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Gray Maynard Drops to 145, Gets Bout At TUF 23 Finale

Vinny Craig



The biggest weekend in UFC history continues to get even bigger with the addition of a Featherweight match up at TUF 23 Finale. Gray Maynard (11-5-1, 1 NC MMA; 9-5-1, 1 NC UFC) will make his Featherweight debut against Fernando Bruno (15-3; 0-1).

The event is headlined by a Strawweight title fight between champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha following their coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter. It will be the second of three straight events on July 7-9. It will air LIVE on Fox Sports 1.

Maynard had one of MMA’s best trilogies with Frankie Edgar. Their first bout came at UFC Fight Night 13. Maynard would get the best of the future Lightweight champ as he won by Unanimous Decision. After five more wins in a row, Maynard earned a title shot against Edgar. The fight was one of the best all time and ended in a draw. The third bout happened ten months later with a resolution as Edgar won another grueling fight between the two.

Maynard has yet to get going since with just one win in his last five. He has four straight losses to TJ Grant, Nate Diaz, Ross Pearson and Alexander Yakovlev. This will be the first time he has dropped to 145 in his career.

Bruno was on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil as part of season 4 with Team Anderson/Nogueira. He made it through to the finals with decision wins over Adilson Fernandes and Nazareno Malagerie. In the finals at UFC 190, Bruno and Glaico Franca fought in the Fight of the Night with Franca the winner by submission. He fought at Lightweight for the show but drops back down to his natural weight class for his UFC sophomore fight.

The fight card for The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale is as follows:

  • (c)Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha- for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship
  • Light Heavyweight TUF 23 Finale
  • Strawweight TUF 23 Finale
  • Jake Matthews vs. Stevie Ray
  • Ross Pearson vs. James Krause
  • Joaquim Silva vs. Andrew Holbrook
  • Cezar Ferreira vs. Anthony Smith
  • Li Jiangliang vs. Anton Zafir
  • Doo Ho Choi vs. Thiago Tavares
  • Gray Maynard vs. Fernando Bruno

For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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Fight Announcements

Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando



The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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Fight Announcements

Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem



Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.

First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)

Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.

Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.

Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.

In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.

UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira

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Mark Hunt Returns to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221



UFC 221 in Perth has officially added a another Australian to the main card. Joining Robert Whittaker is the knockout legend Mark Hunt.

The Daily Telegraph first reported that Hunt will be stepping into the octagon to face #9 Curtis Blaydes. Some weren’t sure if we would ever see Hunt fight again after he was pulled from the main event in UFC Fight Night 21 against Marcin Tybura. The UFC removed him due to “medical concerns” while Hunt was stating he was perfectly fine.

After getting evaluated and cleared to fight by Australian and American doctors, it looks like his time has come to return.  Hunt’s last fight was back in June when he derailed the Derrick Lewis hype train with a 4th round TKO win.

Hunt had been adamant about calling out #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and trying to get that rematch booked, labelling Werdum a “chicken shit” and a “coward.”

Curtis “Razor” Blaydes who has an 8-1 record, is coming off a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage at UFC 217 in November. Since losing to now title challenger Francis Ngannou in April of 2016, Blaydes has rattled off three straight wins over Alexey Oleynik, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Cody East.

With all this momentum from the win streak, Blaydes looks to capitalize and win the biggest fight of his career against Hunt.

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