Jose Aldo to be Inducted Into UFC’s Hall of Fame

Jose Aldo is head to the Hall…

The 36-year-old Brazilian retired professional mixed martial artist, the longest-reigning featherweight champion in UFC history, will be inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame later this year.

Jose AldoAldo retired from the UFC in September, one month after losing to Merab Dvalishvili in a highly ranked bantamweight fight. Had Aldo won that fight, he might have moved on to fight for a UFC title one more time.

Although he officially retired from MMA and was removed from the UFC’s rankings, Aldo has left the door open to competing in a boxing match.

Born in Manaus, Brazil, Aldo rose to 145-pound superiority in the WEC, where he won his first major championship by knocking out Mike Brown in 2009. He defended the title twice before the UFC brought the division into its fold and crowned Aldo its first-ever featherweight champ.

Aldo (31-8) won 18 consecutive fights from 2006 to 2014 and defended the UFC featherweight title a record seven times. His championship run came to a close in 2015, when he suffered a stunning 13-second knockout to rival Conor McGregor. He reclaimed the title seven months later by defeating Frankie Edgar, but lost it a second time in his next fight to Max Holloway.

Still widely considered the greatest featherweight of all time, Aldo dropped to the 135-pound bantamweight division in 2019 to try to win a second belt. He challenged Petr Yan for the vacant belt in 2020 but lost via fifth-round TKO.

Aldo joins the UFC Hall of Fame’s “modern wing” of fighters that includes Forrest GriffinBJ PennUrijah FaberRonda RouseyMichael BispingRashad EvansGeorges St-PierreKhabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier.

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.

Amanda Nunes Thrashes Megan Anderson to Retain UFC Women’s Featherweight Title

Amanda Nunes keeps on dominating…

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts history, absolutely thrashed No. 1 featherweight contender Megan Anderson.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes (21-4) forced Anderson (10-5) to tap to an armbar at 2:03 of the opening round of their featherweight title fight at UFC 259 inside the Apex. In all likelihood, she could’ve finished the fight any way she wanted. She rocked Anderson with a right hand in the opening minute, a shot that had the challenger on skates. Anderson was so hurt, she actually shot a takedown on Nunes, which led to a finish on the ground.

With the victory, Nunes defended her 145-pound title for the second time. She’s also still in control of the 135-pound bantamweight title. She is one of only three champions in UFC history to defend titles in multiple weight classes, and she holds UFC records for the women’s divisions in wins (14), finishes (10) and wins in title fights (9).

“The plan was exactly how I finished the fight,” Nunes said. “I’m here. It’s not my fault [I’m this dominant]. I know there are a lot of girls out there who want this opportunity. Who wants it?”

Anderson was a plus-700 underdog going into the fight — and that might not have been high enough. She did enough to earn a shot at Nunes in the 145-pound weight class, but she looked shell-shocked from the opening bell. Nunes slipped in a fastball overhand right early on, and it was all survival instincts from Anderson from then on. She ate several more right hands, before desperately attempting a takedown.

Nunes, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, easily stuffed the shot and moved to top position. She set up a triangle armbar attempt almost instantly and quickly produced the fourth submission win of her career. She extended her win streak to 12 overall, which is the second longest in the UFC behind only welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes and her wife, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff, brought their infant daughter, Raegan, into the Octagon after the win. Nunes, who was born in Brazil but trains in Florida, had Raegan at her side all fight week.

“I’m more dangerous now with my little girl,” Nunes said. “No one is stopping me.”

The UFC has not indicated any long-term plans for its 145-pound division, but there is no one in the foreseeable future for Nunes to fight at that weight. Her next move will almost assuredly be at bantamweight, where she has held the title since UFC 200 in 2016. She has defeated all of the sport’s biggest names, including Miesha TateRonda RouseyHolly HolmCris Cyborg and Germaine de Randamie.

Cris Cyborg Signs with Bellator MMA 

Cristiane Justino is taking her fight elsewhere…

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, better known as Cris Cyborg, has signed with Bellator MMA after a three-year run with the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC).

Cris Cyborg

One of the best women’s fighters in the history of the sport is now under a multiyear, multi-bout contract with Bellator, promotion president Scott Coker announced via Twitter. Coker wrote that it was the biggest contract ever given to a women’s MMA fighter.

Cyborg accompanied Bellator’s announcement with a video message to her fans on Facebook.

“My goal is to become the only female fighter to hold four different major titles in the same division,” said Cyborg, who has already held the women’s featherweight title in the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.

The final fight on Cyborg’s UFC contract came against Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 in July, a bout Cyborg won via unanimous decision. 

The fighter and UFC president Dana Whitehave had a long history of butting heads, and White said in the aftermath of that bout the UFC was out of the Cyborg business. The UFC waived its 90-day exclusive negotiating window with the Brazilian knockout artist, making her a free agent.

Cyborg, who is No. 3 pound-for-pound among women in ESPN‘s MMA rankings, won the UFC women’s featherweight title by beating Tonya Evinger by third-round TKO at UFC 214 in July 2017. She dropped the belt to Amanda Nunes, also the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champ, at UFC 232 last December via first-round knockout. That defeat was Cyborg’s first in 13 years, since her pro MMA debut in 2005.

From 2005 until 2018, Cyborg was the most dominating and fearsome force in women’s mixed martial arts. Justino went undefeated and won 17 of 20 victories by finish. Cyborg has beaten the likes of Holly HolmMarloes Coenen and Gina Carano. Historically, she has also been one of the best-known women’s MMA fighters in the world, drawing solid numbers on television and pay-per-view.

“I have worked with countless athletes over my 30-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like Cyborg,” said Coker, who promoted Justino with Strikeforce. “Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again. Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator, where champion Julia Budd and the other women that make up best female featherweight division in the world have eagerly awaited her arrival.”

Cyborg was brought into the UFC in 2016 at a catchweight of 140 pounds. She had competed previously at 145 pounds, a more natural weight. The idea at the time was to set up a fight between Cyborg and Ronda Rousey, but it never materialized. Cyborg was too big to get down to Rousey’s 135-pound weight class and Rousey departed the UFC later in 2016.

Cyborg and the UFC had an embattled relationship even before Cyborg was under contract. In 2014, White infamously made fun of Cyborg for her appearance at an MMA awards show, saying she looked like male fighter Wanderlei Silva in a dress. Cyborg took it as White saying she looked like a man; White has said that he was making a comment on Cyborg’s past history with performance-enhancing drugs. Cyborg tested positive for a steroid and was stripped of her Strikeforce title in 2011.

After Nunes beat Cyborg last December, White repeatedly said Cyborg didn’t want a rematch, which Cyborg vehemently denied. Meanwhile, Cyborg said she felt the UFC never truly built out a women’s featherweight division in which she could compete, which was a valid criticism.

On Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show in July, Cyborg said she wanted a public apology from White as a condition of her re-signing with the UFC.

“Of course, he has to apologize,” Justino said. “I think he has family, he has kids. … I don’t know if he has a heart, but I think one thing he’s doing is not just touching me, because he doesn’t like me. He’s touching the people around me, he’s touching my family. It’s not right.”

The rocky relationship came to an end in earnest after UFC 240 when Cyborg’s team posted a doctored video online that inaccurately quoted White in subtitles while talking to Cyborg backstage in Edmonton, Alberta. Cyborg apologized on social media, but White said in an interview on the UFC’s YouTube channel that the promotion was done with Cyborg.

“I’m going to release her from her contract and I will not match any offers [she receives],” White said. “She is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other promotions and fight these easy fights she wants. Done. Done deal. I will literally, today, have my lawyer draft a letter to [Justino’s team saying] that she is free and clear.”

In the Bellator release announcing her signing, it makes note of the promotion’s healthy women’s featherweight division, including Budd, who has won 11 straight.

Amanda Nunes Defeats Holly Holm by TKO to Retain UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title

Amanda Nunesis making the case to be considered the greatest women’s MMAfighter of all time…

The 31-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter defeated Holly Holm by TKO on Saturday to retain her women’s bantamweight title.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes landed a right head kick to Holm’s face and followed up with a hard right hand on the ground. The TKO finish came at 4 minutes, 10 seconds in the first round of the co-main event of UFC 239at T-Mobile Arena.

Nunes said she’d told her coach beforehand that she wanted to stop Holm with a head kick, because that is Holm’s signature technique. Holm had the only other head-kick knockout in a UFC women’s bantamweight title fight, against Ronda Rouseyin 2015.

Coming in, Nunes, also the featherweight champion, had beaten every other former UFC women’s bantamweight or featherweight champion outside of Holm, and now she has defeated Holm as well.

“I told my coaches I wanted to knock her out the same way she knocks people out,” Nunes said. “I did it tonight. She was the only former champion I didn’t beat yet. Now I beat her, and I’m very happy.”

Nunes (17-4) said that she next wanted to defend her featherweight belt to become the only UFC champion to defend two titles while holding them concurrently. 

The Brazilian fighter, who trains out of American Top Teamin Florida, has won nine bouts in a row. Nunes, 31, has four first-round finishes in title fights, tied for second with Matt Hughes. Rousey is first with five.

UFC president Dana Whitereiterated his stance that Nunes ranks among the greatest MMA fighters ever, putting her alongside the likes of Anderson SilvaGeorges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.

White said he was open to booking a rematch between Nunes and Cris Cyborg, who lasted only 51 seconds against Nunes in December.

“This woman is tough, man,” White said of Nunes. “She’s unbelievable. Pound for pound, one of the greatest of all time. But there will be somebody next.”

Holm (12-5) had won two of her past three fights. The former three-division world champion boxer has now lost in four UFC title fights. Holm is only 2-5 since her knockout of Rousey at UFC 193.

Miranda to Narrate Alexander Hamilton-Themed Episode of “Drunk History”

Lin-Manuel Miranda is ready to school you in American History…

The 36-year-old Broadway star, the creator of the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton, will be offering a Drunk History lesson on Comedy Central this upcoming season.

Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

Drunk History transports viewers back in time to hang with the Founding Fathers. And this season, Miranda, who just wrapped up his last performance as Alexander Hamilton on Broadway, will narrate the rivalry between the first United States Secretary of the Treasury and politican Aaron Burr, who was the third Vice President of the United States.

Other guest stars featured this season include Allan McLeod, Billie Joe Armstrong, Steve Berg, Rachel Bilson, Michael Cera, Josh Charles, Kat Dennings, Ben Folds, Dave Grohl, Tony Hale, Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, Elizabeth Olsen, Aubrey PlazaRonda Rousey, Liev Schreiber, Alia Shawkat and Duncan Trussell.

Season 4 of Comedy Central’s Emmy-winning comedy series will premiere Tuesday, September 27.

Created for television by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, Drunk History is produced by Gary Sanchez Productions.

Nunes Upsets Miesha Tate to Become UFC’s First Openly Gay Champion

Amanda Nunes is celebrating a special UFC first…

The 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist pulled off an upset win over Miesha Tate in the main event of UFC 200.

Amanda Nunes

With the win, Nunes is now the first openly gay champion in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

She clinched the belt by dominating Tate with a fierce early flurry, then causing the bantamweight champion to tap out after just 3 minutes, 18 seconds.

“This is amazing,” Nunes said, when asked by USA TODAY Sports about the significance of her achievement. Nunes has been in a relationship with partner Nina Ansaroff, also a UFC fighter, for four years. “I am so happy in my life,” she added.

During the endless months of planning and plotting and trying to stack the show with as many famous names as possible, the hierarchy at the UFC probably didn’t figure on their signature event ending with an upset win from a little-known fighter.

Nunes has around 25,000 followers on Twitter, a number that jumped greatly in the hours after she wrested the belt from Tate, the third such change of bantamweight hardware since November.

“To have our very first openly gay champion shows you how far this sport has come,” UFC vice president of public relations Dave Sholler said. “Amanda is an incredible ambassador. When you talk about all the great moments, having Amanda carry the flag literally and figuratively for the gay community is a seminal moment for our sport.”

The UFC is not an organization that immediately springs to mind when you think about progressiveness. Middleweight champion Michael Bisping uttered a slur at opponent Luke Rockhold after his win at UFC 199 last month, though he immediately retracted it.

When transgender fighter Fallon Fox revealed she had been born a man in 2013, heavyweight Matt Mitrione – then with the UFC – branded her a “sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak” and was given a temporary suspension.

In past years, fighters have used epithets related to homosexuality to taunt rivals. In truth, such behavior has not been entirely eliminated.

However, UFC president Dana White said in 2011 that he hoped that any gay UFC fighters would feel empowered and safe enough to come out. More recently, the company has launched an initiative called “We Are All Fighters,” aimed at promoting understanding and to benefit an LGBTQ community organization in southern Nevada.

That cause now has a powerful figurehead in the quirky, humorous and thoroughly charming Nunes, whose devastating combat skills are at odds with her regular persona.

“It is huge,” Ansaroff, a UFC strawweight with a 6-5 record, told USA TODAY Sports minutes after her partner’s triumph. “Not so much for us or the fact we are trying to get recognition as a gay couple, but for the human race as it is. People are people. They could be your neighbor, or your next UFC champion. Treat everybody the same.”

Ansaroff and Nunes live openly, regularly posting affectionate messages and photographs on social media.

“(Amanda) is pretty much the exact opposite of what everyone thinks about her,” Ansaroff said. “When I first met her, I thought, ‘This lady is crazy.’ But she is the biggest sweetheart, she will do anything for her loved ones. She always likes to have fun. The only time she is serious is when that cage door pops.”

Nunes is now part of a women’s bantamweight division that brings all kinds of intrigue. She now sits alongside Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm and Tate as part of a four-pronged collective at the top of the pile.

A bout between any one of the group would likely be pay-per-view headlining material. The situation should provide a long series of battles before it shakes out anything decisive — depending on when Rousey returns.

“Now I am champion,” Nunes said. “Next will be whatever, whoever, they decide to put against me. I am going to enjoy being champion.”

Justino to Make UFC Debut Against Leslie Smith at UFC 198

Cris “Cyborg” Justino is finally hitting the UFC stage…

The 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and the former Strikeforce Women‘s Featherweight Champion will make her long-awaited UFC debut on May 14 in her hometown of Curitiba, Brazil.

Cris "Cyborg" Justino

Long considered one of the top female fighters in the world, Justino will fight Leslie Smith at UFC 198 at Arena da Baixada, according to UFC officials. The bout will take place at 140 pounds.

“It’s a dream come true for Cris, not only to fight in front of her home crowd but to step into the Octagon. We’re just happy the UFC is giving her this opportunity,” Justino’s manager, George Prajin, said. “We’re not looking past this fight. One month ago, we thought it would be a Hail Mary to get into the UFC. Now we have this opportunity. They’re the boss. Whatever they want moving forward is what’s next for her.”

Justino (15-1) is the 145-pound champion in all-female promotion Invicta FC. In early 2015, Justino signed a contract extension with Invicta that allowed her to appear in UFC. Invicta events air on UFC Fight Pass, UFC’s digital subscription service.

Fighting out of southern California, Justino has not suffered a loss since her professional debut in May 2005. She has recorded knockouts in 13 of her professional victories, including three consecutive first-round finishes.

A former Strikeforce featherweight champion, Justino had danced around a potential megafight against former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for years. UFC publicly stated numerous times that that fight would have to take place at 135 pounds, UFC’s largest weight class for female fighters.

Circumstances changed in November, when Rousey suffered a second-round knockout loss to Holly Holm. Shortly after that result, Justino said she was done trying to cut to 135 pounds and would accept a UFC bout only at a 140-pound catchweight. Several notable UFC bantamweights have said they would meet Justino at a catchweight, including Holm and current champion Miesha Tate.

Smith (8-6-1) is 2-2 in UFC. The seven-year veteran is coming off a decision win against Rin Nakai earlier this month in Brisbane, Australia.

Universal Releases Three-Minute Trailer for Rodriguez’s “Furious 7”

Michelle Rodriguez is ready to take crazy “to a whole new level”…

Universal Pictures has released a new three-minute trailer for Furious 7, starring the 36-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress.

Michelle Rodriguez

“I don’t have friends — I got family,” asserts Vin Diesel in the high-octane trailer.

In addition to Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, the film also stars the late Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky, Lucas Black, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Romeo Santos.

Meanwhile, Jason Statham makes his debut as the film’s villain, who is keen on getting revenge.

Fast & Furious 7 will be released in theaters on April 10, 2015.