Cynthia Calvillo to Fight Jessica Eye in UFC Fight Night Bout in June

Cynthia Calvillo is heading back to the Octagon next month.

The 32-year-old Latina mixed martial artist and fellow UFC women’s flyweight Jessica Eye have agreed to fight on June 13 at UFC Fight Night, according to ESPN.

Cynthia Calvillo

The bout would headline the event, sources said, though a location wasn’t immediately known.

Eye (15-7, 1 NC) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Viviane Araujo at UFC 245 in December. It was her first fight since she challenged for the flyweight title and suffered a devastating head-kick knockout to champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 last June.

Eye, who is currently ESPN‘s No. 8-ranked women’s flyweight, has won four of her past five fights.

Calvillo (8-1-1) returns to the Octagon after fighting to a majority draw with Marina Rodriguez in December. That bout was fought at a catchweight after Calvillo missed the contracted strawweight limit.

Next Saturday’s UFC cardis expected to take place at the company’s Apex facility in Las Vegas. The location is subject to change until Wednesday, when the Nevada State Athletic Commission is scheduled to formally vote on reopening the state to combat sports.

NSAC officials indefinitely suspended all combat sports in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Henry Cejudo Announces Retirement Moments After Defending 135-Pound UFC Title

Henry Cejudo  is walking away a winner…

The 33-year-old mixed martial artist, a two-weight UFC champion and former Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, defended his 135-pound title for the first time on Saturday night, defeating Dominick Cruz (22-3) via TKO at 4 minutes, 58 seconds of the second round at UFC 249at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo (16-2) shocked the mixed martial arts world moments later when he announced he doesn’t intend to fight again.

“I’m happy with my career,” Cejudo said. “I’ve done enough in the sport. I want to walk away and enjoy myself. I’m 33 years old. I have a girl now, watching me from back home. Since I was 11, I’ve sacrificed my life to get to where I was tonight. I’m retiring tonight. Uncle Dana [UFC president Dana White], thank you. Everybody here, thank you so much.”

White appeared on SportsCenter later Saturday and said he wasn’t surprised by Cejudo’s announcement.

“It really didn’t shock me,” he said. “Cejudo has been talking about retirement to us for months. I’m of the belief that if you’re talking about retirement in the fight business, you should probably retire.”

Before leaving the cage, Cejudo declared himself the best combat-sports athlete of all time. His only two losses in MMA came against Demetrious Johnson, the longest-reigning flyweight champion in UFC history, and Joseph Benavidez. Cejudo avenged his loss to Johnson two years after the first meeting.

If this does prove to be Cejudo’s final appearance, it was an impressive one. 

Cruz hadn’t fought in 1,226 days because of injury, but he was still widely recognized coming in as the greatest bantamweight of all time.

Cejudo’s longtime head coach, Eric Albarracin, told ESPN that he believed Cejudo was still “in his prime.”

“I only think he’s getting better. It’s a somber moment, when someone retires in his prime,” Albarracin said. “I understand it, though. We’ve been on a hell of a run. I’ve been with him since 2004. He’s gotten it done. Every goal we’ve ever set, he’s accomplished. He’s beaten every legend they set in front of him.”

Albarracin said “there was something a little bit off this week” with Cejudo.

“I was trying to figure it out, but I couldn’t put my finger on it,” Albarracin said. “I was ready to have him call out Jose AldoAlex Volkanovski and Conor McGregor after this fight, and he told me no. I think if Dana White were to add another zero to his paycheck, he’d have a hard time not coming back, but maybe he just does want to move on.”

Cejudo appeared to echo Albarracin’s point, saying at his postfight news conference, “I really do want to walk away, but money talks.”

The second-round finish came after Cejudo badly hurt Cruz with a right knee to the temple. Cejudo immediately pounced on him and dropped a hard right hand and a series of unanswered left hands until referee Keith Peterson stopped the bout. It is the first knockout loss of Cruz’s 15-year professional career.

“I’m ruthless,” Cejudo said. “I may be cringe-y, corny — but boy, can I fight.”

Coming into this weekend, ESPN ranked Cejudo the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Cris Cyborg Makes History with Bellator Win Over Julia Budd

Cris Cyborg has earned her place in the mixed martial arts history books…

The 34-year-old Brazilian-American mixed martial artist, whose real name is Cristiane Justino, made her Bellator debut at The Forum in Inglewood, California, in grand fashion.

Cris Cyborg

Cris Cyborg (22-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) scored a fourth-round TKO of Julia Budd to claim the women’s featherweight belt, to complete a grand slam and enhance her legacy in the sport.

The victory saw her win a championship with her fourth MMAorganization, having also won titles with the UFCInvicta FC, and Strikeforce.

In the early rounds of  Saturday’s fight, Cris Cyborg showed little respect to her opponent, throwing relentless strikes to Budd’s face and body.

When victory came in the fourth, Cris Cyborg dropped to the canvas, appearing to celebrate the win in disbelief having ended Budd’s unbeaten run of 2,998 days.

Tito Ortiz to Fight Alberto El Patron in December

Tito Ortiz is heading back to the octagon before year’s end…

The 44-year-old half-Mexican American former mixed martial artist will be coming out of retirement to fight a former World Wrestling Entertainment champion later this year.

Tito Ortiz

The Ortiz vs. Alberto El Patron, a 210-pound catchweight fight, will take place on December 7 in Hidalgo, Texas, and it will air live on pay-per-view, according to Combate Americas. The time and location of the fight were first announced on Monday’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show

El Patron, 42, formerly known as Alberto Del Rio in WWE and born Jose Alberto Rodriguez, hasn’t competed in MMA since 2010. He stopped fighting with a 9-5 pro record but did win six of his past seven fights. Following his MMA run, he turned his attention to a career with WWE and eventually became a multiple-time heavyweight champion. He has not worked for WWE since 2016.               

The fight is expected to cost $39.99 on pay-per-view.

Ortiz (20-12-1), a former UFC light heavyweight champion and Hall of Famer, announced his retirement following his November 2018 victory over his long-time rival Chuck Liddell. However, in April, Ortiz signed a multi-fight deal with Combate. The El Patron fight will mark his first for the promotion.

El Patron is most known in MMA circles for his 2003 knockout loss to Mirko Cro Copat Pride Bushido 1, where he competed under the moniker Dos Caras Jr.while wearing a luchador mask. He’s currently training for this fight with former Bellator fighter Javier Torres, current Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Baderand UFC veteran CB Dollaway, among others.

The event, which will take place at the Payne Arena in Hidalgo, will also feature Combate’s first women’s strawweight title fight.

Cain Velasquez in Talks to Join WWE Full Time

Cain Velasquezis wrestling with change…

The 37-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and wrestler isofficially stepping out of the Octagon and into the pro-wrestling ring for the foreseeable future.

Cain Velasquez 

Velasquez, a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, is in advanced talks to sign with WWE

He made a surprise appearance on Friday on WWE SmackDown‘s Fox premiere at Staples Center, confronting Brock Lesnarin the closing moments of the show. Velasquez said he was not officially retired from the UFC, but pro wrestling is likely to be his focus right now.

Velasquez said no deal has been signed, and he also has been in discussions with other wrestling promotions, including upstart All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

WWE could look to set up a blockbuster match between Velasquez and Lesnar, also a former UFC heavyweight champion. 

Velasquez knocked out Lesnar to win the UFC belt in 2010. Coincidentally, Velasquez headlined the UFC’s first show on Fox in 2011, and Friday he was a major part of WWE’s Fox premiere, walking to the ring with Rey Mysterio and hitting Lesnar with a double-leg takedown.

Velasquez debuted in pro wrestling in August with Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA. Velasquez is a celebrity in Mexico due to his UFC success and how he has marketed himself in the country. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound California native impressed at AAA’s Triplemaniashow in front of 18,000 at Mexico City Arena, pulling off athletic moves that were unexpected for a man his size.

Last month, Velasquez had a second match for AAA at Madison Square Garden‘s Hulu Theatre and his ability once again turned heads. The MMA star has been training full time in pro wrestling only since June, at Pro Wrestling Revolution in San Jose, California. 

Velasquez has been doing it all with multiple torn ligaments in his left knee, an injury he suffered in a knockout loss to Francis Ngannouat UFC Phoenix in February.

Velasquez (14-3) is one of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history. He won the UFC heavyweight belt in 2010, and then again in 2012. Velasquez owns victories over the likes of Junior Dos Santos(twice), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueiraand Lesnar. Injuries to his knees, back and shoulders marred his run atop the division. Velasquez has fought just three times since 2013. He dropped the heavyweight title to Fabricio Werdumin 2015 and rebounded to beat Travis Browneat UFC 200 in 2016.

In 2018, Velasquez trained at WWE’s Performance Centerto see if he could physically work a match in the ring. He drew rave reviews from coaches there, but things didn’t work out at that time with WWE as far as a contract, and he ended up signing a short-term deal with AAA.

After his two appearances for AAA in August and September, Velasquez saw the interest in him increase. WWE came back to the table.

“We’ve talked a little bit back and forth and nothing happened,” Velasquez said. “They wanted to see my development. I think they’re pleased with what I’m doing now.”

Velasquez’s interest in pro wrestling comes at a particularly busy moment in pro wrestling history. The emergence of AEW, owned by the Khan family, which also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC, is the first major effort to enter a space dominated by WWE for 20 years. Additionally, WWE signed TV contracts valued at over $1 billion to bring SmackDown to Fox and extend Monday Night Raw on the USA Network.

Velasquez would join the likes of Lesnar and Ronda Rouseyas former UFC champions in WWE. WWE also has UFC veterans Matt Riddleand Shayna Baszlerunder contract.

“This is definitely my focus,” Velasquez said of pro wrestling. “My family is into it, they love it. They’re super excited. I haven’t seen them excited over something like this in a while. It’s cool.”

Cris Cyborg Signs with Bellator MMA 

Cristiane Justino is taking her fight elsewhere…

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, better known as Cris Cyborg, has signed with Bellator MMA after a three-year run with the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC).

Cris Cyborg

One of the best women’s fighters in the history of the sport is now under a multiyear, multi-bout contract with Bellator, promotion president Scott Coker announced via Twitter. Coker wrote that it was the biggest contract ever given to a women’s MMA fighter.

Cyborg accompanied Bellator’s announcement with a video message to her fans on Facebook.

“My goal is to become the only female fighter to hold four different major titles in the same division,” said Cyborg, who has already held the women’s featherweight title in the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.

The final fight on Cyborg’s UFC contract came against Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 in July, a bout Cyborg won via unanimous decision. 

The fighter and UFC president Dana Whitehave had a long history of butting heads, and White said in the aftermath of that bout the UFC was out of the Cyborg business. The UFC waived its 90-day exclusive negotiating window with the Brazilian knockout artist, making her a free agent.

Cyborg, who is No. 3 pound-for-pound among women in ESPN‘s MMA rankings, won the UFC women’s featherweight title by beating Tonya Evinger by third-round TKO at UFC 214 in July 2017. She dropped the belt to Amanda Nunes, also the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champ, at UFC 232 last December via first-round knockout. That defeat was Cyborg’s first in 13 years, since her pro MMA debut in 2005.

From 2005 until 2018, Cyborg was the most dominating and fearsome force in women’s mixed martial arts. Justino went undefeated and won 17 of 20 victories by finish. Cyborg has beaten the likes of Holly HolmMarloes Coenen and Gina Carano. Historically, she has also been one of the best-known women’s MMA fighters in the world, drawing solid numbers on television and pay-per-view.

“I have worked with countless athletes over my 30-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like Cyborg,” said Coker, who promoted Justino with Strikeforce. “Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again. Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator, where champion Julia Budd and the other women that make up best female featherweight division in the world have eagerly awaited her arrival.”

Cyborg was brought into the UFC in 2016 at a catchweight of 140 pounds. She had competed previously at 145 pounds, a more natural weight. The idea at the time was to set up a fight between Cyborg and Ronda Rousey, but it never materialized. Cyborg was too big to get down to Rousey’s 135-pound weight class and Rousey departed the UFC later in 2016.

Cyborg and the UFC had an embattled relationship even before Cyborg was under contract. In 2014, White infamously made fun of Cyborg for her appearance at an MMA awards show, saying she looked like male fighter Wanderlei Silva in a dress. Cyborg took it as White saying she looked like a man; White has said that he was making a comment on Cyborg’s past history with performance-enhancing drugs. Cyborg tested positive for a steroid and was stripped of her Strikeforce title in 2011.

After Nunes beat Cyborg last December, White repeatedly said Cyborg didn’t want a rematch, which Cyborg vehemently denied. Meanwhile, Cyborg said she felt the UFC never truly built out a women’s featherweight division in which she could compete, which was a valid criticism.

On Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show in July, Cyborg said she wanted a public apology from White as a condition of her re-signing with the UFC.

“Of course, he has to apologize,” Justino said. “I think he has family, he has kids. … I don’t know if he has a heart, but I think one thing he’s doing is not just touching me, because he doesn’t like me. He’s touching the people around me, he’s touching my family. It’s not right.”

The rocky relationship came to an end in earnest after UFC 240 when Cyborg’s team posted a doctored video online that inaccurately quoted White in subtitles while talking to Cyborg backstage in Edmonton, Alberta. Cyborg apologized on social media, but White said in an interview on the UFC’s YouTube channel that the promotion was done with Cyborg.

“I’m going to release her from her contract and I will not match any offers [she receives],” White said. “She is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other promotions and fight these easy fights she wants. Done. Done deal. I will literally, today, have my lawyer draft a letter to [Justino’s team saying] that she is free and clear.”

In the Bellator release announcing her signing, it makes note of the promotion’s healthy women’s featherweight division, including Budd, who has won 11 straight.

Demian Maia to Fight Ben Askren at UFC Singapore in October

Demian Maia has lined up his next opponent…

The 41-year-old Brazilian former submission grappler and current mixed martial artist will fight Ben Askren  in the main event of UFC Singapore on October 26, according to ESPN.

Demian Maia

Askren tweeted earlier this week that the fight was a done deal.

Maia’s background is in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and he’s one of the best ever to utilize that martial art in MMA. He’s a former Abu Dhabi Combat Club grappling champion and International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan Americantitleholder.

Askren is a former Olympicwrestler and two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Missouri. 

Both Askren and Maia are known for their phenomenal ground games.

Maia (27-9) has won two in a row and nine of his past 12. He’s coming off a majority decision win over Anthony Rocco Martin at UFC Minneapolis in June. Maia is a former UFC welterweight and middleweight title challenger with wins over the likes of Masvidal, Carlos Condit and Chael Sonnen.

Askren (19-1, 1 NC) was undefeated in MMA until he was knocked out in five seconds by Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239last month. He’s a former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion.

Askren was acquired by the UFCvia trade with ONE Championship for Demetrious Johnson last year and quickly made a name for himself with his quick-witted trash talk.

UFC Fighter Nate Diaz Beats Anthony Pettis in First Fight After Three-Year Hiatus

Nate Diaz is back in a big way…

In his highly anticipated return to the Octagon after a three year absence, the 34-year-old Latino mixed martial artist was excellent in a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) win over Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241on Saturday at the Honda Center.

Nate Diaz

Diaz had not fought since a loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202on August 20, 2016. 

He imposed his will on Pettis early and often. Diaz was able to press Pettis against the cage in every round and land punch combinations, elbows and knees. He closed the first and third rounds in good positions on the ground, an area he also controlled when the fight went there.

Afterward, Diaz said he is interested in fighting Jorge Masvidal next, adding that he was impressed by Masvidal’s five-second knockout of Ben Askren last month.

“All respect to the man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him,” said Diaz, who hails from Stockton, California, and enjoyed a huge partisan crowd on Saturday. “So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”

At his postfight news conference, UFC president Dana Whitesaid he wouldn’t be opposed to making Diaz-Masvidal fight if that’s what both fighters wanted next.

Diaz (20-11) went 1-1 against McGregor in 2016. They were two of the biggest pay-per-view events in Ultimate Fighting Championshiphistory. Diaz has a huge cult following among fans for his irreverence, exciting fighting style and propensity to flip a double bird. He had not fought since that star-making year because he wasn’t able to come to terms with the UFC.

Amanda Nunes Reportedly Agrees to Defend Her UFC Bantamweight Title Against Germaine de Randamie

Amanda Nunes is going on the defense…

The 31-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artistand two-weight UFC champion will defend her 135-pound title against Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 on December 14, according to ESPN.

Amanda Nunes

Both sides have verbally agreed to the bantamweight championship, and the pay-per-view event will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN.

UFC officials have not confirmed the bout’s official placement on the card.

Nunes (18-4) is the current champion of the 135- and 145-pound weight classes. She’s coming off the fourth defense of her bantamweight title in July, a head kick knockout of Holly Holm at UFC 239.

Originally from Brazil, now fighting out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, Nunes is ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by ESPN.

De Randamie (9-3), of the Netherlands, is a former featherweight champion. She won the 145-pound belt in February 2017 by defeating Holm. However, she was stripped of the belt later that year when she refused to face No. 1 contender Cris “Cyborg” Justino over concerns of prior use of performance-enhancing drugs.

De Randamie has since elevated herself to the status of No. 1 contender at 135 pounds with wins over Raquel Pennington and Aspen Ladd.

Amanda Nunes Defeats Holly Holm by TKO to Retain UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title

Amanda Nunesis making the case to be considered the greatest women’s MMAfighter of all time…

The 31-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter defeated Holly Holm by TKO on Saturday to retain her women’s bantamweight title.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes landed a right head kick to Holm’s face and followed up with a hard right hand on the ground. The TKO finish came at 4 minutes, 10 seconds in the first round of the co-main event of UFC 239at T-Mobile Arena.

Nunes said she’d told her coach beforehand that she wanted to stop Holm with a head kick, because that is Holm’s signature technique. Holm had the only other head-kick knockout in a UFC women’s bantamweight title fight, against Ronda Rouseyin 2015.

Coming in, Nunes, also the featherweight champion, had beaten every other former UFC women’s bantamweight or featherweight champion outside of Holm, and now she has defeated Holm as well.

“I told my coaches I wanted to knock her out the same way she knocks people out,” Nunes said. “I did it tonight. She was the only former champion I didn’t beat yet. Now I beat her, and I’m very happy.”

Nunes (17-4) said that she next wanted to defend her featherweight belt to become the only UFC champion to defend two titles while holding them concurrently. 

The Brazilian fighter, who trains out of American Top Teamin Florida, has won nine bouts in a row. Nunes, 31, has four first-round finishes in title fights, tied for second with Matt Hughes. Rousey is first with five.

UFC president Dana Whitereiterated his stance that Nunes ranks among the greatest MMA fighters ever, putting her alongside the likes of Anderson SilvaGeorges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.

White said he was open to booking a rematch between Nunes and Cris Cyborg, who lasted only 51 seconds against Nunes in December.

“This woman is tough, man,” White said of Nunes. “She’s unbelievable. Pound for pound, one of the greatest of all time. But there will be somebody next.”

Holm (12-5) had won two of her past three fights. The former three-division world champion boxer has now lost in four UFC title fights. Holm is only 2-5 since her knockout of Rousey at UFC 193.