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Jeremy Stephens Demolishes Dooho Choi with Vicious TKO (UFC St Louis Results)

Jeremy Stephens always warns his opponents that he has a different level of power for the fighters in the featherweight division.

He backed up that statement on Sunday night as Stephens demolished highly touted prospect Dooho Choi in the main event from the UFC’s first ever card in St. Louis.

With both fighters known as knockout strikers, Stephens and Choi had no problem charging toward the center of the Octagon and immediately winging shots at each other.

Stephens struggled with his range, coming up just short on most of his biggest punches with Choi using a stiff jab and a hard leg kick as his best weapons early.

Choi was landing with better accuracy, but he often times forgot to protect his chin on the exit and that’s when Stephens cracked him with some of his best punches in the round.

Jeremy StephensStephens also landed a hard elbow on the exit after Choi engaged in an exchange and then tried to back out on a straight line.

Choi opened the second round with a perfectly timed front kick that snapped Stephens’ head back like a rubber band, but that only seemed to wake the UFC veteran, as he immediately began returning fire with a barrage of shots that found a home.

Stephens tagged Choi time and time again with his punches, as he finally figured out his range and he made the South Korean prospect pay for standing in front of him.

Finally, Stephens uncorked a beautiful right hand that blasted Choi and sent him tumbling to the canvas, but he was immediately put into even more trouble a second later.

Stephens came crashing down on Choi like a predator trapping his prey and he unloaded a hellish punch that finished whatever he started with the previous shot on the feet. Choi rolled over to his side trying to survive the onslaught, but Stephens was relentless with his attack until the referee finally stopped the fight at 2:36 in the second round.

Afterwards, Stephens paid tribute to Choi’s toughness, while celebrating his second straight in the division. With another knockout added to his resume, Stephens turned towards a top five ranked fighter sitting in the audience as a potential opponent for later this year.

RELATED > UFC Fight Night 124: Stephens vs. Choi Full Results and Live Fight Stats

“Brian Ortega, I know he’s here. Where’s he at? I know he’s coming off a good win,” Stephens said following his victory. “I want to fight everybody in front of me.”

It was a very impressive outing from Stephens, who came into the fight as a slight underdog, but he proved any doubters wrong by putting a stamp on the main event with a huge finish against a very tough opponent in Choi.

Matt Hughes Makes Emotional Walk to the Octagon at UFC St. Louis (Video)

The UFC honored Hall of Famer and former welterweight champion Matt Hughes on Sunday night in St. Louis with an emotional tribute, as he continues to battle through the biggest fight of his life. 

Hughes was hospitalized for several weeks last summer after his truck collided with an oncoming train in Illinois on June 16, 2017, and he was airlifted for treatment because of severe head injuries. According to police, Hughes drove his truck across railroad tracks directly in the path of an oncoming train, which struck the passenger side of his vehicle.

Hughes was stabilized by medical personnel, but was in a coma for quite some time as a result of the car accident.

Matt HughesThe severity of the incident left many doubtful that he would recover, but Hughes’ family and friends rallied around him, holding prayer vigils and steadfastly believing that the mental fortitude that drove him to becoming one of the most storied champions in UFC history and his faith would carry him through the battle.

His friends and family were correct.

Though Hughes is obviously still struggling with some of his motor skills, his recovery has been northing short of miraculous.

The UFC’s tribute, entitled “Welcome Home Matt Hughes,” included a short video that recounted the tragic accident, Hughes’ road to recovery, and his historic career. The likes of Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn were included in the video, giving credit to Hughes for paving their way to the Octagon.

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Following the video, Hughes walked out of the tunnel with his fight music, “Country Boys Can Survive,” blaring as he made his way to through a standing ovation, shaking hands with fans before being greeted Octagonside by UFC president Dana White. 

It was a moving tribute to one of the most dominant champions the UFC has known, and one who is now winning the most important fight of his life.

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(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

Dana White: Tyron Woodley vs. Rafael dos Anjos is ‘the fight to make’

It looks like Rafael dos Anjos is going to get the next crack at welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

UFC president Dana White revealed on Sunday night following his promotion’s first card of 2018 that he anticipates dos Anjos facing Woodley later this year, once the reigning champion has recovered from shoulder surgery.

Woodley went under the knife recently to repair damage to his shoulder, but said that he still expected to be back in action during the first quarter of 2018. Now it appears the UFC has locked down his opponent when he’s steps back into the Octagon.

“As soon as he’s healthy, obviously, RDA [Rafael dos Anjos] is the fight to make, especially the way he looked in the Robbie Lawler fight,” White said on the post fight show. “We’re just waiting for Tyron to get healthy.”

Dos Anjos defeated Lawler this past December by unanimous decision to move his record to a perfect 3-0 since switching from lightweight to the welterweight division.

Dos Anjos has been lobbying hard ever since for his chance to face Woodley with No. 3 ranked Colby Covington doing the same in an attempt to get his shot at the title.

Now it appears Covington may have to wait, while the UFC seems set on the Woodley vs. Dos Anjos match-up later this year.

Paige VanZant Shows Off Broken Arm Suffered In First Round Against Jessica-Rose Clark

Paige VanZant fought the majority of her bout against Jessica-Rose Clark with only one arm.

In between rounds on Sunday night, VanZant was heard telling her corner that she suffered a broken arm following the first round. At the conclusion of the fight, VanZant grabbed her right arm as she visibly winced in pain after gutting through a three round battle that she ended up losing by unanimous decision.

Afterwards, VanZant was taken to a local hospital for treatment where she posted a photo of her x-ray that showed the broken bone she suffered in the fight.

It’s an unfortunate turn of circumstances for VanZant, who was making her debut at 125 pounds on Sunday night but came up short against Clark and will now likely be sidelined for a couple of months due to the broken arm. 

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder In the Works for UFC 223 in April

Lightweights Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder have been rebooked for the upcoming UFC 223 card taking place on April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Sources close to the matchup confirmed verbal agreements are in place with contracts expected to be issued soon. UFC officials have not yet announced the fight.

The two bruising lightweights were originally scheduled to meet at UFC 218 this past December but an injury to Iaquinta forced him off the card. Felder ended up earning a TKO win over Charles Oliveira instead. 

Now with Iaquinta back to full health, he’s expected to meet Felder in a highly anticipated showdown at UFC 223 in April.

The UFC has not officially announced the card yet but the event is expected to take place in Brooklyn with more fights to be confirmed in the coming weeks. 

 

Dana White: Conor McGregor May Not Return Until September, Hints at Title Being Stripped

Conor McGregor‘s lightweight title reign may be over very soon.

On Sunday night, UFC president Dana White revealed that McGregor is now contemplating an even longer layoff with his next fight not being booked until at least September.

If that comes to pass, White says the UFC would “absolutely” have to strip McGregor of his lightweight title that he won in November 2016 and still hasn’t defended.

“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years. That can’t happen,” White said. “It’s not fair to everybody else.

“Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company. Everybody knows that. I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”

McGregor has been relatively quite about his return to the Octagon outside of stating several times that he’ll be happy to fight once the UFC offers him what he considers as fair compensation. McGregor has been locked in negotiations with the UFC on a new deal for quite some time, while also hinting at demands that could include co-promotion or some sort of equity in the company.

As far as what happens with the lightweight division right now, White said the UFC is already working on a fight between interim champion Tony Ferguson and undefeated Russian wrecking machine Khabib Nurmagomedov in the near future.

“You do Khabib versus Tony,” White said. “We’re working on that fight now and, if and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”

There have been rumors that Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov could headline UFC 223 on April 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y., but there’s no confirmation at this time if that’s the date and location the promotion is targeting for that fight.

Either way, it certainly appears that McGregor’s time as lightweight champion may be limited if he doesn’t book his next fight in the UFC sooner rather than later.

Stipe Miocic Becomes First UFC Fighter Endorsed by Modelo Especial

UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is now officially the first athlete on the roster to sign an individual endorsement deal with Modelo Especial, who became the UFC’s beer sponsor at the start of 2018.

Miocic not only inked a partnership deal with Modelo but he actually flew to Los Angeles just recently to shoot a commercial for the beer brand that is expected to begin airing in the first quarter of this year and remain a central part of the advertising throughout 2018.

Modelo just recently inked a multi-year agreement with the UFC to become one of the promotion’s main sponsors kicking off on Jan. 1.

“It’s amazing,” Miocic said about working with Modelo. “First off I like their beer, it tastes amazing so that’s always a good thing. We’ve been working with them already and they’re amazing people. They’ve got the fighting spirit just like I do.

“It’s perfect and I’m just excited to be part of the team.”

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For the commercial shoot, Modelo not only had Miocic participate but they actually recreated a full walkout similar to what the heavyweight champion would do at a UFC event.

It was a special moment not only for Miocic but also for his mother, who attended the commercial shoot with her son. See, Miocic’s mother is definitely his biggest fan but she’s never attended one of his fights because admittedly she can’t stand the thought of watching her baby boy get punched by anybody.

So being able to watch her son shine under the spotlight for the commercial was a special time for Miocic’s mom.

“Shooting the Modelo project was special for many reasons, but what stood out most to me was having Stipe’s mom on set,” Miocic’s manager Jim Walter said about the commercial shoot. “She has never been to his fights or gotten to see her son in action. It was magical to watch her experience something so new — a shoot on a Hollywood set with her son — and get to be a part of everything.

“Modelo went above and beyond to make her experience fantastic, and I think it’s something both she and Stipe will treasure. Our Modelo partnership and this particular shoot are things I’m proud and honored to be a part of generally, but getting to see Stipe and his mom work together was truly special.”

Miocic’s partnership with Modelo has already kicked off ahead of his upcoming fight at UFC 220 where he will defend his title for the third time as he faces upstart contender Francis Ngannou. A win at UFC 220 will make Miocic the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history as well.

Uriah Hall Respects Vitor Belfort’s Accomplishments But Is ‘Confidently Ready’

At UFC Fight Night 124 on Sunday, No. 11 ranked middleweight Uriah Hall will be the last opponent of “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort‘s legendary career. Hall has followed Belfort’s career. He respects the pioneer but looks forward to the opportunity to defeat him.

“I just feel really good. I feel very positive. There’s nothing bad I can say to this guy. It’s a great opportunity to go up against a legend. That’s how I look at it. It’s not about collecting a name on a resume for me. It’s about just saying, wow. I grew up watching you and now I’m actually at that level. In a way it’s like you made it,” said Hall during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.

Belfort has been training at the Tristar Gym coached by Firas Zahabi, among others.  The team is known for their strategic approach and game planning.  Belfort, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, could look to that the fight to the ground.  Hall welcomes the challenge. 

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“I’m excited. Whatever he brings to the table I’m sure I’m 100-percent confidently ready,” he said.  “Coming into the MMA game I was undefeated in kickboxing. I retired from that at a young age because as a martial artist I love a challenge. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to mix it up. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing if he can take me down.”

The 40-year old Belfort will be looking to cap off his career with back to back wins.  Hall expects to face a Belfort at the top of his game.  Despite his age, Belfort is a dangerous fight for anyone.     

“I’m looking for him to put it together. I’m definitely going to put it together. I’m starting to learn how to put it together,” said Hall.

World Boxing Champion Amanda Serrano Signs with Combate Americas

Combate Americas today announced the signing of five-division world boxing champion, including reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight (118 pounds) champion, Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (Boxing: 34-1-1, 26 KO’s; MMA: 0-0) to an exclusive, multi-year promotional agreement.

The only female fighter in history as well as the only Puerto Rican competitor ever to win five world titles in five different weight divisions, the 29-year-old Serrano who was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico and fights out of Brooklyn, N.Y., will make her Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut in La Jaula, the Combate Americas cage, on a March date to be announced soon.

“We are excited to bring Amanda Serrano, one of boxing’s most exciting superstars into the Combate Americas familia, and look forward to placing her on a global stage that is the premier sports property in 21 Spanish speaking countries worldwide,” said Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren.

Serrano, a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, will continue her burgeoning boxing career under the promotion of DiBella Entertainment, and attempt to become the first athlete in history to simultaneously hold world titles in MMA and boxing.

Serrano captured her first major world title, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super featherweight crown, at just 22 years old, with a brutal, second-round knockout of Kimberly Connor on September 10, 2011.

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She has since torn through the ranks of fighters in four other weight divisions, ranging from bantamweight to lightweight (135 pounds), and most recently scored a first round TKO on Marilyn Hernandez on November 4, 2017.

Serrano was inspired to cross over to the world of MMA by retired world champion Miesha Tate, who has since become Serrano’s co-manager.

Combate Americas is coming off a banner year, producing remarkable television ratings in the U.S., Mexico and Spain, including the first two Telemundo MMA events in history that generated the highest ratings of any Spanish language MMA shows in the U.S. in the summer and fall of 2017, and as many as 6.9 million viewers for one episode of its weekly television series on TV Azteca in Mexico.

Daniel Cormier Isn’t Trying to Escape the Shadow of Jon Jones Looming Over His Career

Daniel Cormier knows that his name will forever be attached to Jon Jones.

Not only was their rivalry one of the most heated in the history of the UFC but Jones and Cormier have arguably separated themselves as the two greatest light heavyweights to ever compete in the sport.

Unfortunately, Cormier came up short against Jones on two occasions and despite a positive drug test erasing the second defeat on the record books, the reigning light heavyweight champion still views that as a loss despite the fact that the title is wrapped around his waist today.

Rather than taking shots at Jones for cheating or his continued issues outside the cage, Cormier prefers to accept defeat and do his best to move forward with his career because that’s all he can do. While Jones remains on suspension awaiting the outcome of a pending case with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), Cormier has a fight against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 and that’s all he can worry about right now.

“That’s my cross to bear,” Cormier said about his losses to Jones. “I didn’t get the job done. If I would have won those fights and it wouldn’t have mattered all of his out of the Octagon issues. Because I lost, I’ve got to carry that burden. That’s for me to carry. I can’t look to escape that and I’m not trying to.

“All I do is try to make that motivate me to be better today than I was July 29 and April 10 when I fought Anthony [Johnson] and every other day I fought.”

Of course none of what’s happening is Cormier’s fault considering he was handed the light heavyweight title from the UFC after Jones was stripped following their fight being overturned to a no contest.

Cormier didn’t want to lose to Jones any more than he wanted the former champion to test positive for steroids but now he’s just got to play the cards he’s been dealt.

As much as Cormier isn’t trying to forget the past with Jones, he knows the best way to move forward is by beating Oezdemir convincingly to not only wash the bad taste of defeat from his mouth but to remind everybody why he is the light heavyweight champion.

“My career is so closely tied to those fights that I do need to win in dominant fashion,” Cormier explained. “More so this time than what happened in the last fight but my goal is always to go out and dominate and that’s what I’ve done for the vast majority of my career.Daniel Cormier UFC 214 weigh

“Nothing’s really changed. The only pressure comes from what I put on myself because of the way the last fight ended.”

While there will undoubtedly be talk about Jones from now until after the fight, Cormier promises that he’s only thinking about his longtime rival when the questions are raised to him.

When the microphones are silenced and the cameras are turned off, Cormier is only thinking about one thing and that’s defending his title against Oezdemir on Jan. 20.

“I don’t really worry too much about anything but the person that’s in front of me,” Cormier said. “Volkan Oezdemir, I respect enough to focus on him entirely. I respect enough to focus entirely on him and him be my obsession. I’m obsessed with this young man right now. Obsessed with coming up with a game plan and a fight strategy to go out there and beat him convincingly.

“I don’t worry too much about Jones right now. He’s ineligible as he was for the last couple of years before the last fight.”