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The War Room: Breaking down Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Michelle Waterson at UFC Tampa

UFC Tampa Preview - Dan Hardy

(Courtesy of Full Reptile)

Former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Michelle Waterson head into Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 19 main event looking to earn a shot at UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang. Both are considered accomplished strikers and well-rounded grapplers.

In the latest edition of War Room, Dan Hardy breaks down the Jedrzejczyk vs. Waterson fight slated for Saturday in Tampa, Fla.

TRENDING > Tito Ortiz invites U.S. President Donald Trump to newly announced fight

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Oct. 12 for full UFC on ESPN+ 19: Joanna vs. Waterson live results from Tampa, Fla. Former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Michelle Waterson battle it out in the main event to earn a title shot.

Anthony Johnson trashes ‘imaginary’ BMF title

Anthony Johnson at UFC 202

(WARNING: Strong language | Courtesy of MMA Junkie)

Fans may be biting on the BMF belt that Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz will be fighting for in the UFC 244 headliner on Nov. 2 in New York, but Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is not.

Johnson has teased a possible UFC return, particularly eyeing a heavyweight bout with current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but has also entertained the idea of fighting top heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou. If he does return, Johnson wants nothing to do with fake belts.

TRENDING > Tito Ortiz invites U.S. President Donald Trump to newly announced fight

“If I’m gonna fight for a title, it’s only gonna be for the title that’s gonna count, and that’s the heavyweight title. I don’t want these fake ass BMFs,” Johnson told MMA Junkie recently.

“At the end of the day, they’re going to say the Bad Motherf—er is supposed to be the champion, right? It’s imaginary. It’s trash.”

Invicta FC 38 features championship doubleheader

Invicta FC 38 Porto vs Rodriguez fight poster

The fight card for Invicta FC 38 will feature a pair of title bouts.

Flyweight champion Vanessa Porto (21-8) will make the first defense of her 125-pound title against contender tournament winner Karina Rodríguez (8-3). The Brazilian Porto captured gold at Invicta FC 34, defeating UFC veteran Pearl Gonzalez by decision. Mexico’s Rodriguez earned her shot at gold with a hard-fought decision victory over UFC alum DeAnna Bennett in the Invicta FC 36 main event.

The co-main event also features gold on the line as Japan’s Kanako Murata (10-1) battles veteran Emily Ducote (8-5) for the vacant strawweight championship. Murata, a decorated wrestler, submitted Liana Pirosin in her promotional debut at Invicta FC 35. Oklahoma’s Ducote has faced some of the toughest flyweights in the world and now seeks a title at 115 pounds after stopping former title challenger Janaisa Morandin at Invicta FC 36.

Joining the two title fights will be a strawweight clash between Contender Series veteran Mallory Martin (5-2) and Texas newcomer Cynthia “Sin” Arceo (5-1-1), a flyweight rematch between recent Phoenix Series 2 quarterfinalists Shanna Young (6-2) and Maiju Suotama (8-4), a bantamweight bout featuring undefeated Lisa “Battle Angel” Verzosa (4-0) — formerly Spangler — and “Scary” Kerri Kenneson (3-1), the return of California’s Shaianna “Yaya” Rincón (2-0) against a soon-to-be-named bantamweight opponent, and the debut of Las Vegas bantamweight Serena de Jesus (1-0), who takes on fellow newcomer Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (1-0) of New York.

TRENDING > Anthony Johnson trashes ‘imaginary’ BMF title

Invicta FC 38 takes place Friday, Nov. 1, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. The event will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event can be purchased now through Eventbrite.

Invicta FC 38: Porto vs. Rodriguez fight card

  • Flyweight Title: Vanessa Porto vs. KarinaRodríguez
  • Strawweight Title: Kanako Murata vs. Emily Ducote
  • Strawweight: Mallory Martin vs. Cynthia Arceo
  • Flyweight: Shanna Young vs. Maiju Suotama
  • Bantamweight: Lisa Verzosa vs. Kerri Kenneson
  • Bantamweight: Shaianna Rincón vs. TBA
  • Bantamweight: Serena de Jesus vs. Taneisha Tennant

Fedor vs. Rampage announced to headline Bellator Japan

Bellator-Rizin Fedor vs Rampage fight poster

For the first time in the organization’s history, Bellator travels to Japan and the iconic Saitama Super Arena for an historic event, as Fedor Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13) square off in a long-awaited heavyweight showdown. Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage, powered by RIZIN, takes place Sunday, December 29 and will air LIVE on Paramount Network.

Tickets for Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage go on sale November 3. Additional bouts are expected to be announced in the coming days.

“For Bellator’s debut in Japan, we wanted to bring a massive event and fighters that the Japanese fans really connect with,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “Given the vast history of martial arts and MMA in Japan, and especially at Saitama Super Arena, this will be a very special show that no one will want to miss. This will, unquestionably, be a monumental event for Bellator and I am looking forward to the moment that Fedor and Rampage walk out to a crowd that has known them since their careers began. I would also like to thankRIZIN for their help in making this event a possibility and we look forward to working together in the near future to showcase the best talent each organization has to offer.”

Fighting out of Stary Oskol, Belgorod Oblast, Russia, Fedor Emelianenko returns to Japan following a successful run in the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix earlier this year, where he earned consecutive first-round knockouts over Chael Sonnen and Frank Mir. A former PRIDE FC Heavyweight Champion and PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight World Grand Prix Champion, “The Last Emperor” returns to where his career started. Often referred to as “The GOAT” by fans around the world, his career resume stands as one of the most impressive in the history of the sport with victories over Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman and Andrei Arlovski, to name a few. With 29 career victories ending via finish, the punching power and world-class Sambo of the stoic Russian could result in yet another defining moment in his illustrious career.

TRENDING > Anthony Johnson trashes ‘imaginary’ BMF title

An eight-fight veteran of Bellator, Rampage Jackson’s legendary career has seen him compete against some of the top names in the sport, generating a loyal army of fans along the way. The former PRIDE and UFC champion is the proud owner of many epic highlight reel slams and knockouts that he has racked up throughout his epic battles with the likes of Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, “King Mo” Lawal, Kevin Randleman and, perhaps most-notably, his four-fight series with Wanderlei Silva. The Memphis, Tennessee-native has long been seen as an icon to MMA fans around the globe and has openly voiced a desire to face Fedor in front of a Japanese crowd before his career comes to an end. Now, the two legends will finally meet inside the Bellator cage on December 29 at the famed Saitama Super Arena.

Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage Fight Card

  • Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13)

Bellator Japan: Fedor vs. Rampage Press Conference

(Courtesy of BellatorMMA)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk rebukes rumors of possible UFC Tampa main event cancellation

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 19 main event between former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Michelle Waterson was in danger of being cancelled because of Jedrzejczyk struggling to make weight. The former champ, however, is telling everyone to remain calm.

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, multiple unnamed sources said that Jedrzejczyk informed UFC official more than a week ago that she would be unable to make the 116-pound limit for the fight. He also stated that Waterson’s camp refused to accept a catchweight bout.

If the fight moves forward and Jedrzejczyk misses weight, the bout could still happen, but Waterson would have to agree to it and would receive 30-percent of Jedrzejczyk’s fight purse, per Florida regulations.

Jedrzejczyk, however, took to Instagram to post videos where she insisted that everyone should remain calm about the situation.

“The fight is on, the weighs-in are on Friday. Keep it calm, guys. All fine, step by step. I will see you there,” Jedrzejczyk said.

“Did I miss something? Did I miss the weigh-ins today or what? Because the weigh ins are on Friday, isn’t it?”

Such speculation might easily be chalked up to rumor if not for Jedrzejczyk struggling to make weight in the past. Though she ruled the strawweight division for a couple of years, she lost back-to-back title bouts to Rose Namajunas after having a hard time hitting the championship mark. 

TRENDING > Michelle Waterson: Striving to become the UFC’s first #MomChamp

Jedrzejczyk rebounded with a win over Tecia Torres, but then moved to flyweight to face Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant 125-pound title. She lost that fight and is now making an attempt to get back into the thick of flyweight title talk with a win over Waterson.

UFC on ESPN+ 19: Joanna vs. Waterson is slated for Saturday in Tampa, Fla.

Angela Lee looks to rebound from back-to-back losses, defend ONE atomweight title

Angela Lee

After having a rough start to her 2019 by suffering the first two losses of her career, ONE Championship strawweight titleholder Angela Lee feels like she’s been able to find new motivation and is looking to close out her year on a high note.

Following losses to Jingnan Xiong in March and to Michelle Nicolini in July, Lee was able to use the example of fighters from her school to help get her back on track as she prepares for her next fight.

“At the beginning of the year, I was coming back after injuring my back in November,” Lee told MMAWeekly.com. “After that (March) fight didn’t go my way, I wanted to fight again after that in the strawweight division, so I had another fight in July booked and that didn’t go my way either. It was a bit of a bummer.

“After the July fight, I was able to travel with a youth team to Europe to compete in some amateur MMA and Pankration tournaments. Right after those two losses, it was really inspiring for me to see these kids go out and be fearless and do what they love to do and take some gold back home. That really fired me up.”

Lee feels now that she is healthy and motivated, she’s been able to put herself 100-percent into training and feels like she’ll be able to rebound in her next fight.

“We didn’t hold back,” said Lee. “We pushed to the limit and beyond that. We’ve definitely made sure my body is ready. Mentally, we took some time to re-evaluate everything and find that hunger again. I’m definitely more motivated than ever and fight again and defend my belt.”

On Saturday in Tokyo, Lee (9-2) will look to get back on track when she defends her title in a rematch with Xiong (14-1) in the atomweight championship main event of ONE Championship: Century – Part 1, which will be broadcast live on TNT in the United States.

“We definitely learned a lot from the first match-up,” Lee said. “I think the fight was going my way up until the last round. Definitely, we fixed all the mistakes and the lack of preparation leading up to that fight.

“I think my back injury had a lot to do with what we could and couldn’t do and kind of limited my options when it came to the fight. Luckily since then I’ve been injury-free and have been able to train harder than ever. I’ve had a great camp, so I think everything is going great.”

TRENDING > Demetrious Johnson winning ONE Flyweight Grand Prix championship would be special

Headlining a part of ONE’s North American television debut is a big thing to Lee, but much like the future, she chooses not to focus on that, but rather having her mind set to defending her title against Xiong.

“I know this is a huge deal and a huge opportunity for new eyes to see ONE Championship and the fighters for the first time, so I’m excited about that, but at the same time I don’t like to focus on it too much,” said Lee.

“I don’t like to think too far ahead. My focus is entirely on my next fight right now. The future can change at any moment, and right now I know exactly what I need to do. I know what’s in front of me. And that’s my main goal.”

Highlights: Michelle Nicolini upsets Angela Lee in ONE non-title fight

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Frankie Edgar still wants to fight Conor McGregor, but what about move to bantamweight?

Frankie Edgar at the TUF Finale weigh-ins

(Courtesy of MMA Junkie)

Following his failed attempt to wrest the UFC featherweight belt from Max Holloway at UFC 240 in July, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar decided he was descend further down the weight classes. He announced that he would be moving to bantamweight to try his fortunes at 135 pounds.

Shortly after that decision, chatter grew about a possible fight between Edgar and former lightweight and featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor. It’s the fight that nearly everyone wants, and Edgar is no exception.

Any serious discussions about fighting McGregor have yet to materialize.

TRENDING > Joanna Jedrzejczyk rebukes rumors of possible UFC Tampa main event cancellation

Edgar is still interested, as any fight with McGregor is high profile and a revenue generator, but he’s not standing idly by and waiting for it to happen. Instead, he’s still making preparations to fight at bantamweight. 

Watch as Edgar spoke with MMA Junkie this week about his future plans, both for McGregor and bantamweight.

Demetrious Johnson winning ONE Flyweight Grand Prix championship would be special

Demetrious Johnson UFC on FOX 8

Following seven years in the UFC, former flyweight titleholder Demetrious Johnson has gotten a fresh start with ONE Championship in 2019.

Since joining ONE, Johnson has rebounded off his third career loss to pick up back-to-back wins and find himself on the verge of adding a Grand Prix championship to his list of accomplishments.

“I think 2019 has been successful,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com. “Two wins, one finish, one tough decision. I’m pretty happy. I’m healthy. I’m fighting again for a third time. So I can’t complain. My family’s healthy. Everyone’s healthy. I’m a happy man.

“The transition (from the UFC to ONE) has been fantastic. Obviously there’s a lot more travel in play. I really enjoy the culture.”

Along with adjusting to fighting in Asia, Johnson has had to do so without the presence of longtime head coach Matt Hume. With Hume’s role as Vice President of Operations for ONE, he’s unable to corner Johnson to avoid conflict of interest issues.

“I’m still trying to find my groove,” said Johnson. “I’m doing something that I’ve never done before, which is competing without my head coach in my corner. That’s definitely a challenge for myself, but it’s also part of my journey. I’m still trying to get my feet underneath me.

“(My corner can run on autopilot), but at the same time, there are a few things that my head coach (notices), when I’m competing, that me and my teammates can’t pick out. There are some things I have to figure out myself while fighting. It’s definitely a challenge.”

On Oct. 12 in Tokyo, Johnson (29-3-1) will face Danny Kingad (13-1) in the championship bout of the Flyweight Grand Prix at ONE Championship: Century – Part 1. The event marks the promotion’s first major foray into the American market, airing live on TNT in the U.S.

TRENDING > Mike Tyson says Conor McGregor should look inside himself and find out what happened

“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” Johnson said of Kingad. “He comes from a great team. He’s very tough. He’s very explosive. I’m going to go out to Japan and give myself enough time to acclimate to the time zone, and just go out and fight.

“This one is special to me because I grew up watching Japanese MMA; watching PRIDE, DREAM, and seeing the World Grand Prix; seeing Mirko Cro Cop with the World Grand Prix, all that stuff. For me to go out and win this Grand Prix title, I think this one will get displayed in the house.”

When it comes to the future, Johnson’s activities outside of MMA are more mapped out, with his fighting career something he’ll approach as opportunities arise.

“There’s things I try to plan out for next year; mostly in my gaming,” said Johnson. “Next year we have some stuff going on here in North America with different games. Looking at the landscape, it’s mostly gaming stuff, but for fighting, I take it fight by fight.”

Demetrious Johnson vs. Danny Kingad ONE: Century Preview

(Courtesy of ONE Championship)

Watch Michelle Waterson defeat Karolina Kowalkiewicz ahead of UFC on ESPN+ 19 (fight video)

Michelle Waterson

(Courtesy of UFC)

Michelle Waterson earned a matchup at UFC Fight Night Tampa against Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a dominant decision victory over Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC Fight Night Philadelphia earlier this year.

If Waterson defeats the former champ at UFC on ESPN+ 19 on Saturday, she would likely be next in line for a UFC starwweight title shot. Before that happens, however, take a look back at Waterson’s full fight against Kowalkiewicz.

TRENDING > UFC 243: Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya recap video

Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Oct. 12 for full UFC on ESPN+ 19: Joanna vs. Waterson live results from Tampa, Fla. Former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Michelle Waterson battle it out in the main event to earn a title shot.

Tito Ortiz invites U.S. President Donald Trump to newly announced fight

Tito Ortiz - Liddel vs Ortiz 3 Gym Day

(Video courtesy of TMZSports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions) Content…. TRENDING >

Combate Americas on Tuesday announced that Tito Ortiz’s next fight would be against Alberto El Patrón (formerly “Alberto Del Rio” of the WWE).

Ortiz – a UFC Hall of Fame member, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and a pioneer of the sport – will square off with multiple-time WWE Heavyweight Champion, former Pan American Games Greco-Roman wrestling medalist, and former PRIDE MMA star El Patrón on Pay-Per-View on on Saturday, Dec. 7 from Payne Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.

The bout will be at a 210-pound catchweight, with an unprecedented “winner take all” title belt challenge. If Ortiz emerges victorious in the bout, he will take possession of El Patrón’s WWE title belt.  If El Patrón wins the fight, however, Ortiz will relinquish possession of his UFC title belt to his opponent.

TRENDING > Mike Tyson says Conor McGregor should look inside himself and find out what happened

Later in the day on Tuesday, the above TMZ Sports interview with Ortiz was published, with the former UFC champion inviting United States President Donald Trump and his two sons to attend the bout.

Ortiz has long been a Trump supporter, frequently espousing his support for the controversial president.