Backstage at Jeunesse Arena, UFC welterweight Warlley Alves did his best rendition of the viral dance. He also made it rain with imaginary money.
At that point, a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus wasn’t a lock. But with a knockout win over Sergio Moraes (14-5-1 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) at UFC 237, Alves (13-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) was certain of bigger paydays ahead.
“Look at this,” he said, interrupting his interview to dance.
So far, Alves is 7-3 in the octagon. But this past Saturday’s bout might have been the most important of his career since his win on the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.”
“It’s really, really important, so I trained every day,” Alves said. “God gave me this moment. God gave me this gift. This is the last fight on my contract. I’ll go renew my contract in the UFC. I feel so happy.”
You can imagine the dancing when he picked up the extra $50,000.
“The Monster” fights on May 18th for the right to advance to the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final. You need to watch his highlights.
On the docket for combat sports viewing this weekend is the return of Japanese bantamweight Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) as he takes on IBF champion Manny Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series.
For those who don’t know, Inoue is known as “The Monster” because he is a whirlwind of violence. I make the case that right now, he might not be the best boxer or necessarily the hardest puncher (even relative to weight class), but he is the most exciting boxer today.
Inoue is a prodigious talent who’s only been a pro since 2012 and has won major titles in two weight classes, with his sights set on a third this weekend. He has not been facing a stream of unknowns and no-hopers in his divisions. In his last two fights — the only ones he’s had at 118 lbs — he wiped out former champions Juan Carlos Payano and Jamie McDonnell in one round. Neither one of them had ever been knocked out before, and Inoue bulldozed them like they were not worthy of his presence. In just his eighth pro fight, he ended the long reign of then-WBO 112 lbs champion Omar Narvaez in two rounds.
He is an offensive machine that no one thus far has been able to counter. His body punching is absolutely lethal, and his combinations are scary accurate and fast. At the top of the page, you can watch all 15 KO wins by Inoue, and I promise you it’s worth your time.
The winner of Inoue vs. Rodriguez will face Nonito Donaire in the tournament final later this year. It’ll serve as the co-main event to Josh Taylor vs. Ivan Baranchyk, which is part of the WBSS semifinals for the 140 lbs division. Both bouts will be shown live on DAZN from Scotland on Saturday, May 18th.
The headlining fights continue to be pile up. Reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar have verbally agreed to fight.
Currently, the fight is being targeted for UFC 240. The event will take place on July 27th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Max Holloway is coming off a loss at lightweight to now interim-champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 via unanimous decision. Edgar, on the other hand, is currently on a single fight win after defeating Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 128. Both competitors are future hall of famers in the sport, and this fight makes an interesting match-up.
Many fans may feel like the true deserving number one contender should Alex Volkanovski. “The Great” has a current MMA record of 20 wins with only 1 loss. He just recently competed at UFC 237 – defeating former featherweight champion Jose Aldo via Unanimous decision. Prior to UFC 237, Volkanovski has held wins over Chad Mendes, Darren Elkins and Jeremy Kennedy. Since joining the UFC ranks, Volkanovski has been terrific. Going 7-0 and being one of the most active fighters on the roster, a title shot seemed imminent.
However, as Okamoto stated, this might be a very active year for Max Holloway. It cannot be disputed that both Edgar and Volkanovski are skilled fighters and deserving of a title shot. It may be possible that “Blessed” is looking to have himself a bounce-back year. After having his 13-fight win streak snapped by Poirier, Holloway’s competitive spirit is surely to shine.
Whatever the case may be – a fight between Edgar and Holloway will bring fireworks. Both men bring interesting styles to the table. These fighters are never ones to back down, and will always bring it come fight night.
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When Anthony Pettis steps into the cage with Nate Diaz at UFC 241, he’ll have to worry about his opponent’s incredible grappling skill, his crisp boxing, and his bottomless gas tank. Yet he’ll also have to be concerned with a much more intangible factor: Diaz’s trash talk.
Nate Diaz and his brother Nick are both infamous for their habit of talking trash to their opponents mid-fight. In an apparent grudge match like this fight with Pettis, the trash talk will almost certainly fly inside the Octagon.
Duke Roufus, the coach behind Anthony Pettis, has an interesting plan to prepare for this factor.
He’s going to trash talk Pettis in practice.
“A funny story (former UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva told me years ago about when Nate fought Clay Guida, he kept saying ‘209 bitch’ the whole time during the fight,” Roufus said on The MMA Hour on Monday (transcript via MMA Fighting). “[Guida] comes back to the corner and asks his coach, ‘What’s 209? I don’t know.’ He’s in your face.
“So I’m going to be a crazy coach, I’m going to be talking a lot of mess in training to Anthony,” he added. “That’s some of the psychological tricks my brothers and I used to do growing up. I’m a method coach — when he’s fighting one of the guys I’m fighting, I become that guy in the pads, I become that guy in training, so they get used to that mentality; a guy trash-talking, up in your face, howling and scowling the best way they can from the 209. So I’m going to integrate and get into that mindset. I’m going to be a homie for a while.”
Trash talk aside, Roufus believes Anthony Pettis matches up very well with Nate Diaz on a technical level.
“I just know stylistically, when it comes to striking, who are the best matchups, and Nate Diaz is a wonderful matchup stylistically for Anthony,” he said. “And we’re at a neat stage of our career where we’re starting to see some stylistic matchups that are fun for him. Now, Nate is not a big shooter, not a big wrestler, so it’s going to be on the feet a lot, unless Anthony chooses it to be on the mat and he wants to take Nate down.”
Do you think Anthony Pettis can withstand Nate Diaz’s skills and trash talk at UFC 241?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/13/2019.
Jessica Andrade captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight strap from Rose Namajunas with a violent knockout victory at the UFC 237 pay-per-view (PPV) event last weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
At one point, Jedrzejczyk was thought to be invincible at 115 pounds. Then she got knocked out by Namajunas at UFC 217, before falling to “Thug Rose” via unanimous decision in their UFC 223 rematch. A rebound win over Tecia Torres was enough to earn Jedrzejczyk a shot at the flyweight title, but Valentina Shevchenko sent her back to strawweight empty handed.
Where she’ll now have to get through Weili Zhang if she hopes to secure another crack at the crown.
Zhang (17-1) may not be a household name just yet, but she’s won 19 straight fights with 16 finishes and already has a perfect 3-0 record inside the Octagon. Whether or not the promotion pairs the No. 6 “Magnum” against the No. 2-ranked Jedrzejczyk (15-3) remains to be seen, but everyone else in the Top 5 outside of Namajunas is already booked.
MMA Fighting confirmed with sources that Magny has been forced to withdraw from this Saturday’s UFC Rochester event, where he and Luque were scheduled as the co-main event. The news was first reported by MMAjunkie.
Officials are actively looking for a replacement for Magny to keep Luque on the card.
The reason for Magny’s withdrawal has not been disclosed. This was to be the 28-fight veteran’s first appearance of 2019 after going 1-1 last year with a first-round KO of Craig White and a fourth-round KO loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Should Luque remain on the card, he’ll be searching for his fifth straight win. In 10 UFC appearances, Luque has won eight fights, all by knockout or submission.
UFC Rochester takes place at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, with the main card airing live on the ESPN+ streaming service.