Jailton Almeida to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 299 in Early 2024

Jailton Almeida is readying for a return to The Octagon in early 2024…

The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist will face Curtis Blaydes at UFC 299, according to ESPN, in what many are calling a big heavyweight battle.

Jailton AlmeidaThe fight is expected to take place in the first quarter of next year.

Sources say the bout has been signed, though the UFC has yet to make it official. UFC 299 does not have a set official date or location yet, but it will take place in March.

ESPN has Blaydes ranked No. 5 and Almeida ranked No. 8 in the world at heavyweight. The two were supposed to fight on November 4 in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo, but Blaydes withdrew for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Derrick Lewis.

Blaydes (17-4, 1 NC) is coming off a knockout loss to Sergei Pavlovich in April. The Chicago-area native was on a three-fight winning streak prior to that bout. Blaydes, 32, has lost only to power punchers Pavlovich, Francis Ngannou and Lewis in his seven-year UFC career.

Almeida (20-2) has won 15 in a row, including his first six in the UFC. The Brazil native is coming off a unanimous decision win over Lewis last month. He had never gone to a decision before in his 11-year career.

UFC 299 will be headlined by a bantamweight championship fight between champion Sean O’Malley and challenger Marlon “Chito” Vera.

Also on the card, former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos will take on Mateusz Gamrot, the promotion announced Tuesday.

MMA Fighting first reported the news.

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.

Jawy Mendez Signs MMA Contract with Combate Global

Jawy Mendez is ready for combat(e)…

The 33-year-old Mexican reality show star and recording artist has signed with Combate Global to compete as a pro mixed martial arts fighter, the promotion has announced.

Jawy MendezHis debut will be on August 5 against Johan Rodriguez.

Mendez, was a member of the cast of Mexico’s Acapulco Shore reality show — a takeoff on Jersey Shore — for nine seasons. He’ll be on another reality series, Hotel de Los Famosos, which airs on one of Mexico’s biggest networks, Televisa Canal 5, for its next season.

Mendez, who has more than 3 million followers on Instagram, has been training in MMA for two years, since opening up his Crew Wellness Club Mexico in Mexico City. He trains with MMA veterans Alfredo Morales and Carlos Enrique Cañada.

His bout against Rodriguez, a Colombian fighter also making his pro debut, is contracted for a 176-pound catchweight.

MMA has been red-hot in Mexico with three Mexican-born fighters winning UFC titles in 2023. Combate Global, which draws strong television ratings in the U.S. on Univision, has been focused on Latin American talent, specifically fighters from Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking audience since 2011 under UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren.

Junior dos Santos to Fight Fabricio Werdum in Bareknuckle MMA Fight This September

Junior dos Santos is preparing to go the knuckle

The 39-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, a former UF heavyweight champion, will face compatriot Fabricio Werdum in bareknuckle mixed martial arts fight on September 8 in Jacksonville, Florida under the banner of Jorge Masvidal‘s Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA.

Junior Dos Santosdos Santos and Werdum, two of the top UFC heavyweights of their generation will meet in a highly anticipated rematch.

dos Santos and Werdum first met in the UFC in 2008 with dos Santos winning by first-round knockout.

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani was the first to report the news as official Friday.

dos Santos’ coach Conan Silveira first mentioned the fight in an interview with Sherdog earlier this month.

dos Santos last fought in May 2022 for Eagle FC, losing via TKO due to a shoulder injury. He departed the UFC in 2020. “Cigano” was the UFC heavyweight champion in 2011 and 2012.

Werdum, 45, was UFC heavyweight champion in 2015 and 2016. He ended legend Fedor Emelianenko‘s decade-long unbeaten streak under the Strikeforce banner in 2010 and is considered one of the best heavyweight grapplers ever. “Vai Cavalo” has not fought since a run with PFL in 2021.

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.

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.

Aline Pereira Signs MMA Deal with Legacy Fighting Alliance

It’s a family affair for Aline Pereira

The 32-year-old Brazilian kickboxer, the younger sister of Alex Pereira, will be making a transition to MMA.

Aline Pereira

Pereira, a former Glory kickboxer, has signed a mixed martial arts deal with Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA).

Pereira will make her MMA debut on November 18 against Ultimate Fighter veteran Helen Peralta in a women’s flyweight bout.

Pereira brother, the former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion who is now the top contender in the UFC‘s middleweight division. Alex, 35, will challenge old kickboxing rival Israel Adesanya for Adesanya’s middleweight title in the main event of UFC 281 on Nov. 12 in New York.

Aline, like her brother, trains out of former UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira‘s gym in Connecticut. She is 6-2 in kickboxing, most recently falling to Glory super bantamweight champion Tiffany Van Soest via unanimous decision in January 2021.

Marcus Almeida Signs with Asia’s Mixed Martial Arts Association ONE Championship

Marcus BuchechaAlmeida is switching sports…

The 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend has signed a multiyear contract with Asia’s ONE Championship, according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz

Marcus "Buchecha"Almeida

Almeida, a 13-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, who stands at 6-foot-3, will compete in the heavyweight division.

Per Abdelaziz, Almeida will debut in ONE either near the end of this year or early in 2021. He’ll do his training camps at Evolve MMA in Singapore, which has a relationship with ONE, also based in Singapore.

Almeida is considered one of the top pound-for-pound Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors of all time. 

He announced just last week his intention to retire from BJJ gi competition and focus on mixed martial arts, which drew buzz in the MMA community due to his potential in the sport.

“Buchecha” has won a record six Brazilian jiu-jitsu world titles in the openweight category, a mark previously held by Roger Gracie (3). 

Almeida has also won two titles in the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) tournament.

AT&T Audience Network Renews Sanchez’s “Kingdom” for Third Season

The sun hasn’t set on Kiele Sanchez’s kingdom…

AT&T Audience Network has ordered a third season of its critically acclaimed martial arts drama series Kingdom, starring the 38-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress.

Kiele Sanchez in Kingdom

“The success of season 2 of Kingdom proves how captivating this series is and how viewers have invested and connected with the characters’ lives,” said Christopher Long, senior vice president, Original Content and Production, AT&T. “Byron Balasco has been at the helm of this gritty mixed martial arts family drama since its inception and has showcased heart wrenching topics that no other show on television has had the strength to touch. We couldn’t be happier to have Byron on for another season and have no doubt that he will create a compelling storyline that no one will forget.”

The series stars Frank Grillo as a former MMA mixed martial arts fighter trying to keep his gym in business.

In addition to Sanchez and Grillo, the series also stars Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, Joanna Going and Natalie Martinez.

Creator, writer and showrunner Balasco serves as executive producer.

Kingdom is produced by Endemol Shine Studios and distributed internationally by Endemol Shine International.