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Cris Cyborg vs Holly Holm confirmed for UFC 219

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Cris Cyborg vs Leslie Smith

After all the rumours about Woodley vs Diaz, this news certainly flew under the radar. But Cyborg vs Holm is official for UFC 219 on December 30th in Las Vegas.

This fight has been rumoured ever since Cyborg won the vacant Featherweight Championship back at UFC 214 on July 29th, 2017, but now we have a time and place where these two striking juggernauts will finally square off.

Any announcement has been delayed due to a long negotiation process with Holm, who has rightfully demanded more money. Given the risk and magnitude of taking the fight against Cyborg, no one can blame Holm for wanting a little bit extra to get inside the octagon. She never ducks a fight but she definitely knows her worth.

For a while now Holm has been seen as the only legitimate threat to Cyborg, as she is perhaps the only female fighter that can hang in the octagon with Cyborg and go toe to toe with her on the feet. Making this arguably the best match up in woman’s MMA right now.

Where this leaves the potential super fight between Woodley and Diaz, I’m not sure. It’s clearly not as needed as it was a few days ago, as the UFC has a possible main event for UFC 219. But having both these mega fights at the top of the card would certainly boost ticket sales and PPV buys.

Tickets for UFC 219 go on sale to FightClub members on November 29th, newsletter presale on Novemeber 30th and on general sale Friday, December 1st.

 

 

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Cub Swanson Could End up like Jacaré Souza

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With a professional career 13 years long, Cub Swanson has fought nearly anyone and everyone put in front of him, and through wins and losses, he grew as a fighter and has been keeping his place in the top 5 for quite some time.

While he has won his last 4 fights, rather than fighting the top 10 fighters, Swanson lately has been playing the role of a gatekeeper, fighting anyone who calls him out, the likes of Doo Ho Choi and Artem Lobov.

Late situations haven’t made Swanson so happy, however, as a title shot that he feels is very deserved hasn’t come to him so easily. And now he knows that he has to go through at least one more fighter in order to be matched up against the Hawaiian champion, the last fighter to defeat Swanson, and even with this win there is no guarantee that Swanson is next in line.

Here’s why this weekend is such a risk for Swanson:

Ortega has the ability to finish the fight from anywhere. And I mean literally anywhere, whether it’s on his feet, from the top, or from his back. We’ve seen in the Renato Moicano fight how high-level Ortega’s submission game is. And Swanson’s last 3 losses all came via submission; 3 different submissions.

Calm Killer

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So then you might think Swanson has a gigantic advantage on the feet. Well, not exactly. Ortega’s striking has been improving every single fight, and from the 3 round war that he had against Thiago Tavares to his most recent fight against Moicano, we saw an evolution in the striking game of Ortega, becoming more fluid and crisp.

Swanson brings a very unorthodox and creative style, and it has worked out against rather one-dimensional fighters in his recent fights, but with creativity comes lots of openings for his opponents, and Ortega is most definitely skilled enough to capitalize on it. It would be hard to tell who has the striking edge until the fight begins, but Swanson won’t be able to just run right through Ortega on the feet.

But of course, being a long time veteran in the sport, Swanson has advantages of his own. Experience is huge. Swanson has gone into the 5th round three times in his career, with two of them going the distance. This will be Ortega’s first time in the UFC going to the 5th round should the fight go that long, and while his cardio looks phenomenal every fight in later rounds, fighting for 10 more minutes than usual can be a big factor in the fight.

Should Swanson lose this weekend, it reminds me of a very similar case, one Jacaré Souza’s.

Souza was a top contender in the middleweight division for years, and is still considered to be. But with his recent loss to the now undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, he was pushed back a few steps. Many argue that Souza should have received a title shot a long time ago, most likely right after Bisping took the title from Luke Rockhold, and I couldn’t agree more.

Other than his rather controversial loss to his Yoel Romero back at UFC 194, Souza has won every fight since 2012 before running into Robert Whittaker. Instead his opportunity was stalled while Michael Bisping fought then number 13 ranked contender Dan Henderson, and Souza was forced to continue to fight against others in order to keep himself active.

Here Cub Swanson faces a very similar case. Even if he manages to pull off a win over a legitimate contender in Ortega, nothing is guaranteed for him at this point, especially with Frankie Edgar still eager to get back in there to get what was supposed to be his fight at UFC 218 before he got injured. But a loss will be devastating for Cub, and will likely push him outside of top 5, and at the age of 34, he is not in a position where he can comfortably afford that.

On the other hand, Ortega has everything to gain. At only age of 26, Ortega is still adding onto his game, and as he said, he doesn’t fear losing since there is much to gain for him from losing for the first time as a professional at his age. Better to lose early than later when his game is already fully developed.

Will Ortega take out Swanson and rise as a new threat to the champion Max Holloway?  UFC Fight Night 123 goes down this Saturday in Save Mart Center, Fresno, California

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Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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Exclusive: Alexander Gustafsson eyeing summer 2018 return- wants title shot next

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Top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson hasn’t fought since an impressive knockout win back in May, against Glover Teixeira. “The Mauler” is currently on a two-fight winning streak, and for many people, is seen as one of the most logical names to fight for the title next.

Currently absent from the Octagon since May, speaking to MMA Latest, “The Mauler” explains why he’s been on such a long layoff. “I have had an injury in my shoulder,” Gustafsson told MMA Latest. “I had a surgery a couple of months back where they put in a titanium plate to keep my collarbone in place. But that plate was taken out last week so I am back to training and slowly but surely getting better with all the rehab. I’m excited to be back in the Octagon soon.”

After so many obstacles, Gustafsson details when we can expect him back in the cage. “If everything goes well with rehab, I’ll be back in the octagon in the beginning of the summer – right in time for the next title match!”

Volkan Oezdemir was calling out Gustafsson for a European number one contender fight, Gustafsson explains he was never interested in the fight. “No, my prior goal and my only interest is the title fight,” Gustafsson said. “If Volkan wins against DC he will probably be my next opponent.”

The title fight is “absolutely” what Gustafsson believes is next for him and don’t expect to see him in a number one contender fight first. “As I said previously, the title fight is my number one interest.”

With Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir fighting for the title at UFC 220, Gustafsson shares his thoughts on the matchup. “It’s an exciting matchup – DC is the more experienced fighter and he is a more complete fighter than Volkan,” Gustafsson said. “DC has also been in this situation before, Volkan has not.”

Back in July, Jon Jones failed his second test for PED’s after beating Daniel Cormier to regain his light heavyweight belt. Before the fights with Daniel Cormier, Jones went to war with Gustafsson back in 2013. Gustafsson shares his thoughts on Jones’ second failed test. “Disastrous is my first thought,” Gustafsson explains. “But for the sport, it is good that the truth is out. I wish Jon good luck in his rehab and he is one of the most talented fighters in the UFC.”

Gustafsson was also asked if he eyeing a rematch with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones before the end of his career. “Of course, I feel good and I’m motivated,” Gustafsson said. “I would like to get the opportunity to match up against both DC and Jon before I retire.”

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