UFC / MMA News

Paige VanZant signs with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship not Bellator MMA

Former UFC fighter Paige VanZant made a surprise move on Wednesday when she inked a deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship instead of Bellator MMA, as many had expected. The news was first reported by ESPN.She said her new contract with BKF is a four-fight exclusive deal.VanZant fought the final bout of her UFC contract on July 123, losing via a first-round armbar to Amanda Ribas at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi. The bout was VanZant’s first fight in a year and a half because she had been dealing with several injuries.Though VanZant was one of the UFC’s brightest stars when she first entered the Octagon, winning her first three bouts, she managed just a 2-4 record over the final six bouts of her tenure.Moving over to BKFC, VanZant will forego mixed martial arts to focus on her boxing, which includes a move to American Top Team in Florida. She hopes to fight for BKFC as soon as November.”It was an amazing contract, an amazing opportunity,” VanZant told ESPN. “I also feel like it’s not a move backwards for me. It’s a lateral move to a new opportunity, a new challenge, a brand new sport. I really have sparked a brand new passion for it and especially for striking in general.”And, on top of that, I feel like I still have this stigma in MMA that I’m just a pretty face, and what a way to prove to be people that’s not the way I see myself at all.”VanZant, however, insists that she hasn’t necessarily made a permanent move away from MMA.”I don’t know that I am done with MMA,” VanZant said. “I know momentarily I am. I still have a huge passion for MMA, and I just recently relocated to Florida to train with American Top Team. Obviously, they are one of the best MMA gyms in the world. Right now, my sole focus is boxing, but in a few years I could go back to MMA or I could just be making so much doing this bare knuckle boxing that I don’t do anything else.”* * *TRENDING > Check out Sean O’Malley’s blistering knockout of Eddie Wineland (UFC 252 free fight)* * *https://www.instagram.com/p/CDzNrMtHURd/

Dana White says UFC return to Fight Island will likely be a lengthier run than July

UFC president Dana White hasn’t yet said when another run on Fight Island will happen, but rest assured, it is going to happen. And while the first stint in Abu Dhabi was four events over a 15-day period (about a three to four-week period with travel and prep time), White intends for the UFC’s next run on Yas Island to be somewhere around five to six weeks.It also sounds as if UFC 253, which features middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defending against Paulo Costa in the main event, is likely to land on Fight Island.White was a bit elusive about confirming the bout for the next trip to Abu Dhabi, but didn’t deny it either.“I told you guys we were going back to Abu Dhabi,” he said when asked about Adesanya vs. Costa’s location. “I think this next run in Abu Dhabi will be five or six weeks.”That followed an earlier interview with Complex, in which he stated, “Yeah, we’ll be announcing (Adesanya vs. Costa) soon, but it’s looking like Fight Island. A lot of the big fights that are international are gonna be on Fight Island.”I told everybody last time we were there – people sort of thought this was a one-and-done or whatever, it’s not – Abu Dhabi is gonna end up being the fight capital of the world. It definitely isn’t Las Vegas.”White also reaffirmed his intent to purchase a home in Abu Dhabi, believing that the UFC will be operating events there often enough that it would be more comfortable for him to have his own residence there.The delay in announcing whether or not UFC 253 would be held on Fight Island could simply be timing of marketing or perhaps the UFC is still working out details with Abu Dhabi for a second run on Yas Island. But whatever the determining factor, White is certain that the UFC will return to Fight Island soon.“I do (when the UFC will return to Abu Dhabi), but when the time comes, I’ll announce it.”* * *TRENDING > Yoel Romero out of UFC on ESPN 15 co-main event* * * Dana White talks Fight Island, Contender Series, UFC rankings, and more(Video courtesy of Complex)

Dana White continues talks with Floyd Mayweather: a fight is still ‘very possible’

* * *Dana White late last year said that he has an agreement with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to do something together, likely in October or November of 2020. In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, he confirmed that talks with Mayweather are ongoing and that a fight with the former champion boxer is still “very possible.”Mayweather said in December of last year, “Dana White and I are working together again to bring the world another spectacular event in 2020.”In response, White told Jim Rome, “It’s true. We sat at the Clippers game. We started talking and we literally got a deal done right there on the court. And if things play out the way things Floyd and I think they will, I will probably sit down with Al Haymon (Mayweather’s manager) in March and get a deal on paper.“If everything goes our way, Floyd and I would be doing something in October or November (of 2020).”Obviously, things haven’t panned out quite the way the two combat sports moguls had planned. Most obviously, the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, turning everyone’s year upside down.”Floyd and I still have dialogue and go back and forth. We’re still interested on both sides,” White told TMZ Sports, although he was adamant that the talks don’t involve a Conor McGregor rematch.”I know he would rematch Conor McGregor. I don’t know if you heard about this, but Conor McGregor is retired. When I’m doing things right now, I don’t even think about Conor. Conor McGregor is retired.”(Video courtesy of TMZSports)* * *TRENDING > Derrick Lewis amazed to hold UFC Heavyweight KO record* * * Dana White: Could Floyd Mayweather Jr fight MMA in the UFC?(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

Michael Chandler knocks out Benson Henderson in Bellator 243 main event

The Bellator MMA cage was in Uncasville, Conn. on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena for Bellator 243: Chandler vs. Henderson 2. The event was originally scheduled to take place on June 6 in Chicago, but COVID-19 forced the event to be postponed and relocated.The fight card’s main event featured a rematch between former three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler and former UFC and WEC lightweight titleholder Benson Henderson. The two first fought at Bellator 165 in November 2016 with Chandler edging out Henderson on the scorecards by split decision. The rematch didn’t get out of the first round. One criticism throughout Henderson’s career has been that he’s a slow starter, but that wasn’t the case on Friday. The two immediately began mixing it up at the sound of the opening bell. Henderson delivered heavy kicks to the body. He was taking the fight to the former champion in the early going. Chandler found his range and connected with a counter left hand. A few moments later, his left hand found a home on Henderson’s jaw and dropped Henderson. Chandler landed a follow-up right hand that left Henderson face down on the canvas. “It (the left hand) was something we kind of worked on a little bit, maybe throw him off his game a little bit,” said Chandler following his 21st career win. “Benson is a champion. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t scared to death inside this cage, stepping into the cage with that monster. He knows how to win. He’s a champion inside and outside of the cage.” With the second win over Henderson behind him, Chandler wants to spend time with his family. He had a 12-week training camp. After some much needed time at home, Chandler is willing to face any lightweight on the planet.The fight with Henderson was the final one on Chandler’s Bellator contract, so he’ll now enter free agency.”It’s all in God’s hands. God has always opened up doors at the right time. He’s closed doors at the right time,” Chandler said. “Every single lightweight on the entire planet, you’re on the clock. You’re on notice. Scott Coker, you’re on the clock. Let’s get something done.” https://twitter.com/BellatorMMA/status/1291946888128802816?s=20In the co-main event, heavyweights Matt Mitrione and Timothy Johnson ended in a first-round stoppage. Early in the opening frame, the two came together and Johnson’s head clashed with Mitrione’s chin resulting in Mitrione falling to the canvas. It looked as if Johnson had tripped Mitirione but the replay showed the unintentional headbutt.Johnson followed Mitrione to the canvas and worked to secure side control. Mitirone rolled to his knees and tried to stand and Johnson connected with uppercuts hurting Mitirione. Johnson continued to hammer away with right hands until the referee intervened.”I think he tried to kick when we came in and I thought our hips, we got tied up and he just fell. I had no clue,” said Johnson after the win. “I guess sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.””As he was coming up to the referee’s position essentially, I hit him with a couple those (uppercuts) and he started to turn and kind of sucked a little bit of life out of him it felt like, so I Just kept hitting,” Johnson said. “I was not going to let it slip out of my hands.”In other lightweight action, former World Series of Fighting and Tachi Palace Fights featherweight champion Georgi Karakhanyan faced Myles Jury on the main card. Jury successfully kept Karakhanyan on the outside in the opening round utilizing his reach advantage and jab. He incorporated a kick heavy offense while Karakhanyan looked to connect with a big right hand.In the second frame, Karakhanyan was able to close the distance and get inside on Jury. He tired Jury up along the cage and secured two takedowns in the round, but Jury immediately got back to his feet both times. Heading into the final frame the fight was even.In the final round, Jury continued to pepper Karkhanyan with jabs and leg kicks. Midway through the round, Karkhanyan applied a guillotine choke and pulled guard to tighten it down. Jury escaped the submission attempt and gained top position. From there, he delivered punches to the body and elbows to the head. Karkhanyan worked his way back to his feet in the closing seconds but clearly lost the round. The judges returned an odd scoring with one having Karakhanyan winning all three rounds. Another head Jury winning all three rounds. The third judge scored the bout 29-28 for Jury resulting in a split decision win for “Fury.”* * *TRENDING > Daniel Cormier training for UFC 252 in a bubble to protect pregnant wife* * * Full Bellator 243 Results:\- Michael Chandler def. Benson Henderson by KO at 2:09, R1 \- Tim Johnson def. Matt Mitrione by TKO (strikes) at 3:14, R1 \- Myles Jury def. Georgi Karakhanyan by split decision (27-30, 30-27, 29-28) \- Sabah Homasi def. Curtis Millender by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) \- Adam Borics def. Mike Hamel by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) \- Cris Lencioni def. AJ Agazarm by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28) \- Valerie Loureda def. Tara Graff by TKO (punches) at 5:00, R2 \- Grant Neal def. Hamza Salim by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-24) \- Charlie Campbell def. Nainoa Dung by TKO (leg kicks) at 1:42, R2 \- Dalton Rosta def. Mark Gardner by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00, R1* * * Bellator 243 Prelims (Full Fights)(Video courtesy of BellatorMMA)

UFC Vegas 6 weigh-in face-offs video: Lewis and Oleinik stare down at the Apex

* * *Following Friday’s UFC Vegas 6 weigh-in at the Apex in Las Vegas, the fighters for Saturday’s card faced off for the media in attendance. Watch as main eventers Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik and the rest of the athletes squared off ahead of UFC Vegas 6 (aka UFC on ESPN+ 32).The fight card features a heavyweight showdown between Lewis and Oleinik. The winner hopes to take a big step toward a heavyweight title shot with Stipe Miocic defending his belt in a trilogy fight with Daniel Cormier next week at UFC 252.SPOILER: Full written results below.(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)* * *TRENDING > Watch Derrick Lewis’s savage finish of Marcin Tybura (UFC Vegas 6 free fight)* * * UFC Vegas 6: Lewis vs. Oleinik weigh-in resultsMain card (ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT) * Derrick Lewis (265) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (227) * Chris Weidman (186) vs. Omari Akhmedov (185.75) * Darren Stewart (186) vs. Maki Pitolo (186) * Yana Kunitskaya (135.5) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (136) * Beneil Dariush (158)* vs. Scott Holtzman (156)Prelims (ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT) * Tim Means (172.5)** vs. Laureano Staropoli (174.5)*** * Kevin Holland (183.5) vs. Joaquin Buckley (185) * Nasrat Haqparast (156) vs. Alex Munoz (156) * Andrew Sanchez (185.5) vs. Wellington Turman (185.5) * Gavin Tucker (146) vs. Justin Jaynes (146) * Youssef Zalal (146) vs. Peter Barrett (145.5) * Irwin Rivera (136) vs. Ali Al Qaisi (136)*Beneil Dariush missed weight and was fined 20-percent of his purse. **Tim Means missed weight, but continued to cut at the time of publication. ***Laureano Staropoli missed weight.* * *TRENDING > Dana White reveals UFC 255 to feature two flyweight championship bouts* * *(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)