Derrick Lewis shares his experience on the arctic blast tearing through Texas, Curtis Blaydes shares his opinions on USADA and marijuana and Henry Cejudo praises Cory Sandhagen — all this and more on Saturday's Fightful Fix roundup.
Derrick Lewis opens up about Texas arctic blast
Derrick Lewis' hometown has experienced plenty of devastation, and the Houston, Texas resident is opening up about the recent arctic blast devastating the state.
“Everything so far so good at the house has been good,” Lewis said during the UFC Vegas 19 media day on Thursday (h/t MMA Fighting). “The power has been off and on, but my family’s been safe still. We stayed in one room, because there’s no windows in the movie room, so we’ve all just been sleeping in there and making sure the heat stays on 80 just in case the power goes out again. Cause whenever it goes out, it stays off maybe 10 hours and we can still stay warm.
“Everyone at home is doing great. Really no distractions or nothing like that. We’re going to make it through. Any city that’s been through more disasters in the last five years in Houston, so I’m pretty sure we’re going to make it through.”
Lewis headlines UFC Vegas 19 on Saturday, February 20 vs. fellow top-ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes.
Curtis Blaydes happy that USADA won't punish fighters for marijuana
Consider Curtis Blaydes among those happy to see USADA ease up on their cannabis violations.
Blaydes told MMA Fighting it was about time that fighters lighting up were let off the hook.
“I thought it’s about time,” Blaydes said about the rule change. “It’s not a big deal and it hasn’t ever been a big deal. It’s just an archaic group of people at the top who didn’t understand that weed isn’t the issue... Weed isn’t going to help you beat someone. If anything, it’s going to hurt you but it’s not going to help you.”
“Wouldn’t you rather have your athletes doing a natural way to help with the aches and bruises besides all the pills?” Blaydes asked. “Pills are worse for your body, they’re worse for the athletes. You get a better product as a league or organization when you don’t focus your energy on something that isn’t a problem."
Rafael Alves says the culprit of bad weight cut was salmon
Rafael Alves made history by missing the featherweight limit for his UFC Vegas 19 fight by 11.5-pounds. Alves dished on the fishy circumstances that led to cancelling his fight vs. Pat Sabatini.
“I ate salmon yesterday and fell ill, [had] vomit and diarrhea, so the doctor said I had to treat it with [drinking] water,” he wrote in a text message to MMA Fighting. “I only had 2kg [4.4 pounds] left to cut, [but] when I drank water my weight went up and got stuck, so the doctor didn’t clear me to fight. But God owns everything and He knows what He does.”
“[UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby said that health is what matters now,” Alves continued. “He told me this has happened to champions before, and told name to fight at 155 and come back stronger. They won’t cut me because they had to change opponents and they were searching for a new one, some said they would fight at 155 and others at 145, so I didn’t focus on the guy I was fighting nor my weight. But I’m going to fight at 155 now. I’m focused and nothing will stop me."
Henry Cejudo says Cory Sandhagen is "probably" the "best 135 pounder other than me"
Henry Cejudo has high praise for bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen.
“He’s probably, in my opinion, the best 135 pounder other than me,” Cejudo said. “But you just have to learn to bring the fight to Cory Sandhagen. You just gotta bring the fight, that’s it. You cannot give that kid space. He’s extremely dangerous; he’s got talent. But if you don’t bring the fight, he’s gonna get you because there’s one thing that he does know very well, and that’s distance and his composure, which are the things that I look at when I watch a fight.”
“I would wait in line if I were him [Sandhagen],” he added. “I would also wait for T.J. too, because that’s an easy fight for him. The difference between Cory Sandhagen and T.J. Dillashaw, is the fact that he’s better at what Dillashaw does. He’s a lot cleaner; he’s a lot smoother. They have similar styles, but T.J.’s style is a lot more broken, that Duane ‘Bang’ whatever it’s called. So if I was Cory, I would wait. If I was T.J., I would probably try to fight him to get to that title shot.”
Angela Hill and Tecia Torres go at it on social media
Angela Hill and Tecia Torres have a bone to pick with one another.
Torres handed Hill her first professional loss back in 2015. It was only Hill's third pro fight and Torres' sixth. The two were scheduled to rematch at UFC 256 on Dec. 12; however, "Tiny Tornado" pulled out after contracting COVID-19. Hill recently took to Twitter and accused Torres of ducking her.
Hey @TeciaTorres heard you’d rather sit out till October than fight me, you signed the contract for Dec., what changed, u got paid for beating a last minute newb? Good to know ur still terrified of fighting me after all these years. Staying ready cause these bitches are scurd.— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) February 19, 2021
Torres promptly responded with a long list of reasons the fight is not going to happen. Hill subsequently roasted Torres for writing an essay instead of signing a contract.
- I beat you already.
- I also beat Michelle [Waterson] and Rose [Namajunas] who both beat you.
- I signed a contract to fight you in December, you unfortunately got COVID.
- I won my last two fights, you lost yours.
- I’ve fought all of the champions at 115. I’m definitely not scared of you.
- Like you, I wish to fight someone ranked above me and advance my career.
- Beat some ranked opponents and then if it makes sense I’ll fight you.
You’re still sitting out for over half a year instead of fighting a fight you already signed the contract for despite my last 2 losses. Instead of writing this essay you could’ve signed the contract to fight me. You beat me 6 years ago (pre usada) you sound scared homie. https://t.co/UXgvsFkdyh— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) February 19, 2021
Sean O'Malley thinks he's "too fast" for Thomas Almeida
Sean O'Malley expects a finish in his upcoming fight with Thomas Almeida.
O'Malley caught up with The Schmo and detailed exactly how he plans on putting down his fellow striker at UFC 260.
“Initially, he was my first choice,” the brash fighter shared (h/t BJPenn.com). “They offered the fight on February 13, I said ‘hell yeah, let’s do it.’ They came back and said he wasn’t ready, he needed more time to train for the “Suga Show.” I was like ‘I get that, I wouldn’t be ready to fight me, either.’ Then, Nathaniel Wood was talking a little bit on Twitter and I asked for Nathaniel, and they came back and said Thomas would be ready on March 27. That is the fight we got and that is the fight that’s happening.”
“I think it’s going to be a sweet fight. He’s a good kickboxer, I think it will be a kickboxing fight,” O’Malley added. “I’m too fast for him, I’m going to be bigger than him, I think he’s 5’7″, I’m 6’4″, we will see. I think I bust him up with my jab and I always find that right hand and it lands on the chin.”
Andrei Arlovski is in this for the long haul
Andrei Arlovski enters his 52nd professional fight against Chris Daukus (9-2) at UFC Vegas 19 on Saturday, February 20.
Arlovski is riding a two-fight winning streak and has appeared to develop a counter-striking style to avoid taking big damage. "The Pitbull" regularly makes six-figures on his UFC contract and says he has no plans on retiring.
“I want to fight as long as possible and of course I want to be a champion,” Arlovski said during UFC Vegas 19 pre-fight media interviews (h/t MMA Fighting). “That is why I’m doing what I’m doing right now. In the past, the main problem for me was sticking with the game plan. Over the last two fights, I stick to the game plan and I trust my coaches 100 percent. Like Nike, just do it.”
“Youngblood keeps you alive,” Arlovski added. “It keeps you on your tippy-toes. Deep inside you know he’s young, he might be stronger, faster, but for me, age is just a number. . . At age 42 I’m still super hungry, in a good way. For glory, for money, for titles, for everything. I just became a more responsible person. Responsible father, husband, fighter. At age 42, I do more work than when I was 25.”
Belal Muhammad says the key to absorbing calf kicks is being "mentally strong"
Belal Muhammad has the secret sauce for coping with calf kicks, but it might not be for everyone.
Interest surrounding the calf kick has renewed ever since Dustin Poirier used it to effectively demobilize Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 257. Muhammad had to dea with leg kicks in his recent victory over Dhiego Lima.
“The biggest thing with calf kicks is being mentally strong,” Muhammad told MMA Junkie. “I looked at guys who’ve dealt with it like (Dustin) Poirier – Jim Miller low kicked him hard – and Paul Felder, who’s fought (Edson) Barboza and who’s fought (Dan) Hooker, and their biggest thing is you’ve got to tough it out. You’ve got to be a man. That was my biggest thing. A lot of people were like, ‘Why didn’t you check it?’ I was like, ‘I checked a couple of them, but it still hurts to check calf kicks.’ You can’t check them. The biggest thing is to avoid them and try to back out of them."
“With my style, I wanted to stay in his face. I watched a lot of Khabib (Nurmagomedov) against Barboza, and Khabib stayed in his face the whole time – and that was my style. I wrote it on my phone: ‘Khabib against Barboza.’ That was the type of style I wanted to go for where I didn’t want to give him a second to breathe," he explained. "So even with those calf kicks, all right – keep doing it. It wasn’t one of those where it bothered me to the point where I couldn’t walk.”
Alexey Kunchenko signs with PFL
Former UFC fighter Alexey Kunchenko is headed to the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
Kuchenko (20-2) announced on Thursday he was headed to the promotion with his eyes set on the $1 million tournaments. He joined the UFC as an unbeaten prospect and kicked things off with consecutive unanimous decision wins over Thiago Alves and Yushin Okami. He parted ways with the UFC after back-to-back losses to Gilbert Burns and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos.
PFL's welterweight lineup includes former Bellator champion and UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald, current PFL welterweight kingpin Ray Cooper III and 2018 PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov.
Gabe Green wants to avenge his friends vs. Christian Aguilera
Gabe Green has vengeance on his mind.
Green is coming off an exciting win over Phil Rowe at UFC 258. Moving forward, he wants a chance to derail Christina Aguilera, who has knocked out four of Green's buddies.
“To have my hand raised inside the UFC Octagon was amazing. I haven’t won since 2018 when I was more active. That is all I was thinking about,” Green told BJPenn.com. “I was telling my coaches that I haven’t won since 2018 and he’s like ‘well you only had one fight since your last win.’ Nothing feels better than winning.”
“I feel pretty good and I’m ready to jump in there whenever they want. But, if I’m going to be off for a bit, I’ll probably get eye surgery as my eyes are pretty bad and I have the money to get it done. I want to be active this year. No one in particular but maybe running it back with Daniel Rodriguez,” Green concluded. “Obviously, I lost to Rodriguez in my debut. But, I’d love a full camp for that because it was a fun fight. Or, Christian Aguilera. We are both from here and never fought on the regional scene. He has cornered against me and has actually knocked out like four of my friends.”