Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson Pursued Santiago Ponzinibbio But ‘He Didn’t Want to Fight’

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson has been ready to fight for a few months already but he kept running into the same problem over and over again. He just couldn’t seem to find an opponent. As a former two-time title contender still ranked in the top five at…

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson has been ready to fight for a few months already but he kept running into the same problem over and over again. He just couldn’t seem to find an opponent. As a former two-time title contender still ranked in the top five at welterweight, Thompson would seem like the perfect opponent for […]

The post Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson Pursued Santiago Ponzinibbio But ‘He Didn’t Want to Fight’ appeared first on MMA News.

Midnight Mania! Moraes to Cejudo: You Will Strike Out Worse Than With Nikki Bella

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight Welcome to Midnight Mania!
The UFC bantamweight title picture was thrown into chaos today with news that TJ Dillashaw had relinquished his title after the resul…

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

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

The UFC bantamweight title picture was thrown into chaos today with news that TJ Dillashaw had relinquished his title after the results of a drug test. While details remain murky, the top contenders at 135 have rushed to pitch themselves as the best candidates for the vacant title.

Marlon Moraes seems a lock for one side of the title fight, coming off three dramatic finish wins over top contenders Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera, and Raphael Assuncao.

However, who he faces is an open question. Pedro Munhoz, 7-1 in his last eight, with a knockout win over former champion Cody Garbrandt, is a worthy choice. Aljamain Sterling has turned things around since his loss to Moraes, also putting together a three-fight winnings streak, and is 5-1 in his last six. Dominick Cruz hasn’t fought in an epoch, and Petr Yan isn’t quite there yet, so Munhoz and Sterling are first in line to face Moraes.

Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is trying to jump both those contenders in line, off the strength of his win over an emaciated TJ Dillashaw. Marlon Moraes has sent him a warning, however — ended with the perfect reference to Cejudo’s cringeworthy public pursuit of WWE star Nikki Bella.

Aljamain Sterling was quick to state his case as well. For the sake of the flyweight divison, and for my personal desire not to see any more of Cejudo’s awkward schtick than I have to, let us hope the UFC opt for a 135-lb. contender and leave the flyweight champion at flyweight. If he cares about his fellow flyweights, Henry Cejudo should defend his flyweight title against either Joe Benavidez or the winner of Formiga-Figueiredo. The UFC still haven’t committed to keeping the division.


Insomnia

Ben Askren wishes former Olympic teammate Daniel Cormier a happy 40th birthday

This is unbelievably touching

Cody Garbrandt is enjoying the tea today. He did tell us all that TJ Dillashaw taught him and his teammates to cheat.

Sure feels like one of these supplements could be at fault.

Team Alpha Male’s business is just out in the wind today

Francis Ngannou compliments Roy Nelson’s son on his bravery. I certainly wouldn’t spar Ngannou.

Anthony Pettis appears to be preparing to kick Stephen Thompson in the legs a lot. That is my authoritative analysis from these five seconds of footage.

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Matrix shit #teampettis #showtimepettis @teamrocbiggie

A post shared by Anthony Pettis (@showtimepettis) on

Tony Ferguson has a holistic focus now- let us hope his mental health does improve.

ESPN gets to set the price of Pay-Per-Views now? Listen to the full interview for details.

Who does this guy think he is? Black Widow?

Curtis Blaydes with a helpful questions-to-avoid-asking-a-pro-fighter list.

Easy Sumo

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

Tony Ferguson Claims Recent Psychologist Appointment Went Well

Former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson claims that a recent visit to a psychologist went well. As we previously reported, Ferguson’s wife filed a restraining order against the mixed martial artist. Ferguson’s wife, Cristina, …

Former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson claims that a recent visit to a psychologist went well. As we previously reported, Ferguson’s wife filed a restraining order against the mixed martial artist. Ferguson’s wife, Cristina, claims the UFC star threw holy water on her, destroyed items in their home, and complained about a computer chip […]

The post Tony Ferguson Claims Recent Psychologist Appointment Went Well appeared first on MMA News.

Conor McGregor Doubles Down On Nate Diaz Trilogy Fight

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have unfinished business with one another. Diaz became the first man to defeat “The Notorious” in UFC competition back in 2016. The Stockton native scored a second-round submission victory over McGregor at UFC 1…

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have unfinished business with one another. Diaz became the first man to defeat “The Notorious” in UFC competition back in 2016. The Stockton native scored a second-round submission victory over McGregor at UFC 196. The pair rematched that summer, with McGregor avenging the loss, emerging victorious via Majority Decision after […]

The post Conor McGregor Doubles Down On Nate Diaz Trilogy Fight appeared first on MMA News.

Holm Inks New Six-Fight UFC Deal

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight champion Holly Holm has signed a new six-fight deal with the promotion. ESPN announced news of the signing earlier today (Weds., March 20, 2019).
“I’m very happy with the de…

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight champion Holly Holm has signed a new six-fight deal with the promotion. ESPN announced news of the signing earlier today (Weds., March 20, 2019).

“I’m very happy with the deal. We worked feverishly with the UFC to get this done,” said Lenny Fresquez, manager to Holm. “We’re ready to get to work. I’m sure the UFC will have some great plans to announce for Holly in the near future.”

A return date for Holm was not immediately revealed.

Holly was last seen defeating Megan Anderson at UFC 225 last June (recap here). “The Preacher’s Daughter” was in talks to make a return to action at UFC 235 earlier this month against Aspen Ladd, but the fight was scratched unexpectedly.

That was until Fresquez revealed the two sides were in the middle of contract negotiations, and taking a fight wasn’t an option at that time. That’s no longer the case as Holly will be fighting inside the Octagon for the foreseeable future.

Having competed at both the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions, there are no shortage of challengers for the former world boxing-champion to face. In her last two title fights, Holly has come on short on the judges’ scorecards to both Germaine de Randamie and Cris Cyborg.

Now the questions remains: Who should Holm face next?

‘Swarm’ Out To Reinvent Himself As A Heavyweight In Thackerville

Bellator 218: “Sanchez vs. Karakhanyan 2” takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., this weekend (Fri., Mar. 22, 2019), featuring a main event rematch between Emmanuel Sanchez (17-4) against former foe Georgi K…

linton vassell

Bellator 218: “Sanchez vs. Karakhanyan 2” takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., this weekend (Fri., Mar. 22, 2019), featuring a main event rematch between Emmanuel Sanchez (17-4) against former foe Georgi Karakhanyan (28-8-1, 1 NC). Earlier in the night on the Paramount Network-televised (and DAZN) main card, “The Swarm” Linton Vassell (18-7, 1 NC) returns for another Bellator MMA bout, but this one is not at Light Heavyweight. On the contrary, to the surprise of many Vassell is going up to the Heavyweight class to face Valentin Moldavsky (7-1).

Although Vassell has always been an imposing figure at 6’4” with an 82-inch wingspan, that hasn’t stopped Ryan Bader and Phil Davis from dropping him in back-to-back fights. Perhaps that’s the reason for Vassell taking the risk of going up in weight?

Let’s find out as “The Swarm” recently chatted with MMAmania.com about his search for a new division to dominate after already being a two-time No. 1-ranked contender at 205 pounds.

“It’s about time, man! It’s just about time. I walk around naturally about 240, but I was always trying to get down to 225 because I was fighting Light Heavyweight. So I was always dieting even when I wasn’t fighting, just so the weight cut wasn’t as hard. After this last fight with Phil Davis, I was thinking to myself, ‘Yeah that’s enough now. I’ve had a good run at Light Heavyweight.’ And that was win or lose. It was sort of just like, ‘I don’t want to cut weight no more.’ So you know obviously it didn’t go my way (with Phil) so it sort of made sense for me. I’m gonna move up to Heavyweight now.”

So far Vassell is enjoying the change both in terms of performance and lifestyle.

“I feel good at this weight as well. Like I haven’t done anything different, you know? I just … ate. That’s it. Just that I can eat more, that’s it.”

It wouldn’t hurt to put on a few more pounds before Moldavsky. Vassell may have size on him at 6’4” versus 6’1,” but Moldavsky — a Sambo world champion — packs muscle onto a smaller frame and uses it well. Regardless, Vassell isn’t impressed by his resume.

“Yeah, yeah, but he’s not me! It’s not like I’ve got a heavy task, he’s got a fucking heavy task. So you know basically it’s going to come down to who wants it more, and that’s me, man. I’m ready! I’m ready for this. I’ve fought some of the top boys at Light Heavyweight, that I think could have fought at Heavyweight.”

Considering his last title shot was against current dual champion Ryan Bader that’s not a hard argument to make. It could, in fact, be said all 205-pound fighters are “natural” Heavyweights.

“Bader, he’s got the Heavyweight (title) right now, so I feel like it’s perfect timing. I feel like I fight the best anyway. It doesn’t really matter that I’m fighting (Moldavsky), I feel like I’m going to fight all the Heavyweights at some point anyway. I think it’s perfect for me to fight this guy making my (Heavyweight) debut, especially just after fighting Phil Davis.”

If one follows the line of reasoning that Vassell would be a better fighter as a natural Heavyweight, it makes sense for him to eventually fight Bader again for that world title.

“Ay! I’m not in here to do a number, mate! That’s what I’m looking forward to man so, I know we’re going to meet again one day … it’s just when.”

Vassell can’t get to Bader if he doesn’t go on a run in the Heavyweight division, though, so he can’t look past Moldavsky, who is looking for his third straight Bellator win.

“Tough guy, man! I’ve seen a few of his fights. You know he’s very very durable. I mean he’s KO’ing people, so for me, I think I’ve just got to dominate my will, my force, my power, and show him that I’m not here just to be a number for him to be 8-1. I’m here to stop him, you know what I mean? I know he’s tough, but again, I’m here to win.”

Moldavsky was a part of RIZIN from day one, so I asked Vassell if he or his team had studied any of his bouts before he came to Bellator.

“Yeah, I’ve seen some of his fights. My man is looking impressive! So again I’ve watched his fights and I thought, that was the fight I felt like I needed and wanted. You know it’s nothing I haven’t seen before, so I feel like I beat him in every area.”

Even Sambo?

“Yeah, well, okay, I’m not going to beat him in Sambo. I’m looking to beat him in MMA so, you know. It’s going to be punches, it’s going to be kicks, it’s not just going to be a Sambo match. You know what I mean? Every area mate.”

As a whole Vassell is both looking forward to this fight and excited to be part of an event led by a rematch between Emmanuel Sanchez and Georgi Karakhanyan.

“Yeah, it’s a good card to be on! You know they have made some changes. I think I was the last announcement on there as well, but I’m happy to be on there man. It’s been a while since I’ve fought and I’m ITCHING to fight. Seriously. I’m so hungry to fight. Training camp’s been going great so it’s just perfect timing.”

Hopefully for “The Swarm,” it will be the perfect time to reinvent himself in the Heavyweight division at Bellator 218.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Sanchez vs. Karakhanyan 2” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.