UFC Fight Night 145 faceoffs
Brave partnership will help promote Filipino warriors
Brave Combat Federation has announced a deal with Philipines' TV5. The partnership will start with the broadcast of Brave 22: Storm of Warriors, which Filipino fans will now be able to watch live on the biggest sports channel in the country. Both parties are excited about this deal's potential as they announced details and talked about it in a press conference held this week in Manila. Brave president Mohammed Shahid: "A lot of promotions use their local stars only when they go to their backyard. We don't. We make sure to make this a global event, and these Filipino warriors have defended their flag all over the world. Stephen Loman has faced and beaten tough fighters from Brazil, Ireland, and India. Jeremy Pacatiw has beaten a Brazilian prospect in Brazil. People ask me why they're not known here, but they will be now. They are known all over the world and will now have the chance to be known here."
Team Velasquez narrative on loss evolves
AKA founder and head coach Javier Mendez appeared recently on Submission Radio and presented an evolving narrative around Cain Velasquez's loss to Francis Ngannou at UFC on ESPN 1 on Sunday. Velasquez said that the loss was due to a knee that went out: “It was just the knee, he didn’t even, like, touch me, you know?” Now Mendez says he watched the replay, and believes it was an illegal blow to the back of the head: “If you guys watch the video, the very first punch Ngannou threw at Cain, he came into shoot, he got hit in the back of the head, an illegal shot that dazed him a little bit when he went in for the takedown, and that’s what kind of jacked up his knee to start. So, I didn’t see that, I did not see that. And today I looked at it and said, oh my god. And guess who told me about it? Cain. Today, he said, ‘hey coach, I got hit in the back of the head, so I was a little dazed’. So that’s kind of did what happened. ... nothing to take away from Ngannou, he’s a great fighter, he came in prepared, the better man won that night. There’s nothing you can say about that. But, it was a freak accident.”
Watch GSP retire on livestream from Montreal
# of people DC sees at LHW who can challenge Jones: 0
“Anthony Smith is a great guy but being a great guy doesn’t win you fights. I think he loses to Jones. ... The only person at the weight class to challenge [Jones] is me but there’s the young kid from Brazil [Johnny Walker], who over time could be tough. Dominick Reyes, with time he’ll be real good. ... Outside of Gustafsson, everybody else I finished on my title reign. I finished Volkan, I finished Rumble twice. I finished everybody. I just think that we’re competing on a different level than a lot of these other dudes. And I don’t like saying that because it sounds like I’m disrespecting these guys but I feel like we’re competing on a different level than these other guys.” h/t MMA Weekly
Why Whittaker believes Adesanya's not as good as he thinks he is
“I’m looking to fight the winner of [Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya]. In terms of timelines and dates, it will be two or three months after that. ... I think that Adesanya isn’t as good as he thinks he is. ... I don’t think the pedestal that he’s on is as high as everyone else thinks it is, as he thinks it is. ... We’re not kickboxing. The difference in striking in the Octagon as opposed to the ring is night and day. ... Having very high technical skills in striking isn’t the same as being a very dangerous striker. If you were to look at Romero, he is not technically great at stand-up [but] most of his wins have been knockouts. He hits like a truck. He would have to be one of the most dangerous strikers in the world. Most of his wins come by knockout standing up - punches, flying knees - he’s a very, very dangerous striker but you can’t say he’s super technical, because he’s not. Adesanya is dangerous and technical, but he’s not the same as Romero. He’s not super, super dangerous.” h/t MMA Fighting • Watch Grange TV
UFC on ESPN+ 6 in Nashville poster released
Is Vitor Belfort coming to ONE?
ONE flyweight world GP starts 3/31
Anderson Silva gets his wish to fight on Brazil card
Thug Rose announces Reebok sponsorship
Since 2014 all UFC fighters are required by contract to wear Reebok apparel during fight week, but a select few have directed sponsorship deals. Over the years these have included Jose Aldo, Claudia Gadelha, Johny Hendricks, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Conor McGregor, Francis Ngannou, Sage Northcutt, Anthony Pettis, Ronda Rousey, Paige VanZant, and Chris Weidman. Reebok recently declined to re-sign the mediagenic PVZ; the latest direct sponsored athlete, Rose Namajunas, has far greater in cage credentials. Namajunas defends her strawweight championship vs. Jessica Andrade on 5/11 at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro. h/t Instagram
Promo for $1 million Shamil Zavurov vs. Mansour Barnaoui ROAD FC tournament finals
Expert attempts to predict fights via body language (7:43)
GSP responds to Khabib’s callout
Woodley responds to GSP retirement
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley: “Just had a vision of calling him out after my next fight. Congrats to one of the Greatest! Georges St-Pierre since we will never cross paths in the Octagon would love to do so in the gym! Would be an honor. You have had the best run of any fighter to grace the caged canvas!” h/t Instagram
With no offers on table Poirier hopes for release
UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier, 30 has campaigned hard for a big fight, and with none forthcoming, he wants out of his UFC contract to go fight "anywhere [else]", tweeting, “These guys should just release me." Barring a release, he wants more than his contracted purse to fight Al Iaquinta at UFC 236. Ragin' Al responded, saying “I hope the UFC can reach down into their pockets and make him happy to take the fight. Because from what I’ve been hearing, it’s going to be Conor and ‘Cowboy' in the summer, and Max Holloway is going to come up to fight Ferguson for an interim belt. So that leaves me and him.” h/t MMAjunkie
Nurmagomedov asks to fight GSP in November at 155 or 160
GSP to announce retirement tomorrow, following failed negotiations with Nurmagomedov
What to expect from Shorty Torres vs. Amir Albazi at Brave 22
Jose Torres, a member of the Kingdom of Bahrain's KHK MMA, became the first fighter ever to win two world titles in the IMMAF World Championships. 'Shorty' then became a two-division champion at Titan FC, before signing with the UFC, going 1-1 in short notice fights, but fell victim to the apparent dissolution of the league's flyweight division. One of the hottest free agents on the market, Torres selected Brave Combat Federation from among many offers, and fights undefeated Amir Albazi in his promotional debut in the Philippines on March 15. Torres is more aggressive and keen to finish a fight than his Flyweight peers – with more than 70% of his fights not going the distance. From his karate roots came a very unorthodox style that catches opponents by surprise and, in half of his professional wins, sends them straight to the canvas. A high-level wrestler with enough submission skills to make his opponents tap out at any given time, Torres is a menace no matter where the fight goes. An instant classic awaits Brave nation, in a fight that will shape the future not only of the Brave flyweight division, but might also have implications at bantamweight.
Anthony Smith suffering 'outpouring of hatred' ahead of Jones fight at UFC 235
“[My coach Marc Montoya] tells me all the time that I need to worry about impressing myself and no one else, and that’s the piece that I’m going to struggle with a little bit. It’s going to be really hard for me to stay humble talking to Joe Rogan afterwards, because the outpouring of hatred has been incredible. It doesn’t necessarily bother me too much, but it is a little bit shocking - how so many people can care so much one way or the other just blows my mind. But there is a little bit of the ‘sticking it to the haters’ feeling there, for sure. ... As the fight gets closer and closer, I do see that it’s changing a little bit. I don’t see as many, ‘Jon Jones is going to beat your ass, you p@$$%’ comments as much anymore. I don’t see a whole lot of believers, but I see a lot of people that really, really hope.” h/t MMA Fighting • Watch The MMA Hour
Zoila Frausto believes she’s better than Combate 31 opponent 'everywhere'
Former Bellator titleholder Zoila Frausto split from her husband former UFC fighter Jorge Gurgel, returned to California from Ohio, and focused on Muay Thai and kickboxing winning multiple titles. This year she's a back in MMA, vs. Jamiee Nievera in the co-main event of Combate Americas 31 on 2/22; the event will stream on DAZN. “I still wanted to fight, but everything MMA was so connected to [Gurgel] that I didn’t want to do it. ... I’ve been doing everything for MMA, but just haven’t been competing in it. ... She’s fought three of my teammates and my sister, so I know her very well. I feel like she’s good everywhere ... but I feel that I’m better than her everywhere. A lot of women are making a pretty good living. Even up to this point I’ve had to work other jobs and do other things, but now I’m at a point where I can make other opportunities happen if I really want to stay focused on this and continue to do this.” h/t MMA Weekly
Bellator signs sambo champ Marina Mokhnatkina at featherweight
The St. Petersburg, Russia-based Mokhnatina, 30, is a four-time world champion in Sambo. She turned pro in 2016, and got four Round 1 submission wins, two leg locks, two armbars. Then a year ago she dropped a Majority Decision vs. Fight Nights Global champ Liana Jojua, and has not fought since. Her debut opponents are TBA, but with success, she may face Bellator women’s featherweight champ Julia Budd. h/t MMAjunkie