Tag Archives: Light Heavyweight

Jon Jones banned from Jackson Wink gym following latest arrest

Jon Jones has been suspended from his long-time gym by co-owner Mike Winklejohn following his most recent arrest for domestic violence.

The consensus greatest mixed martial artist of all-time had another run-in with the law after being inducted into the fight-wing of the UFC Hall of Fame on September 24th.

The long-time former light heavyweight champion was arrested and charged with felony injuring or tampering with a vehicle and misdemeanour battery domestic violence.

Police were called to a Las Vegas hotel when Jones’ fiance alleged that he had grabbed her by the hair, but not struck her. She was seen with swollen lips and blood on her clothes and hotel bed sheets, which led the police to arrest Jones. He denies harming her in any way.

This was the latest in a string of offences in Jones’ career with the law, which he addressed in a statement shortly after being released on a $5,000 bond.

“I have way too much trauma to consume alcohol, my brain simply can’t handle it anymore. I will leave alcohol in my past forever.”

But now, Jones has been banned from training in the gym until he does exactly that according to co-owner Winkeljohn. The long-time MMA coach was speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour when he revealed the news.

“I said, ‘Jon, here’s the deal, man. You’re like my little brother. You have to stop drinking and fix these things for a certain period of time until you come back to the gym,'” Winkeljohn said on the show.

“So, at the moment, he’s out of the gym. He’s not allowed to come in the gym, because I feel I had to do that. Ignoring it and expecting different results, as they say, is insanity.

Jones had been training at the gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico since the arrest but separate from the team.

A statement from the gym’s spokesperson said;

“Jon Jones has been temporarily suspended from training with the Jackson Wink Academy team. Coach Jackson and Coach Gibson will continue to train with Jon offsite as long as he keeps his commitment to a healthy and positive lifestyle.”

Jones responded to the news going public with a tweet on his official account, which he has since deleted, in which he described it as ‘heart-breaking’.

“Had a heartbreaking conversation over the phone with one of my longtime coaches last night, really hurts to lose the support of someone I respect so much. Sincere thank you to the rest of the coaches for staying in the fight with me. Our journey continues.”

Jones hasn’t fought since February 2020 when he controversially defeated Dominick Reyes via decision at UFC 247. He then relinquished his light-heavyweight title to pursue a move to heavyweight, but he is yet to debut after financial disagreements with the organisation.

UFC Vegas 38 Fallout: Winner of the main event? The rest of the division

UFC Vegas 38 produced an action-packed card with seven finishes (including a no contest) from 12 bouts but the main event that was supposed to produce fireworks barely produced sparks.

Thiago Santos fought against Johnny Walker in the highly anticipated main event in the light heavyweight division, with both guys having produced 30 knockout wins between them without mentioning the fact they’ve each been knocked out three times too.

The expectation was that both would step forward and throw explosive attacks that would eventually land clean and put one of them on the mat, but what we saw was 25 minutes of largely timid and tactical strategy from both guys as they looked to simply out-point each other.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a tentative approach when the person across the octagon is trying to take your head off and is very capable of doing so with one punch or kick.

Santos earned the win by landing the heavier shots of the fight throughout, but at no point were either fighter hurt or in any sort of real danger.

The win will keep him in the top five in the rankings but the real winners of this fight are the guys already ahead of him in the rankings.

Jan Blachowicz will defend his title against Glover Teixeira at the end of the month, with Jiri Prochazka the seemingly obvious next contender after his violent knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 251 and Dominick Reyes at UFC Vegas 25 in his two UFC outings.

Below him are two rivals who know each other well in Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith, who fought to a three-round main event decision back in August 2020. Rakic got the win that time and has since beaten Santos too, but the manner of the wins hasn’t been particularly entertaining and has arguably harmed his stock.

Smith is now on a three-fight win streak since his own skid, with wins over Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute at UFC 261 and Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 37. A rematch between Smith and Rakic now seems the most likely after their interactions on social media seemed to make clear they both were up for it.

So with Santos’ win, he doesn’t really meddle with any of those plans. Had he gone out there and taken Walker’s head off as he has done in the past with so many, including the champion Blachowicz once upon a time, then there would be more people calling for him to be involved in the title picture.

But with a lacklustre display, nobody is purring for him to be put into the mix. A win is a win, but in MMA it’s about how you win and Santos did himself no favours in reality with yet another timid performance, despite the change of result for the first time in four fights.

UFC Vegas 25 Fallout: Prochazka the scariest 205lber?

There is a new boogeyman in the UFC light heavyweight division and his name is Jiri Prochazka.

‘Denisa’ made it 12 wins in a row with 11 knockouts and two out of two in the UFC as he obliterated Dominick Reyes in the UFC Vegas 25 main event to send a message to his eastern European counterpart, champion Jan Blachowicz.

Prochazka channelled his “inner samurai” as he marched forward through Reyes’ best shots and performed brilliantly before a stunning spinning back elbow landed to put his lights out in the second round.

It was a huge performance from the former RIZIN light heavyweight champion, who made it 25 knockout wins from 28 career victories and made it three knockout losses in a row for Reyes who had challenged for the title in each of his last two fights.

Reyes started well, landing his left hand early, but Prochazka knew from that moment on that the power wasn’t enough to stop him. He just walked Reyes down from that point on, with his hands down and creating unorthodox angles for his attacks.

He busted Reyes’ nose once again and just poured on the pressure against him, forcing him backwards constantly and continuously hurting him with his heavy hands and kicks to the body.

He showed a granite chin, taking Reyes’ strikes that have knocked out many fighters in the past and just continuing to walk forward with reckless abandon.

After the fight he was touted as a potential contender for the champion Blachowicz, who will defend his title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 266 in September.

Prior to the bout, UFC president Dana White had suggested that the winner of this fight could get the next shot. After Prochazka got the win, the champion tweeted out a challenge for his title almost making it a guarantee.

But with that fight not due to happen until September, Aleksandar Rakic is likely to have something to say about that. A potential scenario that could come around is that Prochazka and Rakic face off in an eliminator bout, with the winner facing the winner of Blachowicz and Texieira at a later date.

Either way, Prochazka’s terminator-like style has put the entire division on notice and he is truly the boogeyman at 205lbs now.

In the co-main event Giga Chikadze announced himself too, with a stunning first-round KO win over the veterean Cub Swanson with a body kick.

Chikadze is now 6-0 in the UFC with two first round knockouts in his last two bouts and with a move up the rankings now expected, he moved to call out the top guys at the head of the table. The Georgian made calls to fight any of Max Holloway, Calvin Kattar or Yair Rodriguez next after a big win, but it seems unlikely that any of those will take place.

Chikadze could move in to the top ten and those three opponents are all in the top five of the division’s rankings and he’s likely to need another win before breaking into that echelon. With Shane Burgos and Edson Barboza fighting each other at UFC 262 in a couple of weeks, that could be the fight to make to see who can break into the top five.

Dominick Reyes looking to prove he’s still a contender at UFC Vegas 25

Once UFC 247 came to an end back in February 2020, it was a very common consensus that Dominick Reyes was going to be the UFC light heavyweight champion at some point.

He had just taken the G.O.A.T Jon Jones to the deepest, darkest point of his title reign and the majority of people saw the fight as a Reyes win. Unfortunately for him, the three most important people saw it in Jones’ favour and he suffered the first defeat of his career.

Then Jones vacated the belt and Reyes was installed as one of the contenders and people saw it as a coronation for him, when he fought Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253 in September 2020 on Fight Island.

Instead he succumbed to the legendary Polish power of Blachowicz as he was knocked out in the second round after suffering a broken nose and being knocked senseless.

It was seen as a great moment for the new champ, but for Reyes he was almost seen as a lost hope off the back of two defeats.

Some people said the Jones fight was his absolute peak and it was only downhill from there, while some were more realistic and said he just went into the fight believing his own hype. We’ll never know the truth, but UFC Vegas 25 is an opportunity for him to get back on track.

He’ll take on the highly rated Jiri Prochazka in the main event, knowing that the top of the division is rather slim pickings right now. Blachowicz beat Adesanya who stepped up from middleweight at UFC 259 and is now scheduled to fight Glover Teixeira in September at UFC 266.

After Teixeira, Aleksandar Rakic probably has the best chance at a title shot but a win for Reyes in this fight puts him right in the conversation.

Prochazka is an unorthodox striker who burst onto the scene at UFC 251 with a vicious knockout win over former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. He is a former RIZIN champion and has vast experience throughout his career with 24 knockout wins from 27 career victories.

Despite his standing in the UFC being new, make no mistake about how big a win this would be for Reyes’ career. It’s hard to argue that it would in fact be his biggest.

Both men will come with strike heavy approaches and we’ve now seen Reyes be chin-checked and fail that test. He needs to come back from the defeat to Blachowicz with a sharper tool set and look to use his good wrestling and kicks too.

A defeat for Reyes would throw him way down the rankings and he would absolutely need to re-build the hype that he generated in the build-up to his title shot. A win however, throws him right back in the mix.

This is do-or-die for ‘The Devastator’ and he knows it. The pressure is high and he says he thrives in it, so now is the time to show it. He has to show the world and prove to himself that he is still a top contender at 205lbs, or face having to rebuild his career just 14 months after hitting the pinnacle.

Jan Blachowicz to defend light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 266

The light heavyweight division will continue to move in 2021 after it was announced that Jan Blachowicz will defend his title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 266 in September.

The 38-year-old champion won the belt for the first time in his career with a knockout win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 last September after Jon Jones vacated the title to move up to heavyweight.

He then made history in the first defence of his crown at UFC 259 in March, becoming the first man to defeat Israel Adesanya as the middleweight champion moved up to 205lbs to try and become a simultaneous champion.

Adesanya opted to move up after clearing out the 185lbs division, which meant that Brazilian veteran Teixeira was forced to wait for his chance at the title.

Teixeira is 41-years-old now but is currently enjoying a big five-fight win streak since 2019 including a knockout win over former title contenders Anthony Smith and then most recently a submission win over Thiago Santos at UFC Vegas 13.

He previously fought for the title in 2014 against Jon Jones, but was dominated to a five-round decision defeat at UFC 172.

Both men had expressed an interest in fighting each other prior to the Adesanya bout rearing it’s head and after Blachowicz secured the huge win and it became clear that Jones has no interest in returning to light heavyweight, this was the obvious fight to make on both sides.

Blachowicz has shown a well-rounded game during this five-fight win streak of his own, with three of those wins coming via knockout to add to his nine career submission wins before that. He has shown an excellent fight IQ to mix up his attacks and has proven that he is a more than credible threat and a legitimate champion.

For Teixeira, he’s turned his game on its head recently. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert, Glover had previously been known more for his brilliant boxing ability. But three of his last five wins have come via submission and he will need to mix up his game for this upcoming title fight in September to get the better of the legendary Polish power.

Israel Adesanya could become the best dual-weight champion in UFC history

The biggest and best card of the year, undoubtedly, takes place this weekend at UFC 259 and will be headlined by a super-fight between the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya challenging for the light heavyweight title against Jan Blachowicz.

Both fighters last competed back at UFC 253, where Blachowicz knocked out Dominick Reyes to win the vacant light heavyweight title after Jon Jones planned to move up to heavyweight. In the very next fight on the card, Adesanya cemented his run as the best middleweight champion since Anderson Silva with a stunning knockout win over rival Paulo Costa inside two rounds.

After cleaning out the division, ‘The Last Stylebender’ made the decision to move up a division instead of fighting Robert Whittaker again – the man he beat to become the undisputed champion.

He was supposed to fight Jon Jones in this super-fight. That was always his plan. That’s why he picked a fight with ‘Bones’ before he even became the middleweight champion.

But with Jones opting to move to heavyweight after cleaning out the 205lbs weight class, a fight seems further away than ever before from happening. But that didn’t stop Adesanya from making the move anyway, where he will take on Blachowicz’s ‘Polish power’ to become only the fifth dual-weight simultaneous champion in the history of the company.

Amazingly, the talk is that Adesanya isn’t planning to put on any weight for his fight up a division – despite the 20lbs difference between the weight classes.

It’s expected that the 31-year-old will instead just not cut any weight for the fight, which should still see him weigh in way below the limit considering he’s previously weighed in for title fights as low as 183lbs. After an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he revealed he usually walks around at around 203lbs so don’t be surprised to see a similar sort of weigh in weight.

Many people seem to be looking at this fight as a crowning for Adesanya, with Blachowicz being overlooked and almost looked at as a paper champion.

He never beat the previous champion to win the belt and the wide assumption is that Adesanya is going to come in and take the belt that he worked for over 13 years to earn as a professional fighter.

Blachowicz is going to be the biggest man he has fought in the UFC and by quite some distance. He has a huge power advantage, he’s more durable than most and he’s also an effective grappler if he needs to be, despite preferring a stand up war. He’s also vastly experienced in MMA in comparison to Adesanya.

That’s not to say Adesanya doesn’t have the ability to win. He has a speed and technical advantage while also having arguably the best striking techniques in the entire sport – regardless of weight class.

He’s also got one of the best brains for mixed martial arts too and while he’s never seen to be ‘picking his battles’ per say, he definitely knows which fights will be easier for him than others. He knew he’d be able to walk through Costa, he knew he’d have a war on his hands against Gastelum and he knows he can beat Blachowicz.

If he does get the win, Adesanya could be the man to become a really dominant two-weight world champion in a similar way to Amanda Nunes for the women. He could bounce between the weights, has shown a willingness to be active constantly throughout his career and has never turned down opponents before.

As Conor McGregor’s star begins to fade and Jones’ accolades come into question more and more with each poor performance, Adesanya is on the verge of becoming the biggest star in the sport.

Fights to make in 2021 – Israel Adesanya vs Jon Jones

2021 is promising to be the biggest year in UFC history in terms of match ups, but also potentially in super fights too.

President Dana White has already announced that Israel Adesanya will move up to light heavyweight in March to take on Jan Blachowicz in a champion vs champion fight, as he looks to stay unbeaten and become a double champ.

He’ll fight Blachowicz who won the title by knocking out Dominick Reyes at UFC 253, the same event that Adesanya knocked out Paulo Costa to retain his middleweight title.

It must be noted though that Blachowicz was fighting for a vacant title, because Jon Jones relinquished.

After reigning at the top of the 205lbs division for the best part of ten years, Jones decided to vacate his title and move up to heavyweight to pursue a second championship having beaten everyone there is to beat.

That didn’t stop the war of words between Adesanya and Jones though, which has been brewing for a couple of years now on social media. Both men have got personal with their insults and while they respect each other’s fighting ability privately, publicly it’s an all-out war.

UFC 236: Gastelum v Adesanya : News Photo

The expectation is that Adesanya will beat Blachowicz, although it’s far from a given, and if he does then it opens up the opportunity for Jones to come back down and fight him for the title.

While Jones has stated that his move to heavyweight is a permanent one, the idea of being paid mega money to come back to his natural weight class one last time, to beat a man he hates could be appealing.

Both men want the fight, Dana White said it’s the fight he would make before any other if he could and the fans are desperate to see it too.

The Last Stylebender is undefeated and Jones is widely regarded as the greatest of all time, with the only loss on his record being a ridiculous disqualification many moons ago.

It would not only be an entertaining fight between two superstars of the sports world, but it would be highly competitive.

If the opportunity arises, the UFC should do anything and everything they can to ensure this fight happens in 2021.

Who will be a male UFC champion in 2021?

As 2020 comes to an end, the UFC hasn’t seen much change at the top of each of its weight divisions this year.

Stipe Miocic retained his heavyweight title by defeating Daniel Cormier in their trilogy fight in August, while Israel Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight crown twice against Yoel Romero (UFC 248) and Paulo Costa (UFC 253).

Kamaru Usman is still the king of the welterweights, winning his only fight of the year by defeating Jorge Masvidal in dominant fashion at UFC 251 while Khabib Nurmagomedov choked out Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 to retain the lightweight title.

Featherweight’s hierarchy remains unchanged too, as Alexander Volkanovski beat Max Holloway at UFC 251 in their rematch via split decision.

The only new champions we saw in the UFC this year came due to the title being relinquished by whoever carried the belt into 2020, thus becoming vacant.

Henry Cejudo relinquished the flyweight belt at the end of 2019, which allowed Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo to fight for it twice. He vacated the bantamweight title after beating former champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 before retiring from the sport.

Jon Jones vacated the light heavyweight strap to chase the heavyweight belt, something we expect him to do at some point in 2021. That allowed Jan Blachowicz the chance to claim the crown, by knocking out Dominick Reyes at UFC 253.

But who will take the crowns in 2021?

At flyweight, if Figueiredo can navigate the rematch against Moreno then it’s hard to see anyone beating him. Garbrandt would likely be next in line, moving down from 135lbs, but with a 10lbs cut and with how easily he gets hit it’s hard to look past Figueiredo knocking him out and reigning supreme for years to come.

UFC 250: Sterling v Sandhagen : News Photo

At bantamweight, Aljamain Sterling has a great chance of taking the belt in 2021. He is scheduled to take on Petr Yan at some point and stylistically has a great chance of taking Yan to the ground and securing a submission. On the feet he can hang too with his range management and it should be a great fight.

The returning TJ Dillashaw will also have a say in where the belt goes in the new year. The former champion has been suspended for two years for a failed drug test, but is available again from January to return. He has been linked with a fight against Jose Aldo in his comeback and a win in that fight could put him right back into title contention.

Cory Sandhagen, Frankie Edgar and Rob Font could all also potentially be just one win away from a title fight too in what should be a stunning year for the 135lbs division.

At featherweight, Alexander Volkanovski has moved on from Max Holloway for now and is expected to make his next title defence against Brian Ortega. T-City showed a new and improved striking game when he dismantled ‘Korean Zombie’ and is a genuine threat to Volkanovski’s reign. Zabit Magomedsharipov is also waiting in the wings and another win in 2021 will likely see him enter title contention, while the chances of Max Holloway re-entering the frame are possible too.

Overall, I think that Volkanovski has all the tools to hold on to his strap for as long as he wants to. He has striking and wrestling and a durability that makes it hard to stop him. Unless he gets back in there with Holloway for a third time, expect Volkanovski to retain throughout the year.

UFC 205: Alvarez v McGregor : News Photo

Lightweight will almost certainly see a new champion at some point in 2021. Khabib Nurmagomedov retired after his last fight, but Dana White seems confident that he can lure the undefeated champion back for one more fight. If he’s successful, then Khabib will likely retire following that fight which means a vacant title later in the year. If not, then the title will be vacated sooner and a title fight could be made in the summer featuring the winner of Poirier/McGregor and another top lightweight such as Gaethje, Oliveira, Chandler or Hooker.

My money is on a return to the top for McGregor. The fight against Poirier is huge, but the fact he has beaten him before is a big advantage for him. A win guarantees him the next title shot, whether it’s against Khabib or not. If it is, he’ll lose again. But if it isn’t, he has a skillset that can cope with almost anyone else except possibly Charles Oliveira.

At welterweight, the division is stacked but it’s firmly in Kamaru Usman’s hands. The Nigerian Nightmare has defended his belt successfully twice since dethroning Tyron Woodley and is set to defend against Gilbert Burns next. His skillset is so dominant though, and he is so strong and powerful that I don’t see a 170lber in the world, never mind the UFC, that beats Usman any time soon.

Moving up to 185lbs, I expect this division will likely be on hold for the majority of 2021. Adesanya will be moving up to light heavyweight to take on Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March and I expect him to be too fast and too slick for the Polish veteran. That would see him become a double champion and with more contender at 205lbs rather than 185lbs, if he is to fight again it’ll probably be at light heavyweight.

Should he end up vacating the 185lbs title, Robert Whittaker will step into any title fight as the favourite. Paulo Costa, Darren Till, Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland could all end up in the title picture with him with one more win in the new year although I would expect ‘The Reaper’ to come out on top against them all.

UFC 247: Jones v Reyes : News Photo

At heavyweight, Stipe Miocic has reigned supreme now for four of the last five years and has lost just once since 2014. He will fight Francis Ngannou for a second time in the first quarter of 2021 and should he get through that bout, which isn’t a given by any stretch, a fight against Jon Jones awaits.

As good as Miocic is, Jon Jones is undefeated but for a dodgy disqualification and has done nothing but fight for titles since 2010. A move up to heavyweight could cement him in the conversation as the greatest of all time if he is successful and he certainly has the skillset to defeat anyone in the world.

Jones’ wrestling, striking, range management, durability and experience could see him reign supreme among the big men for a long time and I think that starts in 2021.

Yoel Romero Agrees to Join Bellator Following UFC Release

Yoel Romero has agreed to join Bellator following his release from the UFC earlier this month.

The 43 year-old middleweight was released from his contract with three fights remaining on his deal, as Dana White admitted the company was looking to make ‘serious cuts’ at the end of what has been a tough year for sport.

It was originally announced that Bellator and ONE Championship had passed on the option to sign Romero, who has lost four of his last five fights.

However it was announced on Monday that Bellator have now gone back on their initial decision and agreed terms with Romero to join the promotion, with a deal to be signed imminently.

The big difference between his UFC stint and his upcoming Bellator stint is that he will be moving up to light heavyweight in this new chapter of his career.

While the length of his deal is unknown at the moment, it’s expected that Romero will be pushed towards the top of the division along with fellow new signing Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.

‘Soldier of God’ Romero is widely regarded as one of the best UFC fighters to never have won a UFC championship, despite having competed for the belt on four occasions. He competed for the middleweight championship most recently in March, losing a unanimous decision to Israel Adesanya in a rather forgettable fight.

Romero will now likely make his Bellator debut in early 2021, as he works towards a light heavyweight title shot against new champion Vadim Nemkov.

UFC Vegas 16 Fallout: Vettori Moves Into Top Five, Hill Arrives

The UFC has welcomed a new contender in the middleweight division after Marvin Vettori toppled Jack Hermansson in one of the best middleweight bouts of the year at UFC Vegas 16.

The Italian stepped in on short-notice to fight ‘Joker’ after both Darren Till and Kevin Holland were forced to withdraw from the bout through injury and COVID-19, and was super impressive as he stood his ground and came away with a comfortable decision victory.

In the opening round he consistently found a home for his straight left hand and when he closed the distance he was even able to score a knockdown, then control Hermansson on the ground and stay out of danger for the most part.

That opened up a pattern in the fight and while he lost the third round for sure when he began to tire, he seemed to find a second wind in the fourth and fifth and was able to continue at a pace that meant he could get the win.

His striking was enough to break the orbital bone of Hermansson, as confirmed by the Norwegian himself after the game, and Vettori will now move up into the top five in the rankings following a fourth-straight win.

After the fight he called for a bout with Paulo Costa, who is currently ranked number two behind Robert Whittaker. Costa’s last fight saw him completely dominated by champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 in September, although he has called for an immediate rematch with claims he was injured prior to the bout.

With Adesanya likely to move up to light heavyweight for a super-fight against Jan Blachowicz, the middleweight division is at a bit of a stand-still. Robert Whittaker has earned himself the next title shot after wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, while Costa and Vettori will likely make up the top five now.

In the co-main event Jamahal Hill announced his arrival in the UFC with a huge win over Ovince Saint-Preux, where he out-struck the veteran for a very impressive second round knockout win.

Hill stayed at range and used his hands in combinations, stunning the 40-fight veteran on several occasions. He was physically strong in clinch positions and has previously spoken about his ground game being good, although we’re yet to see it ourselves.

He will now likely break into the Top 15, replacing ‘OSP’ and will look to the next challenge. Potential opponents could include Jimmy Crute, who broke into the rankings himself with his most recent win. Both fighters are undefeated so the UFC could look to keep them apart for a bit longer but Hill has well and truly arrived in the division now.