Matt Schnell Moves to 135, Fills in For Alejandro Perez Against Rob Font at TUF 24 Finale

On “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24, Matt Schnell was choked out by Tim Elliott in the first round of their quarterfinal bout, but that won’t keep Schnell from an appearance at the TUF 24 Finale in Las Vegas.

Emmanuel Sanchez Injured, Ray Wood Faces Unbeaten A.J. McKee at Bellator 166 in Oklahoma

Bellator 166 has a new co-feature, courtesy of an injury to Emmanuel Sanchez.

Report: Jimi Manuwa-Glover Teixeira Bout Targeted for UFC 208 on Jan. 21 in Anaheim

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is reportedly targeting a showdown between Jimi Manuwa and former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Glover Teixeira for its developing UFC 208 card, scheduled for Jan. 21 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. FloCombat first reported the pairing on Monday and a follow-up story by ESPN.com stated that both parties had agreed in principle to the contest.

Bellator MMA Returns to Kansas, David Rickels-Aaron Derrow Features at Jan. 27 Bellator 171

Bellator MMA has announced its return to Kansas, with Bellator 171 now officially scheduled to take place from the promotion’s familiar confines at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane on Jan. 27.

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.”

TRENDING > Conor McGregor Relinquishes UFC Featherweight Championship

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.

TRENDING > Miesha Tate Believes Cris Cyborg’s Optimal Option is 135 Pounds

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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