About Rich Mitchell

http://groundforcefights.com

Posts by Rich Mitchell:

Taylor Johnson Plans to ‘Put It On’ Aaron Chambers at LFA 57

Taylor Johnson - LFA

While his performances in his fights have been impressive, the one thing that has eluded middleweight up and comer Taylor Johnson has been consistency finding bouts.

Since turning pro two and a half years ago, Johnson has only fought four times. Though he’s still young in the sport, Johnson knows that sometimes things just happen and you have to accept circumstances that come up and move on.

“Last year was pretty good,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com. “I wish I could have gotten in a couple more fights in, but you know how it is. Sometimes you get injured, or things come up, people drop out; stuff like that happens.

“I actually got injured before my last fight that was supposed to happen in Minnesota in December, so that would have been my third fight of the year. Sometimes that’s how it goes. I really hope things pick up and I stay healthy and thing stay steady and there’s plenty of guys in line to fight.”

While he’s been able to pick up finishes in all four of his pro bouts so far, Johnson does admit he wants to be able to slow things down a little bit and get more experience in some aspects of his game.

“I kind of go out there like I’m killing snakes; I’m throwing crazy punches and it usually leads to wrestling, and it usually works in my favor,” said Johnson.

“I would like to showcase my striking a little more. That will come if I was a little more relaxing going into fights. I think if I fought more frequently I would be a little more relaxed in going into it rather than fighting every four, five, or six months.”

This Friday in Broomfield, Colo., Johnson (4-0) is looking to continue his winning ways when he faces Aaron Chambers (2-0) in an LFA 57 main card 185-pound bout.

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

“I don’t know who this kid is really,” Johnson said of Chambers. “Looking up his record, all the fights he’s lost have been through grappling, submissions.

“Honestly I’m just going to go out there and put it on him. If he wants to strike, we’ll strike. If he gets in grabbing range, I like to get them to the ground because I’m pretty dangerous when I get on top of you.”

Should Johnson continue his winning streak and pick up another impressive finish, he could find himself stepping up to the next level before the end of 2019, which is exactly what he’s planning for.

“The goal is try to be in the Top 10 in one of the big shows by the time I’m 30,” said Johnson. “I’m 28 now, so hopefully this year I can sign with the UFC or another promotion like that.

“I think I have two more fights on my LFA contract, and I’ve put so much work into this, and I love the LFA, but I’d love to get to the UFC. (In 2019) I’d love to get in three or four more fights and get to the next level.”

Alexander Hernandez Calls ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone a ’60-Percent’ Fighter Who Runs From Adversity

Alexander Hernandez is nothing if not confident.

The upstart lightweight contender, who burst onto the scene in the UFC last year with back-to-back wins over Beneil Dariush and Olivier Aubin-Mercier, has been asking for the toughest fights the UFC could throw at him while awaiting his next opponent.

He was gladly on board for a showdown against ‘Fight of the Night’ machine Justin Gaethje and when that didn’t happen, Hernandez was quick to accept a fight against Francisco Trinaldo instead.  

When the UFC then opted to match him up against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone as the headlining fight on ESPN this weekend, Hernandez couldn’t sign his contract fast enough.

“This is the most ideal paradigm for a fight at this stage of my career,” Hernandez said about facing Cerrone when speaking to MMAWeekly. “I need to build my stock. I need to build my fan awareness and just awareness to the general public. So this fight couldn’t have come at a more perfect time to catapult me into that next tier of competition and rankings.

“And all the rankings are f—king subjective anyways. What’s more important is getting your name out there and so Cerrone is the way to do that.”

Cerrone returns to the lightweight division after spending the past couple of years competing at 170 pounds. The move up to a new weight class happened after Cerrone suffered a first round knockout loss in his only attempt to win a UFC title coupled with a tough weight cut to get down to the 155-pound limit.

Cerrone had some big wins at welterweight but he also suffered through some tough losses as well and after his last victory against Mike Perry, he announced his intentions to return to lightweight once again.

Hernandez sees Cerrone’s inability to stick with a weight class as just another example of his primary criticism with the UFC and WEC veteran.

“I think he’s an unsure guy,” Hernandez said about Cerrone. “I think he’s slow to learn. I think he’s extremely temperamental. He goes to 170 [pounds] because 155 [pounds] is not necessarily his best cut and then he goes back to 155. He does a number of extracurricular activities to distract himself from the greatest task at hand, which is a face off in the Octagon. I think he’s constantly running and constantly dividing his attention so he can really find balance or avoid adversity or stress.

“I walk head on into it. I never f—king run from it. That’s going to be forever his greatest crippling attribute.”Donald Cerrone UFC Denver Post Scrum

Hernandez feels like Cerrone’s shortcomings also play a part in some of the crazy activities he does on the side while constantly risking his fighting career at the same time.

Cerrone is well known for his daredevil tendencies while doing everything from rock climbing to wake boarding to riding motorcycles, often times just days away from his fights.

“He puts 60-percent into fighting and 40-percent elsewhere,” Hernandez said. “I put 100-percent of my focus on one mission and one task. I’ll be damned if a man who’s got a mixed focus will hold a candle to my determination.

“I think it comes from a place of fear. He’s expressed it openly. He doesn’t do a good job of combating his nerves, his fears, his anxiety. Instead of facing it and overcoming it and evolving, he distracts himself and those distractions have always been and will always be the death of him.”

Hernandez says the same could be said about Cerrone when it comes to his fighting style inside the cage.

“He doesn’t like a pressure fight. He doesn’t like adversity,” Hernandez said. “He doesn’t like to give up the pace or the cadence of a fight. That just goes back to my point to what I just stated. He’s running from that adversity instead of learning to overcome.”

That’s a primary reason why Hernandez believes he will be able to give Cerrone nightmare flashbacks to all his shortcomings in the past when the clash on Saturday night.

“I want to stamp him like [Darren] Till stamped him,” Hernandez predicted. “I want to finish him. I need to fold him over within the first two rounds.”

Youssef Zalal Guarantees He’ll Win LFA 57 Main Event

Though featherweight Youssef Zalal was able to replicate the success he had in 2017 with three finishes in his three bouts in 2018, winning and finishing aren’t enough.

When it comes to his performances, Zalal is always his harshest critic, and feels like there was more he could have done in his victories.

“The year went great for me,” Zalal told MMAWeekly.com. “I was pretty active for the whole of 2018. I cornered my teammates a lot and that was a great experience. It was an amazing year, but it’s not there yet, it’s just getting started. That’s nothing compared to what’s coming in 2019.

“I’m happy with the wins but I’m satisfied because I always want to do better in every single fight. It challenges me in every fight to do something more, do better stuff, do more exciting, interesting, stuff in fights.”

With his second straight year of three finishes, Zalal has begun to gain some attention, but for him it’s not anything that he didn’t anticipate, and thus doesn’t feel overwhelmed by.

“I planned all of this,” said Zalal. “I knew with winning all this stuff would come; more attention and this and that. It’s nothing new to me.

“I shine under the cameras. That’s where I belong. That’s where I train to be at. For me it’s just another day. It’s all business. It’s not about the cameras, it’s not about the attention, it’s all about the fight.”

On Friday in Broomfield, Colo., Zalal (6-0) will look to repeat the success he’s had to start off his career when he faces Jose Mariscal (8-3) in the 145-pound main event of LFA 57.

TRENDING > Nate Diaz Slaps His Way into Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor Feud

“Everybody talking about this guy how (Mariscal) was a gold medalist in Judo and is a scrappy little Mexican guy, but at the day, they know exactly who is coming for the belt and all these guys,” Zalal said. “But the last time I fought a scrapper like him, he got submitted, so we’ll see.

“To me it’s all about the complete game. For me to win this fight I have to do complete MMA, and guaranteed I’ll win the fight.”

Should Zalal pick up another finish victory in his first televised main event, it could be the thing that helps him make the move to the next level. If not after his bout with Mariscal, then Zalal hopes by year’s end.

“I would hope (this is the fight that gets me to the next level),” said Zalal. “This is my plan. I know in 2019 I will be in the UFC. I’ve said it in plenty of interviews. I’m hoping after this fight – especially after the performance I put on January 18 – it should get me there.”

Full Bellator 214: Fedor vs. Bader Fight Card Unveiled

The full slate of bouts for Bellator’s return to the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. on Jan. 26 has been completed with a five-fight main card and 11 preliminary contests.

The main event of the card will feature the Finals of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix, where the greatest heavyweight of all-time Fedor Emelianenko (38-5, 1 NC) faces current light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader (26-5) for the Bellator world heavyweight title. The co-main event will feature the highly touted prospect Aaron Pico (4-1) against the always-tough Henry Corrales (16-3) at featherweight.

In addition, professional wrestling superstar Jake Hager begins his MMA career against J.W. Kiser (1-1) at heavyweight, Juan Archuleta (21-1) squares off with Ricky Bandejas (11-1) in a battle of surging bantamweights and Adel Altamimi (7-5), a coach with Jay Glazer’s Merging Vets and Players program, will make his Bellator debut against Brandon McMahan (5-6) in the main card opener. The prelims for Bellator 214: Fedor vs. Bader will feature the anticipated MMA debut of jiu-jitsu ace A.J. Agazarm (0-0) against Jesse Roberts (0-0), as well as the Bellator debut of 2016 Greco-Roman Word team member Chris Gonzalez (1-0) taking on Henry Mendez (0-1) and Lyoto Machida-training partner, Weber Almeida (1-0), facing Odan Chinchilla (1-0) at bantamweight.

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

Complete Bellator 214: Fedor vs. Bader Fight Card

Main Card:

  • Heavyweight World Grand Prix Finals Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (38-5, 1 NC) vs. Ryan Bader (26-5)
  • Featherweight Co-Main Event: Aaron Pico (4-1) vs. Henry Corrales (16-3)
  • Heavyweight Feature Bout: Jake Hager (Pro Debut) vs. J.W. Kiser (1-1)
  • Bantamweight Feature Bout: Juan Archuleta (21-1) vs. Ricky Bandejas (11-1)
  • Featherweight Feature Bout: Brandon McMahan (5-6) vs. Adel Altamimi (7-5)

Preliminary Card:

  • 160-Pound Catchweight Preliminary Bout: A.J. Agazarm (Pro Debut) vs. Jesse Roberts (Pro Debut)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Chris Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Henry Mendez (0-1)
  • Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Weber Almeida (1-0) vs. Odan Chinchilla (1-0)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Jay Jay Wilson (1-0) vs. Tyler Beneke (Pro Debut)
  • Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Sean Johnson (3-1) vs. Art Rivas (5-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Jorge Juarez (3-0) vs. David Pacheco (Pro Debut)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Jesse Merritt (5-4) vs. Thor Skancke (10-8-1)
  • 190-Pound Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Osman Diaz (2-1) vs. Christopher Reyes (Pro Debut)
  • Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: James Barnes (11-3) vs. Ryan Lilley (9-4)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Ian Butler (4-5, 1 NC) vs. Craig Plaskett (3-3)
  • Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Steve Ramirez (6-3) vs. Desmond Torres (5-1)

UFC Brooklyn Media Day Face-Off Video

UFC Brooklyn Media Day Face-Offs Video

(Courtesy of UFC)

Several of the fighters from the UFC’s first foray with ESPN squared off for photographers at the UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw media day. Watch as Greg Hardy and Allen Crowder, Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich, and others stared each other down ahead of Saturday’s fights from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Notably absent from the media day festivities were main eventers Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw, as well as ESPN Prelim headliners Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Alex Hernandez, who have their own press conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon, after which they will square off for the cameras.

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

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.

Watch the UFC on ESPN+ 1 Press Conference, Live on Thursday at 2 PM ET

<span style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” data-mce-type=”bookmark” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>

(Courtesy of UFC)

Ahead of the UFC’s anticipated debut on ESPN+, the UFC will hold a press conference with Dana White, Henry Cejudo, TJ Dillashaw, Alex Hernandez, and Donald Cerrone. The press conference streams live on MMAWeekly.com on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT.

Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw drops down to the flyweight division to challenge titleholder Henry Cejudo in the fight card’s main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday.

TRENDING > TJ Dillashaw Willing to Defend Both Belts if He Wins UFC Flyweight Title

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.

Dana White: Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg Rematch Will Be ‘Huge’ But It’s Not Happening Next

Cris Cyborg may get the chance to avenge her loss to Amanda Nunes but it won’t be her next fight.

On Thursday, UFC president Dana White addressed the potential for an immediate rematch between Cyborg and Nunes while discussing the problems that continuously arise when fighters win titles in two different divisions.

Earlier this week, Nunes said she was done fighting at featherweight less than a month after becoming the 145-pound champion with a stunning first round knockout against Cyborg at UFC 232.

Meanwhile, Cyborg has been clamoring for an immediate rematch due to her 13 year undefeated streak and incredible resume that she believes should warrant her a second shot at Nunes no matter how the first fight ended.

Well it seems White is interested in doing the rematch between Cyborg and Nunes, he just doesn’t want it to be the next fight for either one of them.

“There’s a reason we didn’t do it for a long time. It’s tough enough to defend one belt let alone two,” White said during the UFC Fight Night in Brooklyn press conference. “Amanda’s going to have another fight. Cris is going to have another fight. We’ll see how that all plays out. Listen, everybody has their opinions or what they think they want at that point in time but should they both win another fight, I think a rematch between them is huge.

“It’s a big fight, it’s an important fight. Neither one of them were crazy about the first time either but we got it done. So we’ll see how everything plays out.”

Perhaps the more important subject to broach with Cyborg right now is her future with the UFC.

Following her loss to Nunes this past December, Cyborg only has one fight remaining on her current contract with the UFC, although she has expressed interest in signing a new deal with the promotion if they can come to terms.

As for Nunes, she mentioned the possibility of facing Holly Holm in her next title defense at 135 pounds as she prepares to return to bantamweight. First things first, however, Holm has to get through top prospect Aspen Ladd when they clash at UFC 235 in March.

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Main Event Face-Offs Video

UFC Brooklyn Cejudo vs Dillashaw belts

(Courtesy of UFC)

Following a confrontational UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Pre-Fight Press Conference, the main eventers from both the main card and the ESPN Prelims squared off for the cameras, though none of the fighters was done talking by the time they went face to face.

Henry Cejudo took a jab at TJ Dillashaw before they squared off, smacking a fake snake against the stage before getting up in the bantamweight champion’s grill. The two will battle for Cejudo’s UFC flyweight title on Saturday night in Brooklyn, and may even be battling for the future of the flyweight division, if there is one.

Up-and-comer Alex Hernandez was spewing venom during the press conference, channeling his inner Conor McGregor as he belittled Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who was at no loss for words in retort.

The two kept chattering as they were nearly nose to nose for their face-off with UFC president Dana White thrusting his arms between them ready to step in should they need to be separated.

TRENDING > UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Pre-Fight Press Conference Replay

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.

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Pre-Fight Press Conference Replay

Henry Cejudo UFC Brookly prefight presser

(Courtesy of UFC)

Ahead of the UFC’s anticipated debut on ESPN+, the UFC held a press conference on Thursday with Dana White, Henry Cejudo, TJ Dillashaw, Alex Hernandez, and Donald Cerrone.

Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw drops down to the flyweight division to challenge titleholder Henry Cejudo in the fight card’s main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday.

TRENDING > TJ Dillashaw Willing to Defend Both Belts if He Wins UFC Flyweight Title

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 on ESPN+ Odds: Is Henry Cejudo or TJ Dillashaw Going to Walk Away with Flyweight Belt?

UFC Brooklyn Cejudo vs Dillashaw belts

The Ultimate Fighting Championship enters the ESPN era with its first live event on ESPN+ this week in Brooklyn.

The UFC Fight Night main event features flyweight champion Henry Cejudo putting his belt on the line in a superfight against bantamweight titleholder TJ Dillashaw. 

If Cejudo wins, he might just be able to give the 125-pound weight class some hope that the UFC might not dissolve the division. If Dillashaw wins, he would become only the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two weight classes simultaneously. He might also put the nail in the flyweight coffin.

MyBookie - Dillashaw v Cejuo - 300x270Bettors are favoring the idea that Dillashaw, the larger of the two fighters, is going to get the better of the man who was the one to finally defeat longtime flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

According to MMAWeekly odds partner MyBookie, Dillashaw was sitting at -210 on Thursday with Cejudo at +175. That means that you’d have to place $210 on Dillashaw to win $100 if he wins the fight. Conversely, you’d only have to wager $100 on Cejudo to get a $175 prize should he win the fight.

If you want to wager on the fight, other UFC on ESPN+1 bouts, or other upcoming fights, you can place a bet with MyBookie. (Use the promo code MMAWEEKLY to get a 50-percent sign-up bonus.)

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw Betting Lines

(as of Jan. 17, 2018, courtesy of MyBookie)

  • Henry Cejudo: +175 vs. TJ Dillashaw: -210
  • Greg Hardy: 550 vs. Allen Crowder: +400
  • Donald Cerrone: +150 vs. Alex Hernandez: -180

If you’d like to take a closer look at the UFC on ESPN+ 1 lines and prop bets or any of the other MyBookie lines, be sure to use the promo code MMAWEEKLY if you sign up to get your 50-percent sign-up bonus. 


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.