Kevin Holland has lude plans for what he wants to do to in his upcoming bout against Derek Brunson and more— Fightful Fix has you covered with all the news from around the world of combat sports.
Kevin Holland Plans To Knock Derek Brunson Out "With His Cojones"
Kevin Holland is excited to be getting his first UFC main event, but he just wishes it was against someone other than Derek Brunson.
Holland displayed his characteristic swagger when discussing his opponent at UFC Fight Night 188 in March when being interviewed by MMA Junkie.
“I just hate that Brunson is my first main event,” Holland said. “I mean, the storyline is good. It’s cool. Everything is amazing there. I’m having fun with him online. He’s kind of making me enjoy that it is him. But at the same time, Brunson? He’s kind of the gatekeeper. He’s another year older. It was just his birthday. This, that, etc., etc., etc.
“It’s like, beat Brunson, there are going to be 1,000 excuses why you beat Brunson, too. A main event against somebody with no excuses? That would’ve been amazing. The main event, beating Brunson, and there’s going to be a thousand excuses once I beat, him? Ooh. Cool.”
Holland who fought five times over the past seven months of 2020 is more than happy to jump in on short notice, even if that was before his Brunson fight.
“I’m healthy,” he shared. “As soon as they came back to the Apex, I figured that would be great. If the boss wants March, I’ll take March. If anything happens in between (that) time and they need somebody to step up into something. I’ll do that and I’ll still do Brunson in March.”
Coming off his highlight-reel knockout of Jacare Souza at UFC 256 Holland, has designs on even more creative strikes, and some that are even on the lude side.
“If I can time his favorite combo right, it might not be five rounds,” he continued. “I’m definitely preparing for five, so we’ll see how it goes. I have plenty of time to prepare, so I should be more than great. I’ve got a sequence. If I slip his jab, roll his overhand, and then hit him with a good hip thrust while he goes for a takedown, I’ll knock him out with my cojones. That right there would be a knockout for the century.”
Holland and Brunson are due to matchup in March on a card that has yet to be given an official destination, but its largely assumed it will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Petr Yan Joins American Top Team In Advance Of First Title Defense
UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan has joined one of the highest-profile teams in MMA in order to prepare for his first UFC title defense against Aljamain Sterling in March.
Given travel quarantine restrictions in Thailand, where Yan usually trains at Tiger Muai Thai in Phuket, Thailand, Yan was going to need to relocate somewhere. With the prior matchup with Sterling delayed after the initial booking in November due to travel issues, it also made sense for Yan to relocate within the United States.
With the nature of ATT's large and heavily international roster base, Yan's transition could be eased by the presence of eastern bloc fighters like Alexey Oleinik, Andrei Arlovski, Maryna Moroz and Movsar Evloev. With Yan now under their roof ATT now has two UFC champions, alongside feather and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
Russian UFC Champ, Petr Yan decided to spend time in ATT for the next title fight against Sterling. It's not a permanent move to USA but just a experience.— Bruno Massami (Бруно Массами) (@BrMassami) January 6, 2021
Now, ATT have Alexey Oleinik, Andrei Arlovski, Maryna Moroz and Alexandr Shabily who can support Yan in his trip to US.
First day of Petr Yan in ATT.— Bruno Massami (Бруно Массами) (@BrMassami) January 9, 2021
He shared a meeting with Jorge Masvidal and Dustin Poirier after reunited with couple fighters like Oleinik, Krylov, Shabily and Khizriev. pic.twitter.com/WW4N6ODMhd
Georges St. Pierre Never "Liked Fighting", But Misses "Feeling Of Winning"
In advance of his UFC Hall of Fame induction, legendary welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre reflected on what drove him during his career.
“I never liked to fight, and I’m not lying when I say it. I never enjoyed my time in the Octagon, never a second. I did it because I loved to win, I loved the benefits of it, and I loved the freedom. Back then, I was young, there was the money, the girls, the fame, the access to things nobody had. It was the freedom, that’s why I did it. I never did it because I loved to compete and fight. I hated it to the highest level. It’s so stressful that it was unbearable for me,” GSP said (h/t BJ Penn.com). “However, I loved the rewards. The greater the risk, the bigger the reward, and that’s why I did it, and I was very good at it and I took advantage of it. Now, I miss the rewards, I miss the feeling of winning. But I don’t miss the feeling of fighting, not even a second.”
St. Pierre was last seen retiring after defeating Michael Bisping to become a two-division champion back in 2017 at UFC 217.
Dana White Downplays Likelihood of Jon Jones Fighting Israel Adesanya
The possibility of a super fight between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones isn't all that likely according to comments made by UFC president Dana White in a Q&A with ESPN+
White stated that he belives the weight class issues may just be too much
“With Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, I don’t know. Then there’s all the talk between him and Adesanya. I don’t want to get too excited,” White explained (h/t MMA Junkie). “Adesanya still has to fight (UFC light heavyweight champion) Jan (Blachowicz), and Jones is at heavyweight.
“There’s so many massive hurdles that these guys need to get over, so don’t get excited thinking about Jon Jones vs. Israel Adesanya.”
“Jon Jones fought at light heavyweight his whole career and Adesanya is moving up to fight Jan for the title,” White said. “But does Jon Jones ever want to go back to light heavyweight again? So that just blows the whole thing out of the water.”
Jones has previously stated that he will not be returning to light heavyweight, and at this point, it's unclear if Adesanya's stay at 205 lbs will be an extended one, so the chances of this matchup coming together seem remote
Robert Whittaker Will Have To Fight Before Getting A Title Shot
If Robert Whittaker wants another shot at middleweight champion Isreal Adesanya he'll need to take another fight if UFC president Dana White can be believed.
In the same interview with ESPN+ White detailed that what lies in store for "The Reaper" is largely dependant on the outcome in the upcoming light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Adesenya.
“I don’t think he’s going to get a title shot next,” White said (h/t MMA Junkie). “He’ll have to fight somebody else first. It’s going to depend on what happens with Israel and Jan. We’ll see what happens.”
Prior White had expressed the desire of making the rematch between Whittaker and Adesanya, but Whittaker's initial reticence about taking the fight derailed those ideas and pushed Adesanya in the direction of a super fight with Blachowicz.
Whittaker had previously insisted that was just a miscommunication and that he was still looking forward to facing Adesanya, but it looks like those plans will need to change. Whittaker and Adesanya previously met when Whittaker lost his middleweight title in the main event of UFC 243 in late 2019.
Dana White Hopes Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas takes Place In Asia
UFC president Dana White stated his desire for a future strawweight title bout between Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas will take place in Asia.
Despite dealing with miscommunication in recent weeks, it seems White is indeed eyeing the matchup with former champion Namajunas for Zhang's next defense.
“We’re working on her, too,” White said of Weili. (h/t MMA Junkie). “Obviously, the fight everybody wants to see is her and Rose. Hopefully we can get that done. If not, the next one in line would probably be Carla Esparza. We’re looking to do that fight this year – and in Asia.”
Zhang hasn't fought since engaging in a fight of the year contender against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March, while Namajunas hasn't fought since defeating Jessica Andrade in July. The UFC has long desired a foothold in the Asian, specifically Chinese, market, and has held numerous events within the country, including the last one in Shenzhen in August of 2019
Dan Hooker To Stay In Abu Dhabi All Month Due To Covid-19 Restrictions In New Zealand
UFC lightweight contender will have to endure an extended stay away from his family and home prior to his fight at UFC 257 due to tight Coronavirus restrictions in his native nation of New Zealand.
Prior to his co-main event fight with Michael Chandler, Hooker is having to stay in the middle east nation for over a month in advance, and then he will need an additional two-week quarantine when he returns to New Zealand. All in all, he won't return to sleeping in his own bed and hugging his daughter til March 3rd.
In Abu Dhabi for a month after UFC 257, what's good to do? Where to train? ------— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) January 9, 2021
More detail is given by MMA Fighting's Damon Martin.
The plus side is New Zealand has pretty much eradicated the coronavirus.— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) January 8, 2021
Dan told me life has completely returned to normal there. No masks, events are being held with 20,000 or 30,000 fans in attendance, etc. #UFC257
After his last fight vs. Dustin Poirier back in June, Hooker went through a similar predicament where he faced a further quarantine upon returning and was only able to see his infant daughter at a distance.
Francis Ngannou Looks Forward To A Jon Jones Matchup
Much like fans everywhere, Francis Ngannou is excited for Jon Jones' arrival in the heavyweight division and looks forward to the possibilities this opens.
After briefly being teased as the opponent for Jones' heavyweight debut, that matchup fell away, but Ngannou still believes that fight will happen, and its something heès looking forward to.
“It’s obviously something that everyone would love to see,” Ngannou said (h/t MMA Fighting). “If I were to say myself, I would have liked to see that fight. I wanted it to happen. If this fight would have happened, I would have been active by now. If I have two positive things, which is fighting Jon Jones, who is probably the greatest of all time, the No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world in my opinion, but the main thing I would stay active."
“Because right now, right here, it’s just lacking. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know what I am doing exactly. Having a fight is a good fight and having a big fight is a great thing. That’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Ngannou remains confident in how he matches up against one of the all-time greats, and of course, he believes his power will be the deciding factor in any bout.
“I think I match up pretty well with Jon Jones,” Ngannou said. “He’s gaining weight now. He seems really big and strong, but I think I match up pretty good. He has some good skills that he can match my power. It’s going to be different.”
When asked if he is concerned that Jones' arrival in the heavyweight division might jeopardize his impending title shot, Ngannou rejected that notion out of hand.
“Why should I be worried?” Ngannou said stoically. “No, I’m not worried.”
Ngannou hasn't fought since stopping Jairzinho Rozenstruik in seconds at UFC 249 in May, and is expected to fight for the UFC heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic in the first quarter of 2021.
New England Cartel Hopes To Win Multiple Belts in 2021 Says Coach
The New England Cartel burst onto the scene in 2020, and if their coach Tyson Chartier has his way, 2021 will be even bigger for the Boston based outfit.
Chartier was picked by many as the 2020 trainer of the year based on his work with bantamweight Rob Font, and featherweight Calvin Kattar, and he believes both those fighters will be wearing gold before the year is out. Chartier was interviewed by MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn prior to Kattar's impending bout with Max Holloway on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
“We’re trying to get two belts, but we’re not even looking forward to that – we’re looking forward to defending the belts,” Chartier explained. “These guys want to stay active, and the belts have always been the goal – but we always change the goal. The goal now isn’t just to win a belt. We want to start thinking about how we’re going to defend them.”
Chartier is confident that a win by Kattar on Saturday against Holloway would set his pupil up for a title shot against current champion Alexander Volkanovski.
“I don’t think there’s anybody that could use common sense and say that if we go beat Max Holloway that we don’t deserve a title shot – on a three-fight win streak, finishing probably the greatest of all time in the featherweight division,” Chartier said.
Turning his attention to Font, Chartier reiterated their desire for a matchup against former champion TJ Dillashaw, who will return from a doping suspension in a month's time.
“The reality is T.J. did cheat,” he shared. “He’s going to come back from that and reap what he sowed. He shouldn’t be able to call the shots now. He came back, he made a mistake, he owned up to it, he paid his time – and I’ll give him credit for that. He shouldn’t be in a position to call any shots. He should have to fight whoever they put in front of him to earn his way back. I think that should be Rob Font.”