Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at all of the news and events of the past week and get you geared up for the week ahead. There were several notable news items over the past week, so let’s dive right in.
Looking Back at UFC on ESPN 35
- The main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 35 show was an incredible fight that saw Marlon Vera score a unanimous decision over Rob Font. Font threw an incredible amount of volume and landed way more than Vera, but this was an example of how you can’t always look at the stats to determine who won, as Vera did an incredible amount of damage to Font. Font’s face was an absolute mess afterwards, and this was the most impressive win of Vera’s career. He has quietly, and quickly, become a threat at 135 lbs., and he could be challenging for the bantamweight title before the year is up.
- Andrei Arlovski scored his 23rd UFC win at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 35 event, which tied him with Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone for most all-time UFC wins. However, it came under controversial circumstances, as he scored a highly-contested split decision over Jake Collier in which every single media score had it for Collier. It really came down to the third, and I didn’t think that round was any closer than the first two were, and I scored it for Collier, so I feel like Arlovski stole one there. Credit to him, and he’s been on both sides of bad decisions, and that’s now four straight wins for the 43-year-old, who is showing no signs of slowing down.
- The rest of Saturday’s show was fun with a lot of fun fights and great finishes. I thought standout performances came from Joanderson Brito, Alexandr Romanov, Francisco Figueiredo and Gabe Green, who were among those who scored finishes, and the fights between Natan Levy and Mike Breeden and Grant Dawson and Jared Gordon were really fun. It is a show worth going back and finding a replay of.
- It appears that a fight for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic isn’t going to be a matter of if, but when. UFC wanted it to headline UFC 276 on July 2 for International Fight Week, but Miocic isn’t going to be ready to fight then. He has supposedly told company officials that he’ll be ready to fight in September, at least according to a tweet from Jones, who said he will wait until September in order to fight Miocic. Jones’ representative, Richard Schaefer, has been talking with UFC officials and it appears a deal is going to be made. There was talk of trying to make the fight for UFC 277 on July 30 as well, but September is starting to look likely.
- That news has transitioned into a couple of other major heavyweight match-ups being made. The first will happen on July 23 in London, England. That show was originally planned for Liverpool, but has been moved to London, which is a quick return there after being there in March. The show will be headlined by a heavyweight battle between Tom Aspinall and Curtis Blaydes.
- The third heavyweight battle being set up this week will coincide with a planned debut UFC event in Paris, France on September 3. That show will be headlined by Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. There will likely be several other French fighters on the card, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they went and signed a few more like Taylor Lapilus.
- According to Ariel Helwani, there was talk of holding UFC 277 on July 30 at Madison Square Garden. That event was originally planned to take place in Dallas, however, it seemed like the talk of moving it to MSG centered around the possibility of Jones vs. Miocic taking place, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they kept UFC 277 in Dallas and just do MSG for whenever they have that fight done.
- UFC’s return to Austin is official as it will take place on June 18 from the brand new Moody Center with a featherweight bout between Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett as the headliner.
- In advance of her upcoming fight against Zhang Weili at UFC 275 on June 11, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has signed a new six-fight UFC contract. It’s been over two years since she fought and there were rumors a while back about her possibly exiting the sport, but this new deal assures her future and she could be right back in title contention if she defeats Weili.
- Francis Ngannou was on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and stated that any new UFC deal he comes to terms with must include the ability to fight Tyson Fury. It’ll be interesting if that happens. Ngannou doesn’t want to go boxing full-time, he just wants to fight Fury, and he wants to continue his MMA career. I honestly feel that any fight with Fury is only going to be an exhibition fight, so the result is going to end up being meaningless, and if I’m UFC, I’d let it happen, but only if he fights an interim champion first. It’s going to be mid-2023 until any fight with Fury gets entertained anyways. It’ll be interesting what happens.
- Casey O’Neill suffered a torn ACL during training, which has forced her out of her scheduled bout at UFC 276 against Jessica Eye. It’ll also likely keep her out of action for a year, which is a big setback for her, as she could’ve been a challenger for Valentina Shevchenko within the next year.
- If you missed PFL’s second 2022 show on Thursday, and judging by the ratings everyone did, there were some impressive heavyweight finishes by Bruno Cappelozza, Renan Ferreira, Denis Goltsov and Ante Delija. Chris Wade, Brendan Loughnane and Bubba Jenkins were among other winners on the show, scoring points to keep them in good shape moving to the next event.
Here are some fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC on ESPN 35 on Saturday:
- Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz
- Rob Font vs. Raoni Barcelos
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Chris Daukaus
- Joanderson Brito vs. Austin Lingo
- Grant Dawson vs. Drew Dober
- Darren Elkins vs. Makwan Amirkhani
- Krzysztof Jotko vs. Nassourdine Imavov
- Alexandr Romanov vs. Augusto Sakai
- Francisco Figueiredo vs. David Dvorak
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Andre Fialho vs. Cameron VanCamp — UFC 274 — May 7
- Michael Johnson vs. Alan Patrick — UFC Fight Night — May 14
- Tatsuro Taira vs. Carlos Candelario — UFC Fight Night — May 14
- Joe Solecki vs. Alex da Silva — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- Alonzo Menifield vs. Askar Mozharov — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- Steve Garcia vs. Hayisaer Maheshate — UFC 275 — June 11
- SeungWoo Choi vs. Joshua Culibao — UFC 275 — June 11
- Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev — UFC 275 — June 11
- Kyung Ho Kang vs. Danaa Batgerel — UFC 275 — June 11
- Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett — UFC Fight Night — June 18 (MAIN EVENT)
- Kevin Holland vs. Tim Means — UFC Fight Night — June 18
- Cody Durden vs. JP Buys — UFC Fight Night — June 25
- Jessica Eye vs. Maycee Barber — UFC 276 — July 2
- Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade — UFC Fight Night — July 9
- Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Jamie Pickett — UFC Fight Night — July 9
- Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan — UFC Fight Night — July 9
- Herbert Burns vs. Khusein Askhabov — UFC Fight Night — July 16
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Tom Aspinall — UFC Fight Night — July 23 (MAIN EVENT)
- Jack Hermansson vs. Darren Till — UFC Fight Night — July 23
- Nikita Krylov vs. Alexander Gustafsson — UFC Fight Night — July 23
- Derrick Lewis vs. Sergei Pavlovich — UFC 277 — July 30
- Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa — UFC Fight Night — September 3 (MAIN EVENT)
Coming Up This Week
Here are the notable MMA events coming up this week:
- UFC 274 takes place on Saturday, May 7, from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10:00 p.m. ET. The early prelims kick off at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+, and prelims continue at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira defends against Justin Gaethje in the main event.
- Bellator 280 takes place on Friday, May 6, from the Accor Arena in Paris, France. The main card airs on Showtime at 4 p.m. ET, while prelims kick off on YouTube at 11:30 a.m. ET. Bellator Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader defends against Cheick Kongo in the main event.
- Titan FC 76 takes place on Friday, May 6, airing at 5:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- PFL 2022 #3 takes place on Friday, May 6, from the Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The main card airs at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 & ESPN+, with prelims airing at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+. Kayla Harrison is in the main event, plus Anthony Pettis and Rory MacDonald also compete.
- FAC 13 takes place on Friday, May 6, from Independence, Missouri airing at 8:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- CES 68 takes place on Friday, May 6, from West Fargo, North Dakota airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- LFA 131 takes place on Friday, May 6, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Unified MMA 44 takes place on Friday, May 6, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada airing at 10:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Fury FC 61 takes place on Sunday, May 8, from Edinburg, Texas airing at 2:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
This week in MMA history
On May 8, 2010, one of those moments of sweet revenge took place at UFC 113 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The show drew 17,647 fans for a gate of $3.27 million. It also did 520,000 buys on pay-per-view.
In the main event, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua scored a first-round knockout of Lyoto Machida to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. The two had fought just over six months prior in a fight that ended with a controversial decision. Machida defeated Rua by decision at UFC 104 in October 2009 in a fight that the majority of people thought Rua won. He was granted an immediate rematch against Machida, and he left no doubt by finishing him in the first round to finally get UFC gold wrapped around his waist.
In the co-main event, Josh Koscheck scored a decision win over Paul Daley in a fight that is best known for Daley landing a punch way after the fight had ended, which caused Daley to be released from his UFC deal and banned from returning. Also on the main card, Jeremy Stephens won a split decision over Sam Stout, Matt Mitrione scored a second-round finish of the late Kimbo Slice, and Alan Belcher submitted Patrick Cote in the second round. Among the winners of the prelims included John Salter, Marcus Davis, Joey Beltran and future UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks.
You can watch UFC 113 on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look back at UFC on ESPN 35, look ahead to UFC 274 and a crazy week of MMA action, talk all of the UFC heavyweight division news, plus look at all of the other fight announcements over the past week. In The Clinch is part of The Fight Game Media Network of podcasts and is available FREE to listen to on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, plus as a member of our Patreon.