Heavyweight up-and-comer Chase “Vanilla Gorilla” Sherman couldn’t have asked for a better start to his 2016 when he picked up a 63-second win over Sammy Collingwood at Island Fights 37 in March.
“I knew (Collingwood) was going to try to brawl and bang with me, but he was significantly shorter than me, so I was going use my range and keep my distance, but he ended up coming out, throwing the book at me,” Sherman told MMAWeekly.com. “He was leaving himself open with those wide, looping punches, and I landed a right hand and that was about it.”
For Sherman, the win over Collingwood was his third in a row after suffering the only loss of his career to Alex Nicholson in late 2014.
“That was about my fifth fight of the year, and something was a little bit different about it and felt off,” Sherman said. “I got one of those weird vibes coming out, and wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I was too clam and didn’t have my nerves, and was just going through the routine and motions.
“It is what it is. I thought it was a quick stoppage, but I’m not going to sit here and complain about it. I lost the fight, it happens, and I just move on and grow from it.”
“Jack is a former K-1 fighter and UFC veteran, who is about 6’8” and has strong kicks and uses his range well, and has good catch wrestling and top game,” said Sherman. “But the thing is, he’s a classic Muay Thai kickboxer, he moves forward and backward, everything in a straight line and walks you down, so I feel like I know what he’s going to be doing because he is so traditional.
“I’ve been really working on my boxing, my footwork, my timing and my lateral movement so I’m not standing out there in front of him. I can’t just stand there at his range and let him hit me with those kicks. Those are a few things I feel will be key in beating him.”
Should Sherman have a good performance on April 30, he feels an opportunity to take his career to the next level could very well be coming in 2016.
“I’d really like to get in there and get a big win and get a call from the UFC,” Sherman said. “It would be my fourth win a row. I’ve won eight fights by first round knockout. I’m a young heavyweight, and I really feel like it’s my time and my opportunity.
“If it doesn’t come down to that, I’ve just got to be patient. I’ve got a good feeling about this. If I go out there and get the job done, I’ll get the opportunity, because they can’t keep denying me.”
While featherweight veteran Andrew “Beast” Whitney’s return to Titan FC last July didn’t come about quite as he had hoped it would, he nonetheless was happy to return to the promotion for the first time in three years.
On short notice, Whitney bested fellow vet William Joplin via unanimous decision, picking up his fourth win in six fights since initially exiting Titan FC in 2012.
“I took the fight on two weeks’ notice, so I wasn’t in the best of shape, but I was able to grind it out and get the win,” Whitney told MMAWeekly.com. “I knew he was going to be an extremely tough guy. I was ready to go 15 minutes. I was happy with my performance.”
Having spent much of the past couple years on smaller shows, Whitney welcomed the chance to step back up onto the national stage in Titan FC.
“I used to fight for Titan before when it was the first owners,” said Whitney. “It wasn’t on UFC Fight Pass, it was on national TV, so it’s good and I am excited any time I get a chance to fight. It’s a quality show and I’m looking to put a win under my belt to get me where I need to go.”
For his second fight back with Titan FC, Whitney (12-4) takes on British promotional newcomer Cory Tait (8-3) in a main card featherweight bout on Saturday in Miami.
“I’m confident and I’m the best Andrew I can be,” said Whitney. “I feel like if I go out there and stay on point, Corey won’t make it to the second round.
“I can’t focus on what Corey’s going to do. He’s good at stand-up and scrambling, and if I let him run his game plan on me, I won’t be successful, so I’ve got to focus on me right now and worry about what I’m going to do.”
Having been on this level before, Whitney seeks to use his latest opportunity to take his career even further and have his best year yet.
“I’m on a winning streak, and I’m going to put on a good show, and hopefully I’ll get a call (to the next level),” Whitney said. “I’m staying focused, staying on my grind, and I know this can be my year, so I have to put everything I have into it.”
Considering the difficulties he had in training prior to his first bout of 2016 against Zak Bucia at Titan FC 37 in March, lightweight Jason Novelli is pleased he picked up a unanimous decision victory.
“It was a transition period in the gym, and I actually had it closed down during training camp for that fight,” Novelli told MMAWeekly.com. “My camp ended up being about three weeks before I found a spot to go to and get consistent training.
“I had to put everything together before that, so I was happy to come out with a win against an experienced guy (in Bucia). I went out there implemented my game plan and everything went well.”
Novielli’s win over Bucia was his fourth in a row following his only career loss to Ben Fodor in March, 2015. Looking back on the loss, Novelli understand what went wrong and is trying to avoid similar circumstances in the future.
“I don’t want to take away from Ben’s win, but I took that fight on 30 hours’ notice, and I jumped up a weight class thinking I could still beat the guy, and had a rib injury going into it,” Novelli said. “Staying active is a big thing to me, so I’d take short notice fights and wouldn’t turn anything down.
“This is professional MMA, and training camps are valuable. To peak at the right time and maintaining the health of your body plays an important role in it all. I’m down to fight, but it is at that level where you really need to start preparing for these guys.”
“He’s a little wild on the striking side, but that’s his most dangerous quality,” said Novelli of Cedeno. “He does leave a lot of openings, especially with his hands, so I feel like I can beat him on the outside and take care of that, but if it goes to the ground, it will be a quick night.”
For Novelli, having gotten his training situation and his career back in order, he now wants to focus on moving up in the ranks and securing a spot at the top of the lightweight division.
“I have more of a broad goal set that I just want to have fights that will build my career as fast as it can,” Novelli said. “I’m looking to head to the UFC and really make my mark and go out and do the best that I can.”
In two fights since stepping up, Bice picked up two unanimous decision victories and kept his undefeated streak alive to start off his career.
“It’s been great,” Bice told MMAWeekly.com. “I like fighting at the level of a Titan or RFA. They’re a step up from the local levels and the talent always gets better. I’ve had a couple good wins.
“I think in my fight with the RFA (against Eric Shelton), I wish I would have done a little bit more stand-up, but in the Titan (against Shaine Jaime) fight I think I showed my stand-up skills, but I wished I would have shown a little bit more of my wrestling. I think I did well with both of those fights.”
“I think he’s a tough opponent,” said Bice of Nobre. “He has a lot of wins and is a pretty experienced guy. But as an MMA fighter, I think I’m better than him at almost every level.
“I’m sure he’s got a very good ground game, but I’m not looking to play the jiu-jitsu game with him. I’m looking to beat him up on the feet. I’ll get the takedowns, but I’ll stay out of harm’s way and do a good job of controlling the fight, controlling the pace and taking the fight to him.”
Though Nobre possesses far more fight experience than does Bice, Sid doesn’t feel that the difference will play much a factor in the fight due to his extensive training with multiple veterans.
“I don’t look at (the experience gap) too much,” Bice said. “I get to train with guys all the time who are just as experienced as (Nobre).
“Guys like Joe Warren, Tim Elliott, and Scott Jorgensen, and plenty of guys at our gym who are just like me that are right there and can compete against the highest level guys. It’s not that big of a transition for me. I just have to go out there and fight and put a whoopin’ on him.”
Having made strides at both the local and national level, Bice’s eyes are not set on making it to the top of MMA and gaining worldwide exposure in 2016.
“I have a good run going right now, and I think a win over Pedro would be a good one for me,” said Bice. “My end goal is to be in the UFC, and hopefully this year I can get my foot in the door.”
Conor McGregor being yanked from the UFC 200 fight card appears to have promoters around the world thinking that McGregor’s relationship with the UFC is irreparable.
According to tweets by Bloody Elbow reporter Karim Zidan, the Russian promotion Fight Nights, which is backed by Dagestani billionaire Ziyavudin Magomedov, offered McGregor $2 million dollars to fight Rasul Mirzaev on the Fedor vs. Maldonado fight card in June.
Not wanting to sit on the sidelines if McGregor were to defect, the Polish promotion KSW threw its hat in the ring as well, offering McGregor $3 million to fight for its featherweight championship.
All of the offers being thrown McGregor’s way are likely as much blather to get attention as anything. Despite the current rift between McGregor and the UFC, the Irishman, after pay-per-view points and other fight related income, is reportedly making close to $10 million per fight with the MMA juggernaut.
He may be unhappy with the promotional duties levied by the UFC brass, but if he intends to continue fighting, it’s unlikely that McGregor is going to forego such paydays only to end up in a messy legal entanglement over his UFC contract to fight elsewhere.
Dana White Gets Grilled for Removing Conor McGregor from UFC 200 Fight Card
(Video courtesy of UFC)
Cris “Cyborg” Justino won the first ever Strikeforce women’s featherweight championship in convincing fashion by taking out Gina Carano back in 2009. She makes her long-awaited UFC debut at UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil, on May 14.
(Video courtesy of UFC)
On Episode 2 of UFC 200 Promotional Tour Embedded, the stars wake up early to take over of Good Morning America. In addition to UFC 200 fighters Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Frankie Edgar and Miesha Tate, UFC strawweight and Dancing with the Stars star Paige Van Zant joins the show, as do Bruce Buffer, UFC President Dana White and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell. Brazilian UFC 200 stars Jose Aldo and Amanda Nunes get dressed up and join the press conference at Madison Square Garden. The crowd and other fighters all sit back and watch the fireworks as Jones and Cormier continue their war of words.
The Las Vegas-based fight promotion made the announcement on Thursday, but pointed out that the “special flyweight attraction” isn’t the launch of a new women’s division within the organization. A women’s 125-pound division could materialize in the future, and the UFC is open to the possibility.
“UFC officials are looking into possibly opening a women’s flyweight division in the future, but until the time when or if such a division is permanently announced, there remain two women’s divisions (bantamweight and strawweight) and there will be no rankings set up for a 125-pound women’s class,” read the UFC’s announcement.
Calderwood (9-1) rebounded from her first career loss to Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night 64 with a win and Fight of the Night performance at UFC Fight Night 72. The Scottish striker hopes to usher in the women’s 125-pound weight class with a historic win.
Letourneau (8-4) is looking to bounce back from her loss to strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk in her last outing. She holds a win over Moroz, who handed Calderwood her first career defeat.
UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Thompson takes place on June 18 at the TD Place Arena in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The event is headlined by a welterweight match between contenders Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson.
When Frankie Edgar fought Jose Aldo the first time at UFC 155 in February 2013, it was his debut in the 145-pound division. He was coming off back-to-back losses to Benson Henderson in lightweight title fights. When the two meet against at UFC 200 in July, Edgar says things will be different.
“Three years have passed. I’m a different fighter. He’s a different fighter. This time around I have the momentum. I’m coming off win streak where last time it was different. I feel like I’m just going to take that momentum to the title,” he said during a UFC 200 press conference in New York on Wednesday.
Edgar is riding a five-fight winning streak, including finishes over B.J. Penn, Cub Swanson, and Chad Mendes. Aldo is coming off his first career loss since 2005. He was knocked out by Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December.
Aldo defeated Edgar by unanimous decision in 2013, but Edgar says that’s not going to happen when the two meet again at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I’m ready. I’m going to be ready. It’s totally different this time, and I’m walking home with that belt.”
In 2015, undefeated welterweight Belal Muhammad had one of his most productive years yet. In fights against Keith Jordan and Zane Kamaka, Muhammad picked up wins against fighters with more experience than him, and looked solid in each outing.
“I feel like my last fights showed that I’ve grown a lot,” Muhammad told MMAWeekly.com. “They were against strong opponents with really good records. I basically smoked them and made them not look as good as they are.”
Over the course of his first four years in the sport, Muhammad feels he’s been able to showcase a lot of his ability, but still believes there’s much more he can display.
“With this game there’s so much that you can do, so it’s hard to show everything you want,” said Muhammad. “There’s always something new that you can learn.
“I’m learning something every day in practice, and picking up things here and there that help my game. I’m starting to get comfortable in the cage to where I can go in there and let it loose.”
“He’s a good opponent with a good record, a good name, so I think that if I go in there and get the win, I’ll build my name off of his,” said Muhammad of Carl. “If I dominate him, people will look at me like I’m the next big thing coming up.
“He’s a good grappler and has a lot of heart and fights until the last second, so it’s my job to go in there and try to break him.”
For Muhammad, challenging veterans like Carl with a title on the line is just the kind of step he wants in order to build his career in a way that satisfies him.
“I don’t want to get in there and look like a bum when I fight somebody good,” Muhammad said. “When I’m in there I want to be ready to be ranked, be ready to compete with the number one guys – top-flight guys – that type of thing.
“I’ve seen so many times when somebody has like 20 wins, and if you look at their record, it’s against guys who are 1-3. There’s no point in fighting if you’re not going to test yourself and see how far you’ve come.”
Muhammad believes with a win over Carl, he could place himself in position to take another step up in his career and make 2016 his best year to date.
“I feel like I put on a good show for the crowd and get a finish here in a main event spot, that it will get me noticed by a lot of companies out there.”
Following an extensive amateur career, bantamweight prospect Tyler Hunley turned pro last year and so far has chalked up three wins in his first three fights.
Hunley’s decision to turn pro came after a rather rushed start in the amateur ranks, which resulted in him lacking competition and needing to step up to pro to find fights.
“I wouldn’t say I was thrown into my first fight, but I probably shouldn’t have fought at that point because I’d only been at the gym for maybe three months,” Hunley told MMAWeekly.com. “But after my first fight, I had all my other fights pretty much back-to-back within a year and a half span.
“I had like 18 fights in a year in a half. I took a break after all those fights and I decided to turn pro because I had fought everybody in the area.”
While Hunley feels that all his amateur experience made the transition easier, it also came with its own set of difficulties.
“I was used to pretty much all the work and was already in the gym going five-minute rounds, but the skill level it’s on a completely different level,” he said. “There’s more stuff you can do as a pro.
“As an amateur you’re not allowed to throw elbows or knees to the head of an opponent, but as a pro, you can. People might not think that’s a big difference, but once someone gets a hold of your head and knees you to the face, that’s a whole other story.”
For his first bout of 2016, Hunley (3-0) returns to Valor Fights for their Fighting for Autism show on Friday in Knoxville, Tenn., against one-time amateur rival Kodey Gulley (4-1) in a main card 135-pound fight.
“(Our amateur fight) was one of those wars that neither one of us wanted to let the other one get the top hand for a second,” said Hunley of Gulley. “It was a grueling fight.
“He’s worked on his boxing and it’s good now, he has good head movement and is constantly punching and has little to no openings. What I need to do is move more than him. I have to be a little more aggressive than I was in our last fight.”
Following such a busy amateur career, Hunley now is more of a seasonal fighter due to family commitments, so he’ll be looking to stay busy over the coming months before his traditional break from fighting.
“I wouldn’t say I go fight-by-fight, but I would say that I go by two or three fight increments,” said Hunley. “I usually take a break during the holidays because I’m a family man, so I’m trying to get all my fights after the holidays and before them like in the spring and summer.
“Right now I want to try to get this fight and maybe two more fights in before the holidays begin. We have to see how this fight plays out, but win or lose it won’t stop any forward progress.”
HOT FIGHT VIDEO > UFC 197 Free Fight: Jon Jones Takes Out Rampage in First Title Defense
Interim titleholder Jon Jones‘ last win as the undisputed light heavyweight champion was over Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015. He was scheduled to defend his belt for a record-setting ninth time against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187, but was stripped of the title and suspended by the UFC three weeks before the event for his involvement in a hit-and-run incident.
In his absence, Cormier won the vacant belt and defended it. Jones and Cormier were expected to rematch at UFC 197, but an injury forced “DC” out of the fight. Jones instead faced Ovince Saint Preux on April 23 for the interim 205-pound title. The rematch with Cormier was rescheduled for the UFC 200 fight card.
Jones expects to reclaim his title by defeating Cormier a second time and believes “DC” is the second best light heavyweight in the world.
“I thought DC’s last two fights were great. They were really good. He had a great game plan against Anthony Johnson. He fought a drawn-out war against Alexander Gustafsson. He did great. I don’t question DC’s ability to beat everyone else. He’ll just never beat me,” Jones said during a UFC 200 press conference in New York on Wednesday.
“Outside of me, he’s the next best thing. He can beat these other guys. He can’t beat me,” added Jones. “He can beat these other guys all day, but he’s not beating me.”
Jones considers Cormier nothing more than a wrestler that’s learned how to throw punches.
“I’m a complete martial artist verses a wrestler. DC is a wrestler that’s learned how to punch. I’m a complete martial artist,” he said. “This isn’t a wrestling match.”
(Video courtesy of UFC)
On Episode 1 of UFC 200 Promotional Tour Embedded, a major press conference tees up big things to come, including an interim featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar and a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Miesha Tate and challenger Amanda Nunes. A day later, former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones wins the interim title, positioning him to face champion Daniel Cormier once “DC” has recovered from injury. Back home in New Jersey, Edgar focuses on staying limber; meanwhile Jose Aldo dons a gi for a mat session in New York City. On the opposite coast, heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Travis Browne do interviews in LA to promote their UFC 200 bout, and Browne gets an uplifting phone call from his superstar girlfriend Ronda Rousey. As more stars land in the Big Apple, Jones reflects on his homecoming, Cormier gets psyched up, Nunes plays tourist and Tate introduces her canine traveling companion.
(Courtesy of Bad Guy Inc.)
Remember when Steven Seagal – yeah that action, fighting, punchy, kicky actor – didn’t even know who Ronda Rousey was, but he was the driving force behind Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida… oh, and he wanted to train Daniel Cormier?
Yeah, that was a thing.
To the video!
MORE HOT SAUCE! 5 Takeaways From UFC 197: Jon Jones, the Disappearing ManFollow @MMAHotSauce on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Junior dos Santos suffered a shoulder injury in his fight with Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 86 in early April.
The former UFC heavyweight champion underwent surgery Wednesday morning to repair what he told MMAFighting.com was an injured labrum and a level four injury to his rotator cuff.
Posting to his Instagram account, and loosely translated from Portuguese, dos Santos said, “Being a fighter has many demands and wears a lot on our bodies. Sometimes, even in victory, we get hurt. I could say that now would be a very difficult time, but it is exactly the opposite, I feel blessed. I hurt my shoulder a bit, but I won a great victory. I am taking great care and very, very soon, I will be 100-percent again.
“I did a quick surgery (Wednesday) morning on my shoulder. My friend and physician, Dr. Howard Gelb, who took care of me, said everything went perfectly well, so well that I am already at home relaxing.”
dos Santos told MMA Fighting on Wednesday night that he expects to be cleared to train again in 12 weeks.
His fight with Rothwell went the full five rounds, but dos Santos dominated, earning 50-45 scores from all three judges.
(Photo courtesy of Junior dos Santos)
Fans of the sports and television analysts routinely apply “MMA math” when stating their case for why they believe a certain fighter will defeat his or her opponent. It’s a common practice, but it’s flawed.
Werdum defeated Velasquez at UFC 188 to capture the heavyweight crown. He submitted the former champion in the third round via rear-naked choke.
Browne took on Werdum in the UFC on FOX 11 main event in April 2014. He took Werdum the distance, losing by unanimous decision.
During a UFC 200 media scrum on Tuesday, Browne explained why “MMA math” has more holes than Pebble Beach Golf Links.
“Werdum is a way different fight than Cain is. I’m a different fighter than Cain is. Werdum, we possess different skill sets,” explained the 33-year-old. “As far as me having an advantage based off our fights with Werdum, I don’t think you can make that correlation. We’re just two different style fighters.”
To tell the truth, we’ll all have to until they step in the Octagon together at UFC 200 before we know who is going to win between Browne and Velasquez.
RELATED FIGHT VIDEO > Alistair Overeem Retired Brock Lesnar
Rising UFC middleweight Robert Whittaker has a message for all middleweights; you’re on his list of potential opponents.
Whittaker (16-4) rose to the sixth slot in the 185-pound rankings following his UFC 197 unanimous decision win over veteran Rafael Natal. Whittaker, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter “Smashes” welterweight tournament, debuted in the middleweight division in November 2014 and reeled off four consecutive wins.
“If you’re a middleweight, than you’re on my list,” said the Australian during the UFC 197 post-fight press conference.
“I’m happy to fight anyone. There’s no particular person that I want to fight next,” he said. “I’ll leave it to the UFC. They’ve had no problem with matching me up with good fights before.”
Whittaker has been the co-main event twice and featured on the main card in eight of his nine UFC appearances. He’ll likely go up against a top five opponent in his next outing, but will be okay with whomever the organization decided to pair him against.
“If they line them up, I’ll knock them down.”