Eric Shelton vs. Alexandre Pantoja Set as TUF 24’s 3rd Place Fight on 1/28 in Denver

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4AAEbzNS-A While rarely if ever billed as such, the UFC often runs unofficial “third place” fights on The Ultimate Fighter’s live finale cards. For season 24, possibly because of the different format from the norm, there’s no such fight scheduled for this coming Saturday’s finale. However, the UFC has in fact booked a fight between the losers of the semi-final bouts…just for the January 28th Fox Network special in Denver, Colorado:
That’s #15 seed/former Caged Aggression MMA Flyweight Champion Eric Shelton, who did the best of the lower-seeded underdog fighters (the other finalists were seeded 1st, 3rd, and 5th), announcing on his Instagram that he’s fighting fellow semifinalist Alexandre Pantoja in Denver. Pantoja came into the show as the #1 seed and the Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion. With Pantoja officially signed by the UFC, it seems likely that he will be stripped of the RFA title and out of the title unification picture when they merge with Legacy FC shortly. Since interim Legacy champion Matt Schnell has also signed with the UFC, it seems likely that Damacio Page, the other Legacy FC champion, will become the first Legacy Fighting Alliance Flyweight Champion unless he’s also signed by the UFC.

Chris Weidman: One Wrong Shot Led To Yoel Romero Loss

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Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman appeared well on his way to a victory over Yoel Romero earlier this month at UFC 205. And just like that, Weidman was on the ground and left with a stunning loss. Romero, who is expected to challenge for the title next year, landed a flying knee as Weidman missed on a shot attempt. The former wrestling standout discussed the fight with “The MMA Hour” recently.
“I just felt like there’s no way I’m losing. If I win this third round, it’s over,” Weidman said (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “And I shot a takedown. If you watch, if you’re a technical person in the MMA game, when you fight a southpaw, you always put your head to the side of his front leg. You never go to the back leg. And every one of my takedowns I hit on him in the fight was to his front leg, my head to the outside of his front leg, which stays away from the danger of a knee or a heavy left hand. And the one time I shot to the wrong side, which I drilled a million times not to do, he came up with that knee. “I thought I was on my way to winning the fight, and one mistake is all it takes, and that’s the beauty of this game. That’s why everybody loves to tune in and watch these fights, because at any given moment, any given fight, any given fighters, anything can happen. A fighter could win nine out of 10 times, but there’s always that one time. I’m not saying that’s me and Yoel, but it’s just, that’s what makes this sport beautiful.”
Weidman has now lost two straight, as he was also finished by Luke Rockhold for the title earlier this year.

UFC 207: Nunes Vs. Rousey “She’s Back” Video Promo

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The first promo for UFC 207 has been released, entitled “She’s Back.” Featured are UFC female bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and former titleholder Ronda Rousey. The two meet on December 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Nunes won the belt with a finish of Miesha Tate at UFC 200, while this is Rousey’s first fight back since dropping the belt to Holly Holm last year.

Paul Daley Returns At Bellator 170, Meets Brennan Ward

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A welterweight contest between Paul Daley and Brennan Ward has been added to Bellator 170, according to a report by ESPN. Daley, who turns 34 early next year, had his five-fight win streak snapped by Douglas Lima in July. Lima went on to reclaim the Bellator welterweight title. Ward has gone 5-1 over his last six, suffering only a submission loss to Evangelista Santos in April. Bellator 170 takes place January 21 from The Forum and airs on Spike. In the main event, Tito Ortiz welcomes Chael Sonnen to the promotion in a light heavyweight contest.

Cole Miller Sounds Off On Cancelled UFC Event, Time Wasted

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Cole Miller is a veteran of the sport and understands that things outside of his control happen. However, Miller believes recently things could have been handled much differently by the UFC after they cancelled an event set for the Philippines last month. When BJ Penn was forced out of the planned main event for the card, the promotion decided to scrap plans completely. That left fighters like Miller without a bout – and without a paycheck. “It’s crap,” Miller said in an interview with Sherdog. “I come in here, I did a full training camp – nine weeks – was away from my family, and then was on the way to the airport. That’s when the hurricanes were going on down here, so I called ahead to transfer my flight and go out of Atlanta instead of down in Fort Lauderdale, to make sure that I made my flight. Drove all night, got into Georgia at like four in the morning. Woke up at eight in the morning, was on the way to the airport when I got a text saying that the whole event was cancelled. I was like, ‘Aw, that sucks.’ “Then, I got less than a third of my show money. So, I came out of the training camp, nine weeks away from my family, I think I profited $400-$500. And then instead of getting re-booked two weeks later, I get re-booked two months later. So, I have to come do another training camp to get paid for one. So that’s what it feels like. I don’t even want to be here right now. It doesn’t make me want to fight harder for my family, it makes me want to fight less. It makes me want to quit, go get a job at Starbucks or something.” Miller is now scheduled to meet Mizuto Hirota in December at UFC on FOX 22.

Three Very Interesting Non-Title Fights In Store From UFC Still This Year (Editorial)

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Sure, Ronda Rousey’s return will be hyped to the brim. And the upcoming interim featherweight title fight between Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway is sure to be fireworks. Oh, and Cody Garbrandt challenging Dominick Cruz for bantamweight supremacy is awesome. But there fights that have no title on the line are really ones that I am looking forward to before we close the door on this very interesting 2016 calendar year. – First up is Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown at UFC 206. Honestly, Cerrone has placed himself on the short list of contenders since moving up to welterweight and could wait on the sidelines for an eliminator bout. But this is “Cowboy” we are talking about and he has not desire to waste time not competing. Brown, meanwhile, has lost two straight and four of his last five after stringing together a seven-fight win streak between 2012-14. – Next, Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall square off at UFC on FOX 22. Northcutt showed his mental toughness when he rebounded from his first career loss in July with a decision win over Enrique Marin. In January, the uber-prospect lost to Bryan Barberena via submission. Gall, of course, ended the dream of Phil “CM Punk” Brooks in the MMA debut for the former WWE superstar. Gall did what most everyone expected him to do: dominate, submitting Brooks in the first round. – And finally, former heavyweight champions – and opponents – Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez battle it out at UFC 207. Werdum captured the first meeting when he submitted Velasquez back at UFC 188 in 2015. However, he dropped the title to Stipe Miocic this past May in his first defense before rebounding with a decision over Travis Browne. Velasquez has battled injuries over his career, but is 5-1 since a loss to Junior dos Santos in his last six. That includes finishes of Browne, dos Santos and twice vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Of course, all of this is contingent on the fighters remaining healthy and making it to their scheduled dates.

Kelvin Gastelum-Tim Kennedy Cleared For UFC 206

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Tim Kennedy once again has a fight set up. According to a report by MMA Fighting, Kelvin Gastelum has been cleared to face Kennedy next month at UFC 206. The hold up was that the Ontario Athletic Commission planned to fulfill the suspension handed down by the New York Athletic Commission to Gastelum for missing his weigh-in earlier this month. Gastelum, though, settled on a $2,000 fine with the New York Athletic Commission and will be allowed to compete on December 10 vs. Kennedy. Kennedy has gone through two cancelled fights with Rashad Evans in recent weeks, but was always hopeful of remaining on the Canada card.

Bellator 166 Flashback With Joe Warren (Video)

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Before he takes on Eduardo Dantas for the bantamweight title at Bellator 166 Friday night, relive the first meeting between Joe Warren and Dantas in this Bellator: Flashback. Warren picked up a decision win over Dantas back at Bellator 128 in 2014. He has gone 2-2 since, including a September finish of Sirwan Kakai. Dantas, meanwhile, is 2-0 since that loss to Warren, topping Mike Richman and Marcos Galvao for the title in June.

UFC 206 Media Call with Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway (6 p.m. ET)

Listen to the UFC 206 media conference call wtih Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway at 6 p.m. ET.

Legacy Fighting Alliance Debuts with Bantamweight Title Bout on Jan. 13

A matchup of champions Legacy Fighting Championship and Resurrection Fighting Alliance titlists will highlight the inaugural Legacy Fighting Alliance card on Jan. 13.