GSP, UFC Stars, Bjorn Rebney Promise ‘Industry Redefining’ Announcement on Wednesday Call

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders Georges St. Pierre, T.J. Dillashaw and Cain Velasquez, as well as fighters “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone and Tim Kennedy will all be a part of what is being called an “industry re-defining” announcement this coming Wednesday, according to a press release sent out by PR firm O’Malley Hansen Communications on Monday.

Dhiego Lima Doesn’t See Anything Special in Titan FC 42 Challenger Jason Jackson

Looking back on his Titan FC welterweight title win over David Michaud in June, Dhiego Lima feels that his victory was one of his most hard-fought, and exhilarating, bouts of his career.

Over the course of five rounds, Lima was able to overcome Michaud en route to a unanimous decision victory to claim the vacant Titan FC 170-pound title.

“That was definitely a fight,” Lima told MMAWeekly.com. “That was one of the most fun fights I’ve had. It was a five round war.

“I felt like I won the second round, the fourth round and the fifth round. It was a good fight. I know it could have gone either way, but I was so happy I got it. That was a dream come true; just to be a champion; that was a great fight there.”

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Having previously not captured a major MMA championship in his six-year career, it took a while for his new status to sink in for Lima.

“I think I got hit a little too much in that fight, so it took about a week for me to realize that I was the champion,” said Lima. “Once it all sank in, I thought it was awesome. It’s a great opportunity for me. I’m on a good track with two wins in a row and a champion, it was nice.”

Dhiego LimaLima (12-4) now looks to defend his Titan FC welterweight title in the main event of the company’s Dec. 2 show in Coral Gables, Fla., when he takes on highly regarded prospect Jason Jackson (6-2).

“We’re going to touch gloves and we’re going to go,” Lima said of Jackson. “He’s a well-rounded guy, but I don’t see anything special in him. He just moves a lot, so that’s the only thing I had to focus a bit on in this camp. Other than that, I’m just worried about myself.

“I don’t care what he brings to the table. Everything he does, I do better, and I’m going to put this guy away. My last two fights ended in decision, so I need to make a statement, and I’m looking for a finish. Whether it’s on the feet or on the ground, I need to get a big finish in this fight.”

Lima believes a strong performance against Jackson will help him get back to the UFC. It’s a redemption he’s hoping to make for himself after a disappointing first run with the company last year.

“(Jackson) was a champion over at Victory FC; he was in the house, so they’ve really been looking at him,” said Lima. “I saw here in Atlanta, they actually had him at one of the tables there, so they’ve been looking at him.

“I think this is it – the winner moves on to the next step – so I’m really pumped about this one. It’s time – it’s my time.”

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Rob Font Gets Last-Minute Replacement for TUF 24 Finale

Matt “Danger” Schnell, who appeared on The Ultimate Fighter 24, steps in on late notice to take on Rob Font on Dec. 3 at the TUF 24 Finale fight card in Las Vegas.

Font was originally slated to take on Alejandro Perez, but an injury forced Perez out of the event. Schnell agreed to fill in for Perez on five-days notice.

Perez is riding a six-fight winning streak and advanced to the quarterfinals of the flyweight tournament while appearing on the reality show. He’ll move up to the bantamweight division on Saturday against Font in his official UFC debut.

TRENDING > With Conor McGregor Taking a Break, Khabib Nurmagomedov Demands Interim Title

Rob FontFont is coming off of a decision loss to John Lineker at UFC 198. Prior to the loss, Font was riding an 11-fight win streak. He’ll look to rebound from his first loss in four years when he faces Perez.

The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale takes place at the Palms Casino Resort and is headlined by a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and the winner of this season’s “Tournament of Champions.” In the co-main event, flyweight contenders Henry Cejudo and Joseph Benavidez will square off after coaching against each other on the show.

(Photo courtesy of UFC)

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Bellator MMA Returns to Kansas in January

A lightweight bout pitting Kansas’ most popular MMA fighter David Rickels (17-4, 2 NC) against Aaron Derrow (14-8) and a middleweight bout featuring undefeated phenom Chris Harris (7-0) versus Jordan Young (5-0) are the first two fights announced for “Bellator 171” which will take place inside Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas, on January 27.

“The King of Kansas” will once again compete on the Spike-televised main card of Bellator MMA’s return to Kansas Star Arena. A 17-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, Rickels will return to action for the first time since competing against Melvin Guillard this past summer. “The Caveman” has strung together an impressive career, totaling 11 wins over his seven years with the promotion, including four of his five career knockouts. A native of Derby, Kansas, Rickles recently delivered a brutal first round knockout in his co-main clash with Bobby Cooper at “Bellator 150: Kongo vs. Spartan.” The 27-year-old Rickels now prepares for Aaron Derrow, who enters the bout undefeated since joining Bellator MMA in 2014.

A native of Blue Springs, Missouri, Derrow has made an immediate impact on the promotion, collecting victories in each of his first two fights under the Bellator MMA umbrella. Following his hot start, “Daddy Long Legs” will now be tasked with one of the lightweight divisions most proven veterans in David Rickels. Of his 14 career wins, Derrow has finished his opponent in 12 of them, including 10 of the submission variety. The 29-year-old Derrow has scored two knockouts, each of which came in the first twenty seconds of action. Derrow will have his hands full with Rickels and the raucous hometown crowd that follows him when the two enter the cage on January 27.

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With an unblemished mark of 7-0, Harris enters the cage riding an impressive string of success to begin his professional career. Fighting out of Wichita, Kansas, Harris will have the luxury of competing in front of his home crowd as he prepares to make his third appearance under the Bellator MMA banner. Harris has a knack for finishing his opponents early and often, recording six wins by way of knockout or submission, including four in the first round. The 26-year-old knockout artist will look to build off of a commendable 2016 campaign that saw him emerge victorious in each of his three contests, including a pair of wins with the Scott Coker-led promotion.

Also boasting an undefeated record through five career bouts, the 22-year-old Young will make his promotional debut against the equally impressive Harris. Of his five career wins, four have come by way of submission, with each of the four finishes occurring in the opening round of action. Prior to making his professional debut in 2014, the submission specialist had similar success on the amateur circuit, where he collected four submission victories over a five-fight span. Fighting out of Urbandale, Iowa, the 6’4” Young will also hold a significant height advantage over the 5’11” Harris as he prepares to challenge one of the most aggressive opponents of his career.

Updated “Bellator 171” Main Card:
Lightweight Feature Bout: Dave Rickels (17-4, 2 NC) vs. Aaron Derrow (14-8)
Middleweight Feature Bout: Chris Harris (7-0) vs. Jordan Young (5-0)

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Tim Kennedy on Service, Sacrifice, Donald Trump, and Kill Lists

Tim KennedyTim Kennedy sat down with exclusively with MMAWeekly.com to talk about a number of serious issues beyond his fight career. Kennedy weighed in on the recent U.S. presidential election that produced President Elect Donald Trump, and his take on the situation might surprise you.

A decorated member of the United States Army Special Forces, the outcome of the election determined whether or not Kennedy would re-enlist in the military, and he explained in his interview what influence the election had on him and what direction he took following its result.

TRENDING > Tim Kennedy Draws Suspended Kelvin Gastelum for UFC 206

This is a rather enlightening interview, as Kennedy delved deep into the ways that being such a high-level member of the military has affected Kennedy and his family, both personally and professionally, which includes Kennedy being named on several terrorist “kill lists.”

It is a reminder of the service and sacrifice of Kennedy and countless others who serve their country.

(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube | Photo courtesy of Tim Kennedy)

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With Conor McGregor Taking a Break, Khabib Nurmagomedov Demands Interim Title

After he defeated Michael Johnson at UFC 205, Khabib Nurmagomedov said he wanted a title shot in his next fight or he would be fighting outside the UFC. He has softened his stance slightly, but is still calling for a shot at a belt, just not the one around current UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor‘s waist.

McGregor, who added the lightweight strap to his featherweight championship with a win over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, plans to take the next few months off. His girlfriend is pregnant, and McGregor wants to focus on the birth of his first child. UFC president Dana White recently stated that he doesn’t expect the Irishman to be back in the Octagon before May of 2017.

That would put two title belts in limbo. The UFC took the freeze off of the featherweight belt this past weekend when it announced that McGregor would relinquish the featherweight title to make room for others in the division. UFC officials named Jose Aldo, who had held the interim title, the new champion, while also announcing that Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis would be an interim featherweight title fight and the new UFC 206 headliner.

While McGregor remains as UFC lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov doesn’t believe the division’s title should remain on hold for the next several months, and called for an interim title fight with Tony Ferguson. 

TRENDING > Tim Kennedy Draws Suspended Fighter Kelvin Gastelum for UFC 206

“I feel very bad about this because before this year I had two years rest because I have injury all the time. Now, I don’t want to be waiting for (McGregor),” Nurmagomedov told RT Sport. “If Conor don’t want fight before May, June, I want to take other fight. I want to fight for the interim belt with Tony Ferguson.”

Khabib NurmagomedovNurmagomedov’s is a strong position if there is going to be an interim title fight. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the UFC lightweight division and sports a 24-0 professional record. Meanwhile, Ferguson sits at No. 2 in the rankings with a 22-3 record.

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have twice been scheduled to fight in the past, but injuries derailed the fights.

“Last time, he (was) injured. He pull out, not me. Before, I have injury. Now, why not?” posed Nurmagomedov.

“I think UFC want to make this fight, and for me its perfect date, this is March. Tony Ferguson is tough guy, tough opponent, and (is on a nine-fight) win streak. I think this is real high-level lightweight fight. Not Conor versus me; I think this is real high-level fight.” 

While the UFC came under scrutiny for the way it handled the featherweight championship situation, particularly for naming Aldo the outright champion, Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is a fight that might make more sense to fans. With McGregor taking a sabbatical, will the UFC move to institute an interim lightweight champion?

(Video courtesy of RT Sport)

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Georges St-Pierre, Donald Cerrone, Others About to ‘Redefine’ MMA

Any time that you hear the names Georges St-Pierre and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone mentioned in the same sentence, you’re hoping for a fight announcement. Although the two are teaming up, it doesn’t appear that it’s for a fight, at least, not in a cage.

In a Monday press release from O’Malley Hansen Communications, St-Pierre and Cerrone were named alongside several other high-profile fighters and Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney for a special conference call announcement on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

“Five of MMA’s leading fighters and former CEO & Chairman of Bellator MMA come together for an industry redefining mixed martial arts announcement,” read the press release.

TRENDING > Tim Kennedy on Service, Sacrifice, Donald Trump, and Being on Kill Lists

Georges St-Pierre & Donald CerroneThe fighters named alongside St-Pierre and Cerrone for the announcement include Tim Kennedy, Cain Velasquez, and TJ Dillashaw.

All the fighters named, minus Cerrone, are represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a rival business to new UFC owners WME | IMG, also a talent agency that represents several fighters, including former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. That alone leads many to believe that the announcement may have something to do with some sort of fighter organization, particularly since several of the fighters named have been vocal about the need for a fighter union.

The conference call press release, however, was scarce on details, saving the reveal for Wednesday’s announcement.

Of the five fighters named in association with the announcement, four are currently active UFC fighters. St-Pierre has been negotiating his return to the Octagon, but those negotiations appear to have stalled since WME | IMG took ownership of the UFC.

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UFC Fight Night 102 Loses Pivotal Bantamweight Bout

Bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling recently withdrew from a planned UFC Fight Night 102 bout with Raphael Assuncao. With few acceptable options in front of him, Assuncao has decided to wait for Sterling to recover.

Raphael-Assuncao-UFC-170-Post-PressUFC officials on Monday announced that the fight was canceled, per Assuncao’s decision to wait.

With Assuncao ranked No. 3 in the UFC bantamweight division and Sterling seated at No. 8, theirs is a pivotal match-up in the division. It’s also a bout that will be sorely missed on a fight card lacking in high-profile fights.

TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov Demands Interim Title

UFC Fight Night 102 features a headlining bout between Top 15 ranked heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Shamil Abdurakhimov. It takes place on Friday, Dec. 9, at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.

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The Ultimate Fighter Finale: On Point – Demetrious Johnson (video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

Demetrious Johnson puts his belt on the line against the winner of Season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter live on FS1 on Saturday.

TRENDING > Tim Kennedy on Service, Sacrifice, Donald Trump, and Kill Lists

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Bellator 166’s Chris Honeycutt Plans To Be Champion By End of 2017

Coming off the first loss of his career to Paul Bradly this past January at Bellator 148, middleweight prospect Chris Honeycutt was able to rebound with back to back wins over Matt Secor and Mikkel Parlo in his next two fights.

“Secor was my last fight at welterweight, and he was real good at knee bars and leg attacks, so that fight probably wasn’t the most exciting if you weren’t really into that,” Honeycutt told MMAWeekly.com. “I was able to shut him down and get that win, which speaks volumes to where my ground game has come.

“Following up after that was when I went up in weight to fight Parlo. I’d been working on my striking for some time now, so I’ve been able to really showcase how my striking as gone and how much better it’s gotten. In the cage it’s a night and day difference in my confidence in my ability to strike.”

While Honeycutt did well in his first fight at middleweight, he feels he’ll be even better at it now that he’s had time to more acclimate to it and a less steep weight cut.

“(I did not feel the difference) so much going against Parlo, because it was such a quick turnaround between fights, but definitely in this fight camp it has been awesome,” said Honeycutt. “I’m actually able to train as a middleweight fighter.

“I’ve been able to lift weights and put more muscle mass back on and fight with more energy. I’m not dragging my butt back into the gym the next morning, sore as hell, I’m able to confidently walk into the gym and know I’m able to put forth quite a bit of effort.”

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre, Donald Cerrone, Others About to ‘Redefine’ MMA

Honeycutt (8-1) looks to pick up his third win in a row when he takes on Ben Reiter (17-1-1) in a main card 185-pound bout at Bellator 166 on Friday in Thackerville, Okla.

“Ben has a wrestling background as well from the University of Penn, but with him being a heavyweight wrestler, it’s kind of hard to take anything from that, because Division I college heavyweight wrestling tends to be kind of slow with a lot of hand-fighting,” Honeycutt said.

“I expect him to be a little bit bigger than me, but as far as strength goes, I feel I’ll be stronger and in better shape and more agile. I don’t think he’s going to have much success in taking me down, but if he does, I have a lot of confidence in my Jiu-Jitsu game and my ability stand back up.”

At a new weight and on a winning track, Honeycutt is looking forward to making next year his most successful yet.

“This will be my fourth fight in 2016, and hopefully I can get in four fights in 2017 as well,” said Honeycutt. “It’s fun to stay active. Now that I’m up at middleweight, I don’t need to put in eight weeks of stress on my body to make weight, so it could be even cooler to fight more than four. 

“I plan to be a champion by the end of 2017. I’m looking to put in some really good fights, and not just be a contender or a fighter to watch, but THE fighter to watch.”

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