Shane Burgos Reveals Plans to Join the Professional Fighters League (PFL)

Shane Burgos is makin’ money moves….

The 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican professional mixed martial artist has announced plans to join the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Shane Burgos Burgos, a popular featherweight fighter, announced his plans to leave the UFC on Monday’s The MMA Hour.

Burgos fought out his UFC contract with his win over Charles Jourdain on July 16, becoming a free agent.

He said he’ll likely compete in PFL before the end of the year in an out-of-season fight and then enter either the lightweight or featherweight PFL season in 2023.

It’s a two-season contract with PFL, Burgos said. PFL season champions make $1 million in addition to their fight purses.

“I like the idea of the [season and playoffs] format being black and white,” Burgos told host Ariel Helwani. “There’s no gray area.”

Burgos said PFL offered him a significant raise, a deal where he would make in one fight what it took him multiple fights in the UFC to make. He did not go into specifics on the numbers, but said PFL will also offer him commentary opportunities in the future, which has been a post-career goal of his. Burgos said by the end of next year, he believes here’s a good chance he’ll be a “multi-millionaire.”

“I’m going to make the absolute most out of this deal,” Burgos said. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the UFC, Burgos said. Being a UFC fighter and potential champion has been a goal of his since he was a child. But Burgos said from a financial standpoint signing with PFL was a “no brainer.”

Burgos (15-3) is on a two-fight winning streak. The New York native has won four $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses in his last 10 fights and is known as an action fighter.

Burgos has won five of his last seven bouts overall.

Cris Cyborg to Make Professional Boxing Debut Against Simone de Silva

Cris Cyborg is switching sports…

The 37-year-old mixed martial artist’s next fight won’t be inside an MMA cage — it’ll be in a boxing ring against Simone de Silva.

Cris Cyborg

Cyborg, one of the best women’s MMA fighters of all time, said on her “The CatchupYouTube show Monday that was finalizing a contract for her professional boxing debut.

By Wednesday, that was done.

Cyborg shared on Instagram that she would be fighting de Silva at 154 pounds in the main event of a card on Sept. 25 in Cyborg’s hometown of Curitiba, Brazil.

“It’s one of my dreams,” the 37-year-old Cyborg, currently the Bellator women’s featherweight champion, said of boxing.

The fight will be an eight-round boxing match with two-minute rounds and contested with 8-ounce gloves.

Cyborg is currently a restricted free agent in an exclusive negotiating period with Bellator, and sources said Bellator president Scott Coker has given his support for this boxing match.

PFL had made public overtures about putting together a fight between Cyborg and the two-time Olympic judo gold medalist, with the implication that PFL could potentially sign Cyborg as a free agent.

 

Cyborg said she has not spoken with PFL at all at this point.

 

“No, we never have any talks with PFL,” Cyborg said. “We never talked about this fight. I know there’s a lot of talk on the internet about making this fight happens in different ways, but we’ve never had the talk about anything.”

Cyborg did not say she is disinterested in the Harrison matchup, but Cyborg has always been vocal about the positives of her relationship with Coker and Bellator, which she has touted as having the best women’s featherweight division in MMA.

Cyborg said on the show that if Cyborg vs. Harrison happens while she is still with

Bellator, that would be “great.”

“I’m open to the best fights for my fans,” Cyborg said.

Cyborg (26-2, 1 NC), whose real name is Cristiane Justino, is a former UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC women’s featherweight champion. She has four Bellator title defenses and has won six straight fights overall. Cyborg’s only loss since her pro debut in 2005 was to current UFC double champion Amanda Nunes in 2018.

Alex Pereira to Fight UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 281

Alex Pereira is taking on a champion…

Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title against the 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former kickboxer, his old rival, in the headliner of UFC 281 on November 12 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Alex Pereira

Pereira owns two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, including one via knockout. ESPN has Adesanya ranked tied for third on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At middleweight, Adesanya is No. 1 and Pereira is No. 7.

Pereira, a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion, beat Adesanya in kickboxing once by decision in 2016 and then again a year later via knockout.

Adesanya (23-1) is undefeated in his career at middleweight. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident has won three straight since falling in a light heavyweight title bout to Jan Blachowicz in March 2021. Adesanya, 33, owns five successful title defenses at middleweight, holding the undisputed title since October 2019.

Pereira (6-1) is coming off a first-round knockout of Sean Strickland at UFC 276 last month, the same card in which Adesanya defended his title successfully against Jared Cannonier. The Brazilian slugger has five finishes in six career pro MMA victories since coming over from kickboxing.

Pereira, 35, is 3-0 in the UFC with a pair of $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses to his name.

Amanda Nunes Defeats Julianna Peña to Reclaim UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title

It’s a case of sweet revenge for Amanda Nunes

The 34-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist defeated Julianna Peña via a dominant unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) in the main event of UFC 277 on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

Amanda NunesNunes had vowed to make changes in her game and get her belt back after shockingly losing it seven months ago to Peña.

With the victory, Nunes, the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history, reclaimed the UFC women’s bantamweight title she lost to Peña at UFC 269 in December.

“The lioness, if they don’t get the prey the first time, I set the trap and I know I’d get it the second time,” Nunes said in her postfight interview.

Nunes said this fight was all about “strategy” and that the key was her going southpaw. Then, when Peña got comfortable on the feet, Nunes said she started to go for the takedowns.

“The main thing was my southpaw,” Nunes said. “I know I was gonna catch her with that tonight. I knew she was not gonna be able to adjust to that. She’s not a striker. … She was so confused. I’m not very good yet with my southpaw. I told my coach, ‘I’m gonna see how I feel.’ I tried tonight, and I felt good.”

Nunes dropped Peña with a check right hook out of the southpaw stance several times in the early rounds. As the fight wore on, Nunes began using her wrestling to take Peña down over and over, then cut her up from top position with slicing elbows.

Peña had several bad cuts on her face after the fourth round. Nunes nearly had a rear-naked choke finish in the fifth, but Peña was incredibly tough and fought it off.

Nunes had moments where she might have been able to finish the fight but perhaps didn’t want to make the mistake she did in the first fight, where she got tired after trying to finish Peña in the first round.

“Julianna is tough as nails,” UFC president Dana White said. “Her will to win is second to none. She wanted to win. As dominant as Amanda was, and she was dominant tonight — I don’t think it was close in any way, shape or form; I thought it was a complete shutout — she still looked a little gun shy to me.

“She had Julianna hurt many times, had her on crazy legs many times and never really went in for the kill.”

After the first fight, Nunes left her longtime gym, American Top Team, and moved into a private facility she has dubbed Lioness Studio. She trained under coach Roger Krahl, who was in her corner for some of her biggest fights, like the knockout of Ronda Rousey.

“The best thing I did was make my gym,” Nunes said. “In my gym, I feel like I’m safe. I feel like I can grow and evolve.”

In the second round, Nunes knocked Peña down three times, setting the record for most knockdowns in a round ever among women in the UFC, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Overall, Nunes outlanded Peña 85-60 in significant strikes and took Peña down six times in eight attempts.

Nunes’ 15 UFC wins is the most among women in UFC history. This was her 10th title fight win, the most among women in UFC history and fifth best overall. Nunes is the first woman in the UFC to regain the bantamweight title after losing it.

Saturday’s fight was the 13th immediate rematch ever in the UFC after one fighter took the belt from another. Saturday marked just the third time in those instances that a fighter reclaimed the title. Randy Couture did it against Vitor Belfort in 2004 and Deiveson Figueiredo did it this past January over Brandon Moreno.

Judges Douglas Crosby and Sal D’Amato each scored the second round 10-8 for Nunes, while Crosby also scored the fifth 10-8 for Nunes. The other judge, Jacob Montalvo, did not score a 10-8 in any round.

Coming in, ESPN had Nunes ranked No. 2 and Peña ranked No. 4 on its pound-for-pound women’s MMA list. At bantamweight, Peña was No. 1 and Nunes was No. 2.

Nunes (22-5) was on a 12-fight winning streak before losing to Peña, with wins during that stretch over the likes of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate and Holly Holm. The Brazilian slugger, who trains out of South Florida, is also the UFC women’s featherweight champion.

Nunes, 34, is the first UFC fighter to defend two titles in separate weight classes concurrently — and has seven title.

Brandon Moreno Defeats Kai Kara-France to Claim UFC’s Interim 125-Pound Title

Brandon Moreno is a UFC champion once again…

The 28-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist (20-6-2) claimed the interim 125-pound title in thrilling fashion on Saturday, as he finished Kai Kara-France in the third round with a nasty left body kick followed by ground and pound. The TKO came at 4 minutes, 34 seconds.

Brandon MorenoThe title fight co-headlined UFC 277 from inside American Airlines Arena. Figueiredo, the defending unified champion and a longtime rival of Moreno’s, was in attendance cageside.

UFC originally wanted Figueiredo to defend his title against Moreno this summer, but Figueiredo was unavailable due to injury. The Brazilian champion entered the Octagon after Moreno’s win and asked to do it in Brazil.

“This guy right here, tonight is his night and he is the champion,” Figueiredo said through an interpreter. “I have a lot of respect for him. … I want to take this fight home to Brazil.”

Brandon Moreno

Moreno, of Tijuana, quickly accepted the invitation. He also apologized to Figueiredo for any bad blood between them in the past. The two have had a heated rivalry, mostly from Figueiredo’s side, since 2020. Moreno challenged Figueiredo for the belt in December 2020 and fought him to a majority draw. He then beat Figueiredo by submission in an immediate rematch before losing a controversial decision in their third fight in January.

“I don’t hate you. I don’t feel nothing against you. I forgive you,” Moreno told Figueiredo. “Please forgive me if I did something bad against you. I want to fight in December.”

Saturday’s fight was Moreno’s first since he left his original training camp in Mexico and joined forces with veteran MMA coach James Krause in Missouri. It proved to be one of the most impressive performances of his career. He already held a prior decision win over Kara-France (24-10) from 2019, and the rematch was similar in that Moreno simply had more tools than the challenger from New Zealand.

He attacked Kara-France with leg kicks, jabs and right hands. He looked for the takedown when the opportunity came but didn’t force it.

However, Kara-France, 29, was certainly competitive until the finish. He relied mostly on leg kicks as his primary offense and had success with it. Moreno’s lead leg was very red from kicks early on. In the third round, Kara-France did his best work after he caught a Moreno kick and dumped him to the floor. He landed a hard elbow from top position that opened a cut under Moreno’s right eye.

Just when it appeared Kara-France had seized momentum, however, Moreno caught him with a spinning back fist and then the body kick that put him down. Kara-France immediately rolled over and covered up, which brought in a quick stoppage from referee Herb Dean, as Moreno swarmed on him with hammerfists.

Moreno, who was cut from UFC in 2018, now holds a 4-1-2 record since re-signing in 2019.

Valerie Loureda Signs Multiyear Contract with WWE

It’s a whole new world for Valerie Loureda.

The 23-year-old Cuban American mixed martial artist, wrestler and pro fighter, a top women’s MMA prospect with Bellator, has signed a multiyear contract with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), according to ESPN.

Valerie LouredaLoureda plans to move to Orlando from Miami and report to the WWE Performance Center on July 19. She’ll remain under contract with Bellator, the promotion told ESPN in a statement, but now she’ll be a full-time WWE athlete.

“I’m an entertainer,” Loureda said “I love glamour. I love production, I love storytelling. And when I saw the WWE, I realized this is everything I’m good at in one place. Not only that, but I saw the opportunity to be the first Cuban American woman to be a WWE superstar.”

Loureda said she attended WrestleMania and immediately fell in love with the glitz and spectacle of WWE, comparing it to the Super Bowl. She had a tryout in late April and early May with WWE and became so addicted with performing in the ring that she didn’t want to leave even though she hadn’t been signed yet. Loureda said she actually called her manager, Abe Kawa of First Round Management, crying.

“I said, ‘Abraham, I know I don’t have a contract, but is there any way I can stay here? I’m losing a week of training,'” Loureda said. “I just want to get better.”

WWE coaches praised Loureda’s ability, according to ESPN, and view her as a high-ceiling talent after her tryout, which included a match. Loureda signed with WWE soon after. She will remain under Bellator contract, though, per promotion president Scott Coker.

“Valerie Loureda is a very young and talented athlete who can accomplish plenty in MMA for years to come, but for now we wish her the best of luck as she pursues her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar,” Coker told ESPN in a statement. “She will remain an active and under contract fighter with Bellator, and we look forward to welcoming her back into the cage in the near future. We take great pride in allowing our athletes to test themselves in additional arenas such as boxing and pro wrestling.”

Up until the last few months, Loureda said she was committed to her MMA career with Bellator. But earlier this year, Loureda’s manager was having a conversation with former UFC executive James Kimball about WWE’s name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with AJ Ferrari, a college wrestler repped by First Round. Kawa brought up Loureda and Kimball, WWE’s senior vice president of global talent strategy & development, was interested.

Kimball suggested Kawa bring Loureda to WrestleMania, but Loureda initially was not interested. She wanted to focus on her MMA career.

“I had to beg her to come out to WrestleMania with me,” Kawa said. “I kept telling her over and over again, just trust me. When you come see this, this is you. I would never take you to something that’s not you. This is everything for you. You will fall in love with it. And she did.”

Loureda said she was sold almost instantly when she arrived at AT&T Stadium in Texas for WrestleMania 38 in early April.

“The moment I stepped into the suite and I saw the WWE organization, the professionalism and the production, I fell in love,” Loureda said. “I had goosebumps like the first time I saw MMA on the TV.”

Loureda, who is 4-1 as a pro fighter and projected to be a future star for Bellator, said her goal is to make NXT television by the end of the year and be on the WWE main roster within one year.

“I have big goals and I’m a little crazy,” Loureda said with a laugh. … “I just know what I’m gonna be able to do in the WWE. There’s no limits. I’m limitless.”

Dominick Cruz to Fight Marlon Vera in UFC Fight Night in August

Dominick Cruz is heading back to the Octagon this summer…

The 37-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist, a former two-time UFC bantamweight champion, will face off against Marlon Vera for a UFC Fight Night headliner, according to UFC president Dana White.

Dominick Cruz The bout is scheduled for August 13, and White said the card is expected to take place in San Diego.

ESPN has Vera ranked No. 6 and Cruz ranked No. 10 in the world at bantamweight.

Cruz (24-3) is one of the best bantamweight fighters in MMA history. A San Diego resident, he’s a two-time former UFC bantamweight champion with a total of three title defenses across both reigns.

Cruz has the most bantamweight wins in UFC/WEC history (13). He has won two straight and 15 of 17 overall.

Vera (19-7-1), 29, has won three straight and nine of his past 11. The fighter from Ecuador, who lives and trains in Orange County, California, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Rob Font in April.

He has the most finishes in UFC bantamweight history (9).

Jorge Masvidal Signs New Contract Extension with UFC

Jorge Masvidal is celebrating a big extension.…

The 37-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist has signed a new contract with the UFC just days before one of the biggest fights of his career.

Jorge Masvidal

While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Masvidal’s co-agent, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, announced on social media that Masvidal penned an extension that would make him one of the top-five highest-paid fighters on the UFC roster.

Masvidal, who has been a pro fighter since 2003, fights his former best friend and roommate Colby Covington in a heated grudge match Saturday at UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena. 

Kawa wrote on Instagram that Masvidal’s deal was signed after five months of negotiations with UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell.

Masvidal has become one of the biggest stars in MMA after a late-career renaissance that was jump-started in 2019 with knockouts of Darren Till and Ben Askren and a TKO win over Nate Diaz. Masvidal’s five-second running knee KO of Askren was the fastest finish in UFC history.

“His contract pays him like a champion and then some,” Kawa, who represents Masvidal along with his brother Abe Kawa, told ESPN. “And the length of time will be that he will finish his career in the UFC.”

Masvidal (35-15) has dropped two straight, both in UFC welterweight title fights against Kamaru Usman, ESPN‘s top pound-for-pound fighter. A Miami native, he has been in the UFC for nine years. Masvidal fought all over the world before that and began his career doing backyard fighting in South Florida alongside the likes of the late Kimbo Slice.

At the UFC 272 news conference Thursday, Masvidal noted that he’ll be getting a portion of the pay-per-view revenue from the card, while Covington, his opponent, will not. Covington has said this fight, because of how personal it is, is not about the money.

“My kids’ kids are gonna be good for a long time,” Masvidal said of his new contract. “So you sell that pay-per-view, boy.”

Renato Moicano Replacing Rafael Fiziev for This Weekend’s Bout Against Rafael dos Anjos

Renato Moicano is stepping up for a battle royale…

The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist will step in on just four days’ notice to battle Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event of UFC 272 on Saturday, according to ESPN sources.

Renato MoicanThe fight has been reportedly verbally agreed to and both sides are awaiting contracts.

dos Anjos, the former UFC lightweight champion, originally was scheduled to fight Rafael Fiziev this weekend, but Fiziev withdrew Monday due to being sick with COVID-19. dos Anjos wanted to remain on the card and UFC was able to come to an agreement with Moicano.

The new fight will be contested at a catchweight of 160 pounds over five rounds.

A few other names, including top lightweight contender Islam Makhachev, were in discussions to replace Fiziev but Moicano won out.

dos Anjos tweeted that he called Makhachev’s bluff and Makhachev “folded.” Makhachev beat Bobby Green in the UFC Fight Night main event just three days ago.

Moicano is in Brazil and still waiting to find out when he’ll be able to travel to Las Vegas, per his manager, Oren Hodak of KO Reps. Fighters traditionally arrive Tuesday of fight week if the card is on Saturday.

dos Anjos (30-13) has not fought since a split-decision win over Paul Felder in November 2020. That was the Brazil-born fighter’s return to the lightweight division from welterweight. dos Anjos was the UFC lightweight champion in 2015 and 2016 and has one of the toughest strengths of schedule in the promotion’s history.

Moicano (16-4-1) has won two straight and three of his past four, with the lone loss during that span coming to Fiziev. Training out of American Top Team in Florida, he is coming off an impressive, second-round submission win over Alexander Hernandez at UFC 271 on February 12 in Houston.

Rafael dos Anjos’ Fight Against Rafael Fiziev Moved to UFC 272 in March

Rafael dos Anjos’ return is being postponed slightly…

The 37-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former UFC lightweight champion will now face off against Rafael Fiziev in the lightweight co-main event of UFC 272 on March 5 in Las Vegas, according to ESPN.

Rafael dos Anjosdos Anjos was initially scheduled to take on Fiziev for the UFC Fight Night headliner on February 19 in Las Vegas.

Fiziev reportedly had a visa delay, leading to the change. dos Anjos vs. Fiziev will remain a five-round fight, per sources.

The new UFC Fight Night main event on February 19 will be a five-round light heavyweight bout between Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill, sources said.

Walker vs. Hill was initially scheduled as the UFC Fight Night co-main event.

dos Anjos (30-13) has not fought since a split-decision win over Paul Felder in November 2020.

The Brazilian-born fighter, who lives in California, moved back to lightweight for that bout after three years at welterweight. dos Anjos had dropped four of five fights against top 170-pound fighters before moving back down to 155, where he was the UFC champ in 2015 and 2016.

Fiziev (11-1) has won five in a row after dropping his UFC debut in 2019. The Kazakhstan-born fighter of Kyrgyzstani descent has won two of his last three fights via knockout, the most recent a third-round spinning wheel kick finish of Brad Riddell in December. Fiziev, 28, is considered one of the top young strikers in MMA.

UFC 272 will be headlined by a welterweight grudge match between former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, owner of the mythical BMF title.