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400 days, 45 events and 6 new UFC champions later, Jose Aldo returns

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Arguably the number 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Jose Aldo is set to return to defend his UFC featherweight championship after over 400, (411 when he steps inside the octagon on December 12), days since his last fight.

Aldo was last in action against Chad Mendes at UFC 179 in what was a back and forth five round war. Aldo won the contest by unanimous decision and extended his unbeaten UFC streak to 7.

Aldo was then booked in to face Conor McGregor at UFC 189 back in July, however after suffering a late rib had to pull himself from the fight which led to a stay of absence of over-a-year from the octagon.

So what has happened since he was last in action? Well, A LOT…

  • Since his last outing on October 25 at UFC 179 there have been 45 shows in 12 different countries (Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, Sweden,Australia, Philippines, Germany, Poland, Japan, Canada, Brazil and South Korea. Attended by over 515,748 fans.
  • The UFC has seen six new champions (not including interim) crowned (heavyweight Werdum beating Velasquez, Light heavyweight Cormier beating Anthony Johnson for the vacant title, lightweight Dos Anjos beating Pettis, welterweight Lawler beating Hendricks, women’s bantamweight- Holm beating Rousey and women’s strawweight- Jedrzejczyk beating Esparza).
  • His opponent, Conor McGregor has gone 2-0 inside the octagon beating Dennis Siver and Chad Mendes where he captured the interim featherweight title.
  • The record-breaking deal between the UFC and Reebok was finally implemented as during fight week and in the cage ALL fighters and trainers/corners are kitted head-to-toe in Reebok clothing and footwear.
  • USADA became the official third party anti-doping partner to the UFC. Implementing a random in and out of competition testing programme.
  • Jon Jones was arrested and stripped of his title after he was involved in a hit and run incident. He was suspended by the UFC indefinitely and has since been reinstated and likely returning to fight early 2016
  • Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock finally fought at Bellator 138. Slice KO’d Shamrock in the first round.
  • Pride legend Fedor Emelianenko announced his return to the sport.
  • Anderson Silva returned from a near career ending injury to beat the returning Nick Diaz. Both men tested positive for banned substances. Silva was suspended for a year, Diaz for 5-years (Ruling appealed, sentence likely to be reduced).
  • WWE superstar CM Punk signed with the UFC.
  • Long time Team Alpha Male member, T.J Dillashaw split from the team.
  • Josh Koscheck, Josh Thompson and Phil Davis all left the UFC and were signed by Bellator.
  • Frankie Perez, Mirko Cro Cop, Rich Franklin, Sam Stout, Soa Palalei, Cathal Pendred, Mark Munoz and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all officially retired from MMA.
  • Tito Ortiz fought for the Bellator LHW title, losing via submission to champion Liam McGeary.
  • Royce Gracie came out of retirement, was signed by Bellator and will fight Ken Shamrock in 2016.

Worth noting are some of the fighters who shared the UFC 179 card with Aldo have fought a combined 18 times in his absence, Chad Mendes- fought twice, Glover Teixeira- fought twice, Phil Davis – fought once in UFC, left UFC, signed with Bellator and won light heavyweight tournament, Neil Magny- fought 5 times,Fabio Maldonado- fought twice, Beneil Dariush- fought 3 times and Darren Elkins- fought twice.

 

Now with all the things that have transpired since the champion has been away, he is finally set to lock horns with his rival Conor McGregor. Aldo (25-1) is unbeaten in his last 10-years of fighting, dating back to November of 2006 where he lost via submission at Jungle Fight 5. His UFC 194 opponent Conor McGregor (18-2) is also unbeaten in his last 5 years of professional fighting dating back to his November 2010 loss also via submission at Cage Warriors 39. The fire burning between the two featherweight’s is as hot as ever just over a week away from the fight, the words will finally turn into actions.

UFC 194 takes place Saturday Dec. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Nevada and will be headlined by the featherweight title bout between champion Jose Aldo and interim champion Conor McGregor. The event will be co-headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Luke Rockhold.

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Dana White

UFC to Sell #VegasStrong Shirts and Donate the Proceeds

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Our hearts are heavy this week as we remember our brothers and sisters that lost their lives in Las Vegas.

The perpetrator Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 59 people and injuring over 500 more.

It was the largest mass shooting in Modern American history.

Dana White and the UFC were quick to step up as they donated $1M to the residents of Las Vegas who were affected by this tragedy. White has also stated that this weekend’s UFC 216 card will be “dedicated to the entire city of Las Vegas.”

The UFC and Fanatics have also teamed up to sell #VegasStrong shirts and 100% percent of the proceeds will be donated.

These shirts are available at UFCStore.com

#VegasStrong

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Conor McGregor

Dana White posts sparring footage of Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi

Matthew Wells

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What happens in the gym, stays in the gym.

That is, until recently when Conor McGregor’s camp posted photos of his former training partner Paul Malignaggi on the receiving end of what looked to be a knockdown during a sparring session. McGregor, preparing for the blockbuster fight against Floyd Mayweather taking place on August 26, brought in Malinaggi to help sharpen and test his skills in preparation for the boxing contest.

However, when pictures of their sparring battles surfaced, painting Malignaggi in a negative light. The former IBF/WBA World Champion boxer turned analyst took to social media to defend himself stating the images were taken out of context, sparking controversy.

Late Friday evening, UFC President Dana White out all of the rumors to bed by taking to Instagram to post a pair of clips from their sparring session, most notably, the infamous “knock down” that Malignaggi defended adamantly.

Video 1: The video shows McGregor blasting Malignaggi with a hard left hand that popped his head back and then following up with a series of punches causing Malignaggi to retreat from the pressure.

 

Video 2: The knockdown. Conor hits Malignaggi with a punching combination, sending the former boxing champion to the canvas.

While the knock down does come after a series of punches from McGregor, Malignaggi was not completely knocked out. With this video evidence coming to light, it seems the UFC Lightweight Champion’s hands may be better prepared for the upcoming fight against one of boxing’s best than previously thought.

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather takes place on August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Contender Series

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series – Week 2 Recap

Matthew Wells

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The second week of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series provided some incredible moments from fighters looking to earn their shot in the UFC.

With five fights on the docket and Dana White handing out only one, possibly two UFC contracts at the end of the show, fighters not only had to win their fights, but make a statement to impress the boss. If nobody makes a strong enough impression, White could also decide to not award anyone with a contract.

That was not the case on Week 2 thanks to three exciting finishes.

Sean O’Malley said in video packages in the lead up that he shows up to knock people out and he did exactly that with an exciting first round finish of Alfred Khashakyan. O’Malley kept his undefeated record in tact by utilizing hard, fight-ending strikes that sent his opponent to the canvas in the closing minute of the first round. A hard right hand dropped Khashakyan for good and O’Malley ran over towards Dana White to let him know he’s ready for his shot.

The Ultimate Fighter 22 veteran Thanh Le got the fans on their feet with his impressive finish of Lazar Stojadinovic, and made his case with Laura Sanko for Dana White to give him a contract.  Stojadinovic, a solid boxer began fighting angry in the second round after getting caught with a few clean strikes, which only left more openings for Le. Moments later, Le would land a beautiful kick followed up by hard strikes to get the second-round stoppage.

Daniel Spohn, after a rough start to his fight against Angel De Anda, recovered from illegal blows to the back of the head to lock in a submission in the first round. Referee Big John McCarthy paused the action after three illegal blows by De Anda, and once the action resumed, Spohn blitzed across the cage to unleash strikes and eventually find the arm triangle submission.

At the conclusion of the show, Dana White decided to give Sean O’Malley an opportunity on the big stage by awarding him with a UFC contract due to his flashy, exciting style inside the Octagon.

Below are the full results of Week 2:

  • Daniel Spohn (16-5) vs. Angel De Anda (18-6)
    • Result: Daniel Spohn def. Angel De Anda via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 1 – 3:10
  • Sean O’Malley (8-0) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (8-4)
    • Result: Sean O’Malley def. Alfred Khashakyan via KO (Punch), Round 1 – 4:14
  • Thanh Le (7-1) vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (15-6)
    • Result: Thanh Le def. Lazar Stojadinovic via KO (Strikes), Round 2 – 1:35
  • Sidney Outlaw (9-4) vs. Michael Cora (4-2)
    • Result: Sidney Outlaw def. Michael Cora via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • CJ Hamilton (11-5) vs. Casey Kenney (7-0-1)
    • Result: Casey Kenney def. CJ Hamilton via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
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