Top Boxing Matches to Bet On The Weekend Nov. 13th Edition

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the boxer that many consider the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Terence “Bud” Crawford, highlights a fantastic day and night of boxing action. Crawford will throw down against United Kingdom star fighter Kell Brook in a championship bout at the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Earlier in the day, five terrific fights happen at Wembley Arena in London. Check out analysis and free picks for all of Saturday’s boxing action so you can make your bets and cash in against our Boxing odds

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UFC Fight Night: Felder Vs Dos Anjos Expert Analysis

It is always a little disappointing when a fighter is forced to withdraw from a scheduled fight. It is even more so when the fight that is affected is the headliner. That is what we are looking at this weekend with UFC Fight Night Vegas 14. The headline event was supposed to see Islam Makhachev and Rafael dos Anjos go head to head, but Makhachev was forced to withdraw with an injury. It will be Paul Felder who steps in on just 5 days’ notice to fill that spot. As disappointing as this news is, we still have a great main card, with 6 fights to choose from. There is a lot to cover here, so let’s get right to it so you can make your bets against their UFC odds.

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Mike Tyson Vs Jones Jr. Top 3 Techniques – Boxing Lines

In two and a half weeks two of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing throw down in what should be an exciting matchup. Iron Mike Tyson, one of the most legendary figures in sports history takes on Roy “Superman” Jones Jr., who at one time most considered the best athlete in any sport. If either wants to leave the ring a winner, they must use techniques that lead to success. Check out the 3 most important techniques that both Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson each must use to take home the victory on Nov. 28. That said, let’s get right to it so you can keep making your bets for the fight against our Mike Tyson odds.

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Davis vs Santa Cruz: Stats and Odds for the Fight

This Saturday, we have WBA Lightweight Champion Gervonta Davis meetings WBA Super Featherweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz in a 12-round headlining WBA Super Featherweight/ WBA Lightweight World Championship main event.

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UFC Fight Night: Hall Vs Silva Expert Analysis

After a few week’s way in Abu Dhabi for Fight Island, the UFC returns to the mainland for another stint at the Apex in Las Vegas. It’s a pretty sold main card that we have set for Saturday night, with no less than 5 fights set to go. That includes a pair of fights that serve as the co-main event, although it is the Hall/Silva fight that will serve as the final bout of the evening. There is a lot to unpack with this event, so let’s get into each of the 5 fight on the main card, with predictions made for each, along with their UFC odds.

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Jimi Manuwa moving toward return as ‘more complete fighter,’ explains Luke Rockhold callout

Jimi Manuwa ultimately wasn’t done when he decided to hang up his gloves.

After his fourth straight loss to Aleksandar Rakic last June, Manuwa (17-6 MMA, 6-6 UFC) announced his retirement, a decision he admits came in the moment.

“The love for fighting never left me,” Manuwa told MMA Junkie. “It was more the losses and how I felt at the time (is) why I decided to retire. The love of competition still runs deep in my blood, and I know it always will because that’s how I was made as a human being.”

It’s tough for Manuwa to gauge when exactly he’d be able to return considering the current circumstances of the global pandemic, but he’s been staying in shape.

“With this coronavirus, who knows when things are going to get back to normal,” Manuwa said. “All I’ve asked for is the gyms to be back open, so let’s see what happens. I really got back into my training, especially my boxing just before the virus hit, and it’s affected me the same as everyone else, but I’ve been getting into my home workouts and staying in shape.

“I’m training to be a better fighter and concentrate on things I should have been doing, which I wasn’t in camp. Now (that) I’ve had time to sit down and evaluate my training and the mistakes I made throughout my career, I can focus on becoming a more complete fighter.”

With news of Luke Rockhold also itching to return, Manuwa proceeded to call him out, and he explained why.

“I’d fight Rockhold in a heartbeat like I would everyone else, and I’ve shown that in my career,” Manuwa said. “Luke is a great fighter, former Strikeforce and UFC Champ. We both retired and have the itch to come back, so why not?”

Manuwa has competed against the division’s best, with notable wins over Corey Anderson, Jan Blachowicz, and Ovince Saint Preux. His last few outings haven’t gone his way, and he hopes to get the opportunity to run those losses back at some point.

“I’ve fought the who’s who in the division, yes, and there are a few losses that I know I should have not had,” Manuwa said. “But I was mentally not prepared, which is a part of my game, which I didn’t work on at all, and it’s the little things that count when you are at the top of the mountain.

“I’d like to get some of my losses back for starters, but at this moment I’m just taking it a day at a time and enjoying training, and getting better with one eye on the division.”

Angela Lee admits sharing ONE cards with brother Christian is getting ‘more and more difficult’

While their last event together was a special one, ONE Championship starlet Angela Lee admits it’s getting hard to compete on the same card as her brother Christian.

Reigning women’s atomweight champion Lee (10-2) defended her title for the fourth time at “ONE Championship: Century Part 1,” while her brother Christian, won the lightweight tournament to add the grand prix title to his ONE lightweight championship.

The two have shared cards before, but their most recent experience fighting on the same event in Tokyo took things to a different level.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to top that event,” Lee told MMA Junkie. “It was truly a special moment, not just for Christian and myself, but for our family as well. And for everyone to be there together and witness (it), that was just so special.”

But now, with the stakes higher than ever for both siblings, Lee says sharing a card with her brother will only get more stressful.

“Honestly, it’s getting more and more difficult,” Lee said. “Christian and I, we’re used to competing with each other. We have been ever since we were small, but now that it’s on a much bigger scale, we’re both world champions and each fight will be a world championship title defense. It’s getting a little bit more difficult, more stressful.

“Our last fight in October, we really had to talk it over with our family and see if it was something that we were able to do. Luckily, with the fights in between myself and Christian, we were able to do it but it was still pretty close. But yeah, we love fighting with each other. When it’s good, when we both win, it’s great. But sometimes it’s just a bit stressful.”

Bellator’s expansion to CBS Sports Network could be foundation for something bigger

The Bellator brand will be exposed to a new audience Saturday night with the debut of “Bellator MMA: Recharged.” The program airs on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET and will feature replays of some of the most meaningful bouts in company history.

On the surface, it looks like foundational work for Bellator to make a leap to network television on CBS.

With no opportunity to host live events at the moments due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bellator opted to dig into its library for content. The ViacomCBS-owned promotion falls under the same umbrella as CBS Sports Network, and Bellator president Scott Coker said replaying fights on the platform has been in the works for a while. The timeline was merely moved up to fulfill needs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Honestly it was something that was already in the plans. We were just going to do it later,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “When we started thinking this might be a prolonged shelter-in-place situation, let’s get some content out there for the fans. We’ve got such a great library and so many great fights and are under-utilizing it, so we have some great stuff on social for the MMA and fans and Bellator fans to start enjoying, and the CBS relationship is all under Viacom now, and to get a four-hour block on the sport network, we’re happy about that. I think it’s going to be great for Bellator, and we’re going to show some great fights for the fans.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused businesses to adapt to the circumstances. Coker thought Bellator had some nice momentum before the pandemic reached a critical level, and as a result all Bellator events have been postponed until at least July.

Although there’s constant work being done behind the scenes, Coker said the situation has slowed the wheels in some aspects. Live Bellator events currently air on Paramount and stream on DAZN, but Coker didn’t rule out flexing the assets of ViacomCBS to his advantage moving forward.

“There’s a tremendous amount of resources here, and there’s some great networks on the Viacom/CBS platform,” Coker said. “It’s really undecided at this point, but I do think there is some really good programming on great networks to look forward to for Bellator as we move forward. The virus stopped everything. It stopped our tournament; it stopped our live events. We’re kind of rebooting some of the old material so fans can look at it, but moving forward I feel really good about where this brand is heading. With all the resources around us, it’s not just me and Bellator – there’s a lot of moving parts in this company now that they’ve moved together. We’ve got to get out of this situation with this virus and get back to some type of normalcy, then we’ll start talking to the right people about where we’re going to do these shows at.”

If live Bellator programming does stretch beyond Paramount and DAZN in the future, hosting cards on CBS or Showtime would seem like natural fits, especially since both platforms have featured MMA before. Coker knows all about that, because he was responsible for the first wave of the sport on CBS with the now-defunct Strikeforce organization.

For Coker to bring another fight promotion to that level in a different era would be a major accomplishment, he said. Coker wouldn’t make any promises about the future but said his goal is to elevate the Bellator brand as much as possible, and getting fights on network television would naturally fit into that mold.

“That’s one of the meccas of sports,” Coker said. “To have a network like CBS embrace you, it’s a good day. What would it say about our sport? When we started MMA in 2006, it wasn’t on Showtime. It wasn’t on a major network at that time. It wasn’t on FOX. All these channels that have embraced it since.

“To have a company like CBS and Viacom be the ownership group of Bellator, I feel very good about where we’re headed. We have to keep signing all the free agents that we can and keep building this brand. I think this CBS Sports Network thing is a big piece of the puzzle, and I want to keep building this puzzle and going forward.”

UFC free fight: B.J. Penn dethrones Matt Hughes to claim welterweight title

B.J. Penn and Matt Hughes faced off for the first time in 2004 in what would be the start of a memorable rivalry.

Penn faced five-time defending welterweight champion Hughes at UFC 46 as he made his 170-pound debut, but the Hawaiian looked instantly at home as he dominated the reigning champion on the mat to secure a memorable victory.

Penn got Hughes on his back early, and “The Prodigy” never let him off the hook. He controlled him in top position for the majority of the round before eventually transitioning to his back with under a minute left and securing the rear-naked choke that forced the tap.

At the time it was a huge upset win for Penn, and it went on to set up a memorable trilogy between the pair. Hughes won the second fight two years later, finishing Penn in the third round, but it was Penn who got the last laugh, knocking Hughes out in just 21 seconds in their final meeting in 2010.

That was Penn’s last victory in the octagon, and he has recently hinted at the possibility of officially calling time on his career.

Check out Penn’s win over Hughes in the video above.

Combat Rewind, April 25: Kevin Randleman’s monster PRIDE finish of Mirko Cro Cop

There’s “Flashback Friday” and “Throwback Thursday” (and Tuesday, too, if you want). But at MMA Junkie, we figured why not expand that to every day?

“Combat Rewind” brings you some of combat sports’ best highlights from every calendar day of the year. It’s a look back at history, courtesy of the UFC Fight Pass archives, featuring stellar finishes and classic moments in MMA and beyond on their anniversaries.

Today, our highlights include several finishes from the legendary PRIDE FC, including the late Kevin Randleman’s memorable takeout of Mirko Cro Cop.

So kick back and relive the following bits of greatness in the video above:

Fight footage courtesy of UFC Fight Pass, the UFC’s official digital subscription service, which is currently offering a seven-day free trial. UFC Fight Pass gives fans access to exclusive live UFC events and fights, exclusive live MMA and combat sports events from around the world, exclusive original and behind the scenes content and unprecedented 24-7 access to the world’s biggest fight library.

eUFC 2: Live streaming simulated fights with MMA Junkie Radio on SportsCastr


For now, the MMA world is left without fights. But Saturday night, we’ve got something unique for you.

MMA Junkie Radio hosts “Gorgeous” George and “Goze” built a fight card with some intriguing matchups, and they’ll host a watch-along event on SportsCastr with commentary during the simulated fights.

The live stream goes down at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT), when your hosts will break down the simulated fights and discuss the simulated results.

The simulated card includes:

Be sure to check back and follow @MMAjunkie@MMAjunkieRadio and @SportsCastrLive on Twitter to be notified when the guys go live.

How would they do in MMA? ‘Bloodsport’ fighters, ranked

Revisiting old sporting events and movies is an act that’s quickly become popular given the current COVID-19 climate of self-imposed quarantine.

So, whether you’re bored while stuck at home or just a super nerd like myself and can’t help but further dissect things, I thought it would be fun to rank some of our favorite characters (both fictional and non) on how well they’d do competing in modern mixed martial arts.

For the first installment, we’ll cover “Bloodsport,” which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Regardless of what your level of skepticism is when it comes to both Frank Dux and Hollywood’s telling of this story, it’s hard to deny the influence that the film carries over 30 years later, as you’ll be hard-pressed to find fighters who have never seen or don’t own a copy of this cult classic (for those unaware, this movie, to martial artists, is arguably the equivalent to what “Scarface” is to rappers).

The Kumite in “Bloodsport” features a plethora of fighting styles that give off strong UFC 1 vibes, so it feels like it’s both cheating and inviting to compare this childhood favorite to my current passion.

Nevertheless, as much as I encourage you to engage your nostalgic nerve-endings for this one, I warn anyone who applies “MMA math” to this article, as the rankings here won’t necessarily reflect the outcome of the tournament that took place in the film. Again, this is about how these characters would do in today’s MMA – not against each other.

So, without further ado …

****

No. 15: Sadiq Hossein

(YouTube)

Discipline: Bullying?
Strengths: Making bad bets, being a jerk
Analysis: Don’ be surprised to see a question mark attached to many of the martial arts discipline sections in this article, as neither the movie nor the glimpses of most of the action offer much in regards to fighting style or concrete credentials.

Hossein, however, does seem to fit the classic bully archetype, for whatever that’s worth, as he earns this bottom-of-the-barrel ranking for his two meager appearances.

First, we see Hossein attempt to use his “fighting abilities” to strike leading lady Leah Ayres, which was thankfully thwarted by the fast hands of Frank Dux. As if treating women poorly (in a movie that doesn’t exactly do the ladies any justice in the first place) isn’t bad enough, Hossein then falls for a bad bet/borderline grift that shows both how slow and stupid he is.

Next we see Hossein draw Dux first in the Kumite, which pretty much ends up looking like an even shorter version of Anderson Silva’s debut in regards to accuracy. Unfortunately for Hossien, he showed zero ability to defend a basic punch or round kick before getting leveled (apparently in real life) by a Dux spinning elbow en route to trying to deliver a cheap shot.

I’m not even sure this guy picks up a win on the amateur MMA circuit, much less makes it to fight night without getting into a scuffle at the weigh-ins.

No. 14: Gustafson

(YouTube)

Discipline: Board breaking?
Strengths: Stylin’ and profilin’
Analysis: I don’t think “board breaking” is even a style, but wood is pretty much the only thing we see Gustafson hit this whole movie.

Sure, he gets taken out by none other than Chong Li, but how on earth did Gustafson even make it to the third day of the Kumite in the first place?

I mean, the dude is basically fighting with pants on that even MC Hammer would think are too big, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that he can be seen shadow boxing (poorly) in the background of the “Dim Mak” scene wearing a sweater tied around his neck like a 90s preppie.

Regardless of what iteration of our sport you insert Gustafson into, it’s hard to see him being anything more than a sub .500 regional fighter who is used to putting over up-and-coming prospects.

Ovince Saint Preux moves to heavyweight, meets Ben Rothwell at UFC’s May 13 event

Ovince Saint Preux will dabble at heavyweight for his next fight.

Saint Preux, who has the second-most light heavyweight fights in UFC history with 20, will jump up a weight class to fight Ben Rothwell on the UFC’s May 13 event.

MMA Junkie verified the matchup between Saint Preux (24-13 MMA, 12-8 UFC) and Rothwell (37-12 MMA, 7-6 UFC) with a person close to the situation following an initial report from ESPN. The person requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.

The May 13 card (which does not have an official name) will take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. It would be the UFC’s second event back after suspending all cards to the coronavirus pandemic, with UFC 249 on May 9 being the first.

Saint Preux, 37, is coming off a second-round submission of Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC on ESPN+ 18 in September. He finished the fight using his patented Von Flue choke, the fourth time he’s done so in UFC competition.

Now “OSP” will see if those skills translate against bigger opponents when he takes on Rothwell, 38, who in December snapped a three-fight losing skid with a TKO of Stefan Struve at UFC on ESPN 7.

The latest lineup for the UFC’s May 13 event includes:

  • Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira
  • Ben Rothwell vs. Ovince Saint Preux

Twitter Mailbag: Why rush Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, and how does Conor McGregor fit in?

Questions on your mind about recent happenings in MMA or the sport in general? MMA Junkie’s Twitter Mailbag is here – and this week it’s @Farah_Hannoun to answer:

  • What’s the point of the UFC rushing Tony Ferguson considering fans have been waiting for him to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for half a decade now?
  • Do you think Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib will ever happen, and what advantages does each fighter have over the other?
  • Who are the top five UFC fighters to never win a championship belt?
  • If Justin Gaethje beats Ferguson to claim the interim title at UFC 249, is it a guarantee he’d unify vs. Khabib? OR Could Conor McGregor potentially be next in that scenario?

Those are answered in the video above.

To ask a question of your own, follow @MMAjunkie on Twitter and let us know.

Joe Rogan slated to be part of UFC 249 broadcast team

After all the hoopla, Joe Rogan is indeed planned to be on commentary for UFC 249.

As the coronavirus pandemic became a bigger issue in the U.S., Rogan, the longtime UFC color commentator, expressed concern about calling fights in a time with so much uncertainty. He said he wasn’t going to do it, but UFC president Dana White apparently was urging him to do so when the promotion had plans to host a fight on April 18.

The event ultimately was postponed, and Rogan was saved from having to make a choice. But now UFC 249 is rescheduled for May 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., and as of now, Rogan is expected to be cageside.

MMA Junkie verified with a person close to the situation that current plans call for Rogan to share commentary with lead play-by-play man Jon Anik, as well as former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

White also said as much on a recent Instagram Live with ESPN.

“Rogan will be there,” White said. “He’ll be there.”

In addition to the commentary team, Bruce Buffer is penciled in to work cage announcer duties, while Megan Olivi will serve as the backstage and roving reporter.

It’s possible circumstances could force a change to the UFC 249 broadcast team before fight night arrives, but as of now, the most familiar faces are on the docket.

UFC files for trademarks around Dana White’s planned ‘Fight Island’

The UFC has filed 22 trademarks for the terms “Fight Island” and “UFC Fight Island.”

According to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, the promotion filed 11 trademarks for the term “Fight Island” and 11 for the term “UFC Fight Island,” with each application filed for specific goods and services, including gear, equipment and even jewelry.

After intervention from top-level executives at UFC broadcast partner ESPN and its parent company, Disney, the UFC was forced to pull the plug on UFC 249, which had been planned for Saturday. UFC president Dana White now says the promotion’s next planned event will take place on May 9.

White revealed the promotion’s plans to go ahead with “Fight Island” during the global coronavirus pandemic – a location he said should be ready within the next month. He plans on shipping fighters to the undisclosed location to train and host future events there.

Although he also mentioned plans of hosting events at the Apex Center at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas, White says the May 9 event won’t take place on either “Fight Island” or at the Apex. The location has not been announced.

Sean O’Malley respects ‘cringey dude’ Henry Cejudo’s skills, but says his antics are ‘hard to watch’

Sean O’Malley is a big fan of Henry Cejudo’s fighting skills. But “The King of Cringe’s” persona away from the cage? Not so much.

A rising star in the bantamweight division, undefeated O’Malley (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has become one of the most popular fighters on the roster after just three UFC fights.

Although he’s in no hurry to get fast-tracked, O’Malley’s ever-growing popularity could potentially lead to a title shot earlier than expected if he continues the sort of outstanding form we’ve seen from him so far, including in his most recent outing, when he dispatched Jose Quinonez at UFC 248.

Meanwhile, reigning UFC bantamweight champion Cejudo has taken a specific route to notoriety, dubbing himself the “King of Cringe,” flashing his gold, using props and creating call-out videos. But while O’Malley certainly respects Cejudo’s fighting credentials, he admitted he’s not a huge fan of the way the current champ has chosen to promote himself.

“I wouldn’t consider that working for him,” O’Malley told MMA Junkie. “I think he’s definitely trying, but he’s just trying too hard and it’s hard to watch. And I guess that’s the way they’re going for – the cringe – but I think he could have taken that a different route. I don’t know. I think as a champ, he’s beat some really, really good dudes. Yeah, he’s really good – but he’s just a cringey dude.”

Cejudo was scheduled to face Jose Aldo at UFC 250, but the travel ban restrictions in Brazil due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced Aldo out. Now Cejudo is expected to face another fighter coming off a loss – former champion Dominick Cruz – on May 9.

O’Malley admits it’s a little strange to see Aldo and Cruz getting title opportunities, especially when there is no shortage of in-form contenders vying for a shot. But he also understands where the promotion is coming from by booking notable former champs against the reigning belt-holder.

“Yeah, it’s super weird,” O’Malley said. “That Jose Aldo fight, I definitely thought he won against Marlon (Moraes). … Dana’s like, ‘No, I thought he won that fight, I’ll give him a title shot.’ So it’s pretty cool Dana has that power and it’s his company, (but) it’s pretty weird coming off a loss.

“I mean, Cruz deserves it in a sense – all the injuries he’s had to deal with and how his career went, so I don’t know. I wouldn’t be upset with him getting it but there’s also guys like (Cory) Sandhagen and (Aljamain Sterling) that probably deserve it more, coming off wins. Yeah, that’s a tough one.”

Bellator’s Leah McCourt looking on the bright side during COVID-19 lockdown

Bellator women’s featherweight Leah McCourt has managed to take some positives from these trying times.

Northern Ireland’s McCourt (4-1 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) balances life as a fighter and single mom of 8-year-old Isabella, which has often been difficult with her busy schedule.

Training out of SBG in Charlestown, it’s a long drive to the gym for McCourt. But due to the current lockdown circumstances, she’s been training at home, allowing her to spend more precious time with her daughter.

“I’m a good PE teacher, and I think that’s about it,” McCourt told MMA Junkie. “My daughter is like the easiest child – I’m so blessed to have her. She’s been getting up and doing her work in the morning and we’ve been going out and doing exercise. To be honest, I can sit and complain and say it’s really hard – and it is. It’s a difficult circumstance. But I’m really lucky with my daughter Isabella.

“She’s such an easy-going child, and taking it all in her stride and absolutely loves being with me and me not running to train, and to coach, and to do this and that. She just loves having me in the house and spending loads of time with me. This is one time probably in my whole life that I’m going to look back and think, I’ve had so much time with Isabella. Normally, I’m training, I’m traveling, I’m in a different country. You have to try and take the positives from it, as well.”

Unbeaten in the Bellator cage, McCourt is coming off a unanimous decision win over Judith Ruis at Bellator 240, where her daughter was in attendance and joined her in the cage to celebrate in an emotional moment for both mother and daughter.

McCourt was subsequently scheduled to face Janay Harding at Bellator London in May, but the event was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Michael Bisping thinks Israel Adesanya could have the advantage on the feet against Jon Jones

Michael Bisping likes Israel Adesanya’s chances against Jon Jones.

UFC champions Adesanya and Jones continue to build up a potential fight through their continuous back-and-forth on social media.

Though the two compete in different weight classes, Adesanya has expressed interest in moving all the way up to heavyweight for a potential fight with Jones, but not until he’s done clearing out the 185-pound division.

And former UFC middleweight champion Bisping thinks Adesanya would match up well against Jones, considering how Jones’ past few outings have gone.

“On the feet, they’d match up pretty well,” Bisping told Submission Radio. “I can’t see why Israel wouldn’t have at least an equal footing or potentially an advantage. We saw in (Jones’) last few fights he’s not invincible, he’s not superhuman – he is beatable. Everybody’s beatable, trust me. And Jon, the longer he does it, the longer he goes, it’s kind of a game of odds. At some point, someone’s going to beat him, and it seems to be happening more and more. I mean, the fight against Dominick Reyes – and I’m not trying to dump on Jon Jones – but I feel that Reyes won that fight.

“The one before, Thiago Santos, that was a close fight, and Thiago Santos had a bloody blown ACL from Round 1. The fight before that, Anthony Smith. So, you know, Jon isn’t unbeatable, and Adesanya is also undefeated. They’re both pretty undefeated in my eyes. It’s a great fight. I’d love to see it one day, but I’m not sure I would ever see Israel at heavyweight. That’s why I kind of laughed there, ’cause he’s certainly very tall. But he’s a light middleweight at the end of the day. So at heavyweight, he’s gonna have a big disadvantage there.”

Famous for his trash talk, Bisping can certainly appreciate how Adesanya continues to spark up the beef with Jones.

However, realistically speaking, Bisping doesn’t think the fight actually happens.

“I like what he’s doing with Jon Jones – I like what he’s doing,” Bisping said. “I don’t know if that fight will ever happen. It probably won’t. Not anytime soon. I think Jon’s talking about going up to heavyweight, so obviously that would put a barrier between them. But I like it. I certainly liked seeing Israel talk (expletive) about Jon Jones. It is funny. I just sit there in the morning eating my Corn Flakes and get a little chuckle out of it. So, yeah – he’s great, he’s great. I’m a big fan.

“He’s great – undefeated, which is very marketable. He looks good, he talks good, he fights good. The guy’s a superstar. He’s got all the qualities that the UFC are looking for in a superstar, and he fights great.”

Personal protective equipment? Ref Mike Beltran has things covered during COVID-19 outbreak

With a shortage of masks during the coronavirus outbreak, MMA referee Mike Beltran has things covered.

A veteran referee of the sport, Beltran is known for his infamous long mustache, which he often wears in plaits on a fight night as he presides over some of the biggest fights in the sport.

Now Beltran has decided to raise a smile among his social media followers by adapting his famous facial hair into his own version of PPE.

He ran us through his savvy methodology in his recent Twitter post.

“Well here it is. Enjoy the laugh and stay safe out there. Nothing wrong with a sense of humor and a laugh at my expense. Gracias.”

Now we know why he’s kept his mustache that long all this time. Protect yourselves at all times!

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

Combat Rewind, April 17: Start of Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus, end of Strikeforce on CBS

There’s “Flashback Friday” and “Throwback Thursday” (and Tuesday, too, if you want). But at MMA Junkie, we figured why not expand that to every day?

“Combat Rewind” brings you some of combat sports’ best highlights from every calendar day of the year. It’s a look back at history, courtesy of the UFC Fight Pass archives, featuring stellar finishes and classic moments in MMA and beyond on their anniversaries.

Today’s highlight include the launch of a career trilogy between Pat Curran and Daniel Straus four years before they would resume the series in the Bellator cage, as well as the infamous “Strikeforce: Nashville” brawl that signaled the end of Striekforce’s run on network television.

So kick back and relive the following bits of greatness in the video above:

Fight footage courtesy of UFC Fight Pass, the UFC’s official digital subscription service, which is currently offering a seven-day free trial. UFC Fight Pass gives fans access to exclusive live UFC events and fights, exclusive live MMA and combat sports events from around the world, exclusive original and behind the scenes content and unprecedented 24-7 access to the world’s biggest fight library.

The MMA Road Show with John Morgan, No. 264 – Las Vegas – Oscar Willis, Ali Abdelaziz

Episode No. 264 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMA Junkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

The Mac Life’s Oscar Willis joins John Morgan and Cold Coffee to talk about the latest headlines in the sport. Morgan shares an extended interview with Dominance MMA CEO Ali Abdelaziz, as well as featuring MMA Junkie staff members’ work from the week, including Farah Hannoun, Nolan King and Danny Segura.

Check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.

Today in MMA history: Chuck Liddell knocks out Randy Couture, earns first UFC title

Fifteen years ago today, Chuck Liddell became a UFC champion.

On April 16, 2005, Liddell won the UFC light heavyweight championship for the first time. At MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Liddell headlined UFC 52 against then-titleholder Randy Couture. The two fighters had just served as coaches on Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Both men found success early, with Couture clipping some particularly solid shots on Liddell’s temple. The action was stopped, but only briefly, when Liddell’s thumb caught Couture in the eye. The fight resumed after the cage-side physician gave his stamp of approval.

Upon time-in, Liddell and Couture wildly exchanged. Liddell cranked Couture with a brutal straight right hand that sent the champion to the mat. From there, Liddell went for the kill. “The Iceman” pounced on his downed opponent and removed whatever consciousness was left inside Couture.

Not only did Liddell clinch the title at UFC 52, he avenged a loss suffered to Couture at UFC 43 in June 2003. In the first meeting, Couture finished Liddell with punches in Round 3.

The two completed the trilogy 10 months later at UFC 57 in February 2006. That night, it was Liddell topping Couture in the best-of-three series, knocking out “The Natural” in Round 2.

In the video above, relive Liddell’s title-earning knockout of Couture at UFC 52.

Bellator’s Cal Ellenor doesn’t care if James Gallagher isn’t next – he just wants to fight

The Cal Ellenor vs. James Gallagher matchup has been scrapped yet again.

The pair first was matched this past September in the Bellator Dublin main event, but Ellenor was forced off the card due to medical clearance issues. They were rebooked to fight in February in another Dublin headliner, but it was Gallagher who was forced out due to injury.

Finally, they were matched up for the main event of the upcoming Bellator London card on May 16. But, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the next three Bellator events have been suspended indefinitely.

It means it’s been over a year since Ellenor (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) last fought, when he submitted Nathan Greyson in the first round at Bellator Europe 1 in Newcastle. Now he’s just eager to get back in there, regardless of the opponent.

“Obviously, it’s a good fight to make for where the division’s at now and stuff like that,” Ellenor told MMA Junkie. “I feel like it’s a good stylistic fight, as well. Obviously, it’s been built up now but at the same time, it’s been that long in the making now, it’s just like, I’m not bothered if I fight James or not. I just want to fight somebody. So if it is James, and it comes back around, I do think the fight will eventually happen one day but if it’s our next fight then cool. If not, then it is what it is.”

Throughout the cancellations, the pre-fight trash talk continued to build up, and the two engaged in a heated face-off and had to be separated when Gallagher confronted Ellenor at the Bellator showcase event in New York last month.

But Ellenor isn’t worried about the matchup potentially falling through again. He’s confident that they will fight regardless, at some point in their careers.

“I feel like we’re going to meet on the same path anyway, so I just want to fight,” Ellenor said. “If they say James is next, I’ll sign again as I have every other time and, if not, whoever it is next, I’ll fight anyway. I just want to get busy and get back to being active.”

PFL champion Ray Cooper III’s 2020 hit list includes Magomed Magomedkerimov, Rory MacDonald

Ray Cooper III has his eyes on multiple matchups for the upcoming PFL season.

Cooper (20-7-1 MMA, 7-2-1 PFL) won the 2019 welterweight season, capturing the title and $1 million dollars.

Heading into the semifinals, Cooper was matched up with Magomed Magomedkerimov, who beat him in the 2018 finals, but an injury forced Magomedkerimov out, and Cooper never got his shot at redemption.

Instead, he faced Chris Curtis, whom he knocked out, leading to a showdown in the final with David Michaud. Cooper also took out Michaud in Round 2, and was crowned the season’s champion.

Cooper had contemplated a move up to middleweight last season, but is ultimately glad that he stuck around at 170 pounds. Though he missed out on facing Magomedkerimov in the semi-finals, he hopes to get the opportunity to run things back this season.

“It didn’t come through and I still had a bone to pick with Magomed, but obviously I didn’t get to get that matchup,” Cooper told MMA Junkie. “I’m glad I stayed at 170 and finished what I started in 2018.”

Another name Cooper is targeting is the newly signed Rory MacDonald, and he has a specific reason for wanting to fight him.

“That’s my main concern right now with Rory MacDonald entering the season, but whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to go out there in the same way I go out there and take them out. But with Rory, it’s kind of personal. He took out B.J. Penn, and I’m going to get him back for that.”

With the PFL currently on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, the promotion is yet to determine a date for the next event.