UFC 245 could feature three title fights

The UFC’s year-end pay-per-view card this December in Las Vegas, UFC 245, could potentially feature three title fights on it for a true blockbuster end to 2019.

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani speculated that the UFC could consider stacking UFC 245 with three title fights. Here’s what the scribe tweeted.

It is worth noting that Helwani mentioned that he doesn’t see Jon Jones fighting on the UFC 245 card. There were rumbling that Jones could potentially face off against Jan Blachowicz on the card, but Blachowicz was booked to fight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in Brazil instead.

Helwani does mention UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes as a possibility to be on the card. It was previously reported that Nunes would rematch top contender Germaine de Randamie at this event, but UFC president Dana White recently said that the fight wasn’t a done deal.

He also mentions UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman being on the card, likely against Colby Covington. The two were supposed to meet at UFC 244 this November in New York, but the promotion opted to go a different route and booked Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal as the main event for that card.

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has also been linked to fight at UFC 245 against Alexander Volkanovski, but again that’s not a done deal. As well, Tony Ferguson recently said he wanted to fight UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 245. And Dana White mentioned Weili Zhang as a possibility for this card as the promotion wants to bring her next fight to the USA.

With so few cards left before 2019 is up, the UFC could very well opt for a blockbuster show to end the year, and right now it’s looking like UFC 245 is going to be an incredibly-stacked card to close out the year with a bang.

Do you think the UFC will put three title fights on UFC 245, and if so, which three title fights would you like to see?

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Khabib Nurmagomedov to Donate to Dustin Poirier Charity

At UFC 242, Khabib Nurmagomedov continued his reign as UFC lightweight champion. The Dagestani fighter improved to 28-0 when he dismantled interim champion Dustin Poirier in the third round. Following the contest, “The Eagle” wore his foe’s t-shirt, stating that he would be selling it and donating all proceeds to “The Diamond’s” charity.

Poirier’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation, was created by the Louisiana native and his wife Jolie. Instead of having all of Poirier’s post-fight memorabilia sit in the corner, the two decided to auction it off and donate the funds to charities in the Lafayette, Louisiana area.

Khabib Nurmagomedov to donate to The Good Fight Foundation

Following his fight with Eddie Alvarez, Poirier auctioned off his fight kit, which led to the purchase of over 3,000 meals by the Second Harvest Food Bank.

And in his second auction, Poirier funded a playground for disabled children at a Lafayette elementary school following his victory over Max Holloway for the interim lightweight championship.

Despite not winning at UFC 242, the Louisiana area will win, as Nurmagomedov intends to donate.

If you are interested in Poirier’s Foundation, check out The Good Fight here.

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UFC Monthly Matchmaker: August 2019

Following a successful article playing matchmaker following UFC on ESPN+ 14, I will be starting a ‘monthly match-maker’ series. At the end of each month, fights will be suggested for a number of UFC fighters. These will be fighters who have competed recently, including big names as well as prospects. In what is the first installment, we will look at Max Holloway, Miranda Granger, Paulo Costa, Cory Sandhagen and Stipe Miocic.

August 2019: UFC Monthly Matchmaker

Max Holloway

‘Blessed’, Max Holloway proved once again at UFC 240 why he is the best 145-pound fighter on the planet. Defending his belt against Frankie Edgar, he defeated the future Hall of Famer by unanimous decision. Who is the next logical opponent for Holloway? There is really only one fight to make, 20-1 Australian, Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski is riding a 17 fight winning streak and is undefeated since 2013. At 7-0 in the UFC, Volkanovski holds notable wins over Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo. Ranked #1 at featherweight, Volkanovski weighed in at UFC 240 as the back-up fighter for the main event.

It was very briefly hinted that Holloway may defend his belt at UFC 243 against Volkanovski. However, it looks as though this isn’t going to happen as it doesn’t give Holloway much time to prepare. The Aussie fighter will certainly provide a different test to anything Holloway has faced. With his pressure, strong wrestling and heavy hands, does Volkanovski hold the key to defeating Holloway?

Miranda Granger

Former CFFC strawweight champion Granger made her much anticipated UFC debut at UFC on ESPN 5. On this occasion, she out-pointed Hannah Goldy to a unanimous decision victory. Sitting at an impressive 7-0, including six finishes, Granger could be a real force in the UFC. There are a number of options for Granger depending on whether she chooses to stay at 125 or drop back down to strawweight.

If she chooses to stay at 125, she should be matched with someone who will help her progress in the ranks. JJ Aldrich is a well-respected flyweight, with an impressive record of 7-3, including a stint on TUF. Most recently she tested Maycee Barber, before coming up short. Prior to this, however, Aldrich was riding a three-fight winning streak. She could also step up to face Paige VanZant when she returns from injury. This will certainly get her known to the ‘casual’ fan as VanZant is a big name with a well-rounded skill set. With a win over PVZ, Granger would certainly throw her name into the rankings conversation.

If Granger drops down to strawweight again, a good match-up for her would be to face Ashley Yoder. Yoder also had a stint on TUF and despite starting her UFC career 0-3, she is now riding a two-fight winning streak. Again, Yoder is a well known, respected strawweight who could push Granger up the rankings if the former CFFC champion can get the win. Another potential match-up could be against Hannah Cifers, who has impressed since a loss in her UFC debut.

Paulo Costa

Paulo Costa competed in what could be many people’s picks for fight of the year at UFC 241. Coming into the bout, Costa was 12-0 with 12 finishes. His opponent, Yoel Romero is one of the most well-respected fighters on the roster. In a back and forth fight, where both fighters were dropped, finished with Costa getting the nod, 29-28 on all scorecards.

The next logical for the undefeated Brazilian is to compete for the title, which is being contested at UFC 243 between current champion Robert Whittaker and interim champion Israel Adesanya. Newly ranked #2, Costa has interacted with Adesanya a number of times, most recently after his bout at UFC 241. 

If the UFC doesn’t feel that Costa has earned a title shot (although it is strongly suggested that he has), he could be matched in a #1 contender fight. The winner of Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier, who clash in a headliner in Denmark at the end of September could be the perfect opponent. Hermansson, who is currently on an impressive four-fight winning streak has proven that he has what it takes to hang with the best at 185. Likewise, Cannonier is undefeated since dropping down to middleweight at 2-0. Cannonier has four of his five UFC wins and could provide a good test for Costa.

Cory Sandhagen

Cory Sandhagen is one of the brightest prospects the UFC bantamweight division has seen in years. At 5-0 in the UFC, Sandhagen’s knowledge of distance is almost unprecedented at 135. Managing to just slide out of the way of counters, he has a style that keeps fans on the edge of their seats. In his bout with John Lineker, many thought he would come up short (only one MMASucka staff member picked him to win, myself!) but managed distance like a matador and stayed away from the heavy hands of Lineker.

Sandhagen needs a title elimination bout next as he just defeated #5 ranked Raphael Assuncao. The bantamweight division is stacked however and it looks like either Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan will get the next shot at the belt. Sandhagen could welcome Frankie Edgar to 135, as suggested by Sucka’s own Michael Henken. Sandhagen could also face Marlon Moraes following his unsuccessful title attempt. Moraes has been out since UFC 238 and will himself be looking to get back into the title picture.

Stipe Miocic

Miocic recaptured the heavyweight title with an emphatic fourth-round TKO over Daniel Cormier. With the win, Miocic goes 1-1 with Cormier, after losing the belt to him last July. Naturally there is a call for a trilogy fight to determine who is definitively the better fighter, however, with Cormier’s future uncertain, this may not happen. 

So, who’s next for the heavyweight champion? We could and possibly should see him rematch Francis Ngannou. Miocic and Ngannou first faced each other at UFC 220, where Miocic dominated Ngannou 50-44 on all cards. Since then, despite a lackluster fight with Derrick Lewis, Ngannou has been on a tear. With three TKO victories in as many main event slots, ‘The Predator’ has certainly earned his rematch. If that wasn’t convincing, those wins have been over Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. That’s two former champions and a top contender on a six-fight winning streak.

If not Ngannou, could we see Stipe Miocic welcome light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to the heavyweight division? Jones has dominated the 205-pound division since he entered the UFC in 2008. With a record of 25-1-1 and having only lost by a controversial DQ, Jones is arguably the most dominant fighter to grace the UFC. One slight criticism of Jones is that he’s never stepped up in weight to test himself. Could this be the perfect time to step up and test himself against Miocic?

Keep an eye out on MMASucka next month for the second installment of the ‘Monthly Matchmaker’. With UFC 242 and three-fight night cards, there will be plenty to discuss!

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Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245? That’s what Kai Kara-France implied

The rumors have been floating around for a week, and Saturday Kai Kara-France did his part to bolster them.

Afte he picked up a unanimous decision win over Mark De La Rosa in the featured bout at UFC on ESPN+ 15 in Shenzhen, China, Kara-France implied to John Gooden and Dan Hardy on the post-fight broadcast that Alexander Volkanovski (20-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) will challenge featherweight champion Max Holloway (21-4 MMA, 17-4 UFC) for the title in Las Vegas.

He let it slip while discussing his own callout of Alexandre Pantoja, saying if that fight couldn’t happen next month in Melbourne, Australia, maybe it could happen on the same card as Volkanovski-Holloway, since he and Volkanovski are from the same part of the world – New Zealand for Kara-France, Australia for Volkanovski.

“I see Alex Volkanovski’s fighting Max Holloway in Vegas. If that Melbourne fight doesn’t happen, maybe we can do it in Vegas,” Kara-France said. Kara-France is part of the City Kickboxing team in New Zealand that also features interim middleweight champ Israel Adesanya.

The next UFC show in Las Vegas is UFC 245, which takes place Dec. 14 at T-Mobile Arena. Already set for the card is a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie, but it would not be at all unusual for the UFC to stack its year-end pay-per-view with multiple title fights.

Over the course of nearly three years in the promotion, Volkanovski has won all seven of his fights. The lone loss of his career came more than six years ago, and he’s rattled off 17 straight wins since then.

After wins over Jeremy Kennedy, Darren Elkins and Chad Mendes in 2018, Volkanovski picked up the biggest and most important win of his career so far with a unanimous decision over former longtime champ Jose Aldo in Aldo’s home country of Brazil in May.

Holloway tried to become a two-division champion in April, but lost a decision to Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight belt. That setback was his first since 2013 and snapped a 13-fight winning streak that included a TKO win over Aldo for the title at UFC 212, a TKO win over him at UFC 218 in the rematch, and a TKO win over the previously unbeaten Brian Ortega at UFC 231.

After the loss to Poirier, Holloway got right back to work and put his featherweight belt on the line against former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar in the UFC 240 main event five weeks ago. He won that fight with a unanimous decision to get back in the win column.

So far, the UFC has not made any formal announcements about a Holloway-Volkanovski matchup. But Volkanovski was at UFC 240 as a backup fighter in case either Edgar or Holloway couldn’t go during fight week.

Report | Max Holloway will return to the Octagon at UFC 245

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will reportedly be making another walk to the Octagon before the end of the 2019 calendar year.

Gadiel Notelovitz was first to report the news, suggesting that a featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Alex Volkanovski was being discussed for December’s UFC 245 event.

That news was later confirmed by John Hyon Ko who additionaly reported that contracts have now been signed for the highly anticipated featherweight title fight.

“A source close to the situation has informed me that the contracts are signed. Max Holloway will defend his featherweight title against Alex Volkanovski at #UFC245 in Las Vegas on December 14.”

Max Holloway (21-4 MMA) was most recently seen in action at last month’s UFC 240 event in Edmonton, where he defeated Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision to retain his featherweight belt.

Prior to defeating ‘The Answer’, the Hawaiian was handed his first loss in over five years by newly crowned interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 236.

Max Holloway will now meet surging featherweight contender Alex Volkanovski (20-1 MMA). The Austrailian is currently riding a sixteen fight win streak, his latest being a unanimous decision victory over former champ Jose Aldo at UFC 237.

Alex Volkanovski
Image: @ufc on Instagram

Since joining the UFC ranks in 2016, Volkanovski has gone 7-0, with three of those seven wins coming by way of stoppage.

UFC 245 takes place December 14 live from T-Mobile Arena in fabulous Las Vegas.

The event will also feature a women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie.

Who do you think will emerge victorious when Max Holloway and Alex Volkanovski square off under the bright lights of T-Mobile Arena this December in Las Vegas? Sound off in the comments section PENN Nation!

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com August 24, 2019

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Henry Cejudo vs. Jose Aldo Should be The Last Thing on Dana White’s Mind

Rumors have begun to swirl that former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was interested in making a move down to 135 pounds. And not only that, but the rumors also indicated that Aldo was gunning for a fight with bantamweight titleholder Henry Cejudo, who also currently reigns as the promotion’s flyweight champion.

On Wednesday, Aldo confirmed these rumors to be true when he took to his official Twitter account to call out Cejudo. In recent years, the UFC has appeared to lean more towards “money fights” and matching up the sport’s biggest names against each other. For that reason, a potential bout between Cejudo and Aldo may gain a bit of traction.

Ultimately, however, this idea should be the last thing on UFC President Dana White’s mind.

Options Galore For Henry Cejudo

It must be noted that Cejudo not only holds two titles but that he has deserving contenders awaiting him in both of those respective decisions. Essentially, he has quite a few options regarding his next bout.

Should he decide to defend his bantamweight title, which he won with a stoppage win over Marlon Moraes in June, next, a bout against consensus top contender Aljamain Sterling could be next. The Long Island native has won four-straight fights and is certainly deserving of being Cejudo’s next challenge.

In addition, Cejudo could also drop back down to flyweight where he won the title via decision against Demetrious Johnson in August 2018. If that move is indeed in the cards, longtime contender Joseph Benavidez has once again emerged as the division’s top contender.

A winner of three-straight, Benavidez has certainly earned another crack at the title. Cejudo and Benavidez also have a bit of history, as Benavidez scored a decision victory over “The Messenger” in a 2016 bout. And on top of that, White recently said that this is the bout he hopes to make.

Simply put, Cejudo has fights he can take in each division that he currently holds a title in. Despite Aldo’s legacy as an all-time great, he hasn’t done anything to warrant a title shot against Cejudo. And, the former 145-pound kingpin likely has better options as well.

A Smarter Move For Jose Aldo

There’s no denying that Aldo ranks amongst the best fighters to have ever competed in mixed martial arts. There’s also certainly an argument that can be made for him being the best 145 pounder of all-time. It’s also true, however, that his days at featherweight could be over.

After losing his title to Conor McGregor in 2015, Aldo reclaimed the strap with a decision win over Frankie Edgar the following year. Since then, however, he’s lost three of five fights. That includes back-to-back stoppage losses to current champion Max Holloway in 2017. Aldo also dropped a decision to top contender Alexander Volkanovski earlier this year.

At this point, Aldo’s path to another title shot at featherweight is cloudy at best. Because of that, a change in weight certainly makes sense. Him discussing a move to bantamweight, however, is surprising, to say the least.

First off, Aldo has always been quite a large featherweight. It’s not out of line to question whether or not he could even make the bantamweight limit. He has, however, claimed that he can. But regardless, it just doesn’t seem like the best decision.

Instead, Aldo should consider a move up in weight to 155 pounds. This is a move that many have discussed for years. Not only would it appear healthier, but there are many intriguing fights that he could chase at lightweight. Those include a potential rematch with McGregor or perhaps a long sought after fight against Anthony Pettis.

The Bottom Line

In the end, the idea of a fight between Cejudo and Aldo simply doesn’t make much sense. Cejudo should defend one of his two titles against a deserving contender. Aldo should consider moving up in weight and chasing big fights instead of depleting his body even more.

But regardless of what either man does, White should not even be considering matching the two against each other.

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Max Holloway sends message of support to ‘big brother’ Daniel Cormier

Max Holloway sent Daniel Cormier a heartfelt message following last night’s title loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.

The current UFC featherweight champ, Holloway, took to Instagram earlier this afternoon where he issued the following lengthy statement in support of Cormier.

View this post on Instagram

I can't even remember how DC entered my life. He's like the kid who sits at your lunch table and talks to you just so he can eat some of your food. Now here we are… my big brother. Big brother to Khabib. Captain to AKA. Coach at Gilroy High. Legacy isn't about the belts you take from the sport. It's about what you leave behind. So many of us out here chasing things for ourselves and DC been out here chasing the next lunch tables, finding the next generation he can pay it forward to. I don't know what DC's family will decide to do. But I know he has nothing left to prove, and even if he did we'll all still be here proving it for him every day. And when we're done, it'll be some kids from Gilroy taking our spots, still proving what doesn't have to be proven any more. That DC is still and will always be the number one pound for pound daddest man on the planet. Bruce Buffer don't need you in there to do his job. But I need you to do mine. Rest up and get back to my lunch table big brother. I love you

A post shared by Max Holloway (@blessedmma) on

“I can’t even remember how DC entered my life. He’s like the kid who sits at your lunch table and talks to you just so he can eat some of your food. Now here we are… my big brother. Big brother to Khabib. Captain to AKA. Coach at Gilroy High. Legacy isn’t about the belts you take from the sport. It’s about what you leave behind. So many of us out here chasing things for ourselves and DC been out here chasing the next lunch tables, finding the next generation he can pay it forward to.” Max Holloway wrote on Instagram. “I don’t know what DC’s family will decide to do. But I know he has nothing left to prove, and even if he did we’ll all still be here proving it for him every day. And when we’re done, it’ll be some kids from Gilroy taking our spots, still proving what doesn’t have to be proven any more. That DC is still and will always be the number one pound for pound daddest man on the planet. Bruce Buffer don’t need you in there to do his job. But I need you to do mine. Rest up and get back to my lunch table big brother. I love you.”

Daniel Cormier (22-2 MMA) was finished by Stipe Miocic in the fourth round of last night’s UFC 241 event, this after eating a plethora of left body hooks followed by a monster right hand.

As noted by Max Holloway, Cormier’s next move remains unknown at this time. Whether the former two division champion will decide to retire will be determined in the coming weeks with his family.

As for ‘Blessed’, Max Holloway is expected to return to the Octagon later this year for a fight with top division contender Alex Volkanovski.

This article first appeared on bjpenn.com August 18, 2019

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