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Dana White Says UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor On Track to Shatter UFC Pay-Per-View Records

Khabib Nurmagomedov - Conor McGregor

There’s little doubt that the upcoming event featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor will be the biggest UFC show of the year but it may just be the biggest card of all time.

According to UFC president Dana White, the promotion not only expects UFC 229 to eventually hold the all time record for pay-per-view sales but the card may end up shattering the previous record.

As it stands, UFC 202 in 2016, which featured a main event rematch between McGregor and Nate Diaz, pulled in over 1.6 million pay-per-view buys to stand as the biggest selling card in company history.

White has believed that the long awaited showdown between Nurmagomedov and McGregor would end up breaking that record but based on current estimates, he’s expecting UFC 229 to do even bigger numbers than anything previously imagined.

“It’s massive and there’s been a lot of talk about this thing doing 2 million buys. We’re trending right now at 2.5 million buys,” White revealed when speaking to ESPN on Thursday. “So that’s how big this fight is. The biggest fight we’ve ever done was [Nate] Diaz versus McGregor at almost 1.6 million pay-per-view buys. Then we did the Floyd Mayweather fight and now this is by far the biggest fight and one of the biggest fights ever in combat sports to be honest with you.”

Obviously final figures for the pay-per-view won’t come in until after the Oct. 6 date when the show takes place but it certainly appears White is confident that UFC 229 will be a massive success.

Just based on ticket sales, UFC 229 is already expected to end up as the second biggest gate for the company behind another McGregor led show when he became a two-division champion back at UFC 205 in 2016.

McGregor will look to add another record breaking accolade to his resume when he attempts to hand Nurmagomedov the first loss of his career while taking back the lightweight title at UFC 229.

Jarod Trice Plans On ‘Dominating’ Sean Powers at Bellator 205

Coming off a year layoff, prospect Jarod Trice feels like his recent win over Walter Howard at Bellator 194 was far from his best outing.

In particular, Trice was hoping he’d be able to push the pace of the fight all the way through, but is nonetheless happy to have picked up a majority decision victory.

“I’m looking to build off of it,” Trice told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a nice confidence boost, but I felt I could have been in better shape going into the third round. I had a lot of stuff played a factor in my camp. I will look to be better than I was in that last fight.”

Part of what kept Trice out of action for so long were injuries, particularly one he suffered in his bout prior to the win over Howard.

“It was the first time I was actually injured,” said Trice. “I broke my hand in the fight against Kevin Woltkamp (in January of 2017). It took me a whole three weeks to really notice it was even broke.

“Honestly that was one of the toughest years I’ve had in my life. It was pretty tough. I’m looking to move forward and not even think about that.”

On September 21 in Boise, Idaho, Trice (3-0) will look to keep his undefeated ways going when he faces his most experienced opponent yet in Sean Powers (9-6) in a preliminary 190-pound catchweight bout.

TRENDING > Bellator Confirms Women’s Flyweight Championship Headlining First Event in Hawaii

“He’s a smaller guy fighting at 190lbs,” Trice said of Powers. “I’m going to go to the center of the cage and plan on dominating and getting the finish.

“Pretty much every guy I’ve fought so far has had way more MMA experience than I have. The thing is I’ve been competing at a high level my whole life. I have a game plan: you’ve got to worry about what I’m going to do to you, and I’m not going to worry about what you’re going to do to me. I don’t care about experience or anything like that.”

Finally back from injury, Trice is looking to stay as active as he can be to close out this year and head into 2019 on a hot streak.

“I’m trying to fight two more times after this one is possible,” said Trice. “If I go out there and take no damage, we’ll keep it moving, baby.”

UFC Sao Paulo Media Day Face-offs

(Courtesy of MMAFighting.com)

On Thursday, the main card fighters from UFC Fight Night 137 faced off during the event’s media day in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Light heavyweights Thiago Santos and Eryk Anders meet in Saturday’s main event at Ginásio do Ibirapuera.

TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov on Jon Jones Suspension: ‘USADA is No. 1 Bulls–t!’

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Faces Valentina Shevchenko for Vacant Flyweight Title at UFC 231

Joanna Jedrzejczyk - TUF 23 Finale

Joanna Jedrzejczyk will make her long awaited move to 125 pounds when she faces Valentina Shevchenko to crown a new women’s flyweight champion at UFC 231 in Toronto on Dec. 8.

UFC officials announced the matchup on Thursday night.

Jedrzejczyk has long teased a move up to a new division after enduring numerous tough weight cuts to continue fighting at 115 pounds. After losing her strawweight title last year to Rose Namajunas and then falling in a subsequent rematch, Jedrzejczyk’s path back to another shot at the belt seemed somewhat distant.

So now the Polish striker will move to flyweight where she will get an immediate chance to become champion again when she fights on Dec. 8.

Meanwhile, Shevchenko has been anxiously awaiting her opportunity to battle for the 125-pound women’s title after her last shot at UFC 228 was taken away just hours before the event was set to take place.

Former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Nicco Montano was hospitalized due to a brutal weight cut, which forced her out of the bout with Shevchenko and the UFC later stripped the flyweight title away from her.

Now Shevchenko will look to become champion by going through an old foe when she meets Jedrzejczyk on Dec. 8.

The two fighters have history after Shevchenko defeated Jedrzejczyk in numerous Muay Thai bouts when they were both competing in that sport.

Now they will meet again with either Shevchennko or Jedrzejczyk being crowned women’s flyweight champion at UFC 231.

Conor McGregor’s Best Quotes from the UFC 229 Pre-Fight Press Conference

It had been nearly two years since Conor McGregor took the stage at a UFC press conference but on Thursday in New York, “The Notorious” officially returned.

With his fight against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov just a few weeks away, McGregor made his first public appearance to promote the fight while answering questions from the media.

In reality, McGregor probably could have just been handed a microphone and told to talk because he dominated almost the entire press conference.

Here are some of the best quotes that McGregor unleashed on Thursday:

CONOR ON FANS NOT BEING ALLOWED AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE: 

“I’m on probation up to my eyeballs in ongoing and incoming civil cases and come here to do this bulls–t. Bring the fans here.”

CONOR MAKING PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE FIGHT

“I’m going to truly, truly love putting a bad, bad beating on this little glass jaw rat.”

“You dive for the legs and hold onto them for dear life. What kind of fighting is that?”

“I’m going to pick him apart and bully him in there and absolutely maul him. That’s it.”

“Let’s wrestle, kid. You hope, mate. You’re going to be wrestling my knuckle out of your orbital bone.”

“Domination. His head bouncing off the canvas. All his f–king pony talk is going to be put on blast Oct. 6.”

“I know a glass jaw when I see one and I’ve seen this man wobbled many times. I seen his brother sparked unconscious in another promotion. I know he is afraid of a smack. And if you’re afraid of a smack off me, then a smack will feel like a double-barreled shotgun.

CONOR UNLEASHES ABOUT THE BUS INCIDENT BACK IN APRIL 

“If you’d have got off that bus, you’d be dead now. You’d be dead and I’d be in a cell.”

“Trust me, if that bus door had opened, this man would be dead right now. This man would be in a box and I would be in a cell and we would not have this great fight ahead of us.”

“He done f–king nothing. He sat and took a shit on that bus. He had to cower behind women and cause what happened to happen. That’s f–king that. Here’s my location you little fool. Right in front of you. Do something about it! You’ll do nothing.”

CONOR DIGS AT KHABIB OVER HIS TIES IN RUSSIA

“You took money from [Ziyavudin] Magomedov, you little lick ass rat, now what? Putin locked him up. Say something to Putin about locking Magomedov up. Say something. Ask him to release him. Now you don’t understand, you mad rat. You’re a fake, lying rat.”

“His own countrymen, his own people that he’s turned his back on, they want to see him gone, too. And I am going to do it, too, in the name of the Russian people.”

“When money got pumped into your camp by that little scumbag that’s now in the little 8×10 cell, you thought you were a don. Now look at you. No money left.”

THE BEST OF THE REST

“Your little fake belt over there that you beat the No. 11 ranked real estate agent and you bring that belt up on stage like it’s a real belt. You’re a phony, a fake and I’m going to expose you.”

“Here’s my location you little fool. Right in front of you. Do something about it! You’ll do nothing.”

“Fan boy. The man was a fan boy. He bought t-shirts of mine. He f–king supported the cause. You remember that? You little fan boy. You little fan boy bitch”

“He’s f–king fought nobody. Absolutely nobody. Anyone that he has fought have been decisions.”

“Ask these nuts. I don’t have to do nothing for nobody. I’m psycho bred, mate. I don’t have to lick no-ones arsehole for a check, like f–king you.”



With No Game Plan, Josh Marsh Ready for Dima Gerasimov at LFA 50

After spending his first two years building himself up on the local circuit, featherweight up and comer Josh Marsh got his first opportunity to step onto the national stage at LFA 42 in June.

While Marsh was stepping up, he was not overwhelmed, and was able to have an extremely impressive performance by picking up a TKO of TeeJay Britton in 75 seconds.

“I had my LFA debut in June and it went pretty well,” Marsh told MMAWeekly.com. “You can’t get caught up in the past, so you’ve just got to stay improving.

“It’s more exciting, but it’s always the same, honestly. Any time that you’re stepping in there, you’re stepping into the unknown. It’s good to have the exposure and be on a bigger platform, but at the end of the day the same job has to be done.”

Since making his debut in January of 2016, Marsh feels like his game has evolved a lot, but what he’s most proud of is his development as an individual.

“I’m completely different fighter in terms of technique and skills, but in mindset as well,” said Marsh. “I try to focus on being the best fighter I can be, but I really want to be the person I can be all-around.”

TRENDING > AJ McKee Expects Title Shot Next with Win at Bellator 205

This Friday in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Marsh (4-1) will look to pick up his second promotional win when he takes on Dima Gerasimov (9-6) in an LFA 50 main card 145-pound bout.

“He’s got some experience, and from what I’ve seen he seems pretty well rounded and can do a bit of everything,” Marsh said of Gerasimov. “I plan on going in there, seeing how it goes and adapting. I don’t really have a game plan. However it goes I’m ready to take it there.”

For Marsh, his vision is set on his bout with Gerasimov, but he’s open to closing out 2018 as actively as possible.

“I’m not trying to look too far ahead for the future,” said Marsh. “I’m focused on this fight this coming Friday. That’s where I am right now, and that’s what’s most important to me, so that’s where I’m staying.

“Hopefully everything goes well and I can stay active after. If I’m healthy and all goes well then I would like to get in another one or two more in.”

Conor McGregor Explodes Asking If Khabib Is Disrespecting Vladimir Putin? (UFC 229)

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Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor exploded out of his seat at the UFC 229 press conference in New York City on Thursday asking if lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov was disrespecting Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The two bitter rivals meet inside the octagon on October 6 in the main event of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.   

TRENDING > Conor McGregor’s Coach Breaks Down His Training and the Khabib Nurmagomedov Match-Up

Brendon Marotte Looking to Pick Robert Best Apart at Combat Zone 67

It hasn’t taken long for featherweight prospect Brendon Marotte to get adjusted to the pro MMA world. In two fights so far this year, Marotte has picked up two wins, and has looked increasingly impressive in his outings.

First against Jhon Costa in February, then versus Arslan Otchiyev in June, both for CES, Marotte was able to get finishes, and make a case as an up and comer to watch in the featherweight division.

“For my first pro fight (with Costa) I had a little bit of nerves going into it, but I think it went really good,” Marotte told MMAWeekly.com. “It took me a minute to really get going. The start of the second round I started opening up and was able to get the finish on him.

“Leading into the second fight (against Otchiyev) it was just more comfortable. I didn’t have that nervousness in the beginning and was really able to flow a lot better and really put my style on him. It was really a lot easier and I was able to put the finish on him in the first round.”

Coming off a largely successful run in the amateur ranks, Marotte’s team he had reached the limits of what he could achieve there, so the decision was to make a run at the pros in 2018.

“I had fights drop out, and all that time I had spent training for those fights I had already gotten better, so we felt like we didn’t need another amateur fight and decided to turn pro,” said Marotte. “It was just timing and a matter of my coaches and managers saying that I was ready skill-wise, so we did it.

“I liked having so many amateur fights. I had seven fights and a couple of them went all rounds; so the experience I gained from that was having a calm head; having more time in the cage and gaining more experience in that atmosphere.”

TRENDING > Jon Jones Issues Statement Following Resolution to UFC Anti-Doping Policy Penalty

On Friday in Manchester, New Hampshire, Marotte (2-0) will seek to remain undefeated when he squares off against Robert Best (0-1) in a main card 145-pound bout at Combat Zone 67.

“Going in there it’s the same game plan,” Marotte said. “I’m going to keep (Best) at my range. I’m a tall, lanky, big, 145er, so I’m going to keep him at range and pick him apart. When we see the openings, we’ll end up taking it.”

Marotte knows that in such a deep division he has to do something to make himself stand out among all the other young prospects.

“Especially in this sport at my weight class, there are so many guys out there,” said Marotte. “I feel like if you’re not doing something to stand out, you’re going to blend in with the rest of them.

“I want to set a pace, an aggressive pace. I’m not going in there to touch paws for a while. I’m going to in there to finish you fast and as viciously as possible. Finishes are the key. The guys that finish are the guys who are going to rise the fastest.”

Jon Jones Issues Statement Following Resolution to UFC Anti-Doping Policy Penalty

Jon Jones UFC 214 weigh

Jon Jones averted a potential four-year suspension on Thursday when an independent arbitrator issued him a 15-month suspension following his second UFC Anti-Doping Policy infraction.

Though the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had been seeking an 18-month penalty, the arbitrator determined that Jones had not intentionally cheated when he failed a drug test surrounding his UFC 214 bout with Daniel Cormier, which he had initially won. Another factor in the arbitrator’s decision to reduce the sentence was Jones’ substantial assistance in determining the facts of the case.

Having averted disaster, Jones will be eligible to return to active competition as of Oct. 28, 2018.

Following the final ruling, Jones issued a statement addressing the matter.

“It’s difficult to express myself at this moment, but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life. It has meant the world to me and always will,” Jones wrote on Instagram.

TRENDING > Jon Jones Suspended 15 Months by USADA Following Arbitration Over Failed Drug Test

“But now is the time to shift the focus front and center to the road ahead. Greatness is what I’m chasing and the path to reclaiming my throne is now officially open. Comeback Season begins now.”

It is not yet clear when Jones will return to the Octagon or even in what weight class, as he has again teased the idea of moving to heavyweight.

Brock Lesnar Returns to WWE, Still Expected to Face Daniel Cormier for UFC Title

Brock Lesnar made a shocking return to WWE over the weekend after it appeared his professional wrestling career was put on hold while he focused on his return to the UFC.

On Sunday night at the WWE event dubbed “Hell in a Cell,” Lesnar stormed down the ramp and ended up attacking both of the participants in the main event, which was stopped after the two superstars involved were deemed unable to continue.

The entire scenario was a set-up for Monday’s announcement when Lesnar was officially booked for a triple threat match against current WWE universal champion Roman Reigns (real name Leati Joseph Anoaʻi) and Braun Strowman (real name Adam Scherr) for a card taking place in Saudi Arabia in November.

The event, called “WWE Crown Jewel,” is the second event that WWE is putting on in Saudi Arabia after brokering a deal with the government there on a lucrative — albeit controversial — contract to bring cards to the Middle East. Earlier this year, WWE kicked off the partnership with an event called “The Greatest Royal Rumble” that featured most of the company’s prominent stars — minus the women’s roster, as women were not allowed to perform in Saudi Arabia.

While there are no exact dollar amounts attached to each show, WWE is reportedly making around $45 million in revenue per show as a result of this partnership with Saudi Arabia, according to pro wrestling insider Dave Meltzer.

Lesnar is expected to clear well over $1 million for his participation in the Nov. 2 match-up in Saudi Arabia.

Considering the payday he’ll be receiving, it’s easy to understand why Lesnar would return to WWE even if it’s on a short-term basis. Lesnar has maintained a good working relationship with WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who previously gave him permission to return and fight at UFC 200 in 2016.

Lesnar’s unexpected return to WWE with a match scheduled in November might seem like a problem, considering he’s supposed to face UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in early 2019.

As it turns out, Lesnar’s return to WWE is nothing more than a short-term stint that’s expected to be promoted in the lead up to this card in Saudi Arabia and he’s not expected to stick around after that. Even when Lesnar was with WWE previously, he worked a very light schedule, only appearing at pay-per-view events and making the occasional showings at WWE Monday Night Raw.

TRENDING > Michael Chiesa Files Lawsuit Against Conor McGregor After Bus Melee in Brooklyn

This latest WWE stint is an easy way for Lesnar to pocket a massive paycheck while helping the company promote this card in Saudi Arabia with the biggest stars possible. Right now, former UFC champion Ronda Rousey is one of the WWE’s most marketable acts, but she will not perform on the card in Saudi Arabia, so that’s yet another reason why Lesnar got the call to come back.

As for his UFC career, Lesnar is still expected to face Cormier next year once he’s cleared by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Lesnar is currently undergoing six months of drug testing while also serving out the remainder of a previous suspension after he tested positive for a banned substance surrounding his last fight at UFC 200.

By all accounts, Lesnar is already gearing up for his return to the UFC and this match in Saudi Arabia shouldn’t interfere whatsoever with his eventual showdown with Cormier in 2019.