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PANTOJA vs ROYVAL 2 | UFC 296 Countdown

by Site Admin ~ December 11th, 2023


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UFC Fight Pass Invitational 5
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

We have all the video highlights and submission finishes from UFC Fight Pass Invitational 5.

It wasn’t the tidal shift in BJJ that Dana White had initially promised, but Fight Pass Invitational 5 was a solid night of grappling with a lot of entertaining matches.

The event was originally set to be headlined by a Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz grappling match, but injuries to both fighters scrapped that. Then Gordon Ryan was set to face Mason Fowler, but an injured rib took him off too. St-Pierre and Ryan still showed up for commentary duties over the night.

Make sure to check out our UFC Fight Pass Invitational 5 play-by-play and results post for all the nitty gritty detail from the night. We’ll just set things up and let the video highlights do the rest of the talking.

In the main event, three time IBJJF world champion Nicholas Meregali submitted ADCC absolute champion Felipe Pena in overtime with a rear-naked choke. Pena was so tired by the end that he immediately tapped after Meregali got a hand under his neck.

In the co-main, Nicky Rodriguez aka Nicky Rod beat Yuri Simoes via points, and the main note from this match was how strange the Fight Pass Invitational scoring system is. Inactivity was heavily penalized with point deductions, but pretty erratically and unevenly. Even the commentary team noted that the negative point system didn’t make much sense. After being down on points early, Rodriguez would mount Simoes multiple times for the win by a 3 to -2 score.

He then called out Gordon Ryan, suggesting the two men put up $ 50,000 each with the winner taking the $ 100,000 spoils. The callout (and match highlights) below:

Check out all the finishes from further down the card:

Fowler def. Rida by submission (kimura)

Hugo def. Manasoiu by submission (americana)

Clay def. Monteiro by submission (heel hook)

From the undercard:

Rocha def. Silverio by submission (rear naked choke)

Wilson def. Guzman by submission (triangle armbar)

Goldy def. Mazza by submission (triangle armbar)

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Beneil Dariush Opens Up On Arman Tsarukyan Loss: "I Just Wanna Know If I Still got It" submitted by /u/lPGrabber
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Bellator 299
Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen wants to fight sooner rather than later, but since the PFL doesn’t currently have his division, he won’t get the chance to engage in a champ vs. champ fight at the promotion’s planned pay-per-view in early 2024.

That being said, Eblen knows there are other options available to him — the most notable being UFC veteran Derek Brunson, who made a successful PFL debut with a lopsided win over Ray Cooper III in November. If that’s a potential opponent who would get him back in action as early as February, Eblen is ready to sign on the dotted line immediately.

“I would love to fight him,” Eblen told MMA Fighting. “One thousand percent down for that. I would love to fight him. The guy has fought everybody. The who’s who in MMA, UFC veteran coming over to PFL, it would be a great matchup for me. I would love that. I would love that matchup.”

As for Brunson, he made his first appearance in PFL after an 11-year run in the UFC, where he was widely considered one of the best middleweights in the sport. He ultimately split with the UFC on his own accord, with hopes to rejuvenate his career with a fresh start somewhere else.

That’s exactly what he found with PFL, and while Brunson still plans on joining the light heavyweight tournament in 2024, he welcomes the chance to fight Eblen at middleweight.

“For sure, there’s a chance,” Brunson told MMA Fighting. “Johnny Eblen is a top guy, a top fighter. I’ve heard from a lot of accounts that he dominated Sean Strickland. I know they trained together. That’s hearsay but I’m just hearing that he’s that good.

“We can get it done. PFL, they know how to get it done. You want to motivate me to run every single day and invest into the camp, we can definitely get that fight and go out there and put on a good fight. I’m confident in my abilities to get the win there.”

Eblen may be considered one of the top middleweights across all MMA, but he’s always faced the stigma that he’s competing against competition from outside the UFC, which hinders the perception about where he sits among the elite fighters at 185 pounds.

Facing an established veteran like Brunson would look great on his résumé as Eblen continues to cement himself as one of the best fighters in the world in his division.

“Brunson is a good name to add to the list,” Eblen said. “Since I’m not in the UFC, I’m going to take any UFC vet out. I’m going to take everybody out. That’s what I have to do to solidify my name, so I’m going to continue to do that.

“I think he was fighting smart [against Ray Cooper]. I was impressed with his wrestling ability, to get the fight to the ground. He did well with his fight IQ. The only thing is there were no elbows so it was kind of hard to tell. I think that fight’s a little bit different if you have elbows allowed.”

As far as fighting in February, Brunson sounds up to the challenge if the PFL wants to book him against Eblen. While it would be a quick turnaround from fighting in November, Brunson has no problem jumping right back into a training camp, especially if the PFL makes it worth his while.

“Like I said, money talks,” Brunson said. “There’s a possibility. It’s a quick turnaround but I like how PFL does things. They’re going to pay you your value and I’m sure they know that guy’s a top guy, a champion, so if they want to get it done, they know how to reach out to my agent and put together some numbers, and we can put together a tough, hard-nosed training camp and get the job done.”

If Brunson isn’t available or PFL opts to go in a different direction, Eblen has one other challenger still available to him from the Bellator roster who remains an option as well. More than anything, Eblen just wants to fight as soon as possible, which is part of the reason February makes for the perfect time to return.

“I think the only other guy in the talk is Aaron Jeffrey. I’d smoke him, too. I’d love to smoke him. All of them. All of them can get it. I’m just here to solidify my name and collect checks and cash them and beat some ass and showcase my skill sets to the world. That’s what I’m here to do.

“I’m not too worried about the future. I’m more so worried about, how are they going to utilize me around my prime? Because the worst thing that could happen would be sit me on the sidelines and have me fight once a year against mediocre competition and not putting on great shows and so on and so forth. I don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines when I could quite possibly be the best guy in the world and I’m wasting my talent and doing nothing. That’s the one thing I fear.”

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Colby Covington praises Donald Trump coaching ahead of UFC 296 he would beat me if we fought

Colby Covington has allegedly received coaching from none other than Donald Trump ahead of his epic title fight against Leon Edwards at UFC 296.

The American superstar has not been the most active participant in the welterweight division lately but is still waltzing into a title shot this Saturday. The abrasive nature of ‘Chaos’ merely disguises his brilliance in the cage, and now that he’s received training from none other than Donald Trump himself, Covington is feeling unstoppable.

The former U.S. president and Colby Covington share a close bond, and ‘Chaos’ recently took the time to open up about their relationship. Detailing steamy trips to the former president’s vacation home, and late-night war meetings over the phone.

Colby Covington details the coaching he received from Donald Trump

“He is my good friend, it’s not like I was just meeting up with him every couple of months. I was at his house in Mar a Lago a couple of weeks ago, I call him regularly to ask him about a gameplan,” Colby Covington told Mirror Fighting, speaking about the former president. “He’s given me great coaching advice for this fight. Trump is the better fighter [than me], that guy has knuckles like lunchboxes.”

“That guy is so big that he would destroy me if we fought,” Covington continued. “I have the most important and famous person on planet earth coming to my fights to watch me front row. Who does Leon have? Does he have the royal family, Paddington the Bear, or Mary f****ng Poppins coming? Leon is a nobody, he is the B-side and I’m the A-side.”

The bond between the former president and ‘Chaos’ is strong, and Covington even went into vivid detail about the mastery that Trump has with his rod.

“The guy is a PGA tour level professional golfer, he shoots under par,” Colby Covington said, speaking of what he regularly witnesses when he and the former president play golf together. “It’s incredible to watch him and his golf swing, he is dedicated to his craft and the sport of golf. I like to go out there and watch him, sit in the golf cart sometimes to just be amazed at how good Trump is at golf. He is the smartest and best president we’ve had in the history of America.”

Do you think the special relationship between Colby Covington and Donald Trump will inspire ‘Chaos’ to defeat his British adversary?


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UFC 296 Countdown: Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson

by Site Admin ~ December 11th, 2023

UFC 296 Countdown previews a highly anticipated welterweight match on the main card as Shavkat Rakhmonov faces Stephen Thompson on Dec. 16, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Rakhmonov (17-0) is undefeated with five wins in the UFC and five finishes inside the octagon.  He’s ranked fifth in the 170-pound weight class coming off submission wins over Neil Magny and Geoff Neal.  

Thompson (17-6-1) is a promotional veteran coming off a TKO win over Kevin Holland a year ago.  Ranked sixth in the division, Thompson is 40-years old.  His record since 2018 has been 50-50.  He’s looking to put together a win streak against Rakhmonov, who is 11 years his younger.

UFC 296 is headlined by a welterweight title bout between champion Leon Edwards and Colby Covington.  

UFC Countdown: Rakhmonov vs. Thompson Video

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Welcome to rMMA's General Discussion Thread!

Discuss your favorite fighters, the upcoming card or whatever's on your mind.

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UFC 288: Sterling v Cejudo
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A new bantamweight title contender could be crowned when ex-champion Henry Cejudo faces Merab Dvalishvili in a featured bout at UFC 298 on Feb. 17 in Anaheim, Calif.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Sunday after Cejudo initially announced the matchup on his YouTube channel.

“This fight’s going to decide who’s actually going to fight eventually the winner of Chito Vera versus Sean O’Malley,” Cejudo said. “I’m excited. I’m not sure if we’re going to co-headline this fight with Ilia Topuria and Alexander Volkanovski but either way this fight is absolutely going to be bonkers.”

Cejudo will make his second appearance in the UFC since returning from retirement but he’ll still be looking for his first win after dropping a decision to Aljamain Sterling in a title fight back in May. The former two-division UFC champion hopes to return to title contention if he can get through Dvalishvili in February.

As for Dvalishvili, he’ll seek his 10th consecutive win in a row when he clashes with Cejudo. The Georgian born bantamweight hoped he would already get a title shot after dominating former champion Petr Yan in his last outing but the UFC opted to book Sean O’Malley against Marlon “Chito” Vera instead with that matchup set for UFC 299 in March.

Now Dvailishvili hopes to add another former champion to his resume when he faces Cejudo in early 2024.

“I give him respect and I give all my opponents respect, especially Henry Cejudo,” Dvailishvili said when addressing the matchup during the UFC Vegas 83 post fight show. “He’s the greatest champion, he was after [Aljamain Sterling] beat him. I’m excited. This is going to be a big test for me. Even if I feel I don’t need the test anymore.

“I have a nine fight win streak and I beat whoever they give me, whoever they put in front of me. I think I deserve to fight for a title fight but they give me another test in Henry Cejudo. I’m thankful. I have to do my best. I have to beat him and I have to earn it again, the title fight, and hopefully this time I will fight for the title and whoever will be the winner of Chito Vera and Sean O’Malley I will fight next.”

Cejudo vs. Dvalishvili joins a growing UFC 298 lineup with featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski defending his title against Ilia Topuria in the main event.

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