Raul Rosas Jr. to Fight Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287

Raul Rosas Jr. has scheduled his return to the Octagon

The 18-year-old Mexican American mixed martial arts prodigy, who became the youngest fighter to ever sign with the UFC, will return to the Octagon on April 8 to fight fellow prospect Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287, according to ESPN.

Raul Rosas Jr.Former UFC champion Anthony Pettis, who represents Rodriguez under the Showtime Group agency, also posted about the fight on Instagram. A location has yet to be determined, and no main event has been set yet for the pay-per-view card.

Rosas (7-0) was 17 when he signed with the UFC last September. Living and training in Las Vegas, he beat Mando Gutierrez on Dana White‘s Contender Series to earn a UFC contract. Rosas then beat Jay Perrin in his debut with the promotion via first-round submission at UFC 282 in December.

Rodriguez (8-1) is coming off a first-round submission win over Joshua Weems in October. The Milwaukee native is 1-1 in the UFC. Rodriguez, 25, trains out of Roufusport in his hometown and owns wins in CFFC, LFA and on Contender Series.

Jafel Filho to Fight Muhammad Mokaev During UFC 286 at O2 Arena

He may be new to the game, but Jafel Filho is already lining up a major opponent.

The 29-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, a promotional newcomer, will take on Muhammad Mokaev, one of the UFC‘s top prospects, this year in London.

Jafel FilhoThe 125-pound bout will take place at UFC 286 on March 18 at O2 Arena, UFC officials told ESPN. It will mark Mokaev’s fourth appearance in the UFC, three of which have taken place at O2 Arena.

Born in Dagestan and fighting out of England, Mokaev (8-0) is vying to become the youngest champion in UFC history. The 22-year-old is 3-0 so far in the UFC, with two wins by submission. He would need to win the UFC’s flyweight title by March 2024 to break the current record held by Jon Jones. Jones won the light heavyweight title in 2011 at age 23.

Mokaev has not been able to secure a ranked opponent yet inside the Octagon, but he is currently ranked No. 14 himself in the UFC’s official rankings. He underwent surgery late last year on a dislocated shoulder but made it known he intended to return in time for the UFC’s card in London.

Filho (14-2), of Rio de Janeiro, earned a UFC contract in August with an impressive third-round TKO on Dana White‘s Contender Series.

He has won five in a row going into his UFC debut, with five consecutive finishes.

A trilogy welterweight title fight between Jafel Filho and Kamaru Usman is set to headline UFC 286.

UFC Rising Star Luana Pinheiro In Talks to Fight Michelle Waterson-Gomez

Luana Pinheiro is thisclose to locking in her next opponent…

The UFC is finalizing a strawweight battle between the 29-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Michelle Waterson-Gomez this spring, according to ESPN.

Luana PinheiroThe contest will take place on April 8 at an event that is expected to be UFC 287 on pay-per-view. The UFC has not announced an official date or location for that numbered event, but UFC president Dana White has said it will “probably” take place in Brooklyn, New York.

Pinheiro (10-1) is a rising contender with a 2-0 record in the UFC. Fighting out of Belo Horizonte in Brazil, Pinheiro earned a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020.

Waterson-Gomez (18-10) has been a mainstay in the top of the 115-pound division for years. The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based strawweight is 1-4 in her past five appearances, but she’s faced the top of her division during that time, including two former champions in Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza. She’s coming off a loss to Amanda Lemos in her most recent fight in July.

Waterson-Gomez and Pinheiro are ranked Nos. 11 and 13, respectively, in the UFC’s strawweight division.

The UFC has not announced a main event for the April 8 card.

Raul Rosas Jr. Becomes First 18-Year-Old to Win in the UFC

Raul Rosas Jr. has a first UFC win under his belt…

The Mexican mixed martial artist, who turned 18 years old just two months ago, became the youngest fighter ever to compete in the UFC on Saturday night, and his performance was dominant in a first-round submission of veteran bantamweight Jay Perrin during the prelims of UFC 282 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Raul Rosas Jr.Rosas, who was born in Mexico and raised in New Mexico and California, was signed off of Dana White‘s Contender Series when he was still 17.

He now is 18 years and 63 days old, younger than the only other 18-year-olds to compete in the OctagonSean Daugherty and Dan Lauzon.

But Rosas is the first 18-year-old to win in the UFC. And he made it look easy.

Rosas, whose specialty is grappling, took the fight to the canvas within the first minute and immediately seized control, which he maintained before eliciting the tapout from Perrin via rear-naked choke at 2:44 of Round 1.

Rosas spoke afterward about the next historical accomplishment in his sights.

“Man, this is crazy, but I knew I was going to be here at this age,” he said. “So right now I’m just living the dream. I had no nerves, no pressure, felt free. I’m doing what I love to do. And right now, tonight, I just came to introduce myself, because I’m coming for that belt.”

Raul Rosas, Jr. to Become Youngest Fighter to Compete in UFC with Debut Fight Against Jay Perrin

Raul Rosas, Jr. is set to earn his place in UFC history…

The 18-year-old Mexican mixed martial artist, known as “El Niño Problema,” will become the youngest fighter to compete in the UFC when he makes his debut against Jay Perrin (10-6) at UFC 282 on December 10 in Las Vegas.

Raul Rosas Jr.Rosas’ representative agency, Iridium Sports, announced the news on social media.

Last month, Rosas became the youngest fighter to win a contract on Dana White‘s Contender Series when he defeated Mando Gutierrez (7-1) via unanimous decision. Rosas was just 17 at the time of that fight. He celebrated his 18th birthday on October 8.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said White, the UFC president, as he signed Rosas. “The amount of fighters blowing me up saying, ‘You’re crazy not to [sign him].’ … He’s special.”

According to UFC Stats and InfoDan Lauzon currently holds the record as the youngest fighter to ever compete in the Octagon (18 years, 198 days). He made his UFC debut in January 2010. Rosas will comfortably beat that mark, as long as the fight stays together on December 10.

Rosas was born in Mexico and now fights out of California. Perrin, 29, is 0-2 since signing with the UFC earlier this year. He has fought professionally since 2014.

Marlon Moraes Coming Out of Retirement with Multi-Fight PFL Deal

Marlon Moraes is making a comeback…

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC bantamweight title challenger  has decided to come out of retirement, and will do so under a new multi-fight deal with Professional Fighters League (PFL).Marlon Moraes In addition to the new deal, Moraes (23-10-1) has agreed to a featherweight matchup against Shane Burgos (15-3) on the promotion’s tournament finals card later this year.

Multiple sources told ESPN contracts haven’t been signed for the bout, but verbal agreements are in place.

The PFL has not announced an official date or location for the event, although it is expected to take place in November.

Moraes walked away from the sport earlier this year following a four-fight skid in the Octagon, but figures to be a prominent new face in the PFL’s season format. He’s actually returning to his former home, in a sense. Moraes was a 135-pound champion at World Series of Fighting, which was rebranded into the PFL in 2017.

Originally from Brazil and now fighting out of Florida, Moraes came within one win of becoming a UFC champion in June 2019, when he came up short in a vacant title bid against challenger Henry Cejudo. He went on to drop four of his next five, although he was fighting the very best of his weight class in the likes of Song YadongMerab DvalishviliRob Font and Cory Sandhagen.

Burgos, of New York, also signed a new deal with PFL this year. The 31-year-old fought exclusively in the UFC from 2106 to 2022. He has fought some of the top names of the division during his career. Following his signing with PFL, UFC president Dana White went so far as to admit the promotion made an error in not keeping Burgos on its roster.

Raul Rosas Jr. Becomes Youngest MMA Fighter to Sign with UFC

Raul Rosas Jr. has earned his place in UFC history…

The 17-year-old Mexican mixed martial artist has become the youngest fighter to sign with the UFC.

Raul Rosas Jr.Rosas signed with UFC Tuesday night, following a unanimous decision win over Mando Gutierrez on Dana White‘s Contender Series.

White, impressed by Rosas’ performance, offered the teen a contract before the end of the show, which he accepted. Rosas is the youngest fighter to compete on the series.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” White said of Rosas’ age and outing against Gutierrez. “Not only that, the amount of fighters blowing me up saying you’re crazy not to (sign him). … He’s absolutely, positively talented. He’s special, he’s different.”

Rosas, a bantamweight fighter, dominated the 25-year-old Gutierrez for most of the fight with his grappling prowess. He nearly finished Gutierrez in the first round with a rarely used Suloev stretch submission from back control. Gutierrez had moments, taking Rosas down and landing some ground-and-pound. But almost always, Rosas would end up in the better position, using his dexterity, skill and creativity on the ground to scramble his way to the top.

Rosas (6-0) had finished all of his previous opponents before Tuesday night. The Mexican-born fighter, who trains out of Las Vegas, previously fought in the UWC promotion in Tijuana.

Dan Lauzon holds the record as the youngest fighter to compete in the UFC (18 years, 198 days), per ESPN Stats & Information research. As long as Rosas steps into the Octagon within the next 216 days — a likely scenario — he will beat that mark.

And Rosas is already talking about winning championships. The youngest UFC champion was Jon Jones at age 23 in 2011.

“Everybody shouldn’t be surprised,” Rosas said. “I’m the new king in here, so I’m coming for that belt now. … I’m gonna be champion when I’m 20. Respect to everybody, but I’m gonna be champion when I’m 20, or even earlier. Nobody is gonna stop me.”

Anderson Silva to Fight Jake Paul in 187-Pound Boxing Match in October

Anderson Silva has locked in his next opponent…

The 47-year-old former UFC-middleweight-champion-turned-boxer will meet YouTuber-turned-prizefighter Jake Paul in a boxing match on October 29 in Phoenix, Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions announced Tuesday.

Anderson SilvaThe bout will be contested at 187 pounds over eight three-minute rounds. Silva is one of the greatest champions in UFC history and holds the record for most consecutive victories ever in the promotion (16).

“The plan is for me to fight at 185 [pounds] going forward and that’s what I wanted this fight at given it was the weight Anderson Silva fought at during his reign as the most dominant UFC champion ever,” Paul told ESPN. “Anderson’s team asked if we could set the weight at 187, 2 pounds more than what I wanted. That level of professionalism and precision is appreciated, and of course I agreed to his request.”

Paul was supposed to fight Tommy Fury last month at New York’s Madison Square Garden, but Fury withdrew because of what he said were travel issues coming to the United States from England. Fury’s replacement was Hasim Rahman Jr., son of the former boxing heavyweight champion, but that bout was canceled because of weight complications with Rahman.

This will be Paul’s fourth fight against a former UFC fighter. Previously, Paul knocked out Ben Askren and went 2-0 against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the most recent bout a knockout win over Woodley in December. Paul has not fought since then.

Silva, though well past his prime, has a better résumé than both Woodley and Askren in MMA and boxing. He was the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world for stretches during his lengthy title reign from 2006 to 2013 and one of the most creative knockout artists ever in that sport.

In boxing, Silva is 3-1 as a pro, with his best win coming over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last year. Silva fought Bruno Machado in an exhibition boxing match in May and looked solid there. He has also knocked out former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in boxing.

“I know that in life everything has its purpose,” Silva said in a statement. “Nothing comes just by chance. So, I thank God for my health, my family and my team for providing me with this opportunity to continue doing the thing that I love the most. I believe this will be the biggest combat event of the year and will truly make history in the sport forever. See you on October 29.”

Prominent people in combat sports, including UFC president Dana White, have been critical of Paul’s opponents, and White has even suggested that Paul should fight Silva, which would be more of a “real fight.”

“Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva is the most versatile fighter the world has ever seen,” Paul said in a statement. “Just a year ago he outclassed boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and showed the world why he is often referred to as the greatest fighter of all time. Every expert, from MMA to boxing, has said Jake Paul won’t fight Anderson Silva. They said Jake Paul is afraid of Anderson Silva, and Jake Paul would lose to Anderson Silva. Well, to all the non-believers – Jake Paul is fighting Anderson Silva. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to share the ring with the greatest UFC striker of all time. On Saturday, October 29, I will walk humbly into the ring, touch gloves with a living legend and do my best to exterminate ‘The Spider.'”

“Jake Paul continues to take on challenges that other professional fighters at his experience level and popularity never have,” said Nakisa Bidarian, co-founder of MVP, in a statement. “Jake appreciates the platform that he has and always aims to provide fans with a compelling product that drives engagement. Anderson Silva is unequivocally the most exciting striker in UFC history. Those abilities have translated into his professional boxing career, and he most certainly has the ability to end Jake’s unbeaten streak. It’s an honor for Most Valuable Promotions to have one of the GOATs of combat sports headline our event. He is already a Hall of Famer in our books.”

Amanda Nunes Defeats Julianna Peña to Reclaim UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title

It’s a case of sweet revenge for Amanda Nunes

The 34-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist defeated Julianna Peña via a dominant unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) in the main event of UFC 277 on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

Amanda NunesNunes had vowed to make changes in her game and get her belt back after shockingly losing it seven months ago to Peña.

With the victory, Nunes, the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history, reclaimed the UFC women’s bantamweight title she lost to Peña at UFC 269 in December.

“The lioness, if they don’t get the prey the first time, I set the trap and I know I’d get it the second time,” Nunes said in her postfight interview.

Nunes said this fight was all about “strategy” and that the key was her going southpaw. Then, when Peña got comfortable on the feet, Nunes said she started to go for the takedowns.

“The main thing was my southpaw,” Nunes said. “I know I was gonna catch her with that tonight. I knew she was not gonna be able to adjust to that. She’s not a striker. … She was so confused. I’m not very good yet with my southpaw. I told my coach, ‘I’m gonna see how I feel.’ I tried tonight, and I felt good.”

Nunes dropped Peña with a check right hook out of the southpaw stance several times in the early rounds. As the fight wore on, Nunes began using her wrestling to take Peña down over and over, then cut her up from top position with slicing elbows.

Peña had several bad cuts on her face after the fourth round. Nunes nearly had a rear-naked choke finish in the fifth, but Peña was incredibly tough and fought it off.

Nunes had moments where she might have been able to finish the fight but perhaps didn’t want to make the mistake she did in the first fight, where she got tired after trying to finish Peña in the first round.

“Julianna is tough as nails,” UFC president Dana White said. “Her will to win is second to none. She wanted to win. As dominant as Amanda was, and she was dominant tonight — I don’t think it was close in any way, shape or form; I thought it was a complete shutout — she still looked a little gun shy to me.

“She had Julianna hurt many times, had her on crazy legs many times and never really went in for the kill.”

After the first fight, Nunes left her longtime gym, American Top Team, and moved into a private facility she has dubbed Lioness Studio. She trained under coach Roger Krahl, who was in her corner for some of her biggest fights, like the knockout of Ronda Rousey.

“The best thing I did was make my gym,” Nunes said. “In my gym, I feel like I’m safe. I feel like I can grow and evolve.”

In the second round, Nunes knocked Peña down three times, setting the record for most knockdowns in a round ever among women in the UFC, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Overall, Nunes outlanded Peña 85-60 in significant strikes and took Peña down six times in eight attempts.

Nunes’ 15 UFC wins is the most among women in UFC history. This was her 10th title fight win, the most among women in UFC history and fifth best overall. Nunes is the first woman in the UFC to regain the bantamweight title after losing it.

Saturday’s fight was the 13th immediate rematch ever in the UFC after one fighter took the belt from another. Saturday marked just the third time in those instances that a fighter reclaimed the title. Randy Couture did it against Vitor Belfort in 2004 and Deiveson Figueiredo did it this past January over Brandon Moreno.

Judges Douglas Crosby and Sal D’Amato each scored the second round 10-8 for Nunes, while Crosby also scored the fifth 10-8 for Nunes. The other judge, Jacob Montalvo, did not score a 10-8 in any round.

Coming in, ESPN had Nunes ranked No. 2 and Peña ranked No. 4 on its pound-for-pound women’s MMA list. At bantamweight, Peña was No. 1 and Nunes was No. 2.

Nunes (22-5) was on a 12-fight winning streak before losing to Peña, with wins during that stretch over the likes of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate and Holly Holm. The Brazilian slugger, who trains out of South Florida, is also the UFC women’s featherweight champion.

Nunes, 34, is the first UFC fighter to defend two titles in separate weight classes concurrently — and has seven title.

Dominick Cruz to Fight Marlon Vera in UFC Fight Night in August

Dominick Cruz is heading back to the Octagon this summer…

The 37-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist, a former two-time UFC bantamweight champion, will face off against Marlon Vera for a UFC Fight Night headliner, according to UFC president Dana White.

Dominick Cruz The bout is scheduled for August 13, and White said the card is expected to take place in San Diego.

ESPN has Vera ranked No. 6 and Cruz ranked No. 10 in the world at bantamweight.

Cruz (24-3) is one of the best bantamweight fighters in MMA history. A San Diego resident, he’s a two-time former UFC bantamweight champion with a total of three title defenses across both reigns.

Cruz has the most bantamweight wins in UFC/WEC history (13). He has won two straight and 15 of 17 overall.

Vera (19-7-1), 29, has won three straight and nine of his past 11. The fighter from Ecuador, who lives and trains in Orange County, California, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Rob Font in April.

He has the most finishes in UFC bantamweight history (9).