Amanda Lemos Pulls Off Upset Win Over Marina Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night

Amanda Lemos has pulled off an upset…

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist finished Marina Rodriguez via TKO at 54 seconds of the third round on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

Rodriguez was poised for a title shot if she won, but now Lemos has snatched her spot near the top of the rankings.

The finish came after a big counter overhand right by Lemos. The punch landed to Rodriguez’s forehead, as Rodriguez was coming in for a combination of her own. It stopped Rodriguez in her tracks and left her rocked. Lemos pressed forward with another big right hand and then flurried with right and left hooks until referee Jason Herzog stepped in to stop it.

“Her legs started wobbling a little bit,” Lemos said in her postfight interview. “I didn’t think twice. I’m going to finish the fight right there.”

ESPN had Rodriguez ranked No. 4 in the women’s strawweight division coming in, with Lemos at No. 9. The big stoppage victory should push Lemos closer to title contention.

She proposed the idea of being the backup fighter for the women’s strawweight title fight next week at UFC 281 between champion Carla Esparza and former champ Zhang Weili in New York.

Lemos (13-2-1) has won two straight and seven of her past eight fights. The Brazilian-born slugger has finished five of her seven UFC victories. That ties her with Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade for the most finishes in UFC strawweight history.

Lemos was coming off a second-round submission win over Michelle Waterson-Gomez in July. Her only loss at 115 pounds came against Andrade in April.

Rodriguez (16-2-2) had a four-fight winning streak snapped. The Brazilian-born fighter had only lost once before in her MMA career, to Esparza in July 2020.

Rodriguez, 35, was coming off signature wins against contenders Yan Xiaonan and Mackenzie Dern.

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.

Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza to Fight AJ McKee in Bellator vs. Rizin Card on New Year’s Eve

Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza will ring in the New Year in the ring…

The 33-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, Rizin’s lightweight champion, will fight in an ambitious Bellator vs. Rizin card on New Year’s Eve.

Roberto "Satoshi" de Souzade Souza will fight Bellator star AJ McKee in the main event of the December 31 card at Japan’s Saitama Super Arena. That will be a nontitle matchup.

In the co-main event, it will be both promotion’s featherweight champions — Bellator’s Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Rizin’s Kleber Koike Erbst — facing off in a superfight.

Also on the card, former Bellator and current Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi will face Ultimate Fighter veteran Hiromasa Ougikubo, and former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta will meet ROAD FC featherweight champion Soo Chul Kim in a bantamweight bout.

All the fights on the card will take place in a ring, rather than a cage, as is tradition in Japanese MMA. The bouts will be held under Rizin rules and not the Unified Rules of MMA, meaning kicks and knees to the head of grounded opponents will be legal. This card is the last addition of an annual big MMA event in Japan on New Year’s Eve.

De Souza (14-1), a Brazilian-born fighter who lives in Japan, has won five straight and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist.

Freire (34-5) is the greatest fighter in Bellator history, a three-time Bellator featherweight champion and former Bellator lightweight champion. The Brazilian MMA fighter has won nine of his last 10 fights.

Koike (31-5-1), a 33-year-old Brazilian-born fighter who lives and trains in Japan, has won seven straight and has 27 submission finishes in 31 career wins.

Jessica Andrade to Fight Lauren Murphy at UFC 283

Jessica Andrade is preparing a highly anticipated bout…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, a former UFC women’s strawweight champion, and Lauren Murphy – two of the top women’s flyweight fighters in the world – will meet in Brazil.

Jessica AndradeAndrade and Murphy has agreed to fight at UFC 283 on January 21 in Rio de Janeiro.

Andrade is ranked No. 9 on ESPN‘s pound-for-pound women’s MMA list. At flyweight, Andrade is ranked No. 3 and Murphy is No. 4.

Andrade (23-9) has won two straight and three of four with the only loss in that stretch coming to flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

The Brazilian-born fighter held the UFC women’s strawweight title in 2019. Andrade is the only woman in UFC history to win fights in three different weight classes.

Murphy (16-5) is coming off a unanimous decision win over former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate in July. The Alaska-born fighter, who lives in Texas, has won six of her past seven fights with the only loss during that stretch coming in a title fight against Shevchenko. Murphy, 39, is 7-3 since starting her UFC run with two straight losses.

Deiveson Figueiredo to Fight Brandon Moreno in First-Ever UFC “Quadrilogy” Fight

Deiveson Figueiredo is making history while going on the defense…

The 34-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist will take part in the first-ever quadrilogy fight in UFC history.

Deiveson FigueiredoFigueiredo will defend his flyweight belt against former champion and current interim champ Brandon Moreno at UFC 283 on January 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Figueiredo posted about the matchup Monday night on Instagram. Both bout agreements have been signed, according to ESPN sources.

This will be the fourth meeting between the top two 125-pound fighters in the world.

Figueiredo and Moreno battled to a draw at UFC 256 in December 2020. Then in the rematch, Moreno became the first Mexican-born fighter to win a UFC title, defeating Figueiredo via third-round submission at UFC 263 in June 2021. Figueiredo got revenge at UFC 270 last January, beating Moreno in a close unanimous decision to regain the title.

It’s not yet known whether Figueiredo vs. Moreno will be the main event of UFC 283. The UFC is weighing several other headlining options for its return to Brazil, a key country for the promotion.

This will be the UFC’s first trip back to Brazil since March 2020, and the first time fans will be in attendance for a Brazil UFC event since November 2019.

ESPN has Figueiredo tied for ninth on its MMA pound-for-pound list. At flyweight, Figueiredo and Moreno are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

Figueiredo (21-2-1) has just one loss in his past eight fights, coming against Moreno. The “God of War” owns a 10-2-1 UFC record and has not fought since taking the title back from Moreno earlier this year. Figueiredo is tied for the most finishes in division history with Demetrious Johnson (7).

Moreno (20-6-2) has only one loss in his past nine fights, coming against Figueiredo. The “Assassin Baby” won the interim flyweight belt by beating Kai Kara-France at UFC 277 in July via third-round TKO. Moreno, 28, is a former LFA flyweight champion.

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire Defeats Adam Borics to Retain Bellator Featherweight Title

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire continues his winning ways…

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist beat Adam Borics via one-sided unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 50-45) in the main event of Bellator 286 on Saturday night at Long Beach Arena to maintain his stranglehold on the Bellator featherweight division.

Patricio "Pitbull" Freire

“Pitbull” retained his 145-pound belt with the victory and now has a total of eight title defenses across three reigns.

Freire, one of the best MMA fighters ever to not have competed in the UFC, first won the title in 2014. Saturday’s fight marked his first defense of the current reign.

ESPN has “Pitbull” ranked No. 3 in the world at featherweight. His longevity and consistency as an elite fighter have been a marvel.

Freire was better in all aspects of MMA on Saturday night. He landed some clean counter combinations on Borics early, landed some takedowns and got onto Borics’ back in the third round after somehow catching a Borics flying knee and using it for a mat return.

Borics took Freire down in the fifth round but wasn’t able to do much with it, and “Pitbull” ended up sweeping using a Kimura submission attempt.

Freire (34-5) has won two in a row and nine of his past 10 fights, the only loss in that stretch coming to rival AJ McKee. The Brazilian-born fighter is also the former Bellator lightweight champion, courtesy of a knockout win over current UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler in 2019. Freire arguably has the best résumé in Bellator history.

“Maybe I’ll go down to the bantamweight division and take that belt,” Freire said of his potential next move.

Borics (18-2), 29, had a four-fight winning streak snapped. A Hungarian-born fighter who trains out of Kill Cliff FC in Florida, he fell to 9-2 in his Bellator career.

Raul Rosas Jr. Becomes Youngest MMA Fighter to Sign with UFC

Raul Rosas Jr. has earned his place in UFC history…

The 17-year-old Mexican mixed martial artist has become the youngest fighter to sign with the UFC.

Raul Rosas Jr.Rosas signed with UFC Tuesday night, following a unanimous decision win over Mando Gutierrez on Dana White‘s Contender Series.

White, impressed by Rosas’ performance, offered the teen a contract before the end of the show, which he accepted. Rosas is the youngest fighter to compete on the series.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” White said of Rosas’ age and outing against Gutierrez. “Not only that, the amount of fighters blowing me up saying you’re crazy not to (sign him). … He’s absolutely, positively talented. He’s special, he’s different.”

Rosas, a bantamweight fighter, dominated the 25-year-old Gutierrez for most of the fight with his grappling prowess. He nearly finished Gutierrez in the first round with a rarely used Suloev stretch submission from back control. Gutierrez had moments, taking Rosas down and landing some ground-and-pound. But almost always, Rosas would end up in the better position, using his dexterity, skill and creativity on the ground to scramble his way to the top.

Rosas (6-0) had finished all of his previous opponents before Tuesday night. The Mexican-born fighter, who trains out of Las Vegas, previously fought in the UWC promotion in Tijuana.

Dan Lauzon holds the record as the youngest fighter to compete in the UFC (18 years, 198 days), per ESPN Stats & Information research. As long as Rosas steps into the Octagon within the next 216 days — a likely scenario — he will beat that mark.

And Rosas is already talking about winning championships. The youngest UFC champion was Jon Jones at age 23 in 2011.

“Everybody shouldn’t be surprised,” Rosas said. “I’m the new king in here, so I’m coming for that belt now. … I’m gonna be champion when I’m 20. Respect to everybody, but I’m gonna be champion when I’m 20, or even earlier. Nobody is gonna stop me.”

Thiago Santos Signs with Professional Fighters League

Thiago Santos is headed to the PFL

The 38-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC title challenger has signed an exclusive deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), according to promotion president Ray Sefo.

Thiago Santos Santos will make his PFL debut in 2023 when he competes in the promotion’s season format with a tournament championship purse of $1 million. Santos will fight in the 205-pound division.

“We are very excited to bring in Thiago Santos to the PFL light heavyweight division,” Sefo told ESPN. “He is known throughout the MMA world as a guy who delivers exciting fights, and I’m looking forward to seeing his elite knockout power up close.”

Santos most recently appeared in a UFC Fight Night main event against Jamahal Hill in August, losing via fourth-round TKO. Six of his past seven appearances in UFC were in main events, including a failed title shot against then-champion Jon Jones at UFC 239 in July 2019. Santos lost that fight via split decision.

He was nearing the end of his UFC contract, and the two sides ultimately decided to part ways. Santos had fought exclusively in UFC since 2013.

“It was an amicable separation with the UFC,” Santos’ manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “Thiago is very grateful for everything the UFC did for him, and he’s very grateful toward the PFL for signing with him. He’s looking forward to winning a million dollars.”

Fighting out of Brazil, Santos came close to dethroning Jones in their five-round title fight despite suffering a serious knee injury during the bout. He has struggled to regain his old form since the injury, suffering losses to Glover TeixeiraAleksandar RakicMagomed Ankalaev and Hill. Nevertheless, he was still ranked No. 9 in UFC’s light heavyweight division.

The 2022 PFL finals are in November. The light heavyweight final will feature two former UFC veterans in Robert Wilkinson and Omari Akhmedov.

Anderson Silva to Fight Jake Paul in 187-Pound Boxing Match in October

Anderson Silva has locked in his next opponent…

The 47-year-old former UFC-middleweight-champion-turned-boxer will meet YouTuber-turned-prizefighter Jake Paul in a boxing match on October 29 in Phoenix, Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions announced Tuesday.

Anderson SilvaThe bout will be contested at 187 pounds over eight three-minute rounds. Silva is one of the greatest champions in UFC history and holds the record for most consecutive victories ever in the promotion (16).

“The plan is for me to fight at 185 [pounds] going forward and that’s what I wanted this fight at given it was the weight Anderson Silva fought at during his reign as the most dominant UFC champion ever,” Paul told ESPN. “Anderson’s team asked if we could set the weight at 187, 2 pounds more than what I wanted. That level of professionalism and precision is appreciated, and of course I agreed to his request.”

Paul was supposed to fight Tommy Fury last month at New York’s Madison Square Garden, but Fury withdrew because of what he said were travel issues coming to the United States from England. Fury’s replacement was Hasim Rahman Jr., son of the former boxing heavyweight champion, but that bout was canceled because of weight complications with Rahman.

This will be Paul’s fourth fight against a former UFC fighter. Previously, Paul knocked out Ben Askren and went 2-0 against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the most recent bout a knockout win over Woodley in December. Paul has not fought since then.

Silva, though well past his prime, has a better résumé than both Woodley and Askren in MMA and boxing. He was the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world for stretches during his lengthy title reign from 2006 to 2013 and one of the most creative knockout artists ever in that sport.

In boxing, Silva is 3-1 as a pro, with his best win coming over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last year. Silva fought Bruno Machado in an exhibition boxing match in May and looked solid there. He has also knocked out former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in boxing.

“I know that in life everything has its purpose,” Silva said in a statement. “Nothing comes just by chance. So, I thank God for my health, my family and my team for providing me with this opportunity to continue doing the thing that I love the most. I believe this will be the biggest combat event of the year and will truly make history in the sport forever. See you on October 29.”

Prominent people in combat sports, including UFC president Dana White, have been critical of Paul’s opponents, and White has even suggested that Paul should fight Silva, which would be more of a “real fight.”

“Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva is the most versatile fighter the world has ever seen,” Paul said in a statement. “Just a year ago he outclassed boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and showed the world why he is often referred to as the greatest fighter of all time. Every expert, from MMA to boxing, has said Jake Paul won’t fight Anderson Silva. They said Jake Paul is afraid of Anderson Silva, and Jake Paul would lose to Anderson Silva. Well, to all the non-believers – Jake Paul is fighting Anderson Silva. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to share the ring with the greatest UFC striker of all time. On Saturday, October 29, I will walk humbly into the ring, touch gloves with a living legend and do my best to exterminate ‘The Spider.'”

“Jake Paul continues to take on challenges that other professional fighters at his experience level and popularity never have,” said Nakisa Bidarian, co-founder of MVP, in a statement. “Jake appreciates the platform that he has and always aims to provide fans with a compelling product that drives engagement. Anderson Silva is unequivocally the most exciting striker in UFC history. Those abilities have translated into his professional boxing career, and he most certainly has the ability to end Jake’s unbeaten streak. It’s an honor for Most Valuable Promotions to have one of the GOATs of combat sports headline our event. He is already a Hall of Famer in our books.”

Carla Esparza to Defend UFC Women’s Strawweight Title Against Zhang Weili

Carla Esparza is ready to defend her title…

The 34-year-old part-Mexican and part-Ecuadorian American will face off against Zhang Weili at Madison Square Garden in a UFC women’s strawweight title fight.

Carla Esparza

Esperza, the current champion, and Zhang, the former champ, has been verbally agreed to for UFC 281 on November 12 in New York, according to ESPN.

The fight hasn’t yet been signed, nor officially announced by the UFC. But bout agreements have been sent out, per sources.

Both fighters have posted about the fight on their respective social media accounts. The news of the fight was first reported by MMA reporter Ariel Helwani.

ESPN has Esparza ranked No. 1 in the world at 115 pounds and Zhang at No. 3.

Esparza (19-6) became a two-time UFC women’s strawweight champion when she beat Rose Namajunas via split decision at UFC 274 back in May. The California native was the first-ever UFC women’s strawweight champion, beating Namajunas to win The Ultimate Fighter — and the inaugural belt — in 2014. Esparza, 34, is on a six-fight winning streak.

Zhang (22-3) is coming off a second-round knockout of Joanna Jedrzejczyk in June. The Chinese-born fighter lost the title to Namajunas at UFC 261 in April 2021 and then lost the rematch to Namajunas at Madison Square Garden last November at UFC 268. Zhang, 33, became the first Chinese-born fighter and second Asia-born fighter to win a UFC title when she beat Jessica Andrade to win the 115-pound belt in 2019.

UFC 281 will be headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Israel Adesanyaand former kickboxing rival and top contender Alex Pereira.