Brandon Moreno Returns After Stint Away from UFC

The Assasin Baby

Brandon Moreno returns to the UFC this weekend at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City. Moreno previously went 3-2 in the UFC with wins over Louis Smolka, Ryan Benoit and Dustin Ortiz. Following two losses on the bounce, the UFC cut Moreno. His first UFC loss came to Sergio Pettis in a main event slot in Mexico City in August 2017. His second loss was in a rematch from TUF 24 against Alexandre Pantoja. Both of these losses came at a time where the UFC’s flyweight division was up in the air. The future of the division was very unclear and a number of fighters were cut, including Brandon Moreno.

Time Away and UFC Return

Brandon Moreno returned to competitive action after over a year out. This time it was for LFA and Moreno was put straight into a title fight at LFA 69. He faced 6-1, 2008 Olympic wrestler, Maikel Pérez. Moreno’s MMA experience showed and he landed an impressive fourth-round TKO to capture the LFA flyweight title.

Despite previously ‘not seeing a future‘ in the 125lbs division, Brandon Moreno re-signed with the UFC as a flyweight. He will welcome undefeated Russian prospect Askar Askarov at UFC Fight Night 159. At 10-0, Askarov is the former ACB flyweight champion and has finished all 10 of his victories inside the cage. This fight is a fan favourite fight as in a combined 25 wins, 22 have come via finish.

Other Fights on the Card

Joining Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov on the card are a number of competitive fights.

  • The main event sees Yair Rodriguez return following his emphatic knockout of Chan Sung Jung. Rodriguez will face the hard-hitting Jeremy Stephens.
  • Former strawweight champion Carla Esparza faces upcoming prospect Alexa Grosso in the co-main in Mexico City.
  • Exciting bantamweight Irene Aldana returns following her split decision loss at UFC on ESPN 4. Her opponent in Mexico City will be promotional newcomer Vanessa Melo, who takes the fight on short notice.
  • Sijara Eubanks looks to get back to winning ways as she takes on former title challenger Bethe Correia.

 

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Is Justin Gaethje Ready For a Title Shot?

A first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 158 on Saturday edges Justin Gaethje closer to a title shot, and the Arizona fighter wants the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.

Gaethje saw off Cerrone with relative ease in Vancouver. Cowboy looked unsettled by the power and forward pressure of Gaethje, who dropped Cowboy twice before the ref called a stop to the fight near the end of the first round.

A 21st professional win for Gaethje, and a third straight win by first-round stoppage. Now a top 4 contender in the lightweight division, Gaethje wants a shot at the title – namely the winner of the as-yet-unconfirmed Khabib-Tony fight.

Red Panty Night for Justin Gaethje?

Overtaking Cerrone to go fourth in the division, only Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier stand between Gaethje and the number one contender Tony Ferguson.

In an interview with ESPN last month, McGregor told Ariel Helwani that he was due to fight Justin Gaethje in June this year but for a hand injury. Gaethje later said that he was unaware of this scheduled ‘fight’ with the Irishman, which now seems unlikely to happen.

The next most likely fight for McGregor is Poirier. The pair exchanged tweets after Poirier loss to Khabib at UFC 242 last month, and fans seem keen on a rematch between the two before the end of the year. That clears the way for Gaethje to fight the winner of Khabib-Tony next year, but is Gaethje ready?

Lightweight Contender

It’s been a turbulent two years for Gaethje. Having won at the TUF Finale against Michael Johnson in 2017, he suffered back-to-back defeats against Eddie Alvarez and Poirier before concluding a three-run streak last weekend.

At only 30-years-old, is Gaethje ready for a shot at the title? He was stopped in his two UFC losses but has come back with three exciting and promising wins. But maybe he needs one more stepping stone on his road to being lightweight champ?

A possible match-up could be against the winner of Al Iaquinta and Dan Hooker at UFC 243 this weekend. Fifth-ranked Iaquinta will be expected to beat Hooker, and with similar brawler-mentality to Gaethje it could make for an enthralling contest.

Justin Gaethje is ranked up their with the top lightweight fighters in the world. He still has the fighting world at his feet and could go on to achieve great things in the sport. Realistically, the winner of McGregor’s next bout will have the next shot at the title, which may leave Gaethje needing another win to earn himself that shot.

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Gordon Ryan vs. Gabriel Gonzaga Set for SUG 10 Main Event

Submission Underground 10 (SUG 10) goes down on December 22 from the Roseland Arena in Portland, Oregon. The main event is a battle between Gordon Ryan and Gabriel Gonzaga.

Ryan was out of action for a portion of 2019 after undergoing knee surgery. The John Danaher black belt is a multi-division EBI champion and ADCC champion.

Gordon Ryan vs. Gabriel Gonzaga at SUG 10

Gonzaga made waves in the MMA cage, including a run at the UFC heavyweight gold. The Brazilian is known for his pressure game and will look to use that when facing Ryan in the SUG 10 main event.

Also announced for the card is a match between Craig Jones and Dean Lister, who are both known for their leg locks. The two will square off in the evening’s co-main event.

The three-fight UFC Fight Pass main card will be capped off by multiple time SUG competitor Micah Brakefield vs. Gabriel Checco.

Tickets to watch it live at the Roseland Theater are available now online through CascadeTickets.comwww.fcff.com and Bridge City Fight Shop in Tualatin.

SUG 10 will feature 10 matches consisting of black belt competitors including tag team jiu-jitsu.

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Stay tuned right here at MMA Sucka for more live streams as well as videos highlighting the top fighters, commentators, coaches, promoters and other names in MMA and combat sports. We also bring you great offers on the latest MMA products and merchandise. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular updates and all the latest fight news. You can also check out our sister site, at TheFightBuzz.com for the latest from the world of MMA and other combat sports.

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Four Fights, Lightweight GP Announced for RIZIN 19

RIZIN FF dropped a boatload of  fight announcements Wednesday for their RIZIN 19 show. Four fights were announced and the participants in the lightweight Grand Prix were named. Brackets are expected to be announced at a later time. RIZIN 19 will take place on October 12 in Osaka at the Edion Arena.

Keita Nakamura vs. Marco Yoshio de Souza:

Keita Nakamura and Marcos de Souza face off in a welterweight clash. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

Former UFC fighter Keita Nakamura (34-10-2,1 NC) is returning to Japan to take on Brazilian Marcos “Yoshio” de Souza (8-1).

Nakamura had an up and down record while in the UFC. He went 4-4 with his last match being a decision loss to Sultan Aliev.

De Souza is the older brother Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza who is in the lightweight GP. Both live in Japan where they operate a jiu-jitsu academy. The jiu-jitsu black belt has finished all but two of his bouts by submission.

RIZIN has not featured many fights in the welterweight class. This fight could be the start of an opportunity to take the division more seriously.

Fighter Quotes:

Keita Nakamura: “I hope to meet Sakakibara’s expectations so that RIZIN can start putting more efforts in the welterweight division.”

Marcos de Souza: “I want to thank RIZIN and Nakamura for making this fight happen. I will train hard every day and will make a good fight. I won’t be looking for a specific finish, I just want to make sure it will be a great fight. Please look forward for my fight.”

Rena Kubota vs. Shawna Ram:

RIZIN 19 features the return of RENA who takes on Canada’s Shawna Ram. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

Rena Kubota (aka RENA) (8-3) is a super atomweight Grand Prix finalist, losing in the finals to Kanna Asakura. The shoot boxing champion’s most recent MMA match was her U.S. debut at Bellator 222 in Madison Square Garden. She lost to Lindsey VanZandt by rear-naked choke.

Shawna Ram (1-0) is a fighter from British Columbia, Canada. Her one pro fight was a decision win in October 2018 over RIZIN alum Chelsea LaGrasse. Ram was 4-1 as an amateur.

Fighter Quotes:

RENA: “I am sorry to have disappointed you all in New York. I hit rock bottom but I am now back on track and ready to start climbing the ladder once again. I am nothing but
grateful that RIZIN gave me an offer in my hometown Osaka, so I would like to show my
hometown fans an exciting finish.”

Shawna Ram: “I am fighting on RIZIN 19 in Japan against a very very experienced fighter. Myself and RENA both have the skillset to make this a very exciting fight. I am honored to live my dream and fight for RIZIN.”

Jiri Prochazka vs. Fabio Maldonado:

RIZIN 19
RIZIN FF Lightheavyweight Champion Jiri Prochazka faces former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado in a non-title match. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

In this non-title light heavyweight match, champion Jiri Prochazka (24-3-1) takes on former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado (25-13).

Prochazka has become a RIZIN favorite due to his highlight reel finishes of opponents. He won the championship when he knocked out King Mo at RIZIN 15.

Brazilian Fabio Maldonado competed in the UFC at both light heavyweight and heavyweight. He gained notoriety due to the tremendous amount of punishment he took in his matches. He also competes professionally in boxing. RIZIN 19 will be his debut for the promotion.

Fighter Quotes:

Jiri Prochazka: “I’m really happy for this opponent. It’s a real challenge for me. I saw him one time, when he fought with Fedor Emelianenko and he showed a very good and tough fight. He’s a different type of opponent than I’ve ever had, but this is the right challenge for me. I want to win without compromise and to show all Japanese fans that my strategy is on the next level. I’m looking forward to Japan and RIZIN!!”

Fabio Maldonado: “I am very happy to be able to fight in RIZIN. I am sure that the Japanese fans will love my style. Jiri is a very tough opponent and the perfect one for an epic battle.”

Seo Hee Ham vs. Miyuu Yamamoto:

RIZIN 19
Seo Hee Ham called for a fight against Miyuu Yamamoto and she got her wish. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

South Korea’s Seo Hee Ham (21-8), better known as “Hamderlei” to her devoted fans, is the current ROAD FC atomweight champion. She had her first RIZIN fight at RIZIN 17 where she put down DEEP JEWELS atomweight champion Tomo Maesawa in the first round. After the fight she called out Miyuu Yamamoto (5-3), saying “I want to fight for the RIZIN title, but I’ve got to earn it. I want Miyuu Yamamoto!”

Yamamoto is an expert level freestyle wrestler who has been with RIZIN since 2016. The Krazy Bee team member has utilized her wrestling to get her five wins. The winner of this will likely go on to face atomweight titleholder Ayaka Hamasaki.

Lightweight Grand Prix Entrants:

Eight fighters were announced for RIZIN’s lightweight Grand Prix. Speculated and talked about for months, RIZIN held several lightweight matches to determine who qualified for the GP. Here is some brief background on each.

Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (21-8): Older brother of Bellator lightweight and featherweight champion Patrício Freire. He will be debuting for the promotion at RIZIN 19. He is on a five-fight win streak and has wins over Benson Henderson, Josh Thomson, and Ryan Couture.

Johnny “Hollywood” Case (26-6-1): A former UFC fighter, he is undefeated in the RIZIN promotion. Both of his RIZIN fights have been ended by a TKO stoppage. In his debut at RIZIN 14, he caused enough damage to the eye of Yusuke Yachi for the doctors to call off the fight. At RIZIN 17, he gave a brutal one-sided beating to Satoru Kitaoka. Kitaoka’s corner threw in the towel in between the first and second round. Case exclusively told MMASucka, “I’m ready to go out and take what’s mine. This is my time, this is my title, no one is going to take from me what I’m willing to die for.”

Luiz “Killer” Gustavo (9-1): The youngest of all the entrants at 23-years-old, it’s fair to say that probably no one expected Gustavo to be in the tournament. Initially a featherweight, he was a late replacement in his RIZIN debut last year. In his debut, he faced off against Yusuke Yachi as a lightweight at RIZIN 12. He shockingly knocked out the Japanese fighter. At RIZIN 15 in April, he lost a decision to Mikuru Asakura.

Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri (37-13-2): The oldest fighter at 41, Kawajiri has a storied career in MMA. He has fought as a welterweight, lightweight, featherweight, and bantamweight. The Japanese fighter is a veteran of PRIDE, Shooto (where he was a lightweight champion), DREAM, and UFC. He is 2-3 in RIZIN, but won his lightweight qualifying match by decision against Ali Abdulkhalikov.

Tofiq Musaev (15-3): The Azerbaijani fighter secured his spot in the GP with a decision win over Daron Cruickshank at RIZIN 16. In his debut at RIZIN 14, he got a win over Nobumitsu Osawa with devastating hammerfists.

Roberto “Satoshi” De Souza (9-0): The only fighter in the GP who is undefeated. Considered one of the best BJJ practitioners in the world, Souza has finished all nine of his fights. His two RIZIN wins have come by knockout.

Damien “Beatdown” Brown (19-12): Hailing from Australia, Brown left the UFC on a losing streak but has now gone back to his winning ways. His first fight in RIZIN was a first-round guillotine choke submission over Daron Cruickshank. In his second fight, he defeated then-undefeated DEEP lightweight champion Koji Takeda by decision. Brown exclusively told MMASucka, “I’m over the moon to have qualified although I felt like I was an obvious choice. I feel like I’ve been brought in to lose mainly due to the late notice. So you best bet I’m going in with something to prove. Expect fireworks.”

Hiroto Uesako (16-7): A former DEEP featherweight champion, Uesako has one sole win in RIZIN. The disciple of Yoshihiro Akiyama and Yushin Okami got a TKO victory over France’s Yves Landu at RIZIN 18.

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Tyron Woodley wants Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, then a move to middleweight

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Tyron Woodley has mapped out whom he’d like to face next and plans on making a major change after that.

He wants to avenge his loss to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who took the title from him at UFC 235, then fight Colby Covington, then move up to 185 pounds.

“Obviously it’s going to be a lot of emotion in the Colby Covington fight. It’s going to be a lot of emotion in the (Kamaru) Usman fight,” Woodley said during a fan Q&A this past Friday ahead of the UFC on ESPN+ 16 weigh-ins in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “But outside of those two fights in that division, those are the ones that excite me the most, and after I get my belt and defend, if I fight Usman and beat him, I got to give him the rubber match. I can’t just say, ‘Nah-nah-nah, you can’t get me.’ I’ve got to give him a chance to get back out there and prove it. Then fighting Colby, obviously. Then I’m looking at 185 (pounds) after that.”

Former welterweight champion Woodley (19-4-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC), who successfully retained his title four times, believes he should have gotten the opportunity to run it back with Usman in an immediate rematch.

But he is dead set on getting the title back and is willing to do whatever it takes to get that chance.

“I just want fights that excite me,” Woodley said. “I want fights that are going to get me back to the title if it’s not an immediate rematch. When you look at a lot of fighters that are in similar situations as me, that had never defended, they were given instant rematches. And you’ve got to recognize that my deck of cards is my deck of cards. It’s not theirs. So whatever reason that fight wasn’t immediately rematched, I can’t cry over spilled milk. I’ve got to go out there and do what it takes for me to get back to the belt.”

He chalks his unanimous decision loss to Usman, a fairly lopsided result, to just not showing up that day. On paper, he thinks he’s a tough outing stylistically for the champion.

“Kamaru Usman, skill set wise on paper, I’m a nightmare for him every day of the week,” Woodley said.

“It was a silhouette of Tyron in the octagon (in the first fight). But something happened when I jumped up and stomped down. I think my spirit left my body. So I can give him credit for what he did. He stayed focused. He executed. But we all know that wasn’t Tyron Woodley.”

And should he run it back with Usman, he thinks there’s nothing to take away from their first fight. He just needs to go out there and fight.

“I don’t have to go back and watch the film and say the chain wrestling (was a factor). I’m a Division-I All-American (wrestler). When you think about my striking, my resume, it’s not that he did something so great that I couldn’t keep up with. It’s just the fact that it’s one of those nights when you walk out there and everything feels perfect and you get close to your opponent, and your battery pack’s just snatched out of your bag.”

Urijah Faber talks Ricky Simon victory, his legacy and more

UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber was in Vancouver, British Columbia to host a Q&A prior to UFC Fight Night 158. MMASucka caught up with the UFC Hall of Famer.

Faber discussed his life since becoming a father, how his legacy has changed since his daughter was born, his recent knockout victory over Ricky Simon, what’s next for him and much more.

“The California Kid” most recently made the walk to the Octagon after a three-year retirement and did not disappoint. Faber was able to land a first-round, 46-second knockout victory against highly touted prospect Simon. The knockout earned Faber a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Urijah Faber wants Henry Cejudo

Following the bout, Faber called out Henry Cejudo, ”It’s funny, I think Henry Cejudo called me out a little bit ago,” he said during the post-fight interview with Michael Bisping. “And then I heard Dana said I was old. I know Dana White was old when he was 40, but I’m a young man. Dana was old when he was 28. Come on, Dana. Look at me!

”Henry, I remember 10 years ago when you challenged me to a fight as a friendly gesture, and I’m down to get in there and mix it up. There’s only one reason I do this and it’s to test myself against the best in the world … It’s a hairy situation out there, I gotta get in there now before it’s too late.”

Unsure of what’s next, Faber knows his worth and will wait for what is perfect for him.

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Stay tuned right here at MMA Sucka for more live streams as well as videos highlighting the top fighters, commentators, coaches, promoters and other names in MMA and combat sports. We also bring you great offers on the latest MMA products and merchandise. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular updates and all the latest fight news. You can also check out our sister site, at TheFightBuzz.com for the latest from the world of MMA and other combat sports.

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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).

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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.