Robert Whittaker believes Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t lose anytime soon

28 men have tried, 28 have failed. After Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, he improved to 28-0 and looked unstoppable in the process.

For middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, he doesn’t believe the Russian will lose for a long time. He says his skill set is super impressive given everyone knows what he will do, but they can’t stop it. That of course, is the wrestling.

“I don’t see Khabib losing anytime soon,” Whittaker said on his Grange TV podcast. “I just can’t. He put work on Dustin (Poirier). Dustin is a great fighter. And, you know, every opponent that goes in there to fight Khabib knows what Khabib is going to do. They know. So I’m sure Dustin worked wrestling defense rigorously, like the entire camp.”

In the fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov kept on coming forward and going for takedowns and throwing strikes. He didn’t appear tired at all, and even escaped a tight guillotine choke.

Yet, for Robert Whittaker, the takedowns and escaping the choke was not the most impressive thing for the middleweight champ. Instead, it is the Russian’s chin.

“Khabib is something else,” Whittaker said. “His cardio, his subtle technique, his arm endurance, his stamina, and what blew me out of the water was his chin. He copped one of Dustin’s textbook left hands on the button of his chin.”

Of course, Khabib Nurmagomedov has taken some heavy shots from both Poirier and Conor McGregor in his past two fights. Yet, he kept on walking forward. For Whittaker, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ability to take a heavy shot, his cardio, and wrestling is so impressive that no one will be able to beat him. So, the Aussie champ expects the Russian to reign supreme over the lightweight division for quite a long time. And, there is no reason to doubt Whittaker right now.

By: Cole Shelton

UFC Uruguay: Liz Carmouche on first fight with Valentina Shevchenko, expectations in title rematch, experience facing Ronda Rousey

Liz Carmouche gets a rare opportunity on Saturday night when she battles Valentina Shevchenko for Shevchenko’s flyweight title in the main event of UFC Uruguay.

Carmouche (13-6) made MMA history when she was in the UFC’s first ever female fight when she headlined UFC 157 back in February 2013. Early on, Carmouche had Ronda Rousey in a bit of trouble, locking her in a standing rear-naked choke/face crank. But the UFC Hall of Famer escaped and won the thrilling affair late in the first round.

Realizing she was too small to compete at 135 pounds, Carmouche moved down to flyweight at the end of 2017. Moving down proved to be the right decision, as Carmouche has gone 2-1 to earn a crack at Shevchenko.

Days before her second shot at glory, Carmouche sat down with Sporting News to discuss her fight with Shevchenko in September 2010, if she thought she’d ever get to this point and what valuable experiences she took from taking on Rousey.

(Editor’s note: This interview was edited for clarity.)

Sporting News: How much do you remember from the first fight against Shevchenko?

Liz Carmouche: Not much because I was still so green. The biggest thing I took from the fight was that I was actually supposed to fight her sister and that’s who I signed the contract for. The organization was super shady and pulled one over on me when I arrived at the fight. I was able to pull off a win by an upkick and cutting her a bit. The doctor had to stop it because of the excessive blood loss.

SN: Since the fight took place so long ago, were you able to find any highlights to study from?

LC: Not at all. The organization was super shady. The fight wasn’t very well lit as it took place outside in a dark area on a reservation without any cell phone reception. I had friends and family at the fight as I liked having one of them to record my fights so I can have tape and study. I haven’t been able to find anything.

I showed up to the venue and Valentina was on the poster. After talking with the promoter, I was promised to pay her an extra couple hundred bucks and a daily per diem which they didn’t do.

SN: Looking back, did you ever think you’d be at this point in your career coming out of that fight?

LC: Not at all. Are you kidding me? At that point, I was still going to college full-time and dragging around my textbooks every time I had to go away for a fight. I was taking last-minute phone calls for matches, training, and working. I was doing all of that and not even sure if fighting was something that had a future for me. It really didn’t look like women were making a career out of it. So, I certainly didn’t know if that was something I could do. Fast forward to nine years later and where I am at, I could never have anticipated this. Ever.

I had zero interest in going to college. I used my GI Bill to help pay for training. I hated doing group projects or deal with people in the class who aren’t paying attention. That made me go insane. I was looking for any way out. My sanity was fighting. I looked forward to every day because of fighting. I had to keep my grades up or lose my GI Bill because it was paying for everything to help me train.

SN: Do you take anything from the Rousey fight that you could bring into Saturday?

LC: I took a lot from that Ronda fight. What that taught me was one – just how to manage my time. One of the things I had to do was that I was told by the UFC PR team that they need a minimum of two hours every day just to do interviews. I’m like, ‘That’s a lot of talking. Two hours every day. Are you kidding me?’ I figured out with those two hours how to budget my time. At night, I had to work and I was still going to school and doing all this stuff. I learned how to manage my time efficiently.

The other thing I learned is the adversity that I can face under everything I went through with the buildup to that fight. I knew I wanted that fight. I knew I could win that fight. I had no doubts about that in my mind. I wasn’t sure if I had a future in my fight career. Even though I lost that fight, I knew that there was plenty I could take away from the experience. I knew the work ethic I needed to put in to be that much better to learn from the lessons that were taught to me that day and how to take away and learn and grow as a fighter.

What I also took away was that I wasn’t even fighting in the correct weight class. When she rehydrated, she was enormous compared to me. I was still 135 when I walked into the Octagon. I’m genuinely a flyweight. Ronda looked like she was 155. I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, here we go again. I’m at another disadvantage.’

I’ve learned so much and grown from that fight. For me to focus on that fight would be taking a step backward and I’m only going forward.

SN: The fight ends and contemplating went wrong, did you think getting a title shot was possible since the company hadn’t implemented any more weight classes at that time?

LC: After the Ronda fight, I wasn’t sure what the UFC held for me. I think coming out of that fight, I didn’t know if losing that fight meant that I could get cut because I knew the rumors at the time was how easily fighters could get cut from the UFC. I didn’t know what that meant for me and also if I was kept on, how long it would take to get back into title contention. I certainly didn’t think at the time it would be at flyweight. I thought it would have to happen at bantamweight again or possibly have to go up a division.

SN: The consensus among MMA pundits is that Valentina is the second-best female fighter in the world behind Amanda Nunes. How do you view Valentina as a fighter?

LC: As the person standing in the way of my belt because that’s all I see.

Written By Steven Muehlhausen

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mma/news/ufc-uruguay-liz-carmouche-first-fight-with-valentina-shevchenko-what-she-expects-in-the-title-rematch-and-what-she-learned-from-facing-ronda-rousey/13yl4wr2r39am17tly6sgsyv9k

Demetrious Johnson’s next ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix opponent confirmed

On Friday night in Manila, Philippines, Tatsumitsu Wada (21-10-2) defeated Gustavo Balart (8-1) and advanced to the semi-finals of the ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix.

All three judges scored the bout in favor of the Japanese mixed martial artist but the decision has proven to be controversial. Balart appeared to be the more effective of the two fighters in all three rounds. He used his patented forward blitz to close the distance and unload fast and powerful punches. He also scored with plenty of well-timed leg kicks throughout the bout. Wada had his moments too, but they were few and far between.

With his unanimous decision win against Balart, Wada has earned a three-round bout with former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson.

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (28-3-1) recently moved forward to the semi-final round after he submitted Yuya Wakamatsu (10-4) with a brilliant guillotine choke at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan. Johnson was tested by the 24-year-old at times in the first round and it wasn’t exactly the walkover that many fans had anticipated before the event.

The other ONE Flyweight Grand Prix semi-final bout will see former ONE flyweight champion Kairat Akhmetov go head-to-head with former title challenger Danny Kingad.

The event and dates of these two flyweight bouts are yet to be announced.

Original Article

By: Jake Nichols

UFC 235 Predictions: Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz

Cody Garbrandt is in the spot that former champions like Jose Aldo and Joanna Jedrzejczyk have also found themselves in, with two losses to the champion and no way to move upwards, but he’s also significantly less proven in the division than those two. Garbrandt’s title win over Dominick Cruz was a brilliant performance, but his path to the champion was somewhat questionable; knockouts over Almeida and Mizugaki allowed him to cut in front of the elite contenders to face Cruz. With Cruz’s constant injury issues, Garbrandt essentially has no relevant wins in the current landscape of the division; Cody has a point to prove going into his fight at UFC 235, and he’ll look to use his bout against Pedro Munhoz as an example of why he rocketed up the division in 2016.

Meanwhile, Pedro Munhoz has been quietly rising the ranks for a while now, with excellent wins over Rob Font and Bryan Caraway. “The Young Punisher” has looked sensational as a grappler and has shown off a vicious kicking game in his last two, losing only once in his last seven fights. Scheduled to be on a PPV main card for the first time in the UFC, Munhoz looks to bring his brand of violence to the former champion, and join the current bantamweight champion as the only fighters to professionally defeat Cody No Love.

No Love

Cody Garbrandt’s game is far deeper than it is broad; Garbrandt really only excels as a pocket boxer, but his ancillary skills do a good job funneling his opponents into the area of the fight where they can’t compete. Undefeated as an amateur boxer and undefeated on his road to the championship, Cody “No Love” became the last hope of Team Alpha Male to defeat a resurgent Dominick Cruz; Garbrandt delivered in sensational fashion, but two losses later, he needs a statement win to keep himself in the mix.

Garbrandt’s game is largely “wait for the other guy to swing, and then punch him until he stops functioning.” For an amateur boxer, Garbrandt’s arsenal is oddly narrow; his shot selection is largely limited to the 2-3 and the 3-2, but it worked until UFC 217 due to tight mechanics and insane speed. Garbrandt’s best-case scenario for a fight looks something like his sub-minute KO of Takeya Mizugaki, in which he was able to force exchanges out of his opponent at will and put him down with the first clean connection.

The Cruz performance wasn’t only surprising in the sense that a prospect off a lower-level win took out one of the most highly regarded bantamweights ever, it was also shocking in the sense that “quick KO artist without proven wrestling” seemed to be the perfect matchup for the elusive champion to shine. Garbrandt’s excellent scrambling allowed him to deny every one of Dominick Cruz’s reactive takedowns, and that left Cruz walking into the pocket without one of his primary threats to pit his loopy blows (better at long range when his opponent chases after him) against a faster and crisper puncher willing to wait on him.

As impressive as that performance was, Garbrandt didn’t really fight against type; standing in the pocket swinging 3-2s and 2-3s worked when Cruz didn’t have the fundamental soundness that Garbrandt did, and that allowed Garbrandt to showboat as Cruz swung his long hooks, counter cleanly, and follow Cruz out with flurries as he retreated. The same thing didn’t work against Dillashaw; TJ was able to hang in the pocket with Garbrandt, and that meant that he was able to feint and draw out the (relatively predictable) attack patterns of “No Love” to outdo him in exchanges. Also concerning was Garbrandt’s underdeveloped kick defense; while Garbrandt is one of the mechanically strongest boxers in the UFC, the narrowness of his game and his lack of adaptability meant that Dillashaw was able to outstrike him regardless.

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UFC 232 post-event facts: Jon Jones, Amanda Nunes sport GOAT-worthy resumes

The UFC closed out its 2018 schedule on Saturday with UFC 232, which took place at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Two new champions were crowned atop the card. Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) once again reclaimed UFC light heavyweight gold when he stopped Alexander Gustafsson (18-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) by third-round TKO in their anticipated rematch in the main event, while Amanda Nunes (17-4 MMA, 10-1 UFC) scored a stunning 51-second knockout of Cris Cyborg (20-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) to claim the UFC women’s featherweight championship in the co-headliner.

It was a historic event for the for the company on several levels, and the numbers back it up. For more, check below for 70 post-event facts to come out of UFC 232.

General

The UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance payout for the event totaled $318,000.

Nunes, Ryan Hall, Alex Volkanovski and Chad Mendes earned $50,000 UFC 232 fight-night bonuses.

Debuting fighters went 0-1 on the card.

UFC 232 drew an announced attendance of 15,862 for a live gate of $2,066,604.

Betting favorites went 8-5 on the card.

Betting favorites improved to 23-15 in UFC headliners this year.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 1:54:14.

Main card

Jones’ 11 victories in UFC title fights are tied with Anderson Silva for third most in company history behind Georges St-Pierre (13) and Demetrious Johnson (12).

Jones’ six stoppage victories in UFC title fights are tied with Ronda Rousey for third most in company history behind Silva (nine), Matt Hughes (eight) and Johnson (seven).

Jones’ current 15-fight UFC unbeaten streak in light-heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division and longest in the history of the weight class. It’s also the longest UFC unbeaten streak among active fighters.

Jones’ 15-fight unbeaten streak in UFC competition is the second longest in company history behind Anderson Silva (16).

Jones’ 17 victories in UFC light-heavyweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Jones’ 10 stoppage victories in UFC light-heavyweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Jones’ 37 takedowns landed in UFC light-heavyweight competition are fourth most in divisional history behind Corey Anderson (52), Rashad Evans (50) and Ryan Bader (46).

Jones’ total fight time of 4:25:15 in UFC light-heavyweight competition is most in divisional history.

Gustafsson became the seventh fighter in UFC history to go 0-3 in championship fights. Dan Henderson, Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian, Urijah Faber, Pedro Rizzo and Chael Sonnen have also come up short in three title fights.

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By: Mike Bohn

Quote: Conor McGregor Can’t Train Heart For Khabib Rematch

Conor McGregor suffered a huge loss in his Octagon return earlier this month (Sat. October 6, 2018). “The Notorious” was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the fourth round via neck crank. It marked the second loss of McGregor’s UFC career and the biggest victory of Khabib’s. Since his defeat, the Irishman has remained adamant in his desires for an immediate rematch.

Given the lopsidedness of the contest, it’s hard to make the argument that such a fight makes any sense. UFC lightweight competitor Al Iaquinta, who has shared the Octagon with Khabib, recently commented on the matter during an appearance on “The Ariel Helwani MMA Show.” Iaquinta lost a unanimous decision to Khabib for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 223 in April.

You Can’t Train Heart

He knows what it’s like to deal with the grueling grappling dominance of “The Eagle.” Iaquinta said that McGregor fought well and has a lot a lot of skills. However, he could train for a rematch as much as he wants, but the one thing he can’t train is his heart (via MMA Mania):

“He fought good, definitely has a lot of skills. The rematch is not anything he can fix. You can train to defend takedowns, you can train to get back up, train for a million things. The one thing you can not train is to have heart when shit gets real tough,” Iaquinta said.

“When you feel like you are about to die, to figure out a way to live and not have the ref pull you off and save you. That is not going to get fixed if they fight in six months or a year or three years. That is still going to be there, that is not changing.

“His teammates aren’t going to help him in there and all of that money is not going to buy heart. So he can say whatever he wants, I sell real estate, I am number 11, but at the end of the day, he is definitely not tougher than me.”

By Jon Fuentes

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Jon Anik Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension With UFC

Jon Anik signs a new deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Since Mike Goldberg was ousted from the UFC at the end of 2016, Anik has been the main play-by-play commentator for the promotion. The UFC feels they’ve made the right choice and have locked up Anik for another four years.

Jon Anik Stays With UFC

Anik made the reveal to MMAJunkie.com. Here’s what he had to say on the contract extension:

“It’s a multi-year extension, and it’s very exciting for me to be able to be a part of this new era with ESPN. I think, as a lot of people know, that’s where I sort of cut my teeth in television and radio, and that’s where I really starting covering mixed martial arts back in 2007 and 2008, so it sort of feels like we’re coming full-circle a little bit. Now, 10 years later, the UFC and ESPN have the whole domestic package aligned, so it’s a good time, you know, and I didn’t make it a secret – I mean, this is where I wanted to be. This has become the foremost passion in my life, and I just couldn’t imagine my life without UFC being a big part of it. I’m thankful that it got done and just excited to continue to hit the ground running.”

Anik will be in familiar territory when the UFC’s deal with ESPN begins. Anik was an ESPN anchor and the host of MMA Live. Anik also did commentary for Bellator early in the promotion’s life.

By Fernando Quiles Jr

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Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk back on as UFC 231 co-headliner

With UFC 230’s headliner now set, the promotion is reshuffling the deck – and removing a controversial backup fight.

Valentina Shevchenko (15-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) was scheduled to take on “The Ultimate Fighter 26” finalist Sijara Eubanks (3-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at the Nov. 3 pay-per-view event. But now that two-division champ Daniel Cormier (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is set to face Derrick Lewis (21-5 MMA, 12-3 UFC), Shevchenko has been reinstalled against her originally scheduled opponent, ex-strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC).

The two will meet in the co-headliner of UFC 231, which takes place Dec. 8 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. News of the switch was confirmed by UFC President Dana White via ESPN.com reporter Brett Okamoto

Shevchenko’s matchup with Eubanks was openly criticized by fighters and MMA observers as an unworthy headliner for the New York event, which struggled to find available draws for its marquee fight. Jedrzejczyk also chafed at the switch, calling out the UFC for not honoring a signed contract.

“My feelings are even more intensified when I think of the obligations I had to resign from, as they would have happened in the time of my camp,” she wrote on Instagram.

Jedrzejczyk initially resisted a move to the 125-pound division, preferring to get another crack at current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, who handed her a pair of losses. But with support for a third bout apparently low, she signaled her interest in a meeting with Shevchenko, who beat her three times as a professional kickboxer.

Shevchenko, meanwhile, is just happy to be fighting for a belt. She was scheduled to take on inaugural champ Nicco Montano at UFC 228, but Montano was forced to withdraw from the event at the last minute due to a botched weight cut. The UFC subsequently stripped Montano of the belt and sought a replacement fight for the vacant belt.

The switch is bad news for Eubanks, who was ruled out of a fight for the inaugural flyweight title at the TUF 26 Finale when she suffered complications due to a weight cut. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The UFC 231 lineup now includes:

Champ Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega – for featherweight title

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valentina Shevchenko – for vacant women’s flyweight title

Nina Ansaroff vs. Claudia Gadelha

Devin Clark vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Kyle Bochniak vs. Hakeem Dawodu

Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns

Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez

Jimi Manuwa vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos

Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou

Diego Ferreira vs. John Makdessi

By:Steven Marrocco

Daniel Cormier Says He’s Retiring After Brock Lesnar Fight

Daniel Cormier says he will be calling it a career once he fights Brock Lesnar.

Cormier captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 226. “DC” knocked out Miocic in the opening round to become a two-division champion.

“DC” has made it clear that he’s only got until March before he retires. Cormier has insisted he can squeeze in a light heavyweight title defense before his mega showdown with Lesnar. One thing’s for certain as far as Cormier is concerned. The bout with Lesnar will be his last.

Cormier reiterated those comments to Damon Martin:

“He’ll be the last one. He’ll be the last fight of my career. Will he be next? I don’t know. I hope so but I’ve still got a belt to defend at 205 [pounds] to think about.”

The stage was set for Cormier vs. Lesnar when “DC” called out “The Beast Incarnate” following the UFC 226 main event. Lesnar happily got inside the Octagon and shoved Cormier. Many criticized the post-fight antics as being too much like WWE. Cormier responded by saying those critics can “stay broke.”

Many fighters have been calling for a light heavyweight title shot against Cormier. Alexander Gustafsson, Yoel Romero, Ilir Latifi, and even Anthony Smith have put their name in the hat. Cormier has expressed interest in defending his title against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. “Shogun” will meet Smith on July 22 at UFC Hamburg.

By Fernando Quiles Jr

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Jon Jones Failed Another Drug Test

Written by Brett Okamoto at ESPN.com

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones failed a drug test ahead of his championship win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 last month in Anaheim, California, UFC president Dana White said Tuesday.

White denied that the UFC has stripped Jones of the title, as TMZ reported.

In a statement released Tuesday, the UFC said Jones’ failed test stemmed from an in-competition sample that was collected at his weigh-in on July 28, the day before his fight against Cormier.

According to TMZ, which was first to report news of the failed test, Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol. White did not comment on the banned substance for which Jones tested positive.

“I always know what to say. I don’t know what to say about this one,” a somber White told reporters Tuesday, calling the news “unbelievable.”

“These things never come at a good time. They’re always bad, especially with somebody like Jon Jones. In my opinion, he’s the best to ever do it. That makes it even more unfortunate.”

Jones’ camp released a statement Tuesday, saying, “We are all at a complete loss for words right now. Jon, his trainers, his nutritionists and his entire camp have worked tirelessly and meticulously the past 12 months to avoid this exact situation. We are having the samples tested again to determine the validity or source of contamination.

“Jon is crushed by this news, and we are doing whatever we can as a team to support him.”

This is the second failed drug test of Jones’ tumultuous career. The UFC was forced to pull Jones from a scheduled headliner against Cormier just days before UFC 200 in July 2016, after he tested positive for anti-estrogenic agents. Jones later told the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that failed test was the result of an unmarked sexual enhancement pill.

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