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Rizin FF Adds Multiple Fights to 2018 Calendar

Rizin Fighting Federation

There are currently four Rizin FF events booked between now and the end of the year, with three of them set for the Saitama Super Arena. Several fights have been announced over the course of the last few days with two fight cards nearly complete.

Rizin FF 11 is set for the Saitama Super Arena on July 29 and will be headlined by a bantamweight rematch between Kyoji Horiguchi and Hiromasa Ogikubo. The card also features three female fights with Rena Kubota and Rin Nakai both in action.

Horiguchi (24-2) has emerged as the face of Rizin FF. The UFC veteran is riding a nine-fight winning streak that has seen him defeat the likes of Ian McCall, Shintaro Ishiwatari, Hideo Tokoro, and Yuki Motoya.

Kubota (6-1) faces Kanna Asakura (12-2) in a rematch of last December’s atomweight grand prix final, which the latter won with a first-round rear-naked choke. Nakai (20-2-1) is one of three UFC veterans on the card and she faces Shizuka Sugiyama (16-5-1) in a flyweight fight.

Takanori Gomi UFC 125However, Takanori Gomi is presumably looking for a new opponent. A match-up between him and Andy Souwer was announced on the Rizin FF website, but the latter subsequently signed an exclusive deal with ONE Championship.

Rizin FF 12 takes place at the Aichi Gymnasium in Nagoya on August 12. The main event was announced this week and pits Japanese lightweight Yusuke Yachi (20-6) against Brazilian Bruno Carvalho (10-5).

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There are also two all-Japanese featherweight fights on the card with Hatsu Hioki (29-11-2) facing Mikura Asukara (6-1-0-1) and Reina Miura (9-1) taking on Kaitlin Young (7-9-1). Meanwhile, welterweight Kiichi Kunimoto (19-7-2) faces off against compatriot Ryuichiro Sumimura (13-6).

Jason High Explains Why He Left American Top Team Ahead of PFL Tournament

Jason High has always trained alongside fighters from his own weight class as part of American Top Team in Florida.

The gym is well known for having a laundry list of top athletes who compete in the UFC, Bellator and other major mixed martial arts promotions from around the globe.

Unfortunately for High after signing to fight in the upcoming Professional Fighters League (PFL) tournament, he discovered that at least three of his teammates from American Top Team would be joining him in the lightweight divisional bracket.

While High has no problem training alongside fighters he might one day face, the prospect of three teammates potentially opposing him in the tournament signified that it was time to make a change.

“I knew there was going to be at least two of my contemporaries that were going to be down there training and then it ended being three guys in my bracket,” High explained when speaking to MMAWeekly. “So there would have been four of us down there of the 12, so a third of the people in the pool would have been down [at American Top Team] training.

“I just didn’t really want to do that. I’ve still got love for everybody at American Top Team but I’m sure they understand.”

To help in his preparation for the tournament, High enlisted the services of the famed Jackson-Wink academy in New Mexico, which is where he’s been training for nearly two months to get ready for his first fight on Thursday night.

Jackson-Wink is one of the most respected gyms in the world with a slew of top fighters training out of there so it was a no brainer for High to team up with them ahead of the tournament.

“It was awesome. I really like what they’ve got going on down there. The style and just the attitude and the group of coaches down there, it’s a great spot to train,” High said.

“There’s more training partners than you could ask for down there. Even the younger guys some no names that you wouldn’t know are amazing fighters.”

High says he definitely plans on returning to Jackson-Wink after his upcoming fight against Efrain Escudero at PFL 2 on Thursday night. In fact, High says that head coach Mike Winkeljohn and assistant coach Frank Lester will both be in his corner for his upcoming fight.

The coaching staff already had to put in some extra work after High’s opponent changed at the last minute but he’s confident in the people around him will have everything in place when he steps into the cage on Thursday night.

“It’s just a game,” High said about his opponent switch. “There’s always going to be at least one unexpected thing that happens to you during a fight camp. Whether it’s an opponent change or a random nagging injury. I wasn’t too surprised. By the time I got the opponent change, the camp was already over. It’s just part of the game.”

Leon Edwards: ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone Is ‘Past His Prime’ and ‘He’s Not On My Level’

Leon Edwards is looking to put Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone out to pasture when they meet on Saturday in Singapore.

For the past year, Edwards has been asking the UFC to finally give him a top 15 opponent and when they came calling with an offer to face Cerrone, he couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Edwards looks at Cerrone as a legend and a big name in the sport, but he truly believes the former lightweight title contender has already seen his best days inside the Octagon and their fight will prove it.

“He was on a three fight losing streak until he beat his last opponent. I feel he’s past his sell by date,” Edwards told MMAWeekly when talking about Cerrone. “He’s done everything he needs to do in this sport. I know he’s a tough veteran. I know he can show up sometimes. I feel I’m way better than him everywhere the fight takes place. That’s all it is. I’m going to go out there and prove I’m the better fighter and he’s not on my level.”

Now those are strong words from Edwards when it comes to a fighter like Cerrone, who is currently tied for the most wins in UFC history while maintaining one of the most active scheduled for any fighter on the entire roster.

Cerrone has earned his respect through blood, sweat and tears shed in the Octagon for many years and there aren’t many fighters who have engaged in a battle with him that leave the without some bumps, bruises and often times a few extra scars.

Edwards says that he absolutely respects what Cerrone has done throughout his career but he just feels that he’s overmatched and out gunned in this particular fight.

“He’s a huge name. He’s a veteran of the sport. He’s been around for some time now. He was in the UFC when I first started my pro career,” Edwards said about Cerrone. “He’s a big name. To get an opportunity to face him in Singapore is an honor for me but I’m going to put that aside.Leon Edwards - UFC London Fight Highlights

“I’m going out there to take his head off. I’m happy he stepped up to the plate and I’m happy he gave me the opportunity but I’m going out there to take his head off.”

For all the ways he believes he can best Cerrone in the fight, Edwards knows that his size and power are going to be a big problem for the former lightweight.

Cerrone felt the brunt of what it was like facing a bigger, stronger welterweight two fights ago when he suffered a first round loss to Darren Till in Poland.

Edwards expects to dish out more of the same when he lets Cerrone taste his power on Saturday in Singapore.

“I’ve not met a welterweight yet that can out power me. For a guy that’s coming up from lightweight to welterweight, I can’t see where he’ll have an advantage,” Edwards said. “I have the size over him, the reach over him, the power over him. I feel after this fight, I’ll put on a performance and he’ll be forced to go back down to lightweight and compete against them guys.”

Between his size and power advantage as well as youth being on his side, Edwards feels like this fight is a passing of the torch in some ways as he plans to continue working his way through the top 10 while he plans on sending Cerrone packing after he’s done with him.

“He’s been in many wars in his career. He’s been stopped many times,” Edwards said. “I feel he’s past his prime and I don’t feel there’s nothing he can do now that’s going to change nothing. I feel 100-percent he’s past his prime.”

Josh Barnett Working on Securing His Release from the UFC

Josh Barnett is working towards receiving his UFC release.

The former heavyweight champion is reportedly working towards getting his release from the promotion after spending the last five years there. MMAJunkie was the first to report the news.

Barnett returned to the Octagon in 2013 has been out of action for nearly two years after having a drug test flagged by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), who oversees the UFC anti-doping policy.

USADA issued a ‘public reprimand’ to Barnett after he failed a drug test in December 2016 but he received no formal punishment after an extensive investigation proved that he was the victim of a tainted supplement and never knowingly took any banned substances. Still the entire process took 15 months to complete as Barnett had to stay out of action while waiting on an arbitration hearing that finally cleared his name.

It appears USADA is the main reason for Barnett seeking his release as he never requested to be re-entered into the drug testing pool following his case being settled.

By all accounts, Barnett maintained a good working relationship with the UFC but he opted not to deal with USADA again after missing 15 months of his career due to an anti-doping violation that was ultimately proven as not his fault.

UFC officials have not made a statement yet regarding Barnett’s pending release.

The Ultimate Fighter 27 Episode 10 Recap: First Featherweight Finalist Set

The Ultimate Fighter Undefeated TUF 27 Miocic vs Cormier

On episode 10 of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated, the first featherweight finalist emerged when Team Cormier teammates Brad Katona and Bryce Mitchell met in the first 145-pound semifinal bout.

The Fight: Brad Katona vs. Bryce Mitchell

Mitchell pressed the pace in the early going looking to land combinations. A minute into the opening round Katona caught a knee and put Mitchell on his back. Katona looked to sink in a guillotine choke but Mitchell reversed the position. Moments later, Katona scrambled and regain top position. He delivered punches but was unable to keep Mitchell grounded. With 90 seconds remaining in the round, Mitchell scrambled to his feet. The two stood toe-to-toe and exchanged with both landing. Mitchell secured a takedown in the closing seconds of the round.

Katona pressured Mitchell to start the second frame and delivered leg kicks. The two clinched and battled for position while exchanging knees to the body. After separating, Mitchell began to land heavy shots. Katona returned fire and the fight started to turn into a slug fest. With a minute showing on the clock, Mitchell changed levels and took Katona down. He spent the remainder of the round in top position but unable to inflict damage.

TRENDING > Donald Cerrone: ‘I tried to be cool, but now you just get a pissed off Cowboy’

The final round began with Mitchell trying to walk Katona down. After a few exchanges, Katona looks for a takedown. Mitchell defended it and secured a takedown of his own. In the process, Katona applied a guillotine choke and went to guard to lock it down. Mitchell escaped the submission attempt. Katona transitioned to an armbar and used it to create a scramble and gain top position. Katona landed punches and Mitchell rolled to try and get back to his feet. As he did, Katona took his back and applied a rear-naked choke forcing Mitchell to tap out.

“For the time being, all of this doesn’t feel real,” said Katona after advancing to the finals. “It feels right but it doesn’t feel real. It’s a very, very unique feeling. It’s a good feeling.”

“I f—– up. That’s all I’ve got,” said Mitchell following the loss. “

In next week’s episode, the last lightweight spot in the finals will play out between Team Miocic’s Allan Zuniga and Team Cormier’s Joe Giannetti. 

Donald Cerrone: ‘I tried to be cool, but now you just get a pissed off Cowboy’

Donald Cerrone before UFC Singapore

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(Courtesy of UFC)

Donald “Cerrone” fights so often that he just doesn’t have it in him to be mad at all of his opponents. In fact, he’s at the point in his career, and his life, where he’s generally happy to step in the cage and compete… may the better man win. 

Sometimes, however, try as he might, Cerrone draws an opponent that doesn’t see simply playing out the fight as the way to go. 

Leon Edwards – Cerrone’s opponent at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 132 in Singapore – is a young buck that has been tearing up the UFC welterweight division of late, and Cerrone is the most high profile opponent he’s faced to date. So it’s no wonder that Edwards can’t leave well enough alone, and has called Cerrone old and slow in the lead-up to their main event showdown.

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Well, for Cerrone, he’s not just going to sit back and take it. As he said, “He just wants to run his mouth and tell the world all the things that he’s going to do to me. Good, go ahead. I tried to be cool, but now, you just get a pissed off Cowboy, and I don’t even have to talk to you after I beat your ass, so that’s cool.”

Adriano Moraes Confident of Submitting Geje Eustaquio for a Second Time on Saturday

Adriano Moraes ONE Age of Champions

Adriano Moraes knows what it takes to beat a Team Lakay fighter, he’s done it twice. In 2014, he submitted Geje Eustaquio to become the inaugural ONE Championship flyweight champion and, last year, he did the same thing to Danny Kingad, who fights out of the same stable.

So as Moraes prepares to face Eustaquio for the second time at ONE: Pinnacle of Power on Saturday, he is faced with a familiar task. But four years is a long time in MMA and the Brazilian believes the Filipino will pose more of a challenge than he did in 2014.

“Geje has improved a lot. He improved his takedown defense, his grappling and his footwork is getting better. I am very impressed and I think this fight against him is going to be tough.”

The two men have several things in common, apart from the fact they already shared a cage. Both hold flyweight titles, although Eustaquio’s is an interim version, while Moraes owns the real thing. Both have been the distance with Kairat Akhmetov twice, and hold a decision win apiece against the Kazakh.

Moraes watched Eustaquio beat Akhmetov to become the interim champion in January. He sees similarities in the win over the same opponent he faced last year.

“I watched that fight live. It was the first time I watched ONE Championship without being in the cage. He defended Kairat Akhmetov’s takedown attacks very well and won the fight by unanimous decision, the same thing I did.”

During his camp at American Top Team, the BJJ black belt says he worked primarily on “timing and speed.” They are attributes which you might associate more with strikers than grapplers, and Moraes says he has been focusing on this aspect of his game.

“I want to try and knock out guys. It has been a long time in my career since I have knocked out anybody, so I needed to improve my timing. Everyone will see that my timing has improved a lot.”

However, Moraes is anxious to emphasize that this doesn’t mean he has been overlooking the ground game.

“I have improved all my skills. My wrestling is getting better, and my jiu-jitsu is enabling me to finish people more quickly,” he said.

So for all the talk of finishing fights by knockout, the Brazilian isn’t forgetting where his greatest strength lies.

“I am from jiu-jitsu, everybody knows that. I think my jiu-jitsu is better than Geje Eustaquio’s and I can submit him again because I have more weapons on the ground.”

Moraes’ ONE Championship career has been disrupted by injury and he had to pull out of a title match with Reece McLaren earlier this year. It was caused by a freak training accident, but the Brazilian says he is fully recovered.

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“I was ready, but two weeks before the fight, I was in a sparring session and a couple of guys training on the same mat collided with me. It was an accident, but I sprained my MCL in my right knee. I did not need surgery, just hard physiotherapy and a little bit of rest. I had good support and I got better,” he says.

When assessing Moraes’ 17-2 record, it is important to take into consideration that both his defeats came by way of split decision. No-one has ever finished him, and he has been the dominant force in ONE Championship’s flyweight division for more than four years now.

Eustaquio has been on the ONE Championship roster even longer and has held his own against the best in the division. It’s another tough test for Moraes, but also an opportunity to show why he is already being talked about as the greatest flyweight in the history of Asian MMA.

MMA Top 10 Rankings Update, June 20: Colby Covington Crashes into Top Welterweights

MMAWeekly MMA Top 10 Rankings

Colby Covington crashes into the top of the Welterweight Top 10 Rankings

The MMAWeekly.com rankings list the Top 10 MMA fighters from around the world in each of the most widely accepted weight classes, as well as a Top 10 mixed pound-for-pound list ranking the best male and female fighters. Fighters from any mixed martial arts promotion are eligible.

Colby CovingtonTaken into consideration is a fighter’s performance in addition to win-loss record, head-to-head and common opponents, difficulty of opponents, and numerous other factors in what is the most comprehensive rankings system in the sport. The divisional rankings put a particular emphasis on recent results, while a fighter’s career, particularly if he or she has fought in multiple weight classes, adds considerable weight to the pound-for-pound ranking.

Fighters who are currently serving a drug-related suspension are not eligible for MMA Top 10 Rankings consideration until they have fought one time after the completion of said suspension.

Though we don’t have a strict timeline for fighters to compete, an athlete’s inactivity can also have an effect upon his or her rankings consideration.

Feel free to get your shred on (or leave your top picks) in the comments section below!

Combined Pound-for-Pound MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Georges St-Pierre
  2. Demetrious Johnson
  3. Daniel Cormier

> Full Pound-for-Pound Rankings

Men’s Heavyweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Stipe Miocic
  2. Francis Ngannou
  3. Curtis Blaydes

> Full Heavyweight Rankings

Men’s Light Heavyweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Daniel Cormier
  2. Alexander Gustafsson
  3. Volkan Oezdemir

> Full Light Heavyweight Rankings

Men’s Middleweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Robert Whittaker
  2. Yoel Romero
  3. Gegard Mousasi

> Full Middleweight Rankings

Men’s Welterweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Tyron Woodley
  2. Colby Covington
  3. Stephen Thompson

> Full Welterweight Rankings

Men’s Lightweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  2. Tony Ferguson
  3. Conor McGregor

> Full Lightweight Rankings

Men’s Featherweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Max Holloway
  2. Brian Ortega
  3. Jose Aldo

> Full Featherweight Rankings

Men’s Bantamweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. TJ Dillashaw
  2. Cody Garbrandt
  3. Dominick Cruz

> Full Bantamweight Rankings

Men’s Flyweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Demetrious Johnson
  2. Henry Cejudo
  3. Sergio Pettis

> Full Flyweight Rankings

Women’s Bantamweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Amanda Nunes
  2. Germaine de Randamie
  3. Holly Holm

> Full Women’s Bantamweight Rankings

Women’s Flyweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Nicco Montano
  2. Valentina Shevchenko
  3. Sijara Eubanks

> Full Women’s Flyweight Rankings

Women’s Strawweight MMA Top 10 Rankings

  1. Rose Namajunas
  2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
  3. Jessica Andrade

> Full Women’s Strawweight Rankings

Pound-for-Pound MMA Top 10 Rankings

Men’s and Women’s Combined Pound-for-Pound Rankings

Men’s MMA Top 10 Rankings

Flyweight  |  Bantamweight  |  Featherweight  |  Lightweight  |  Welterweight  |  Middleweight  |  Light Heavyweight  |  Heavyweight

Women’s MMA Top 10 Rankings

Strawweight  |  Flyweight  |  Bantamweight

Dana White Awards Contracts to a Record 4 Fighters on Tuesday Night Contender Series (Video)

Dwight Grant

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Following the fights of week 2 of the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, UFC boss Dana White did something he’s never done before. He granted four fighters a UFC contract. 

With outstanding victories from Dwight Grant, Ryan Spann, Anthony Hernandez, and Matt Sayles; all four fighters secured UFC contracts.

“This is the most kids we’ve ever picked on one show,” White stated in announcing the contract winners.

TRENDING > Four Fighters Earn UFC Contracts from Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series

Every fight on the night went to a finish, with only Anthony Springer left without a contract in hand. 

Donald Cerrone Flattens Matt Brown in the UFC KO of the Week (Video)

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(Courtesy of UFC)

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone recently came out of a three-fight skid by taking out Yancy Medeiros late in the first, but just before that skid, he took care of Matt Brown in true Cowboy fashion.

Check out the UFC KO of the Week, as Cerrone laid Brown out with a kick to the head 44 seconds into the third round of their fight at UFC 206 in December of 2016.

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Cerrone next steps into the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 132 on Saturday in Singapore. He headlines the card opposite rising welterweight contender Leon Edwards.