Antonio Carlos Junior Signs with Professional Fighters League

Antonio Carlos Junior is going Professional

The Professional Fighters League has signed the 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC veteran, known as Cara de Sapato, to a contract this week, according to ESPN.

Antonio Carlos Junior

Carlos Junior fought at middleweight in the UFC, but Abdelaziz said he would be competing as part of PFL‘s light heavyweight season this year.

“This guy should have never been fighting at middleweight,” Abdelaziz said. “He should have been fighting all along at light heavyweight. I think he’s going to be very good at light heavyweight.”

Carlos Junior (10-5, 1 NC) won The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil at heavyweight in 2014. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist had a respectable 7-5 (1 NC) record in the UFC. Carlos Junior was on a three-fight losing streak before the UFC released him last month.

PFL, which has a season and playoffs structure, did not run any events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carlos Junior will join the likes of UFC veterans Tom Lawlor, Cezar Ferreira and Jordan Johnson in the PFL light heavyweight season. Emiliano Sordi, the 2019 PFL light heavyweight champion, returns this year as well.

Marcus Almeida Signs with Asia’s Mixed Martial Arts Association ONE Championship

Marcus BuchechaAlmeida is switching sports…

The 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend has signed a multiyear contract with Asia’s ONE Championship, according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz

Marcus "Buchecha"Almeida

Almeida, a 13-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, who stands at 6-foot-3, will compete in the heavyweight division.

Per Abdelaziz, Almeida will debut in ONE either near the end of this year or early in 2021. He’ll do his training camps at Evolve MMA in Singapore, which has a relationship with ONE, also based in Singapore.

Almeida is considered one of the top pound-for-pound Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors of all time. 

He announced just last week his intention to retire from BJJ gi competition and focus on mixed martial arts, which drew buzz in the MMA community due to his potential in the sport.

“Buchecha” has won a record six Brazilian jiu-jitsu world titles in the openweight category, a mark previously held by Roger Gracie (3). 

Almeida has also won two titles in the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) tournament.

Gilbert Burns Defeats Tyron Woodley by Unanimous Decision in UFC Fight Night Event

Gilbert Burns is officially a UFC welterweight contender…

The 33-year-old mixed martial artist, a former multiple-time jiu-jitsu champion, beat former champion Tyron Woodley by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44) in Saturday’s main UFC Fight Night event in Las Vegas. 

Gilbert Burns

Burns nearly finished Woodley in the opening minutes and never let his foot off the gas pedal, winning every single round.

“That was a former champion right there — you saw,” Burns said. “And I had a dominant performance.”

ESPN had Woodley ranked No. 5 among MMA welterweights coming in, while Burns was No. 9. Woodley had not fought since dropping the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman via unanimous decision at UFC 235 on March 2, 2019.

Burns trains at Sanford MMA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with Usman, the current UFC welterweight champion. Despite that relationship, Burns called for a title shot after his win.

“I want to fight for the title,” Burns said. “Lot of respect, a lot of love for [Usman]. But I think I’m next. I’m next. I’m right there.”

Woodley, who finished with 28 significant strikes to 83 for Burns, said it simply wasn’t his night.

“To be honest, I feel crappy that I lost,” he said. “I didn’t imagine losing to Gilbert Burns. But at the end of the day, I’m really proud of myself because mentally, I knew what I was going through in the Octagon. He gave me some hard shots, and I just kept saying, ‘I’m not fixing to give up. I’m not feeling that this dude beat me. I’m coming back. I’m gonna win this fight.’

The card was the UFC‘s first back in its hometown since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It took place at the UFC Apex, a facility across from the promotion’s campus, in front of no fans. 

Burns (19-3) has won six in a row and four straight since moving up from lightweight to welterweight. He has just one loss going back to 2016. He has made huge strides in the striking department under coach Henri Hooft.

Said Burns after Saturday’s victory, “Not bad for a jiu-jitsu guy, right?”