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Jose Mariscal Prepared to ‘Do the Right Things’ to Beat Youssef Zalal at LFA 57

While he didn’t have as much output as he would have liked in 2018, featherweight up and comer Jose Mariscal feels like his year was productive for the growth of his game.

In particular, for Mariscal, the biggest thing was learning to adapt to adversity when applying his game in bouts.

“Last year I was still trying to figure out my style,” Mariscal told MMAWeekly.com. “I over-do strikes or I over-throw, so I felt like last year was me finding my range and where I find guys with my own technique.

“If my first move didn’t work or my second move didn’t work, we had a third or fourth. I’ve just been learning more and I feel great. I feel like I’ve evolved so much over this past year.”

It is because of his development that Mariscal isn’t overly frustrated with only fighting twice in 2018.

“We had a bunch of guys back out of some cards we were looking at,” said Mariscal. “Last year I didn’t fight that much; I try to fight three or four times.

“I look at it as a good thing because I sharpened up all my weapons. I’ve been with this team for two years, and I’m still trying to learning their styles, so I just sharpened up more with my coaches and teammates.”

Mariscal (8-3) will look to kick off his 2019 on a high note when he faces Youssef Zalal (6-0) in the LFA 57 lightweight main event on Friday in Broomfield, Colo.

TRENDING > Conor McGregor Issues Sharp Retort to Georges St-Pierre’s Coach

“I actually saw him at LFA (56 in December) and right that’s when I wanted to fight him,” Mariscal said of Zalal. “I saw him and I heard he said if he was healthy he wanted to do this Denver card, and I was ready too and looking for a fight.

“I want the best guys. I don’t want to be overlooked. I want the top guys, and that’s what we did (by getting Zalal). I feel like my style is a little more advanced than Youssef’s, and I feel like I’m going to do the right things to win this fight.”

For Mariscal facing someone like Zalal is a means to an end; it helps pave the way towards making a move up to the next level in 2019.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do, and that’s why I call out the best guys,” said Mariscal. “I want the best names that are out there that are floating around. I feel like with this fight, hopefully sometime I can make that step closer to a bigger show.”

Donald Cerrone: ‘I Like Money and I Like Finishing Fights, So I’m Definitely Going for It’

Donald Cerrone - UFC 206

(Courtesy of UFC) Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is highly motivated to finish his opponent Alex Hernandez by knockout or submission Saturday night at Fight Night Brooklyn. TRENDING > Till vs. Masvidal, Edwards vs. Nelson Headline UFC Fight Night in London in March Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Jan. 19, for full UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Live Results and Fight Stats. The first bout is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT with Cejudo vs. Dillashaw finishing out the night.

Mario Bautista Not Expecting Any Surprises from Cory Sandhagen at UFC on ESPN+ 1

Looking over the course of his first two years as a pro, bantamweight Mario Bautista believes he’s been making the right steps in his career so far.

Since turning pro in 2017, Bautista has managed to go undefeated in his first six fights and has been able to have the type of performances that open peoples’ eyes.

“I feel like I’ve done pretty well,” Bautista told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve got the wins that I was supposed to get, finished most of my opponents, and I’ve been evolving every day along the way since my first pro fight. I’m pretty happy about how my career has started.

With his strong start, Bautista has earned himself a shot at the UFC. And while he’s managed to get to the top level of MMA, he knows now is no time to solely rely on what got him there.

“I’m going to be a lot more patient in this (first UFC) fight,” said Bautista. “At this level you’ve got to pick your shots a bit more, not going 110 percent rushing forward right off the bat. Learning to be patient was one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned over the past two years, and it will be on display Saturday.”

TRENDING > Till vs. Masvidal, Edwards vs. Nelson Headline UFC Fight Night in London in March

This Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y., Bautista (6-0) will make his promotional debut versus Cory Sandhagen (9-1) in a UFC on ESPN+ 1 preliminary 135-pound bout.

“This is a great match-up,” Bautista said. “Patience will be key; the other guys that (Sandhagen has) fought in the UFC, they weren’t patient with him and they paid for it. I’ve sparred with people who move exactly like Cory; there won’t be any surprises for me Saturday night.”

Now that he’s in the UFC, Bautista is looking to have a year consistent with the past two and finish out 2019 undefeated.

“I’d like to fight in the UFC at least two more times this year,” said Bautista. “It’s hard to have a concrete goal beyond that, really, because you never know what opportunities will come up. I want to fight as much as possible and finish all of my opponents.”

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Weigh-In Results – Flyweight Title Fight Officially Set

The Ultimate Fighting Championship begins its ESPN era this week with UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The fight promotion’s debut on ESPN and the network’s digital subscription service, ESPN+, kicks off with a champion vs. champion superfight between flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and bantamweight titleholder TJ Dillashaw for the 125-pound belt.

The bout is made even more intriguing because of the doubt surrounding the UFC flyweight division’s future. Should Cejudo win, he might very well be saving the weight class’s future, while Dillashaw may be driving the final nail into the coffin of the division which appears to be on its last legs.

The UFC on ESPN+ 1 main event was made official on Friday after Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw stepped on the scale at the official weigh-in.  Dillashaw stepped on the scales first weighing in at 124.6 pounds while Cejudo tipped the scales at 124.4.

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Weigh-in Results

Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN)

  • Henry Cejudo (c) (124.4) vs. T.J. Dillashaw* (124.6)
  • Greg Hardy (264) vs. Allen Crowder (252.6)
  • Gregor Gillespie (155.2) vs. Yancey Medeiros (155.4)
  • Joseph Benavidez (124.4) vs. Dustin Ortiz (123.8)
  • Paige VanZant (125.8) vs. Rachael Ostovich (125.6)
  • Glover Teixeira (205.6) vs. Karl Roberson (203.8)

Prelims (8 p.m. ET on ESPN)

  • Donald Cerrone (155.8) vs. Alexander Hernandez (155.4)
  • Joanne Calderwood (125.8) vs. Ariane Lipski (125.2)
  • Alonzo Menifield (204.6) vs. Vinicius Castro (205.6)
  • Mario Bautista (135.2) vs. Cory Sandhagen (135.6)

Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

  • Dennis Bermudez (155.8) vs. Te’Jovan Edwards (155)
  • Belal Muhammad (170.2) vs. Geoff Neal (170.4)
  • Kyle Stewart (170.4) vs. Chance Rencountre (170.4)

*For UFC flyweight championship

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Jan. 19, for full UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Live Results and Fight Stats. The first bout is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT with Cejudo vs. Dillashaw finishing out the night. Cerrone vs. Hernandez headlines the prelims, which will air on ESPN’s cable network, while Cejudo vs. Dillashaw headlines the UFC’s first fight card for subscribers of the ESPN+ digital streaming service.

Joanne Calderwood: Flyweight Finally Has a ‘Great Champion’ in Valentina Shevchenko, Hopes to Face Her in 2019

Joanne Calderwood has been less than impressed by what she’s seen out of the flyweight division so far in the UFC.

First created last year during ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, the flyweights crowned a champion in Nicco Montano, who then dealt with a foot injury that kept her sidelined for nearly nine months.

When she finally did return, Montano suffered through a brutal weight cut and ultimately had to be pulled out of her own title fight, which led to her being stripped of the flyweight champion.

Meanwhile, top contenders like Sijara Eubanks have also struggled to make weight while working towards a potential title shot.

The good news is the flyweight division finally found some stability this past December when Valentina Shevchenko defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to become the new champion in the division. Shevchenko has already said she wants to defend her title multiple times in 2019 and she’s regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound women’s fighters on the planet.

“I really think it’s a mess right now,” Calderwood told MMAWeekly about the flyweight division. “There’s so many people missing weight. It’s kind of in the in between stage. People at strawweight are still trying to make strawweight instead of coming up and then we’ve got people at bantamweight that are coming down that can’t make the weight.

“I think in 2019, everything is going to flatten out and it’s going to be a great division and we already have a great champion. I’m happy with that. I think it’s kind of up and down right now with the weight issue.”

Calderwood was happy to see somebody like Shevchenko become champion because that’s exactly what the division has needed all along.

In fact, Calderwood hopes to get Shevchenko’s attention when she returns to action on Saturday night in a fight against UFC newcomer Ariane Lipski at UFC Fight Night from Brooklyn.

“When the title fight got announced between her and Joanna [Jedrzejczyk], I thought that was great and it was great for the division because this is the kind of division I want to be in with high level strikers,” Calderwood said. “If I look to the future, that’s the perfect fight for me. I’m glad she’s the champion in the division.

“Obviously I’m not seeing past January but I could see in the future that’s a fight I would want to happen, especially in 2019.”

If Calderwood is successful this weekend, she would move to 3-0 in the division and start knocking on the door to title contention.

The last thing she wants to do is call out Shevchenko in a disrespectful way but Calderwood would definitely love the opportunity to compete against her with the UFC flyweight title on the line.

“She’s worked so hard and you can tell she’s a grinder and dedicated to the sport,” Calderwood said about Shevchenko. “That’s someone I want to fight and beat because then you’ll really know you’ve done it. She’s humble and a lovely person so that’s a bonus.”

Bryce Logan Hoping CES 54 Win Will Catapult Him to the Next Level

While he split his two fights in 2018, lightweight Bryce Logan still feels that 2018 was a productive year for him.

After picking up a unanimous decision victory over Dakota Bush in the LFA to open up 2018, Logan dropped a split-decision to Demarques Jackson at Bellator 204, but still has a positive outlook about the year overall.

“That fight against Dakota for the LFA in April in Sioux Falls went really well,” Logan told MMAWeekly.com. “I think I handled that fight pretty well and dominated the fight. I would have liked to have used more striking against him; and I think if I would have done that I would have secured a finish instead of a unanimous decision.

“Then in August I fought for Bellator against Demarques, and even though that fight was a loss, it did a lot for my confidence. I got to go in there and mixed it up a little more, and it kind of opened my eyes to what I’m capable of as well. Even though we lost a split-decision in that one, for me I took a lot of things from that fight.”

As Logan points out, his loss to Jackson ended up opening his eyes to some things, and thus it ended up being the more productive of the two bouts he had last year.

“I think my best fight of 2018 was a loss, as crazy as that sounds,” said Logan. “That did the most for my confidence and seeing where I’m at, and that I’m able to compete with some of the top-level guys in the country.”

TRENDING > Stephen Thompson Set to Welcome Anthony Pettis to UFC Welterweight Division

On Saturday in Lincoln, R.I., Logan (9-3) will look to get back into the win column when he faces Nate Andrews (14-1) in a 155-pound championship main event of CES 54.

“I like that he’s 14-1 and is ranked highly and is highly-touted,” Logan said of Andrews. “I’m not in the game anymore to just skate by and get easy wins. I want to go out and I want to test myself and prove that I am one of those guys who should be considered for the next level.

“I’m excited to throw my name in the hat and let people know that I’m one of the guys they should be watching and paying attention to.”

Should Logan capture the CES title on January 19, he hopes it will help add to his case for making the move up to the next level in 2019.

“My eyes have been – and continue to be – set on the next level,” said Logan. “This is a great opportunity for me to step up and prove my worth to some of the bigger shows, and hopefully use that to catapult me to the next level.”

UFC Unveils New Legacy Championship Belt

(Courtesy of UFC)

The UFC Legacy Championship Belt will be uniquely customized for each individual champion by the athlete’s country, weight class, and number of title defenses. Each belt will be assigned its own serial number and will feature UFC President Dana White’s engraved signature for authenticity.

The UFC Legacy Championship Belt, a design collaboration between UFC, belt designer Brad Flaherty, and Jae El Manufacturing, measures 50 inches in length and 12 inches in height, with an overall weight of 10.45 pounds. Made from genuine leather, the belt has a custom Octagon pattern embossed on its trim with gold Octagon-shaped snaps that include UFC’s logo.

The belt’s main plate is highlighted by the UFC logo. Made from high-polished gold, the logo is centered on a pattern comprising squares and octagons. The octagon contains 25 lines that represent UFC’s silver anniversary, which it celebrated in 2018. Each square has eight lines that represent the eight sides of the Octagon.

The belt’s flag iconography is highlighted throughout the design as a way to honor the first eight countries to have a UFC champion:

• Belarus (Andrei Arlovski)
• Brazil (Murilo Bustamante)
• Canada (Carlos Newton)
• Ireland (Conor McGregor)
• Netherlands (Bas Rutten)
• Poland (Joanna Jedrzejczyk)
• United Kingdom (Michael Bisping)
• United States (Mark Coleman)

TRENDING > UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Weigh-In Results – Flyweight Title Fight Officially Set

The belt’s left-side plate will recognize the titleholder’s name and weight class, with their native country showcased with flag iconography. Eight stones border the plate, and for each victory in a championship bout, one of the stones will be replaced with a red ruby. The date and location of the win will be engraved adjacent to the stone. If an athlete successfully defends their belt more than eight times, red stones will be added to the right-side plate to continually acknowledge the accomplishment. The belt’s right-side plate is adorned by a gold UFC World Champion logo and bordered by eight stones. UFC’s jewelry partner, Bixler, will donate all stones and engravings.

Ariane Lipski Has High Expectations Heading into UFC Debut

(Courtesy of UFC) “The Violence Queen” Ariane Lipski makes her UFC debut against Joanne Calderwood at Fight Night Brooklyn on Saturday night. Lipski brings a nine-fighting winning streak to the octagon in her debut along with high expectations. TRENDING > UFC on ESPN+ Odds: Is Henry Cejudo or TJ Dillashaw Going to Walk Away with Flyweight Belt? Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Jan. 19, for full UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Live Results and Fight Stats. The first bout is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT with Cejudo vs. Dillashaw finishing out the night.

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Weigh-in Replay

(Courtesy of UFC)

The UFC Fight Night Brooklyn fighters officially weighed in on Friday.  See how the athletes looked on the scales ahead of Saturday’s event. 

Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw drops down to the flyweight division to challenge titleholder Henry Cejudo in Saturday’s main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The event will be the debut of the UFC on ESPN+.

TRENDING > TJ Dillashaw: ‘I Am Being Greedy Jumping Down to 125 and Taking That Belt’

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Jan. 19, for full UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Live Results and Fight Stats. The first bout is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT with Cejudo vs. Dillashaw finishing out the night.

Amanda Nunes Says No to Cris Cyborg, She’s Done with 145-Pound Division

Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg

Cris Cyborg has been lobbying for a rematch almost from the moment she lost to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 on Dec. 29, but it sounds as if that rematch might never come. 

Nunes took Cyborg out in just 51 seconds, but the former featherweight champion felt that fans felt she deserved a rematch, and why shouldn’t she? After all, Cyborg hadn’t lost an MMA bout in more the 13 years prior to that night.

Nunes first teased that she was going to make Cyborg wait two years for a rematch, but now it appears that she might never be willing to run it back, the dual-division champion saying that she is now done with the heavier weight class.

“Sorry Cristiane, but I’m done with 145. My Goal was to be a double champ,” Nunes tweeted. “But, now I can help you build the division. I got someone for you (Kayla Harrison) is a true 145er.”

Harrison is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and world champion judoka, who is currently undefeated in her move to mixed martial arts. All three of her professional bouts have been under the PFL banner, where she submitted her first opponent and stopped the other two via technical knockout.

Harrison and her team have been amping up the public pressure of late, calling for a fight with Cyborg.

“I believe the fight that needs to happen,” her manager, Ali Abdelaziz told MMAWeekly.com before UFC 232. “Right now [Cris] Cyborg is the [greatest of all time], but I believe Cyborg and Kayla Harrison need to fight at the end of 2019 or 2020. I think Cyborg is the greatest combat athlete ever competing in the cage and a lot of people think I’m crazy. I’ve trained with [Kayla] and she’s legit.”

It’s unclear if Nunes is saying that she is ready to relinquish the UFC featherweight title she took from Cyborg just yet, but certainly sounded like it by her tweet. 

TRENDING > UFC Poised for Optimal Growth as ESPN Finally Enters the Octagon

She also went on conversing with fans on Twitter, joking about nonsensical fights with the likes of Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and Brock Lesnar. 

Nunes sounded serious, however, when she stated that, “Holly [Holm] would definitely be a great fight to defend my belt at 135.”

She left everyone guessing about her true intentions, however, signing off for the night with one final cryptic tweet. 

“Good night. Anything can change in this business.”