Cris Cyborg to Defend Bellator Featherweight Title Against Sinead Kavanagh

Cris Cyborg is going on the defensive…

The 36-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, one of Bellator’s top stars, will defend her belt next month.

Cris CyborgBellator president Scott Coker announced on The MMA Hour that Cyborg will defend her women’s featherweight title against Sinead Kavanagh on November 12 in Hollywood, Florida.

Cyborg (24-2, 1 NC) is one of the greatest women’s fighters in MMA history.

The Brazil native, who fights out of California, is 3-0 in Bellator, beating Julia Budd for the women’s featherweight title in January 2020.

Cyborg has lost just once since her pro debut in 2005, to UFC double champion Amanda Nunes.

Cyborg is the only MMA fighter to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and Invicta FC.

Kavanagh (7-4) has won two in a row. The 35-year-old Ireland native, who trains out of SBG Ireland (Conor McGregor’s team in Dublin), is coming off a unanimous decision win over Katharina Lehner in October 2020.

Amanda Serrano Signs with Jake Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions

It’s a Most Valuable moment for Amanda Serrano

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler has signed with Most Valuable Promotions, as Jake Paul expands his footprint in the boxing world by signing one of its top female fighters.

Amanda Serrano

Serrano, one of the best women’s fighters in the history of boxing, signed the promotional deal with Paul, the YouTube-star-turned-prizefighter, and his adviser, Nakisa Bidarian, who founded Most Valuable Promotions earlier this year.

Serrano is a seven-division boxing champion who has held nine titles from 115 pounds all the way up to 140 pounds. She holds the Guinness record for most boxing world championships held in different weight classes by a woman. ESPN has her ranked No. 3 among women boxers on its pound-for-pound list.

“They’re such a powerful team,” Serrano said. “I’ve seen what they’ve done in the last two years — what Jake has done, what Nakisa has done for Jake. I’m looking forward to what they can do for me.”

Amanda Serrano

Paul described Serrano as the “greatest Hispanic female athlete of all time” and said he believes she has a “massive, massive future.”

Amanda Serrano, left, became a seven-division world champion with a 2019 victory over Heather Hardy. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

“Without really much help she’s gotten this far, with just her skills,” Paul said. “She hasn’t had someone with a big platform really put her on. She’s so marketable. And really the sky’s the limit, and that’s what we do at MVP. There’s a new era of boxing and there’s a new way about promoting these fights and there’s a new way to become a big fighter. So, she already has the skills, and now we’re going to add our secret sauce into the equation.”

One of the goals, they said, is to secure Serrano with a highly anticipated matchup with Katie Taylor, ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound women’s boxer. It would be one of the biggest fights ever in women’s boxing.

Bidarian said talks are ongoing with Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, and they are targeting Taylor vs. Serrano for the second quarter of 2022 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Serrano will likely fight next on Paul’s undercard, potentially before the end of the year, and then move on to the blockbuster bout with Taylor.

“The only reason it wouldn’t get done is if the right deal isn’t presented for Amanda, and that’s Jake and I’s job to make sure that’s not the case,” Bidarian said of the Taylor fight.

Bidarian is the former CFO of the UFC and has been instrumental in helping guide Paul from being a famous YouTuber to one of the most talked about fighters in combat sports.

“I think the other part of it that we’ll be able to help [Serrano] with is negotiating the right deals, getting her the right positions for someone of her stature — whether it’s in the ring, whether it’s outside the ring, whether it’s a brand partnership, consumer products,” Bidarian said. “She should be one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world. We’re going to make sure that’s the case.”

Serrano (41-1-1) beat Yamileth Mercado in the co-main event of the card Paul headlined against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on August 29.

A Puerto Rico native who fights out of Brooklyn, she is the unified women’s featherweight champion, holding the WBC, WBO and IBO titles in that weight class.

Serrano has won 27 straight fights, a streak that dates back to 2012. She is also 2-0-1 in mixed martial arts.

“Even this last fight, I’ve gained so much followers, I’ve gained so much attention,” Serrano said. “A lot of people, they know who I am. A lot of people know me now because of Jake.”

Paul has more than 17 million followers on Instagram, and 40% of them are women. He said after his bout with Woodley that his female followers were buzzing the most about Serrano.

“Major priority of mine [is] to push for equality in all aspects of the sport,” Paul said. “I think she’s inspiring females and creating female boxing fans, which is awesome.”

When asked if he would be bringing more boxers in via Most Valuable Promotions, Paul said potentially, but they would have to be the right fit.

“For us, it’s quality over quantity,” Paul said. “We want our fighters to be the biggest. I think there will be more. We’re not in any rush. We want to take our time and our focus right now is just on Amanda.”

Jose Aldo to Fight Rob Font in Main Event of December UFC Fight Night

Jose Aldo is ready for his next Octagon appearance…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, a former longtime UFC and WEC featherweight champion, will meet the surging Rob Font in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on December 4 in Las Vegas.

Jose Aldo

The bout was first mentioned by MMA reporter Ariel Helwani on Spotify Greenroom and the date was first reported by Brazilian outlet Combate.

ESPN has Font ranked No. 5 in the world at bantamweight and Aldo at No. 6. The winner would be in pole position for a potential title opportunity, though the division is waiting for the return of champion Aljamain Sterling from neck surgery. Sterling withdrew from a title rematch with former champ Petr Yan at UFC 267 on October 30, and Yan will now fight Cory Sandhagen in an interim title bout.

Aldo (30-7) has won two straight after falling in a title fight to Yan at UFC 251 in July 2020. The Brazilian striker is coming off a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265 last month. Aldo is one of the most decorated former champions in MMA history. He was the first UFC featherweight champion and took the title from WEC into the UFC, a span of six years. Aldo has the most title defenses in UFC featherweight history (7).

Font (19-4) has won four straight and five of his last six bouts. The Massachusetts native is coming off a unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt in May. Font, 34, sports a 9-3 UFC record.

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.

Tito Ortiz to Fight Anderson Silva in Cruiserweight Boxing Match Next Month

Tito Ortiz is preparing to fight a fellow MMA legend… But it won’t be in a cage.

The 46-year-old half-Mexican American mixed martial artist will fight Anderson Silva in an eight-round cruiserweight boxing match on September 11.

Tito Ortiz

Ortiz and Silva will participate in the co-feature before Oscar De La Hoya faces Vitor Belfort in the pay-per-view main event, Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh tells ESPN.

The Triller PPV will take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will feature two other boxing matches: former heavyweight champion David Haye vs. Joe Fournier and Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll in a battle of 130-pound fringe contenders.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity, along with my team, to get in the ring against Tito Ortiz on September 11 with Triller Fight Club, who are really shaking things up in the combat sports world,” Silva said.

The Silva-Ortiz and Haye-Fournier fights will be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission, meaning they will be real bouts, not exhibitions. Silva and Ortiz will fight eight two-minute rounds, and Haye and Fournier will fight eight three-minute rounds.

“Big” John McCarthy, a former longtime UFC referee, will officiate Silva-Ortiz.

Silva scored an upset over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June, just his third pro boxing match, then entered negotiations for a fight with YouTube personality Logan Paul.

Silva is a former UFC middleweight champion and holds the record for longest title reign in promotion history at 2,457 days. He’s one of the most recognizable draws in MMA history, with 18 headline appearances on UFC PPV. He suffered a fourth-round TKO defeat to Uriah Hall in October — his seventh loss in his past nine appearances in the Octagon — and was released by the UFC one month later.

Ortiz was also one of the UFC’s most bankable stars. He’ll make his pro boxing debut at 46, nearly 10 years after his final UFC fight.

“I am excited to be taking on a new challenge and compete against another great fighter in Anderson Silva,” said Ortiz, a long-reigning UFC light heavyweight champion who made his debut at UFC 13 in 1997. “As a patriot, fighting on Sept. 11 means a lot to me.”

Anderson Silva Defeats Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by Split Decision

Anderson Silva has taken down a boxing champion…

The 46-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, a former UFC middleweight champion who made a career out of doing the impossible, defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. via split decision (75-77, 77-75, 77-75) in a shockingly impressive boxing performance on Saturday night at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Anderson Silva

A heavy underdog, Silva hadn’t competed in boxing since 2005 and had just two pro boxing matches coming in. Chavez Jr., the son and namesake of Mexico’s most popular boxing superstar, is a former WBC middleweight champion.

“I love fighting,” Silva said in his postfight interview. “Boxing was my dream for many years. I needed to show my respect for boxing. I need to come here and do my best.”

The bout was contested at 182 pounds with eight three-minute rounds. Chavez Jr. missed weight by 2.4 pounds Friday, forfeiting $100,000 of his purse to Silva. The event was dubbed “Tribute to the Kings” with the headliner pitting Chavez Sr. against Hector Camacho Jr., the son of his biggest rival, in an exhibition boxing match.

Silva’s fight against Chavez Jr. started slow, but Silva started to gain confidence in the third round and looked like the vintage version of the MMA all-time great. He started dropping his hands and taunting Chavez Jr. in the third round, a stunning display, considering the enormous gap in boxing experience. Silva carried that confidence and started hurting Chavez Jr. in the fourth round with combinations and a long, straight left. Silva, a southpaw, showed off a solid, snapping jab as well.

Chavez Jr. had some moments with body shots and left hooks, but never really hurt Silva. In the seventh, Silva opened up a cut near Chavez Jr.’s right eye, which started bleeding worse in the eighth round.

“I think it could have been a draw,” Chavez Jr. said. “I failed to throw more punches. He didn’t do much damage. There were a few rounds that went back and forth.”

Silva outlanded Chavez Jr. 99-53 in total punches and 60-41 in power punches, per CompuBox. Afterward, Canelo Alvarez, the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, came up to Silva and gave him a “salute,” Silva said.

“I don’t believe it,” Silva said. “Canelo come talk to me. I’m so happy.”

Silva has been talking about doing a boxing match for a decade or so, but had been under contract with the UFC. Silva always said a boxing bout with Roy Jones Jr. was a dream and goal of his. Maybe now it can happen at both of their advanced ages.

Silva (2-1) is one of the greatest champions in MMA history. The Brazil native held the UFC middleweight title for seven years, the longest reign in promotion history. “The Spider” owns the longest winning streak in UFC history (16) and the most finishes in UFC title fights (nine). Silva asked for his release from the UFC last November, and it was granted. He has just one MMA victory since 2012.

Chavez Jr. (52-6-1) has lost four of his past six fights. He is indefinitely suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission for refusing to take a drug test before a fight with Danny Jacobs in 2019.

Chavez Jr., 35, has never quite lived up to the lofty family expectations, though he does own wins over Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee. He has dropped high-profile bouts to Canelo Alvarez and Jacobs.

Brandon Moreno Submits Deiveson Figueiredo to Become UFC Flyweight Champion

Brandon Moreno has gone and done it…

The 27-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist pulled off an upset win against Deiveson Figueiredo in dominant fashion at UFC 263 at Gila River Arena to become the UFC flyweight champion.

Brandon Moreno, Deiveson Figueiredo

Moreno submitted Figueiredo (20-2-1) via rear-naked choke at 2:26 of the third round.

Known as one of the most dangerous finishers in MMA, Figueiredo looked lost against Moreno, who was actually cut by UFC less than three years ago.

In winning, Moreno (19-5-2) became the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history.

“I can’t even believe it,” he said. “This is a real dream come true. I worked so hard for this belt. I have 10 years as a professional, 15 years training every single day. … This moment is so special. Not just for me, but for all my people, for my country, for my family, for my team … for everybody.”

Moreno looked on point from the moment the fight started. He calmly walked Figueiredo down with the jab and countered effectively when Figueiredo chose to throw his big shots. He dropped Figueiredo with a left hand in the opening round and had him badly hurt, but the Brazilian survived and made it to the next frame.

Figueiredo looked to switch things up and wrestle with Moreno in the second and third rounds, but Moreno was more than prepared. He countered with effective grappling and simply showed more hustle in certain moments. He won the majority of the scrambles and escaped any poor positions Figueiredo managed to get him in.

According to UFC Stats, Moreno out-landed Figueiredo in total strikes 47-24. He also scored two takedowns to Figueiredo’s one and racked up 4:49 of control time compared with 1:30 for Figueiredo.

“I have so much respect for Deiveson,” Moreno said. “Obviously, he tried to make it something special, to put more eyes in the fight, pushed me in the press conference, but actually, when he pushed me, I knew I won the fight. I won the fight there. My confidence was very high and he looked different. He didn’t want to look me in the eyes, he put his sunglasses on, he just looked different.”

It’s an amazing story of perseverance for Moreno, who was cut by the promotion in 2018 when the flyweight division as a whole was in jeopardy. Just last year, Moreno was skipped in line for a title shot by former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, although Garbrandt was eventually pulled from that contest. He is 3-0-2 in his past five fights as a betting underdog.

Just 27, Moreno is still entering the prime of his career. For Figueiredo, it’s the first time he has been finished in his pro career and his first loss overall since 2019.

“I’m enjoying this moment because you never know what happens tomorrow, you never know what happens next month,” Moreno said.

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.

Cris Cyborg Defeats Leslie Smith by TKO to Defend Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title

Cris Cyborg is keepin’ her title..

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio,

Cris Cyborg 

defended her Bellator women’s featherweight title, beating Leslie Smith by TKO at 4 minutes, 51 seconds of the fifth round in the main event of Bellator 259 on Friday night at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

It was a rematch of a 2016 bout that Cyborg finished via TKO in just 1:21.

Known for her violent, quick finishes, Cyborg previously had been deeper than the third round only three times in her career. Smith is only the second fighter to take Cyborg into the fifth round, joining former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.

ESPN has Cyborg ranked No. 3 on its women’s MMA pound-for-pound list. Her only loss since her pro debut in 2005 came against Amanda Nunes, the UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion.

In their first fight at UFC 198 five years ago, Smith disputed the stoppage as being too early. She got some measure of vindication Saturday night, but the outcome wasn’t really ever in doubt.

Cyborg dominated every round, landing big combinations and several impactful suplexes that sent Smith hard to the mat. Cyborg dropped Smith in four out of five rounds with punches. Many of Cyborg’s former opponents have folded after feeling her power, but Smith didn’t until the closing seconds.

“I knew she’s tough,” Cyborg said in her postfight interview. “I knew. I’ve met her before. I know her. I really respect her. She’s a real fighter.” With time expiring in the fifth round, Cyborg landed a crushing right hand that dropped Smith. She then followed up with big punches on the ground. Smith turned over and covered up, but Cyborg continued the onslaught, and referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in and waved it off.

Afterward, Cyborg called out former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano for her next title defense. Zingano is 2-0 in Bellator and coming off a finish last month.

Cyborg (24-2, 1 NC) picked up her second Bellator title defense Saturday night. The Brazil native, who trains out of Southern California, has won four straight overall. She has 19 career wins via KO/TKO in 24 victories. Cyborg is the only fighter in MMA history to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.

Tatiana Suarez Medically Cleared for UFC Return in Near Future

Tatiana Suarez is cleared for combat…

The 30-year-old Mexican American professional mixed martial artist, one of the best women’s MMA fighters in the world, is finally close to returning to the Octagon.

Tatiana SuarezSuarez told ESPN in a video interview published Wednesday that she has been medically cleared by doctors and is targeting a return to the UFC in September, or perhaps even as early as August.

Suarez has been sidelined by a recurring bulging disc in her neck since June 2019.

“I’m super excited to get back out there,” she said. “It’s fun to practice, for sure. But it’s just different competing. Everybody knows that. It’s super exciting to just show what you’re working on.”

Suarez (8-0) said she was cleared for live training in February, but then she broke her hand and suffered a concussion while wrestling in her front yard with her boyfriend. Those were minor setbacks, she said, but she has been back to training now for the past several weeks and plans on starting a training camp “soon.”

When she comes back, Suarez said she plans to try her hand at a new division: flyweight. Suarez had dominated the UFC’s women’s strawweight division before the injury cropped up two years ago. But she said that cutting to 115 pounds left her feeling weak and tired on fight night and not as explosive as she is in training. Suarez said she’d like to see what it feels like to compete at 125 pounds, at least initially upon her return.

“Maybe if I’m not cutting too much weight at all, I’ll be a little more stronger and explosive,” Suarez said.

Suarez has won all five of her UFC fights and was the Ultimate Fighter 23 winner in 2016. The California native came close to competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in wrestling, but the neck injury and a bout with thyroid cancer marred those plans.

Suarez has wins over former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and current flyweight contender Alexa Grasso.

When asked how she thinks she could match up with women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, one of the top three women’s fighters on the planet, Suarez said she believes very well.

“I do think I have a good skill set in terms of my wrestling [that] can give her trouble,” Suarez said.