WBO Orders Undisputed Featherweight Champion Amanda Serrano to Fight Danila Ramos in Mandatory Title Defense

Amanda Serrano has been assigned her next opponent…

The WBO has ordered the 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, the undisputed featherweight champion, to have a mandatory title defense against Danila Ramos, potentially lining up the next fight for ESPN‘s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter.

Amanda SerranoBoth Serrano and Ramos last fought earlier this month.

Serrano (45-2-1, 30 KO) beat Heather Hardy by a unanimous decision in Dallas, and Ramos (12-2, 1 KO) defeated Brenda Karen Carabajal by split decision in Buenos Aires.

If the fight gets made, it will be the sixth defense of the WBO title for Serrano.

Ramos, 38, has been in three “interim” title fights in her career — losing a unanimous decision to Elhem Mekhaled for the WBC interim junior lightweight title in 2019, a split decision loss to Katharina Thanderz for the same belt later in 2019 and then defeating Carabajal for the “interim” WBO featherweight title earlier this month.

It’s not clear why there’s an interim title in the division since Serrano has been active since beating Hardy for the WBO title in 2019.

The WBO is giving the two sides 10 days to negotiate and come to a fight agreement before it gets sent to purse bid.

Amanda Serrano Defeats Heather Hardy to Retain Undisputed Featherweight Titles

Amanda Serrano is keeping her titles…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler won a unanimous decision over Heather Hardy — 99-91, 100-90, 100-90 — to retain her undisputed featherweight titles.

Amanda Serrano,The friends had known each other for more than a decade and as much as the opportunity to win a title, this was about taking care of one another.

Hardy earned her biggest payday — her first six-figure paycheck — at age 41. Serrano got some good work in and dominated throughout, outlanding Hardy 278-149 and outthrowing her 739-557.

“Heather is a hell of a fighter,” Serrano said in the post-fight interview inside the ring. “She’s as tough as they come. We knew that. Who gets kicked in the face and still wants to fight.

“So, I love Heather.”

Saturday’s fight, which often saw one-sided rounds with Serrano landing 46.9% of her power punches, felt different from a typical title fight. In the lead-up to the fight, Serrano and Hardy discussed how they care for one another and how they often helped each other out throughout their careers.

Even on fight night, the two hugged before the start of the bout. Hardy apologized midfight after her mouthpiece fell out, briefly pausing the action. The bout didn’t have a feeling of disdain or hatred, but of a fight between two Brooklyn natives who had been boxing pioneers, who carried the sport before it took off in the past five years, facing off against each other one last time.

To wit: When Serrano, ESPN‘s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter, was asked about her performance, she shrugged the question off.

“I’m more happy that I gave Heather an opportunity to make six figures,” Serrano said. “That was my goal tonight, to show that she’s skilled, she’s as tough as they come. Women can fight.”

Serrano, who had Saweetie as part of her walkout as she wore an homage to the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders heading to the ring, landed more than 25 punches in half of the rounds. Hardy landed more than 20 in only the seventh round, when she connected with 36.5% of her punches — her best percentage of the fight. Serrano landed 68.8% of her power punches in the first round and over 50% of her power punches in four rounds. Hardy landed more than 40% of her power punches in only the seventh.

There were multiple times when it seemed as if Serrano (45-2-1, 30 KO) was about to stop Hardy — she was staggered in multiple rounds, was bleeding before the start of the second round and the referee asked her if she wanted to continue going into the ninth round.

Hardy (24-3, 4 KO, 1 NC), who walked out to Alicia Keys‘ “Girl on Fire,” had no doubt — of course she wanted to continue.

“To have her grab my hand and say, ‘Come on, Heat, let me help you because I know what you went through,’ it just means everything,” Hardy said. “I gave everything I had today.

“I gave everything for three months. I have no excuses. That was everything.”

Boxing Champion Amanda Serrano Signs Deal with Professional Fighters League to Return to Secondary Sport

Amanda Serrano is mixing things up…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, the undisputed featherweight boxing champion, is returning to her secondary sport — mixed martial arts.

Amanda SerranoSerrano has signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League‘s (PFL) Super Fight division, marking the seven-division boxing champion’s return to MMA.

While her first MMA fight with PFL has yet to be announced, she is boxing Saturday night to defend her undisputed featherweight title against Heather Hardy on the undercard of the Jake PaulNate Diaz fight.

Serrano, a future Hall of Famer, is 44-2-1 in boxing with 30 knockouts. She’s the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, according to ESPN, behind Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor.

Serrano said in February she wanted to fight in MMA again before she retires and this would be the next step in making that happen. She is 2-0-1 in MMA, last fighting June 11, 2021, when she beat Valentina Garcia in an iKON Fighting Federation match.

Both of Serrano’s MMA wins were by submission and she has fought at two divisions in the sport, flyweight and strawweight. She is also 5-0 in no-gi submission grappling, her last fight a unanimous-decision win over Erin Finkeldey in New York City in 2019.

“I may be known for boxing, but I’ve always loved and trained in MMA and Jiu-Jitsu, knowing those skills would only add to my ability when going against any opponent,” Serrano said in a news release announcing her signing. “The [PFL’s] commitment to gender equality, providing equal opportunities and recognition of female fighters is also a driving force behind my decision.

“I can’t wait to step back into the cage and deliver thrilling performances and unforgettable moments for fans around the world.”

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire to Find Japanese Kickboxer Chihiro Suzuki in Bellator-Rizin Co-Promotional Card in Japan

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire has rizin to rush…

The 36-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, Bellator‘s franchise fighter will fight this weekend on short notice as part of the Bellator-Rizin co-promotional card at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Patricio "Pitbull" FreireFreire, the Bellator featherweight champion, will face Japanese kickboxer Chihiro Suzuki at a 154-pound catchweight on the Rizin portion of the card, just a little more than one month after falling to Sergio Pettis in a Bellator bantamweight title fight.

Freire vs. Suzuki will be contested under Rizin rules in a ring.

The Bellator portion of the card, with bouts in a cage, will begin the proceedings Sunday afternoon in Japan (Saturday night in the U.S.), with the Rizin card following immediately after it.

AJ McKee, the former Bellator featherweight champion, was supposed to headline the Bellator portion of the event against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, Patricio’s brother, in a Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal fight. But McKee had to withdraw for medical reasons, it was announced Wednesday.

Rizin lightweight champion Roberto “Satoshi” Souza will replace McKee in the fight and in the tournament.

The Bellator card will include the promotion’s inaugural flyweight title fight, with former Bellator and Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi taking on Makoto “Shinryu” Takahashi.

Mikuru Asakura — arguably Rizin’s most popular fighter, who also boxed Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year — will face Vugar Karamov in a Rizin featherweight title bout in the Rizin headliner.

In the Rizin co-main event, Bellator’s Juan Archuleta will fight Hiromasa Ougikubo for the Rizin bantamweight title.

And in another title bout, the undefeated Seika Izawa will defend her Rizin women’s super atomweight title against Combate Global’s Claire Lopez.

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.

Luis Alberto Lopez Defeats Michael Conlan in Convincing Fashion to Retain IBF Featherweight Title

Luis Alberto Lopez is keeping his title…

For the second time in six months, the 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer has retained his IBF featherweight belt.

Lopez stopped Michael Conlan in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Saturday with a thunderous right uppercut in the fifth round that put the Irish challenger on his back and prompted his corner to throw the towel to stop the bout before the referee could administer a 10-count.

“I wanted to come to Belfast so I can prove that I am a true champion,” Lopez said through an interpreter in a postfight interview with BT Sport.

Conlan was down for a couple of minutes following the stoppage and received oxygen from the medical staff before he eventually sat up and returned to his corner. He stood in the middle of the ring and applauded Lopez as the result was announced inside the ring.

Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) was making his first title defense of the IBF featherweight belt. Last December, Lopez fought Josh Warrington in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England, and picked up a majority decision.

The scorecards weren’t necessary on Saturday.

After Conlan used his southpaw jab and body work to keep Lopez at a distance, the tide shifted in the third round. Lopez caught Conlan with a right uppercut, the first punch in a flurry that appeared to hurt Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs), who retreated to the ropes and was able to survive the round.

But for the rest of the fight, Lopez was in command. Adam Booth, Conlan’s trainer, expressed concern over Conlan’s body language after the fourth round, in which Conlan was looking to tie up Lopez.

Conlan was unable to get back into the fight before Lopez landed the massive knockout.

“I’m more powerful than him,” Lopez told BT Sport. “I’m stronger than him and had speed and great footwork.”

It was Conlan’s second attempt at a featherweight title. Last March, Leigh Wood stopped Conlan in the 12th round to retain the WBA belt.

Conlan defeated Miguel Marriaga, a journeyman contender, in August, to rebuild momentum following the loss to Wood.

Lopez was seen limping in the ring following the victory, and he told BT Sport that he was dealing with a leg issue in the locker room. However, the ailment didn’t stop him from keeping his spot as one of the world’s top featherweights.

Robeisy Ramirez to Defend WBO Featherweight Title vs. Satoshi Shimizu in July

Robeisy Ramirez is going into defensive mode…

The 29-year-old Cuban professional boxer will make the first defense of his WBO featherweight title versus Satoshi Shimizu on July 25 in Tokyo, promoter Top Rank has announced.

Robeisy RamirezThe 126-pound title bout will serve as chief support on ESPN+ for the highly anticipated showdown between Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue for Fulton’s unified 122-pound championship.

Ramirez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, captured the vacant title this month with a unanimous-decision victory over Isaac Dogboe.

Ramirez (12-1, 7 KOs) rose to No. 6 in ESPN’s featherweight rankings and is poised for some big matchups in the action-packed division going forward.

“Fighting is what I do best, titles are meant to be defended and there’s no stopping ‘El Tren!,'” said Ramirez, 29.

Shimizu (11-1, 10 KOs), an Olympic bronze medalist from Japan, will be fighting for a world title for the first time at age 37.

Yair Rodriguez Defeats Josh Emmett to Become UFC’s Interim Featherweight Champion

Yair Rodriguez is officially a titleholder…

The 30-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist is the UFC‘s interim featherweight champion following a masterful finish over Josh Emmett at UFC 284.

Yair RodriguezRodriguez (15-3) submitted Emmett via triangle choke at 4 minutes, 19 seconds of the second round. The 145-pound bout co-headlined UFC 284, which took place on Sunday morning local time at RAC Arena.

The UFC created an interim title because defending champion Alexander Volkanovski (25-2) moved up in weight to challenge Islam Makhachev for the lightweight belt. Volkanovski came up just short in his bid in the main event of UFC 284, losing to Makhachev by unanimous decision.

Rodriguez went into the fight as a favorite, but Emmett (18-3) had him in trouble early. Emmett, a Sacramento-based fighter, hurt Rodriguez in the opening round with a right hand, which Rodriguez later admitted nearly put him out. Emmett used the shot to get into top position and cause more damage.

Rodriguez regrouped in the second round, however, and started hurting Emmett badly to the body with kicks. Emmett was clearly affected by the shots and started to turn into an easier target for Rodriguez’s versatile offense. He hurt him moments later with an elbow along the fence.

Emmett managed to get Rodriguez to the ground a little later in the round, but Rodriguez stayed active and caught the triangle off his back.

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez becomes the second Mexican-born champion in UFC history.

The first, Brandon Moreno, is a two-time flyweight champion who just reclaimed his belt with a victory over Deiveson Figueiredo last month.

Volkanovski, of Australia, will likely look to unify his title against Rodriguez in their next appearances.

Marlon Moraes to Fight Brendan Loughnane to Help Kick Off PFL’s 2023 Regular Season

Marlon Moraes will be reporting for kick off duty with the Professional Fighters League.

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC title challenger (23-11-1) will fight Brendan Loughnane (26-4) in April to open the PFL‘s 2023 regular season.

Marlon MoraesThe season will launch with a three-week series of events at Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas.

The season encompasses six weight classes: heavyweight, light heavyweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight and women’s featherweight.

The first round of season matchups will take place across three events scheduled on April 1, 7 and 14.

All three main and co-main slots feature the PFL’s returning 2022 champion.

The featherweight bout between Loughnane and Moraes will headline the first event. In the co-main event, Rob Wilkinson (17-2) will meet another former UFC title challenger in Thiago Santos (22-11).

On April 7, heavyweight Ante Delija (23-5) will meet Yorgan De Castro (9-3). Larissa Pacheco (19-4), who upset two-time women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison in the 2022 finals, will take on former Bellator MMA champion Julia Budd (16-5) in the new women’s featherweight division.

Capping off the first round on April 14, lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier (17-5) will take on free agent acquisition Shane Burgos (15-3). Welterweight Sadibou Sy (13-6-2) will face Jarrah Al-Silawi (18-4).

The PFL is the only major MMA promotion to follow a regular-season format, which includes single-elimination playoffs and finals. Additionally, the PFL hosts its Challengers Series for up-and-coming prospects and a recently announced pay-per-view division, which includes professional boxer Jake Paul.

Jose Aldo to be Inducted Into UFC’s Hall of Fame

Jose Aldo is head to the Hall…

The 36-year-old Brazilian retired professional mixed martial artist, the longest-reigning featherweight champion in UFC history, will be inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame later this year.

Jose AldoAldo retired from the UFC in September, one month after losing to Merab Dvalishvili in a highly ranked bantamweight fight. Had Aldo won that fight, he might have moved on to fight for a UFC title one more time.

Although he officially retired from MMA and was removed from the UFC’s rankings, Aldo has left the door open to competing in a boxing match.

Born in Manaus, Brazil, Aldo rose to 145-pound superiority in the WEC, where he won his first major championship by knocking out Mike Brown in 2009. He defended the title twice before the UFC brought the division into its fold and crowned Aldo its first-ever featherweight champ.

Aldo (31-8) won 18 consecutive fights from 2006 to 2014 and defended the UFC featherweight title a record seven times. His championship run came to a close in 2015, when he suffered a stunning 13-second knockout to rival Conor McGregor. He reclaimed the title seven months later by defeating Frankie Edgar, but lost it a second time in his next fight to Max Holloway.

Still widely considered the greatest featherweight of all time, Aldo dropped to the 135-pound bantamweight division in 2019 to try to win a second belt. He challenged Petr Yan for the vacant belt in 2020 but lost via fifth-round TKO.

Aldo joins the UFC Hall of Fame’s “modern wing” of fighters that includes Forrest GriffinBJ PennUrijah FaberRonda RouseyMichael BispingRashad EvansGeorges St-PierreKhabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier.