Cris Cyborg to Defend Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title in Rematch Against Leslie Smith

Cris Cyborg is ready for her next challenger…

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio, will put her Bellator women’s featherweight title on the line against Leslie Smith on May 21.

Cris Cyborg

Cyborg beat Smith in 2016 in what was Cyborg’s UFC debut. Cyborg (23-2, 1 NC) is one of the best female fighters of all time. She is coming off a second-round submission win over Arlene Blencowe last October. That was Cyborg’s first title defense.

Cyborg stopped Julia Budd by fourth-round TKO in January 2020 to win the title. That victory made Cyborg the first fighter to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta.

Since 2005, Cyborg has been defeated only by UFC double champion Amanda Nunes. Cyborg left the UFC when her contract expired in 2019 after a rocky tenure.

Smith (12-8-1) has won four of her past five fights. The California native is coming off a unanimous decision over Amanda Bell last September.

Smith was finished by Cyborg in 1:21 at UFC 198 on May 14, 2016, but disputed that, saying it was an early stoppage.

She is best known for her attempts to organize MMA fighters, who don’t have a union or association.

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.

Anderson Silva to Fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 10-Round Boxing Match

Anderson Silva is taking on a tough competitor in his next bout…

The 45-year-old Brazilian former UFC champion will face former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a 10-round boxing match on June 19 at Jalisco Stadium in Jalisco, Mexico, according to promoters.

Anderson Silva

Promoter Saul Rios says the fight will take place at 180 pounds. This will be Silva’s third professional boxing match. He suffered a first-round TKO loss to Osmar Luiz Teixeira in 1998 and won a second-round TKO over Julio Cesar De Jesus in 2005. Both earlier fights were held in Brazil.

Silva (34-11, 22 KOs and 4 submissions in MMA) is considered one of the best MMA fighters in history. He owns the longest victory streak in UFC history with 16.

However, after he lost four of his last five fights, including decisions to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Daniel Cormier and KOs to Jared Cannonier and Uriah Hall, the UFC released Silva. He hasn’t fought since October.

“When I look back at my journey, I see that nothing has been in vain,” Silva told TMZ. “I am extremely happy for the opportunity to test my boxing skills with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“I train continuously, always striving for resilience and to overcome obstacles. Fighting is my everlasting breath.”

Chavez Jr. (52-5-1, 34 KOs) defeated Jeyson Minda in November but is 2-3 in his past five fights, which includes a loss to Canelo Alvarez.

Also on the card, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. will face Hector Camacho Jr., the son of the late Hector “Macho” Camacho, who was the senior Chavez’s archrival.

Oscar de la Hoya to Return to the Ring in July

Oscar de la Hoya is officially coming out of retirement…

The 48-year-old Mexican American former professional boxer and boxing legend has a date in mind for his previously stated plan to return to the ring.

Oscar De La Hoya

At a news conference for the upstart promoter Triller Fight Club, de la Hoya took the stage alongside Snoop Dogg at the Venetian and suddenly announced that he’d be making his boxing comeback on July 3.

De La Hoya said last August that he would be coming out of retirement, but now there is a date for his return. And he will be promoted by the new fight promotion launched by Triller, the social media app.

Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Triller parent company Proxima Media, told ESPN that he and de la Hoya are “dear friends” and the two have been discussing his return for “a long time.” Kavanaugh said the card will take place in Texas — possibly AT&T Stadium — and the promotion is targeting a “big” UFC name for de la Hoya’s opponent.

“He has been [training] and in his own words, he’s stronger and better than ever,” Kavanaugh said of De La Hoya.

Sources told ESPN that de la Hoya has a multifight deal with Triller and this will not be a one-off bout.

de la Hoya, a former six-division boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist, has not fought since a 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao. He’s one of the best drawing boxers in the sport’s history. The news conference was held Friday to promote Triller Fight Club’s April 17 card, which is headlined by YouTube star Jake Paul and former UFC fighter and wrestling Olympian Ben Askren.

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.

Antonio Carlos Junior Signs with Professional Fighters League

Antonio Carlos Junior is going Professional

The Professional Fighters League has signed the 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC veteran, known as Cara de Sapato, to a contract this week, according to ESPN.

Antonio Carlos Junior

Carlos Junior fought at middleweight in the UFC, but Abdelaziz said he would be competing as part of PFL‘s light heavyweight season this year.

“This guy should have never been fighting at middleweight,” Abdelaziz said. “He should have been fighting all along at light heavyweight. I think he’s going to be very good at light heavyweight.”

Carlos Junior (10-5, 1 NC) won The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil at heavyweight in 2014. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist had a respectable 7-5 (1 NC) record in the UFC. Carlos Junior was on a three-fight losing streak before the UFC released him last month.

PFL, which has a season and playoffs structure, did not run any events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carlos Junior will join the likes of UFC veterans Tom Lawlor, Cezar Ferreira and Jordan Johnson in the PFL light heavyweight season. Emiliano Sordi, the 2019 PFL light heavyweight champion, returns this year as well.

Edson Barboza Agrees to New Deal with UFC, Sets Fight Against Shane Burgos

Edson Barboza is staying put in the UFC, and he’s lining up his next opponent…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former Muay Thai kickboxer, a UFC featherweight, has agreed to battle Shane Burgos  in May, according to their teams.

Edson Barboza

The 145-pound bout will take place at UFC 262 on May 15. The UFC hasn’t announced an official venue for the pay-per-view event.

In addition to the bout, Barboza (21-9) has signed a new deal with the UFC. The Brazilian fighter had expressed interest in testing free agency in 2021 but ultimately elected to sign an extension with the promotion he has fought for since 2010.

“We’ve renewed with the UFC, with the understanding Edson wants to be extremely active,” Barboza’s manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “We believe Edson has a good chance to be a contender at featherweight. All the conditions are there now. It’s up to the UFC to give him fights that make sense, and it’s up to Edson to win those fights.”

Burgos (13-2), of New York, shared his excitement on the matchup.

“This is the one,” Burgos told ESPN. “I only want big fights, and this one feels huge. Everyone knows Edson. I’ve been watching him fight in the UFC since I was fighting amateur. I plan on making the absolute most out of this opportunity.”

Burgos is coming off a decision loss to ranked contender Josh Emmett in June, which was his only appearance of 2020. Before that setback, the 29-year-old had won three in a row.

Marc Castro Defeats Former MMA Fighter John Moraga by Second-Round KO

Marc Castro has taken down a UFC veteran…

The 21-year-old Latino boxer needed a single punch, eight seconds and a massive left jab to knock down UFC veteran John Moraga in the first round.

Marc Castro

From there, it was a matter of time before the junior lightweight prospect earned his second career KO in his second pro fight.

Castro (2-0, 2 KOs), of Fresno, California, knocked down Moraga (1-3, 1 KOs) three times in two rounds to register the knockout, finishing the fight with a left uppercut.

Moraga, of Phoenix, has had an impressive MMA career, with a 19-7 record and a UFC flyweight title shot in 2013 that he lost to Demetrious Johnson. His first knockout loss in boxing was Moraga’s third defeat in four pro bouts.

Castro is still very, very early in his pro career, but the friend of star fighter Ryan Garcia made easy work of an overmatched opponent.

UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo to Face Brandon Moreno in Highly Anticipated Rematch

Deiveson Figueiredo is getting a rematch…

The 33-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and reigning UFC flyweight champion will fight Brandon Moreno once again on June 12, according to ESPN.

Deiveson Figueiredo

A location for the event, which is expected to be UFC 263, isn’t set yet.

In December, Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Moreno (18-5-2) fought to an exhilarating draw that was considered one of the best bouts of 2020.

The fight capped off a memorable year for Figueiredo, the UFC’s flyweight champion, who went 3-0-1 last year and was considered the consensus male fighter of the year. He won the flyweight title in July when he defeated Joseph Benavidez.

 

Both Figueiredo and Moreno are unbeaten in their past six fights.

Jessica Andrade to Fight Defending UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko 

Jessica Andrade is taking on a champion…

The 29-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former strawweight champion is set to take on defending UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White.

Jessica Andrade

The 125-pound title fight will take place at the April 24 pay-per-view event, for which the UFC hasn’t yet finalized a location. It will mark Shevchenko’s fifth attempted title defense.

Shevchenko (20-3) has dominated the weight class since she dropped to 125 pounds from 135 pounds in 2018. She won the vacant belt by defeating another former strawweight champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk in late 2018, then has looked more or less unbeatable in defenses against Jessica EyeLiz CarmoucheKatlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia.

Andrade (21-8) is widely perceived as the greatest threat to Shevchenko’s reign.

She won the UFC’s 115-pound championship by knocking out Rose Namajunas in May 2019 before surrendering the belt to current champ Zhang Weili three months later. She moved up to the 125-pound division in October, and scored a first-round knockout over Chookagian.

ESPN ranks Shevchenko and Andrade the No. 2 and No. 6 female pound-for-pound fighters in the world, respectively.