Jussier Formiga vs. Wilson Reis Booked for UFC Fight Night 67 in May

The proverbial wheat will be separated from the chaff when flyweights Jussier Formiga and Wilson Reis hook up at UFC Fight Night 67.

The two Brazilians face each other at the May 30 event, which goes down in Goiania, Brazil. The news was first reported by Brazilian site Combate and later confirmed by Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com

Formiga (17-3) has had an up-and-down experience during his five-fight UFC tenure. After a rocky start that saw him lose by knockout to John Dodson, Formiga has righted the ship and now won two consecutive bouts: The first was a submission win over Scott Jorgensen last March, and the second was a decision victory over Zach Makovsky last August.

The 29-year-old jiu-jitsu ace was expected to face John Moraga in December but pulled out of that matchup with a knee injury. As this will be his first fight in nine months, it will be interesting to see whether ring rust enters the equation for Formiga.

Reis (19-5) has not been overly active recently, either. He also comes in riding a two-fight win streak, including an August defeat of Joby Sanchez and an October defeat of Jorgensen.

Also a grappling ace, Reis is 3-1 in his UFC career and 2-0 since dropping down to the 125-pound division. He has nine wins by submission as a pro.

Because of their respective prowesses as ground fighters, this one could end in a stalemate, or it could end with a slick submission. The larger, more powerful Reis would probably have a strength edge against Formiga in any phase as well as a technical advantage (slight though it may be) in the likely short exchanges on the feet.

The winner of the fight will be in prime position to enter the top echelon of contenders in the thin UFC flyweight division.

UFC Fight Night 67 is set to be headlined by welterweights Carlos Condit and Thiago Alves. The original Combate report also revealed that welterweights T.J. Waldburger and Wendell Oliveira are scheduled to compete on the Goiania card.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Nevada Commissioners Discuss Stiffer Penalties for MMA Drug-Test Failures

MMA fighters—and maybe even promotions—could soon be on the hook for big punishments if they fail drug tests. 

That’s the key suggestion that emerged from a day-long information-gathering session held by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which focused on curbing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MMA, according to a report from Shaun Al-Shatti of MMAFighting.com

Some of the ideas bandied about by NSAC commissioners included longer drug suspensions, some potentially lasting as long as four years depending on the nature of the offense. Current suspension lengths range from nine months to one year.

When a fighter tests positive for a banned substance, a win could be changed to a loss, instead of a no-contest, according to an idea broached by commissioner Anthony Marnell.

Marnell also suggested that promotions such as the UFC also should bear some accountability for fighters who fail drug tests while under contract, via Al-Shatti: 

There’s really no ramifications other than the [fighter] suspension. It’s peanuts that gets made and nobody’s really incentivized other than the fighters to stop it. Maybe [promotions] would disagree with me on that, and I look forward to that testimony, but do you think we are going far enough up the chain for the ramifications of this? Is it solely the athlete’s responsibility?

The commission also mulled over the definitions of in-competition and out-of-competition testing. This issue gained major scrutiny earlier this year when it was announced that UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones had tested positive for cocaine metabolites prior to his bout with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 but was not suspended because cocaine is banned during out-of-competition testing.

NSAC made no official decisions during the meeting, which included testimony from several PED and drug-testing experts. The commission will reconvene in April and is expected to discuss the issue further at that time.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Ricardo Lamas: Defeating Chad Mendes Key to Another Title Shot

Ricardo Lamas isn’t interested in playing the waiting game for another title opportunity.

A quick look at the recent history of the UFC’s featherweight division reveals that the route The Bully has traveled to reach the elite tier of the 145-pound fold has been anything but typical. The 32-year-old Chicago native has found victory in all but one of his seven showings since dropping down into the featherweight ranks back in 2011, with his lone setback coming against dominant Brazilian champion Jose Aldo at UFC 169 in February 2014.

Yet the road to his showdown with Junior was a trying processand one he hasn’t forgotten.

After smashing former No. 1 contender Erik Koch at UFC on Fox 6 in his hometown in January 2013, he watched his title shot be given to lightweight contender Anthony Pettis. Lamas’ frustration from that turn of events only grew stronger, as an injury would force Showtime out of his bout with Jose Aldo at UFC 163, and the Illinois-based fighter’s upcoming bout with Chan Sung Jung was scrapped when The Korean Zombie was tapped to step in to fight the Brazilian phenom.

Lamas’ long-awaited title shot would eventually come and go, but he walked away from the experience with a clear perspective on the division he calls home. The 145-pound collective has become one of the most competitive weight classes under the UFC banner over the past two years, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Therefore, Lamas knows there is no room for error if he wants another title shot, and his work inside the Octagon has supported that notion.

Following his first loss as a featherweight, Lamas rebounded strongly by picking up victories in his next two outings. His most recent win came against Dennis Bermudez at UFC 180 last November as Lamas put an abrupt end to one of the longest winning streaks in the 145-pound division. Lamas’ victory in Mexico City put him back into the running for a potential title shot, and he believes his next fight has the potential to secure another championship opportunity.

The Miami transplant will square off with former two-time title challenger Chad Mendes at Fight Night 63 when the UFC returns to Fairfax, Virginia, on April 4. Lamas is confident a victory over the Team Alpha Male staple will be the exact caliber of statement he needs to make in order to secure his next shot at the featherweight strap.

“I feel a win in this fight will put me right back at the top and next in line for a title shot,” Lamas told Bleacher Report. “Mendes is a great fighter, and I’m a guy who rises to the level of my opponents. I know this is going to be a great fight, and I believe Chad Mendes is going to bring the best out of me.

“I think I picked up a lot of momentum in my last fight. Bermudez was on a huge winning streak, and I finished him in the first round. Mendes is just a beast, and he took it to the champ in his last fight. A victory over him will solidify me as the No. 1 contender.”

While the main event at Fight Night 63 will feature two fighters who are determined to resume their respective title chases, the matchup also presents interesting stylistic aspects as well. Whereas both men found their initial success in MMA because of their strong wrestling skills, Lamas and Mendes have also shown gained improvements in their striking games in recent outings.

Aggression and killer instinct have never been in short supply for either fighter, and Lamas is confident his bout with the Sacramento-based fighter will be an action-packed affair.

“I think we match up very well with one another,” Lamas said. “We both have styles that are going to put on a great fight for the fans to watch. With two good wrestlers going in there, a lot of the time, the wrestling will cancel out. No one is able to get the takedown, and it ends up being a slugfest. Everyone loves watching those fights.

“Every single fight I train for, I prepare to go the distance,” he added. “You can’t do it any other way. You have to be ready to go the full 25 minutes. You train for the worst and hope for the best in there. That’s how I come into every fight, and I’m always ready to go.”

 

Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Watch: Jon Jones and Holly Holm Throw Some Spinning Kicks

If every opponent were a bag of sand, MMA would be more fun. Get on it, Dana.

Because if every opponent were a bag of sand, you’d regularly get displays like this one, in which UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and current UFC women’s bantamweight and former world boxing champion Holly Holm take turns obliterating said opponent.

This video of said activities was recently posted to—then, oddly, deleted from—Jones’ Instagram account. But never fear: At least a couple of places, including Canadian sports website theScore, captured the video before the deletion, and it is here submitted for your consideration.

The specific technique in question is a spinning heel kick. Though neither has scored a pro knockout using this sort of spinning stuff, future opponents better watch outat least if this heavy bag’s reaction is any indication. 

No one needs to be told that “in all seriousness” these two are both very dangerous strikers. Despite being only 8-0, Holm has scored five knockouts by kick as a pro. Jones (21-1) has nine knockout wins on his ledger, though not one has come as the direct result of a kick. Based on this fact, is it logical to conclude that Holm is the better striker?

You be the judge.

Holm is only one fight into the UFC portion of her career, taking a close split-decision win over Raquel Pennington on February 28. Though the potency of her spinning heel kicks does not appear to be up for debate, her grappling has been the subject of speculation, as has her overall ability to compete at the highest levels of MMA. And though her UFC debut was short on fireworks, a win is a winand the future is still bright for Holm.

Jones, as you know, is not only the UFC champ but also the reigning pound-for-pound king. He’ll look for his ninth consecutive successful title defense at UFC 187, where he’ll face knockout artist Anthony Johnson.

Jones and Holm train together at the vaunted Jackson-Winkeljohn camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is presumably where this training session took place.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas Could Be a Dream Matchup in a Year or Two

In combat sports, it takes the two individuals in the fight to create special moments. Mixed martial arts has seen its fair share of those moments to build some of the stars that we see today. Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas are two strawweights with the potential to develop star power. In a few years, this may be the matchup that fans are pining to see.  

Jedrzejczyk burst onto the scene with her one-sided smashing of Carla Esparza at UFC 185. This win allowed her to snatch away the 115-pound title and vault to the top of the division. As that group continues to flush itself out, she will be in need of a long list of challengers to establish her prominence.

Namajunas can insert her name into that position, even at this early point in the 22-year-old’s career.

Bleacher Report Lead MMA Writer Jeremy Botter chronicled her rise to becoming a new star in the sport, writing “from a fighting perspective, Namajunas has traveled a profound distance in a very short period of time.”

If that growth continues for both of these women, Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk could be headed for a showdown.

The strawweight division has a lot of work to do to sort itself out. Claudia Gadelha seems to be one of the next women in line, but she is set to face Aisling Daly at a UFC Fight Night on April 11. Jedrzejczyk has already defeated the Brazilian competitor, but the Nova Uniao product fought the current champion in a tough battle. Beyond Gadelha, the 115-pound group does not feature a fighter who stands out in front of the others as an immediate challenger to the title.

The rest of the division features women who were competed on the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter. That season was made up of mostly developing fighters who were still working to build their professional resumes. Namajunas established herself as one of the best within that group, even though she was unable to defeat Esparza in the final bout.

The UFC currently ranks Namajunas as the No. 4 fighter in the division. Remaining successful will help her to stay within the title picture at this vital juncture.

Both Jedrzejczyk and Namajunas have room to develop their brands both inside and out of the cage. As MMA continues to grow as a mainstream sport, fighters who are successful in competition and within marketing are leading the way to new opportunities. If both women continue to win, fans may soon begin to call for Jedrzejczyk to defend her title against the woman known as “Thug.”

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC