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.”

Thiago Santos Signs with Professional Fighters League

Thiago Santos is headed to the PFL

The 38-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC title challenger has signed an exclusive deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), according to promotion president Ray Sefo.

Thiago Santos Santos will make his PFL debut in 2023 when he competes in the promotion’s season format with a tournament championship purse of $1 million. Santos will fight in the 205-pound division.

“We are very excited to bring in Thiago Santos to the PFL light heavyweight division,” Sefo told ESPN. “He is known throughout the MMA world as a guy who delivers exciting fights, and I’m looking forward to seeing his elite knockout power up close.”

Santos most recently appeared in a UFC Fight Night main event against Jamahal Hill in August, losing via fourth-round TKO. Six of his past seven appearances in UFC were in main events, including a failed title shot against then-champion Jon Jones at UFC 239 in July 2019. Santos lost that fight via split decision.

He was nearing the end of his UFC contract, and the two sides ultimately decided to part ways. Santos had fought exclusively in UFC since 2013.

“It was an amicable separation with the UFC,” Santos’ manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “Thiago is very grateful for everything the UFC did for him, and he’s very grateful toward the PFL for signing with him. He’s looking forward to winning a million dollars.”

Fighting out of Brazil, Santos came close to dethroning Jones in their five-round title fight despite suffering a serious knee injury during the bout. He has struggled to regain his old form since the injury, suffering losses to Glover TeixeiraAleksandar RakicMagomed Ankalaev and Hill. Nevertheless, he was still ranked No. 9 in UFC’s light heavyweight division.

The 2022 PFL finals are in November. The light heavyweight final will feature two former UFC veterans in Robert Wilkinson and Omari Akhmedov.

Glover Teixeira to Defend UFC Light Heavyweight Title Against Jiri Prochazka

Glover Teixeira is going on the defensive…

The 42-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and UFC light heavyweight champion will defend his title against Jiri Prochazka on May 7, according to ESPN sources.

Glover TeixeiraBoth Teixeira and Prochazka have committed to the date and opponent.

The 205-pound title fight will take place on a UFC 274 pay-per-view event. The UFC has not announced an official venue for the event.

Teixeira (33-7) capped off an improbable run to the UFC title in October, when he submitted Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 to capture a belt at age 42. The victory came more than seven years after Teixeira came up short in his first title bid against Jon Jones in 2014. 

Originally from Brazil, now fighting out of Connecticut, Teixeira has won six in a row, including finishes of Blachowicz, Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith.

Prochazka (28-3-1) has been a dark horse in the 205-pound division ever since signing with the UFC in 2020. He’s fought only twice inside the Octagon, but he’s been supremely impressive in finishes of Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes.

Prochazka, of Czech Republic, has recorded 10 consecutive knockout finishes.

Thiago Santos In Final Talks to Face Magomed Ankalaev in UFC Fight Night Next March

Thiago Santos could be returning to The Octagon in March…

The UFC is finalizing a light heavyweight fight between the 37-year-old mixed martial artist and Magomed Ankalaev to headline an event in March, according to ESPN.

Thiago Santos

The 205-pound contest will serve as the main event of a UFC Fight Night on March 12. The UFC has not announced a location yet for the event.

A former title challenger, Santos (22-9) is coming off a decision win over Johnny Walker in October. The Brazilian fighter challenged former champion Jon Jones for the title in July 2019 and suffered a serious knee injury in a decision loss. He dropped his next two bouts coming off knee surgery before rebounding in October.

Ankalaev (16-1) is one of the fastest-rising contenders in the division. The 29-year-old Russian is on a seven-fight win streak, including a decision over former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267 two weeks ago.

Glover Teixeira Becomes Oldest First-Time Champion in UFC History

Glover Teixeira has accomplished what many thought impossible.

The 42-year-old Brazilian-American mixed martial artist defeated Jan Blachowicz via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:02 of the second round to win the UFC light heavyweight title on Saturday in the main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi.

Glover Teixeira

Teixeira was a +210 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook.

At 42 years old, Teixeira is the oldest first-time champion in UFC history and the second-oldest fighter to win a UFC title, behind only Randy Couture.

Teixeira joins Couture and Daniel Cormier as only the third UFC fighter to win a title at age 40 or older.

The 14 UFC fights between Teixeira’s title loss to Jon Jones at UFC 172 on April 26, 2014, and Saturday, were the most between title shots in the same division in UFC history.

“Never give up on your dreams,” Teixeira said in his postfight interview. “No matter what people say, don’t listen to them. They’re gonna put you down. Don’t listen to those negative people. Believe in yourself.”

Teixeira took down Blachowicz in the first round and basically kept him there for the duration. In the second round, Blachowicz had success with his boxing. But Teixeira wobbled him with a left hook and then took him down again. This time, Teixeira was able to get mount, then take Blachowicz’s back and lock in the choke. “I’m breaking the rules — 42 years old,” Teixeira said. “I’m gonna keep breaking those rules.”

ESPN has Blachowicz ranked No. 5 in the world on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At light heavyweight, ESPN has Blachowicz ranked No. 1 and Teixeira at No. 2.

Teixeira (33-7) has won six straight and seven of his past eight, most recently before this weekend a third-round submission win over Thiago Santos in November 2020.

The Brazil native has 28 finishes in 33 career victories. Teixeira, a Connecticut resident, has been considered one of the top light heavyweights in the world for more than a decade, an incredible stretch of consistency and quality.

He has the most finishes (13) and submission victories (7) in UFC light heavyweight history. Teixeira’s 16 UFC light heavyweight wins are second most next to Jones (20).

“Glover Teixeira is and has been one of the toughest guys in the division for a very long time, this was his dream forever to get this title shot,” UFC president Dana White said. “He finally gets it and did it tonight.”

On Saturday, Teixeira said he would be returning to his childhood town of Sobralia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, with the UFC gold. “I told you guys I’m coming home with the belt,” Teixeira said. “And I am. The promise is done.”

“This guy never gave up,” White said. “All the adversity that he’s faced in his career and here at 42 years old, a few days after his birthday, he wins the title. It’s a pretty cool story. Couldn’t happen to a better guy, too.”

Anderson Silva Knocks Out Tito Ortiz in First Round

Anderson Silva has knocked out a fellow MMA legend…

The 46-year-old Brazilian mixed martial-artist-turned-boxer stopped fellow MMA legend Tito Ortiz via knockout at 1:21 of the first round on Saturday night in Hollywood, Florida.

Anderson Silva

Ortiz had Silva trapped in the corner, throwing punches. But Silva ducked an Ortiz shot and landed a huge counter right hook. Silva followed up with a left as Ortiz slumped against the corner to put him down for good. Ortiz appeared to be completely unconscious.

Silva defeated former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. via split decision on June 19 in Guadalajara, Mexico. That was Silva’s first pro boxing match in 16 years.

The Silva-Ortiz bout — Ortiz’s pro boxing debut — took place on the undercard of the Evander HolyfieldVitor Belfort boxing match under the Triller Fight Club banner at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“I trained hard to show my respect for boxing,” Silva said in his post-fight interview. “I continue to work every day to prove my respect for the martial arts and for Wing Chun  and for Bruce Lee.

“The grandmaster Bruce Lee said, ‘Be water, my friend.’ That’s what I do today.”

Both Silva and Ortiz are 46 years old. The bout was contracted for eight, two-minute rounds and at 195 pounds. Ortiz weighed five pounds over that catchweight limit on Friday, coming in at 200 pounds.

Silva is the former longtime UFCmiddleweight champion and considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. He holds the longest winning streak in UFC history (16) and has the most knockouts ever in UFC title fights at seven. Silva asked for and was granted his release from the UFC in November. “The Spider” had just one win in his past nine UFC fights. Silva has said he is effectively retired now from MMA.

Ortiz, meanwhile, is one of the best UFC light heavyweight champions of all time. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” had five successful UFC 205-pound title defenses, the second-highest total in division history behind only all-time great Jon Jones. Ortiz, a California native, is also considered one of the biggest financial draws for the UFC over the years, with notable rivalries against Chuck Liddell and Ken Shamrock.

Ortiz most recently fought in December 2019, an MMA bout against former WWE champion Alberto Del Rio under the Combate Americas banner. Ortiz won that bout via first-round submission.

Aaron Pico to Fight Aiden Lee at Bellator 260 in June

Aaron Pico has singled out his next opponent…

The 24-year-old Latino mixed martial artist, the top MMA prospect will fight Aiden Lee at Bellator 260 on June 11 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, according to ESPN.

Aaron Pico 

That card will be broadcast on Showtime and headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and challenger Yaroslav Amosov.

Pico (7-3) has won three straight — all by finish — after two knockout losses. The California native is 3-1 since making the move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to train at Jackson Wink MMA alongside the likes of former UFC champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm.

Pico was touted as the greatest prospect in MMA history ahead of his 2017 debut in Bellator. He nearly made the Olympics in wrestling and owns a national Golden Gloves boxing title. Pico has had some ups and downs thus far, but he seems to be putting it all together of late.

Lee (9-4) has won two in a row. The 26-year-old England native is coming off a third-round knockout win over Jeremy Petley last September. Lee trains under UFC middleweight Tom Breese.

Glover Teixeira Submits Thiago Santos in UFC Fight Night Event

Glover Teixeira continues his winning ways…

The 41-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist submitted Thiago Santos via rear-naked choke at 1:49 of the third round on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

Glover Teixeira,

Santos rocked Teixeira in the first round and put Teixeira in big trouble to start the third. But Teixeira, as he has done time and time again, persevered and found the finish.

The victory puts Teixeira, six years following his most recent title shot, close to another chance at the 205-pound belt. ESPN had Santos ranked No. 4 and Teixeira No. 6 in the world at light heavyweight coming in.

Dana White, man,” Teixeira said, referring to the UFC president, in his post-fight interview. “Come on, man. I’m an old man. I’m here. You’ve gotta give me a shot. … It’s not easy. Give me that title shot, man. Either way, I’m so happy to be here.”

The UFC’s plan is to have light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz fight middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in a superfight next year. Blachowicz has said he’d prefer to fight in March and Adesanya told ESPN past week that his expectation is that Blachowicz will be his next opponent.

White didn’t back off Blachowicz vs. Adesanya as the plan, but he said he’s listening to Teixeira, too.

“I heard him and I agree with him and I’m taking him serious,” White told the UFC’s Laura Sanko in a backstage interview Saturday. “I’m not gonna doubt him anymore.

“He’s not wrong. … He’s been here forever, he’s on a streak. He looked great tonight. What’s funny is every time I count this guy out and think, ‘I don’t know if he’s got it,’ he proves me wrong. He looked incredible tonight.”

Teixeira (32-7) has won five straight. He lives and trains in Connecticut, and fought longtime former champion Jon Jones for the title way back at UFC 172 in April 2014. Teixeira is 10-4 since then and has been considered one of the best light heavyweights in the world now for the better part of a decade. Teixeira cashed as a +200 underdog.

In UFC light heavyweight history, Teixeira is now tied for second in victories (15) and is first in finishes (12).

Dominick Reyes In Talks to Fight Jiri Prochazka in a February UFC Fight Night Event

Dominick Reyes is thisclose to a headline fight…

The UFC is working on a light heavyweight fight between 30-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist and Jiri Prochazka in February, according to UFC president Dana White.

Dominick Reyes

White tells ESPN the 205-pound contest will headline a UFC Fight Night on February 27. The UFC hasn’t yet announced an official venue for any of its events in 2021.

Reyes (12-2) nearly won the light heavyweight title twice this year. He came up just short in a decision loss to then-champion Jon Jones at UFC 247 in February in a five-round bout many felt Reyes won.

Reyes was granted another title shot after Jones vacated the belt this summer but suffered a TKO loss Jan Blachowicz.

Prochazka (27-3-1), a native of the Czech Republic, made a spectacular UFC debut in July on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, knocking out former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir in the second round at UFC 251. It was the 24th win by knockout in Prochazka’s professional career.

Dominick Reyes to Fight for Jon Jones’ Recently Vacated UFC Light Heavyweight Title

Dominick Reyes will be fighting for a title next month…

The 30-year-old Mexican American professional mixed martial artist will face off against Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title vacated by longtime champion Jon Jones.

Dominick Reyes

A bout between Reyes and Blachowicz had already been set for UFC 253 on September 26. But the UFC made it official: the two top contenders will be going for the vacant light heavyweight title.

Reyes (12-1), ranked No. 3 in the world by ESPN among light heavyweight fighters, is coming off a controversial, unanimous-decision loss to Jones at UFC 247 in February. It was a bout many thought the California native should’ve won on the scorecards.

Blachowicz (26-8) has won three straight, the most recent a first-round knockout of Corey Anderson in February. The 37-year-old is ranked No. 4 by ESPN at light heavyweight.

This will mark only the second time that the UFC light heavyweight title will not be in a card’s main event. The first was Daniel Cormier‘s title defense against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 on Jan. 21, 2018.

UFC 253 will be headlined by a middleweight fight between champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa.

Jones had held the light heavyweight belt off and on since 2011 and never lost it in the cage. The champion expressed his intent to move up to heavyweight.