Edson Barboza Agrees to New Deal with UFC, Sets Fight Against Shane Burgos

Edson Barboza is staying put in the UFC, and he’s lining up his next opponent…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former Muay Thai kickboxer, a UFC featherweight, has agreed to battle Shane Burgos  in May, according to their teams.

Edson Barboza

The 145-pound bout will take place at UFC 262 on May 15. The UFC hasn’t announced an official venue for the pay-per-view event.

In addition to the bout, Barboza (21-9) has signed a new deal with the UFC. The Brazilian fighter had expressed interest in testing free agency in 2021 but ultimately elected to sign an extension with the promotion he has fought for since 2010.

“We’ve renewed with the UFC, with the understanding Edson wants to be extremely active,” Barboza’s manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “We believe Edson has a good chance to be a contender at featherweight. All the conditions are there now. It’s up to the UFC to give him fights that make sense, and it’s up to Edson to win those fights.”

Burgos (13-2), of New York, shared his excitement on the matchup.

“This is the one,” Burgos told ESPN. “I only want big fights, and this one feels huge. Everyone knows Edson. I’ve been watching him fight in the UFC since I was fighting amateur. I plan on making the absolute most out of this opportunity.”

Burgos is coming off a decision loss to ranked contender Josh Emmett in June, which was his only appearance of 2020. Before that setback, the 29-year-old had won three in a row.

Marc Castro Defeats Former MMA Fighter John Moraga by Second-Round KO

Marc Castro has taken down a UFC veteran…

The 21-year-old Latino boxer needed a single punch, eight seconds and a massive left jab to knock down UFC veteran John Moraga in the first round.

Marc Castro

From there, it was a matter of time before the junior lightweight prospect earned his second career KO in his second pro fight.

Castro (2-0, 2 KOs), of Fresno, California, knocked down Moraga (1-3, 1 KOs) three times in two rounds to register the knockout, finishing the fight with a left uppercut.

Moraga, of Phoenix, has had an impressive MMA career, with a 19-7 record and a UFC flyweight title shot in 2013 that he lost to Demetrious Johnson. His first knockout loss in boxing was Moraga’s third defeat in four pro bouts.

Castro is still very, very early in his pro career, but the friend of star fighter Ryan Garcia made easy work of an overmatched opponent.

Ryan Garcia Plans Early Retirement from Boxing & Teases Possible MMA Career

Ryan Garcia is planning for an early retirement…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer, who claimed the WBC interim lightweight title earlier this month, believes he’ll be done with boxing early.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

Garcia plans to retire at the age of 26.

But the red-hot prospect is not saying he’ll give up all combat sport at that time.

Garcia announced on The Rich Eisen Show on Thursday that he’ll consider moving over to MMA following his boxing career. He said he wants to prove he’s the best fighter in the world — and not just in the ring.

“If they say, ‘OK you’ve beaten everybody in the ring’ [and] somebody goes ‘this ain’t real fighting — real fighting is legs, choking, submissions, all that,'” Garcia said. “Guess what I’ll do? I’ll go prove to them that I’m the best fighter all around in the world. I’m talking about hands, I’m talking about wrestling. I will go to MMA to prove a point that God is greatest. And I’ll go beat whoever it is in MMA they say I won’t beat. If it has to be Conor McGregor, I will. And I’m not saying this to get money — I don’t care about money. I’m saying this just because it’s how I feel.”

Garcia said his plan is to still leave boxing when he’s 26 years old. But he wouldn’t rule out a comeback there, either.

Yoel Romero Signs New Multi-Fight Deal with Bellator

Yoel Romero is preparing to fight for a new partner…

The 43-year-old Cuban mixed martial artist and former freestyle wrestler, and a multiple-time UFC title challenger, has agreed to a new multi-fight deal with Bellator, according to ESPN.

Yoel Romero

Romero is expected to sign his new deal imminently.

The deal comes less than two weeks after the UFC released Romero after more than seven years in the promotion.

Initially, Bellator officials passed on Romero, but after further talks, the two sides were able to come to an agreement.

Romero is expected to debut at 205 pounds, which is the weight class in which he started his career. His debut fight and date are not set yet.

His most recent fight was a loss to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision in March. Both Romero and Adesanya received criticism after the fight because it did not live up to expectations.

Romero won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He made his MMA debut in 2009 and his UFC debut in 2013. He won his first eight fights inside the Octagon before losing an interim middleweight title fight to Robert Whittaker in July 2017. He fought for the interim or undisputed middleweight title four times but never won the UFC belt.

Amanda Ribas in Talks to Fight Michelle Waterson in UFC 257 Bout

Amanda Ribas is thisclose to returning to the Octagon…

The UFC is close to finalizing a strawweight bout between the 27-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Michelle Waterson for UFC 257, according to multiple sources.

Amanda Ribas

The UFC 257 pay-per-view event is the first on the company’s 2021 schedule. The promotion hasn’t announced a location for the event or a main event, although UFC president Dana White has said the event is earmarked for Conor McGregor‘s return to the Octagon against Dustin Poirier.

Ribas (10-1) is one of the most promising prospects in the division. She is undefeated since signing with the UFC last year, and has taken out the likes of Emily WhitmireMackenzie DernRanda Markos and Paige VanZant. She finished VanZant with a first-round armbar at UFC 251 in July.

Waterson (18-8) is one of the most established names of the strawweight division, with a 6-4 record in the UFC dating back to 2015. The former Invicta FC champion was knocking on the door of title contention in 2019 before she suffered back-to-back decision losses to former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza. Fighting out of Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Waterson has since rebounded from the two-fight skid with a win over Angela Hill.

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.

Sergio Pettis Defeats Ricky Bandejas in Bellator MMA’s Return After Five Months

Sergio Pettis is proving to be a contender…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American mixed martial artist, the  younger brother of former UFC champion Anthony Pettis, defeated Ricky Bandejas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) this weekend in the bantamweight main event of Bellator 242.

Sergio Pettis

Bellator, the second-most prominent MMA promotion in the U.S. after the UFC, hadn’t held an event since February 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The card took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, overseen by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation

COVID-19 protocols were implemented, including multiple coronavirus tests and the keeping of fighters, corners and staff within a kind of bubble at the Mohegan Sun resort and casino.

The original Bellator 242 main event was supposed to be a bout for the bantamweight title between Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix, but Archuleta withdrew. The expectation is that bout will be rebooked for the belt.

During his fight, Pettis put himself in the No. 1 contender conversation. He had an economical performance against Bandejas, outstriking the taller man and piling on the calf kicks through the first two rounds. At one point, Bandejas seemed to lose his footing due to the damage caused by those repeated kicks to the lower part of his left leg.

In the third round, both men opened up. Pettis wasn’t content to cruise to a decision and put forth several flashy techniques, clearly looking for a knockout. Pettis threw spinning kicks, and Bandejas came back with some of his own, including a wheel kick to the head that was just barely blocked by Pettis. Pettis threw another spinning kick with seconds remaining that narrowly missed as well.

Pettis (20-5) has won three straight, including his first two in Bellator. The Milwaukee native left the UFC as a free agent last year with a 9-5 record in the organization, going back and forth between flyweight and bantamweight. Pettis owns a victory over Joseph Benavidez, who just fought for the UFC flyweight title last weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Bandejas (13-4) had a two-fight winning streak snapped. The New Jersey native propelled himself up the Bellator bantamweight ladder in 2018 when he stunningly knocked out Conor McGregor protégé James Gallagher. Bandejas, 28, trains out of the vaunted American Top Team in Florida.

Paulo Costa to Take On Defending Champion Israel Adesanya in UFC Middleweight Title Fight

Paulo Costa is getting his title chance…

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight title against the 29-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artiston September 19, according to ESPN.

Paulo Costa

This weekend, Costa tweeted: “The fight is on folks!” News of the fight was first reported by Combate.

The fight, which will take place at UFC 253, doesn’t have a location yet. It probably will take place in either Las Vegas or Abu Dhabi, but the promotion hasn’t finalized those plans just yet because of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said.

Originally, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje was targeted for September 19. Though no official determination has been made regarding that fight, sources say the current plan is to headline the card with Adesanya vs. Costa and then do Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje for the lightweight title later in the fall.

Adesanya (19-0) successfully defended the middleweight title for the first time in March when he defeated Yoel Romero via unanimous decision. That fight was supposed to be against his bitter rival, Costa, however, Costa was forced out of the fight after suffering a torn left biceps.

Costa (13-0), most recently defeated Romero via unanimous decision in August 2019.

The duo have been entangled in a war of words since before Adesanya won the middleweight title in October.

The fight will mark just the second time in UFC history that two undefeated males fight for an undisputed title. The first time was back in 2008 when champion Rashad Evans defended the light heavyweight title against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.

Deiveson Figueiredo Defeats Joseph Benavidez to Win UFC Flyweight Title

Deiveson Figueiredo is a titleholder…

The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and UFC fighter has defeated Joseph Benavidez to claim the vacant UFC flyweight championship.

Deiveson Figueiredo

In a rematch of their controversial bout earlier this year, Figueiredo knocked down Benavidezthree times and then choked him out at 4:48 of the first round in the main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi. 

In the opening seconds Figueiredo clipped Benavidez with a right hand, then attempted to cinch in a rear-naked choke on the ground. Benavidez bravely fought off the move and was able to get back on his feet. But he couldn’t do that a second time. Figueiredo blasted him with a whipping right hand in the final minute of the first, then pounced and locked in the submission to earn the title victory. Benavidez didn’t have a chance to tap out — he went unconscious and referee Marc Goddard called the fight.

“I said I was going to break Benavidez, and that’s exactly what I did,” Figueiredo said. “I gave him his first submission on his record, and the fight itself was a great show. I gave everyone a show. He didn’t surprise me at all tonight.”

Coming in, ESPN had Figueiredo ranked as its No. 2 MMA flyweight in the world, and Benavidez No. 3. Figueiredo is now just the third flyweight champion in UFC history, following the legendary Demetrious Johnson and the recently retired former double champ Henry Cejudo.

“I’m available for whoever the UFC wants to put in front of me. Anyone at my level,” Figueiredo said. “But you have to be at my level, because I’m a knockout artist, I’m going to knock you out. I’m going home tomorrow, and we’re going to start celebrating with all Brazilians on the flight back, and as soon as I land in Brazil everyone is going to be taking pictures and congratulating me, so it’s going to be a great party.”

Benavidez and Figueiredo first fought on Feb. 29 in Norfolk, Virginia. The bout was supposed to decide the vacant title, but Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds. Due to the weight miss, Benavidez was the only one who could win the belt in the fight — but Figueiredo ended up stopping Benavidez by TKO in the second round.

There was some dispute there, too. Figueiredo’s finish came right after a clash of heads that rocked Benavidez, who had won the first round. The circumstances led to the UFC granting Benavidez an immediate rematch.

Henry Cejudo Open to UFC Return for Fight Against Alexander Volkanovski

Henry Cejudo isn’t opposed to a UFC comeback…

The 33year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and former UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion tells TMZ that he’d consider a return to the Octagon if he were given a fight against Alexander Volkanovski

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo wants a crack at Volkanovski’s UFC featherweight title to complete the championship trifecta — a feat no one in promotion history has ever pulled off.

“I’ve done everything in MMA,” Cejudo told TMZ.

“I’m satisfied with my career. There would only be one fight that would really bring me back — that would really wake me up in the morning. Other than [boxer] Ryan Garcia, it would be Alexander Volkanovski. That overgrown midget. I would love to make him bend the knee. He’s already halfway there.”

Cejudo, the former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, stunningly announced his retirement from MMA after successfully defending his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz last month at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida. There has been speculation, though, that Cejudo is using it as leverage to try and get a bigger contract from the UFC.

Since the retirement announcement, the UFC has removed Cejudo from the promotion’s official rankings and taken him off the website as bantamweight champion. UFC president Dana White has said that a vacant bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo is in the offing this summer.

Cejudo, though, acknowledged to TMZ for the first time that there was indeed a way to bring him back. That would be a chance at a third belt.

“I want to be different,” Cejudo said. “There’s a lot of champ champs. Obviously there’s only one Triple C — there’s only one Olympic champ, flyweight champ, bantamweight champion of the world. It’s just to cement it and go in the history books as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.”

Cejudo (16-2) is on a six-fight winning streak, a stretch that goes back to 2016. The Arizona resident is one of only four fighters in UFC history told hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time. Cejudo owns wins over Cruz, TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson.