Jose Aldo Coming Out of Retirement to Fight Jonathan Martinez at UFC 301

Jose Aldo is returning to the Octagon

The 37-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, a UFC Hall of Fame member and longtime former UFC featherweight champion, will come out of retirement and fight Jonathan Martinez in a bantamweight fight at UFC 301 on May 4 in Aldo’s native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Jose AldoAldo retired from the UFC after a loss to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in August 2022. He transitioned to boxing, fighting in the ring three times, including one exhibition. His most high-profile boxing match came against former UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens at Jorge Masvidal‘s Gamebred Boxing 4 in April 2023. Aldo and Stephens fought to a draw.

Despite his retirement, Aldo remained under contract with the UFC. Sources said he has one fight remaining on his deal.

Aldo (31-8) had won three straight and was closing in on a UFC bantamweight title shot before the loss to Dvalishvili. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame last summer. Aldo has the most title defenses in UFC featherweight history (7); including his time in WEC, he has nine title defenses.

Martinez (19-4) has won six in a row. A Los Angeles native who trains out of Factory X in Colorado, he has two rare leg-kick TKOs in his past three fights. Martinez, 29, is 10-3 in the UFC since his debut in 2018.

News of Aldo’s return was first reported by Brazilian outlet AG Fight.

Luis Nery to Reportedly Fight Naoya Inoue in Tokyo This May

Luis Nery is heading back to the ring in the near future…

The 29-year-old Mexican boxer and Naoya Inoue have agreed to a deal for a May fight in Tokyo for Inoue’s undisputed junior featherweight championship, per ESPN sources.

Luis NeryInoue (26-0, 23 KOs) claimed ESPN Fighter of the Year honors when he KOed Marlon Tapales in Round 10 last month to become undisputed champion.

The Japanese star’s victory followed an eighth-round TKO win over Stephen Fulton in July, when Inoue claimed two titles in his 122-pound debut. Inoue, 30, is ESPN’s No. 2 pound-for-pound boxer.

Nery (34-1, 26 KOs) received an indefinite suspension from the Japan Boxing Commission in March 2018, but officials involved have been assured the Mexican will be reinstated, sources said.

The ban was handed down following Nery’s pair of stoppage wins over Japan’s longtime champion Shinsuke Yamanaka.

Nery scored a fourth-round TKO win over Yamanaka to capture the WBC bantamweight title in August 2017, but was suspended afterward when the banned substance zilpaterol was found in his system.

Nery argued the adverse finding was the result of tainted meat consumed in Mexico.

In the March 2018 rematch, Nery stopped Yamanaka in Round 2 but did so after he weighed 121 pounds for a 118-pound title bout. The pair of violations led to the ban.

But Nery earned a shot against Inoue, who usually fights in Japan, when he scored an 11th-round KO over Azat Hovhannisyan in February. The WBC title eliminator was named ESPN‘s runner-up for Fight of the Year.

Nery has won four consecutive fights since his lone professional defeat, a seventh-round TKO vs. Brandon Figueroa in a May 2021 title fight. Nery is rated No. 3 by ESPN at 122 pounds.

Against Inoue, Nery faces long odds to become a two-time junior featherweight champion. “The Monster” is a generational talent fighting at the peak of his powers.

Inoue’s undisputed title victory over Tapales was remarkably his second in as many weight classes in the past year. Inoue stopped Paul Butler in the 11th round of their December 2022 meeting to become undisputed champion at 118 pounds.

Inoue also reigned as champion at 108 and 115 pounds.

Cris Cyborg Registers First-Round TKO of Cat Zingano to Defend Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title

Cris Cyborg has defended her Bellator title with ease…

The 38-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist showed off why she’s one of the greatest fighters in women’s MMA history by mauling Cat Zingano with a first-round TKO during Saturday night’s Bellator 300 to defend her title in dominant fashion.

Cris Cyborg,Cyborg (27-2, 1 NC) had not fought in nearly a year and a half. But she showed no rust in her skills, winning her seventh fight in a row. It was her fifth title defense, the most of any current Bellator champ..

Cyborg, based in Southern California, had an answer for everything Zingano tried, making the 41-year-old pay for every takedown attempt and clinch.

Cris CyborgThe finish came 4:01 into the fight after Cyborg clipped Zingano while defending a takedown shot then pounced with punches until the referee waved off the bout. It was Cyborg’s 21st career knockout and 12th in the first round.

“I was a little more strong than her,” Cyborg said. “I know she felt that power.”

Zingano (14-5) was making her second bid for a world championship. In 2015, during her run as a UFC bantamweight, Zingano challenged then-champ Ronda Rousey and was submitted in 14 seconds.

After Saturday’s fight, Cyborg called for her next title defense to come against Leah McCourt, who defeated Sara McMann by first-round TKO during the prelims.

Deiveson Figueiredo to Make Bantamweight Debut in December

Deiveson Figueiredo is movin’ on up…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist will make his long-awaited move up to bantamweight before the end of the year.

Deiveson FigueiredoThe former two-time UFC flyweight champion will face Rob Font in a contender bout at UFC Fight Night on December 2.

Figueiredo was first scheduled to return to flyweight over the summer, but he withdrew due to injury and decided to move up a division.

ESPN has Figueiredo ranked No. 4 in the world at flyweight and Font ranked No. 10 at bantamweight.

Figueiredo (21-3-1) has not fought since losing the flyweight title to Brandon Moreno via TKO last January at UFC 283. He went 1-2-1 against Moreno in their tetralogy. Figueiredo is tied with Demetrious Johnson for the most finishes in UFC flyweight history (7).

Font (20-7) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to top contender Cory Sandhagen on August 5. The 36-year-old Massachusetts native has dropped three of four.

Raul Rosas Jr. to Fight During Noche UFC, UFC’s Mexican Independence Day Show in Las Vegas

Raul Rosas Jr. will be heading to the Octagon next month.

The 18-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist, who was the youngest fighter signed to the UFC last year at 17 years old, will attempt to get back on track at the UFC‘s Mexican Independence Day show.

Raul Rosas Jr.Rosas Jr., a bantamweight, will face Terrence Mitchell at Noche UFC on September 16 in Las Vegas, according to ESPN.

ESPN DeportesCarlos Contreras Legaspi first reported the bout set for Noche UFC, which is a larger-sized UFC Fight Night card in celebration of the Mexican holiday at T-Mobile Arena.

Rosas Jr. (7-1) earned his way into the promotion from Dana White‘s Contender Series. Rosas Jr. won his UFC debut at UFC 282 in December but then fell to Christian Rodriguez via unanimous decision at UFC 287 in April.

Mitchell (14-3), a 33-year-old from Alaska who competed on “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2016, lost in his UFC debut to Cameron Saaiman by first-round TKO at UFC 290 last month.

Larissa Pacheco Knocks Out Amber Leibrock to Earn No. 1 Seed in PFL Featherweight Playoffs

Larissa Pacheco looks poised to claim a second Professional Fighters League championship…

The 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist – who shocked the world in 2022 with her upset win over Kayla Harrison in the lightweight finals to win her first PFL title – seized the No. 1 seed in the PFL playoffs on Friday with a resounding first-round knockout of Amber Leibrock.

Larissa PachecoThe featherweight bout headlined PFL 5 inside Overtime Elite Arena.

Leibrock (7-5) went into the bout with a lot of momentum, after scoring a highlight-reel head kick knockout in the opening round of the season. She looked out of her league Friday, however, as Pacheco (21-4) bombarded her with punches early.

Pacheco’s win sets up a rematch against Ukraine’s Olena Kolesnyk in the first round of the playoffs in August. Pacheco beat Kolesnyk last August via first-round TKO.

Marina Mokhnatkina earned the No. 2 seed and will face Leibrock as the 145-pound’s No. 3 seed.

Former UFC bantamweight Aspen Ladd defeated Karolina Sobek via submission but still missed the playoffs in a tiebreaker to Kolesnyk.

In the heavyweight division, Denis Goltsov (31-7) secured the No. 1 seed with a devastating 18-second knockout of Yorgan De Castro. It was the fastest knockout in PFL heavyweight history.

Brazil’s Renan Ferreira (10-4) also scored a big knockout on the main card, taking out Matheus Scheffel in 50 seconds. The win was good enough to earn him the No. 2 seed at heavyweight, and he’ll face Marcelo Nunes in the opening round of the playoffs. Goltsov will square off with Jordan Heiderman, who also picked up a first-round victory.

In the main event, Maurice Greene (11-8) came up short in a bid to topple 2022 champion Ante Delija. Delija, who missed the first round of the regular season because of injury, defeated Greene via unanimous decision. It was an impressive showing but earned him only three points, leaving him out of the playoffs.

Irene Aldana to Fight Raquel Pennington in Rematch at UFC Fight Night in May

Irene Aldana is readying for a rematch…

The 35-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist will meet Raquel Pennington in a rematch on May 20 in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas, with the next UFC women’s bantamweight No. 1 contender likely to be decided with that fight.

Irene AldanaAldana and Pennington fought in July 2019, with Pennington winning a split decision.

ESPN has Pennington ranked No. 3 and Aldana ranked No. 6 in the world at women’s bantamweight.

The champion in that weight class, Amanda Nunes, will defend her title in a trilogy fight with Julianna Peña at UFC 289 on June 10 in Vancouver.

The Pennington vs. Aldana winner will likely fight the victor in that bout.

Pennington (15-8) has won five straight. The Colorado native has not lost since a 2020 bout with former champ Holly Holm. Pennington, 34, has the most bouts in UFC women’s bantamweight history (16).

Aldana (14-6) has won two in a row and four of her past five. The Mexican-born fighter is coming off a knockout of Macy Chiasson at UFC 279 in September.

Aldana has won seven of her past nine fights overall.

UFC Finalizes Fight Between Henry Cejudo and Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288

It’s official: Henry Cejudo is heading back to the Octagon soon.

After some starts and stops, the UFC 288 main event is now official with the 36-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and freestyle wrestler among those set to participate.

Henry CejudoAljamain Sterling will defend his UFC bantamweight title against the former champion on May 6 in Newark, New Jersey, the promotion officially announced Friday.

Cejudo is making his return from retirement after three years away.

While both men had verbally agreed to the matchup weeks ago, there was some consternation this week. The UFC sent out a press release for UFC 288 on Tuesday without mentioning the main event, a rarity. Sterling posted on social media that Cejudo was holding things up and he teased a fight with popular up-and-comer Sean O’Malley instead. Ultimately, things were hammered out leading to the announcement Friday.

ESPN has Sterling tied for eighth in its pound-for-pound MMA rankings. Cejudo is a former UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist in wrestling.

Sterling (22-3) has won eight straight fights and is coming off a second-round TKO win over former champ TJ Dillashaw in October at UFC 280. The Long Island, New York native has two successful title defenses. Sterling, 33, won the belt in a disqualification (illegal knee) against Petr Yan at UFC 259 in March 2021 and then beat Yan via split decision in a rematch.

Cejudo (16-2) has not fought since he successfully defended the title via second-round TKO over former champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in May 2020. The Arizona resident announced his retirement after that bout, but he officially returned by re-entering the USADA drug-testing pool in early 2022. Cejudo has won six straight, including stopping Demetrious Johnson‘s UFC record title-defense streak at 11 by winning the UFC flyweight title in 2018.

Charles Oliveira to Fight Beneil Dariush in Lightweight Battle at UFC 288

Charles Oliveira is returning to the Octagon

The 33-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, a former UFC lightweight champion, will face top contender Beneil Dariush in May.

Charles OliveiraThe UFC hasn’t officially announced the 155-pound bout, but Oliveira referred to it as official on social media, and ESPN sources say Dariush’s side has agreed.

The lightweight fight will take place on May 6 at an event that is expected to be a UFC 288 pay-per-view.

Oliveira (33-9) hasn’t fought since a third-round submission loss to current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in October. That fight came under unique circumstances in that it was technically for the vacant lightweight title, after Oliveira surrendered the title this past May after missing weight for a defense against Justin Gaethje.

Although the Brazilian wasn’t the official champ when he fought Makhachev, the sport widely viewed him as such until the loss. Prior to the defeat, Oliveira had won 11 in a row.

Dariush (22-4-1) will take an eight-fight win streak into the contest in May. The 33-year-old has a strong case for a title shot now, but he has a history of seeking fights to remain active rather than wait for specific opportunities. Dariush would likely assert himself as the clear No. 1 contender at lightweight with a win. He has never fought Makhachev.

bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo is slated to headline UFC 288. The UFC has not announced a venue for the date.

Henry Cejudo Finalizing UFC Bantamweight Title Fight with Aljamain Sterling

Henry Cejudo is thisclose to locking in his next opponent…

The UFC is finalizing a bantamweight title fight between the 36-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and freestyle wrestler and Aljamain Sterling, both fighters announced on social media.

Henry CejudoContracts haven’t been signed, but the 135-pound title fight is being targeted for May 6.

The UFC has not officially announced an event on that date, but it is expected to be a UFC 288 pay-per-view at a location to be determined.

“I’m fighting May 6 against Henry Cejudo and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Sterling said on his “Weekly Scrap” podcast.

The UFC has been interested in this matchup for months, since Sterling (22-3) defended his title for the first time against former champion TJ Dillashaw in October. The fight likely would have happened sooner, potentially next month, but Sterling has been rehabbing a lingering injury to his bicep.

Fighting out of Cortland, New York, Sterling is on an eight-fight winning streak. One of those victories came under some controversy, when he won the title over Petr Yan by disqualification in 2021. Since then, Sterling has legitimized his title reign, defeating Yan in a rematch before submitting Dillashaw.

Cejudo (16-2) is one of the most accomplished fighters in combat sports history. He is an Olympic gold-medal wrestler and two-weight UFC champion. He became the UFC’s flyweight champion in 2018 and its bantamweight champ in 2019. He defended the bantamweight title once before retiring from the sport in 2020.

Even during his absence, many expected Cejudo would eventually return. He has expressed a desire to eventually move up again in weight in an attempt to become the UFC’s first three-weight champ.