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.

Marlon Moraes Coming Out of Retirement with Multi-Fight PFL Deal

Marlon Moraes is making a comeback…

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC bantamweight title challenger  has decided to come out of retirement, and will do so under a new multi-fight deal with Professional Fighters League (PFL).Marlon Moraes In addition to the new deal, Moraes (23-10-1) has agreed to a featherweight matchup against Shane Burgos (15-3) on the promotion’s tournament finals card later this year.

Multiple sources told ESPN contracts haven’t been signed for the bout, but verbal agreements are in place.

The PFL has not announced an official date or location for the event, although it is expected to take place in November.

Moraes walked away from the sport earlier this year following a four-fight skid in the Octagon, but figures to be a prominent new face in the PFL’s season format. He’s actually returning to his former home, in a sense. Moraes was a 135-pound champion at World Series of Fighting, which was rebranded into the PFL in 2017.

Originally from Brazil and now fighting out of Florida, Moraes came within one win of becoming a UFC champion in June 2019, when he came up short in a vacant title bid against challenger Henry Cejudo. He went on to drop four of his next five, although he was fighting the very best of his weight class in the likes of Song YadongMerab DvalishviliRob Font and Cory Sandhagen.

Burgos, of New York, also signed a new deal with PFL this year. The 31-year-old fought exclusively in the UFC from 2106 to 2022. He has fought some of the top names of the division during his career. Following his signing with PFL, UFC president Dana White went so far as to admit the promotion made an error in not keeping Burgos on its roster.

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.

Shane Burgos Reveals Plans to Join the Professional Fighters League (PFL)

Shane Burgos is makin’ money moves….

The 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican professional mixed martial artist has announced plans to join the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Shane Burgos Burgos, a popular featherweight fighter, announced his plans to leave the UFC on Monday’s The MMA Hour.

Burgos fought out his UFC contract with his win over Charles Jourdain on July 16, becoming a free agent.

He said he’ll likely compete in PFL before the end of the year in an out-of-season fight and then enter either the lightweight or featherweight PFL season in 2023.

It’s a two-season contract with PFL, Burgos said. PFL season champions make $1 million in addition to their fight purses.

“I like the idea of the [season and playoffs] format being black and white,” Burgos told host Ariel Helwani. “There’s no gray area.”

Burgos said PFL offered him a significant raise, a deal where he would make in one fight what it took him multiple fights in the UFC to make. He did not go into specifics on the numbers, but said PFL will also offer him commentary opportunities in the future, which has been a post-career goal of his. Burgos said by the end of next year, he believes here’s a good chance he’ll be a “multi-millionaire.”

“I’m going to make the absolute most out of this deal,” Burgos said. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the UFC, Burgos said. Being a UFC fighter and potential champion has been a goal of his since he was a child. But Burgos said from a financial standpoint signing with PFL was a “no brainer.”

Burgos (15-3) is on a two-fight winning streak. The New York native has won four $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses in his last 10 fights and is known as an action fighter.

Burgos has won five of his last seven bouts overall.

Alex Pereira to Fight UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 281

Alex Pereira is taking on a champion…

Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title against the 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former kickboxer, his old rival, in the headliner of UFC 281 on November 12 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Alex Pereira

Pereira owns two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, including one via knockout. ESPN has Adesanya ranked tied for third on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At middleweight, Adesanya is No. 1 and Pereira is No. 7.

Pereira, a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion, beat Adesanya in kickboxing once by decision in 2016 and then again a year later via knockout.

Adesanya (23-1) is undefeated in his career at middleweight. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident has won three straight since falling in a light heavyweight title bout to Jan Blachowicz in March 2021. Adesanya, 33, owns five successful title defenses at middleweight, holding the undisputed title since October 2019.

Pereira (6-1) is coming off a first-round knockout of Sean Strickland at UFC 276 last month, the same card in which Adesanya defended his title successfully against Jared Cannonier. The Brazilian slugger has five finishes in six career pro MMA victories since coming over from kickboxing.

Pereira, 35, is 3-0 in the UFC with a pair of $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses to his name.

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.