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Michael Johnson: ‘I’m back and stronger than ever’

Sam LaPoint

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Michael Johnson is expected to face off against Edson Barboza on February 22, 2015 in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 61 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I had the privilege to catch up with Johnson ahead of his fight to get his thoughts on vying for the title, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter, his previous fight, and upcoming fight with Barboza.

MMALatest: I was impressed with your ability to neutralize and control Melvin Guillard in your last fight. Do you think you could neutralize and control Edson Barboza in the same way or are you approaching this fight from a different angle?

Johnson: You know, I approach every fight like that. I try to control and neutralize my opponent and make it look like they don’t belong in the cage with me. That’s what I train to do and that’s what I go into fights to do. I was very successful with Melvin and I think I’m going to be successful in the same way with Edson. With Edson though, it’s going to be more of a fight. Edson is a very offensive fighter and Melvin was in the beginning, but I thought I had the upper hand with Melvin in the fact that he was literally scared of me. I think it’s going to be a different story with Edson, but the same outcome.

MMALatest: With a win over Barboza and another top ten opponent, could you see yourself vying for the title soon?

Johnson: Absolutely. That’s what I’m here to do and that’s what this fight is going to lead me to. After I beat Edson, I’m looking to get one more fight. Hopefully, the fight after Edson would be a number one contender fight, maybe against someone like Cowboy or Benson. At the same time, I’m not looking passed Edson. I’m going to go in there, do my thing, and look to fight for the title within the next few fights.

MMALatest: The Blackzilians seem to be doing very well lately. What would you attribute that to?

Johnson: I think I’d attribute that to our hard work and dedication. Everyone is coming together as one, everyone’s pushing each other. We kind of had a rough stint with some of our fighters being injured, but now everyone’s back to being healthy. The gym is just better than ever. We got a new wrestling coach, Greg Jones, who’s been working well with everyone on the team. He’s really brought a different aspect to wrestling. It’s just great coaches and a great team, so success is always going to be there.

MMALatest: Will the new season of The Ultimate Fighter increase the rivalry between the Blackzilians and American Top Team or is it all in good sport?

Johnson: It’s all in good sport. There’s a rivalry with a lot of gyms, but ours is just a little different because of the history and because of how close we are. It’s a sport though. We all respect each other, but at the same time, we don’t want to lose to those guys and they don’t want to lose to us. I don’t think it’s going to make the rivalry stronger, but it’s definitely going to bring a lot more exposure to the rivalry than there was before.”

MMALatest: Finally, is there anything you’d like to let your fans or opponent know ahead of your fight?

Johnson: I’d just like to let everyone know that I’m back. I was injured, you know, but I’m coming back stronger. I have a chip on my shoulder and think I’ve been kind of forgotten about in the UFC, but I’m going to show everyone that I’m back and stronger than ever. I’m ready to come in and take what’s mine and that’s the title.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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