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.
The 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.
The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist will face Amanda Lemos at UFC 280 on October 22 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Rodriguez and Lemos, two of the top women’s strawweight fighters in the world, form part of one of the UFC‘s deepest cards of the year.
The winner of the bout could have the inside track on a title shot. Rodriguez is the No. 4 women’s strawweight in ESPN‘s rankings, while Lemos is No. 9.
In addition, sources told ESPN that Rodriguez and former UFC women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade have left manager Tiago Okamura to sign with Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, who represents the likes of welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and former pound-for-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Rodriguez (16-1-2 overall, 6-1-2 UFC) has won four straight and is coming off a split decision win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272 in March. The Brazilian fighter’s only career loss was a close split decision defeat to current UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza in 2020.
Lemos (12-2-1), also 35, has won six of her past seven fights, including a second-round submission victory over Michelle Waterson this past weekend at UFC Long Island. The Brazilian fighter’s only loss since 2017 came to Andrade in April. Lemos has finished four of her six wins inside the UFC Octagon.
UFC 280 will be headlined by a fight between former champion Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title. Also on the card, lightweight standouts Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot will meet in a potential title eliminator.
Jorge Masvidalis returning to the Octagon in March…
The 37-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American professional mixed martial artist will headline UFC 272, in a welterweight grudge match against Colby Covington, on March 5, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell has announced.
While contracts haven’t been signed yet for the 170-pound scrap, the bout is nearly finalized, per Campbell.
The UFC 272 pay-per-view will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The match will be a five-round, nontitle bout.
“He better f—ing show up,” Covington said in a text message to ESPN Tuesday.
The UFC originally targeted featherweight and bantamweight title fights for the event, however those bouts are no longer on the March 5 date. Part of that was due to an injury to featherweight challenger Max Holloway.
Masvidal (35-15) is one of the UFC’s most popular figures. He hasn’t fought since he suffered a knockout loss to Kamaru Usman in a welterweight championship fight at UFC 261 last April.
Masvidal’s past two fights have been against Usman. He also lost to the champ via unanimous decision in July 2020.
Covington (16-3) is also coming off a failed title bid against Usman in his last fight. The 33-year-old also has lost twice to Usman, both via decision. His most recent win came against Tyron Woodleyin September.
Masvidal and Covington trained together at American Top Team in South Florida, and even lived together for a period of time. The two had a falling out in 2018, and Covington left ATT in 2020.
Both welterweights still fight out of the Miami area.
One of the most infamous backstage scuffles in UFC history will be revisited in December, when the 36-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist and fellow UFC welterweight Leon Edwards have agreed to meet inside the Octagon.
Edwards and Masvidal will square off at UFC 269 on December 11, UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN. Contracts have not yet been signed, but bout agreements have been sent to both parties.
This fight has held personal implications since March 2019, when Edwards and Masvidal were involved in a backstage incident at a UFC Fight Night event in London. Masvidal struck Edwards in the face after Edwards interrupted him during a postfight interview.
Later in the night, Masvidal would infamously describe the punches he landed on Edwards as a “three-piece and soda.”
In addition to settling a long-standing grudge, the matchup will have major implications on the welterweight division. Edwards (19-3) is riding a nine-fight win streak and is a strong candidate for a title shot in 2022. Masvidal (35-15) is coming off back-to-back failed title bids against Kamaru Usmanin 2020 and 2021 but has said his goal is still to claim the UFC championship.
“Despite earning the next title shot, [Edwards] has always been willing to fight Jorge first, provided the terms were correct,” Edwards’ manager, Tim Simpson, told ESPN. “We are very happy with the deal, and excited to compete in December, and then for a world title thereafter.”
As a result of the UFC adding this high-profile bout to the card, a trilogy flyweight title fight between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo has been moved to UFC 270 on January 22, according to the UFC.
UFC 270 on January 22 does not have an official location yet, but sources told ESPN the promotion is looking at Anaheim, which is only about 100 miles north of Moreno’s hometown of Tijuana, Mexico.
Marlon “Chito” Vera may be returning to the Octagon this fall…
The UFC is targeting a bantamweight matchup between the 28-year-old Ecuadorian mixed martial artist and Frankie Edgar for UFC 268 on November 6, according to ESPN.
Contracts haven’t been signed, but both sides have verbally agreed to the matchup. The pay-per-view event is expected to take place at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Vera (19-7-1) is riding some momentum, coming off a decision win over Davey Grantin June. He is 2-1 in his past three, including wins over Grant and Sean O’Malley. His loss in that stretch was to former featherweight champion Jose Aldo. He is 7-2 over his past nine.
A former lightweight champion, Edgar (24-9) is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Cory Sandhagen in February. A longtime lightweight and featherweight, Edgar has now competed in the UFC’s 135-pound division twice. He is 1-1, with a five-round decision win over Pedro Munhozin August.
Edgar, 39, fights out of Toms River, New Jersey. This will mark his first fight in New York since 2016 and only the third overall of his storied career.
A welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covingtonis slated to headline the UFC 268 event.
Diaz, one of the most popular fighters in MMA, will fight Leon Edwards at UFC 262 on May 15 in Houston, according to ESPN.
Both fighters have verbally agreed to the fight, though the contract isn’t signed yet.
The fight will serve as a five-round co-main event for the card headlined by Charles Oliveira versus Michael Chandler for the vacant UFC lightweight title, sources said.
This will mark the first five-round, non-title co-main event in UFC history.
Diaz (20-12) hasn’t fought since his November 2019 loss to Jorge Masvidal at Madison Square Garden.
Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in his past nine fights. He had won eight fights in a row; however, earlier this month, his bout against Belal Muhammad ended in a no contest after he hit Muhammad with an accidental eye poke in the second round, which resulted in Muhammad no longer being able to continue.
Edwards’ last loss was to Kamaru Usman, before Usman became UFC welterweight champion, in December 2015.
The promotion had hoped to book Edwards to face Colby Covington next, but couldn’t get Covington to agree to the fight for undisclosed reasons, sources said. The UFC pivoted to an Edwards-Diaz fight late last week.
UFC 262 will take place at the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.
The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts history, absolutely thrashed No. 1 featherweight contender Megan Anderson.
Nunes (21-4) forced Anderson (10-5) to tap to an armbar at 2:03 of the opening round of their featherweight title fight at UFC 259 inside the Apex. In all likelihood, she could’ve finished the fight any way she wanted. She rocked Anderson with a right hand in the opening minute, a shot that had the challenger on skates. Anderson was so hurt, she actually shot a takedown on Nunes, which led to a finish on the ground.
With the victory, Nunes defended her 145-pound title for the second time. She’s also still in control of the 135-pound bantamweight title. She is one of only three champions in UFC history to defend titles in multiple weight classes, and she holds UFC records for the women’s divisions in wins (14), finishes (10) and wins in title fights (9).
“The plan was exactly how I finished the fight,” Nunes said. “I’m here. It’s not my fault [I’m this dominant]. I know there are a lot of girls out there who want this opportunity. Who wants it?”
Anderson was a plus-700 underdog going into the fight — and that might not have been high enough. She did enough to earn a shot at Nunes in the 145-pound weight class, but she looked shell-shocked from the opening bell. Nunes slipped in a fastball overhand right early on, and it was all survival instincts from Anderson from then on. She ate several more right hands, before desperately attempting a takedown.
Nunes, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, easily stuffed the shot and moved to top position. She set up a triangle armbar attempt almost instantly and quickly produced the fourth submission win of her career. She extended her win streak to 12 overall, which is the second longest in the UFC behind only welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Nunes and her wife, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff, brought their infant daughter, Raegan, into the Octagon after the win. Nunes, who was born in Brazil but trains in Florida, had Raegan at her side all fight week.
“I’m more dangerous now with my little girl,” Nunes said. “No one is stopping me.”
The UFC has not indicated any long-term plans for its 145-pound division, but there is no one in the foreseeable future for Nunes to fight at that weight. Her next move will almost assuredly be at bantamweight, where she has held the title since UFC 200 in 2016. She has defeated all of the sport’s biggest names, including Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborgand Germaine de Randamie.
It looks like Jorge Masvidal could be getting the chance for a repeat…
The UFC is eyeing a welterweight rematch between the 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist and Nate Diaz, according to UFC president Dana White.
Bout agreements haven’t been signed, but both sides are reportedly interested in the rematch.
The UFC is looking to book the rematch as the next bout for both Masvidal and Diaz, but a date hasn’t been set. TMZ has reported that the fight is targeted for UFC 256 on December 12. But sources tell ESPN the fight could also take place in January.
Masvidal and Diaz squared off last November in the main event of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden for the inaugural BMF Championship. Masvidal (35-14) defeated Diaz via TKO when ringside physicians stopped the bout after the third round due to a facial cut. Diaz protested the stoppage.
Diaz (20-12) has not fought since the loss to Masvidal. The 35-year-old Mexican American welterweight fought twice in 2019 after a three-year layoff. He defeated Anthony Pettisin August of 2019 before losing to Masvidal in November.
The 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist, who lost his fight to Kamaru Usman this weekend, is the first Latino to grace the cover of the mixed martial arts fighting video game EA Sports UFC.
Masvidal shares the cover of EA Sports UFC 4 with Israel Adesanya.
“I’m honored to be on the cover,” tweeted Masvidal. “I’m even prouder to be the first #Latino to grace the cover. Es para mi gente. #theresurrection.”
The game will be released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 14. There’s no word yet on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X versions of the game.
The 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist has signed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC ahead of his bout against Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.
Masvidal tells ESPN the UFC didn’t give him every single thing he asked for but that the deal came “very, very close” to that and he’s “happy” with it.
Masvidal had been one of the most vocal UFC stars in years on the topic of fighter pay. Last month, the welterweight star tweeted that if the UFC didn’t think he was worth it, the promotion should release him.
Those tweets were made as the negotiations between the UFC and Masvidal for a welterweight title fight against Usman fell apart.
On Sunday — just six days before the fight — the two sides finally came to an agreement.
Usman will defend his welterweight belt against Masvidal in the main event of UFC 251 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Usman’s previous opponent, Gilbert Burns, withdrew Friday because of illness. Masvidal is stepping in on six days’ notice, though he was the challenger the UFC tabbed in the first place before contract talks stalled out.
“I’m happy more than anything because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it,” Masvidal said.
Masvidal said the UFC’s first offer last month for him to fight Usman was a “s— deal on the pay-per-view end and on the guaranteed side.”
“I can understand you don’t want to give me that much on the guaranteed,” Masvidal said. “But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that, and they weren’t budging. And that was that. So, all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses.”
Masvidal said he won’t stop speaking up about what he perceives as an issue with how much fighters get paid. But he said things have gotten closer to an understanding between him personally and the UFC.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re headed in that direction,” Masvidal said. “Moving forward after this fight, they’re gonna treat me accordingly. Or I’ll just step in last minute six days to go and get paid then, I guess. That’s the new scheme I have to do, whatever. But I’m gonna get paid every time out.”
Masvidal flew to Las Vegas on Sunday and passed a COVID-19 test. He was quarantining in his hotel room Sunday night and will be taking a private jet to Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Usman is expected to leave Las Vegas on Monday as well.
Regarding training and being ready to fight, Masvidal said he wasn’t in a full training camp because he didn’t know he’d be competing in a fight until this weekend. But “Gamebred” said he had been at his American Top Team gym two or three times a week and lifting and staying active. Masvidal said he weighed 192 pounds on Saturday. He’ll have to weigh 170 pounds at maximum this coming Friday for the title fight to be official.
“I never stopped training,” Masvidal said. “I’m always training. But I’m not always in the gym doing the specifics.” Masvidal said that he believes he’s in adequate shape to fight Saturday, while taking a shot at Usman compared with two of Masvidal’s recent opponents.
“If you’re asking me, are you in shape?” Masvidal said. “… Maybe not to fight Ben Askren. I’m not in Ben Askren shape, because he’s a hell of a wrestler. Or even to fight a guy like Darren Till. But am I in shape for this bum I’m about to decapitate and baptize? Hell yeah.”
Masvidal will have 48 career pro fights Saturday when he makes the walk against Usman (pending further COVID-19 protocols in Abu Dhabi). That’s the second most ever for a fighter appearing in his or her first UFC title fight.
If he wins, Masvidal already knows whom he wants to defend the welterweight belt against: Nate Diaz and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.