UFC 245 video: Dan Hardy, John Gooden break down Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington

With three title fights slated for UFC 245, there sure is a lot going on Saturday night.

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (15-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC) and challenger Colby Covington (15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) headline the at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the winner will be dubbed the promotion’s best 170-pound fighter.

Ahead of the fight, UFC broadcasters Dan Hardy and John Gooden take an in-depth look at the matchup in the latest edition of their pre-fight analysis series “Inside the Octagon.” Check it out in the video above.

UFC 245 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Who does Miesha Tate think is the female GOAT? ‘That would be an easy pick’

For Miesha Tate, it’s not a difficult choice.

Widely considered one of the best female mixed martial artists of all time, Tate believes the greatest women’s MMA fighter to date is an easy choice – and she isn’t picking herself.

In the main event of UFC 200 in July 2016, then-UFC bantamweight champion Tate faced off against surging Brazilian Amanda Nunes. Midway through the first round, Nunes submitted Tate by rear-naked choke to win the title.

Nunes has not lost a fight since. For three-and-a-half years, she has defended the bantamweight title. She also picked up the women’s 145-pound belt along the way, when she knocked out Cris Cyborg in 51 seconds at UFC 232 in December 2018.

Having shared the cage with Nunes, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, and numerous others, Tate’s opinion is as educated as one can be. In her eyes, Nunes is the greatest female fighter to ever put on a pair of MMA gloves.

“For me, it’s been Amanda Nunes,” Tate told MMA Junkie. “She’s just on another level. She’s super legitimate. She hits like a ton of bricks. And it’s just incredible what she’s been able to do with the bantamweight division and what she’s done dipping her toes in the featherweight division. Really, the way she took out Cyborg was so mind-blowing. It was very impressive.

“I think for me that would be an easy pick.”

While Nunes has been defending a belt and earning a second, Tate has entered an administrative role with One Championship. In November 2018, Tate was announced as the promotion’s vice president.

Despite seeing her former opponents still thriving in competition, Tate indicated she has no semblance of an urge to get back fighting. Fans shouldn’t expect to see a Tate vs. Nunes rematch any time soon – at least not inside a cage.

“I’m really content doing the executive stuff,” Tate said. “I’d like to get more involved with some form of grappling competition. I can’t say that I have a strong desire to break my nose again, to be honest.”

UFC 245 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In the third fight on the main card, Nunes defends her belt against former UFC women’s featherweight champ Germaine de Randamie. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Quintet Ultra: Full UFC, PRIDE, WEC, Strikeforce rosters revealed ahead of Thursday’s event

Who would have won a team battle between the UFC, PRIDE, WEC, and Strikeforce? Quintet is hopping in a time machine to take fans back to an era when this question could be answered.

On Thursday, one of the world’s most unique grappling tournaments will return with Quintet Ultra. The openweight elimination challenge takes place at Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas and streams on UFC Fight Pass.

The event will see four teams compromised of five fighters – each team tied to a respective promotion. On Monday, full rosters and first-round team pairings were announced, with Team UFC taking on Team PRIDE and Team WEC vs. Team Strikeforce.

The teams are as follows:

Team UFC

  • Anthony Smith (captain): former UFC light heavyweight title challenger, current UFC light heavyweight contender, WSOF veteran
  • Anthony Johnson: former UFC light heavyweight title challenger
  • Sean O’Malley: Dana White’s Contender Series signee, undefeated UFC bantamweight
  • Clay Guida: 29-fight UFC veteran, current UFC lightweight
  • Gilbert Burns: current UFC lightweight/welterweight, second-degree black belt

Team PRIDE

  • Kazushi Sakuraba (captain): UFC Hall of Famer, competed in 27 fights under the PRIDE banner, UFC Japan heavyweight tournament winner
  • Takanori Gomi: PRIDE lightweight champion, Pride 2005 lightweight grand prix winner, UFC veteran
  • Gregor Gracie: grappling world champion, ONE FC veteran, member of the storied Gracie family
  • Hector Lombard: former Bellator middleweight champion, Bellator Season 1 middleweight tournament winner, international judo federation gold medalist
  • Yves Edwards: three-time PRIDE competitor, UFC and Strikeforce veteran, current PFL commentator

Team WEC

  • Chad Mendes (captain): two-time UFC featherweight title challenger, most knockouts in UFC featherweight history (tied with Conor McGregor), two-time NCAA Division 1 All American
  • Glover Teixeira: former UFC light heavyweight title challenger, current UFC light heavyweight contender, most submission victories in UFC light heavyweight history (tied with Jon Jones)
  • Mark Munoz: two-time WEC competitor, 15-time UFC competitor, two-time NCAA division 1 All American
  • Cub Swanson: former UFC featherweight title challenger, former WEC title challenger, 11-time UFC/WEC bonus winner
  • James Krause: two-time WEC competitor, current UFC welterweight, currently riding a six-fight win streak

Team Strikeforce

  • Gilbert Melendez: WEC lightweight champion, Strikeforce lightweight champion, UFC lightweight title challenger
  • Jake Shields: Strikeforce middleweight champion, Elite XC welterweight champion, former UFC welterweight title challenger
  • Muhammed Lawal: Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, Bellator 2013 “Summer Series” light heavyweight tournament champion, Bellator season 10 light heavyweight tournament finalist
  • Gesias Cavalcante: two-time K-1 HERO’s middleweight grand prix champion, former Titan FC lightweight champion
  • Renato Sobral: Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, former UFC light heavyweight title challenger

In addition to the team competition, Quintet Ultra will feature singles matches. Gordon Ryan meets Aleksei Oleinik, while Cynthia Calvillo – who replaces a previously announced Pearl Gonzalez – takes on Danielle Kelly. A prelims single match between Craig Jones and Fredson Paixao also is set.

Brennan Ward hated fighting and felt guilty, but now he’s itching to make Bellator return

Brennan Ward hasn’t competed inside the cage since August 2017.

After withdrawing from Bellator 207 in October 2018, Ward (14-6 MMA) retired from MMA. He was briefly linked to a bare-knuckle boxing match in June against Johny Hendricks later that year, but he pulled out when he got an eerie feeling about the legitimacy of the terms of his deal.

Ward never publicly detailed what led to his retirement. But in a recent interview, he opened up about his competitive career and decision to walk away from it.

“The last couple years of my career, I (expletive) hated it,” Ward said on the “Shamrock Show” podcast. “I hated fighting. And I would outwardly say that. Like, ‘This (expletive) sucks.’ I’d book a fight and walk into the gym and walk out. So many times.

“I wouldn’t train. I couldn’t stand it. I was like, ‘What part of me is hating this so much?’ It was just so much pressure that I couldn’t take it. I could not handle the pressure. I couldn’t handle the stress.”

The Connecticut-based fighter indicated he called it quits due to a combination of distaste and guilt. Fighting became unenjoyable for Ward, who admitted to largely living the rockstar lifestyle instead of training.

“I carried a lot of guilt and a lot of shame for a long time about how my career ended,” Ward said. “I wasn’t training at the end. I wasn’t doing the right things. Some people know I’ve had some issues. I’ve had some demons that I’ve battled. Every single day. I let those demons get the best of me the last couple of years I was fighting. The results showed. I’m talking not training at all for a fight. My dad was like, ‘How can you go to fight on national television and never train?’ I was like, ‘You just do it.’ I (felt) really guilty.”

At the time, Ward knew he wasn’t fighting up to his potential. There were thousands of fighters chomping at the bit to be in his position – and that seemed to bother him.

“(It was) almost like I was squandering the opportunity I had in front of me,” Ward said. “Guys would kill to be in the position I was in. I was just partying and not training. If there were waves and I had to train, I would surf. I’d be skating or just (expletive) off, or not doing the right things. So I never wanted to talk about fighting because it was just a constant reminder that there was no way I fought to the potential that I had.”

Nowadays, Ward has a full time job and a family. His life has become more structured. Ward indicated the growing stability in his life has resulted in him feeling “the itch” to fight again for the first time in years.

“I got a real career outside of it,” Ward said. “And I’m getting the (expletive) itch again. I’m getting the itch to fight. And I would want to fight at 185. I’m trying to fight other journeyman who have been around like I have. I just want to bang. … So yeah, I’m getting the (expletive) itch, and I’m looking at the 185-pound division in (expletive) Bellator.”

Ward likes his odds, especially if he no longer has to cut as much weight and can get himself on a mental regimen. He admitted there’s fatigue when it comes to believing fighters saying they’ll one day be champion. But Ward, 31, said he has as good of a chance as anyone.

“If I went full time, I think I could (expletive) get the belt at 185,” Ward said. “I really think that I could. I could if I was going to fully dedicate myself, which I can’t. Any (expletive) can say, ‘I’m going to get the (expletive) belt.’ Like, listen pal, you’re never getting the (expletive) belt. (Expletive) comment, I just made. I can get into that division and match up with anybody in there.”

Before he can compete, Ward will have to serve 120 days in prison (which began on Dec. 4), according to Connecticut state records. The sentence stems back to a July 2016 assault charge, when an “intoxicated” Ward was arrested for fighting police officers outside of a Waterford bar.

Ex-Bellator champ, UFC fighter Will Brooks tries out for WWE

Former Bellator champion Will Brooks is trying his hand at the world of professional wrestling.

In a recent press release, WWE revealed that Brooks (20-5-1 MMA) was among more than 40 athletes to partake in a recent tryout. The tryout was the WWE’s final of 2019. The week was overseen by WWEPC head coach Matt Bloom.

The tryout took place at the WWE performance Center in Orlando, Fla., and featured numerous other athletes, TV personalities, celebrities, military heroes, and more. Amateur fighters Kara Lazauskas and Lainey Nations were the only other tryout hopefuls who shared MMA backgrounds with Brooks.

Brooks isn’t the first UFC veteran to try out for the WWE in recent memory. In December 2018, UFC middleweight Eric Spicely took advantage of the opportunity to wrestle in front of WWE scouts. Additionally, former UFC champions Ronda Rousey and Cain Velasquez are currently members of the WWE roster.

In 2017, Brooks traded in his Bellator lightweight title for a pair of UFC gloves. After winning his promotional debut against Ross Pearson, Brooks lost three straight fights en route to a UFC release.

Brooks is one of the few athletes in MMA history to have competed in the UFC, Bellator, and PFL. After an unsuccessful PFL 2018 season, Brooks most recently fought Gleison Tibau at Battlefield FC 2 in July 2019.

Matchup Roundup: New UFC and Bellator fights announced in the past week (Dec. 2-8)

MMA fight announcements are hard to follow. With so many outlets and channels for news to break through, it’s nearly impossible to organize.

But here at MMA Junkie, we’ve got your back.

Each week, we’ll compile all the newly surfaced fights in one spot. Every Monday, expect a feature listing everything you might have missed from the UFC and Bellator.

Here are the fight announcements that were broken or confirmed by MMA Junkie from Dec. 2-8:

UFC on ESPN+ 23: Dec. 21, Busan, South Korea

Featherweight: With Brian Ortega out, Frankie Edgar (23-7-1 MMA, 17-7-1 UFC) steps in to fight Chan Sung Jung (16-5 MMA, 5-2 UFC) (ESPN/MMA Junkie)

Bellator 237: Dec. 28, Saitama, Japan

Catchweight (160lbs): With Benson Henderson out, Sidney Outlaw (14-3 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) steps in to fight Michael Chandler (19-5 MMA, 16-5 BMMA)

Welterweight: Michael Page (16-1 MMA, 12-1 BMMA) vs. Shinsho Anzai (11-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)

Next page: UFC 246, Bellator 238, UFC 247, UFC Rio Rancho

Cynthia Calvillo has no excuses about weight miss; open to flyweight move after UFC DC

WASHINGTON – Cynthia Calvillo will walk away from UFC on ESPN 7 with less money than she anticipated for two reasons.

In Saturday’s co-main event, Calvillo (8-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) fought to a majority draw against Marina Rodriguez (13-0-2 MMA, 2-0-2 UFC), so a win bonus won’t be coming her way.

Additionally, Calvillo was forced to hand over a solid chunk of change when she was fined 30 percent for missing weight by 4.5 pounds Friday morning. The miss wasn’t her first, either. Prior to her fight against Poliana Botelho in November 2018, Calvillo also missed the strawweight mark.

Post-fight, Calvillo told reporters backstage at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., she’s open to moving up in weight if her body doesn’t allow her to hit the 115-pound mark.

“I don’t want to make excuses,” Calvillo told MMA Junkie. “It’s unfortunate that it happened. It was something we were trying to prepare for again. But once again, I had to deal with my body shutting down. I don’t want to make any excuses. I just want to go back to the drawing board, and we’re going to work on that, whether it means me moving up a weight class and that’s what I’m going to have to do.”

“I would hate to look like I’m unprofessional. I work so god-dang hard. If you guys knew me and spent a week with me, you’d know I’m not here to (expletive) around. I definitely didn’t want to give a couple ‘Gs.’ She went home with a nice paycheck with that draw and my missed weight. It is what it is. I apologize to my opponent and stuff like that. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. If that means moving up, that means moving up.”

As for the draw itself, Calvillo didn’t say whether or not she thought she won the fight. Seemingly focused more on her mistakes, Calvillo said she could have done better in certain areas – notably, the clinch.

“You know, it was a tough fight,” Calvillo said. “I did a lot of mistakes in there – definitely defending in the clinch. She had a really good clinch. But I feel like I got her down in the first round. Second round, she was pretty strong.

“But the third round, man, I was god-dang this close to finishing her. I let it slip through my fingers. She got up for the last few seconds and it ended up being a draw in the judges’ eyes.”

After doing some of her camp in Thailand in preparation for UFC DC, Calvillo’s fine stings a little extra. The 32-year-old Californian hopes to be rebooked quickly.

“We’ve got to pay some bills,” Calvillo said. “Hopefully I get a fight really soon – early next year. Dana (White), Mick Maynard: Please. I’ll take a fight January, February, whatever, you know? I’ve got some bills to pay because those four pounds were very expensive.”