Max Holloway reveals his preparations for his upcoming bout against Calvin Kattar, John McCarthy thinks Tony Ferguson may be on his way out of the UFC and much, much more — Fightful has you covered on any news you may have missed from around the world of MMA.
Max Holloway Says He Won't Spar Ahead Of Calvin Kattar Bout
Former UFC bantamweight champion Max Holloway recently spoke with ESPN and previewed his upcoming headlining bout against fellow bantamweight contender Calvin Kattar on January 16.
“I really loved how the last camp I didn’t spar. It opened my eyes. I get injured sparring a lot before fights and I felt great going inside that fight without sparring," Holloway expressed. "Sparring is like an ego trip. I understand you got to do something but you can figure out different ways to move and get it done… During the whole training camp, it helped a lot to actually put our priorities straight. I got to take out some things, I got to add a little more things. It was just changing up the recipe and the last one, I thought went pretty well and we’re kind of sticking to it and we’ll see how this one goes.”
“Not sparring, saving the brain," he continued. "I want to be a guy who, third grade math is already hard, so I can only imagine if I was getting punched in the head and trying to help Mini Blessed.”
Holloway is slated to main event the UFC's January 16 card in Abu Dhabi against Kattar.
John McCarthy Will Not Be Surprised If UFC Parts Ways With Tony Ferguson
Former UFC referee-turned-Bellator MMA commentator "Big" John McCarthy recently commented on UFC President Dana White's statement that the promotion is preparing to cut ties with as many as 60 fighters in the coming weeks.
On the most recent edition of his "Weighing In" podcast, alongside former UFC and Bellator fighter Josh Thomson, McCarthy had the following to say about the potential of the recently slumping Tony Ferguson being cut from the promotion:
“I think they’re going to cut him I could be wrong about that but the reason I say it is first off, Tony has always had an adversarial relationship with certain people with the UFC. He’s felt like he’s been held back, cheated in certain things. And so you have that. That’s okay, you can say those things when you’re winning," he shared. “But now you take a look at his last two performances — the Justin Gaethje fight, he fought his ass off but he got beat badly. And now this one, he got beat badly. So you look at your lightweights and you go, ‘alright, is Tony Ferguson going to be fighting for the title?’ That ain’t going to happen. You would figure he would have to win somewhere between four or five fights in a row against top talent and that’s probably not going to happen.
“So, he’s not going to fight for the title," McCarthy continued. "So you’re going to keep him for what reasons now? So he can beat your young talent that’s not smart and wise enough to fight with him at this time? That’s not going to do you any good as a promotion. So I don’t know, I just look and say he might be one of the guys in that 60.”
New York Fight Club Busted For COVID-19, Moves To Florida
The first rule of Fight Club... is do not get busted for COVID-19 restrictions?
"Rumble In The Bronx" was an underground fight club being held in, you guessed it, the Bronx and was recently busted and fined due to COVID-19 restrictions. The fines clearly did not deter the group from continuing as per their official Instagram account, they posted several videos of fighters going at it while 100+ un-masked spectators took in the night's action.
The Daily Beast received word from authorities with Orlando County Public Health who had the following to say on the matter:
“Determined the main factor in the transmission of the COVID-19 virus is not the location, but not following the pandemic precautions of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing of hands, avoiding crowds, and staying home when sick.”
Marlon Vera Not interested In Rematch With Sean O'Malley
Back at UFC 252 in August, Marlon Vera controversially TKO'd fan-favorite Sean O'Malley. A leg injury flared up during the bout for O'Malley but to Vera's credit, he poured it on the then-undefeated youngster before the bout was called-off in favor of a Vera TKO.
"Chito" makes his return to the octagon at UFC Vegas 17 where he has an opportunity to beat an even bigger-name, former UFC bantamweight champion Jose Aldo.
When speaking with TMZ Sports, here's what the 15th-ranked Vera had to say about O'Malley:
“Let’s be real," he began. "There is no big money in the rematch (with O’Malley). First thing, he’s not Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz, that’s money. Whoever fights Conor McGregor, that’s money. (Sean) O’Malley is just a lower version of Conor McGregor. He’s a China version of him. He’s made in China. He’s fake. He’s not the same.
“There’s only one Conor McGregor,” Vera added “There’s only one Chito Vera. There’s only one Jose Aldo. Once you try to be someone else, you will never be yourself and you will never be able to become what you want to be. If you ask me, there’s no money in a rematch. I won’t get paid any more money if I fight his ass. Don’t get me wrong. Dana White told me, ‘You never refuse a fight’. They know I never refuse a fight. So if they come with a date to fight him or someone else. I’ll take it. I like to make money."
“The guy (Sean O’Malley) is a cry baby," Vera concluded. "He’s a little bitch. He’s a bitch once, you’re going to be a b*tch forever. I don’t care about the guy. He was talking all of this crap. If you can’t back it up you better change your game.”
Vera will co-headline UFC Vegas 17 opposite Aldo on December 19.
Manager Claims Jake Paul Rejected Fight Against Yoel Romero
Newly signed Bellator fighter Yoel Romero was allegedly aiming to scrap with YouTube star Jake Paul before signing with the Connecticut-based promotion. Romero's manager, Malki Kawa took to Twitter to respond to Jake Paul's call-out of UFC star, Conor McGregor and claimed Paul was offered a bout against his client, which Paul declined.
Dana White Calls Charles Oliveira One Of The Top Three Lightweights In The World
UFC President Dana White recently spoke with ESPN and was asked what he thought of Charles Oliveira and his performance against Tony Ferguson at UFC 256.
"I was just saying, it’s going to be interesting on Tuesday to see where the media ranks him in that division. He’s without a doubt one of the top three guys in the world right now. We’ve got some fights coming up in that division and I have a meeting with Khabib, so we’ll see how this thing plays out,” White said. “It couldn’t be any more exciting, it couldn’t be any more fun, and you couldn’t have better guys in the top-five than you do right now."
Oliveira moved up to third in the UFC's official rankings, Wednesday morning.
Claressa Shields Explains Why She Signed With PFL, Not UFC or Bellator
The two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing Claressa Shields made headlines when she signed with PFL. In doing so, she officially announced that she'd be making the transition from the ring to the cage and coming over to MMA after signing with PFL.
When speaking with MMA Fighting, Shields had the following to say about her conversations with UFC President Dana White and ultimately signing with PFL.
“It was just the conversation. It wasn’t like ‘hey come and train a few months and then fight against the best girl we have at your weight,’” Shields explained.“I feel like that’s unfair to me. It’s not giving me enough time to learn. If you’re talking about letting me train for two years and then fight against the best girl you have, all right cool.
“The conversation with Dana [White] was almost like a one-fight deal kind of a little bit," she added. "With the PFL it was more like ‘let’s train, let’s start you off at this level and as you work your way up, the competition will get harder’ and then I would have a chance to fight in the PFL season in 2022. Also, too, I would be able to box also, too. So my boxing career isn’t just over because I’m doing MMA. I actually have a boxing match in February. It just hasn’t been announced yet. I still get to box and I’m not being rushed.
“It was a lucrative deal and a lucrative conversation,” Shield said. “It was a three-year deal. It’s like ‘hey you come over here and fight two times and then go back to boxing.’ I’m a conqueror in everything I do and I’m a winner. So I want to put myself in a position to always win.”
When asked about the star-power she can bring to the sport, similar to Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison:
“I’ve gained over 22 or 23,000 followers via social media and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. All my numbers have went up,” she shared. “I think I’ve been trending on Twitter. I’ve been trending on Google for the past three days. Just the support the MMA world has been giving me just transitioning over. There’s been some haters, for sure, but there are more people giving me support. I get the support in boxing but also, too, the opportunities just aren’t there.
“I haven’t fought since January," Shields concluded. "You see all these other guys, small time fighters who aren’t world champions fighting but these networks are giving me trouble about me being on the card. Giving me problems and not treating me equally.”
No date or opponent for Shields' MMA debut has yet been announced by PFL but Shields announced that she's currently scheduled to return to boxing in February.
Rafael de Freitas Granted Pre-Trial Release, Modification Of Restraining Order
MMA jiu-jitsu coach and former The Ultimate Fighter 18 alum Rafael de Freitas will be released from jail, for now. On Monday morning, an Albuquerque (New Mexico) judge denied a motion from prosecutors to keep de Freitas detained until the hearing for third-degree sexual penetration has began.
On December 4, de Freitas was arrested after one of his female students accused him of sexual assault after their private lesson on November 7. The modified protective order notes that de Freitas shall have no physical or verbal contact with the victim and must not violate any laws while he is free.
No trial date has yet been determined.
Renato Moicano Comments On Controversial Stoppage At UFC 256
During the UFC 256 prelims, Rafael Fiziev defeated Renato Moicano via first-round TKO but Moicano disagrees with referee Chris Tognoni's decision to stop the bout.
Moicano spoke with MMA Fighting and had the following to say about the stoppage:
“I think he made a mistake, because if you look closely, I also re-watched the fight, I was doing guard,” Moicano said. “I was in closed guard, starting to work already, and the referee jumped the gun. I understand him – it’s not easy to come here and criticize the referee and say he’s wrong because I got hit twice and went down, so his first reaction is to protect [the fighter], but this is a MMA fight.
“I was dropped before, continued fighting and won," he continued. "That happened more than once in my career in Brazil. I’m not saying that’s what would have happened, but the truth is I was ready. I knew that was a possibility, and I’m a well-trained fighter on the ground. In my opinion the referee made a mistake [and] he should have let it continue. But at the same time, I understand it because referees are stopping it early every time more now.”
Moicano is 1-3 in his last 4 bouts, including stoppage losses to the aforementioned Rafael Fiziev as well as Jose Aldo and Chang Sung Jung.
Chase Hooper Credits Ben Askren And Ryan Hall For Comeback Victory At UFC 256
After losing the first two-rounds of his prelim bout against Peter Barrett at UFC 256, Chase Hooper pulled off a stunning third-round submission to get back on track after suffering his first career loss earlier this year. During his post-fight press conference, Hooper credited "papa" Ben Askren and fellow UFC fighter Ryan Hall for his come-from-behind victory:
“For this camp, this whole six months since the last fight, I was taking any opportunity I had to train. I got to train with Ryan Hall – that was a crazy experience. I always wanted to do that. It was cool to be in the room with him, having him go hard, getting to learn from him. I also got to go train with ‘Poppa’ Ben Askren in Wisconsin (and) also Michael Chiesa’s gym – all these great guys that I was able to go train with," Hooper said (h/t MMA Junkie). “I take every fight as its own animal, as its own beast, because it is. It’s such a huge event, such a huge experience, that you just have to take it fight by fight. I knew I needed a win. This is such a cutthroat sport. You have to prove that you can stay in the mix and that you are worthy of being here. It’s more proving to myself that I belong here and getting back in the win column, obviously getting the bigger paycheck and enjoying the fight again.”
Hooper, 21, improved to 10-1 in his young pro-MMA career at UFC 256, winning 5 of his 10 bouts by submission.
Brandon Moreno "Surprised" By Judges Decision In Main Event At UFC 256
UFC 256's main event between bantamweight champion Deivesion Figueiredo and challenger Brandon Moreno could very well have been the fight of the year. The bout ended via majority decision after one judge scored the fight 48-47 in favor of the champ with the other 2 declaring it a 47-47 draw, meaning Figueiredo would retain his title because of the draw. The decision may have been different in the champion was not deducted a point in the third-round for multiple low blows.
Most of the chatter after the fight was about Moreno's toughness after taking several shots from Figueiredo which have sent several fighters to the canvas in the past. Moreno spoke with MMA Fighting after the bout and had the following to say about the judges:
“Right now I’m trying to stay a little bit far from the media and the analysts to put my mind clear again. Man, to be honest, I feel I won the third and fourth. The second one was close. I lost the first one. I think I lost the fifth," Moreno said. "You know judges score the end of the round, you know? Because he took me down and landed two or three punches to my face, so that’s why I think I lost the f*cking fifth round. But man I know there is a risk when you leave the decision to the judges, and I understand that."
UFC President Dana White confirmed after the fight that a rematch would be booked between Figuerido and Moreno sometime in 2021.
Jacare Souza Promises To Comeback Stronger In 2021
UFC middleweight mainstay Jacare Souza suffered his third consecutive defeat at UFC 256, losing via first-round TKO against Kevin Holland.
“I’d like to say thanks to everyone who was rooting for me,” Souza said on social media (transcribed by Tom Taylor). “I did a very hard training camp. I’m very upset because I lost the fight. Right now I’m going to Brazil. I will spend time with my family right now. Thank you everyone that rooted for me. I will be back stronger.”
Jacare posted the following video on Instagram, vowing to comeback better than ever in 2021.