Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny set for UFC 207

The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced Tuesday a huge Welterweight bout between ranked contenders in Johny Hendricks and Neil Magny who are set to collide at UFC 207.

Hendricks (17-5, 13-5 in UFC) is having one of the more challenging years of his professional career having dropped two bouts in 2016 to both Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 200, and against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC Fight Night 82. While the fight against Ultimate Fighter winner Gastelum was by decision, his loss to Thompson was highlighted by the fact that it was the first time Hendricks had ever been finished via TKO or submission in his career. Since losing the Welterweight championship to Robbie Lawler back at UFC 181, Hendricks has yet to put together a winning streak but will look to cut the tie out of the knot that is 2016 for “Bigg Rigg”.

Neil Magny (18-5, 11-4 in UFC) will also be looking to bounce back from one of the most devasting losses of his career. Magny last fought Lorenz Larkin at UFC 202. Though Magny was heavily favored (and ranked), Larkin would devastate the much longer and taller Magny with leg and body kicks that would stifle Magny en route to a TKO loss at the end of the first round. Prior to this loss Magny has gone 9-1 in his last 10 defeating the likes of Hyun Gyu Lim, Erick Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, and Hector Lombard.

UFC 207 takes place inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 30th and will be headlined by a women’s Bantamweight championship bout which features the return of Ronda Rousey. Other fights on the card include:

  • Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey
  • Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum
  • Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny
  • Tarec Saffiedine vs. Matt Brown
  • Mike Pyle vs. Alex Garcia
  • Tim Means vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Brandon Thatch vs. Sabah Homas

Tim “Dirty Bird” Means vs. Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira set for UFC 207

UFC’s final pay per view of the year has begun to form as UFC 207 has added Tim Means vs. Alex Oliveira in a Welterweight bout.

“Cowboy” Oliveira (16-3-1, 5-2 in UFC) is coming off a controversial victory at UFC Fight Night 96: Lineker vs. Dodson. Oliveira faced former Bellator Lightweight champion Will Brooks in a bout scheduled for 155 pounds. However Oliveira would miss the 155 pound limit by a near five pounds. Brooks would still accept the match-up with the Brazilian, albeit begrudgingly and not without making it known that Brooks had felt disrespected. Oliveira would win the bout with Brooks via (T)KO in the third round. Immediately following the win, Oliveira showed disrespect towards Brooks with some taunting that drew the ire of much of the MMA community. The win was “Cowboys” third finish in the UFC of his five inside the Octagon.

Means (26-7-1, 6-2 in UFC) was quick to call out Oliveira after the bout and will now get his wish. Means has won two straight since losing to Matt Brown last summer. Of the “Dirty Bird’s” 26 wins, 18 have come by way of knockout with four coming by way of submission giving him an 84% finishing rate.

UFC 207 will be headlined by the return of superstar and former UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey as she will challenge Amanda Nunes for the Bantamweight gold. The card takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada inside the T-Mobile Arena and will go down December 30th at the end of this year.

 

Chan Sung Jung announces eventual return to MMA, calls out B.J Penn

In the history of the UFC’s Featherweight division, very few could match the level of excitement this man incited when he entered the cage. After nearly three years away from the sport, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is finally slated to make his emphatic return.

Announcing via Facebook, Jung not only teased fans with a hinted timetable for his return, he also made his desires known as to who he would like to face upon his return. None other than the former UFC Lightweight champion B.J Penn.

“For the past six months, there’s a fighter that I’ve been wanting to fight: B.J. Penn,” Jung said. “When the B.J. Penn vs. Lamas fight was announced, I thought I missed my chance. But, then I heard that B.J. Penn had a rib injury, so I kind of felt like maybe it was an opportunity for me. It would be great timing if B.J. Penn and I were ready to come back at the same time. Since he was at lightweight before, I never really thought about fighting him that much. But when he came down to featherweight, I would think that all of the fighters in the division would have liked to fight him. I’m one of them. Since I’m making my comeback, and B.J. is going to be coming back as well, I’d really like a chance to fight him.”

Jung (14-4, 3-1 in UFC) last competed at UFC 163 for the UFC Featherweight championship against then-champion Jose Aldo. Jung would dislocate his shoulder before Aldo would finish the bout via TKO. Prior to his title shot, Jung defeated Leonard Garcia via (the first ever) twister submission, Mark Hominick by knockout in seven seconds, and Dustin Poirier by darce choke submission 2012’s Fight of the Year.

In 2014, Jung said in an interview with MMA Fighting that he believed his military service would actually extend his MMA career, as it would allow him “some much-needed time to heal” and improve his abilities without focusing solely on training for a fight.

“I’m moving from my twenties to my thirties, from a youth to an old man,” Jung said on Tuesday. “I became a father. A lot of things have changed, so things seem very new to me. It feels like it’s a new beginning. I have to do my best and I think I’ll do well. I need to work even harder now. I don’t think there’s really any more to say than that. I just hope that the fans keep their eyes on me.

“It seemed like a really long time. A lot of fans have told me that, and it feels like it was a really long time to me, too. Now that I’m back in the UFC, I’ll try to put on even more exciting fights that the fans can get really excited about.”

 

Alan Jouban vs. Mike Perry set for UFC on Fox 22 in Sacramento

An explosive Welterweight bout has been set for the UFC’s next stop in Sacramento as Mike Perry makes a quick turnaround to face up-and-coming standout Alan Jouban.

Alan Jouban (14-4, 5-2 in UFC) last competed in a gritty bout with Belal Muhammad at UFC Fight Night 90: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez where he won via unanimous decision. Jouban will look to win his third fight this year after also defeating Brandon O’Reily earlier this March via TKO. Jouban has finished nine of his 14 wins via knockout.

Mike Perry (9-0, 2-0 in UFC) just weeks ago competed in a Fight of the Night candidate bout with Danny Roberts, where he would register a knockout victory with just 20 seconds left in the fight. All of Perry’s nine wins have been by way of knockout.

UFC on Fox 22 goes down in the Golden 1 center in Sacramento, California and will be headlined by a women’s Strawweight bout between Paige Van Zant and Michelle Waterson.

UFC On Fox 22 card currently:

  • Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Watterson
  • Sage Northcutt vs. Mickey Gall
  • Alan Jouban vs. Mike Perry

 

Gray Maynard vs. Ryan Hall set for TUF 24 Finale

Coming off a successful debut at Featherweight, former Lightweight number one contender Gray Maynard will face off against Ultimate Fighter season 22 winner Ryan Hall in a Featherweight contest at the TUF 24 finale on December 3rd. The fight was confirmed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Maynard (12-5-1, 1 NC) defeated Fernando Bruno in his Featherweight debut at the TUF 23 Finale early in the summer. The win came as a much needed breath of relief as Maynard went 1-4 in his last 5 bouts at Lightweight which necessitated the move down a weight class. Of Maynard’s 12 wins, 10 are by judges decision.

Hall (5-1) has yet to compete since winning the Ultimate Fighter’s 22nd season last winter. He was scheduled to face Alex White at UFC Fight Night 91 in July. However, after White was removed from the bout, Hall elected to not fight on the card against the replacement. Of Hall’s five wins, four have come by finish. Two by submission, two by (t)ko.

The Ultimate Fighter Finale 24 Finale takes place on December 3rd. The main event will be headlined by a Flyweight title defense between Demetrious Johnson and the winner of the TUF 24 Flyweight season.

Why Chris Leben Will Always Remind Me of Apollo Creed

Everyone remembers Rocky, a true underdog story. A movie about a boxer from Philadelphia, The Italian Stallion, who gets a shot at the title. Apollo Creed, The Heavyweight Champion of the world, feeling generous and looking to make headlines, hand picks Rocky from a list of nobodies, and gives him a shot at the title. Apollo agrees to take a fight with not just a non-contender, but someone he’s literally never heard of.

In the cage, Chris Leben would remind you of Rocky more than Apollo. Chris always fought fearlessly. A true entertainer, always coming forward, and being aggressive. Always looking for the knock out, and getting it. In his career he fought the best fighters out there. Fighters like Anderson Silva, who many consider the greatest of all time. Wanderlei Silva, a Pride legend, and current middleweight champion Michael Bisping. Chris is a true pioneer of the sport and an alumni from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.

There’s so much more that can be said about Chris, like about the time he got a TKO on Aaron Simpson, winning knock out of the night. Then just a mere two weeks later, stepped in on short notice and submitted Yoshihiro Akiyama, a fight that many believed was the fight of the year. There’s also the time he knocked Wanderlei Silva out in 27 seconds. His 22 UFC fights at middleweight is an all-time record. Enough of that though, let’s get back to the comparison, the reason why Chris Leben will always remind me of Apollo Creed.

He gave me a shot much like Apollo did. A writer he had never heard of. I reached out and he could have ignored me or directed me to his manager, like many other fighters did. Instead he was a cool dude and said, “Sure. Why not? I’ll call this guy I’ve never heard of at 4 in the morning and give him a 37 minute interview.” Now this being my first interview it could have been tough. Could you imagine your first big interview being with someone like Bill Billichick from the New England Patriots or Greg Poppovich from the San Antonio Spurs?

That could have been awkward. Not with Chris though, with his charisma, wit, and war stories. He always makes for a great interview, no matter who the host is. I can only imagine the awesome stuff in his book, The Crippler: Cage Fighting and My Life on the Edge. Chael Sonnen has said many times that Chris Leben has the best stories. While beauty, youth, and high school friends all fade away, my interview with the Crippler will be a memory that will stick with me forever.

If you missed my interview with Chris Leben, here it is again

Report: Chael Sonnen vs. Nick Diaz in the works for UFC 205?

Wait…what?

I’m sure you all share the same reaction as I did. But the rumor mill is currently working up some dark magic of sorts as the latest report from The MMA Bulletin states that the UFC is currently working on a bout between former Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title contender Chael Sonnen and former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nick Diaz.

The rumored bout comes at a time where both men have conveniently been released of their shackles after both men had to serve a lengthy inactive period due to receiving suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Sonnen had popped on two occasions in the summer of 2014 leading up to a bout with Wanderlei Silva. Altogether, Sonnen popped for human growth hormones (HGH), recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), anastrozole, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Not long after being handed his suspension, Sonnen proclaimed that he would be retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts. Though not long after his suspension ended this year in July, news had broke that Sonnen would be going through with the four-month protocol for USADA testing to become eligible to compete inside the Octagon once again.

Diaz is coming off an 18-month suspension after allegedly testing positive for marijuana following his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 183. It is not yet known if Diaz will also have to undergo a mandatory four-month testing period, in which case the bout will not take place at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden. Diaz/ last win was against BJ Penn at UFc 136 in the fall of 2011.

UFC 205 takes place in the New York City inside the world famous Madison Square Garden Arena in November. No main event has been set.

 

Photo credit: MMA Bulletin

Fights to make after UFC Fight Night 92

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Alan Jouban

The “Ponz” as I have come to call him performed excellently Saturday night in his dismantling of Zak Cummings. Cummings was surely game as he took a legitimate thrashing from Santiago yet refused to go down quietly. This, however, never deterred Ponzinibbio from carrying out an efficient striking-based gameplan that won him all three rounds on the judges score cards.  The “Ponz” has certainly proven himself aa a legitimate rising up-and-comer and now holds a solid three-fight winning streak with two knockouts. He’s earned himself a chance to fry bigger fish and one with patrticular name value who is also looking to catapult himself into the top-15 is exciting striker Alan Jouban who is coming off a Fight of the Night bout at UFC Fight Night 91.

Thales Leites vs. Robert Whittaker 

Thales Leites got back on the horse Saturday night in breaking a two-fight losing streak to now current champion Michael Bisping and top contender Gegard Mousasi. In submitting Camozzi  Leites still remains a relevant contender among the best Middleweights in the world, but in the titanic landscape that the 185 pound weight class Leites will have his work cut out for him if he ever wishes to see a champion across from him in the Octagon. Meaning a fellow rising contender is his next likely opponent, and who better than surprising dark horse Robert Whittaker who currently is riding four-fight winning streak since making his move up to Middleweight.

Dennis Bermudez vs. Darren Elkins

Bermudez continues to remain a stable threat in the UFC’s Featherweight division. Once thought to be the next Featherweight title contender, Dennis has since rebounded with two dominant victories. Another win or two and he could see himself back in the running as a title contender, should the division actually ever move along. Elkins makes the most sense considering he is riding a healthy three-fight winning streak. A fight like Elkins will test the grit of both men and will surely present to us a very interesting bout.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Cub Swanson

Rodriguez continues to shine after a Fight of the Night victory over Alex Caceres. Now with a main event victory and four-fight winning streak under his belt Yair can finally take on the bigger fish in the 145 pound sea. There’s fewer fish in the sea that can bring as exciting a fight Yair’s way than Cub Swanson who himself nabbed a phenomenal win against a very game Tatsuya Kawajiri Saturday night.

MMA Discussion Podcast Episode 100 – Tatiana Suarez Padilla

Ultimate Fighter Strawweight season 23 winner Tatiana Suarez Padilla joins host Nick Peralta to discuss her time on the show, her trials in chasing Olympic gold, her future in the UFC and much more.

Report: Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson II to headline UFC 204 in Manchester

The rematch the Middleweight division didn’t know it was waiting for might finally have a date.

Reported on Thursday afternoon on MMAFighting.com by Ariel Helwani, after confirming that both fighters had agreed to the bout. Bisping also confirmed that the fight would likely occur on October 8th in his home country of England in Manchester.

Bisping and Henderson met seven years ago in one of the featured bouts of the most successful UFC pay per view cards of all time, UFC 100. In that fight Dan Henderson knocked Bisping out with one of, if not the greatest one-punch knockout ever recorded in UFC history.

Henderson recently garnered a momentous knockout against former Bellator Middleweight champion Hector Lombard at UFC 199. Following that win, Henderson appeared on the MMA Discussion podcast to proclaim his desire to not only rematch Bisping, but to do so for the UFC Middleweight championship. As if that call-out wasn’t huge enough Henderson also notified the world that win, lose or draw it would be the final fight of his legendary UFC career.

The promotion is expected to officially announce the fight in the coming days, with a pre-fight press conference scheduled for the day before UFC 202 in Las Vegas according to Helwani.