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Moses Murrietta ready to die to win LFA middleweight title

After suffering his first career loss to Ruslan Shamilov at M-1 Challenge 82 to close out his 2017, middleweight Moses Murrietta came back strong in 2018 with three straight wins.

First against Chris Herrera in January for Bellator and then against Casey Ryan in July and Sidiah Parker in November both for the LFA, Murrietta was able to pick up stoppages, but he is always looking to do better.

“All three fights went well,” Murrietta told MMAWeekly.com. “It was good to get back on my feet after the loss.

“I’m always satisfied with a win, but there’s always room for improvement. I’m always criticizing myself. I’m always seeing all the mistakes that I make.”

In particular, Murrietta feels like he’s had a lot of growth over the past year since the loss and is at the best point in his career game-wise at this moment.

“I’ve grown a lot after each and every fight,” said Murrietta. “I’ve gained a lot of experience from each fight. I feel like I’m only getting better.

“I feel more ready for this (upcoming) fight than for any of my last fights, really. I feel more prepared. My striking feels good. I feel mentally ready. I’m ready to put it all out there.”

This Friday in Lake Prior, Minnesota, Murrietta (8-1) will look to pick up his fourth straight victory when he faces Brendan Allen (10-3) in the 185-pound championship main event of LFA 61.

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre issues official statement on UFC retirement

“I’ll be willing to die in there, as cliché as it sounds, but I really will be,” Murrietta said. “I’m going to fight my heart out. I feel every attribute: the speed, the striking, the ground, the mental game – I’m feeling 100 percent for this fight and am ready to display it.

“I think it’s going to be about going out there and imposing my will on (Allen).”

With an LFA championship being another step forward in his career, Murrietta feels like 2019 could be the year he makes the next step up to the top level of MMA.

“The UFC is a major goal for this year,” said Murrietta. “I want to step into the UFC before 2019 is over.

“I’d like to just build my resume and sign a contract and just walk in there; that would be the best way for me. I could take a short-notice fight. I’m always ready to go, and it only takes me a couple of weeks to get in shape. The last thing I’d like to do is do the Contender Series, but of course I will if the opportunity presents itself.”

Anthony Avila looking to continue upward trend at Combate Americas 31

When it comes to his 2018, lightweight Anthony Avila couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

In three bouts last year, Avila was able to pick up wins in all of them, even though he feels like he didn’t have his best performances of his career in two of the bouts.

“Honestly it was the best year of my life,” Avila told MMAWeekly.com. “I was fortunate enough to get out to India and fight for Super Fight League. Combate offered me a fight and I went out and did some good work and got a decision against a tough gentleman. Then Tachi brought me back and I got a knockout against another tough guy.

“That SFL fight was probably one of the worst performances of my life. Indian food didn’t sit too well for me. I was sick for 11 days. I won a decision, but it was my worst performance for sure. In Combate I could have done better, but I did good and am pleased with that performance. At Tachi I feel like I really showed my heart and my grit, and show I know how to fight striking and grapple.”

For Avila, having his best year in over a 10 year career is a testament to his persistence through patches of what he would not have deemed his most motivated years.

“I actually thought I would be done by the age of 30,” said Avila. “I didn’t really have the desire to stay in the sport too long, but I’m still here, I’m still grinding, and I still love the sport. I feel great and am still motivated to go out and do what I do.”

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This Friday in Fresno, California, Avila (17-5) will look to add to his winning streak when he faces Pablo Sabori (9-5) in a 150-pound catchweight main event of Combate Americas 31.

“I just have to perform,” Avila said. “(Sabori is) a tough gentleman out of Tijuana. He’s a good striker with decent ground. I think I just need to perform; whether that’s striking or grappling; we’ll see what he gives me.”

While Avila would like to continue his upward trajectory in 2019, he’s focused on taking each fight as it comes and seeing where the results lead him.

“The endgame is obviously to compete for the UFC and show my talent to the world,” said Avila. “I want to prove to myself that I’m not doing this for nothing as well. But for now just one by one, seeing where we’re going with it and where it will take me.”

Ken Beverly not going to let Nate Jennerman breathe at LFA 61

Looking back on the three fights he had in 2018, featherweight prospect Ken Beverly feels he was picked to be a stepping stone for his opponents, but that’s fine with him.

Beverly was able to use put aside being viewed as the underdog, and in the end picked up three unanimous decision victories in his three bouts last year.

“It is motivation, but I just go out there and fight,” Beverly told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m always asked what am I going to do out there, or if I’m going to do this or do that, but I just go out there and fight.”

Beverly believes his ability to be the aggressor throughout the entirety of a fight is what played a big factor in his three wins last year.

“I’m able to outlast (my opponents),” said Beverly. “I feel confident when I get out there. I’m on top of my game every time I’m out there. As soon as (the cage door) closes I’m ready to go.

“I could go out there and get knocked out or submitted in a couple of seconds, but I’m going out there to try to enforce my will on you. I am trying to finish. That’s what I’m trying to do, and regardless of whether it doesn’t go three rounds or it goes to a decision, I’m coming and I’m not going to stop.”

This Friday in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Beverly (8-3) will look to add to his winning streak when he takes on Nate Jennerman (12-4) in a main card 145-pound bout at LFA 61.

TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov wants Georges St-Pierre to push back retirement so they can fight

“He’s a real technical guy,” Beverly said of Jennerman. “I’ve watched videos and he’s really good. His submission game is awesome.

“I’m going to try to take him out of his element as much as I can. Regardless of whether it be standing or on the ground, it doesn’t matter, I’m just going to come at him and am just not going to stop. I’m coming out there and am giving it all. I’m coming to win. I’m not going to let him breathe.”

Having previously fought in Bellator, Beverly would like to return to that level in 2019, and is willing to take whatever opportunity that comes his way to do so.

“Wherever they want me to fight at, I’ll go,” said Beverly. “If the UFC (called me and) told me I had to get ready in the next two weeks to face anyone at 145lbs, I would train my hind end off and get my weight down again to fight there. It wouldn’t matter. I’d take a short-notice fight.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years and have put everything to this sport. It’s everything to me. It’s my dream. I feel like I was born to do this. I love this sport.”

UFC Prague: Blachowicz vs Santos weigh-in video

(Courtesy of UFC)

Watch the UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3: Blachowicz vs. Santos weigh-in video. The weigh-in took place on Friday in Prague, Croatia, ahead of Saturday’s event.

TRENDING > UFC Prague: Inside the Octagon Preview – Jan Blachowicz vs Thiago Santos

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday for full UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3: Blachowicz vs. Santos live results and fight coverage. Jan Blachowicz squares off with Thiago Santos in the main event with the first bout scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT.

UFC Prague weigh-in results: Two fighters miss weight ahead of Blachowicz vs Santos

Jan Blachowicz - UFC weigh-in

The Ultimate Fighting Championship makes its first trip to Prague, Croatia, with this week’s UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3, which features a light heavyweight showdown in the main event. The bouts were all made official at Friday’s weigh-in, although two athletes missed weight.

The UFC Prague headliner pits Jan Blachowicz, who is trying to convert a winning streak into a title shot, against Thiago Santos, who had modest success at middleweight before recently making the move to his more natural weight at 205 pounds. Both men were on point. Blachowicz weighed 205 pounds, while Santos stepped on the scale at 204 pounds.

Blachowicz is currently riding a four-fight winning streak and hoping to make it five. Santos has back-to-back wins since moving up to the light heavyweight division, but a victory over Blachowicz would put him on the map en route to a title shot, as well.

The UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3 co-main event is a heavyweight battle between Stefan Struve and Marcos Rogerio de Lima. As is typically the case at heavyweight, neither man had issue with the scale, although Struve weighed in near the top of the divisional limit at 263 pounds. Not far behind, de Lima was 255 pounds.

Main card fighter Klidson Abreu, who is making his Octagon debut, stepped on the scale 3 pounds over the 206-pound limit for a light heavyweight non-title bout. He was fined 20-percent of his fight purse, but his fight with Magomed Ankalaev will remain intact. Ankalaev weighed 204 pounds.

Lightweight Diego Ferreira also missed the mark, tipping the scale at 157 pounds for his bout with Rustam Khabilov, who weighed 156 pounds. He also was fined 20-percent of his fight purse to keep the bout on Saturday’s fight card.

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre won’t completely rule out comeback for Khabib Nurmagomedov fight

UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3: Blachowicz vs. Santos Weigh-in Results

Main Card (2 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

  • Jan Blachowicz (205) vs. Thiago Santos (204)
  • Stefan Struve (263) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (255)
  • Gian Villante (206) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (204)
  • Liz Carmouche (125) vs. Lucie Pudilova (126)
  • John Dodson (136) vs. Petr Yan (136)
  • Magomed Ankalaev (204) vs. Klidson Abreu (209)*

Prelims (11 a.m. ET on ESPN+)

  • Dwight Grant (171) vs. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. (171)
  • Daniel Teymur (146) vs. Chris Fishgold (145)
  • Veronica Macedo (126) vs. Gillian Robertson (125)
  • Damir Hadzovic (155) vs. Polo Reyes (155)
  • Michel Prazeres (170) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (170)
  • Rustam Khabilov (156) vs. Diego Ferreira (157)*
  • Damir Ismagulov (155) vs. Joel Alvarez (156)

*Abreu and Ferreira were fined 20-percent of their fight purses for missing weight

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday for full UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3: Blachowicz vs. Santos live results and fight coverage. Jan Blachowicz squares off with Thiago Santos in the main event with the first bout scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT.

UFC Prague: Inside the Octagon Preview – Jan Blachowicz vs Thiago Santos

(Courtesy of UFC)

Dan Hardy and John Gooden break down the UFC Fight Night Prague main event matchup between Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos. The two light heavyweights headline the fight promotion’s first trip to the Czech Republic on Saturday.

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre, former UFC champion, announces retirement from MMA

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday for full UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 3: Blachowicz vs. Santos live results and fight coverage. Jan Blachowicz squares off with Thiago Santos in the main event with the first bout scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT.

Alexander Volkov vs. Alistair Overeem Headlines UFC’s Return to Russia on April 20

Alistair Overeem

A heavyweight showdown between Alexander Volkov and Alistair Overeem has been booked as the main event for the UFC’s return to Russia on April 20.

The card will take place in St. Petersburg with the heavyweight contest at the top of the show.

Volkov (30-7) is coming off the first defeat of his UFC career after rattling off four straight wins in the division. In his last fight, Volkov was dominating Derrick Lewis for the better part of three rounds but the ferocious knockout puncher staged a late comeback to get the finish in the closing seconds of the fight.

Now Volkov looks to bounce back while fighting at home in Russia for the first time since 2016 in his last bout before joining the UFC.

Meanwhile, Overeem (44-17, 1 NC) got back in the win column in his last fight with a first round TKO against Sergey Pavlovich when they clashed in China.

Overeem has gone 3-2 overall in his past five fights as he remains one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the sport and now he’ll look to play spoiler for Volkov’s homecoming.

The UFC Fight Night card from Russia will have more bouts announced in the coming weeks as the April 20 show approaches.

Ariel Sexton, Saygid Arslanaliev book ONE Lightweight Grand Prix semifinal berths

Ariel Sexton wins at ONE Call to Greatness

Saygid Arslanaliev and Ariel Sexton will meet in the semifinal of the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix. Both booked their berths with stoppage wins at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, although the Costa Rican took a little longer than the Turk.

The first quarterfinal of the night at ONE: Call to Greatness pitted Arslanaliev against Ev Ting. Barely 10 seconds had  elapsed when the Dagestan-born fighter connected with a left hook that stunned the Asian MMA veteran.

All six of Arslanaliev’s previous wins had come inside the distance and he showed some of the ruthlessness he is becoming renowned for when he pounced on the prone New Zealander and finished him with a barrage of ground and pound.

The finish came at the 25-second mark and takes Arslanaliev’s overall record to 7-1. It would be 8-0 if he hadn’t been disqualified for knocking out an opponent with a soccer kick. The 24-year-old will be a force to be reckoned with in the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix.

Ting drops to 16-6 after losing back to back fights for the first time in his career.  Arslanaliev now has his sights firmly set on Sexton, who had to weather an early storm before finishing local favorite Khan with a rear naked choke in the third round.

Khan looked sharp in the early exchanges and a short punch opened a cut on Sexton’s face. The Costa Rican was looking to land single shots and shoot for takedowns while the hometown hero was picking is shots more intelligently and looked on the verge of finishing the fight with strikes on a couple of occasions.

Khan started the second round strongly but started to fade from the fight as Sexton landed one of his trademark uppercuts. The round finished with the Costa Rican moving into mount but the bell sounded before he could do any real damage.


In the third round Khan looked tired and Sexton capitalized with a takedown attempt, taking the Singaporean’s back and locking in a deep rear naked choke. The tap came at the 1:13 mark and improved Sexton’s record to 13-4, while his opponent dropped to 11-5.

Sexton meets Arslanaliev in one semifinal bout, while Eddie Alvarez faces Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: A New Era with the winner booked to face Lowen Tynanes in the penultimate round of the Lightweight Grand Prix. 

In the ONE: Call to Greatness main event, ONE atomweight kickboxing champion Stamp Fairtex became the first fighter in the promotion to become a champion in two disciplines at the same time, as she defeated Janet Todd for the inaugural ONE atomweight Muay Thai title.

ONE: Call to Greatness Results

  • Stamp Fairtex def. Janet Todd by Decision (Unanimous) (For Inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai Title)
  • Ariel Sexton def. Amir Khan via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) (ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
  • Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev def. Ev Ting via TKO (Punches) at 0:25 of round one (ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
  • Kickboxing: Nieky Holzken def. Mustapha Haida via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke def. Jeremy Miado via TKO (Knees) at 2:38 of Round 2 
  • Kickboxing: Petchdam Gaiyanghadao def. Masahide Kudo via KO (Punch) at 0:35 of Round 2 
  • Kickboxing: Zhang Chenglong def. Kong Sambo via Decision (Split)
  • Kickboxing: Regian Eersel def. Anthony Njokuani via KO (Punch) at 1:03 of round 2 
  • Ayaka Miura def.Laura Balin via Submission (Scarf Hold Lock) at 1:13 of round 1 
  • Masakazu Imanari def. Kwon Won Il via Submission (Heel Hook) at 0:53 of Round 1 
  • Rudy Agustian def. Khon Sichan via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:14 of Round 1

Mackenzie Dern Puts UFC Career on Hold After Announcing Pregnancy

Mackenzie Dern - UFC 224 lunch

Mackenzie Dern will be taking an extended break from fighting in the UFC after announcing her pregnancy on Friday.

The multi-time grappling champion was originally rumored to return in May with the UFC plotting a show in Brazil but now it appears Dern will put those plans on hold as she prepares to start a family instead.

“God makes everything so perfect! I am so happy to be able to share this news! I’m going to be a Mom!” Dern wrote on Instagram. “I love so much our family and now I have one more HUGE motivation for inside and outside the ring!! Thank you God for this blessing.

“I also want to thank all my fans and sponsors for the support during all the life phases and I can’t wait to be back in the ring.”

View this post on Instagram

God makes everything so perfect! I am so happy to be able to share this news! I’m going to be a Mom! I love so much our family and now I have one more HUGE motivation for inside and outside the ring!! Thank you God for this blessing 🙏🏼 @santoswesley ❤️ I also want to thank all my fans and sponsors for the support during all the life phases and I can’t wait to be back in the ring! 🥊🥋 • • • • • Deus faz tudo perfeito!!! Estou muito feliz em poder dividir com vcs essa notícia! Vou ser Mãe!!!! Amo tanto essa minha família, agora tenho mais uma motivação dentro e fora do octógono!! Que esse/essa bebe venha com muita saúde. Agradeço Deus por essa benção 🙏🏼 @santoswesley ❤️. Também quero agradecer todos meus fãs e patrocinadores pelo apoio durante todas as fases da vida e não vejo a hora de voltar as lutas🥋🥊

A post shared by Mackenzie Dern🇺🇸🇧🇷 (@mackenziedern) on

Dern has long been considered one of the best prospects in the sport after transitioning to mixed martial arts after a successful career on the mats as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner.

Dern is currently 2-0 in the UFC after earning a split decision victory against Ashley Yoder in her debut and then finishing Amanda Cooper with a first round rear naked choke last May.

She took an extended break after two fights in the span of three months and was preparing for her return to action in the near future when she received this news.

Dern vowed to fight again but it appears her return to action won’t happen until some time in 2020.

Max Holloway faces Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236

Featherweight champion Max Holloway will move to 155 pounds and face off with Dustin Poirier to crown a new interim lightweight champion at UFC 236 on April 13 from Atlanta.

The surprise matchup was confirmed on Friday night by UFC president Dana White when speaking to ESPN with additional sources also confirming the matchup between Holloway and Poirier.

The matchup came together after lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov made it clear he would not return until after October. Nurmagomedov is currently serving a nine month suspension for his role in a post fight brawl at UFC 229 last October but the undefeated Russian chose to sit out for a full year in solidarity with his teammates who were suspended 12 months.

The UFC then turned to Tony Ferguson with an offer to compete for the interim title but White claims he turned down the opportunity.

That’s when the UFC offered the matchup to Poirier, who has been clamoring for a big fight after turning into a human wrecking ball to tear through Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis in consecutive matchups.

As for Holloway, the reigning featherweight champion will move to 155 pounds for the opportunity to win a second world title while simultaneously attempting to avenge his first defeat in the UFC.

Poirier submitted Holloway all the way back in 2012 when both were competing at featherweight.

Now they meet again with the winner being crowned interim lightweight champion.

Holloway vs. Poirier will headline UFC 236 with the co-main event set as another interim title fight as Kelvin Gastelum faces Israel Adesanya at middleweight.