Across the MMA Universe: Israel Adesanya Has the Eye of the Tiger

Welcome back to our regular Friday MMA column. Here, we’ll scour the sport’s landscape, preview upcoming cards, tell interesting stories and, if at all possible, have fun. Let’s get it on…

Welcome back to our regular Friday MMA column. Here, we’ll scour the sport’s landscape, preview upcoming cards, tell interesting stories and, if at all possible, have fun. Let’s get it on…

UFC 259 Embedded, part 4 – ‘The hurt business’

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Check out the fourth episode of Embedded for UFC 259. UFC 259 is almost here, and as usual, Embedded is here as well. The show that gives you an inside look at the marquee contestants on PP…


UFC 259 Press Conference
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Check out the fourth episode of Embedded for UFC 259.

UFC 259 is almost here, and as usual, Embedded is here as well. The show that gives you an inside look at the marquee contestants on PPVs has issued the fourth episode for this weekend’s huge show in Vegas, and it serves as a brief introduction to the fighters at the top of the card.

We start off in Aljamain Sterling’s garage. He says that he’ll be friends with Petr Yan after the fight if he wants, but he doesn’t really give a sh-t. It’s the hurt business. It was always about fun and competition, but now it’s about cementing his name. Him and Al Iaquinta trade movie lines.

At the airport, Thiago Santos shows up with his girlfriend, UFC bantamweight Yana Kunitskaya. He’s tired, but he feels a lot better than he did before his last fight. At the fighter hotel, Petr Yan says everything is good and he appreciates the fan support. Megan Anderson arrives as well. She’s been in a loooong training camp.

Drew Dober makes his first appearance as he arrives. Dober has done two camps for an Islam Makhachev fight, so he’s more than ready.

Khabib is here! He’s going to corner Makhachev. He says that Makhachev’s on weight. “Embedded, what’s up? We here!” It’s great to see Khabib.

Amanda Nunes is training in her room. Nina Ansaroff is talking about the Brazilian version of Big Brother. Nunes talks up Anderson. Over at the PI, Jan Blachowicz is doing a light workout. It was “secret training”. His training partner is a new father. He talks about drunkenly dancing with his wife at a wedding. His wife says he’s a great fighter but an awful dancer. That was funny.

Israel Adesanya’s team show up at the PI. They do temp checks, then Izzy talks up fellow UFC 259 fighter Carlos Ulberg, saying he’s a future champion. He’s in the mode, in the zone. And he barks at the camera as we fade away.

And that’s it! UFC 259 goes down Saturday night in Vegas.

Midnight Mania! ‘Depressed’ Chimaev ‘Frightened’ By Bloody Cough

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight! Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Khamzat Chimaev’s future remains uncertain. The Chechen rose to fame quickly insid…


UFC Fight Night: Chimaev v Meerschaert
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight!

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Khamzat Chimaev’s future remains uncertain. The Chechen rose to fame quickly inside the Octagon, taking on opponents in multiple weight classes in rapid succession to immediately build a name for himself. All that success was to lead to an absolutely huge jump in competition opposite Leon Edwards, but COVID-19 benched “Borz,” and he’s finding it very difficult to get back up.

Speaking with Dagens Kalmar, Chimaev’s brother Artur further explained the difficulties that his brother has faced in recent months and why Chimaev appeared to retire.

“He has not fully recovered. There are some points on the right lung that are not completely restored. Khamzat had been given antibiotics and after two weeks he thought it was okay to train again,” Artur Chimaev said (transcription via BJPenn.com). “He was completely finished. The lungs could not cope, he began to cough up blood and became frightened.”

“He became depressed, this means so much to him,” Artur Chimaev continued. “I’ve told him to calm down. To give it time. That this disease affects different people differently. He said that he has decided to continue now. But that it will take some time. I told him to rest for two or three months. Then, it will be good.”

Kevin Holland should probably walk back some of that goofy trash talk.

At any rate, Chimaev’s serious symptoms should serve as a solid reminder of the risk UFC fighters undergo for the promotion and their own careers. Sweaty rooms full of wrestling are definite breeding grounds for the disease, and while most of these young athletes walk off the illness or never grow particularly ill, COVID-19 is no joke.

Not that an ill fighter or two will stop UFC from jumping to Texas for the first available venue with live fans.

Insomnia

The Welterweight division is such a mess that I don’t know where Gilbert Burns goes next, but one thing is certain: these top fivers need to fight each other!

Strange USADA story of the week:

Islam Makhachev with one of the best stats there is in his corner:

It is a bit sad to thing how easily a pair of Heavyweight champions/legends were discarded. I’m not against the move itself, but a bit of love goes a long way …

A new MMA couple?

I can only assume Aljamain Sterling was able to score a condom sponsorship thanks to his X-Rated post-fight callout of Petr Yan.

Amanda Nunes is pretty good, huh?

Slips, rips, and KO clips

A young Jack Hermansson GOES TO WAR!

You don’t see this variation of calf slicer in MMA very often, and even the more common ones are rare!

Joseph Benavidez will bring the Flyweight violence yet again on Saturday night.

Random Land

Two concerned citizens turn to councilman Ortiz for assistance.

Midnight Music: The new St. Vincent single has MAJOR David Bowie vibes, which is seldom a bad thing.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

Dana White’s Tone On Khamzat Chimaev’s Status Takes A Sharp Turn

Dana White isn’t as convinced about Khamzat Chimaev’s future in the UFC as he sounded just a couple of days ago.  2020 breakout star Khamzat Chimaev shocked the world when he kicked off the month of March with a retirement out of absolutely nowher…

Dana White isn’t as convinced about Khamzat Chimaev’s future in the UFC as he sounded just a couple of days ago.  2020 breakout star Khamzat Chimaev shocked the world when he kicked off the month of March with a retirement out of absolutely nowhere. He went from calling out Neil Magny for a June fight […]

Victorious Adesanya Promises Middleweight Return

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anybody else over the whole “champ champ” thing?
I’ll admit it was kinda cool when Conor McGregor lived up to his word and captured the lightweight title, not long after…


UFC 236 Holloway v Poirier 2
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anybody else over the whole “champ champ” thing?

I’ll admit it was kinda cool when Conor McGregor lived up to his word and captured the lightweight title, not long after claiming gold at 145 pounds. I didn’t exactly stand and cheer when the feat was replicated by Daniel Cormier and Henry Cejudo; but hey, good for them.

Sorry, but Amanda Nunes doesn’t count because there’s no such thing as a women’s featherweight division, which is why the promotion leaves it blank on the official rankings page. Can you name five 145-pound contenders who aren’t puffed-up bantamweights?

Three?

The “champ champ” phenomenon is back in the news because reigning middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya will climb to 205 pounds to battle light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259, in what marks the Polish power puncher’s first title defense since flattening Dominick Reyes last September.

But the one downside to having a champion hold simultaneous titles in two different weight classes is that one of them inevitably gets screwed. McGregor never went back down to featherweight, just as Cormier and Cejudo opted to remain at the heavier weight. Not only does it bog down the division, it casts a shadow of doubt over the successor.

For example, Max Holloway never had to rematch McGregor en route to the title.

Adesanya (20-0) wants to break that mold by returning to middleweight after winning the 205-pound title on Sat. night (March 6) in Las Vegas and for the purposes of this preview we’ll treat it like a foregone conclusion but in reality, that’s hardly the case. Just ask Reyes, or Luke Rockhold, or countless others who faced the 27-8 Blachowicz.

“I’ll definitely go back down to 185,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie. “I have something else in my head that might interest (me after). But definitely going back down to 185 is my goal. I want to keep my division moving.”

If Adesanya does in fact return to middleweight, that leaves No. 1-ranked light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira pissing in the wind, so to speak, along with Aleksandar Rakic — assuming “Rocket” is able to make a statement against Thiago Santos, a 205-pound showdown that also takes place at UFC 259.

“If Adesanya wins, what happens then? Will Adesanya defend at 185 or 205? I don’t know,” Teixeira told MMA Fighting. “If that means sitting down and waiting until June, August, I don’t know, maybe I would wait, I don’t mind.”

I’m not sure what spoils await Adesanya at 185 pounds. Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and “The Last Stylebender” has already stopped both of them. Darren Till has also entered the chat in recent weeks but “The Gorilla” has dropped three of his last four and is parked miles away from a title shot.

We also have to factor Jon Jones into the equation. The promotion is prepared to send Adesanya into battle against “Bones,” depending on how well the former light heavyweight champion performs at heavyweight, where he’s expected to draw the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou and create yet another divisional logjam.

Unless…

“Blachowicz winning would be better for me,” Teixeira said. “And better for everyone else.”

UFC 259 Embedded, part 3 – ‘Shock the world, and change my life’

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Check out the third episode of Embedded for UFC 259. UFC 259 is almost here, and as usual, Embedded is here as well. The show that gives you an inside look at the marquee contestants on PPV…


UFC 259 Press Conference
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Check out the third episode of Embedded for UFC 259.

UFC 259 is almost here, and as usual, Embedded is here as well. The show that gives you an inside look at the marquee contestants on PPVs has issued the third episode for this weekend’s huge show in Vegas, and it serves as a brief introduction to the fighters at the top of the card.

We start off at Glory MMA in Missouri with Megan Anderson. Her coach just wants her to have fun. She’s ready to shock the world. We quickly head down to Florida and the residence of Amanda Nunes and Nina Ansaroff. They are preparing to go to Vegas, which is baby’s first trip. Nunes can’t find her mouthpiece.

Over to Vegas now, and Jan Blachowicz’s room at the fighter hotel. He’s hitting mitts. They will ramp down his training closer to the fight as he has to cut weight. He immediately jumps into a portable sauna when he’s done, looking like Spongebob.

At the Performance Institute, Petr Yan is getting a session in. They mix up what he’s doing. Back at the hotel, Kai Kara France is hitting pads in his room. Israel Adesanya makes his entrance, and it’s his turn to hit some pads. Izzy says he’s the underdog (even though he’s actually a betting favorite). He says this is old school stuff, like the Gracies.

Nunes and Ansaroff plan a late flight so the kiddo will sleep through the whole thing. And luckily, that’s the case.

And that’s it! UFC 259 goes down this Saturday in Vegas.