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.

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire Defeats Emmanuel Sanchez to Defend Bellator Featherweight Title

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire proves once again why he’s considered the best fighter in Bellator

The 33-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and two-division champion, perhaps the top featherweight in all of MMA, handed Emmanuel Sanchez his first stoppage loss with a technical submission by guillotine choke in Round 1 to successfully defend his 145-pound title in the main event of Bellator 255 in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Patricio "Pitbull" Freire

The fight, which took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in front of no fans because of the coronavirus pandemic, was a semifinal in the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix.

Freire (32-4), who also reigns at lightweight, will take on unbeaten A.J. McKee in the final on a date to be determined.

Freire has won seven straight fights and has 20 wins overall in Bellator, the most ever in the promotion. He is one of only two fighters to become a Bellator double champion, along with heavyweight champ Ryan Bader, who used to also reign at light heavyweight. Freire is No. 4 in the ESPN men’s featherweight rankings.

Cris Cyborg to Defend Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title in Rematch Against Leslie Smith

Cris Cyborg is ready for her next challenger…

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio, will put her Bellator women’s featherweight title on the line against Leslie Smith on May 21.

Cris Cyborg

Cyborg beat Smith in 2016 in what was Cyborg’s UFC debut. Cyborg (23-2, 1 NC) is one of the best female fighters of all time. She is coming off a second-round submission win over Arlene Blencowe last October. That was Cyborg’s first title defense.

Cyborg stopped Julia Budd by fourth-round TKO in January 2020 to win the title. That victory made Cyborg the first fighter to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta.

Since 2005, Cyborg has been defeated only by UFC double champion Amanda Nunes. Cyborg left the UFC when her contract expired in 2019 after a rocky tenure.

Smith (12-8-1) has won four of her past five fights. The California native is coming off a unanimous decision over Amanda Bell last September.

Smith was finished by Cyborg in 1:21 at UFC 198 on May 14, 2016, but disputed that, saying it was an early stoppage.

She is best known for her attempts to organize MMA fighters, who don’t have a union or association.

Nate Diaz to Fight Leon Edwards at UFC 262 in May

Nate Diaz is returning to The Octagon

Diaz, one of the most popular fighters in MMA, will fight Leon Edwards at UFC 262 on May 15 in Houston, according to ESPN.

Nate Diaz

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.

Anderson Silva to Fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 10-Round Boxing Match

Anderson Silva is taking on a tough competitor in his next bout…

The 45-year-old Brazilian former UFC champion will face former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a 10-round boxing match on June 19 at Jalisco Stadium in Jalisco, Mexico, according to promoters.

Anderson Silva

Promoter Saul Rios says the fight will take place at 180 pounds. This will be Silva’s third professional boxing match. He suffered a first-round TKO loss to Osmar Luiz Teixeira in 1998 and won a second-round TKO over Julio Cesar De Jesus in 2005. Both earlier fights were held in Brazil.

Silva (34-11, 22 KOs and 4 submissions in MMA) is considered one of the best MMA fighters in history. He owns the longest victory streak in UFC history with 16.

However, after he lost four of his last five fights, including decisions to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Daniel Cormier and KOs to Jared Cannonier and Uriah Hall, the UFC released Silva. He hasn’t fought since October.

“When I look back at my journey, I see that nothing has been in vain,” Silva told TMZ. “I am extremely happy for the opportunity to test my boxing skills with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“I train continuously, always striving for resilience and to overcome obstacles. Fighting is my everlasting breath.”

Chavez Jr. (52-5-1, 34 KOs) defeated Jeyson Minda in November but is 2-3 in his past five fights, which includes a loss to Canelo Alvarez.

Also on the card, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. will face Hector Camacho Jr., the son of the late Hector “Macho” Camacho, who was the senior Chavez’s archrival.

Edson Barboza Agrees to New Deal with UFC, Sets Fight Against Shane Burgos

Edson Barboza is staying put in the UFC, and he’s lining up his next opponent…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former Muay Thai kickboxer, a UFC featherweight, has agreed to battle Shane Burgos  in May, according to their teams.

Edson Barboza

The 145-pound bout will take place at UFC 262 on May 15. The UFC hasn’t announced an official venue for the pay-per-view event.

In addition to the bout, Barboza (21-9) has signed a new deal with the UFC. The Brazilian fighter had expressed interest in testing free agency in 2021 but ultimately elected to sign an extension with the promotion he has fought for since 2010.

“We’ve renewed with the UFC, with the understanding Edson wants to be extremely active,” Barboza’s manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “We believe Edson has a good chance to be a contender at featherweight. All the conditions are there now. It’s up to the UFC to give him fights that make sense, and it’s up to Edson to win those fights.”

Burgos (13-2), of New York, shared his excitement on the matchup.

“This is the one,” Burgos told ESPN. “I only want big fights, and this one feels huge. Everyone knows Edson. I’ve been watching him fight in the UFC since I was fighting amateur. I plan on making the absolute most out of this opportunity.”

Burgos is coming off a decision loss to ranked contender Josh Emmett in June, which was his only appearance of 2020. Before that setback, the 29-year-old had won three in a row.