelson’s takedowns.

Mitrione moved on to the semifinals of Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix tournament, and he’ll meet the eventual winner of light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader and Muhammed Lawal. Nelson suffered his first loss in Bellator after debuting with the promotion in 2017.

If you’re wondering how the crowd reacted to Mitrione’s win … well, not good. Not good at all. The fans seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor of Nelson once the scores were read. Judging from the boos, it’s reasonable to assume some of them held up the same fingers Nelson did.

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Bellator 194 results: Patricky Freire shuts down Derek Campos again, calls for title shot

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Patricky Freire’s second go-around with Derek Campos ended with the same concussive result – just a little earlier.

Freire (19-8 MMA, 12-7 BMMA) dropped Campos (19-7 MMA, 8-5 BMMA) with a left hook and never let up the pressure until Campos turtled to stop the onslaught, initiating a TKO at the 2:23 mark of the first round.

The lightweight bout was the co-main evnet of today’s Bellator 194 show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It aired on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

RelatedBellator 194 play-by-play, official results and live stream

Campos tried to bully Freire early by closing the distance and firing off punches. Friere took his time and circled away from danger, frequently switching stances to throw off his opponent.

In return, Freire snapped a pair of leg kicks that spun around Campos. Perhaps tired of being on the losing end of strikes, Campos charged in and planted a right hand that just missed his opponent’s chin. Freire returned fire with his left, and Campos was sent to the canvas.

Quickly righting himself, Campos again stumbled with a glancing uppercut, and Freire chased him across the cage until the punishment stopped.

Freire, who stopped Campos via second-round TKO nearly four years ago at Bellator 117, now has won three straight in Bellator, also tying the record for most wins in the promotion. Campos sees a four-fight streak snapped.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator 194 results include:

  • Patricky Freire def. Derek Campos via TKO – Round 1, 2:23
  • Heather Hardy def. Ana Julaton via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Vadim Nemkov def. Liam McGeary via TKO (injury) – Round 3, 4:02
  • Tywan Claxton def. Jose Perez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:39
  • Ross Richardson def. Ronie Arana Leon via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:41
  • Mike Kimbel def. Geoffrey Then via knockout (slam, punches) – Round 1, 1:03
  • Regivaldo Carvalho def. Tom English via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:17
  • Jarod Trice def. Walter Howard via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Marcus Surin def. Dean Hancock via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:50
  • Kastriot Xhema def. Peter Nascimento via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:52
  • Pat Casey def. Tyler Hamilton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in Connecticut.)

Bellator 194 results: Heather Hardy outworks Ana Julaton in snoozer

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It wasn’t pretty, but Heather Hardy got her doubleheader against Ana Julaton off to a good start.

Extended clinch sessions didn’t help Julaton (2-4 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) on the scorecards, and judges rewarded Hardy’s (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) haphazard submission attempts and striking efforts with a unanimous decision.

The women’s flyweight bout was part of the main card of today’s Bellator 194 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It aired on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

RelatedBellator 194 play-by-play, official results and live stream

The final scorecards were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Hardy, who got back to the win column after a stinging defeat in the follow-up to her successful Bellator debut. Julaton dropped her second straight bout with the Viacom-owned promotion and has lost four of her past five.

The two talked a good game going into the fight, and Hardy was motivated by an unexpected weight miss that cost her 20 percent of her purse. But for all her efforts to repay Julaton by using her face as a heavy bag, she was stymied by a smothering grappling attack.

Julaton used head control and underhooks to control Hardy for extended periods against the fence, and referee Kevin McDonald showed little interest in separating them. So Hardy went to work with her limited knowledge, attempting to choke her opponent after muscling her way to something resembling back control.

More often than not, Hardy initiated the offensive portions of the fight, though there were long periods of tactical stalemate as the two tried to figure out what to do in close. At several points, Hardy made faces as Julaton tried to jostle her around. The crowd was not as amused.

Finally in the third round, McDonald acted on the dearth of fighting and twice separated the two. Hardy found decent success with a right hand, though she was frequently out of position to do damage and wound up back in the clinch the more she let her hands go.

In the end, Hardy did what was needed to secure the victory. She’ll now head to a boxing match with Julaton, who like her is a former champion in the square circle. For her next walk to the cage, she’ll have more much-needed experience under her belt.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator 194 results include:

  • Heather Hardy def. Ana Julaton via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Vadim Nemkov def. Liam McGeary via TKO (injury) – Round 3, 4:02
  • Tywan Claxton def. Jose Perez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:39
  • Ross Richardson def. Ronie Arana Leon via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:41
  • Mike Kimbel def. Geoffrey Then via knockout (slam, punches) – Round 1, 1:03
  • Regivaldo Carvalho def. Tom English via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:17
  • Jarod Trice def. Walter Howard via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Marcus Surin def. Dean Hancock via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:50
  • Kastriot Xhema def. Peter Nascimento via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:52
  • Pat Casey def. Tyler Hamilton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in Connecticut.)

Bellator 194 results: Vadim Nemkov destroys Liam McGeary's leg for TKO win over ex-champ

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Ex-Bellator light heavyweight champ Liam McGeary’s slide continues.

Vadim Nemkov (9-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) chopped at McGeary’s (12-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) lead leg until it could no longer support weight, forcing referee intervention at the 4:02 mark of the third round.

The light heavyweight bout was part of the main card of today’s Bellator 194 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It aired on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

RelatedBellator 194 play-by-play, official results and live stream

Nemkov faced a sizeable height and reach advantage against the long and lanky McGeary. To counteract that, he started early with low attacks, which went unchecked as McGeary tried without success to answer. Nemkov then went upstairs with straight two-punch combinations, catching McGeary napping on several occasions.

Late in the frame, the strategy already was paying dividends: McGeary’s leg was obviously hurt.

The ex-champ tried to switch things up in the second by using his jab. But instead of push back Nemkov, it invited a right hand counter than dropped McGeary to the canvas. Hoping to secure his patented reverse triangle, McGeary couldn’t make the squeeze fast enough and took plenty of shots from overhead. When he got back to his feet, Nemkov did further damage to his lead leg. He limped back to his corner at the end of the frame.

With the end all but in sight, Nemkov bided his time and chopped at the legs until McGeary tumbled to the canvas, clutching his knee in pain. It was his second consecutive loss after a submission setback to Linton Vassel this past May. The ex-champ is now 1-2 since ceding the belt to Phil Davis in 2016.

Nemkov now improves to a four-fight win streak with two wins under the Bellator banner, including a first-round knockout of Philipe Lins this past August.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator 194 results include:

  • Vadim Nemkov def. Liam McGeary via TKO (injury) – Round 3, 4:02
  • Tywan Claxton def. Jose Perez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:39
  • Ross Richardson def. Ronie Arana Leon via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:41
  • Mike Kimbel def. Geoffrey Then via knockout (slam, punches) – Round 1, 1:03
  • Regivaldo Carvalho def. Tom English via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:17
  • Jarod Trice def. Walter Howard via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Marcus Surin def. Dean Hancock via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:50
  • Kastriot Xhema def. Peter Nascimento via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:52
  • Pat Casey def. Tyler Hamilton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in Connecticut.)

Watch Mike Kimbel's pro debut at Bellator 194 with a sick – and scary – slam KO

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Mike Kimbel admitted 30 minutes after his fight that, yeah, the way he won was a little scary.

Kimbel (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) landed a vicious right hand early in his Bellator 194 bantamweight prelim fight against Geoffrey Then (0-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). When Then hit the canvas, Kimbel was all over him in a hurry.

Then’s way to recovery was to grab Kimbel’s arm and threaten with an armbar. Given Kimbel was coming in with a 4-4 amateur record that saw him submitted in three of his four losses, it probably was a smart move.

RelatedBellator 194 play-by-play, official results and live stream

But Kimbel had a counter, and it was devastating. He picked Then up and slammed him to the canvas – dropping him on his neck and head. It was the kind of slam that elicits a response somewhat akin to “Holy $&*@, I think he just broke that dude’s neck.”

A couple punches later, and Kimbel had his first pro win just 63 seconds into his pro debut – and on a pretty big stage for Bellator. Check out the finish in the video above.

Afterward, Kimbel told MMAjunkie backstage that it was indeed a scary slam, but that he was more than happy to play in the jiu-jitsu world – since he considers that his strong suit now – despite those amateur submission losses.

“Honestly, I train three times a day,” Kimbel said. “I’m putting in the work to be the best at this. I’m 20 years old, I look good, I don’t get punched, I’m fast … I want to be the best in the world.”

He certainly is off to the right kind of start for a goal that lofty.

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Bellator 194 results: No flying knee highlight, but Tywan Claxton picks up win No. 2

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Tywan Claxton showed he does more than just flying (expletive) in the cage.

Claxton (2-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), who went airborne and went viral for his debut knockout, showcased a broader skillset against the unheralded Jose Perez (0-2 MMA, 0-2 BMMA), taking the fight to the ground and dominating from top position.

The featherweight bout opened up the main card of today’s Bellator 194 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It aired on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

RelatedBellator 194 play-by-play, official results and live stream

When Claxton failed to seal the deal in the first with an arm triangle, he went to work with ground and pound in the second, thumping Perez until referee Keith Peterson had seen enough and called it off at the 3:39 mark of the frame.

Now 2-0 under the Bellator banner, Claxton continues to build his resume – and get closer to elite competition. Perez, meanwhile, remains winless as a professional.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator 194 results include:

  • Tywan Claxton def. Jose Perez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:39
  • Ross Richardson def. Ronie Arana Leon via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:41
  • Mike Kimbel def. Geoffrey Then via knockout (slam, punches) – Round 1, 1:03
  • Regivaldo Carvalho def. Tom English via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:17
  • Jarod Trice def. Walter Howard via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Marcus Surin def. Dean Hancock via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:50
  • Kastriot Xhema def. Peter Nascimento via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:52
  • Pat Casey def. Tyler Hamilton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in Connecticut.)

UFC Fight Night 126 main-card breakdown: James Vick a man on a mission in native Texas

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC Fight Night 126’s top bouts. Today, we look at the rest of the main card.

UFC Fight Night 126 takes place Sunday at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Also see:

James Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC)

James Vick.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 155 lbs. Reach: 76″
  • Last fight: TKO win over Joseph Duffy (Nov. 4, 2017)
  • Camp: Team Lloyd Irvin (Texas)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ 2x Golden Gloves champ
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt
+ 3 KO victories
+ 5 submission wins
+ 6 first-round finishes
+ Consistent pace and pressure
^ Athletic/well-conditioned
+ High-volume striker
^ Puts together punches nicely
+ Strikes well off the breaks
+ Improved clinch work
+ Underrated grappling ability
+ Good getup urgency and technics

Francisco Trinaldo (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC)

Francisco Trinaldo.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 155 lbs. Reach: 76″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Jim Miller (Oct. 28, 2017)
  • Camp: Evolucao Thai (Brazil)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+ Regional MMA title
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt
+ 7 KO victories
+ 5 submission win
+ 7 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Dangerous left hand
^ Coming forward or off the counter
+ Improved takedown ability
^ From clinch or caught kicks
+ Strong inside the clinch
+ Solid top game
+ Effective ground striker

Summary:

In a fun matchup of top-ranked lightweight, James Vick and Francisco Trinaldo will do battle.

Initially bucking to be in the main event, Vick has been a man on a mission when it comes to rankings and respect. Now, with a hometown showcase before him, Vick will attempt to further make his name known to those ranked above him.

Looking to crash that party is Trinaldo, a respected warrior who is not easy to make a statement over. And after winning his last eight of nine fights, he, too, will have a strong case to move up in the ranks with a win here.

Starting off on the feet, we have a pairing of two skilled strikers who can do a little bit of everything.

Trinaldo, the southpaw, will likely have power on his side. Initially a come-forward pocket puncher, Trinaldo has steadily evolved his game since stepping onto the scene, sticking-and-moving when he needs to.

Trinaldo has also developed a counter game in recent years, utilizing his already-dangerous left hand to make oncoming opponents pay. Coupled with his hard Thai kicks, and the 14-year pro presents a formidable force on the feet.

Nevertheless, the Brazilian will need to respect what’s coming back at him when he squares off with Vick.

Despite the fact that he is a 6-foot-3-inch lightweight, Vick is one of the more active movers among his contemporaries in regards to footwork and volume. Utilizing lateral movement, Vick evades a majority of strikes and shot attempts by nature, as his length allows him to counter from various ranges.

Working well off of his long jab, Vick will either pull and return punches with his opponent, or put together 3-4 piece combinations. Vick is also deceptively accurate with his right hand, adjusting the angles on his crosses or going to an uppercut when appropriate.

That said, it will be interesting to see how Vick approaches Trinaldo, a fighter who just needs one clean counter to change the course of the fight.

With that in mind, I will also be curious to see how each fighter fares in the clinch.

Both men have made quiet improvements in this area, whether it be their awareness to underhooks and grips, or their ability to get off strikes in close and off the breaks.

However, I do feel that Trinaldo will be the better wrestler of the two. And considering that the Brazilian will have more of a motive to take things to the floor, then takedowns could be a developing storyline in this fight.

Despite being more measured with his offensive takedowns in recent years, Trinaldo still demonstrates the ability to change levels or initiate wrestling scrambles. If Trinaldo can score takedowns at the right times, then he could nullify Vick’s momentum on the feet while helping him curry favor with the judges.

Still, taking down Vick may involve more than just watching out for his guillotine choke. Not only has the 7-year pro steadily shown improvements to his wrestling fundamentals, but he is also hard to hold down.

Don’t let the lanky frame of Vick fool you; the athletic Texan uses it well.

Whether he is utilizing his limbs as grapevine entanglements or propelling his deceptively strong hips into sweeps, Vick stays active and intelligent in regards to what options he is exercising. And regardless of his success with submissions or sweeps, he will consistently work his way to the fence so that he can stand safely, something that will serve him well here.

The oddsmakers and public seem to feel confident in the Texan, listing Vick -230 and Trinaldo +190 as of this writing.

To be honest, this line kind of surprised me. I believe that Vick should be the deserved favorite, but this has all the feelings of a trap fight when seeing a steadily widening margin.

Vick is 1-1 against UFC southpaws and got dropped in both of those bouts. I could certainly see a scenario where Vick gets caught with a crushing counter left from Trinaldo, changing the course of the contest for good.

However, I ultimately have a hard time picking against the fight-to-fight improvements of Vick, who is showing upgrades in all areas as of late. If his 39-year-old foe cannot find the finish in the first half of this fight, then I see Vick’s output and pressure paying big dividends as this battle wears on. The pick is Vick, who I see scoring a third-round submission from the front headlock position, after surviving a few scares early, of course.

Official pick: Vick inside the distance

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We ran into Paulie Malignaggi, and here's what he said about Conor McGregor and 'Avi' Attar

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LAS VEGAS – Why does Paulie Malignaggi keep talking about Conor McGregor? Why can’t he let go of what happened six months ago when video of their sparring session went viral? Why is he still talking about a fight?

Simple: People keep asking.

“Everybody I do interviews with asks me about Conor McGregor,” Malignaggi told MMAjunkie before a press conference for the Showtime-televised “Garcia vs. Rios” on Saturday. “Then people get mad when I give my thoughts on it.”

Malignaggi still has no problem giving his thoughts, whether they’re on a radio show, on TV or, more frequently, on Twitter, where he seemingly never lets a McGregor slight pass.

The truth of the matter is, sure, Malignaggi (36-8 boxing) would love to get a piece of McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC, 0-1 boxing) after he believes he was setup as the fall guy for the Irish champ’s meeting with Floyd Mayweather (50-0 boxing) this past August. Malignaggi would love to prove what he’s been saying all along – that he’s the vastly superior boxer to McGregor.

Of course, given the result of “The Money Fight,” that’s far less of a shock than it might have been this past summer. That’s why Malignaggi can’t imagine why McGregor would agree to face him now.

“Do you really think he wants to box me after what I did to him?” Malignaggi groaned. “You really think he’s going to risk, after all the junk he’s talked about me, the truth really coming out? He fooled enough stupid people to keep that perception going, and the only way you keep that perception going is by going nowhere near me.”

The other way Malignaggi would get satisfaction is if McGregor is interested in a little chat, whereupon the two might discuss their differences. Fists would be optional, not required.

“At day’s end, we can always discuss this,” Malignaggi said. “Sometimes, men just need to talk about it. Sometimes, they’ve got to do more, right?”

Malignaggi claims he was trying to work things out when he and McGregor nearly came nose-to-nose at the press conference for “The Money Fight.” If not for McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar – who Malignaggi somehow has come to know as “Avi” – they might have hashed things out.

“I was trying to pull Avi away from the media scrum to talk to him about it and be like, ‘Yo, listen, what’s going on, man? Man to man, talk to me truthfully.’ I wasn’t even going to bother Conor because he was in the media scrum. But Avi made a big scene, because what I found out about Avi is he wants to be famous more than Conor wants to be famous… . Conor’s a media whore, but Avi secretly wants to be just as famous as Conor.”

And so these days, Malignaggi is doing his own thing. He’s focused on his own projects. If Conor wants to discuss things, great. If Conor wants to box, even better. He’s even got an enticement to sweeten the deal..

“You can’t fight winner takes all, because commissions won’t allow it,” Malignaggi said. “But what you can do is give winning bonuses. We can put on the paper, as our purses, $50,000 each. Very minimal purse. The winner takes home the rest of the pot, which is all the other millions. That way, it’s winner takes all for real.”

Having fought for the UFC, McGregor is well acquainted to the idea of a win purse. Post-Mayweather, they matter less than ever. But should McGregor wish to shut his rival up, he can come see Malignaggi. You know, to talk things out.

“We can handle it, and then you can take the deceit out of it, the lies out of it, and then you’ve got the truth. You’ve got the truth in front of everybody, and I’ll send you home like a broke (expletive).”

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

Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Aug 16, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Conor McGregor poses during the weigh-in for his UFC fight at TD Garden tomorrow night. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports Aug 17, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Conor McGregor (black shorts) and Max Holloway (white shorts) fight during a UFC featherweight match at the TD Garden. McGregor won after three rounds by judges decision. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor enters the octagon ready for a featherweight fight against Dustin Poirier during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during a featherweight fight during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The referee calls off the fight after Conor McGregor (blue gloves) knocks out Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during a featherweight fight during UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Oct 24, 2014; Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL; Conor McGregor interacts with fans during a Q&A session before weigh-ins for UFC 179 at Ginasio do Maracanazinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jan 18, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Conor McGregor during his introduction in a featherweight bout against Dennis Siver (not pictured) at UFC Fight Night at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 18, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Conor McGregor (red) and Dennis Siver (blue) compete during a featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jul 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor steps on the scale for his bout against Chad Mendes (not pictured) during weigh-ins for UFC 189 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Jul 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC president Dana White (center) separates Conor McGregor (right) and Chad Mendes (left) during weigh-ins for UFC 189 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Mendes (red gloves) and Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fight during their interim featherweight title bout during UFC 189 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. McGregor won via second round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chad Mendes (red gloves) is wobbled and ultimately knocked out by Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during their interim featherweight title bout during UFC 189 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. McGregor won via second round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Chad Mendes (not pictured) during their interim featherweight title bout during UFC 189 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. McGregor won via second round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor pose for photos as they are separated by UFC president Dana White during weigh-ins for UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor before fighting against Jose Aldo during UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor lands punches to win via technical knockout against Jose Aldo during UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor exits the octagon following his championship victory against Jose Aldo during UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC president Dana White (center) attempts to separate Conor McGregor (left) from Nate Diaz during weigh-ins for UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Mar 4, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) is held back by UFC president Dana White during weigh-ins for UFC 196 fight against Nate Diaz (not pictured) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz moves in with a punch against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor moves in for a punch against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) punches Nate Diaz in the face during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz pins Conor McGregor against the cage during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz lands punches against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 5: Nate Diaz applies a choke hold to win by submission against Conor McGregor during UFC 196 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor is tended to by a doctor during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts following his loss against Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (red gloves) competes against Conor McGregor (blue gloves ) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (red gloves) competes against Conor McGregor (blue gloves ) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz competes against Conor McGregor during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (red gloves) competes against Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (red gloves) competes against Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Conor McGregor, right, and Nate Diaz embrace following their welterweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 202 on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Las Vegas. McGregor won by split decision. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) reacts to fight with Nate Diaz (red gloves) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nate Diaz (red gloves) competes against Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez face-off as UFC president Dana White breaks them up at the UFC 205 press conference at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on September 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Conor McGregor addresses the media at the UFC 205 press conference at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on September 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) before fighting Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 19, 2016; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Conor Mcgregor reacts to fight between Artem Lobov (red gloves) and Teruto Ishihara (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor arrives on stage before the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare down one another during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down as UFC president Dana White intervenes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor reacts as he takes cash from a money bag brought onto the stage by Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather takes a picture on stage with Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White steps in as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks to reporters while getting his hands wrapped during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 25, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor holds the Irish flag of Ireland during weigh ins for the upcoming boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 25, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor flexes as he stands on the scale during weigh ins for the upcoming boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 25, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (right) reacts alongside Floyd Mayweather during weigh ins for the upcoming boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor walks out into the arena prior to his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (not pictured) during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor reacts with the audience before his bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor prior to the fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (not pictured) during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor moves in against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the first round at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boxing referee Robert Byrd (left) with Conor McGregor during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a hit against Conor McGregor during their boxing match at the at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a hit on Conor McGregor during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (right) is punched by Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a hit against Conor McGregor during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. punch each other in the face during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) is punched in the face by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the tenth round during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a hit against Conor McGregor during the tenth round at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Referee Robert Byrd stops the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor in the tenth round at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (left) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (right) shake hands after their boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mayweather won via tenth round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor following the fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (not pictured) during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; Conor McGregor arrives as Salim Touahri (red gloves, not pictured) fights Warlley Alves (blue gloves, not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; Conor McGregor reacts as Artem Lobov (red gloves, not pictured) fights Andre Fili (blue gloves, not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; Conor McGregor leaves after Artem Lobov (red gloves, not pictured) fought Andre Fili (blue gloves, not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/dNYi5DMc6SEbpr3y2pP9Ag/303173", customAnalytics: true, title: "Conor McGregor", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Finally healthy, Derrick Lewis did away with 'half-ass training' before UFC-Austin

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AUSTIN, Texas – Derrick Lewis apparently is feeling quite refreshed going into his return Sunday at UFC Fight Night 126.

When Lewis (18-5-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) steps in the octagon for his heavyweight co-headliner with Marcin Tybura (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) on the FS1-televised card at Frank Erwin Center, it will have been eight months since “The Black Beast” competed, the longest break of his UFC career.

Lewis said he’s been plagued with a back injury for the past several years. The issue forced him to withdraw from a scheduled bout against Fabricio Werdum on fight day at UFC 216 in October and was one of the reasons he couldn’t compete to his usual standard in a loss to Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 110 in June.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 126 co-main-event breakdown: Is Derrick Lewis rightfully the underdog to Marcin Tybura?

The time away from competition has allowed Lewis to find the solution to his physical ailments. He said a weekly injection of magnesium has allowed him to return to 100 percent, which hasn’t been the case in a very long time.

“I really haven’t trained the last few years the way I’ve supposed to be training because of my back issue,” Lewis told MMAjunkie. “We fixed it, and I trained my ass off for this fight. … I still feel like I’ve got a lot left in the tank. I’m taking my training more serious, my diet more serious. I’m just giving myself a chance. Before I wasn’t giving myself a chance. Doing half-ass training, my coaches would try to push me, and I’m still half-ass training. But this camp right here, I really pushed myself to the limits.

“I don’t have no pain nowhere, nothing. I’m training more than 30 minutes a day. I’m doing two-a-days. I’ve been doing two-a-days, training more than just stair master for 15 minutes and hitting pads for 15 minutes. I’ve been doing more than just that.”

Lewis always has made it clear that his motivation for fighting is simply to support his family. Despite his intimidating presence and extraordinary knockout power, he said he’s not the biggest fan of actual combat. He likes the paydays that come with being in the UFC, though, and he said he’s more focused on making sure he gets every dollar by winning fights.

“Of course it’s about the money and stuff like that, but I am hungrier than I was before, back in 2010 when I first started MMA,” Lewis said. “I feel ready to go. I got the rest that I needed and the time off, and I feel ready.”

Lewis, No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, knows his greatest chance of earning bigger paydays comes through climbing to the top of the division. He knows the path that will get him there, and according to Lewis, it goes through Tybura, remaking the failed matchup with Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC), then settling his ongoing beef with fellow knockout artist Francis Ngannou (11-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC).

RelatedUFC Fight Night 126 pre-event facts: Despite skid, 'Cowboy' has legendary resume

“We can see if we can rise up in the ranks and try to get paid more this year,” Lewis said. “Hopefully I can fight four more times this year. Hopefully I get Ngannou sometime down the line. He said he wanted some time off, but we’ll see. I’ve got to get past Tybura, and hopefully if I can get past him, I want Fabricio, then Ngannou sometime this year. Because I know he wanted time off (after losing to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220).”

Although Lewis competing in any of the matchups mentioned would be beneficial to his career, he’s understanding that his road map for the future will only play out as desired if he wins at UFC Fight Night 126. He said Tybura is a worthy opponent, but like every other, he intends to take him out.

“Hopefully he doesn’t really try to take me down,” Lewis said. “Hopefully that’s not the game plan that his camp has. If so, that’s going to be a problem for him if he tries to take me down. If I get on top and he tries to take me down, and I reverse him or whatever, that’s just going to be a bad situation for him.

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 10, 2017; Auckland, NZ; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights against Mark Hunt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Spark Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Watts-USA TODAY Sports Jun 10, 2017; Auckland, NZ; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts during the fight against Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Spark Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Watts-USA TODAY Sports Jun 10, 2017; Auckland, NZ; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights against Mark Hunt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Spark Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Watts-USA TODAY Sports Jun 10, 2017; Auckland, NZ; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights against Mark Hunt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Spark Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Watts-USA TODAY Sports Jun 10, 2017; Auckland, NZ; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights against Mark Hunt (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Spark Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Watts-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis moments before the start of his fight against Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis moments before the start of his fight against Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) fights Travis Browne (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis climbs the octagon fence after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Derrick Lewis poses with his championship belt following a press conference after defeating Travis Browne during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis reacts after defeating Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Derrick Lewis reacts after defeating Shamil Abdurakhimov during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/R5RWHLgPMjy6yqjSdsr3KQ/303149", customAnalytics: true, title: "Derrick Lewis", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Ex-UFC champs Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida agree to meet at UFC 224 in Rio

Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) reacts after defeating Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports September 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Vitor Belfort steps into the ring prior to his fight against Jon Jones (not pictured) in the light heavyweight championship during UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Sep 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Vitor Belfort (right) against fighter Jon Jones during a light heavyweight bout at UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports September 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Jon Jones (left) fights Vitor Belfort in the light heavyweight championship during UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports September 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Jon Jones (left) fights Vitor Belfort in the light heavyweight championship during UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports May 18, 2013; Jaragua do Sul, BRAZIL; Luke Rockhold (blue shorts) fights against Vitor Belfort (red shorts) during UFC on FX 8 at ARena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 18, 2013; Jaragua do Sul, BRAZIL; Luke Rockhold (blue shorts) fights against Vitor Belfort (red shorts) during UFC on FX 8 at ARena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 18, 2013; Jaragua do Sul, BRAZIL; Vitor Belfort (red shorts) celebrates after defeating Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC on FX 8 at ARena Jaragua. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 22, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vitor Belfort weighs in for his middleweight championship bout against Chris Weidman (not pictured) at MGM GrandBallroom. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 22, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vitor Belfort (right) and Chris Weidman face off after weighing in for their middleweight championship bout at MGM GrandBallroom. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vitor Belfort (blue gloves) enters the arena for his bout against Chris Wiedman (not pictured) for the middleweight championship during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vitor Belfort enters the arena against Chris Wiedman (not pictured) for their middleweight championship bout during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chris Wiedman (red gloves) and Vitor Belfort (blue gloves) fight during their middleweight championship bout during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chris Wiedman (red gloves) and Vitor Belfort (blue gloves) fight during their middleweight championship bout during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chris Wiedman (red gloves) and Vitor Belfort (blue gloves) fight during their middleweight championship bout during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vitor Belfort (blue gloves) is tended to after being knocked out by Chris Wiedman (not pictured) during their middleweight championship bout during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports May 23, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vitor Belfort (blue gloves) after being knocked out by Chris Wiedman (not pictured) during their middleweight championship bout during UFC 187 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) before his fight against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) competes against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) competes against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) competes against Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) reacts after defeating Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Nov 7, 2015; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) reacts after defeating Dan Henderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Ronaldo Souza (red, top) throws punches down on Vitor Belfort (blue) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Vitor Belfort (blue) reacts after losing to Ronaldo Souza (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) fights against Gegard Mousasi (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) fights against Gegard Mousasi (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) fights against Gegard Mousasi (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) gets assistance in the octagon after his fight against Gegard Mousasi (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) before his fight against Kelvin Gastelum during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Vitor Belfort (red gloves) before his fight against Kelvin Gastelum during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) fights Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Victor Belfort (red gloves) reacts to fight against Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Nate Marquardt (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Victor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. 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A bout between two fellow countrymen and former UFC champions is headed toward the promotion’s next Brazilian outing.

While contracts have yet to be signed, Vitor Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC) and Lyoto Machida (23-8 MMA, 15-8 UFC) have verbally agreed to a UFC 224 meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the news to MMAjunkie today after reports by MMAFighting.com and Combate.com. The person requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make the news public.

UFC 224 takes place May 12 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedLyoto Machida, Eryk Anders pose for backstage photo after UFC Fight Night 125

The bout is the last in Belfort’s current UFC contract. “The Phenom” was supposed to have had his retirement fight in January at UFC Fight Night 124, but a health scare forced would-be opponent Uriah Hall out of the card at the last minute. Belfort comes off a unanimous decision over Nate Marquardt at UFC 212.

“The Dragon” Machida comes off a recovery-win of his own: a split decision over Eryk Anders in UFC Fight Night 125’s headliner earlier this month. The one-time middleweight title challenger, who also held the UFC’s 205-pound belt, had previously been riding the first three-fight skid of his MMA career.

The latest UFC 224 lineup now includes:

  • Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida
  • Nick Hein vs. Davi Ramos
  • Ramazan Emeev vs. Alberto Mino
  • Junior Albini vs. Aleksei Oliynyk

For more on UFC 224, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC-Austin's Diego Ferreira reflects on two years 'completely destroyed' by suspension

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AUSTIN, Texas – Diego Ferreira doesn’t know how he’ll feel Sunday when he makes his first walk to the octagon in 25 months. But, for now, he’s just happy to be back home after a painful detour.

In January 2016, Ferreira took a unanimous decision over Olivier Aubin-Mercier to bounce back from the first skid of his career and earn his third UFC win. He was looking to keep that going May 29 that year, in a scheduled UFC Fight Night 88 meeting with Abel Trujillo, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency intervened.

Ferreira had failed an out-of-competition test for Ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator with steroid-like properties. The fighter, who’d self-reported the use of also-banned 7-keto-DHEA as well, was ultimately given a 17-month suspension.

As he prepares for his UFC Fight Night 126 return, which takes place at Frank Erwin Center, Ferreira feels “awesome.” But it took getting over some anger and frustration as he tried to prove that contaminated supplements were to blame for the bust.

“At the end of the day I got caught with something I never heard about, never took it in my life,” Ferreira told MMAjunkie. “It just destroyed two years of my life. Completely destroyed, because I had plans on that time. I had plans to bring my kids from Brazil to over here in Texas. Took me a lot. Took two years to sit down and wait, to put food on my table, to put my kids in school, to get all the work I had to get done. It (made me worry) a lot.”

Ferreira had initially been given a 12-month suspension before ultimately accepting USADA’s final penalty. It was still lighter than the two years he could have gotten – a leniency that USADA, in a statement sent out at the time, said was due to “the circumstances” of Ferreira’s situation. They also said Ferreira had several of his supplements tested.

“At USADA’s request, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, independently obtained and analyzed the contents of an unopened container of the supplement in question,” the statement read. “That testing conclusively confirmed that although the supplement only listed one prohibited substance as an ingredient (7-keto-DHEA), it actually contained 7-keto-DHEA and a second undeclared prohibited substance (Ostarine) as well.”

Ferreira said he took supplements given by a friend – “a friend I can’t even call a friend” after it all went down, he added. But he also believes he was ill-advised as to what should follow once he failed the test. And while he’s now in a much better place, he admits he harbored some bitter feelings at first.

“I had plans to do,” Ferreira said. “I had things to supply for my family. And, one day to the next, it’s taken away from me. It got me (angry). It got me super (angry). We could do more, but I don’t have the way to get what I have to do. I couldn’t do anything, because I don’t know anything about it.

“I think the lawyer I got, I think we just like – ‘OK, let’s do this, it’s going to be better for you. And let’s go get away, just get over this.’”

Ferreira was able to bring his three kids to live with him in Texas, but the financial strain put him through some “very difficult” times. He even had to sell the Harley Davidson motorcycle he won for his knockout win over Ramsey Nijem at UFC 177.

“At the end of the day, I survived,” Ferreira said. “I (got) through it. My friends and family helped me a lot. But always I’d wake up and say, ‘Today is a new day. Let’s go. We need to get this over (with).’ And I got through the two-year suspension.”

But even bad things, Ferreira adds, happen for a reason.

While he did allow himself some time off to be upset with the situation after it happened, he ultimately made his way back to the gym. Unable to compete in MMA or Brazilian jiu-jitsu (he says he was also suspended by the IBJJF) he got to hone his muay Thai and wrestling. He got to focus solely on being a better coach and a more well rounded MMA fighter.

So, if UFC Fight Night 126 opponent Jared Gordon (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) had been basing his studies on Ferreira’s (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) old tape, the Brazilian lightweight has a piece of advice.

“(He’s) just wasting time,” Ferreira said. “Right now, it’s a completely different fighter. Trust me, you’re going to see on Sunday, on fight night, you’re going to see a good fighter.”

To hear more from Ferreira, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC newcomer Israel Adesanya warns everyone: 'If you want to beat me, better do it yesterday'

Israel Adesanya entered the octagon last Saturday carrying a lot of hype but also a few questions. The main one arguably: Could the exciting striker hold his own on MMA’s biggest stage?

Adesanya (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) answered that quite assertively. First, he turned Rob Wilkinson (11-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) into the 12th knockout victim of his 12-fight MMA record. And then the 28-year-old, who’d later bag an added $50,000 for his “Performance of the Night” efforts, made sure his post-fight was just as intriguing.

With that answer, though, comes yet another question: What now?

As it often happens when promising fighters make flashy debuts, especially those who excel at specific areas of the game, there’s a balance to be struck there. What kind of competition should the UFC give a fighter who clearly has star potential?

We’ll find out how the promotion feels about that when they announce his next matchup. But Adesanya has an easy answer in regard to the type of fights he wants to pursue.

“I’ll fight anyone, anyone in the world,” Adesanya told MMAjunkie a few days after the middleweight bout, which aired live on FS1 from Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia. “I’ve never really had my fights cherry-picked. A lot of these guys will get into the UFC or even combat sports, like boxing or kickboxing, they get their fights cherry-picked. Not me. All my fights were fighting the best people from different parts of the planet.

“Now I’m in the UFC, people are like, ‘Feed him some cans first or get him a top 10.’ I don’t really care. Either one is a fight for me. Whomever I fight, my pay check is still the same. And I’m getting bonuses in all the rest of my fights.”

RelatedA flip, a finish, and some pretend public urination add up to a memorable UFC debut for Israel Adesanya

Adesanya’s biggest strength is no secret to anyone. The Nigerian-born fighter, who fights out of New Zealand, holds an extensive kickboxing record, which he estimates sits at 79 fights, and a handful of boxing bouts. The numbers are solid, but it’s the visual evidence that really makes a compelling case for the human highlight reel.

As Wilkinson – and his 16 takedown attempts – showed, a lot of Adesanya’s competition will most likely prefer to test his blue-belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu than his hands and knees. But, as Saturday’s bout also helped illustrate, Adesanya is not too worried about that.

“Everyone just thinks they want to take me down,” Adesanya said. “I welcome it. For me, I wanted to showcase my stand-up in the last fight just to make my debut – put a stamp on it, get those 50 (grand). But I welcome someone to try to take me down and keep me down. Or to see what I’m like on my back, see what I’m like on top. This is not just stand-up fighting.”

Had he wanted to stick to what’s comfortable, Adesanya said, he could have easily just kept on his highly victorious kickboxing and boxing path. Instead, he chose to incorporate a whole new set of skills to his game – and test himself against some people who have been doing it for a long time on the biggest stages.

Why, you ask?

“For me, in the back of my mind, I don’t know if it’s my ego or just me being anxious,” Adesanya said. “I just felt if I ever run up on a guy with a jiu-jitsu black belt or a really good wrestler, he’d be able to (expletive) me up without even throwing a single punch. I can’t, as a man, I can’t live with that. Feeling vulnerable. Like someone might have an advantage in another area, in the ground or against the fence.”

And then, of course, there’s the challenge of learning.

“This is martial arts. You have to evolve and keep learning,” Adesanya said. “And, man, you jump to MMA, there’s so much to learn. There’s what you know, there’s what you don’t know and there’s what you don’t know you don’t know, which is infinite. That’s why you want to keep learning.”

The learning process is the reason Adesanya doesn’t see his UFC debut as an overdue occurrence. While a previous contract with a different organization kept him from getting signed sooner, Adesanya said he’s glad for the extra time he got to compete across the globe and meet fighters of different styles.

We got a preview of how that paid off at UFC 221. But Adesanya is nowhere near done showing what he can do.

“No one’s really calling me out or saying anything yet,” Adesanya said. “I know these boys, they’re just treating me like the Dark Lord – he who shall not be named. They feel like if they say my name, they might get the power. Or maybe they’re scared. I don’t really care.

“All I know is I’m working. If you want to beat me, you better do it yesterday, because every (expletive) day, I’m getting better.”

Adesanya’s exciting style inside the cage would certainly have been enough to capture some attention. But add to it his confident personality – and, of course, now a stylish UFC debut – and you can understand why the MMA community would be abuzz with the idea, however embryonic, of its possible next superstar.

For some fighters coming up, that is a label too heavy to carry. But, probably because he had no doubt it would happen eventually, that’s not the case with Adesanya.

“I’ve been there for a long time, you guys are just late to the party,” Adesanya said.

For complete coverage of UFC 221, visit the UFC events section of the site.

Zabit Magomedsharipov announces UFC 223 fight vs. Kyle Bochniak

Zabit Magomedsharipov is coming to America.

The rising Russian announced today on his Instagram page that he’s set to fight Kyle Bochniak at UFC 223, which takes place April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

No official announcement on the featherweight booking has been made by the UFC.

For the 26-year-old Magomedsharipov (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), the fight will mark his first in the U.S. After his first 12 fights occurred in Russia and Ukraine, his first two UFC appearances took place in China and Netherlands. Magomedsharipov is off to a hot start in the UFC, with both submission victories earning him “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

Bochniak (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC in January 2016. He was previously unbeaten in six fights under the CES MMA banner. In his most recent performance, Bochniak, 31, defeated Brandon Davis by unanimous decision at UFC 220.

The latest UFC 223 lineup includes:

  • Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov – for lightweight title
  • Champ Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – for women’s strawweight title
  • Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Joe Lauzon
  • Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis
  • Alex Caceres vs. Artem Lobov
  • Calvin Kattar vs. Renato Moicano
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Kyle Bochniak vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov

For more on UFC 223, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) reacts to fights against Mike Santiago (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mike Santiago (red gloves) fights Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) reacts to fights against Mike Santiago (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Sep 2, 2017; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Habit Magomedsharipov (blue gloves) reacts to fights against Mike Santiago (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ahoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/UbsswjxQJdR9Rf4mDSczL7/303137", customAnalytics: true, title: "Magomedsharipov def. Santiago", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

No longer operating off raw talent, UFC-Austin's Sage Northcutt wants to be best at everything

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AUSTIN, Texas – Is the sky the limit for Sage Northcutt now that he’s completely dedicated to MMA? He seems to think so ahead of UFC Fight Night 126.

Northcutt (9-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who meets Thibault Gouti (12-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) in a lightweight fight on Sunday’s FS1-televised main card at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, has completely immersed himself in the sport in recent months, specifically since he joined Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif.

Prior to committing full-time to Team Alpha Male, Northcutt was a bit of a wandering soul. He trained at numerous gyms while also trying to juggle an intense school curriculum while studying petroleum engineering at Texas A&M. Northcutt ditched school in favor of a full-time MMA career, and he said the results are showing.

“It’s been way more comfortable since I withdrew from school,” Northcutt told MMAjunkie. “Now I’m not studying to be a petroleum engineer. I’m able to focus full-time on the fight. Now the confidence is going up, and I’m feeling way more better because I know I’m improving every single day instead of taking the talent I had from when I was a little kid and going off that. Now I’m able to build that talent and get better.”

RelatedUrijah Faber wants Sage Northcutt ('Santa with abs') to vocalize title aspirations

Following a stretch of two losses in three fights, Northcutt joined Team Alpha Male. His short amount of time at the camp paid dividends in his recent performance, and Northcutt showed off his best work to date in a unanimous-decision win over Michel Quinones at UFC Fight Night 120 in November.

More than three months later, Northcutt said he’s continued to make strides in his game. With the mentorship of Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber, “Super” has only positive reviews of his new camp.

“Team Alpha Male’s been amazing,” Northcutt said. “I have my coach, Urijah Faber. He’s watching me do everything pretty much all the time. I’m training or grappling or sparring live. He’s over there making adjustments. He’s really hands on, so that makes a big difference.”

Northcutt said the biggest advancement in his game has been a cleaner offensive flow. He wants to be seamless as he moves from striking to wrestling to jiu-jitsu, and he said the coaches and training partners have brought that out of him.

RelatedAhead of UFC-Austin, peak Sage Northcutt's training – and glee-spreading – at Team Alpha Male

At just 21, though, Northcutt knows everything won’t come together instantly. Fighting is a never-ending journey of evolution, and Northcutt’s goals fit within that reality.

“I want to be super well-rounded,” Northcutt said. “I want to be eventually be the best wrestler out there, be the best grappler out there, along with being the best striker – be all of them at one time.”

Given the relative infancy of his career, Northcutt said fight preparation is more about himself than his opponents. He has watched footage and done specific training for Gouti, who has lost three of four in the UFC, but said his knowledge of his upcoming opponent is largely limited.

“I know he fought for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ show and he trains in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Northcutt said. “He’s from France. I know those things. I’ve been studying his tape and so have my coaches, and I’m looking forward to the fight.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) celebrates beating Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/fTHEXUGswpn6n5W4DMKpr5/303106", customAnalytics: true, title: "Northcutt def. Quinones", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

LFA 33's Kyle Stewart wants KO of Jaleel Willis – who is aware, but not worried

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Kyle Stewart and Jaleel Willis come into their fight tonight carrying the same goal and professional MMA record. The levels of intensity in talking about it, however, differ a bit.

Stewart (8-0) meets Willis (8-0) in the headlining bout of tonight’s LFA 33, which airs on AXS TV from The Bomb Factory in Dallas. Surely, adding a ninth win to his unblemished record wouldn’t be too bad, but Stewart already has his sights on bigger aspirations.

“He’s 8-0, and he’s tough; you can’t fake being 8-0,” Stewart told AXS TV’s Phoenix Carnevale. “But he doesn’t (expletive) want it like I want it. Trust me when I tell you that. I’m not just happy being here. I belong in the UFC. I’ve thought about it every day for the past eight years. And I’m telling you: I’m going in there to knock him unconscious in a way that (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby goes, ‘Kyle Stewart is fighting in the UFC, in Glendale, in April.’ That’s what I’m going in there for.”

The former U.S. Marine has had somewhat of a brush with the UFC before. This past May, coming off a submission win in his LFA debut and into a spot at Dana White’s Contender Series 3, an injury stoppage led Stewart into a TKO win over Jason Jackson.

“What I had to overcome in that fight with my injuries and everything going on, tearing my shoulder – I had no business winning that fight,” he said. “But I found a (expletive) way to win that fight.”

The win didn’t translate to a UFC contract, but he got something out of it.

“I feel like Jaleel is in my position that I was in,” Stewart said. “Because when I was looking at Jason Jackson, I was looking at a guy who was on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ He had beat – knocked out Dhiego Lima. He had beat game dudes. And I’m like, ‘Who have I fought compared to this guy?’

“And that’s why I’m not underestimating Jaleel. Because it doesn’t matter. You can’t do MMA math, but I went into that fight, and that fight taught me that I can fight anybody in the world. And I truly believe that I can win.”

Check it out (via YouTube):

Stewart’s commitment to fighting become quite apparent when he talks about how not even being in Afghanistan during a war deterred him from his training. But that doesn’t mean Willis, a former Bellator and WSOF fighter, is lacking in focus.

“Completely, just one fight at a time,” Willis said. “Just focused on my race. I’m like a horse, with the blinders. I ain’t worried about what brother doing over here, what a brother is doing over here. I’m coming out there. I’m focused on my race. Because at the end, I get that tunnel vision. That’s all I see. I know if I’m doing what I’ve got to do, can’t nobody mess with it.”

Willis’ beginnings as an MMA fighter may have been of the unorthodox kind (you can hear the full story for yourself in the video above, but let’s just say he went from T-shirt seller to co-headliner in a matter of hours) – but one unbeaten eight-fight run later, he’s got all the drive and inspiration to keep going.

“As a fighter, I think the same thing (about Stewart) I think about all my opponents: pretty tough and coming to fight,” Willis said. “He’s coming to knock me out. He ready. I’m ready. I ain’t worried about it. I’m just here to put in all the hard work I’ve been working toward. I just want to give my babies the life that I never had.”

To hear more from tonight’s headliners, check out the video above.

And for more on LFA 33, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

LFA 33 is live on AXS TV tonight at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT). Make sure to tweet along using #LFA33. AXS TV airs new, live fights almost every Friday night in 2017. Find AXS TV on your TV right here: www.axs.tv/fights.

'Cowboy' Cerrone passionately describes 'scariest, most intense, fun feeling' of fighting

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AUSTIN, Texas – For someone who “couldn’t even explain” the feelings and emotions that come from professional fighting, Donald Cerrone does a pretty damn good job of capturing the experience.

Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC), who meets Yancy Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 126 headliner, has made the walk to the cage at the highest level a near-record amount of times. The upcoming fight marks the 37th bout of his UFC/WEC career, and the only fighters with more bouts in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce combined history are Wanderlei Silva (40) and Dan Henderson (40).

“Cowboy” has experienced nearly all the highs and lows the sport has to offer. From losing a title fight to winning in highlight-reel fashion, Cerrone has his triumphs and tribulations, but it doesn’t get any easier.

RelatedSkidding into UFC-Austin headliner, 'Cowboy' Cerrone now the fighter he once criticized

Despite all of Cerrone’s experience, he said the journey to the octagon for a UFC fight never gets less nerve-racking.

“This is what I love,” Cerrone told MMAjunkie. “I love fighting. It’s the scariest, most intense, fun feeling. I couldn’t even explain it to you. From right now, can’t sleep at night, eating’s hard, make the weight, half the battle’s over. Fight day, (expletive). All your friends are like, ‘You’re going to kill him!’ Uh, no, (expletive). I’ve got to go in there and fight. It doesn’t just go like that. Scared. Pack your (expletive). We’re in the arena. All your teammates are fighting. Your coach is there.

“It’s crazy. It’s scary. You go throw up in the bathroom. I do anyway. Then you’re standing, and you walk down the hall with (expletive) lights in your face. Now you’re live on TV. You walk down that tunnel, and you’re like, ‘Holy (expletive).’ Six weeks (of training camp), and it’s here, and it’s now.”

UFC Fight Night 126 takes place at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The welterweight headliner between Cerrone and Medeiros airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 126 pre-event facts: Despite skid, 'Cowboy' has legendary resume

Cerrone said his addiction to the rush that comes with fighting is what keeps him going. Fans know he seeks an adrenaline rush anywhere he can get one. However, he said nothing compares to stepping in the octagon (via Twitter):

Just an average day in the life of @CowboyCerrone. #UFCAustin pic.twitter.com/okA0VfCVFq

— UFC (@ufc) February 15, 2018

“I’ve been on the edge of plane about to jump out, I’ve been on top of mountains, and nothing puts that (expletive) hair on the back of my neck feeling like walking to that (expletive) octagon and they shut that door,” Cerrone said. “And you’re like, ‘Well, there’s only two ways this can go: in or out.'”

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; against Donald Cerrone (red gloves) before his fight against Darren Till during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; against Donald Cerrone (red gloves) before his fight against Darren Till during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 21, 2017; Gdansk, Poland; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights against Darren Till (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ergo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone lands a kick against Robbie Lawler during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler react following their match during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Donald Cerrone moves in with a hit against Robbie Lawler during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) competes against Jorge Masvidal (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) fights Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) reacts to fight with Matt Brown (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Patrick Cote (blue gloves) fights Donald Cerrone (red gloves) in a welterweight bout during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Patrick Cote (blue gloves) fights Donald Cerrone (red gloves) in a welterweight bout during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports Jun 18, 2016; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Donald Cerrone (red gloves) reacts after his welterweight bout against Patrick Cote (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at TD Place Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/PVhrMETcnLxfjDpbGMSqL5/303089", customAnalytics: true, title: "Donald Cerrone", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

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