According to UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, he'll be closely monitoring Leon Edwards' upcoming main event bout — Fightful has you covered on what Usman had to say about one of the top contenders for his title as well as other news from around the world of MMA.
Kamaru Usman Will Be Closely Watching Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad Main Event
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman plans to pay close attention to top contender Leon Edwards' performance in the main event of UFC Vegas 21.
The Nigerian-born champ has an array of options for his next title defense after dispatching Gilbert Burns via TKO at UFC 258 to retain his title...and apparently a certain British contender has his attention, but only if he can get through the main event at UFC Vegas 21.
"Belal Muhammad is a problem," Usman told MMA Junkie when speaking on the UFC Vegas 21 main event.
"Obviously you'd think Leon Edwards has the upper-hand in that fight," Usman continued. "I think it's a winnable fight for Belal as well. But it's good that Leon is able to get a fight and get a chance to remind people how good you are. When it comes to is it a number one contender's fight, I don't think so, if Belal wins. If he [Belal] wins, there's still guys like Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington that he'd probably want to fight before he got that shot but if Leon were to win, he puts himself on that short-list."
Kevin Lee Eyeing Tony Ferguson Rematch
Rewind to UFC 216, Kevin Lee came up short at claiming UFC interim gold when he got caught in the third-round by Tony Ferguson via submission after winning the first two-rounds on the judge's scorecards.
Ever since that title bout, the "MoTown Phenom" has seen his fair share of ups-and-downs inside the UFC octagon.
Following his submission loss to the surging Charles Oliviera back at UFC on ESPN+ 28, Lee has taken some time off to get surgery on both of his knees and also catch his breath a bit and reset.
Still only 28-years old, Lee thinks his return to the octagon is a perfect time for a rematch with Tony Ferguson, who's dropped his last two bouts.
“I’m going to fight Tony Ferguson," Lee told MMA Junkie.
"I think that fight makes sense from all angles. I don’t see anybody else that’s out there for him to fight," Lee continued. “It just makes sense and it puts us back where it should be. A fight with me and him is going to kind of show one of us has to win, one of us is going to have to leave. So that’s a fight that interests me this summer. We’ll see what he talking about on his end, but he’s No. 1 in my book .”
Darrick Minner Calls James Krause "The Best Coach In The World"
UFC featherweight Darrick Minner took a unanimous decision over Charles Rosa at UFC Vegas 19, in what was the biggest win of the 31-year old's career.
"Two hours before the fight, James Krause said exactly how it was going to go, to a tee, and that’s how it went," Minner told MMA Junkie after his victory.
“I’ve been at this sh*t a long time, and I’ve just been with him for two fight camps," Minner admitted. "We’re the most underrated team in the world, and we have the best coach in the world. Kevin Croom next week – underdog, I’m sure – he’s going to pull off a win, too.”
Joanna Jedrzejczyk Offically Has Most Significant Strikes Landed In Women's UFC History
According to Numbers MMA on Twitter, former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk holds the record for most significant strikes in women's UFC history.
The top-10 list is as follows:
1 - Joanna Jedrzejczyk (1,711)
2 - Angela Hill (1,245)
3 - Jessica Andrade (1,170)
4 - Joanne Calderwood (878)
5 - Karolina Kowalkiewicz (790)
6 - Jessica Eye (760)
7 - Tecia Torres (756)
8 - Irene Aldana (736)
9 - Katlyn Chookagian (700)
10 - Raquel Pennington (679)
Bellator Signs Top Russian Prospect Alexander Shabily To Multi-Fight Deal
Bellator stays on the prowl on the Russian prospect market.
The promotion has agreed to a multi-fight deal with lightweight prospect Alexander Shabily according to MMA Junkie.
Shabily (19-3) is riding a four-fight winning streak and has finished his opponents in 16 of his 19 career wins.
No word on when Shabily will make his promotional debut.
Raoni Barcelos Tests Positive For COVID-19, UFC Vegas 20 Fight Against Marcelo Rojo Nixed
UFC bantamweight standout Raoni Barcelos has unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19.
Infelizmente testei positivo para o COVID 19 e estarei fora desse card do próximo dia 27 de fevereiro,em breve estarei em ação novamente!!#deussabedetodasascoisas @ufc @ufc_brasil pic.twitter.com/UVLw8cpwN6— Raoni Barcelos (@BarcelosRaoni) February 22, 2021
Barcelos (16-1) was slated to face promotional newcomer Marcelo Rojo at UFC Vegas 20 after Barcelos' original opponent Raphael Assuncao had to pulll out of the scheduled bout.
It's unknown at this time if the UFC will attempt to find a short-notice replacement for Rojo.
Brazilian Standout, Jailton Junior Hopeful For UFC Contract After Eight Consecutive Wins
One of the hottest Brazilian prospects, Jailton Junior hopes to be on the UFC's radar following his eighth consecutive victory on the regional circuit.
"Malhadinho" has secured eight-straight wins and seven-straight first-round knockouts in the past two years on the Brazilian regional circuit and hopes that's enough to earn a spot on the UFC roster.
“It was an easy fight, thank God,” Junior told MMA Fighting. “I was able to impose my game, something no one does in my weight class in the UFC. So I’m here to ask UFC matchmakers to give me a chance to be part of the UFC. I’m the No. 1 in Brazil two years in a row. There’s nothing left. Give me an opportunity to show my work there.”
BKFC President, Dave Feldman: "We're In The Paige VanZant Business"
Bare Knuckle FC President Dave Feldman isn't done being in the Paige VanZant business...at least not anytime soon.
Feldman doesn't seem to be cooling off on promoting the former UFC contender, even after VanZant lost her BKFC debut, being on the wrong side of a unanimous decision to Britain Hart at BKFC: KnuckleMania.
"We are 100% in the Paige VanZant business. We like being in that business," Feldman told MMA Fighting.
"I can confidently say that Paige VanZant absolutely will be back with us in the early-to-mid summer, 100%," Feldman continued. "She delivered in every aspect we needed her in and she finished the fight strong, so that was very important for us."
T.J. Dillashaw Ready For Title Shot Upon Return
Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw isn't looking for any warmup fights when he returns to the octagon.
Dillashaw, 35, has been out of action since January 2019 due to a two-year suspension from USADA after testing positive for positive test for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) following his first-round TKO-loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN+ 1.
“Everyone’s gotta kind of wrap their head around coming back and getting back in there, but no, I’m ready to go straight for the belt,” Dillashaw told MMA Fighting's Mike Swick on Swick's "Real Quick" podcast.
“If that’s the opportunity that comes at me, because I know that Yan wants it, he’s already been vocally talking about it and we’ll see what happens on March 6 when he fights Sterling," Dillashaw continued. "He’s got a tough test ahead of him, but that’s the fight he wants. I feel like I didn’t leave this sport by losing my belt. He knows that there’s a lot of speculation if he’s the real champ because he hasn’t beaten the champion to get that belt, so he wants it. As well as that, I’m the biggest draw for him right now to try to fight. Maybe he’s thinking me coming back for my first fight might be the best time to catch me as well too, try to catch me slipping. But that’s what I want. The ultimate goal for me is to be the champion. The greatest things come to you when you’re champion, the goal is to be the champion, so why not get out there and get it done.”
Eddie Alvarez Targeting ONE Championship Title Shot After Promotion's U.S. TV Debut
Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is ready to have MMA gold around his waist once again.
Eddie Alvarez makes his return to the cage after over a 20-month layoff when ONE Championship makes their U.S. TV debut on April 7, where he faces Iuri Lapicus.
“I’m on edge a little bit because I’m not used to having this much time off,” Alvarez said on MMA Fighting's "What The Heck" podcast.
"There’s pros and cons," Alvarez admitted. "I’ve been fighting 20 years, I’ve had promoters breathing down my neck for a fight for 20 years, so it’s not bad to have a year where someone isn’t, ‘Hey, you’re gonna fight this guy, you’re gonna fight that guy.’ The relief of pressure is good, kind of helps you miss it. Just gives you a chance to have gratitude toward it, that you’re lucky to get the fight. Sometimes you can grow bitter in this dangerous sport and start to look at a lot of bad things, because there’s a lot of bad things involved. It makes you miss it. It makes you understand you’re lucky to compete at a high level. The time off is always a blessing. This is the third time in my career where I had a stint over a year where I had to sit and sit at ease and be patient. I always come back rejuvenated, stronger, with a stronger mind and a better outlook on fighting.”