Jorge Masvidal to Fight Leon Edwards at UFC 269 in December

Jorge Masvidal is preparing for a grudge match

One of the most infamous backstage scuffles in UFC history will be revisited in December, when the 36-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist and fellow UFC welterweight Leon Edwards have agreed to meet inside the Octagon.

Jorge Masvidal

Edwards and Masvidal will square off at UFC 269 on December 11, UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN. Contracts have not yet been signed, but bout agreements have been sent to both parties.

This fight has held personal implications since March 2019, when Edwards and Masvidal were involved in a backstage incident at a UFC Fight Night event in London. Masvidal struck Edwards in the face after Edwards interrupted him during a postfight interview.

Later in the night, Masvidal would infamously describe the punches he landed on Edwards as a “three-piece and soda.”

Masvidal wrote in a tweet Monday: “You’re welcome #supernecessary”

In addition to settling a long-standing grudge, the matchup will have major implications on the welterweight division. Edwards (19-3) is riding a nine-fight win streak and is a strong candidate for a title shot in 2022. Masvidal (35-15) is coming off back-to-back failed title bids against Kamaru Usman in 2020 and 2021 but has said his goal is still to claim the UFC championship.

“Despite earning the next title shot, [Edwards] has always been willing to fight Jorge first, provided the terms were correct,” Edwards’ manager, Tim Simpson, told ESPN. “We are very happy with the deal, and excited to compete in December, and then for a world title thereafter.”

As a result of the UFC adding this high-profile bout to the card, a trilogy flyweight title fight between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo has been moved to UFC 270 on January 22, according to the UFC.

UFC 270 on January 22 does not have an official location yet, but sources told ESPN the promotion is looking at Anaheim, which is only about 100 miles north of Moreno’s hometown of Tijuana, Mexico.

Thiago Santos Outlasts Johnny Walker to Win by Unanimous Decision at UFC Fight Night

Thiago Santos is celebrating another victory…

The 37-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist edged Johnny Walker via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Thiago Santos

The fight featured two of the most explosive knockout artists in the UFC light heavyweight division, but it never got out of first gear.

A big overhand left from Santos in the fifth round likely sealed the victory in the close contest.

Santos to win by decision was +650, according to the Caesars Sportsbook. Neither man landed more than 11 significant strikes in a single round.

“I tried to do my best,” Santos said in his post-fight news conference. “I tried to knock him out, but it’s hard to get close to him. He’s big, but he moves fast.”

ESPN has Santos ranked No. 10 in the world at light heavyweight and Walker was trying to ascend the ladder. Both men were born in Brazil, but live and train elsewhere.

Santos competes out of Florida’s American Top Team and Walker trains at Dublin’s SBG Ireland, the home gym of Conor McGregor.

Santos said in his post-fight interview on ESPN+ that he next would like to face top Czech Republic light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka.

Walker held a 4-inch height and 6-inch reach advantage, so it made it hard for the smaller Santos to get inside where he’s so effective with his hard hooks. But Walker also wasn’t very active offensively. The best techniques of the fight were Santos’ kicks to the legs and body of Walker.

Walker had a solid first round with leg kicks, keeping Santos at bay. Santos landed some hard kicks to the body and legs of Walker in the second round. In the third, Santos had his best head shot to that point, a left that wobbled Walker off a Walker kick. Walker got back some momentum in the fourth round with some kicks and a right hand, his best punch of the night.

Santos, though, cemented the win in the fifth. He landed two hard left hands and big body kick. Walker didn’t show much urgency down the stretch and the bout went to a decision.

Santos (22-9) came in tied for the second most KO/TKOs in UFC history with 11. “Marreta” snapped a three-fight losing streak with the victory. One of those losses came against then-champion Jon Jones in a 2019 UFC light heavyweight title fight in which Santos blew out both of his knees. Santos earned his first win Saturday since that surgery. He was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259 in March.

“I come from a tough injury on my knees,” he said in his postfight interview. “It’s so tough to recover. … I was sure this fight I was going to do 100% better than my last fights. And I did. I’m going up, not down.”

Walker (18-6) was coming off a huge first-round knockout over Ryan Spann in September 2020. This was only the third time he’s been to a decision in his pro career. He has won all four of his UFC bouts via finish. Walker, 29, was considered an outstanding prospect before back-to-back losses to Corey Anderson and Nikita Krylov in 2019 and 2020. Now, he has lost three of his past four.

Jose Aldo to Fight Rob Font in Main Event of December UFC Fight Night

Jose Aldo is ready for his next Octagon appearance…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, a former longtime UFC and WEC featherweight champion, will meet the surging Rob Font in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on December 4 in Las Vegas.

Jose Aldo

The bout was first mentioned by MMA reporter Ariel Helwani on Spotify Greenroom and the date was first reported by Brazilian outlet Combate.

ESPN has Font ranked No. 5 in the world at bantamweight and Aldo at No. 6. The winner would be in pole position for a potential title opportunity, though the division is waiting for the return of champion Aljamain Sterling from neck surgery. Sterling withdrew from a title rematch with former champ Petr Yan at UFC 267 on October 30, and Yan will now fight Cory Sandhagen in an interim title bout.

Aldo (30-7) has won two straight after falling in a title fight to Yan at UFC 251 in July 2020. The Brazilian striker is coming off a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265 last month. Aldo is one of the most decorated former champions in MMA history. He was the first UFC featherweight champion and took the title from WEC into the UFC, a span of six years. Aldo has the most title defenses in UFC featherweight history (7).

Font (19-4) has won four straight and five of his last six bouts. The Massachusetts native is coming off a unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt in May. Font, 34, sports a 9-3 UFC record.

Yair Rodriguez In Final Talks to Fight Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night in November

Yair Rodriguez is thisclose to returning to the Octagon

The UFC is finalizing a featherweight matchup between the 28-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist and former champion Max Holloway.

Yair Rodriguez

Rodriguez and Holloway would headline an event on November 13, according to ESPN.

Contracts haven’t been signed, but the bout is expected to become official shortly.

It will serve as the main event of a UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

Yair Rodriguez

The 145-pound contest was originally supposed to take place on July 17 in Las Vegas; however, Holloway was forced to pull out due to injury. Rather than book Rodriguez another opponent, the UFC elected to keep the matchup intact until Holloway made a recovery.

According to sources, Holloway accepted the date this week.

Rodriguez (13-2) has not fought since he defeated Jeremy Stephens via decision in October 2019. He was booked to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov in August 2020, but was forced to pull out because of an injury. The Mexican featherweight has only fought three times in the last three years, but is still the UFC’s No. 3-ranked featherweight.

Holloway (22-6) is already viewed as the division’s No. 1 contender. The former champion lost his title to current champion Alexander Volkanovski via unanimous decision in December 2019. The bout was razor close, and the two fought again in July 2020. Volkanovski won again, by split decision in a bout many observers felt Holloway won.

The 29-year-old Hawaiian fought Calvin Kattar in January, and delivered arguably one of the best performances in UFC history. He defeated Kattar via unanimous decision, and landed 445 total strikes in the process.

The winner of the November bout is virtually guaranteed a title shot.

Ketlen Viera to Fight Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate in October

Ketlen Vieira is preparing for the main event…

The 3-0year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist will fight former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is back in the main event.

Ketlen Viera

 

Viera and Tate, one of the most popular women’s MMA fighters ever, will headline a UFC Fight Night on October16 in Las Vegas, according to the UFC .

ESPN has Vieira ranked No. 8 in the world at women’s 135 pounds, and this is Tate’s chance to climb the divisional ladder again. “Cupcake” made her return from retirement after five years away with an impressive,third-round TKO over Marion Reneau in July.

Tate vs. Vieira had been targeted by the UFC for several weeks, but the announcement was pending Vieira signing the bout agreement, which happened Thursday, according to Vieira’s Instagram.

Tate (19-7) headlined UFC 200 in July 2016 against current women’s bantamweight and women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. The Washington native, who fights out of Las Vegas, stepped away from competition after a loss to Raquel Pennington four months after that, taking an executive position with ONE Championship in Singapore.

Tate,announced she’d be returning to the UFC last March — and was seeking a future chance to challenge for the title she lost to Nunes five years ago.

Vieira (11-2) has dropped two of her last three fights after starting her career 10-0. The Brazil native most recently lost to Yana Kunitskaya via unanimous decision in February. Vieira owns UFC wins over Cat ZinganoSara McMann and Sijara Eubanks.

Marina Rodriguez in Final Talks to Fight Mackenzie Dern in October ‘UFC Fight Night”

Marina Rodriguez has lined up her next challenger…

The UFC is targeting an important strawweight fight between the 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Mackenzie Dern to headline a card in October, according to ESPN.

Marina RodriguezContracts haven’t been signed, but the 115-pound contest is close to being finalized, according to sources.

The fight is expected to headline UFC Fight Night on October 9, at a location to be determined.

Rodriguez and Dern are the Nos. 5- and 6-ranked strawweights, respectively, in UFC.

Rodriguez (14-1-2) is coming off a five-round unanimous decision over Michelle Waterson in May. She has surged up the 115-pound rankings with victories over Waterson and Amanda Ribas. She is 4-1-2 overall in the UFC.

Dern (11-1) has been on a tear since returning to the sport after giving birth to her first child in 2019. She went 3-0 in 2020 with two finishes, including a first-round armbar finish over Nina Nunes in April.

Yair Rodriguez Reportedly Fighting Max Holloway in UFC Fight Night This Summer

It looks like Yair Rodriguez will be heading back to the Octagon this summer…

The UFC is finalizing plans for a featherweight matchup between the 28-year-old Mexican professional mixed martial artist and Max Holloway for July, according to UFC president Dana White.

 

Yair Rodriguez

Contracts haven’t been signed, but the UFC is close to finalizing the 145-pound contest, according to ESPN. Once official, it is expected to headline a UFC Fight Night event on July 17 at a location to be announced, sources said.

Rodriguez (13-2) has not fought since he earned a decision victory againsJeremy Stephens in October 2019. He was scheduled to fight last August, but withdrew due to injury.

Rodriguez, of Chihuahua, Mexico, is 8-1 in the UFC overall. His only loss came in 2017 to former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

Holloway (22-6), a former UFC featherweight champion, is coming off arguably one of the greatest performances in UFC history in January. He landed a UFC record 445 total strikes in a five-round decision win over Calvin Kattar at the beginning of the year on Fight Island.

Fighting out of Waianae, Hawaii, Holloway, 29, is already considered in line for a 145-pound title shot, but the division is currently on a bit of a hold, as current champion Alexander Volkanovski is expected to face Brian Ortega at some point in the second half of 2021. With no title fight available, Holloway elected to remain active.

Paulo Costa ThisClose to Closing Deal to Fight Jared Cannonier in August

Paulo Costa could be back in the Octagon this summer…

The UFC is close to finalizing a middleweight main event between the 30-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and Jared Cannonier for a UFC Fight Night in August, according to UFC president Dana White.

Paulo Costa

Contracts haven’t been signed yet, but the 185-pound contest is expected to become official shortly.

The fight will headline UFC Fight Night on August 21 at a location to be determined, according to White.

Costa (13-1) has not fought since he came up short in a title bid against Israel Adesanya in September. The 30-year-old from Brazil was scheduled to face Robert Whittaker last month but was forced to withdraw because of medical issues.

Cannonier (13-5) is coming off a loss to Whittaker in a three-round non-title fight in October. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for Cannonier.

The bout figures to have a major impact on the middleweight division.

Adesanya, the current champion, is scheduled to defend his title against Marvin Vettori in June.

Marina Rodriguez Defeats Michelle Waterson By Unanimous Decision

And the wins keep on coming for Marina Rodriguez.

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist defeated Michelle Waterson, using her Muay Thai striking effectively en route to a unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) win in the UFC Fight Night main event on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Marina Rodriguez

It was one of the best career performances for Rodriguez, who didn’t arrive in Las Vegas until Thursday, two days later than every other fighter on the card.

Rodriguez had struggles getting a visa into the United States because of COVID-19 and spent 20 hours in travel over Wednesday and Thursday morning.

But in the end, none of that ended up mattering.

“There were so many challenges, but the big thing was just armoring my mind,” Rodriguez said after the fight through a translator. “The whole team put our shields up. We knew it would be different and we couldn’t be shaken by it.”

The initially scheduled main event Saturday was former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw taking on top contender Cory Sandhagen. But Dillashaw withdrew last week because of injury. That bout will be rebooked.

Rodriguez and Waterson didn’t agree to this bout — up a division at flyweight because of the timing — until April 27, and the UFC didn’t make it official until this past Tuesday.

The first three rounds featured Rodriguez chewing Waterson up with big right hands, knees out of a Thai clinch and elbows with Waterson against the cage. As hard as Rodriguez tried, though, she could not get the durable Waterson out of there. And Waterson mounted a huge comeback in the fourth round.

Waterson took Rodriguez down in the fourth and landed big elbows from half guard. In the fifth round, Waterson landed a head kick that wobbled Rodriguez and caused bad swelling on the left of her jaw. Waterson followed that up with a side kick to the body that clearly hurt Rodriguez. In that final, eventful round, Rodriguez was able to score a head kick late that did damage to Waterson.

Coming in, ESPN had Rodriguez ranked No. 6 in the world at strawweight and Waterson ranked No. 9. Rodriguez said the key factor about overcoming her prefight travel chaos “was we were able to come in, show the work we did and get the victory even with everything going against us.”

Rodriguez added that she aims to target a top-three opponent — maybe Joanna Jedrzejczyk — for her next fight and said she feels like she is close to a title shot.

The bout took place with COVID-19 protocols in effect at the UFC Apex, the facility across the street from the promotion’s corporate campus.

Rodriguez (14-1-2) has just one loss in seven UFC outings and now has two straight wins.

The Muay Thai specialist was coming off a second-round TKO win over prospect Amanda Ribas in January. Rodriguez, 34, has lost only to former champion Carla Esparza in the UFC, but she has a pair of draws against Cynthia Calvillo and Randa Markos.

Waterson (18-9) is the former Invicta FC atomweight champion and one of the most popular women’s fighters on the UFC roster. Fighting out of New Mexico, Waterson was coming off a split decision win over Angela Hill last September, which snapped a two-fight losing skid. Waterson has won four of six fights overall.

“[Waterson is] so experienced,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the thing I knew going into it. When she was Invicta champion, that was [around the same time as] my first Muay Thai class. I looked up to her, too. I knew she was very tough. To go five rounds with her and win, it’s an amazing feat for my career.”

Marina Rodriguez to Fight Michelle Waterson in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night

Marina Rodriguez is heading to the Octagon

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist will face off against Michelle Waterson in the UFC Fight Night headliner on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Marina Rodriguez

The originally scheduled main event between former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and top contender Cory Sandhagen was postponed last week due to a Dillashaw injury.

Rodriguez and Waterson are both top strawweights, but the bout will be contested a division up at flyweight due to the short-notice nature of the situation. The bout will still be five rounds, like typical UFC main events.

ESPN has Rodriguez ranked No. 6 in the world at strawweight; Waterson comes in at No. 9.

Rodriguez (13-1-2) has just one loss in six UFC appearances. She is coming off a second-round TKO win over prospect Amanda Ribas in January.

Rodriguez has lost just once in her career, to former UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza in a split decision last July.

Waterson (18-8) is one of the most well-known women’s fighters in mixed martial arts. Nicknamed “The Karate Hottie,” the New Mexico resident is coming off a split decision win over Angela Hill last September. Waterson has won four of her past six bouts with the only losses coming against Esparza and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, another former UFC champion.