Surging UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev has his eyes set on a former lightweight champion following his dominant victory over Drew Dober at UFC 259 — Fightful has you covered on which former champion Makhachev called out and other news from around the world of combat sports.
Islam Makhachev Calls Out Rafael Dos Anjos Following UFC 259 Victory
UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev has his eyes set on former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
Makhachev (19-1) submitted Drew Dober at UFC 259 and now has his eyes set on a much higher ranked opponent...former champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
The Russian-born contender took to Twitter to call-out the former champion.
Dos Anjos (30-13) last competed at UFC Vegas 14, where he took a split-decision victory over Paul Felder.
Holly Holm Reveals Kidney Swelling That Forced Her Out Of Bout Against Julianna Pena
Former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm will be on the mend for awhile.
Holm (14-5) was set to face Julianna Pena at the UFC's event on May 8, that has no main event or location confirmed.
The former champion took to Instagram to announce that she's set to undergo a procedure to nullify kidney swelling, which forced her removal from the card.
“Much love to everyone reaching out with care and concern. Turns out I have hydronephrosis. In my case it’s something they say I was born with but just hadn’t had any problems until now. I’m doing great and will be fine. A little bump in the road but thankfully it’s fixable. I hope to only have to postpone a few weeks from the original date of May 8 to fight. Excited to get back in there and put it all on the line for you guys!!!”
Dana White Says UFC Will Keep Women's Featherweight Division If Amanda Nunes Wants To Continue Defending Her Title
UFC President Dana White has seemingly shut down Megan Anderson's comments about the promotion shutting down the women's 145-pound division.
White stated that as long as champion Amanda Nunes wants to continue defending the title, they'll keep the division alive.
Nunes (21-4) who's the promotion's 135-pound champion in addition to holding gold at 145-pounds successfully defended her featherweight title against Megan Anderson at UFC 259, in the form of a first-round submission.
“We’ll keep that division cranking as long as the champ-champ wants to defend it,” White told MMA Junkie.
“She’s incredible, and she goes in there and she made it look easy tonight against a really tough girl who hits hard who came to win, so it couldn’t happen to a better human being,” White continued. “She’s one of the sweetest people on earth, and I’m really happy for her. We’re talking about turning her around quick here for the 135-pound title since tonight was an easy night for her. Julianna Pena has been texting all of us all night. She’s been busy tonight. Yeah, we can do that.”
Ryan Bader Hopes To See Alistair Overeem And Junior Dos Santos Join Bellator Heavyweight Division
Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader would welcome a pair of recently-released UFC legends join the Bellator roster.
Earlier this week, the UFC came to terms with the release of both Alistair Overeem and former champion Junior Dos Santos following the pair's recent losses.
Neither recently released fighter has announced their future plans but former UFC fighter turned Bellator champion Ryan Bader would like to see both men continue fighting...and under the Bellator umbrella.
“Look at what Bellator has done with building light heavyweight,” Bader told MMA Junkie.
“It all depends, because Bellator’s model, they’re kind of changing a little bit," Bader continued. "They’re bringing up their own guys, younger guys and all that. Yeah, I would like those guys to come over. I don’t know if they’re going to get those older guys now. We’ll see. I don’t know if Overeem is retired now but Dos Santos definitely seems like he wants to keep fighting and all that, so he’d be a good addition.”
Ben Aksren Enlists Help Of Legendary Trainer Freddie Roach For Upcoming Boxing Bout
Former UFC contender, ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren is officially on the road to becoming a professional Boxer and will have one of the best trainers in the sport's history by his side.
Askren is set to face YouTube sensation-turned undefeated boxer Jake Paul on April 17 in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I’m trying to be as good of a boxer as I can,” Askren told MMA Junkie.
“I’m not under the impression that I’m gonna be a pro boxer," Askren continued. "I’ve been top 10 in the world in four different sports. I know what it’s like to be world class. I’m not gonna be a world-class boxer, but I don’t gotta be a world-class boxer. I just gotta beat up Jake freaking Paul. That ain’t gonna be that hard, guys.”
“I’m only in L.A. for a week, so I’m gonna get as much as I can out of Freddie Roach,” said Askren.
“I’m gonna pick his brain. So I started training, maybe six weeks it’s been," Askren admitted. "First couple of weeks was just like strength and conditioning, let me get back in shape because I couldn’t really start training until Dec. 1 because of my hip surgery. I couldn’t do anything until Dec. 1. So it’s like, ‘Hey let’s get back in shape,’ so I did a couple of weeks strength and conditioning. I was working with Duke (Roufus) and ‘Cush’ (striking coach Scott Cushman) and Mike Rhodes, former UFC fighter, old teammate who’s been helping me a bunch. And then I brought in this guy ‘K9’ Cornelius Bundrage from Detroit. He reached out on Twitter. He’s been really good. It’s been a lot of fun. So I brought him in twice for a week and I took Sunday off, but before that, I had boxed 18 out of 19 days.”
Ray Rodriguez Expects To Knockout Rani Yahya, Prove He's One Of The Best In The World
UFC featherweight Ray Rodriguez is looking for his first win under the UFC banner.
Rodriguez (16-7) got submitted in 39-seconds by Brian Kelleher in his UFC debut but will look to turn it around when he faces Rani Yahya at UFC Vegas 21.
“I know where I deserve to be. Obviously, my debut on short notice against Brian Kelleher didn’t go my way, I wanted another known name,” Rodriguez said to BJPENN.com. “I know I’m one of the best bantamweights in the world and I match up well with Rani Yahya. I’ve fought so many UFC fighters on the regional scene, so I’m ready and I love this matchup.”
“Rani Yahya is very similar to Jimmy Flick who I fought on the regional scene," Rodriguez continued. "I was able to stuff his takedowns and hurt him on the feet,” Rodriguez concluded. “I’ve fought a lot of high-level grapplers before. The gameplan is to keep this standing, but if we get in a position where we hit the ground, I’ll be comfortable. I’ll keep it standing though and give him as much damage as possible until I know him out.”
Valeriu Mircea Details Journey From Moldova To Italy, Struggling With Loss Of His Brother
Brave CF featherweight fighter Valeriu Mircea has one hell of a journey from the sub-2,000 person city of Satul Topala, Moldova to being a well-known MMA fighter.
The 27-year old featherweight went in-depth on his journey from Moldova to his current residence of Rome, Italy, while dealing with the loss of his brother to now being on the cusp of his Brave CF debut.
“I grow up in poverty, I didn’t have what other kids of my age had,” Mircea told BJPENN.com.
“My mother worked twelve hours per day, working other people’s fields under the sun just to bring up a piece of bread, a bucket of flour, maybe three liters of oil," Mircea admitted. "When we were lucky she could get 200 Lei (about 11 USD today). We couldn’t afford notebooks so I had to ask for some pages from my schoolmates’ notebooks, otherwise I couldn’t follow the lessons and they would have sent me home,” the Moldovan fighter said. “I enjoyed studying, but teachers helped just the wealthy kids since their parents gave them money. Although I finished the school and with good results too.”
“My brother was a smart, handsome kid,” Mircea said. “My mom used to say he would have become a lawyer. It’s been a shock. He died in Moldova, where our journey started.
“It was February when he asked me to come with me to Moldova to watch my match at Eagles FC,” Mircea continued. “I didn’t want to, because I was afraid of some issues with coming back to Italy, but he insisted so much that eventually, I accepted. After my fight, he asked to stay at my aunt’s for a while and I decided it was ok, so he could relax a bit, living in the countryside. We stayed in touch, we phoned a lot, he told me he was good, that he had a lot of girlfriends and stuff like that. After three weeks, though, Italian borders were closed due to the COVID pandemic and he couldn’t come home in time. I was worried, I begged him to stay away from troubles. As an older brother, I felt that something was wrong. He used to be carried away by other people, he didn’t have a strong personality and that worried me. After the first lockdown was over, he was ready to come back to Italy, but on July 7 he was found drowned in Lake. Two days after he had the flight booked to come back. I don’t know what happened, I’ll probably never have an answer and it’s hard. I’m trying to go on, but I miss him so much. He’s gone too young.”
Mircea is set to face Abdulmutalip Gairbekov at Brave CF 49 on March 25.
Updated UFC Light Heavyweight Rankings Following UFC 259
The UFC's light heavyweight division gained a bit of clarity following UFC 259 after champion Jan Blachowicz dispatched of UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the evening's main event and Aleksandar Rakic took care of business against former title challenger Thiago Santos to kick-off the main card.
The UFC released the division's updated rankings following the event, with a Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira title match being tenatively scheduled by UFC President Dana White.
Champion - Jan Blachowicz
1 - Glover Teixeira
2 - Aleksandar Rakic (up 2 spots)
3 - Dominick Reyes
4 - Thiago Santos (down 2 spots)
5 - Jiri Prochazka
6 - Anthony Smith
7 - Magomed Ankalaev
8 - Volkan Oezdimir
9 - Nikita Krylov
10 - Johnny Walker
11 - Misha Cirkunov
12 - Jim Crute
13 - Ryan Spann
14 - Paul Craig
15 - Jamahal Hill