Sean Strickland Beleives Alex Pereira Matchup Is “Just A Ploy By The UFC” To Setup Israel Adesanya Fight

Sean Strickland, Israel Adesanya, Alex PereiraSean Strickland believes that the UFC is trying to set up a potential fight for Alex Pereira with Israel Adesanya. Alex Pereira will compete against Sean Strickland this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, NV on July 2 at UFC 276. The international week main card will be headlined by the reigning UFC Middleweight […]

Sean Strickland, Israel Adesanya, Alex Pereira

Sean Strickland believes that the UFC is trying to set up a potential fight for Alex Pereira with Israel Adesanya.

Alex Pereira will compete against Sean Strickland this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, NV on July 2 at UFC 276. The international week main card will be headlined by the reigning UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya who will face Jared Cannonier in the main event of the night.

In a four-man eliminator-style tournament, the winners of each bout are expected to collide next.

Sean Strickland is not a fan of the official rankings

Strickland, the current fourth-ranked contender at middleweight, does not seem to be a fan of the official rankings. The UFC veteran has been competing under the banner for close to a decade having debuted in March 2014. He picked up momentum with a six-fight win streak and outrageous takes that made headlines.

Meanwhile, Pereira has only two outings in the promotion and is already being touted for a title shot against Israel Adesanya based on their history.

At the UFC 276 media day ahead of the event, Sean Strickland shared his take on how important the rankings are. His sentiments might stem from the fact that the matchups aren’t strictly based on rankings as a storyline is often given priority over an opponent with a better spot on the list.

“If we’ve learned anything about UFC rankings it means nothing. At the end of the day, it means nothing.”

Strickland says Alex Pereira matchup is “just a ploy by the UFC”

Strickland believes that he was pitted against ‘Poatan’ due to his striking style. Having the former Glory double champion take on an established grappler in an MMA fight would’ve been a huge risk for the promotion as a loss could nullify the prospect of him challenging Adesanya.

“He’s the one that knocked out Izzy so it’s like here’s what you can do,” Strickland said. “You could have him go and then he’ll eventually fight a wrestler who’ll take him down and beat him. Then they’ll never get the easy shot or they could be like, ‘hey, why don’t we have him fight Sean? Sean doesn’t like to wrestle. Maybe if he beats him we could float him to the top.

“So this is literally, purely just a ploy by the UFC, putting him against someone who likes to strike to potentially get him an Izzy shot. UFC, I applaud you but I might f**king wrestle.”

The winner of Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira is expected to face the winner of Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier in their next outing. However, things could change based on who comes out on top of those contests.

Sean Strickland Claims Alex Pereira’s Style ‘Sucks’ Ahead Of UFC 276: ‘He’s Not Even A Good Striker’

Sean StricklandAhead of his pivotal middleweight matchup this weekend against Alex Pereira at UFC 276, surging division contender, Sean Strickland has questioned the striking style and prowess of the decorated kickboxer, claiming the Brazilian is not all he’s chalked up to be.  Strickland, who currently sits at #4 in the official middleweight pile, enters this weekend’s […]

Sean Strickland

Ahead of his pivotal middleweight matchup this weekend against Alex Pereira at UFC 276, surging division contender, Sean Strickland has questioned the striking style and prowess of the decorated kickboxer, claiming the Brazilian is not all he’s chalked up to be. 

Strickland, who currently sits at #4 in the official middleweight pile, enters this weekend’s potential title-eliminator against Pereira in search of his stunning seventh straight victory, headlined a February event against Jack Hermansson last time out, narrowly taking home a split decision win.

As for Pereira, the Sao Paulo striker has made an instant impact in his UFC tenure since his November debut – landing a pair of impressive victories, however, has yet to enter the middleweight top-15 ahead of his catapulting against Strickland.

A former two-weight GLORY Kickboxing champion, Pereira, revered as one of the more dangerous strikers in the sport at the moment, handed credence to those beliefs, courtesy of a brutal second round flying knee knockout win against Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268.

Returning against compatriot and former M-1 Global middleweight champion, Bruno Silva, Pereira would eventually pull away from his fellow Brazilian with a technical display en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Sean Strickland downplays Alex Pereira’s striking ability

With either Strickland or Pereira expected to likely challenge division champion, Israel Adesanya should he defeat challenger, Jared Cannonier atop the UFC 276 card on Saturday, Strickland has downplayed the striking threat of Pereira.

“He’s (Alex Pereira) not even a good striker, bro,” Sean Strickland told assembled media during his media availability ahead of UFC 276. “Like f*ck, the only reason you can do that is because you are f*cking tall, you are genetically gifted. If you are a f*cking normal-sized f*cking human being, you wouldn’t even f*cking be here, your style sucks.” 

Despite the fact Pereira holds a devastating one-punch knockout win over the aforenoted, Adesanya back in 2017 under the GLORY Kickboxing banner, Strickland insists that he’s less than worried about the Brazilian’s striking ability.

“He’s the thing, man – let me tell you something,” Sean Strickland said. “There’s not one f*cking GLORY kickboxer in any weight class that I f*cking couldn’t f*cking stand and bang with. So don’t f*cking tell me just ‘cause you’re some big f*cking Brazilian, who knocked out Izzy (Israel Adesanya) 20 years ago, that I can’t stand with you. Come on, motherf*cker, get out of here.” 

Photos | Israel Adesanya Set To Sport Green & Gold Champion Shorts In UFC 276 Headliner

Israel AdesanyaNo longer limited to typical black shorts with gold trim as a defending champion, undisputed UFC middleweight kingpin, Israel Adesanya is set to sport green compression shorts – donned with gold and white champion trim ahead of his UFC 276 main event title defense against Jared Cannonier. Israel Adesanya, a staple of City Kickboxing under […]

Israel Adesanya

No longer limited to typical black shorts with gold trim as a defending champion, undisputed UFC middleweight kingpin, Israel Adesanya is set to sport green compression shorts – donned with gold and white champion trim ahead of his UFC 276 main event title defense against Jared Cannonier.

Israel Adesanya, a staple of City Kickboxing under the tutelage of Eugene Bareman, will make his second Octagon walk of the year this weekend during International Fight Week – headlining once more.

Israel Adesanya headlines for the second time this year

Back in February, Nigerian-Kiwi standout, Adesanya headlined UFC 271 at the Toyota Center, defeating two-time opponent and former undisputed champion, Robert Whittaker in a rematch unanimous decision success. 

Sporting white and gold shorts for his unsuccessful light heavyweight title challenge against Jan Blachowicz back in March of last year, Adesanya now joins former undisputed flyweight titleholder, Brandon Moreno as the other fighter to sport somewhat custom shorts – with the Baja California native wearing white shorts, with gold and black trim for his UFC 270 co-headliner with Deiveson Figueiredo. 

Enjoying a dominant reign as undisputed middleweight champion, Adesanya has so far landed four successful title defenses as the 185lbs pacesetter, knocking back Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori, and the aforenoted, Whittaker since March 2020. 

Whilst facing off with the aforenoted Texan bruiser, Cannonier this weekend in ‘Sin City’ – Adesanya appears to already have his next opponent in mind should he leave the T-Mobile Arena with his title in tow. 

Also featuring on a stacked main card, steaking division contender, Sean Strickland, and former two-weight GLORY Kickboxing champion, Alex Pereira – who holds two victories over Israel Adesanya, are both widely expected to challenge the Lagos-born champion with a victory at UFC 276. 

Entering this weekend’s premier title challenge against Adesanya, Cannonier, who rides a two-fight winning run into the main event clash, bludgeoned Derek Brunson with brutal elbow ground strikes at UFC 271 back in February.

Sean O’Malley Claims He Could Submit Khabib Nurmagomedov: ‘Fans Would Still Complain’

Sean O'MalleyAhead of UFC 276 this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena, bantamweight contender, Sean O’Malley has claimed that he could submit former undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov – maintaining that critiques and spectators would still find something to complain about from him. Montana native, O’Malley, attempts to land successive victory number four this weekend during […]

Sean O'Malley

Ahead of UFC 276 this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena, bantamweight contender, Sean O’Malley has claimed that he could submit former undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov – maintaining that critiques and spectators would still find something to complain about from him.

Montana native, O’Malley, attempts to land successive victory number four this weekend during International Fight Week – drawing Brazilian veteran and division mainstay, Pedro Munhoz. 

Last time out, O’Malley, a product of Dana White’s Contender Series – managed to stop Munhoz’s compatriot, Raulian Paiva with a first round knockout win back in December at UFC 269 in ‘Sin City’.

Sean O’Malley predicts he will become the first to knock out Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276

Ahead of this weekend’s bout with Munhoz, O’Malley maintains he would be the first fighter to knock out the Brazilian in a professional setting, but insists that fans would still complain if he were to hand the now-retired, Khabib a career-first loss.

“I could submit Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and people would be like, ‘Yeah, but,’” Sean O’Malley said during his media availability on Wednesday ahead of UFC 276. “Something. They’d say something.”

“So I pay no attention to what the negative fans say,” Sean O’Malley continued. “It doesn’t matter to me. Yes, I’ll go out there and finish Pedro (Munhoz), and yes, it’ll be like, ‘Yeah, but,’ so it doesn’t matter.” 

In the midst of a string of three consecutive knockout victories, O’Malley went further to claim that he can envision himself stopping any potential opponent at bantamweight with strikes. 
“Anybody my weight class, I could see me standing across from them and knocking them out,” Sean O’Malley explained. “I’ve done it over and over and over again – it’s hard not to envision that. Everyone I fight, I knock out, so that’s just how I see this fight going. That’s how I see any fight that I’m ever going to be in going, just me putting my hands on their chin enough times, and they’ll fall.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)

Bellator Star Valerie Loureda Pens Multi-Year Deal With Professional Wrestling Outfit WWE

Valerie LouredaBellator MMA flyweight prospect, Valerie Loureda has confirmed that she has penned a multi-year deal to make a transition from professional mixed martial arts to professional wrestling, linking up with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Loureda, a native of Miami, Florida – confirmed to ESPN this Wednesday afternoon that she had put pen to paper […]

Valerie Loureda

Bellator MMA flyweight prospect, Valerie Loureda has confirmed that she has penned a multi-year deal to make a transition from professional mixed martial arts to professional wrestling, linking up with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

Loureda, a native of Miami, Florida – confirmed to ESPN this Wednesday afternoon that she had put pen to paper on a multi-year deal with the WWE – making the transition to professional wrestling.

A trainee at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida – Loureda competed 5 times professionally since her career began back in February 2019 under the Scott Coker-led organizational banner, defeating Colby Fletcher, Larkyn Dasch, Tara Pegano, as well as Taylor Turner, in between her sole professional defeat against Hannah Guy. 

Appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani following the announcement of her signing with the WWE, an emotional Loureda confirmed her move to professional wrestling.

“I have now become the first Cuban-American women and I am now a WWE superstar,” Valerie Loureda said. “I’m really excited, and I’ve dedicated my whole life to martial arts, and everything has come to this moment. And this is my opportunity to showcase my culture and entertain the world.”

“I’m emotional because I’ve worked really hard in my whole life,” Valerie Loureda continued. “I’ve had a very hard upbringing, and every day, I’ve always just believed in myself, and trained hard hoping to make it to the next step and just chasing a dream that I’ve had in my heart since I was a baby.” 

In a statement released to MMA Fighting, Bellator MMA president, Coker confirmed that Loureda had reached an agreement with the WWE.

“Valerie Loureda is a very young and talented athlete who can accomplish plenty in MMA for years to come, but for now we wish her the best of luck as she pursues her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar,” The statement read. “She will remain an active and under contract fighter with Bellator, and we look forward to welcoming her back into the cage in the near future/ We take great pride in allowing our athletes to test themselves in additional arenas such as boxing and pro-wrestling.”

Valerie Loureda has competed exclusively with Bellator MMA during her career

Reflecting on her run with Bellator MMA, Loureda thanked the promotion for the platform they had initially offered to her at the start of her professional career.

“Scott Coker and Mike Kogan, they believed in me when I was 19 years old,” Valerie Loureda said. “My first professional fight was without shinguards at the Mohegan Sun, opening a main card. They gave me an opportunity opening a main card. They gave me an opportunity to brand myself and build this platform and just be me. Now, I’m making this transition, and my mind has shifted, but I know what I’m going to do in the WWE. … I love fighting, but this is my time.”

Demetrious Johnson Backs Henry Cejudo’s Chances To Beat UFC Champions Alex Volkanovski & Aljamain Sterling

Demetrious Johnson, Henry Cejudo, Alex Volkanovski, Aljamain SterlingDemetrious Johnson has backed Henry Cejudo to win over Aljamain Sterling or Alexander Volkanovski. Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo re-entered the USADA testing pool in April to solidify his return to competition. Cejudo announced that he was hanging up the gloves after his win over Dominick Cruz in May 2020. While he does not […]

Demetrious Johnson, Henry Cejudo, Alex Volkanovski, Aljamain Sterling

Demetrious Johnson has backed Henry Cejudo to win over Aljamain Sterling or Alexander Volkanovski.

Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo re-entered the USADA testing pool in April to solidify his return to competition. Cejudo announced that he was hanging up the gloves after his win over Dominick Cruz in May 2020. While he does not have a confirmed opponent yet, he has been rallying for a shot at either of the two champions at bantamweight and featherweight.

Although Cejudo didn’t compete at featherweight, Demetrious Johnson believes he has what it takes to dethrone Alex Volkanovski or the lighter Sterling.

Demetrious Johnson backs Henry Cejudo for a title shot in a comeback fight

In an interview with MMA Fighting, ‘The Mighty Mouse’ shared his thoughts on Cejudo as a fighter and heaped praises on the only person to have won an Olympic Gold and a UFC championship.

“He’s intelligent, he’s an athlete – I mean, he’s done something I haven’t done,” Johnson said. “You know, he’s won the world championship at flyweight and bantamweight, and he’s defended the flyweight title and the bantamweight title, right?

“Typically guys when they do that, Conor [McGregor] has done it, but he never defended any of those belts. He’s won it, then [won] one after, and then he got lost, right? That’s one thing I think Henry Cejudo has that people should show respect to the man. I respect him.”

Johnson talked about how he sees a matchup between ‘Triple C’ and ‘Funk Master’ playing out.

“If he was to fight Aljamain Sterling, I think he poses a lot of problems to Aljamain Sterling because, one, his wrestling is legit, his hands are legit, and Henry Cejudo, he’s a gamer,” Johnson said. “Like, he’ll go out there and he’s gonna push the pace and try to win the fight. Obviously, right now Henry Cejudo’s got that dad bod, so he’s gonna have to shred all that baby weight, and I’m sure he can do it. It’s all about does the athlete want to do it, in my opinion.”

Johnson believes Alex Volkanovski will be a tougher matchup

‘The Great’ is currently on a 21-fight win streak and has gone unbeaten in the UFC in 11 fights against competition like Jose Aldo, Max Holloway, Chad Mendes, and Brian Ortega.

As for a potential showdown against the reigning king of 145 lbs, Johnson believes Cejudo would have a harder time.

“I think [fighting for the featherweight title] is gonna be a harder thing to do because Volkanovski is, I think, the bigger guy, and Volkanovski has been more active. And I think the weight discrepancy is going to be there for Volkanovski, right? Do I think Henry Cejudo has the talent and skillset and the mindset to beat Volkanovski? Absolutely, it’s a fight, but Volkanovski has been active, he’s been fighting killers. He’s fought Max Holloway two times.”

Johnson compared Volkanovski to Cejudo and said that they are identical in their approach to fighting.

“And Volkanovski is very good about sticking to the gameplan and executing the gameplan, right?” Johnson said. “That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about him. When he’s fought Chad Mendes, and he’s fought the guys in the past, you saw the grit, you saw the tough, you saw the rugby, you saw the athlete come out in it.

“But now, when you see him fight, when he fought Max Holloway both times and when he fought Brian Ortega and when he just fought ‘Korean Zombie,’ you saw an athlete also become a martial artist and also sticking to executing a perfect gameplan.

“So, that’s the biggest thing I think that Henry Cejudo is going to have to battle. He’s going to gave to battle pretty much an identical version of him, in my opinion.”

Alex Volkanovski is scheduled to fight Max Holloway for a third time on July 2 at UFC 276.

Do you agree with Demetrious Johnson on Henry Cejudo dethroning Alex Volkanovski or Aljamain Sterling?