Dana White has added an extra incentive for Leon Edwards ahead of UFC Vegas 21 by saying a win over Belal Muhammad will earn him a crack at the welterweight title and much more — Fightful has all the latest combat sports news in one article for you.
Dana White Incentivises Leon Edwards
Leon Edwards (no.3) will make the walk to the Octagon on Saturday for UFC Vegas 21 for the first time since July 2019 when he defeated Rafael dos Anjos. Edwards will face no.13 welterweight Belal Muhammad and if he had any nerves ahead of a nearly 18-month absence from his last fight, UFC president Dana White has added an extra incentive and pressure to the Brit.
“100 percent (that Edwards would be next),” White told BT Sport when asked about Edwards’ chances for a title shot with a win at UFC Vegas 21.
Angela Hill weighs in on Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas and Dominick Cruz Monster issues
Angela Hill (no.12) has weighed on the news that Rose Namajunas will challenge strawweight champion Zhang Weili at UFC 261. Hill, who fights Ashley Yoder at UFC Vegas 21 this Saturday, believes that although Weili was part of an epic showdown with Joanna Jedrzejczyk (no.2) in her last outing that Namajunas (no.1) will be more tactical with her approach than the Polish star was.
“Her fight with Joanna was epic because they both decided to stand in front of each other and hit each other, that isn’t how I see Rose taking this fight,” Hill told SCMP MMA. “I feel Rose is gonna approach it like her fight with [Jessica] Andrade, she’s gonna try and stick and move not take too much damage.”
Hill also recently shared her thoughts and offered her support of her teammate Cruz and his claims that Molenkamp has utilized his position of power for personal gain through sponsorship.
“They’re tough guys (fighters) – no one wants to feel belittled,” Hill said. "You spend all this time getting tough and learning how to fight. But when it comes to money, you’re almost always at a disadvantage until you get to a very rare point where you don’t have to worry about it anymore. So a lot of these fighters are dependent on sponsors, and when you have a guy who makes you do things you’re uncomfortable for, but you’re reliant on the sponsorship, that’s a bad situation.”
“For someone to come out like that, it shows he’s not just being bitter because he lost his sponsorship,” Angela Hill continued (h/t BJPenn.com). “He’s speaking out for all the people on the lower end who have to deal with this nonsense and are sick of it but are afraid of losing the one thing keeping them afloat. There’s two sides to every story but he’s [Molenkamp] rubbed some people up the wrong way, and I’m wary of him.”
Mike Tyson believes Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis was the "fight of the year"
"Iron" Mike Tyson knows a thing or two about heavyweights fighting and the recent fight between Derrick Lewis (no.2) and Curtis Blaydes (no.3) caught his eye. Tyson was speaking to UFC president Dana White on the “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson” podcast and was very impressed by the standard of the heavyweights fighting. Tyson also admitted that the additional punches Lewis landed on Blaydes after the uppercut scared him.
“So listen man, I like the heavyweights that they have. I saw Derrick Lewis do a devastating KO. That was the ‘Fight of the Year.’ Knockout. Sleeping. He was sleeping. But you know what scared me? The second punch he hit him with. It didn’t look like it hit him, but man. That second one, oh God,” Tyson said (h/t BJPenn.com). “I’m glad he’s okay after that.”
“He was out and he got hit with two more when he was out,” White added. “I want to see him fight (Rozenstruik),” Tyson said about who Lewis should fight next.
Aljamain Sterling coach Eric Nicksick talks UFC 259 disqualification chaos
Aljamain Sterling won the bantamweight title from Petr Yan (no.1) at UFC 259 in probably the worst way he could have ever imagined. Sterling became the first UFC fighter to win a championship by DQ after Yan was deemed to have struck him with a knee while downed and after much deliberation between the referee and doctor's, the fight was eventually ruled a DQ, and Sterling won the belt. His coach Erick Nicksick recalls the moment itself as being incredibly hectic and confusing, even more so for the fight team than the audience.
“I was almost disappointed in Yan, like what the hell were you thinking, man?” Nicksick told MMA Fighting during an interview on What the Heck. “It was clear as day. He had him by his head and you know where your weapons are in relation to where your opponent is too, and he was kind of holding him by his head and just drove the knee up the midline. I don’t really know what he was thinking or why he did that and that’s kind of where I was at with it. The way it landed, the thud, obviously being in a quiet arena, everybody was just like, ‘Oh, that wasn’t good at all.’ Right away, I just thought, hey, take your time. I didn’t know kind of how Aljo was, if he was out, I couldn’t really tell because I think he went face down.”
Henry Cejudo apologizes to Aljamain Sterling for remarks made
In a move slightly out of character, Henry Cejudo has apologized to Aljamin Sterling for remarks he made after UFC 259. Cejudo posted a series of Tweets that claimed that Sterling was less than honest on how hurt he was after the fight.
He got concussed and he couldn't fight but he could conduct a full ass interview and tweet after... this is why an Olympic gold medal is greatest accomplishment an athlete could do! But hey @funkmasterMMA at least you know you could make it Hollywood. And I’m not evening hating pic.twitter.com/YNUUMRfbvs— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) March 7, 2021
And Cejudo has now taken time out of his retirement to say sorry to the new champion and admit he may have been a tad harsh in his criticism
“I do want to apologize to Aljamain – I really do,” Cejudo said in a Twitter video (h/t MMA Junkie). “I was a little upset. I was a little mad. But at the same time, I was more mad that he ended up doing the interview and then the tweets and saw the pictures of him with the belt. It just rubbed me the wrong way. But at the end of the day it was an illegal strike by Petr ‘The Ugly Potato’ Yan. I want to apologize to him for some of my tweets.”
Cejudo also weighed in on if the fight is run back and said he thinks a rematch would favor Yan, unless Sterling can make the proper adjustments.
“If I was to give Aljamain Sterling, curling silver, some advice: You need to understand your threshold,” Cejudo said. “You ain’t going to get somebody – especially the caliber of athlete like him … you need to understand your threshold and how you can finish the race correctly, especially within five rounds. They’re going to have a rematch, and I don’t think it’s going to change. If I was Aljamain, I would tell him to forget all that volume and just worry about one strike.”
Darren Till is the “biggest challenge” for Israel Adesanya at middleweight according to coach
Darren Till (no.4) will face Marvin Vettori (no.5) on April 10 and will be looking to bounce back from his loss to Robert Whittaker (no.1) in his last outing. Now that the middleweight division has clarity and the champion Israel Adesanya will return to it following his shot at the light-heavyweight title, the Europeans will be looking to take full advantage of their main event position. Adesanya's coach Eugene Bareman will be cheering on Till during the fight as he and his team are very keen to match up stylistically with the Liverpudlian.
“There’s no Marvin Vettori, there’s no Paulo Costa. There’s Darren Till. Darren Till needs to win,” Bareman said to Submission Radio (h/t BJPenn.com). “And Robert Whittaker because he’s one of our brethren, he’s one of our brothers, he’s a Kiwi. So, there’s two fights. Then what do we do? Jan wins a couple, we win a couple. I don’t know, that is just me throwing stuff out there. You are on the right path. The problem with middleweight at the moment is Israel has gotten himself in a position where he cleaned it out, a lot of it. How is Robert Whittaker the front runner? I don’t want to say bad things about Robert but it wasn’t a competitive fight. He didn’t touch us,” Bareman added about Adesanya’s next fight. “How is that the front runner when the fight wasn’t competitive? The front runner for us is the biggest challenge, and at the moment it seems to be that Darren Till could have a style that possibly gives Israel a few problems.”
Dan Ige knew Ryan Hall would pull out
Dan Ige (no.9) wasn't caught too off guard when Ryan Hall pulled out of their fight. Ige was originally supposed to face Hall at UFC Vegas 21 on March 13, but he had a feeling the grappling legend would pull out of their fight. Hall did eventually pull out, and Ige made it clear he wanted to be on this card and will now take on Gavin Tucker.
“I had a weird feeling he was going to pull out from the beginning. I don’t know why, I just had this strange feeling,” Ige said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “It was weird, but I was already mentally preparing to face anyone, no matter who on March 13. When he did pull out, I was prepared for it and we got a new opponent in Gavin Tucker. I was ready to face anyone, but now my eyes and my mind are focused on Tucker.”
Amanda Lemos wants Michelle Waterson or Angela Hill next on her strawweight climb
Amanda Lemos defeated Livinha Souza with a first-round TKO Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC 259 in Las Vegas. And Lemos is now 8-1-1 as a professional and has now set her sights on a higher-ranked photo to showcase her talents with the more elite fighters in the strawweight division.
“It means a lot to me. I want to do a lot more – I can show a lot more. I want to be more active. I think I deserve it. I’m fighting once a year. I showed again (Saturday) that I can be in the octagon and put on big fights, and that is all I want: more opportunities and to show my work, my evolution," Lemos said post-UFC 259 (h/t MMA Junkie). "May, June, I want to fight against a top 10 (opponent) like Michelle Waterson or Angela Hill, these girls that are ranked above me. I want to fight.”
David Michaud not expecting anything different from Rory Macdonald
David Michaud (18-6) will welcome former Bellator MMA 170-pound champion Rory MacDonald (21-6-1) to the welterweight roster. The pair will headline the second PFL card of 2021’s Regular Season on April 29. Michaud isn’t expecting to see the Canadian doing anything that doesn’t fit his style, and that includes rushing to get a finish in the opening round.
“I don’t see that happening. Maybe, just because with the system point goes for the PFL, he’ll pick it up a little bit more. He’s always kind of been more of a not slower pace but a very consistent fighter," Michaud said to Sherdog. "He’s not going to do anything and try to get outside of himself and try to get a finish where he doesn’t need to."
Eryk Anders expects to “swing leather” with Darren Stewart until one of them falls
Eryk Anders left his home in Alabama to go to Arizona and train at Fight Ready. For Anders, he believes the change was needed to evolve as an MMA fighter. Anders is happy with how training has gone and is eager to showcase the world his new skills at UFC Vegas 21 when he faces Darren Stewart.
“Man, I just need to grow, develop, and evolve,” Anders said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “I really didn’t feel like I was getting that back home and needed some different training partners, a different outlook on the gameplan. The coaches have also been phenomenal and the strength and conditioning program out here is excellent. It will be a new Eryk Anders come March 13.”
After months of hard training and preparation for Stewart, Anders is eager to share the Octagon with the Brit. He knows both of them come to bring it and will look to trade heavy shots until one of them gets knocked out.
“The thing that intrigues me the most is he is a fighter. It doesn’t matter if he gets rocked, as long as he has air in his lungs he will be swinging heavy leather, as am I,” Anders explained. “The fans are in for a good fight, it is a super underrated fight. We will meet in the middle, swing leather and only one of us will be standing at the end.”
Phumi Nkuta ready for CFFC title: I've been preparing for this my whole life
Phumi Nkuta will challenge for the CFFC flyweight in just his third professional fight but he has welcomed that assignment with open arms. Nkuta is 2-0 and made his pro debut in October 2019, picking up a decision win under the Bellator banner. “Turbo” made his CFFC debut and won his debut there too via a second-round submission win at this past October’s CFFC 87. Nkuta trains under Ray Longo and alongside top UFC fighters Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili and believes that the time is now for his future to become his present.
“You ask Ray Longo, ask those guys in the gym, they’ll verify my hard work for me,” Nkuta said to CFFC.TV. “I’m not just a guy out there talking trash about how I’m going to do that, do this. I’m living it. I’m walking the walk as well as talking the talk. We’re winning in style with this one. This is the big show now. This is main event status. The title is on the line. A potential contract is on the line, so at the end of the day, it’s time to get some style points out there and make the magic happen. Tune in, March 11 for the CFFC title. It’s going to be one hell of a performance. You’re going to see a star in the making and a future greatest of all-time.”