Justin Lawrence to Face Andrew Natividad on Bellator 193 Preliminary Bill

Justin Lawrence will meet Andrew Natividad in a preliminary featherweight contest at Bellator 193.

Invicta FC 27 Weigh-in Video & Results: Co-Headliner Pannie Kianzad Misses Mark

Sarah Kaufman has returned to old stomping grounds.

Curtis Millender Head Kick Blindsides Nick Barnes in Legacy Fighting Alliance 30 Main Event

Curtis Millender called upon his most trusted weapon, and it did not let him down.

Zak Cummings Injured; UFC Fight Night 124 Bout vs. Thiago Alves Canceled

UFC Fight Night 124 is down to 12 bouts after a Zak Cummings injury forced him to withdraw from a proposed welterweight clash against Thiago Alves.

2017 Submission of the Year: Demetrious Johnson’s Mind-Bending Armbar

For UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, 2017 was simultaneously tumultuous and historical.

Though he fought only twice in 2017, it was a banner year for Johnson in that he overcame fights falling apart to first tie and then break the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses. Not only that, he pulled off one of the most impressive armbars that we’ve ever seen.

After taking out Wilson Reis in April, tying Anderson Silva for the consecutive title defenses record, the UFC tried to get Johnson to take a fight with TJ Dillashaw. Opting instead to remain in a bout with Ray Borg, things got complicated. 

Johnson and Borg were slated to headline UFC 215 in September. The bout was canceled the day prior to the event when Borg fell ill. They were subsequently rescheduled to meet at UFC 216 in October, this time making it all the way to the Octagon. 

Though Borg gave Johnson everything in his gas tank, Johnson showed throughout the fight why so many consider him the greatest of all time. And he only served to punctuate the point with the way he finished the fight. 

While an armbar finish may not sound so awe inspiring, there are numerous ways to apply an armbar to finish a fight. Just ask Ronda Rousey, who made a career off of her armbar variations, finishing her first 11 mixed martial arts opponents by way of the submission.

No one, not even Rousey, had shown the amazing transition to the armbar in a fight that Johnson pulled off.

While Johnson throttled Borg frequented throughout the bout, the end came when he picked Borg up and started to suplex him to the canvas. Amazingly, as Borg was in the air and crashing to the canvas, Johnson hooked his arm, threw his leg over as Borg landed, and extended the arm for the finish. 

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No words can do it just, as Johnson landed in the record books and earned the 2017 Submission of the Year.

Check it out in the UFC video below.

2017 Submission of the Year: Demetrious Johnson’s Armbar in Slo-Mo

(Courtesy of UFC)

UFC 220 Media Call LIVE with Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou, Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir

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(Courtesy of UFC)

Listen in LIVE to the UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou Media Conference Call, which takes place on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT. The cards championship fighters – heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Francis Ngannou, and light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier and challenger Volkan Oezdemir – field questions from the media ahead of their headlining and co-main event bouts on Jan. 20 in Boston.

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The headlining bout between Miocic and Ngannou is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated heavyweight bouts in quite some time. Miocic has the chance to become one of the most dominant UFC heavyweight champions ever, while Ngannou’s one-punch power has everyone wondering if he is the next great heavyweight superpower.

The UFC 220 co-main event sees little drop-off. Cormier was handed his belt back after Jon Jones tested positive to steroids following their UFC 214 bout in July. He aims to prove that the belt still rightfully belongs to him by putting a halt to Oezdemir’s meteoric rise in the Octagon.

Ronda Rousey and WWE Talks Continue to Heat Up

Rumors have swirled for quite some time that former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is going to make the move to the WWE. Those rumors have swirled ever since Rousey appeared inside the ring alongside The Rock at WrestleMania 31 in 2015. 

The rumors have some legs though. Rousey has long been a professional wrestling fan, attending numerous events, and often expressing interest in possibly becoming a performer one day. Couple that with her longtime teammate Shayna Baszler having recently transitioned to the world of the WWE, and there is lots of fuel for the fire. 

Perhaps the biggest factor yet showing that Rousey might finally be ready to walk away from the UFC Octagon and into the squared circle was her dinner with WWE’s Paul Levesque (aka Triple H) on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. While there were no deals done, there are ongoing talks to bring the biggest star in women’s MMA to the WWE.

“We are talking to Ronda, as we’ve been for a while,” Levesque told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “She has a lot of things going on. We have a lot of things going on. But we have a great relationship with her, a very friendly standpoint for a long period of time now. It was great to catch up with her.”

That obviously doesn’t indicate that there are even negotiations at this point, but Rousey’s interest in the WWE is strong and their interest in her is reciprocated.

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“We have nothing to announce at this time,” Levesque said. “But she’s a huge fan of what we do and she’s incredibly interested in what we do and the opportunities that lie there. We’re fans of hers and incredibly interested in what those opportunities could be with us. But there’s a lot of things to walk through. We’re talking. We’re having conversations.”

Vitor Belfort Announces He Will Retire Following Fight Against Uriah Hall

Vitor Belfort is finally ready to call it a career.

The former UFC champion has teased his retirement in the past but ahead of his upcoming bout against Uriah Hall this Sunday night at UFC Fight Night from St. Louis, Belfort has decided that this will be his last walk to the Octagon.

“This is my retirement fight,” Belfort said on “UFC Unfiltered“. “After that, I will put my body to rest.”

Of course this isn’t the first time Belfort has talked about retirement because he mentioned the same thing ahead of his last fight against Nate Marquardt but then opted to stick around afterwards.

By all accounts, Belfort is entering the final fight on his current UFC contract and he’s often talked about the promotion starting some sort of “legends league” where competitors at an older age could still compete without facing young, up and coming talent.

That being said, Belfort seems to be certain that this time really will be the final fight of his career when he steps into the cage on Sunday night.

“This is it breaking news,” Belfort added. “I think life is about seasons. That’s what I like. Brazil, even in Florida, I wish we had seasons, summer, winter, spring. Life is about seasons and you’ve got to know the seasons. I think I did more than enough. Just to think back, sometimes I flash back and I say wow I’m still doing this. This is crazy. I’m very thankful but I think my body needs to rest. I have a business of my own, I developed a group class training system that we’re going to franchise. I just want to help the sport in a way.

“I think we’ve got to know the time to start and we’ve got to know the time to end. It’s about time.”

At 40, Belfort has been competing professionally in mixed martial arts for nearly 22 years after starting his career as a teenager.

Belfort made his first appearance in the UFC back in 1997 and he has been a light heavyweight champion as well as a title contender at middleweight as well.

If this really is his final fight, Belfort will close his career as one of the most tenured members of the UFC roster and almost assuredly a future Hall of Famer considering the laundry list of highlights decorating his resume.

Chael Sonnen: Luke Rockhold is the Cormier vs. Oezdemir ‘Elephant in the Room’

It’s a given that there is a little star power drop-off when you match UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier against Volkan Oezdemir compared to when the champ was fighting Jon Jones.

The Jones situation, however, is well established. Though he got the better of Cormier in the cage at UFC 214, he was later disqualified for having tested positive for steroids. Jones is now awaiting adjudication of his UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation, which could net him several years on the sidelines, which could be a career killer.

With Jones out of the picture, Cormier is still the reigning, defending UFC light heavyweight champion. He’ll put the belt on the line against Oezdemir at UFC 220 on Jan. 20 in Boston

Obviously, Oezdemir doesn’t yet have the star power of Jones or Cormier, but he’s been building his credentials. His record currently stands at 15-1 with three bouts inside the UFC Octagon. 

Oezdemir has reeled off victories over Ovince Saint Preux, Misha Cirkunov, and Jimi Manuwa. None of those were easy opponents, and he knocked out Cirkunov and Manuwa in a combined 70 seconds. Now, he’s taking aim at Cormier and the belt.

While it would appear that Cormier has the decided advantage, and he does both from a skills and an experience perspective, there is an interesting “elephant in the room,” as former UFC contender and current Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix participant Chael Sonnen puts it: longtime Cormier teammate Luke Rockhold has been in the gym working with Oezdemir.

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Just what does that mean for the UFC 220 co-main event? That’s a good question, and one that Sonnen tackled in his drive-along dissection of Cormier vs. Oezdemir.

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(Courtesy of Chael Sonnen)

Jessica-Rose Clark Predicts Paige VanZant Will Return to Strawweight After Their Fight

Just after getting a win in her UFC debut, Jessica-Rose Clark felt like the perfect matchup for her second fight would be a showdown with Paige VanZant.

Considering VanZant was also moving to the newly minted UFC women’s flyweight division and was in need of an opponent, Clark felt like she would be the perfect person to welcome the former “Dancing with the Stars” finalist to the 125-pound division.

Like fate intervened, Clark didn’t have to think about the fight for long before it became reality when the UFC wasted no time offering her the matchup with VanZant at UFC Fight Night in St. Louis.

“The fight [with Bec Rawlings] happened perfectly and then right after the fight I thought ‘it would be really cool to fight Paige VanZant’ and then the fight got given to me 12 hours later,” Clark told MMAWeekly. “A lot of people don’t believe in destiny but it almost feels like fate.

“It almost feels like it was supposed to happen in this exact way.”

While the UFC has debuted rankings for the fledgling flyweight division, Clark understands that it’s going to take some time to really determine who are the top fighters in the world at 125 pounds behind new champion Nicco Montano.

Of course fighters like Valentina Shevchenko spring to mind immediately when talking about the best in the world at flyweight, but the reality is until competing at 125 pounds, there’s no telling who will be the true contenders in the division.

That’s why Clark felt a matchup with VanZant made so much sense because not only has the former Team Alpha Male fighter been ranked in the top 10 in her old weight class at 115 pounds but she also carries with her a certain amount of celebrity that will put a lot of eyeballs on this fight.

Thanks to her stint on the competition dance series as well as public appearances and a new book due out in 2018, VanZant is definitely one of the most well known fighters on the UFC roster and especially when looking for name recognition in the new 125-pound division.

“She’s a good fighter and everything and she’s had a lot of success but I think more than anything, she’s intelligent with how she’s gone about her whole career. From a marketing standpoint, this is the money fight,” Clark explained. “This is the one everyone wants to see because people either love Paige or think she’s a joke. No matter how the fight goes down, people want to see what happens.”

When it comes to her opinion of VanZant’s skills inside the Octagon, Clark refuses to discount her abilities to fight because underestimating an opponent is almost the surest way to suffer a loss.

Still, Clark can’t help but wonder how VanZant will fare at a bigger weight class when she was already just a normal sized fighter in her previous division at 115 pounds.

VanZant claims that a brutal weight cut prevented her from giving her best performances in the UFC but Clark predicts that she’ll be making a move back down to strawweight after she feels what it’s like to face bigger, stronger competition at 125 pounds.

“I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen,” Clark answered when asked if this fight would convince VanZant to go back to strawwweight. “Because she’s not a big strawweight anyways so it didn’t make any sense for her to agree to the fight with me when I’m going to be a lot bigger than her.

“I read something from her the other day where she said not cutting weight will give her a chance to show off her athletic ability as well. I mean that’s cool. Good for her. Have fun.”

Whether size will play a major factor or not will be determined on Sunday night but either way Clark feels like she’s just a bad matchup for VanZant and plans to show her why when they finally clash inside the Octagon.

“I think I matchup really well with anyone to be honest. I have a lot of confidence in my abilities wherever the fight goes. I have a lot of confidence in what I can do and what I have done and I know how much better I get each fight. I think she presents a lot of unknowns because she changes so much with each fight, but I always train to be able to adapt to whatever the other person is going to do,” Clark said.

“With her, I don’t see anything I have to be particularly worried about. At the same time with so many of my past opponents it’s almost robotic because we know exactly what they’re going to do. Like with Bec Rawlings, we only had 10 days to prepare but we knew exactly what she was going to do. With Paige, you can’t say that. She’s unpredictable so I’m excited about that.”