Hideki Sekine Plans to Submit Brandon Vera, Take His Belt at ONE: Age of Domination

Hideki Sekine will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time at ONE: Age of Domination on Friday night. He’s challenging Brandon Vera for the heavyweight title in Manila and is looking to do something that has never been done before.

No Japanese heavyweight has ever won a title outside of their homeland. Sekine, who brings a perfect professional record of 7-0 into his ONE Championship debut, will write his name into the record books if he can defeat the UFC veteran.

It is an opportunity that has arrived comparatively late in the career of the 43-year-old. Sekine has sometimes struggled to find opponents in MMA, but recently decided to become a full-time fighter.

“If I become the champion, it means my decision to quit my job as a cop and putting everything to MMA has succeeded and I can prove to my family and friends that my decision was right. I will be able to send out a message to both young and same generation guys that chasing your dream is beautiful and great.”

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Shinya Aoki’s loss to Eduard Folayang last month leaves Yoshitaka Naito as the promotion’s only reigning Japanese champion. It’s a situation Sekine will be hoping to change, as he feels fighters from his homeland have a work ethic which is unrivaled.

“The reason Japanese fighters are good in MMA is because we are hard working. In all the gyms, there are no lazy fighters and everyone is focused and training hard every day.  If I can defeat Brandon Vera and bring home the belt, it will be a honor for the Japanese fans, my gym, and myself.”

Hideki SekineSekine has a background in jiu-jitsu and has competed in some of the biggest BJJ and grappling tournaments in the world. His strength is clearly his submission game and he hopes it will make the difference against Vera.

“My strength is takedown and ground techniques, (so) if we go to the ground I definitely have an advantage. I’m going to take him down and submit him.”

However, Sekine also acknowledges that he will be at a disadvantage in striking and that it is imperative he takes Vera down.

“Brandon is a striker and I’m a grappler. If Brandon is going to win, it will be a big KO. If I’m going to win, it will be a submission.”

One other advantage which Sekine should have in this fight is his size. The jiu-jitsu specialist has spent much of his career competing at super heavyweight or open weight, while Vera was at 205 pounds as recently as 2012. He’s one of the biggest Japanese fighters to compete in MMA and is proud to be competing against some of the biggest men in the sport.

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“Japanese are built small and there are not many heavyweight fighters. If you look at me, I am sturdy built and have thick bones, so I can gain muscle and compete with top fighters from all around the world.”

The gameplan for Sekine is simple. He needs to take Vera down and submit him, but the veteran grappler also hinted he might try something a little less conventional.

“(I must) prevent his striking and go for a takedown. When it goes to the ground, I will aim for a choke. If I show him a different way to fight in the cage, which he has never seen. I’m sure he will be confused.”

Sekine will be looking to surprise Vera at ONE: Age of Domination. He will also need to upset the odds because the Japanese heavyweight is a big underdog, but if he can secure that takedown, all bets are off.

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Bellator 166: Dantas vs. Warren 2 Weigh-in Results and Video

(Courtesy of BellatorMMA)

Watch the Bellator 166: Dantas vs. Warren 2 weigh-in from Thackerville, Okla. Bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas puts his belt on the line against former Bellator multiple-division titleholder Joe Warren in the main event.

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Bellator 166: Dantas vs. Warren 2 Weigh-in Results

Main Card: (Spike TV – 9 p.m. ET)

  • Bantamweight World Title Main Event: Eduardo Dantas (134.6) vs. Joe Warren (133.7)
  • Featherweight Co-Main Event: A.J. McKee (145.8) vs. Ray Wood (145.8)
  • Catchweight Feature Bout: Marcos Galvao (137.6) vs. L.C. Davis (136)
  • Catchweight Feature Bout (195 lbs.): Chris Honeycutt (194) vs. Ben Reiter (194.1)

Preliminary Card: (Bellator.com – 7:15 p.m. ET) 

  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout (159 lbs.): Treston Thomison (155.4) vs. Dawond Pickney (159)
  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout (163 lbs.): Chris Jones (163.7) vs. Derrick Adkins (161.9)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Gregory Babene (185.7) vs. Emiliano Sordi (185.5)
  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout (210 lbs.): Kinny Spotwood (208) vs. John King (207.7)

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TUF 24 Finale Media Day Staredowns: Don’t Look Up! (video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

The stars of The Ultimate Fighter Finale faceoff for the first time druing fight week at Media Day.

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Joseph Benavidez: ‘I Don’t Think Henry Cejudo’s Wrestling is Great’

(Video Courtesy of UFC)

Before he takes on former flyweight title challenger and No. 2 ranked Henry Cejudo at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale this Saturday night on FS1, No. 1 ranked Joseph Benavidez gives his thoughts on his upcoming opponent and his predictions for the fight.

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Stop the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Talk; The Con Game is Over

Every time that the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing talk starts to die down, it rears its ugly head. 

You can thank Mayweather for that. Not only does the undefeated world champion frequently rekindle the rumors himself, he’s taught McGregor well. The UFC champion, the promotion’s first dual-division titleholder, has watched Mayweather’s promotional approach and frequently emulated it. 

The odds of the two ever setting foot in a boxing ring together are slim to none, but that didn’t keep Mayweather from talking about it, keeping his name in the limelight, even after retiring. McGregor isn’t breaking new ground, but he caught on to Mayweather and quickly adopted his style.

McGregor’s latest move? To apply for and receive a boxing license in the state of California. While Andy Foster, executive director for the California State Athletic Commission, confirmed as much to MMAWeekly.com, he also confirmed that McGregor was simply issued a license. The UFC champ didn’t specify any plans for an opponent or event at which he would box. He is now simply a licensed boxer in the state.

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It certainly doesn’t mean that a match with Mayweather is imminent. It’s a smart promotional move, keeping people talking while he’s taking an extended break, and perhaps it could be a shot across the UFC bow after the promotion forced him to relinquish the featherweight title, but it is not an indicator that Mayweather is next on the agenda.

If the sensible argument that Mayweather is on another planet compared to McGregor when it comes to boxing doesn’t discount the fight, perhaps Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe’s recent comments will put chatter about this fight actually happening to rest.

“It’s all a game. It’s all a calculated effort to gain more fans,” Ellerbe told ESPN. “(McGregor) got a boxing license. Congratulations to him. Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to, but he has a boss and his name is Dana White. He is under contract to the UFC and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can’t because his bosses wouldn’t allow that to happen.

01-Conor-McGregor-UFC-205-Presser-750x370“The brass (from WME-IMG) who recently purchased the UFC are very smart people and they would never — and put this in bold caps — let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post.”

Even IF McGregor and Mayweather wanted to make the match, it’s unlikely that any athletic commission in the United States would approve it.

Mayweather is one of the most accomplished boxers in the history of the sport. Period. McGregor’s mark on the boxing? Zilch! He has not one professional boxing match to his credit.  

Mayweather has defeated the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton, and the list goes on and on. Love him or hate him, Mayweather knows better than anyone what to do in a boxing ring. He’s spent a lifetime doing it. 

McGregor’s boxing technique is adapted and perfected for mixed martial arts, which must account for elbows, kicks, takedowns, throws, submissions, and a host of other techniques that a boxer doesn’t concern himself with. Sure, he has a head start on the boxing game because of his training, just like Mayweather has a head start on mixed martial arts because of his boxing skill, but neither is prepared to step into the other’s arena with the best in the world.

“He’s done a masterful con job to try to trick people that he could actually pull this off. It’s another creative way to create more interest,” Ellerbe said of McGregor. “Nobody is mad, but it’s a con job trying to make people think this is real.

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“He’s a very good MMA fighter, give credit where it’s due. It’s kind of played out now. Just stop it. The con game is over,” he continued. “There’s no way (WME-IMG) spent all that money so they can get their biggest star killed. It would never happen. If they want to get him killed put him in there in a boxing match.”

So there you have it. If anyone knows Mayweather’s business beyond the man himself, it’s Ellerbe. We can all buy into the hype and have fun with it, but at the end of the day, Ellerbe’s words are a mountain of reality that towers over an ant hill of hype.

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Shocker: Conor McGregor is an Underdog Against Floyd Mayweather

You don’t say? Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that the Cleveland Browns aren’t favored to win the Super Bowl this year.

Floyd Mayweather is favored to beat Conor McGregor in a boxing match should the “dream fight” ever happen.

According to popular sports book Bovada, Mayweather is a massive favorite to clean McGregor’s clock. Bovado has Mayweather at -2250 and McGregor at +950.

You would have to lay down $2250 on Mayweather to win $100; a $100 bet on McGregor would win $950.

You mean to tell me that a guy with no amateur or professional boxing experience doesn’t stand much of a chance of defeating the guy who is 49-0 as a professional and is regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all-time?

You’re kidding, right?

What are you going to say next? That CM Punk will never win a UFC fight? No way.

McGregor has challenged Mayweather to a $100 million fight in a boxing ring. McGregor even applied and received a boxing license to fight in California.  Mayweather doesn’t take McGregor seriously, and apparently neither do the sports books.

McGregor is a great UFC fighter, but it’s gonna be a hard sell to convince the public that he can defeat Mayweather, who defeated some of the best boxers of his generation, including Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

McGregor might be able to convince the UFC fan boys that he’s a threat, but people who actually know something about boxing feel otherwise.

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Bjorn Rebney Owns Domain Names For ‘MMA Athletes Association’

MMAAA logo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z05OQMZjBb4 When it was announced on Monday that former Bellator MMA frontman Bjorn Rebney would join some disgruntled big name UFC fighters for an “industry redefining announcement” on Wednesday, November 30th, the consensus was they were unveiling a fighters’ union. Late Tuesday, Deadspin’s Kevin Draper found the definitive proof: Rebney owns multiple domain names for a “MMA Athletes Association,” and while most are inactive, one, TheMMAAA.com, has a login screen and a logo for the Association. While most of the domains were registered in October 2015, TheMMAAA.com was registered this past August. According to the WHOIS record for the domain, Rebney registered it using GoDaddy, which charges an extra $7.99 per year for private registration instead of bundling it like some of its competitors (Hover, for example) do. While it’s possible it was an oversight, it’s strange to see the secrecy of an “industry redefining announcement” broken by an inability to spend 67 cents per month.

MMA Athletes Association Officially Announces Formation on Conference Call


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yia7p-RhnPc&t=4s To kick off a conference call that apparently has over 100 media members on the line, UFC middleweight contender Tim Kennedy officially announced the formations of a union/fighters’ association for MMA Fighters, the MMA Athletes’ Association. Attorney Jim Quinn was announced as the head of their legal team, with Kennedy remarking that he’s the best there is in the field of athletes’ associations. Quinn is also the lawyer for Georges St-Pierre, who was also on the call and spoke of how while he got out of the sport rich and relatively healthy, he’s in the minority. The call is still ongoing as this post goes up, and we’ll have more updates later. As previously announced, Kennedy, St-Pierre, T.J. Dillashaw, and Cain Velasquez are the fighters on the call, joined by Bellator MMA founder Bjorn Rebney.

Bellator 168 Card Adds Goiti Yamauchi-Valeriu Mircea To Lineup


Lightweights Goiti Yamauchi and Valeriu Mircea have been added to the upcoming Bellator 168 main card. Yamauchi (20-3) and Mircea (12-3) will meet from the Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy on December 10. The card features Melvin Manhoef challenging Rafael Carvahlo for the middleweight title. Below is a press release from Bellator and the current fight card:
A lightweight bout pitting Goiti Yamauchi (20-3) against Valeriu Mircea (12-3) completes the MMA portion of “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2,” on a night which will feature both Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing brands inside the Mandela Forum in Florence. In addition, due to an injury suffered by Pietro Cappelli, Philipe Lins (10-1) will now meet Kleber Raimundo Silva (12-7) in light heavyweight action on Dec. 10. The mixed martial arts portion of action on Dec. 10is headlined by a middleweight world title fight featuring a rematch between Rafael Carvalho (13-1) and Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC), while Italy’s own Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) will take on Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) at 205-pounds, and John Salter (12-3) meets Claudio Annicchiarico (1-4) in a middleweight bout. “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” will air LIVE and FREE on SPIKE at 4pm ET/PT. The Bellator Kickboxing card features a female flyweight rematch between Denise Kielholtz (45-3) and Gloria Peritore (11-1-1), but this time, a world title will be on the line. “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” will also feature a lightweight clash between Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) and British kickboxing champion Jordan Watson (48-11-2), a middleweight matchup pitting Joe Schilling (19-9) against Victorio Lermano (30-7), a welterweight contest pairing Luca Novello (22-4-2) with Karim Ghajji (96-13-1), and Kevin Ross (31-9) will meet Alessio Arduini (26-14-2) in a lightweight fight. “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” airs Friday, Dec. 16 at 11:15 pm ET, immediately following “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii.” An 8-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, Yamauchi enters the cage in search of his 21st career win and seventh under the Scott Coker-led promotion. You would be hard-pressed to find a fighter with more promise than the 23-year-old top prospect, who has already taken down proven veterans the likes of Martin Stapleton, Isao Kobayashi, and most recently Ryan Couture. The former featherweight returned to the lightweight division to face the aforementioned Couture earlier in the year at “Bellator 162: Shlemenko vs. Grove,” a fight in which Yamauchi dominated from the get-go, earning yet another first round submission victory. Yamauchi has finished his opponent in 17 of his 20 career wins, including 14 in the opening round of action. The Japanese-Brazilian submission specialist continues to make great strides in the sport, consistently displaying the flawless Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique that has given opponents many nightmares year after year. Challenging Yamauchi will be Valeriu Mircea, a Moldova-born competitor that has also seen a great deal of success early on in his MMA career. The 23-year-old knockout artist will be making his Bellator MMA debut following three consecutive victories, including a pair of first round knockouts. Dating back to 2015, Mircea has collected wins in nine of his last 10 bouts and has already tallied six victories over his 2016 campaign. With three of his last four wins coming by way of first round knockout, you can expect an early array of attack in this pairing of two top prospects. Taking on Lins will now be Raimundo Silva, a 28-year-old striker who will be making both his 2016 and Bellator MMA debut. Dating back to 2011, “Orgulho” has won seven of his last 11 contests, highlighted by his most recent knockout victory over Claudio Rocha, which came just 3:25 into the first round. Complete “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” Card: Middleweight World Title Bout: Rafael Carvalho (13-1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC) Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) vs. Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Philipe Lins (10-1) vs. Kleber Raimundo Silva (12-7) Middleweight Feature Fight: John Salter (12-3) vs. Claudio Annicchiarico (1-4) Lightweight Feature Fight: Goiti Yamauchi (31-9) vs. Valeriu Mircea (12-3) Complete “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” Card: Lightweight Feature Fight: Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) vs. Jordan Watson (48-11-2) Flyweight World Title: Denise Kielholtz (45-3) vs. Gloria Peritore (11-1-1) Middleweight Feature Fight: Joe Schilling (19-9) vs. Victorio Lermano (30-7) Welterweight Feature Fight: Luca Novello (22-4-2) vs. Karim Ghajji (96-13-1) Lightweight Feature Fight: Kevin Ross (31-9) vs. Alessio Arduini (26-14-2)

UFC 206 Free Fight: Max Holloway Vs. Ricardo Lamas

Max Holloway

Next month at UFC 206, Max Holloway will put his nine-fight win streak on the line against Anthony Pettis for the interim UFC featherweight title. But “Blessed” only reached this point with a win at UFC 199 over Ricardo Lamas. Holloway and Pettis meet on December 10 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.