Chris Avila to Fight YouTube star Doctor Mike in October

Chris Avila is puttin’ on the boxing gloves…

The 29-year-old Latino UFC and Bellator MMA veteran will compete against YouTube star Doctor Mike in a four-round, professional boxing match on October 29 in Glendale, Arizona.

Chris AvilaThe contracted weight will be 185 pounds, and the pair will fight with 10-ounce gloves. An official announcement is expected to be made soon.

Doctor Mike, whose real name is Mikhail Varshavski, is a well-known social media influencer with more than 23 million followers across platforms and more than 10 million YouTube subscribers.

Varshavski competed in an amateur boxing match back in May, a unanimous decision win over YouTube personality IaniDubbbzWashburn. That event raised $1.3 million for charity, and Varshavski donated his entire fight purse to Ukraine relief. For the Avila fight, Varshavski will donate his purse to the Boys & Girls Club, per officials.

“As a practicing physician, I’ve taken an oath to ‘do no harm,’ but when those ‘exam’ gloves come off and the boxing gloves slide on: all bets are off,” Varshavski said via a statement. “With one win under my belt, I’m hungry to add more. And this pro-fight with Chris Avila could be just what the doctor ordered.”

This will be Varshavski’s pro boxing debut, as he joins the likes of Jake Paul as famous YouTubers competing against professional boxers.

Avila is 1-1 as a pro boxer and is an eight-year veteran of mixed martial arts, a longtime member of Nate Diaz‘s team in Northern California. Most recently, Avila beat Paul sparring partner Anthony Taylor last December in a boxing match via majority decision. Avila is expected to be the first fighter signed to Diaz’s new promotional entity Real Fight Inc., which is still going through the process of getting licensed by athletic commissions.

“Hmmmm, let’s see. I am giving him a height advantage, a reach advantage and a medical degree advantage,” Avila said on Tuesday. “It’s whatever though. If he wants to go to boxing fantasy camp, then I’m glad to give him the lesson he wants. A real fight against a real fighter who is not here to play games or clout chase for Instagram.”

Also on the card, Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions‘ top prospect, 18-year-old Ashton Sylve, will face boxing veteran Braulio Rodriguez in an eight-round fight contracted at 133 pounds, per officials. Sylve is undefeated at 7-0 with seven knockouts, and Rodriguez (20-4, 17 KOs) is just one fight removed from competing against Ryan Garcia, a 2018 knockout loss at Madison Square Garden. This represents a major step up in competition for Sylve.

The card will be put on by MVP and distributed by Showtime.

“MVP was started 14 months ago with a goal to elevate fighters and provide a platform that puts them first,” Paul and MVP co-founder Nakisa Bidarian said via a statement. “From the highest levels of boxing like Amanda Serrano, to young elite prospects like Ashton Sylve and unique crossover matchups like Avila vs. Dr. Mike, we pride ourselves on delivering exciting events that have something for everyone. On Saturday October 29, we are proud to partner with Showtime once again and deliver a night of boxing for the ages.”

UFC Finalizing Plans for Nate Diaz-Khamzat Chimaev Fight in September

Nate Diaz is thisclose to his next fight…

The UFC is finalizing a welterweight fight between the Mexican-American mixed martial artist and Khamzat Chimaev.

Nate DiazThe Diaz-Chimaev fight would headline UFC 279 on September 10, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell tells ESPN.

Contracts haven’t been signed, but both fighters have verbally agreed to the matchup and date according to Campbell. UFC 279 will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Zach Rosenfield, Diaz’s representative, confirmed the date and opponent of Diaz’s next fight.

“This is a fight Nate has been asking for since the middle of April,” Rosenfield told ESPN on Tuesday.

Diaz (20-13) has been vocal in 2022 about wishing to fight out his current UFC contract, which has one fight remaining. According to sources, Diaz’s camp and the UFC were involved in discussions around a new contract, however Diaz recently made it very clear he wished to fight out the deal.

One of the most popular fighters on the roster, Diaz hasn’t fought since a decision loss to current UFC welterweight title challenger Leon Edwards in June 2021.

Chimaev (11-0) is coming off a decision victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in April. It was the most competitive fight of Chiamev’s professional career, but it also came against a former UFC title challenger.

Chimaev, who was born in Chechnya and now fights out of Stockholm, is one of the fastest-rising title contenders in UFC history. He is 5-0 since signing with the promotion in 2020.

“I am going to handle Nate Diaz’s funeral with the UFC,” said Chimaev, in a statement he provided in Swedish to his representatives.

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.”

Nick Diaz is Set to Make Return to UFC in September

Nick Diaz is making a comeback…

According to his longtime attorney, Ross Goodman, the 37-year-old Mexican American mixed martial artist is officially returning to the UFC.

Nick Diaz

Diaz has signed a bout agreement to face Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 on September 25 in Las Vegas.

Lawler hasn’t signed his agreement yet, sources told ESPN, but wants the fight, and is expected to sign his side shortly. The non-title fight is expected to be five rounds, and will be on the main portion of the pay-per-view card.

Diaz (26-9) is the older brother of UFC star Nate Diaz, and a pioneer in mixed martial arts. He is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion, and was involved in big fights with the UFC against B.J. Penn, Carlos Condit, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva from 2011 to 2015.

In September 2015, the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Diaz for five years after he tested positive for marijuana metabolites after his fight against Silva in UFC 183. It was his third marijuana-related offense in the state of Nevada, which led to the harsh punishment.

Ironically, the NSAC voted just last week in favor of no longer disciplining combat sports athletes for marijuana use.

Diaz and Lawler have a history that runs back to 2004. They met on the undercard of UFC 47. Diaz won via knockout in a highly entertaining contest.

Lawler (28-15) is a former UFC welterweight champion. He won the 170-pound title by defeating Johny Hendricks in 2014 and defended it twice in instant classics against Rory MacDonald and Condit. The 39-year-old has dropped his past four bouts, all against very high-level competition.

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.

UFC Eyeing Rematch Between Jorge Masvidal & Nate Diaz

It looks like Jorge Masvidal could be getting the chance for a repeat…

The UFC is eyeing a welterweight rematch between the 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist and Nate Diaz, according to UFC president Dana White.

Jorge Masvidal

Bout agreements haven’t been signed, but both sides are reportedly interested in the rematch.

The UFC is looking to book the rematch as the next bout for both Masvidal and Diaz, but a date hasn’t been set. TMZ has reported that the fight is targeted for UFC 256 on December 12. But sources tell ESPN the fight could also take place in January.

Masvidal and Diaz squared off last November in the main event of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden for the inaugural BMF Championship. Masvidal (35-14) defeated Diaz via TKO when ringside physicians stopped the bout after the third round due to a facial cut. Diaz protested the stoppage.

Masvidal, who made history as the first Latino on the cover of the mixed martial arts fighting video game EA Sports UFC, went on to challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight championship at UFC 251 last month in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Masvidal accepted the fight on short notice after Usman’s original opponent, Gilbert Burns, was forced off the card at the last minute due to a positive COVID-19 test. Masvidal lost via unanimous decision.

Diaz (20-12) has not fought since the loss to Masvidal. The 35-year-old Mexican American welterweight fought twice in 2019 after a three-year layoff. He defeated Anthony Pettis in August of 2019 before losing to Masvidal in November.

Jorge Masvidal Signs Multi-Fight Contract with the UFC

Jorge Masvidal has a new deal…

The 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist has signed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC ahead of his bout against Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.

Jorge Masvidal

Masvidal tells ESPN the UFC didn’t give him every single thing he asked for but that the deal came “very, very close” to that and he’s “happy” with it.

Masvidal had been one of the most vocal UFC stars in years on the topic of fighter pay. Last month, the welterweight star tweeted that if the UFC didn’t think he was worth it, the promotion should release him.

Those tweets were made as the negotiations between the UFC and Masvidal for a welterweight title fight against Usman fell apart. 

On Sunday — just six days before the fight — the two sides finally came to an agreement.

Usman will defend his welterweight belt against Masvidal in the main event of UFC 251 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. 

Usman’s previous opponent, Gilbert Burns, withdrew Friday because of illness. Masvidal is stepping in on six days’ notice, though he was the challenger the UFC tabbed in the first place before contract talks stalled out.

“I’m happy more than anything because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it,” Masvidal said.

Masvidal said the UFC’s first offer last month for him to fight Usman was a “s— deal on the pay-per-view end and on the guaranteed side.”

“I can understand you don’t want to give me that much on the guaranteed,” Masvidal said. “But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that, and they weren’t budging. And that was that. So, all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses.”

Masvidal said he won’t stop speaking up about what he perceives as an issue with how much fighters get paid. But he said things have gotten closer to an understanding between him personally and the UFC.

“We’re not there yet, but we’re headed in that direction,” Masvidal said. “Moving forward after this fight, they’re gonna treat me accordingly. Or I’ll just step in last minute six days to go and get paid then, I guess. That’s the new scheme I have to do, whatever. But I’m gonna get paid every time out.”

Masvidal flew to Las Vegas on Sunday and passed a COVID-19 test. He was quarantining in his hotel room Sunday night and will be taking a private jet to Abu Dhabi on Monday. 

Usman is expected to leave Las Vegas on Monday as well. 

Regarding training and being ready to fight, Masvidal said he wasn’t in a full training camp because he didn’t know he’d be competing in a fight until this weekend. But “Gamebred” said he had been at his American Top Team gym two or three times a week and lifting and staying active. Masvidal said he weighed 192 pounds on Saturday. He’ll have to weigh 170 pounds at maximum this coming Friday for the title fight to be official.

“I never stopped training,” Masvidal said. “I’m always training. But I’m not always in the gym doing the specifics.” Masvidal said that he believes he’s in adequate shape to fight Saturday, while taking a shot at Usman compared with two of Masvidal’s recent opponents.

“If you’re asking me, are you in shape?” Masvidal said. “… Maybe not to fight Ben Askren. I’m not in Ben Askren shape, because he’s a hell of a wrestler. Or even to fight a guy like Darren Till. But am I in shape for this bum I’m about to decapitate and baptize? Hell yeah.”

Masvidal will have 48 career pro fights Saturday when he makes the walk against Usman (pending further COVID-19 protocols in Abu Dhabi). That’s the second most ever for a fighter appearing in his or her first UFC title fight. 

If he wins, Masvidal already knows whom he wants to defend the welterweight belt against: Nate Diaz and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

Jorge Masvidal to Fight Kamaru Usman in Welterwight Title Bout at UFC 251

Jorge Masvidal is making his title claim…

The 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial will fight Kamaru Usman in a welterweight title fight on Saturday at UFC 251 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Jorge Masvidal

Masvidal passed his coronavirus test, and both he and Usman will be leaving Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi later Monday, sources said. 

Usman will be on a charter flight, and Masvidal will fly on a private jet, according to sources.

After arriving in Las Vegas on Sunday, both fighters had to take a coronavirus test and then quarantine while awaiting the results. Had they not passed the tests, the fight wouldn’t have been able to happen.

The UFC worked to salvage Usman’s presence on the card after Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw Friday night.

For the past two months, the UFC and Masvidal were far apart on contract talks to make this fight happen. In the end, the UFC decided to walk away from negotiations about a month ago and gave the title fight to Burns, who recently beat former champion Tyron Woodley.

Afterward, Masvidal posted a series of tweets criticizing the UFC for its business practices and questioning whether the relationship would be severed for some time. But once Burns was forced off the card late Friday, momentum started to build for the original plan, which is a grudge match months in the making. 

Usman and Masvidal have been embroiled in a heated feud that saw the duo get into a shouting match at Super Bowl media row earlier this year in Miami.

On Saturday afternoon, Usman tweeted, “Might be time for the pig to squeal.” Masvidal’s co-manager posted a series of Instagram stories showing Masvidal on the phone, with the caption “negotiating.”

Of course, during the coronavirus pandemic, it isn’t as simple as just agreeing to a fight. Masvidal took and passed a coronavirus antibody test Saturday afternoon. That test shows whether an individual has been exposed to the coronavirus but doesn’t indicate whether the person currently has the virus. The fighters still have to pass more coronavirus tests before fight night, as will all the fighters competing this month in Abu Dhabi.

Masvidal is considered one of the most popular fighters in the sport, with many believing that he was the 2019 fighter of the year after he picked up impressive wins over Darren TillBen Askren and Nate Diaz

UFC Fighter Nate Diaz Beats Anthony Pettis in First Fight After Three-Year Hiatus

Nate Diaz is back in a big way…

In his highly anticipated return to the Octagon after a three year absence, the 34-year-old Latino mixed martial artist was excellent in a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) win over Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241on Saturday at the Honda Center.

Nate Diaz

Diaz had not fought since a loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202on August 20, 2016. 

He imposed his will on Pettis early and often. Diaz was able to press Pettis against the cage in every round and land punch combinations, elbows and knees. He closed the first and third rounds in good positions on the ground, an area he also controlled when the fight went there.

Afterward, Diaz said he is interested in fighting Jorge Masvidal next, adding that he was impressed by Masvidal’s five-second knockout of Ben Askren last month.

“All respect to the man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him,” said Diaz, who hails from Stockton, California, and enjoyed a huge partisan crowd on Saturday. “So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”

At his postfight news conference, UFC president Dana Whitesaid he wouldn’t be opposed to making Diaz-Masvidal fight if that’s what both fighters wanted next.

Diaz (20-11) went 1-1 against McGregor in 2016. They were two of the biggest pay-per-view events in Ultimate Fighting Championshiphistory. Diaz has a huge cult following among fans for his irreverence, exciting fighting style and propensity to flip a double bird. He had not fought since that star-making year because he wasn’t able to come to terms with the UFC.