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Nurmagomedov-Ferguson UFC 209 interim title bout cancelled

UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was transported to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center Thursday evening due to weight management medical issues. He was treated and has been discharged, UFC officials confirmed.

The scheduled interim lightweight championship bout between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 has been cancelled on the doctor’s recommendation.

UFC 209 takes place Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas,  live on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m./7 p.m. ET/PT. Tyron Woodley faces Stephen Thompson with his welterweight championship on the line in a rematch from their 2016 Fight of the Year contender at UFC 205.

Yair Rodriguez Recognized by Congress in Mexico


Rising UFC featherweight Yair Rodríguez was officially recognized by the Mexico’s Congressional Chamber of Deputies on Thursday as an outstanding and exemplary Mexican athlete.

„I am very excited — it is important for me and for all Mixed Martial Arts athletes in my country to feel the support of one of the highest levels of power,“ said Rodriguez, 24, a native of Parral in Chihuahua. „My family and I are very proud.

“This is a recognition for me and for all those who have helped me during my career in one way or another. For my parents and my brothers … I am already a champion and they always make me feel this way.“

The No. 7-ranked featherweight in the UFC, Rodriguez attended a special ceremony before the entire plenary (debating) chamber at the historic San Lazaro Legislative Palace in Mexico City, where he was proclaimed, amid thunderous applause, as a remarkable Mexican who honors his country inside and outside the Octagon.

The recognition by Mexico’s Congress is an incredible affirmation for Rodriguez and his team, as well as for the entire community of martial arts practitioners, in a country where MMA is still a young sport.

More than one Mexican deputy approached Rodriguez to express his admiration and to talk about his fights, which, like any fan, they have witnessed and cheered.
Afterward, Rodriguez returned to Chihuahua with his family to spend a few days with loved ones and friends. What’s next for “El Pantera”?

“Wait for the call of the UFC to know my next opponent,” he said. “I hope it will be soon and it should be a Top 5, because I am in the seventh position (in the rankings) at the moment.”

Barberena and Proctor to scrap in Nashville

Welterweight action fighters Bryan Barberena and Joe Proctor will kick off their 2017 schedule on Apr. 22 when they meet in a UFC Fight Night matchup at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

In the five-round main event, which airs live on FS1, featherweight rivals will settle the score as surging contender Cub Swanson takes on hard-hitting European standout Artem Lobov. Tickets go on sale today.

Winner of nine of his last 11 bouts, „Bam Bam“ Barberena has scored three of those victories in the Octagon over Joe Ellenberger, Sage Northcutt and Warlley Alves. In April, he’ll face off with scrappy New Englander Proctor, who has finished his last two UFC wins over Justin Edwards and Justin Salas.

Not done yet – Evans set for 185-pound debut at UFC 209

Don’t miss an epic night of fights: Order UFC 209 now

For a while, Rashad Evans was seeing more doctors than opponents, a bad sign for any prizefighter. What made the ordeal that saw him get scrapped from bouts at UFC 205 and UFC 206 late last year even worse is that all those doctors said he was just fine after passing his tests with flying colors.

“At the time, I just couldn’t understand it,” he said of the anomaly on an MRI that kept him from being licensed in New York and Toronto. “I did all the medical requirements and I passed all the tests that I needed to pass to get cleared, so when they said that I wasn’t cleared, I just didn’t understand it. I thought at some point they’re going to say, ‘Oh yeah, we made a mistake, you’re fine.’ It didn’t really sink in until I’m actually watching the fights and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m really not fighting.’ Then it kinda hit me.”

At 37, it was a crushing blow for a former world light heavyweight champion who was excited about making his move to the 185-pound weight class to start a new chapter in his career after back-to-back losses to Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira. Those losses hurt his competitive pride, but at least he had the opportunity to fight back in each bout. This time, all he could do was wait as the Nevada State Athletic Commission decided his fate.

“It was nerve-racking to say the least,” Evans said. “At one point I talked to the UFC and it really wasn’t looking good for me. I went to see specialists, I saw the guy that was part of that movie ‘Concussion,’ and he checked me out and cleared me and said I was fine. Then I went to see another doctor out in California and he said I was absolutely fine. And they figured out what was wrong – what the problem was and how it was misread. And once they said I was fine and in no danger and my health was great, I was relieved, first and foremost from a health perspective.”

RELATED CONTENT: Matchup with Dan Kelly | Evans appears on Episode 4 of Embedded 

But Nevada held the key to his fighting future, and eventually, they opened the door for him.

“When they said I could return to competition, I was even happier. So when Nevada gave me the clearance, I was really happy because I worked so hard for this. I know my time’s gonna come where I can’t fight anymore, but I was hoping it wouldn’t end like that.”

Fighters don’t want their fates decided in doctors’ offices or meeting rooms, and Evans is most certainly a fighter, so when his clean bill of health was met with a license to fight and an opponent to fight with, that ear-to-ear smile returned. And now it was time to get ready for Daniel Kelly and a UFC 209 fight in Vegas this Saturday. Only this time, Evans is approaching what may be the most pivotal bout he’s had in a long time with a new / old attitude.

“Rashad Evans is still here, and the guy who started the whole fight game is here too,” he explains. “And that’s the one I’ve been trying to get back for the longest time. That’s the guy who would work eight to ten hours in the hospital and then come home and work out two to three hours by himself, running himself, training himself as hard as he can, saying all the positive affirmations, having all the delusional daydreams that eventually came true, and really just enjoying every, single step of the journey. Even if it doesn’t amount to anything, it’s just the personal challenge of it all. I feel like I got out of that by putting so much energy into everything that had nothing to do with me. I’m not a selfish person, but at some point, when you want to be the best in the world, you almost gotta be.”

It’s a lesson every fighter has to learn, that in this sport, being selfish isn’t a bad thing, but a necessity. Evans, one of the good guys of the game, took a while to get on board with that line of thinking, but he knows he needs to have it if he wants to make a run at glory once more.

Yet such a run is still far off into the future. It’s one step at a time now, and the first one is against four-time Australian Olympic judo team member Kelly. Winner of three in a row, the 39-year-old Kelly has surprised many with his run of success in the Octagon, but while he’s not going to fill up highlight reels, he’s determined, he’s an athlete, and he knows how to find a way to win. That’s a dangerous combination and Evans knows it, so he’s not too concerned with how he gets the victory, just that he gets it.

“I’m not looking at it as if I have to do this or that,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m looking to go out there and fight a tough guy and that’s what he (Kelly) is. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t look good when you watch. Frankly, he’s underwhelming to watch, but obviously he’s doing something right and he has a resolve that’s been getting some good results. So you can’t knock him, because he has that Olympic experience and he knows how to win. So there’s something to be said about that, and I think that one thing that can get you in trouble as a competitor is that you can’t overlook anybody. So I can’t really look at this fight and say that it has to be this way in order for it to be that Rashad Evans is this or Rashad Evans is that. Whatever I am, it’s gonna speak for itself.”

And at this point, he’s just excited to be able to make those statements once again.

“I’m happy that I get the chance to compete,” Evans said. “I’ve been on a tough road these last few years and I really wanted to return to my form where I enjoy competing again. It’s not always about the results; it’s about the way you compete and how much you enjoy the process of competing.”

How to Watch UFC 209: Woodley vs Thompson

UFC 209: Woodley vs Thompson 2 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST / 3:00AM GMT 

8:00PM EST / 5:00PM PST / 1:00AM GMT

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‘Huge’ Almeida loss helps drive Morales


Don’t miss an epic night of fights: Order UFC 209 now

After five fights in 2016, a stretch that included a call to the UFC in September and a trip to Brazil to face bantamweight contender Thomas Almeida in November, Albert Morales earned a little time off.

He got it. Now he’s back and ready to roll again.

“Anything longer than three months, I start getting restless, and I don’t like it,” laughs the 135-pound prospect, who faces newcomer Andre Soukhamthath this Saturday in the UFC 209 opener at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

 Don’t miss Albert Morales in action at UFC 209! Join UFC FIGHT PASS and watch the early prelims at 6:30 pm ET

Yet despite his eagerness to throw hands in the Octagon once more, the 25-year-old realizes that not only was the break a good thing, but it was necessary for him to evaluate where he’s at in the sport while remembering that now, this is more than just fighting to fight.

“After that last fight I realized that I am pretty young in this sport and at this point it is my career,” he said. “I made it to the big show. So I really started thinking that this is my career, this is my life and it’s not a rush anymore. It was a rush to get here, so from now on I want to be smart about it. I want to make the smart decisions, take my time and fight.”

“The loss, it was huge. I don’t think I would have made the jumps that I’ve made this camp if it wasn’t for that loss.“ –Albert Morales on last loss to Thomas Almeida

To reach this point, there was no slowing down. Turning pro in January 2015, Morales fought anyone at anytime and quickly built a reputation as a fighter to watch, and after compiling a 6-0 record on the local scene, he signed with the UFC and fought to a draw with Alejandro Perez last September. Two months later, he was in Sao Paulo fighting hometown hero Thomas Almeida, a fighter who dwarfed him in experience. A huge underdog, Morales was stopped in two rounds, but he made an impression.

“I appreciate the fans of Brazil because they showed me something new,” he said. “They hated me, but at the end of the fight, we had both fought and gave it our all and I went out on my shield and it was beautiful, as weird as it sounds, because they were cheering. They gave me high fives on the way out and appreciated the fact that I went out there and fought and gave them a show. That was huge for me.”

But Reseda, California’s Morales wasn’t taking any moral victories. He knew there was work to be done, and he did it.

“The loss, it was huge,” he said. “I don’t think I would have made the jumps that I’ve made this camp if it wasn’t for that loss. If I let the loss to Thomas Almeida make me pissed off and my attitude gets messed up, then I’ve really lost. I’m not gonna come back the same and I’m not gonna do anything. So I had to beat the fact that I lost, and the only way to do that was to go back into the fire and just learn and get better.”

On Saturday, 2017 begins for Albert Morales. It remains to be seen if it will be as life-changing as last year was, and even if it is, 2016 will always hold a special place in his heart, even if he can’t really put it into words.

“No, there’s really no way to describe it,” he laughs. “The way I see it, it’s almost like a fairy tale or a dream. It doesn’t seem realistic. But dreams come true if you make ‘em. Sometimes when the dreams are coming true, you don’t realize that they’re happening and I didn’t really think about that until about a month ago. It’s kind of surreal, but I love it, and at the end of the day I know I’m gonna have a nice story to tell.”

UFC 209 – Fight by fight breakdown of card


Don’t miss an epic night of fights: Order UFC 209 now

After taking Fight of the Night honors on the biggest card of 2016, Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson are at it again in an attempt to break their tie, and this matchup should once again be a competitive and exciting scrap from start to finish. The question is, who makes the right adjustments to surge ahead and take the victory? I’m ready for round six to find out.

MORE FROM UFC 209: Reasons to watch UFC 209 | UFC 209 Cheat Sheet | UFC 205 Fight Flashback | Get to know Tyron Woodley | GSP says Wonderboy is best striker he’s seen | Woodley vows a beatdown | Under the radar fights to watch


UFC Unfiltered: Khabib says he is going to smash Ferguson

This isn’t just a huge fight for the lightweight division – it’s huge for the entire sport, and also one that’s almost impossible to call. It’s easy to make a case for either Nurmagomedov or Ferguson to win, but to be completely convinced of that pick is another story. That makes it one of those fights that give you butterflies in your stomach in the seconds before the Octagon door closes.

After two starts and stops, the middleweight debut of Rashad Evans is finally here, and while he has to be seen as a big favorite against Australia’s Daniel Kelly, the bottom line is that four-time Olympian Kelly is no easy out, as evidenced by his current three-fight win streak in the tough 185-pound weight class.

Lando Vannata is the “It” kid at 155 pounds at the moment, which is no surprise after his Fight of the Night battle with Tony Ferguson and Knockout of the Year win over John Makdessi. But David Teymur has quietly gone two for two with two knockouts thus far in the Octagon, making this a closer matchup than some believe.

Mark Hunt has not held his tongue when it comes to his opinion of Alistair Overeem, and while the Dutchman is usually the epitome of cool, who knows if Hunt’s talk will get “The Reem” extra fired up for a rematch between two of the top heavyweight strikers of all-time or prompt him to get the bout to the mat and try to end the fight the way he did their first meeting in 2008 – by submission.

Originally scheduled to tangle in Brooklyn last month, Tybura and Henrique are now out west to try and not just pick up a win, but to make a statement that they’re ready to be that top prospect among the big boys of the division. That’s high stakes, but these two should be up for the challenge.

Darren Elkins has the skill and will to be a nightmare matchup for anyone in the featherweight division, and while unbeaten Mirsad Bektic looks like the real deal and a special talent at 145 pounds, Elkins will be that truth machine who finds out whether the Bosnia native is truly ready for prime time.

Facing Iuri Alcantara after more than a year on the sidelines isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, but it says a lot about Luke Sanders that he’s willing to risk his perfect record against the Brazilian in his first fight since January 2016. If “Cool Hand” Luke makes it 12-0 on Saturday, the bantamweight elite will have to start looking over their shoulder.

At 6-foot-7 and with an 82-inch reach, unbeaten Daniel Spitz makes you pay attention to him on fight night, and that will certainly be the case when he makes his Octagon debut against England’s Mark Godbeer, a heavy-handed battler who is always down to get into a war. But can he close the distance and make it into a phone booth battle against Spitz?

Unbeaten prospects coming off Performance of the Night victories now facing each other in a division that is hungry for stars? Sign me up, and that’s exactly what we’ll get in the UFC FIGHT PASS featured bout between Tyson Pedro and Paul Craig. And given the talent level of both 205-pounders, don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last time they meet.

TUF 23 finalist Amanda Cooper looked sharp in picking up her first UFC victory over Anna Elmose last November, and she’ll attempt to make it two straight against newcomer Cynthia Calvillo, a Team Alpha Male standout who has plenty of fight game insiders excited about her potential to succeed in the Octagon.

This clash of bantamweight prospects is the perfect way to kick off the night in Las Vegas. Morales may have come up short in his first two UFC outings, but he’s impressed at the same time, making it clear that he belongs in the big show. Soukhamthath is the newcomer and a bit of a mystery, but I’m guessing most MMA fans saw his flying knee finish of Kody Nordby last March. If he brings more of that, it will be a fun fight to watch.

Woodley-Wonderboy 2 preview: who won the first fight & UFC 209 predictions

0’s Andre Khatchaturian and’s Matt Parrino breakdown the UFC 209 main event, which features the welterweight title fight rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson.

Parrino recaps what went right for Woodley in the first fight and why Thompson believes he figured out the champ. Khatchaturian discusses Woodley’s success outstriking Thompson – which had never been done – and who he thought held the clear advantage from UFC 205. Plus, the two analysts give fight predictions.

Breaking down Khabib’s grappling, Ferguson’s striking & how it all plays out

0’s Andre Khatchaturian and’s Matt Parrino breakdown the UFC 209 co-main event, which features the interim lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.

Discussed are Nurmagomedov’s advantage in the grappling department, Ferguson’s unorthodox jiu-jitsu and striking, plus Khatchaturian gives a fight prediciton. 

UFC Unfiltered: Khabib Nurmagomedov & Al Iaquinta


Number one ranked UFC Lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov calls in ahead of his UFC 209 fight against Tony Ferguson and discusses dealing with Tony’s guard, training with Renzo Gracie, and not caring about Conor McGregor’s whereabouts. Before that, UFC Lightweight contender Al Iaquinta joins Jim and Matt in studio to talk about his UFC Fight Night 108 bout against Diego Sanchez, teaching seminars in Australia, and where his „Raging“ nickname came from. Plus, the guys make their UFC 209 picks and talk about Michael Bisping vs. GSP for the UFC Middleweight title, NYSAC denying Holly Holm’s UFC 208 appeal, Dan Hardy’s possible return to the Octagon, and more.

Some of the highlights from Episode 74 of UFC Unfiltered include:

Khabib is going to smash Tony Ferguson when the cage door closes

Khabib is intrigued by the ground game battle at UFC 209

Khabib on training with Renzo Gracie

Khabib doesn’t care what Conor McGregor is up to

Khabib on talking to Dana during the Michael Johnson fight


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