Unbeaten 6-foot-8 heavyweight Steve Mowry returns at Bellator 231

Towering heavyweight Steve Mowry will attempt to continue the undefeated start to his career when he makes his third Bellator appearances in November.

Mowry (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) is set to meet Gokhan Saricam (4-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at Bellator 231, which takes place Oct. 25 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The fight is part of the prelims, which stream on MMA Junkie prior to the main card on Paramount and DAZN.

MMA Junkie confirmed the matchup with a Bellator official.

Mowry, who stands 6-foot-8, has mad easy work of his opponents thus far in his Bellator career. He’s earned back-to-back first-round submission wins for the promotion, with the most recent coming at Bellator 215 in February.

Looking to halt Mowry’s run will be Bellator newcomer Saricam, who will fight professional for just the fifth time since making his MMA debut in May 2014. Similar to Mowry, the Turkish fighter has earned all of his career wins by stoppage.

The latest Bellator 231 lineup now includes:

Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson
Jason Jackson vs. Ed Ruth
Steve Mowry vs. Gokhan Saricam

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar rescheduled for UFC on ESPN+ 21 in Moscow

Zabit Magomedsharipov will go from fighting in Calvin Kattar’s backyard to fighting in his own.

After their matchup was scratched from the UFC’s November event in Boston, featherweight contenders Magomedsharipov (17-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and Kattar (20-3 UFC, 4-1 MMA) will now meet at UFC on ESPN+ 21 in Moscow, which takes place Nov. 9 at CSKA Arena and streams on ESPN+.

MMA Junkie verified the change with a person close to the situation following an initial report from ESPN.com.

After he suffered the lone loss of his octagon career to Renato Moicano at UFC 223, Kattar has won back-to-back fights. The 31-year-old followed up a first-round TKO of Chris Fishgold with a knockout of Ricardo Lamas at UFC 238 in June. The fight-ending sequence from Kattar actually resulted in a broken jaw for the former UFC title challenger.

Magomedsharipov, 28, has quickly climbed the ranks of the UFC featherweight division during his five fights under the promotion’s banner. After submitted Mike Santiago and Sheymon Moraes, Magomedsharipov defeated Kyle Bochniak at UFC 223 which earned “Fight of the Night” honors.

After he defeated last-minute replacement Brandon Davis with a Suloev stretch submission at UFC 228, Magomedsharipov earned the judges’ decision against Jeremy Stephens at UFC 235 in March.

The latest UFC on ESPN+ 21 card now includes:

  • Junior Dos Santos vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Calvin Kattar vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
  • Magomed Ankalaev vs. Dalcha Lungiambula
  • Klidson Abreu vs. Shamil Gamzatov
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ed Herman
  • Roman Kopylov vs. Karl Roberson
  • Davey Grant vs. Grigorii Popov
  • Vinc Pichel vs. Alexander Yakovlev
  • Zelim Imadaev vs. Danny Roberts

Lyoto Machida: Gegard Mousasi will have ‘no excuses’ after second loss to me at Bellator 228

Gegard Mousasi has said a lot about Lyoto Machida since their first fight more than five years ago. If he loses again, though, not much more can be said.

At least that’s what Machida (26-8 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) believes. “The Dragon” has been targeted with greasing and performance-enhancing drug accusations from Mousasi (45-7 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) stemming from their February 2014 bout under the UFC banner, which Machida won by unanimous decision.

The rematch will finally take place at Bellator 228 this month, and Machida said going 2-0 in career fights against Mousasi should put everything to rest.

“Nothing that he says affects myself,” Mousasi told MMA Junkie. “We are going to fight again and it’s going to be a rematch and if I beat him for the second time he has no excuses. No excuses. I just want to be very focused on what I have to do. For this fight I know I’m 100 percent focused and I just want to do my job.”

Bellator 228 takes place Sept. 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Machida vs. Mousasi 2 co-headlines the main card, which streams on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.

The idea of a Machida vs. Mousasi rematch has been on the table since both signed with Bellator. It was thought that it would eventually come together for a title, but Mousasi dropped the 185-pound belt to Rafael Lovato Jr. earlier this year to extinguish that possibility.

Machida thought he would be challenging Lovato Jr. after his TKO win over Chael Sonnen at Bellator 222 in June, but the champion was unavailable, and that’s when Bellator president Scott Coker called offering the rematch.

“I was thinking Lovato should be my next opponent, but I heard he was a little bit injured so he could not fight in September,” Machida said. “I like to get the rhythm of fighting, I don’t like to sit still waiting for my next fight. So that’s why as soon as Scott Coker offered me to fight Mousasi, I accepted right away.”

Machida largely handled Mousasi in their first encounter. He won 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the scorecards, and the Brazilian said he remembers have commands over the fight at all times.

“I remember that the fight was tough,” Machida said. “We fought five rounds, we had some moments where we scrambled in that fight. I remember that I controlled the fight from the beginning to the end of the fight. I could hit him a couple times and I still believe I have the tools to beat Mousasi. Even though he’s a very tough opponent and a well rounded fighter, I believe in myself.”

Although a lot of time has passed since then and Machida is now 41 with more tread on his tires, he said he thinks he can upstage his previous performance. The goal is to fight for a Bellator title after Bellator 228, and he said the perfect set-up for that would be to make a statement against Mousasi.

“I believe I can knock him out and I can also control the fight at all times,” Machida said. “I still consider myself a very explosive fighter, so if I want to explode, I can. Mousasi is not an explosive fighter. He has the rhythm to fight little by little and increase over the fight. I won’t let him increase in the fight.”

Robbie Lawler vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio targeted for UFC 245 in Las Vegas

Two of the welterweight division’s most devastating strikers are expected to throw down at the UFC’s final pay-per-view of the year.

Former UFC champ Robbie Lawler (28-14 MMA, 13-8 UFC) and surging contender Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) are targeted to clash at UFC 245.

MMA Junkie confirmed with multiple people close to the situation that the fight is in the works, though bout agreements have not been signed. The people requested anonymity because the fight has not been officially announced.

Lawler, No. 15 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA welterweight rankings, comes into the event on the first three-fight losing skid of his career. The most recent fight in that stretch came in a unanimous decision against Colby Covington at UFC on ESPN 5 in August.

After making his run to the top of the division, Lawler, 37, has won just once since dropping the 170-pound belt more than three years ago, beating Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 in July 2017.

No. 12-ranked Ponzinibbio, 32, will bring a seven-fight winning streak into the matchup with Lawler. It will have been 13 months since his last fight by the time he competes, though, because he’s been out of action since a fourth-round knockout of Neil Magny in his home country of Argentina in November.

With the addition, the latest UFC 245 card includes:

  • Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie – for women’s bantamweight title
  • Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araujo
  • Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders
  • Robbie Lawler vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Khabib Nurmagomedov nets $100k for Dustin Poirier’s UFC 242 fight shirt

Khabib Nurmagomedov managed to get six figures for Dustin Poirier’s fight-worn shirt from their UFC 242 championship bout – all of which will go to charity.

In the aftermath of Nurmagomedov’s (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) submission victory over Poirier (25-6 MMA, 17-5 UFC) to defend the lightweight title this month, the two competitors exchanged Reebok shirts inside the octagon in a heartwarming moment of sportsmanship.

Nurmagomedov said he planned to auction the shirt off, with all the proceeds going to Poirier’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation, in partnership with Justin Wren’s Fight For The Forgotten. With more than 17 million total social media followers, Nurmagomedov felt he could get a significant price, and he was right.

Poirier today told MMA Junkie that the shirt sold for $100,000, which will be of great benefit to the UFC 242 charity goal of building water wells to repair a ruined water supply at an orphanage and school in Uganda.

“It’s great because it’s going to help a lot of people,” Poirier told MMA Junkie. “I’m proud of that. I appreciate them helping out the charity. It’s been growing and I’m very grateful for that.”

Immediately following UFC 242, company president Dana White praised the philanthropy of Poirier and Nurmagomedov. He said he would match whatever sum of money Nurmagomedov raised for auctioning off the shirt.

In addition to Nurmagomedov’s six-figure contribution, The Good Fight Foundation had already surpassed its financial goal. Originally set for $25,000, there’s already more than $33,000 raised online through the website.

You can donate at TheGoodFightGroup.com, or go to FightForTheForgotten.com and donate straight to the cause.

Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Justin Gaethje and UFC on ESPN+ 16’s other key winners?

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone following UFC on ESPN+ 16 loss?)

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next.

And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC on ESPN+ 16’s most noteworthy winning fighters.

Those winners include Justin Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who defeated Donald Cerrone (36-13 MMA, 23-10 UFC) by first-round TKO in the main event at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as well as Glover Teixeira (30-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC), Uriah Hall (15-9 MMA, 8-7 UFC) and Misha Cirkunov (15-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC).

* * * *

Misha Cirkunov

Should fight: Mauricio Rua
Why they should fight: Cirkunov got a much-needed win for his career when he submitted the previously undefeated Jimmy Crute in stellar fashion with just the second Peruvian necktie finish to ever take place inside the octagon.

After a devastating loss to Johnny Walker in his previous bout, many wondered if Cirkunov’s potential had hit its peak. He proved that’s absolutely not the case, and the Canadian still has life in the light heavyweight division.

There are still plenty of matchups ahead for Cirkunov, and one that could prove compelling would be against the legend and former UFC champ Rua (26-11 MMA, 10-9 UFC). It appears “Shogun” is looking to make a return to the octagon at the UFC’s event in Sao Paulo later this year, and given their divisional standing, a matchup with Cirkunov would be logical. Moreover, it would give Cirkunov to build his resume with a marquee name.

Uriah Hall

Should fight: Yoel Romero
Why they should fight: After moving gyms to Fortis MMA, Hall got a big victory for his career when he edged out Antonio Carlos Junior by split decision in a razor-close middleweight affair.

Hall has now won back-to-back fights, and with the support of a top-tier gym and coaching staff in Texas, perhaps this is the run that sees “Primetime” meet expectations placed on him coming out of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He belongs in the top-15 at 185 pounds, and with his sights set on a dream matchup with Israel Adesanya, he’s hoping to work his way toward title contention.

One matchup that would help Hall get there would be against Romero (13-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC), who has been a perennial contender for quite some time but is coming off back-to-back losses. If Hall wants to elevate himself in a big way and prove this journey to the belt is for real, then stepping into the cage with one of the most feared men in the division would be a big move.

Glover Teixeira

Should fight: Volkan Oezdemir
Why they should fight: Teixeira turned back yet another youngster in the light heavyweight division when he edged Nikita Krylov by split decision in a fight that somewhat surprisingly went the distance.

It wasn’t long ago when people were writing the Brazilian off, and suggesting he was at the end of his rope as a contender in the light heavyweight division. Yet here Teixeira is, on a three-fight winning streak against some up-and-coming fighters who had the opportunity to build their name at his expense.

Teixeira has proven he can beat fighters on the rise, and now he deserves the chance to show he’s a true title contender again by fighting an established name at 205 pounds. Oezdemir (16-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has fought for the belt before and, like Teixeira, is looking to get back to that spot. A matchup would decide which fighter move one step close to challenging for a UFC belt for a second time.

Justin Gaethje

Should fight: Winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Gaethje should fight Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) or Ferguson (25-3 MMA, 15-1 UFC) for the UFC lightweight title next.

What’s next for Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone following UFC on ESPN+ 16 loss?

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Justin Gaethje and UFC on ESPN+ 16’s other key winners?)

Donald Cerrone suffered his second consecutive loss when he fell short against Justin Gaethje in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 16 headliner.

After putting together a strong run in his return to lightweight, Cerrone (36-13 MMA, 23-10 UFC) has now dropped back-to-back fights after succumbing to a first-round TKO defeat to Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in their lightweight main event, which took place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and streamed on ESPN+. With the result came some questions about Cerrone’s future.

“Cowboy” has been the most active member of the UFC roster since he joined the organization in 2011, but at 36, he’s hit unfamiliar territory in his career.

What does the loss mean for Cerrone? Watch the video above for thoughts and analysis on his future.