- Dustin Poirier on his one regret from fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov by MMA Fighting Newswire on March 2, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Esther Lin, MMA FightingFor a few tense seconds, Dustin Poirier had the undisputed UFC lightweight title in his sights. Poirier’s guillotine choke had champ Khabib Nurmagomedov in trouble in the second round of their UFC 242 title unifier in September 2019. What happened in the middle of that sequence perhaps left the former interim champ with a lifetime of what-ifs. “I just know how close it was,” Poirier told Joe Rogan on “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “A game of inches, and I know how close it was. What haunts me more than [not pulling] full guard is me not switching to a D’Arce or anaconda [choke] when he rolled to his side.” It was at that point that Nurmagomedov readjusted his position and gained space where he could breathe. Soon, the champ was out of danger and threatening a rear-naked choke. Then, the choke was in, and the undisputed title had slipped from the Louisianan’s hands. Along with the cringe from that brush with victory, Poirier was left with a deep and abiding respect for Nurmagomedov. “I don’t know if he’s the strongest guy I ever fought,” Poirier said. “It’s just his understanding of balance and weight placement was incredible. I’ve been fighting and wrestling a long time, as well, but he just knew where my weight was and where it needed to be for me to stay up with his foot trips. It’s hard to explain, man, but he’s good.” Afterward, Nurmagomedov stepped up to the plate financially for Poirier’s “The Good Fight Foundation,” donating money that went to building water wells for Batwa Pygmy people in connection with the “Fight for the Forgotten” charity run by ex-UFC heavyweight Justin Wren. Poirier would, of course, like the champ to return to the octagon (and UFC President Dana White still hasn’t stripped him of the belt, despite a retirement announcement after a win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254). But he also sees the many ways that could go south for Nurmagomedov and his 29-0 resume. “The longer you stay...it’s not a long game,” Poirier said. “Something bad’s going to happen.” As for Poirier, he said he’s always imagined fighting until he’s 35. But that prediction may not hold up as he waits for his next bout. A rematch with Conor McGregor is possible after his knockout win at UFC 257, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. While he waits, Poirier is still practicing his submissions. He wanted to submit McGregor to avenge his 2014 loss at featherweight, but wound up knocking out the former two-division champion in the second round. A tapout would be a nice feather in his cap. “I haven’t finished anybody in the UFC,” he said. “It’s coming. I’ll get ya.”
- Jon Jones responds with UFC 214 head kick clip after Daniel Cormier questions his power at heavyweightby MMA Fighting Newswire on March 2, 2021 at 4:30 pm
Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones | Esther Lin, MMA FightingAdd another entry to the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier rivalry. The latest spat between the two arose after Cormier commented on whether he thinks Jones will be a fight-finisher as he makes the move from light heavyweight to heavyweight. On ESPN’s DC & Helwani show, Cormier doubted that Jones will have knockout power north of 205 pounds. “Jon Jones will not knock out anybody,” Cormier said. “He doesn’t hit hard enough. If he couldn’t knock these dudes out at 205, he’s not knocking these heavyweights out.” Jones, a two-time undisputed UFC champion, has finished just two of his past nine opponents. One of those opponents was Cormier. The two met in a rematch at UFC 214 in July 2017 and Jones defeated Cormier by knockout after landing a devastating head kick midway through the third round to reclaim the light heavyweight championship. “Bones” made sure to remind everyone of that result when he posted a video response to Cormier’s comments on Twitter. hope you like this quick little edit I threw together for you @dc_mma pic.twitter.com/oBAiNLLGo5— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 2, 2021 That highlight-reel finish was officially wiped from the record books when Jones later tested positive for turinabol, an anabolic steroid. Jones was subsequently suspended by the USADA for 15 months, the win over Cormier was overturned to a no contest, and the title change was erased. Cormier made sure to remind Jones of the post-fight events in his own Twitter response, in which he also elaborated on his comments about Jones’ power. There is a difference punch vs kick, you’re still as dumb as you’ve always been, you’ll never surprise me. Dance for me, I can always make you move. And lastly , this fight didn’t count if you forgot there was an issue...... remember? https://t.co/JMP2lVXP9R— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 2, 2021 “There is a difference punch vs. kick, you’re still as dumb as you’ve always been, you’ll never surprise me,” Cormier wrote. “Dance for me, I can always make you move. “And lastly, this fight didn’t count. If you forgot, there was an issue... remember?” Cormier retired in 2020 following a loss to Stipe Miocic that resolved their trilogy. The former Olympic wrestling hopeful won UFC titles at both light heavyweight and heavyweight. Jones hopes to do the same and UFC President Dana White has suggested Jones could be next in line for a heavyweight title shot after Miocic defends it in a rematch against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27.
- Rory MacDonald faces David Michaud in PFL debut as welterweights, light heavyweights begin season on April 29by Damon Martin on March 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Esther Lin, MMA FightingRory MacDonald finally has his PFL debut booked. The former Bellator champion and one-time UFC title challenger will face off with David Michaud in the main event of the upcoming PFL card slated for April 29. MacDonald signed with the PFL as a free agent following the end of his Bellator contract in 2019. He was originally expected to debut in 2020 but the PFL was forced to cancel the entire season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Now the longtime welterweight contender will make his first appearance with the promotion in hopes of eventually claiming another championship as well as the $1 million prize. As for Michaud, he will be competing in his second consecutive season as part of the PFL roster after initially joining the organization in 2019. After suffering a loss in his debut, Michaud bounced back with three consecutive wins in a row before falling to Ray Cooper III in the finals of the welterweight playoffs. He’ll welcome MacDonald to the PFL while trying to pull off the upset to kick off the new season in 2021. After making it to the finals in the inaugural PFL season and then winning the welterweight championship the following year, Cooper will kick off his next campaign on April 29 as he faces newcomer Jason Ponet in the co-main event. Cooper has built a reputation for having huge knockout power after dismantling numerous opponents in the PFL including former UFC title contender Jake Shields in his promotional debut in 2018. Former UFC fighters Tom Lawlor and Jordan Johnson will also meet as the light heavyweight season gets underway as well. Returning champion Emiliano Sordi will open the main card against UFC veteran Chris Camozzi in the 205-pound division. The undercard for the PFL event on April 29 will also feature the promotional debut of Gleison Tibau as he takes on Aleksei Kunchenko while former welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov will attempt to climb his way back to another $1 million prize when he faces Joao Zeferino in the featured prelim. Magomedkerimov actually remains undefeated in the PFL but an illness forced him out of the 2019 season, which is why he was unable to compete in the finals. Here’s the full card as it stands for the PFL 2 card on April 29: ESPN 2 Card MAIN EVENT: Rory MacDonald vs. David Michaud Ray Cooper III vs. Jason Ponet Jordan Johnson vs. Tom Lawlor Emiliano Sordi vs. Chris Camozzi ESPN+ Card Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Joao Zeferino Smealinho Rama vs. Jordan Young Cezar Ferreira vs. Nick Roehrick Gleison Tibau vs. Aleksei Kunchenko Sadibou Sy vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin Dan Spohn vs. Marthin Hamlet
- Video: ‘The Limb Reaper’ crumbles opponent with leg-cracking calf kickby Alexander K. Lee on March 2, 2021 at 3:51 pm
Randall Rayment (red gloves) and Dean Maxwell (blue gloves) at an Urban Fight Night event in Sydney on Saturday | @urbanfightnight, InstagramCalf kicks are more prevalent than ever in MMA, and if you need proof, look no further than Randall Rayment’s fight-finisher from this past Saturday. In Saturday’s main event at Urban Fight Night 24 in Sydney, Rayment (10-3) landed one of the most damaging calf kicks in recent memory, clipping opponent Dean Maxwell (2-1) with a shot that caused Maxwell’s leg to instantly buckle when he tried to plant it back down. Check out the nasty injury for yourself (Warning: it’s gruesome): View this post on Instagram A post shared by Urban Fight Night (@urbanfightnight) Unsurprisingly, the light heavyweight title bout was waved off in the first round shortly after Maxwell fell. UFN promoter and UFC vet Suman Mokhtarian told MMA Fighting that Maxwell suffered an injury to his fibula and tibia and has already undergone successful surgery. Maxwell is expected to make a full recovery in six months and hopes to be training again in three months. MMA Junkie was first to report the details of the injury. Calf kicks are not a new technique, but they’ve become a hot topic of conversation with Conor McGregor recently seeming mystified by their effectiveness following his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, and many prominent UFC fighters noticeably utilizing them in the past few weeks. A pay-per-view replay of UFN 24 is available on FITE TV.
- Video: What the Heck, Episode 48: Max Holloway, Jon Anik, Julian Erosa and Kaitlin Youngby Mike Heck on March 2, 2021 at 3:00 pm
On this week’s episode of What the Heck, MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck speaks with UFC play-by-play voice Jon Anik (3:57) to discuss Ciryl Gane’s main event victory over Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 20, Ronnie Lawrence’s impressive debut, Pedro Munhoz’s win over Jimmie Rivera and the surge of the calf kicking game in MMA, the upcoming title fights at UFC 259 between Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya for the light heavyweight title, Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson for the women’s featherweight title, Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling for the bantamweight championship, and Max Holloway’s win over Calvin Kattar. UFC featherweight Julian Erosa (33:38) recaps his first-round knockout win over Nate Landwehr at UFC Vegas 19, talks the controversy surrounding the stoppage, not getting a bonus, teammate Casey O’Neill’s successful octagon debut, the succes at Xtreme Couture, hoping to face Alex Caceres next, and the topic of head trauma in mixed martial arts. PFL lightweight Kaitlin Young (1:04:16) discusses being part of the upcoming season, taking nearly four years away from MMA competition and how it changed her perspective on the sport, hopes to fight Cindy Dandois and Kayla Harrison at some point, Stephen A. Smith’s recent comments, the Oklahoma bathroom brawl viral video, and former opponent Gina Carano’s recent issues. Finally, a replay of our newly edited conversation with former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (1:29:04) to recap his incredible win over Calvin Kattar in January, talks his relationship with Daniel Cormier, the importance of separating himself from the fight game, the upcoming title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega at UFC 260, his stance on sparring, and more. Check out the video above, or the audio-only podcast can be found below, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
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