MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes Of The Week (6/5 – 6/11)

Welcome to this week’s edition of MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes of the week! Every week there’s highlight-reel finishes all across the MMA world, and we’ve found some of the absolute best ones to showcase. Last week was a busy one, as the UFC debuted their series of Road to the UFC cards in the…

Continue Reading MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes Of The Week (6/5 – 6/11) at MMA News.

Welcome to this week’s edition of MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes of the week! Every week there’s highlight-reel finishes all across the MMA world, and we’ve found some of the absolute best ones to showcase.

Last week was a busy one, as the UFC debuted their series of Road to the UFC cards in the lead-up to UFC 275. Those four events had enough finishes to fill out a separate Top 10, but they ended up only being a warm-up for the weekend’s action. UFC 275 provided a number of impressive finishes and was arguably the best event of the year, but a pair of big knockouts from LFA and Cage Warriors also made the cut for this week’s list.

#10: Muin Gafurov Arrives In LFA

First up this week is the main event from LFA 134, where Muin Gafurov competed in his first bout since a split-decision loss on Contender Series 2021.

The 26-year-old proved he may well get another chance at the UFC after landing a right hand that turned Herbeth Sousa around as he landed on the mat.

#9: Chasen Blair’s Hometown Walk-Off

Cage Warriors 139 was held outdoors under the beautiful San Diego sunshine, and welterweight Chasen Blair made the most of the spotlight against Kona Oliveira.

The San Diego-born fighter sent his hometown crowd into a frenzy with a huge right hand off a clinch break that put Oliveira down and had Blair raising his arms in victory.

#8: Jeong Yeong Lee Grabs An Arm

The Road to the UFC cards provided a number of impressive finishes, including this submission from Jeong Yeong Lee in the featured bout of Road to the UFC 3.

Lee looked like he might put Contender Series veteran Bin Xie out with elbows while defending a takedown, but once he hit the ground the South Korean quickly locked up an armbar just over 30 seconds into the fight.

#7: Jack Della Madellana Goes To The Body

Jack Della Madellana looked in serious danger of being submitted by Ramazan Emeev before showcasing the striking that has made him one of the UFC’s hottest prospects.

(Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The Australian caught Emeev swinging wildly and started to pour on volume, eventually landing a body shot that brought the Russian to his knees for Madallana’s second first-round stoppage in as many UFC bouts.

#6: Zhang Mingyang Beats The Odds

The very first bout of Road to the UFC featured some of the most lopsided betting odds of the series, which set the stage for Zhang Mingyang to kick things off with an upset.

The Chinese light heavyweight applied pressure to heavily-favored George Tokkos early, eventually landing a right hand and some vicious follow up shots to get the victory with just over a minute left in the first round.

#5: Silvana Gómez Juárez Gets Her First UFC Win

Silvana Gómez Juárez lost her first two UFC bouts via armbar, and a loss to Na Liang at UFC 275 could very well have ended her run with the promotion.

The 37-year-old strawweight rose to the occasion, rocking Liang with a right hand before landing a follow-up combination that had her opponent slumping to the canvas.

#4: Hayishaer Maheshate’s Explosive Debut

Of all the notable performances at UFC 275, the debut of 22-year-old Hayishaer Maheshate against Steve Garcia may have been the most impressive.

Maheshate landed a perfectly-timed counter shot that floored Garcia and gave Maheshate a moment to admire his work before jumping onto the cage to celebrate his first UFC win.

#3: Jeka Saragih Makes His Case To The UFC

Road to the UFC showcased a number of fighters hoping to make a lasting impression, and arguably no one did that more successfully than Jeka Saragih.

Not satisfied with what looked to be an impending decision win, the Indonesian lightweight dropped Pawan Maan Singh with a spinning back fist in the third round to make sure everyone remembered his performance.

#2: Ji?í Procházka Claims The Title

Are there more violent and technically impressive finishes ranked lower on this list? Absolutely. Did any of those fights carry the same stakes and end as dramatically as this one? Absolutely not.

After possibly the greatest fight in the history of the UFC’s light heavyweight division, challenger Ji?í Procházka handed Glover Teixiera the first submission loss of his career and won the light heavyweight title with less than 30 seconds left in the final round.

#1: Weili Zhang Sends Joanna Into Retirement

Even with two title fight headlining the card, the rematch between former strawweight champions Weili Zhang and Joanna J?drzejczyk was arguably the most anticipated fight at UFC 275.

After a whirlwind first round where both women seemed determined to top the action from their original fight, Zhang ended their rivalry with a spinning back fist that left J?drzejczyk facedown on the canvas.

What do you think of this week’s list? Are there any finishes you think should have made the cut that didn’t? What about ones you think should have been ranked higher or lower?

Continue Reading MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes Of The Week (6/5 – 6/11) at MMA News.

8 Positives & 3 Negatives From UFC 275

Pay-per-view fever has been present in Singapore for the past week, and it culminated in the much-anticipated UFC 275 event on Saturday night. After three consecutive cards held at Las Vegas’ Apex facility, the UFC returned to the road on June 11 for its sixth PPV of 2022. And with its trip across the world,…

Continue Reading 8 Positives & 3 Negatives From UFC 275 at MMA News.

Pay-per-view fever has been present in Singapore for the past week, and it culminated in the much-anticipated UFC 275 event on Saturday night.

After three consecutive cards held at Las Vegas’ Apex facility, the UFC returned to the road on June 11 for its sixth PPV of 2022. And with its trip across the world, the MMA leader brought with it a host of exciting names and matchups.

Heading the stacked card were two title fights, the first of which pitted dominant women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko against the latest challenger to her rule, Taila Santos. And in the main event, veteran light heavyweight titleholder Glover Teixeira looked to record the first defense of his reign against knockout artist Ji?í Procházka.

With a rematch of 2020’s Fight of the Year between the returning Joanna J?drzejczyk and former champion Weili Zhang providing a blockbuster appetizer, as well as entertaining names like Andre Fialho, Jack Della Maddalena, and Brendan Allen in action, the event promised to mark Singapore’s first UFC PPV in style.

So, did it deliver as many had expected? Let’s find out with all the positives and negatives from UFC 275.

Negative – Going, Going, Gone…

Friday morning saw a journey from worry, to serious concern, to confirmation of what had been feared: a canceled main-card fight.

In one of the most intriguing bouts set for UFC 275, rising flyweight Manel Kape was scheduled to face top-10 contender Rogério Bontorin. Not only was it an important bout in the context of the division’s title picture, but judging by Kape’s recent performances, it was set to be an entertaining one.

But ahead of the weigh-ins, an episode of Road To The UFC displayed a four-fight main card, with the absent pairing being Kape vs. Bontorin. While the optimists among us prayed for the explanation to be a simple graphics error, a rumor that the Brazilian had been taken to hospital crushed that hope quickly, and left most fearing the worst.

Soon after, we had confirmation. “Weight management issues” had forced Bontorin out, and the often cruel MMA Gods had struck UFC fans down once more.

Not only was the omission of this fight on Saturday night a negative for the fans, but also for two flyweights who had made the long trek to Singapore, which undoubtedly also came with an increased level of preparation.

Here’s hoping it gets rebooked for the coming months, but for now, the failed pairing was one of UFC 275’s few low points.

Negative – Anthony Dimitriou

There are only a certain number of terrible scorecards that can be forgiven until a discussion about one particular judge is needed. At UFC 275, that judge was Anthony Dimitriou, and his bizarre scorecards began right from the off.

The first fight of any card is always important. Why? Because it sets the tone. The opener at UFC 275 saw Hong Kong’s Ramona Pascual share the cage with Panama’s Joselyne Edwards. The positive here was that the pair went hard from the start and put on an entertaining bout to start the night.

But while two 29-28 scorecards for Edwards were understandable, Anthony Dimitriou’s 30-27 was unforgivable. The second round was close and the third saw “La Pantera” on top after finding a second wind, but the first? The first was Pascual’s, without a doubt.

The opening frame was fairly even on the feet entering the final minute before two hard left body kicks had Edwards reeling against the cage. While the Panamanian managed to stay on her feet, even with some more brutal knees, it was clear that she was hurt, further evidenced by some desperate level changes.

I’ve found the recent debate surrounding judging to be largely flawed, with most criticizing results that are entirely justifiable per the scoring criteria (see the reaction to the UFC 275 co-main event for an example). If anything, the controversy has cemented the main issue, which is that most haven’t educated themselves on how fights are judged, something that was even on display in comments made by long-time UFC color commentator Joe Rogan last week.

But there’s no denying that judges do often turn in bad scorecards, and this 30-27 is a prime example. Fortunately, the result itself was by no means wrong, so the damage was limited. Nevertheless, it wasn’t good.

The same judge had a similarly strange scorecard in the Kyung-ho Kang versus Batgerel Danaa bout later in the night, scoring what appeared to be relatively clear first round for the Mongolian in favor of the Korean.

One is bad and two is horrendous, but three flat-out wrong scorecards in the space of one preliminary card? That’s concerning.

Dimitriou completed the hat-trick in the memorable featured prelim, which pitted featherweights Joshua Culibao and Seungwoo Choi against each other. The judging for this shouldn’t have been hard: one and two for the Aussie, three for the Korean.

The fact that Dimitriou scored the first for Choi, a round that saw him knocked down multiple times and on the brink of being finished, is frightening, and after the previous two scorecards he’d turned it, confirmed in my mind that he simply can’t have an understanding of the scoring criteria.

Thankfully, none of his crazy scorecards cost a deserving victor the result. Even so, the lesson appears to be: don’t risk taking it to the scorecards when Anthony Dimitriou is Octagon-side.

Positive – Silvana Gómez Juárez.

There aren’t many words to describe this finish. Nasty, it was just nasty.

In the second fight of the night, Silvana Gómez Juárez met Liang Na in the center of the Octagon. After just one minute and 22 seconds, “Dragon Girl” was left sleeping on the canvas.

The women’s strawweight division is perhaps the most entertaining female class in the UFC, but even so, brutal knockouts aren’t exactly common. Clearly no one told Gómez Juárez that.

After finding range with a left jab, the Argentine came over the top with a looping overhand right, which connected flush to Liang’s jaw. After that blow sent her to a knee, the Chinese strawweight made the mistake of returning to her feet, where a left and right hook met here, the latter of which turned the lights out.

Having been submitted by consecutive armbars in her last two outings, this was crucial appearance for the 37-year-old. It’s safe to say that not many have rebounded from a losing skid in such an emphatic fashion.

While it perhaps wasn’t the best sight for the Asian fans in attendance, with Niang’s KO loss marking an 0-2 start for Asian fighters on the night, a vicious stoppage is always a positive.

Negative – Why Even Have Rules?

We’ve had one point for the negatives courtesy of some questionable judging, so why not add another for some bizarre officiating?

In last weekend’s Ps & Ns, I made a tongue in cheek comment that fighters should cheat, because why wouldn’t they when there seems to be no punishment for it? That came after referee Mark Smith repeatedly warned Andreas Michailidis for grabbing the fence during an exchange in his fight with Rinat Fakhretdinov.

In the bout between Kyung-ho Kang and Batgerel Danaa at UFC 275, we didn’t even get as much as a warning.

In the second round, Danaa threw a knee to the head of Kang, who was quite clearly a grounded an opponent. How did referee Thomas Fann react? Well, he didn’t.

Despite both fighters acknowledging the illegal nature of the strike and appearing to look at Fann in anticipation of something, the ref had nothing for them. Not a warning, not a stoppage, not a, ‘Yep, that was illegal’, nothing.

Whether it was brain fade, incompetence, or a simple confused understanding of the rules, it was a bizarre response to a shot that was about as clearly illegal as they come.

Positive – The Judges Get It Right

If I’m going to criticize when judges get it wrong, I’ve got to praise when they get it right.

In one of the more notable preliminary bouts at UFC 275, middleweights Brendan Allen and Jacob Malkoun collided. The pair displayed some technical grappling throughout 15 minutes of action, with “All In” having his hand raised after earning the 29-28 nod on all three scorecards.

For me, this was the correct result.

In the first round, the two started by exchanging on the feet. While it was a tentative standup period prior to the first level change, Allen got the better of it, with one uppercut delivered to the chin of Malkoun sticking out the most. When the grappling began, the Australian was able to land a takedown, but through Allen’s defense, he couldn’t offload much offense. The American was then also able to take mount himself with a judo toss that was more impactful than any of Malkoun’s control.

While the second was a less successful round for Allen and a clear one for Malkoun, the third was similar to the opening frame. Although the Aussie was able to control his US counterpart for long periods, he offered very little in the way of offense, and without that, grappling and takedowns are position changes, which aren’t scored per the criteria.

It’s clear that Malkoun is a talented wrestler, but without adding more urgency to his game when it comes to offense, he’s always going to open up paths for his opponents to secure decisions against him.

Perhaps Logan Storley’s controversial title win against Michael “Venom” Page last month has enhanced some false perceptions about control time, because Malkoun’s corner seemed bewildered by the result, which they certainly shouldn’t have been.

Positive – One & Done

Congratulations on UFC debut of the year, Maheshate!

At UFC 275, Steve Garcia ran into bomb, and it didn’t end well for him. For as long as it lasted, the lightweight preliminary fight between Dana White’s Contender Series alums Garcia and Maheshate was entertaining.

Both men appeared to hurt their opponent early, but it was to be the debutant who delivered the finishing blow just over a minute into the opening frame. As “Mean Machine” leapt in with a fairly nothing left hand, Maheshate brushed it aside and threw one of the stiffest right hands in recent memory.

The power generated from a short distance was remarkable, and it was no surprise to see Garcia brutally face-plant and bounce off the ground unconscious after it connected with his jaw.

I can’t quite believe that Maheshate, now 6-1 in professional MMA, is a year younger than me and is knocking folk out inside the Octagon. While that’s a brief negative for me, this brutal KO was one of UFC 275’s biggest highlights.

Although not quite as angle-changing and step-offish (is that a word?), Maheshate’s debut KO had an element of Ian Garry’s UFC arrival last November, which saw the Irishman step to the right of a Jordan Williams swing and deliver a sleep-inducing right hand.

Positive – What A Fight

Closing out the prelims in style, Joshua Culibao and Seungwoo Choi went to war at featherweight.

There were two tales in this fight: Culibao’s improvement on the feet and Choi’s immense toughness. Not many would have thought that after multiple knockdowns in rounds one and two, the South Korean would find himself with control of Culibao’s back and searching for a late rear-naked choke.

While Choi’s answer to being repeatedly stunned was perhaps not the smartest (he effectively fought fire with fire), it gave fans inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium a real scrap to cheer for, and certainly a round of the year contender given the second half of the opening stanza.

Aside from one judge’s complete incompetence, everything about this fight was a positive, and sent us into the main card in style.

Positive – Della Maddalena Passes The Test

While Jack Della Maddalena’s UFC debut was impressive, his sophomore outing felt like his breakout one, and a display we’ll be looking back on in five years’ time when he’s towards the top of the welterweight division.

For someone who’s showed some vulnerability to grappling in the past, I predicted that the “Dagestani wrestling test” may have come a few bouts early for the Australian, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Not only did he record another first-round stoppage courtesy of his talented boxing, this time with a vicious left hook to the body, and become the first man to finish Ramazan Emeev in the UFC, but he also escaped what looked to be an incredibly tight choke early on.

There aren’t many better ways for a highly-touted prospect to pass a true litmus test of his potential. Della Maddalena is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Positive – Matthews Levels Up

Welterweight Jake Matthews made it 2-0 for the Australians on the UFC 275 card with an absolute clinic versus Andre Fialho.

It’s safe to say that heading into this contest, a lot of the attention was on relative newcomer Fialho, who was making his fourth appearance of the year and his third in as many months. But it didn’t take long for Matthews to draw the attention.

In the first round, “The Celtic Kid” looked as good as ever, utilizing his movement and speed to have his way with his Portuguese counterpart. And in the second frame, Matthews simply couldn’t miss, connecting and rocking Fialho at will before eventually knocking him out with a brutal right hand.

Given the shots that Fialho took against Michel Pereira earlier this year, Matthews’ ability to dominate and stop him on the feet was mightily impressive. Having been largely inconsistent in the Octagon, it seems that a period away from the cage has allowed Matthews to evolve into his best form, which is certainly an exciting prospect for fans.

Here’s hoping that the 27-year-old Aussie joins compatriot Robert Whittaker in Paris on September 3.

Positive – A 6th & 7th Worthy Of Following The First 5

There aren’t many words to describe this one. Every now and then, a fight, a moment, or a finish comes that feels truly special. From their walkouts to the first round to the brutal knockout, everything about Weili Zhang’s rematch with Joanna J?drzejczyk felt special.

Understandably, many were worried about whether a rematch of one of mixed martial arts’ all-time great fights would deliver as the first did. But there’s no doubt that the extra two frames added to this rivalry at UFC 275 were worthy additions to the memorable first five.

On the feet and on the ground, the bout was exciting and had the fans as loud as they’d been all night. In the second, Weili closed the show in style, sending the Polish star to the canvas courtesy of a vicious spinning back fist.

Given how the most recent strawweight title fight played out, this one really had championship feel to it. And with Weili’s display, it wouldn’t be outlandish to call her the best 115lber in the UFC, especially for those, like myself, who believe that “Magnum” did enough to earn the nod over Rose Namajunas last November.

Post-fight, J?drzejczyk announced her retirement, Now, this isn’t necessarily a positive or a negative, but it’s worth a mention.

Of course, it’s sad to see one of MMA’s greats and a true pioneer for women in the sport end her illustrious career. But on the flip side, the Pole did so after giving fans another remarkable fight, for as long as it lasted. And with her family and business aspirations outside the Octagon, it always seemed like a defeat would mark the end.

While she’s gone out off the back of a defeat, J?drzejczyk’s performance showed she’s well and truly going out as one of the bests in the game still.

Positive – One Of The Best LHW Title Fights Ever

What a way to cap off one of, if not the, best UFC pay-per-views of 2022. Glover Teixeira and Ji?í Procházka went to war in Singapore. It was bloody and brutal throughout and showed the heart of these two elite fighters.

At multiple points, it seemed as if both men were close to being finished. But when one man overcame adversity, as did the other. “Denisa” survived a rough position in round one, while the Brazilian showed a similar display of grit in the third and had somewhat of a second wind in the fourth.

But when a tight arm triangle looked like it might be the end for the challenger, he once again reversed position and finished the penultimate frame on top. And in the fifth, it was Procházka’s turn to survive again, this time after being rocked on the feet. When Teixeira pulled guard looking for a guillotine, the Czech light heavyweight was able to slip out and recover.

Miraculously, after appearing down and out as the pair entered the final minute, “The Czech Samurai” rose, submitting Teixeira via rear-naked choke with seconds remaining. In doing so, Procházka secured his place on the throne in just his third UFC outing.

What a way to finish a memorable main event, a fantastic PPV, and to begin a new era at light heavyweight.

What were your positives and negatives from UFC 275?

Continue Reading 8 Positives & 3 Negatives From UFC 275 at MMA News.

UFC 275 Betting Preview

UFC 275UFC 275 is a stacked event full of elite talent featuring two title fights and a rematch of one of the greatest five round bouts of all time. Glover Teixeira makes his first 205lb title defense, taking on Czech knockout artist in the main event. Valentina Shevchenko will see to defend her flyweight title yet […]

UFC 275

UFC 275 is a stacked event full of elite talent featuring two title fights and a rematch of one of the greatest five round bouts of all time. Glover Teixeira makes his first 205lb title defense, taking on Czech knockout artist in the main event. Valentina Shevchenko will see to defend her flyweight title yet again as she takes on surging contender Taila Santos. In the co-co main event, former champs Zhang Weili and Joanna J?drzejczyk run back the all-time great bout they both featured in two years ago.

Also featured on UFC 275 are a number of fan favorites such as Jack Della Madellana, Andre Fialho, Jake Matthews, and Brendan Allen.

Join LowKickMMA as we preview, predict, and hopefully win some money betting on UFC 275.

Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka

Glover Teixeira has made an entire career of constantly defying expectations, culminating in him claiming the UFC light heavyweight title at the age of 41. However, as with every fighter, there will come a time when Teixeira is unable to continue competing at the very pinnacle of his weight class, and unfortunately, Jiri Prochazka is exactly the kind of physical specimen that could make this point abundantly clear.

Prochazka is one of those individuals who is as close to unique as you can get in the fight game, both in terms of the mental and physical side of things. The surging Czech samurai is monstrously strong and fast, with unorthodox striking that saw both Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes left unconscious on the canvas.

It is worth noting that Teixeria may be able to shift the tide of this fight if he can take Prochazka down. But we will be backing ‘Denisa’ to be victorious at UFC 275, winning this fight via KO/TKO. Betway has the prop priced at 1.72.

Pick: Jiri Prochazka to win via KO/TKO.

Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Joanna J?drzejczyk

The first fight between these two elite strawweight’s was one of the best fights to have ever taken place inside the UFC octagon. Whilst it is often the case that rematches of great fights don’t live up to expectations, the style clash of Weili and Joanna just makes it appear inevitable that this will be another war for the ages.

One of the factors that made the first fight so thrilling was just how close it was. Weili Zhang ultimately left with her hand raised, but there is a very strong case to be made that Joanna deserved the nod. Since that first fight, Zhang lost back-to-back title fights with Rose Namajuans, whilst Joanna has not competed at all.

Inactivity can have disastrous consequences in MMA, but it truly is subjective to each individual fighter. It could also be argued that the physiological toll of losing two fights on the run, both in very different ways, could tale an equally detrimental psychological toll.

This fight will be incredibly close, to the point where it is near impossible to make a clear case for one fighter or the other. However, the bookies have Zhang as a decent favorite for this UFC 275 rematch, with Joanna’s underdog line placed at 2.50. This is the value play, and if you want action on this fight, this is the line to back. If you wanted even better odds, you could also take Joanna by decision, as that seems her most likely route to victory.

Pick: Joanna J?drzejczyk ML.

Jake Matthews vs. Andre Fialho

Portugal’s Andre Fialho has made a name for himself in the UFC over the past few months by being a heavy-handed knockout artist who fights extremely regularly. A short-notice UFC debut saw him come up against the dynamic Michel Pereira, and whilst Fialho did come up short, he took Pereira to the judge’s scorecards in what was an extremely entertaining bout. Since then, Fialho knocked out both Miguel Baeza and Cameron VanCamp.

However, the big difference between these past three opponents of Fialho, and his upcoming opponent at UFC 275, Jake Matthews, is the wrestling. Fialho’s boxing-heavy style relies on his opponents being willing to exchange with him. Matthews will be perfectly happy to grind out the majority of a round in half guard, racking up points and frustrating Fialho.

Matthews opened as a surprisingly heavy underdog, but the line is getting closer at fight night approaches. At the time of writing, his ML is priced at 2.20 on Betway.

Pick: Jake Matthews ML.

What bets will you be placing on UFC 275? Do you agree with our UFC 275 picks?

UFC 275 Predictions: Expert Picks by MMA News Staff

UFC 275 is right around the corner, and we’ve got our staff predictions ready for the international affair! UFC 275 will be available exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view on Saturday, June 11, 2022. The main card begins at 10:00 PM ET, and the ESPN preliminary card kicks off at 8:00 PM. The early preliminary card starts…

Continue Reading UFC 275 Predictions: Expert Picks by MMA News Staff at MMA News.

UFC 275 is right around the corner, and we’ve got our staff predictions ready for the international affair!

UFC 275 will be available exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view on Saturday, June 11, 2022. The main card begins at 10:00 PM ET, and the ESPN preliminary card kicks off at 8:00 PM. The early preliminary card starts at 6:30 PM. The event will take place from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.

The main event will feature Glover Teixeira defending the light heavyweight championship against prolific finisher Ji?í Procházka. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko will look to continue her reign of terror over the flyweight division when she faces the 19-1 Taila Santos.

But it is the last fight before the two championship bouts that may lay claim to the “People’s Main Event” title when the 2020 Fight of the Year rematch between Zhang Weili and Joanna J?drzejczyk takes place.

Also on the main card will be a welterweight scrap between Jack Della Maddalena and Ramazan Emeev preceded by a flyweight bout between Rogério Bontorin and Manel “Starboy” Kape.

Staff Predictions for UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Procházka

MMA News is the place to be for all the latest UFC 275 updates. Harvey Leonard, Andrew Starc and Drew Beaupré have provided their picks for you below.

Here is the full main card for UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Procházka

  • Light Heavyweight Championship Main Event: Glover Teixeira (c) vs. Ji?í Procházka
  • Women’s Flyweight Championship Bout: Valentina Shevchenko (c)vs. Taila Santos
  • Women’s Strawweight: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna J?drzejczyk
  • Welterweight: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • Flyweight: Rogério Bontorin vs. Manel Kape

Rogério Bontorin vs. Manel Kape

Harvey Leonard: After an underwhelming start, Kape has begun to show why he was so highly touted after making the switch from Rizin to the UFC. When he’s not gun-shy and lets his creative limbs fly, “Starboy” can challenge the best of them.

But while he’s got the edge in form, this could be a rough one for Kape stylistically. Bontorin is clearly the greater grappler, and I don’t trust the Portuguese-Angolan to fight smart to avoid the Brazilian’s level changes. Whether through the scorecards or a submission, I think Bontorin stalls Kape’s surge. (Prediction: Rogério Bontorin)

Andrew Starc: After losing his first two UFC bouts, Manel Kape redeemed himself in the second half of last year, earning back-to-back knockout wins against Ode’ Osbourne and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. #8 ranked flyweight Rogério Bontorin, meanwhile, is winless in his last four, having most recently lost via split decision to Brandon Royval. 

While Bontorin is a big step up in competition for the #13 ranked Kape, I think he has the KO power to earn his third successive stoppage win. (Prediction: Manel Kape)

Drew Beaupré: If Joanna vs. Zhang wasn’t on this card, this flyweight bout would have all the makings of a Fight of the Night favorite. Kape has a ton of momentum right now after consecutive first-round knockouts, while Bontorin has gone 1-3 in his last four bouts.

I think the real question here is going to be how willingly Bontorin goes to his grappling. He’s averaged just under three takedown attempts per fifteen minutes in his UFC career, and he was willing to go for takedowns against a dangerous grappler in Brandon Royval in his last fight. He’s no slouch on the feet, but if these two stand and trade Kape is more likely to land something big and finish the fight.

There might be some dangerous moments for Bontorin in the first few minutes, but I think the Brazilian has a clear edge on the ground that he should take advantage of as the fight goes on. (Prediction: Rogério Bontorin)

Consensus: 2-1 Bontorin

Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev

Harvey Leonard: This is a pretty clear clash of styles. While, in the words of McGregor, the Aussie will hope to ‘box the bleedin’ head off him’, the Russian will be looking to set up takedowns and establish top position. Della Maddalena is obviously a prospect to watch, but I think this challenge is coming slightly too early for him.

The 25-year-old has showed some vulnerability to takedowns in his career and given up some rounds on the ground. Although not a Khabib-esque pressure wrestler, Emeev is a talented grappler, and there aren’t many tougher tests for a young striker than a Dagestani. I expect Della Maddalena to take risks on the feet, opening up chances for the Russian to change levels. From there, the veteran wins on the scorecards.  (Prediction: Ramazan Emeev)

Andrew Starc: Aussie Jack Della Maddalena put on a showcase of clinical, measured striking in his first-round demolition of Pete Rodriguez in January. While Rodriguez had just four fights to his name, Della Maddalena is riding an 11-fight win streak and looks ready to test himself against a veteran grappler like Ramazan Emeev.

Emeev hasn’t finished an opponent in nearly six years, while Della Maddalena has only gone to the judges once in his career. This is a classic “KO artist versus grappler” battle that I think will see Della Maddalena emerge victorious with yet another stoppage win. (Prediction: Jack Della Maddalena)

Drew Beaupré: The main card of UFC 275 opens with what could work out as a classic striker vs. grappler matchup. The UFC are clearly pretty high on Maddalena, as he’s opening a Pay-Per-View after just one UFC win and a win on Contender Series. His striking looked great on Contender Series and he scored a big first-round finish in his debut, but this fight with Emeev should answer some questions about the depth of his skill set.

As impressive as Maddalena’s debut was, he was facing another debuting fighter that only had four pro fights. That being said, Emeev’s ability to execute his grappling didn’t exactly look all that convincing his last time out against Danny Roberts. Emeev could definitely play spoiler here, but I’ll take the 25-year-old Aussie to continue gaining momentum and pick up his second UFC win with a comprehensive striking performance. (Prediction: Jack Della Maddalena)

Consensus: 2-1 Della Maddalena

Zhang Weili vs. Joanna J?drzejczyk

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Zhang Weili

Harvey Leonard: There’s so much to consider here. Will three rounds affect two fighters used to five? Will there be a psychological impact based on the damage sustained in the first fight? Will J?drzejczyk’s two-year layoff play into it? I feel like all of it comes together to form a pick’em.

While on paper, Zhang is entering this bout on a two-fight skid, I believe she did enough to beat Namajunas last November. With that in mind, aside from being caught at UFC 261 by a vicious head kick, there’s not much of a blemish on the Chinese star’s record. I believe Zhang is the most talented strawweight in the UFC right now, and although J?drzejczyk will likely come close to matching her strike-for-strike, I narrowly give the edge to “Magnum.” (Prediction: Zhang Weili)

Andrew Starc: It’s the sequel to the widely regarded greatest women’s MMA fight of all time and a potential strawweight title eliminator. In their first epic encounter, Weili Zhang defended her title against Joanna J?drzejczyk by the narrowest of margins, but since then, she’s racked up back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas. 

J?drzejczyk, meanwhile, has been on the sidelines this entire time. Zhang came close to defeating Namajunas in their second meeting in November, and I think she’ll get it done against J?drzejczyk. (Prediction: Zhang Weili)

Drew Beaupré: Both of these women have a new lease on life in the strawweight division now that Carla Esparza is champion. Zhang and J?drzejczyk both have two losses to Rose Namajunas, and for Joanna especially seeing Esparza as champion must be extremely encouraging for any hopes of regaining the title. It’s a shame that this fight is only three rounds after the five-round war these ladies had the first time out, but I think it being shorter will favor Zhang.

Joanna’s best round in terms of strikes landed from the first fight was the fifth, and Zhang was at her strongest in the second fight with Namajunas through the first three rounds. I think “Magnum” will be able to get enough done early to win two rounds, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this bout ends up as another controversial split-decision.  (Prediction: Zhang Weili)

Consensus: 3-0 Zhang

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos

Valentina Shevchenko, Taila Santos
Image Credits: Jeff Bottari/Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Harvey Leonard: The last time a female champion defended the belt as a massive favorite, I fell on the same side as most. At UFC 269, I dismissed Julianna Peña’s chances owing to Amanda Nunes’ dominance, completely avoiding legitimate arguments like “styles win fights,” for which I’ve learned my lesson.

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that lesson here.

Shevchenko is simply levels above every flyweight on the current roster, and while Santos has an impressive record, she’s not close to “Bullet” in any area right now. Barring any freak injuries or unlikely drama on the scale, Shevchenko adds a seventh defense to her résumé. (Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko)

Andrew Starc: Heavy-handed and extremely athletic, Taila Santos could cause problems for Valentina Shevchenko. The 28-year-old entered the UFC via the Contender Series in 2019, losing her debut bout to Mara Romero Borella. But she’s since gone on a four-fight win streak, having finished Joanne Wood via first-round submission in her last bout in November.

But Santos is facing a fighter who’s finished four of her last six opponents, and other than being taken down briefly by Jennifer Maia, has looked virtually untouchable. I’m predicting Shevchenko to earn a decision win here. (Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko) 

Drew Beaupré: Talia Santos has put together a nice little win streak through her last four fights to earn this title shot. Unfortunately, it does feel like this is a case of her being rushed into a title fight because Shevchenko needs a challenger. Santos’ only opponent during that streak currently in the UFC’s Top 15 is #10-ranked Joanne Wood, who has historically struggled against grapplers.

I’m interested to see if Santos is able to take away Shevchenko’s space to strike and work for takedowns against the fence, but even if she gets the champion down, I don’t think she’ll be able to keep her there. “Bullet” has finished her last two opponents from top position, but this has the makings of a unanimous decision where Shevchenko is comfortably out landing the Brazilian for most of the fight. (Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko)

Consensus: 3-0 Shevchenko

Glover Teixeira (c) vs. Ji?í Procházka

Glover Teixeira, Ji?í Procházka
Image Credits: Chris Unger/Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Harvey Leonard: It’s always hard to predict fights that seemingly boil down to where the bout will be fought, on the ground or on the feet. The champion’s BJJ skills are clear, and we saw Procházka show some vulnerability to takedowns when he faced Bellator titleholder Vadim Nemkov back in 2015.

But in that fight, and aside from a 2013 submission loss, the Czech’s defense seemed sound and the offense from his back effective, and he’s certainly got the power to explode to his feet. With that in mind, I’m going to back “Denisa” to create a ‘moment’ on the feet with his unique and powerful striking and become the latest European champ. (Prediction: Ji?í Procházka)

Andrew Starc: Ji?í Procházka’s MMA record is something to behold. 25 of his 28 career wins have come via knockout, including his last 10. And he’s already fighting for the title just three fights into his UFC stint. In his last fight against Dominick Reyes, however, Procházka was tested and at one point even lost consciousness briefly.

It almost seems inevitable that Procházka will do to Teixeira what he’s done to most of his opponents. The question is whether the Brazilian can take the fight to the ground like he did against Jan Blachowicz. But before he can do that, can Teixeira withstand the juggernaut that is Procházka? I don’t think so. I’m predicting another knockout for the Czech samurai. (Prediction: Ji?í Procházka)

Drew Beaupré: Teixeira winning the belt at age 42 over seven years removed from his first UFC title shot is still one of the best feel-good MMA stories in recent memory. The dynamic here should be pretty similar to the Brazilian’s run to the title, as Teixeira made a habit of weathering an early storm before coming on later and using his grappling to get the win. Procházka is a dynamic finisher, but also a very experienced fighter with nearly thirty pro bouts prior to joining the UFC.

Without having seem him dragged into deep waters, there’s obviously a question of how his cardio would hold up if Teixeira is smothering him in the later rounds. This fight favors the Brazilian the longer it goes, but I think “Denisa” will put it on Teixeira early and won’t give him the chance to utilize his grappling. (Prediction: Ji?í Procházka)

Consensus: 3-0 Procházka

That’ll do it for our UFC 275 staff picks! What do you think? Do your picks look similar? Let us know in the comments section! Also, you can check out the UFC 275 undercard below.

Preliminary Card (ESPN2/ESPN+, 8:00 PM ET)

Featherweight Seung Woo Choi vs. Joshua Culibao
Middleweight Jacob Malkoun vs. Brendan Allen
Lightweight: Steve Garcia vs. Hayisaer Maheshate
Bantamweight: Kang Kyung-ho vs. Danaa Batgerel

Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 6:30 PM ET)

Welterweight Jake Matthews vs. André Fialho
Women’s Strawweight: Liang Na vs. Silvana Gómez Juárez
Women’s Bantamweight: Ramona Pascual vs. Joselyne Edwards

Be sure to keep it right here on Saturday for all the results, highlights, and updates on UFC 275!

Continue Reading UFC 275 Predictions: Expert Picks by MMA News Staff at MMA News.

The Two Strawweights Who Deserve A Seat With The MMA Giants

On March 7, 2020, Joanna J?drzejczyk and Zhang Weili gave birth to a classic that will live eternally, despite being assigned a gender. When fans think of the greatest fights in MMA history, some fights that come to mind are those sewn with brawn and blood, scraps like Jones vs. Gustafsson, McGregor vs. Diaz II,…

Continue Reading The Two Strawweights Who Deserve A Seat With The MMA Giants at MMA News.

On March 7, 2020, Joanna J?drzejczyk and Zhang Weili gave birth to a classic that will live eternally, despite being assigned a gender.

When fans think of the greatest fights in MMA history, some fights that come to mind are those sewn with brawn and blood, scraps like Jones vs. Gustafsson, McGregor vs. Diaz II, Lawler vs. MacDonald II, etc. Very rarely do you hear the names of women voiced into the discussion.

If ever there was a time for such a conversation to flow naturally, it was at the conclusion of Joanna J?drzejczyk’s and Zhang Weili’s frenetic exchanges at UFC 248. Those two 115-pound women earned a seat with the giants at the “Best Fights in MMA History Table.”

In fact, if you ask your humble narrator, they aren’t sitting alongside them but are rather placed at the head of the table.

That’s right, approximately eight years after women were granted entry into a 20-year-old sport, two strawweights set the standard for epic fights. Indeed, J?drzejczyk vs. Zhang had all the boxes checked when it comes to MMA classics.

Title Fight – ?

Non-Stop Action – ?

Grit, Resolve, Toughness – ?

Coin-Flip Competitiveness – ?

Heart-Racing Drama – ?

Sometimes, the optics of blood can add to said drama, as it adds a tangible visual to the “heart, resolve, and toughness” box. Well, I’ll see your crimson mask and raise you a Rocky Dennis.

LOOK: Joanna Jedrzejczyk suffers grotesque hematoma in war with Weili Zhang  at UFC 248 -
Copyright: 2020 Jeff Bottari

The fight had skill, technique, and was about as back-and-forth as a scrap could get. There was footwork, pocket trading, clinch battles, kicks, combos, and nonstop volleys in this war between proud soldiers of Poland and China. And at the end of the fight, with the crowd giving a well-earned standing ovation, there were two sentences that helped frame the narrative around this historic encounter:

Jon Anik: “Arguably the greatest fight in women’s mixed martial arts history, as predicted by the former champion, Joanna J?drzejczyk!”

Joe Rogan: “I think we can safely say that was the greatest title fight in women’s MMA history.”

The problem with those quotes is that it restricts and labels a display that was, in actuality, transcendent beyond its peers. And the “peers” aren’t just other female fights, but rather any all-time classic in the pantheon of MMA classics.

Anik and Rogan may be the initial reactors with the largest and most immediate platform to frame this epic encounter, but fans and pundits worldwide have often, if not predominately, boxed the bout in as a WMMA classic. But in reality, it was, as Daniel Cormier indicated multiple times throughout the contest, as good as any fight of all time, regardless of gender.

Jon Anik and Joe Rogan did not frame the fight as a WMMA classic maliciously, and they are not misogynists who can’t bring themselves to allow J?drzejczyk and Zhang a seat at the table with giants. Like others who have framed it as solely an WMMA classic after them, it is more than likely a subconscious categorization.

In fact, even our very own Harvey Leonard, who credits this fight for being the last straw that persuaded him to cover this sport, has admitted to unconsciously labeling it as arguably the best women’s mixed martial arts fight as opposed to arguably the best mixed martial arts fight of all time.

Weili Zhang Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Why is that? We don’t label Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II as one of the best welterweight fights of all time or Gaethje vs. Chandler as one of the best lightweight fights of all time.

Sure, those claims would be true, non-demeaning, and both are honorable distinctions. But instead, they are given full, unrestricted praise for the gender- and label-free classics that they are. And if Joanna J?drzejczyk and Zhang Weili didn’t earn that same respect on the night of March 7, 2020, in front of that spellbound crowd, then that means all women are barred from the table.

And there is one other box that this all-time classic checked off: the “historic context” box.

This classic was on the final card held in front of a full crowd before the COVID-19 pandemic gave way to closed-arena shows. Given the lackluster main event that night between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero, it’s fair to say that it was Joanna J?drzejczyk and Zhang Weili who gave new meaning to the expression, “sent the crowd home happy.”

That crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as well as the worldwide audience would be home for over a year with this fight branded in their memories. And it’s memories like these that Joanna J?drzejczyk was insistent on creating, or not creating art at all.

Now that live crowds are back, so, too, is the Boogeywoman, prepared to once again shock spectators with the gore and glory of an epic, life-altering MMA fight when she re-enters the Octagon for another battle with Zhang Weili this Saturday at UFC 275.

Will they be able to outdo in three rounds what they were able to create in a full-five round championship fight? Nearly impossible. But as of March 7, 2020, neither have anything to prove when it comes to all-time MMA classics.

Because even the greatest, most celebrated giants of MMA history must bend the knee to the two queens who stand shoulder to shoulder with the kings.

You can watch MY #1 fight in MMA history below in its entirety.

Continue Reading The Two Strawweights Who Deserve A Seat With The MMA Giants at MMA News.

The MMA News Top 10 Finishes Of The Week (5/30 – 6/4)

Welcome to the first edition of MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes of the Week! Every week there’s highlight-reel finishes all across the MMA world, and we’ve found some of the absolute best ones to showcase. The return of the UFC after a two-week break provided a number of impressive finishes, several of which made this…

Continue Reading The MMA News Top 10 Finishes Of The Week (5/30 – 6/4) at MMA News.

Welcome to the first edition of MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes of the Week! Every week there’s highlight-reel finishes all across the MMA world, and we’ve found some of the absolute best ones to showcase.

The return of the UFC after a two-week break provided a number of impressive finishes, several of which made this week’s Top 10. The list also includes an explosive debut from a top prospect, come-from-behind victories, and some one-shot knockouts.

#10: Guelor Sondi Doesn’t Need A Follow Up

This week’s list opens with a lightweight bout between Guelor Sondi and Elvis Ngwalangwala from EFC 94 in South Africa.

Blitzing forward, Sondi landed a right hand right behind the ear of Ngwalangwala that sent the South African falling to the canvas as a follow-up kick flew just over his face.

#9: Erin Blanchfield Locks Up Standing Guillotine

The very first bout from last week’s UFC Vegas 56 provided the first of several impressive finishes on the card.

Erin Blanchfield picked up the biggest victory of her young career and maintained her perfect UFC record when she forced veteran JJ Aldrich to tap with a standing guillotine choke.

#8 Fabricio de Andrade Lands Brutal Liver Kick

The UFC will be in Singapore this week for UFC 275, but the southeast Asian country is also the home of ONE Championship.

Fabricio de Andrade needed just over a minute to finish Kwon Won Il in the co-main event of ONE Championship 158, landing a body kick that folded the South Korean and had the ref already running in as de Andrade tried to follow up.

#7: Ode Osbourne Brings The Violence

Ode Osbourne put the UFC’s flyweight division on notice with his performance against Zarrukh Adashev last week.

“The Jamaican Sensation” landed a counter right hand that sat Adashev down before he followed-up with punches to get the stoppage just over a minute into the fight.

#6: Marif Mazhidov Grabs Surprise Submission

At MMA Series 52 in Russia, featherweight Marif Mazhidov showed that you can find a way to win from any position in MMA.

Making his pro debut, Mazhidov was in serious danger of being choked out before he locked up one of Demin’s legs and forced him to tap from a seemingly dominant position.

#5: Bo Nickal Proves The Hype Is Real

Few prospects have entered MMA with expectations as high as Bo Nickal, but the 26-year-old made good on the hype at iKON FC 3 without even needing to use his vaunted wrestling skills.

The 3x National Champion in freestyle wrestling rocked John Noland before landing an uppercut and hooks that sent Noland to the canvas and Nickal walking off to celebrate.

#4: Tony Gravely Shows Off His Power

Tony Gravely had shown flashes of power in his previous UFC bouts, but nothing like what he did against Johnny Munoz Jr. last week.

With his back to the fence, Munoz came forward and walked straight into a short right hand from Gravely that sent him to the canvas amidst a barrage of follow-up punches.

#3: Menifield Rains Elbows From Crucifix

Alonzo Menifield and Askar Mozharov opened the main card of UFC Vegas 56 in a light heavyweight matchup that few expected to go the distance.

Menifield’s plan to take things to the ground was on display early, and “Atomic” eventually set up a mounted crucifix that Mozharov had no hope of escaping from.

#2: Trey Waters Lands Hail Mary Knee

The main card of LFA 133 included a matchup between two undefeated welterweights, and late in the fight it looked like Trey Waters would be leaving with his first career loss.

The ref separated Waters and Benjamin Bennett with about 30 seconds left, allowing Waters to throw up a knee that floored Bennett and avoided a probable decision loss for “The Truth”.

#1: Moses Diaz Only Needs 6 Seconds

MMA is all about limiting the damage your opponent can do, and sometimes the best way to do that is just not give them a chance to fight back.

On the main card of last week’s Combate Global event, Moses Diaz landed a right hand that floored Carlos Cordoba Fonseca and forced the ref to intervene just 6 seconds into the fight.

What do you think of this week’s list? Are there any finishes you think should have made the cut that didn’t?

Continue Reading The MMA News Top 10 Finishes Of The Week (5/30 – 6/4) at MMA News.