Tag Archives: UFC 260

What’s next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 269 win?

The ‘Suga’ show once again delivered a spectacular performance in front of a sell-out crowd at UFC 269 as Sean O’Malley earned yet another highlight-reel victory against Raulian Paiva.

The two bantamweights went head-to-head in the main card opener at the T-Mobile arena, with O’Malley securing a third straight knockout victory when he launched a stunning combination at Paiva in the first round.

With 2022 just around the corner and ‘Suga’ almost certain to move into the rankings following this win, who should the UFC be looking at matching him up with going forward? Lets take a look at some options.

Pedro Munhoz

If the UFC fancy giving him a real push in 2022 as expected, then the veteran that is Pedro Munhoz would be a great option.

Both fought at UFC 269 and Munhoz found himself on the losing end of a decision against Dominick Cruz. He has never been finished in his professional MMA career and has excellent power in his hands and jiu-jitsu skills that would give O’Malley something to think about.

He currently sits in the top ten so it may be one too soon, but it’s surely a fight that would interest both guys.

Adrian Yanez

These two have been going back and forth on social media and are two of the very best prospects the UFC have to offer. The fact they compete in the same division makes it even more exciting.

Both of these two have made a real name for themselves by knocking their foes out in the UFC and both are looking to move into the ranked conversations next year and make a push to be a contender.

But with Yanez unranked, it would seem a backward step to pair them together now despite the fact they both want it. Maybe that’s one for 2023 if they keep winning..

Frankie Edgar

The veteran has found himself on a bad run over his last five fights. He was beaten handily by Max Holloway and Korean Zombie in 2019 before moving to bantamweight in 2020, earning a solitary yet controversial decision win over Munhoz.

Since then though he was KO’d violently by both Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Vera and has found himself on the edge of the rankings. A fight between himself and O’Malley would see if he can really still cut it, while also giving O’Malley a big name and a test against a ranked fighter.

This may be the most logical fight the UFC could make, although it’s probably not quite as exciting as some of the others mentioned.

Song Yadong

A super young prospect with plenty of experience, this fight would undoubtedly produce fireworks.

Both guys love to stand and strike, have genuine knockout power and have a super bright future if you ask anyone that knows the sport. The UFC could look to keep these two apart because of how popular they are, saving it for a future date instead with higher stakes.

If that isn’t part of their thinking though, this could be the best fight for the fans and for O’Malley too.

Sean O’Malley masterpiece should set up clash with Dominick Cruz next

It’s safe to say that the ‘Suga Show’ had a grand re-opening at UFC 260 as Sean O’Malley made his return and picked up an impressive win against Thomas Almeida.

O’Malley put on a striking masterclass throughout his three round bout which ended with yet another highlight reel knockout victory in the third and final round, having learnt his lesson earlier in the fight about walking off before the job was done.

In the first round O’Malley scored a beautiful knockdown and chose to opt for a walk-off knockout win, but the referee refused to wave off the fight and Almeida was able to recover. In the third round when he knocked Almeida down again, he did the same thing and once again the referee didn’t call if off.

So O’Malley literally strolled over to Almeida who was staring at the ceiling and landed one huge right hand to close the show. ‘Suga’ was back with a literal bang.

In his post-fight interview he explained his reasons for going for the walk-off KO and for the flashy techniques he uses. It all matches up quite well with the persona he has created but also with exactly what fans want.

“If I wanted to get on him and get a TKO finish, I could’ve jumped on him and did that in the first round. That’s not what I’m in there for, I’m in there to put people’s lights out and I want to go viral.

“Like I said, I have 15 minutes in there, why end it in three minutes in the first round when I am still having fun in there, I just broke a sweat… I need to get in there and have some fun, you only get to fight a couple of times of a year.”

He earned the viral moment he craved, but more importantly he got himself back in the win column en route to the title that he is targeting. So what next?

As Dana White said, the rematch against Marlon Vera is always there for them. The two fought at UFC 252 and when Vera kicked O’Malley in the leg and made it numb after it affected the nerve, he was able to hand him his first defeat of his career with a knockout in the first round.

Since then Vera has been beaten by Jose Aldo, which could potentially set up a rematch with the two to try and break in towards the top five.

While it’s possible, it seems unlikely right now. O’Malley is a very big name and now that he’s back on the winning trail the UFC will want to continue building him as the superstar he is, so a bigger name is likely to be on his radar.

The name that makes the most sense now is former champion and recently returned Dominick Cruz.

Cruz fought Casey Kenney back at UFC 259 after back-to-back defeats and almost a year away from the octagon. He turned the clock back and showed his fancy footwork and wrestling is still as effective as always with a decision victory and after the fight didn’t call anyone out in particular – other than Monster’s Hans Monlenkamp.

UFC 260: O'Malley v Almeida : News Photo

This has left the window open for ‘Suga’ to make his move for a mega-fight, and he’s taken it. Speaking after his fight at UFC 260, O’Malley made his case for a fight against the legendary ‘Dominator’.

With Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor now likely to complete their trilogy at UFC 264 in July, O’Malley wants to place himself in the spotlight by being the co-main event for the fight.

“The second after you fight the question is, who’s next? I heard Dominick Cruz texted Chael Sonnen saying he wanted that fight. So, I don’t know if Chael got a prank text for a fake Dom or if that’s real. That’s a potential matchup.

“I know Dustin Poirier tweeted the other day, July 10, so I think I’m a pretty good co-main event type dude,” O’Malley continued. “Dustin vs. Conor, Suga vs. Dominick, I don’t know, that makes sense, that might be it. July, we’ll see. I definitely want to get in there a couple more times this year.”

The fight would absolutely make a lot of sense for both parties too. Cruz is determined to get back into the title picture after proving he isn’t ready to be seen as a gatekeeper yet, while O’Malley is arguably the most popular fighter in the division right now.

Stylistically it’s an exciting fight for the fans but also it would serve as the perfect co-main event to the Poirier vs McGregor trilogy. O’Malley has previously appeared on the undercard of several top pay-per-views and was scheduled for the McGregor undercard against Donald Cerrone, only for his suspension issues to come to the fore once again.

Now he is back in full flow and with his popularity eerily similar to that of McGregor in his earlier UFC career, it’s a no-brainer to make this bout happen.

Jon Jones and Dana White feud continues over heavyweight title shot

UFC president Dana White and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ war of words continued following UFC 260 as Francis Ngannou was crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic with a stunning performance to earn himself a second-round knockout, setting up a potential fight with ‘Bones’ Jones in the summer. Jones is set to move up to heavyweight after dominating the light heavyweight division in the UFC since signing with the company in 2008.

Jones has officially only ever been beaten once in his career, via disqualification after he landed some illegal elbows in a fight he was completely dominating. Since then he is unbeaten, first winning the UFC title in 2011 to become the youngest ever champion in the companies history. He had only ever lost the title by being stripped for out-of-cage issues including drug tests and run-ins with the law until he vacated the belt last summer.

After taking time away from the cage to be able to put the weight on for his move up the weight classes, Jones was declared as next in line by Dana White ahead of UFC 260’s main event.

Jones has always stated that while he is interested in competing with the UFC’s biggest fighters at championship level, the money has to be right for him to be able to do so. White intimated during the post-fight presser that Jones was using this as an excuse not to fight, potentially out of fear because of how scary the new champion Ngannou is.

After Jones watched ‘The Predator’ decapitate Miocic in the second round, he tweeted out “show me the money” to indicate his interest in a bout.

Dana White replied to this tweet directly in the post-fight presser, joking that if he were Jones “he’d be looking to move to 185.” Jones quickly responded to that tweet saying, “Go to 185? I didn’t gain all this weight for no reason!”

White followed up in his press conference by stating that it’s easy to say you want the fight but to hide behind excuses, citing Derrick Lewis as the next fight to make if the Jones bout couldn’t get done.

“Derrick Lewis is the fight to make, but if Jon Jones really wants that fight, and listen, it’s one thing to go out and tweet and say you want it, and I put on the weight and this and that – do you want the fight?

I promise you we can call Derrick Lewis or one of these other heavyweights and they want the fight.

“If Jon Jones really wants the fight, Jon Jones knows he can get the fight. All he’s got to do is call and do it. It’s easy to say you want the fight, but if you really want the fight, Francis Ngannou is the heavyweight champion of the world right now. All he’s got to do is pick up the phone and call [UFC EVP and Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell] and we can get the deal done.”

Jones would respond on social media once again, stating his reasons for financial incentive rather than just glory.

Jones would go on to further defend his position, stating that it has nothing to do specifically with Ngannou being the champion and is more to do with his position as the consensus greatest of all-time.

The 33-year-old went on to add that he felt White’s comments were ‘disrespectful’ and a ‘slap in the face’ when he feels he has gone about doing things the right way.

It certainly seems as though this is a firm negotiating stance from both sides that is unlikely to find a solution any time soon without some serious talks going down first. Ngannou admitted that the Jones fight is the one he likes most and believes should happen next, but did also say that he is a company man and wants to remain active so will fight whoever the UFC tell him to.

With a July or August date pencilled in by the new champion for his first defence, there is time for something to be ironed out by all parties to find an agreement.

UFC 260 Fallout – Ngannou flattens Stipe, Woodley finished?

There is a brand new baddest man on the planet and his name is Francis Ngannou.

The Cameroon-born Parisian fighter showed just how far he has come in the last three years as he managed to keep the consensus greatest heavyweight of all-time to just 12 significant strikes en route to a second round knockout victory.

It was a sign of just how much improvement the 34 year old has made since the first meeting between the two, as he was patient and dangerous while showing improved grappling skills.

Ngannou landed some heavy shots early on and when Miocic did shoot for a takedown, ‘The Predator’ was not only able to lift him back up and sprawl down to stuff it but he floated and was able to take the former champion’s back and land some heavy ground and pound of his own.

As soon as that moment happened, Miocic looked like a deer in the headlights and just wasn’t able to get going. Ngannou was so much bigger, so much stronger, so much more powerful and just seemed more game throughout.

Miocic deserves some credit though, as he ate some of Ngannou’s biggest shots including a flush head kick and was durable early until Ngannou went for the kill. A short left hook from Ngannou was the final nail in the coffin of Miocic’s title reign, with the punch while he was unconscious was the exclamation point on what is now the era of the African champion in the UFC.

He becomes the third African champion in UFC history, alongside welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Speaking in the post-fight press conference, he gave some inspirational words about his rise from the streets of Paris and spoke positively of the defeat he suffered three years ago in his first title fight – essentially calling it the biggest lesson of his career so far.

“I’ve never been shy about it. I think it was just so tough for me, I didn’t like to think about it. At some point I felt like it was a moment I want to erase from my life but you know, moving on, I understood that this also made me who I am today.

“A lot of people also go through that, the same struggle as me, you know, didn’t have a chance. Every kid should at least have a chance to enjoy his childhood then become an adult who is in charge of his life so he can take action and be responsible for his life.

But for those who are in the same situation, I mean I can’t do anything but if I can tell somebody something it’s you know, keep moving. Believe. It’s not fair, I know, but it’s not your fault. Sometimes you feel like it’s your fault as a kid but it’s not your fault that you can’t afford a scholarship. It’s not your duty… Just keep moving and try to do your best. That’s what you can hold yourself accountable for, for not trying. But if you try and still don’t succeed, that’s not your fault.

Elsewhere on the card, Tyron Woodley fell to a fourth consecutive defeat in the welterweight division since losing his title back in 2019 when he was submitted by Vicente Luque in the first round.

Woodley was true to his word and came out very aggressively, attempting to use his wrestling skills before landing heavy strikes with his hands to rock the Brazilian. But as he loaded up a big, looping right hand to try and finish the fight, Luque was able to return with a right hook of his own that essentially put Woodley out on his feet.

He was able to keep landing big punches before eventually locking up a d’arce choke to force the tap out win. After the fight Luque moved to call Nate Diaz for a big clash at 170lbs while UFC president Dana White hinted that it could be time for the former champion to retire. Woodley said after the fight on Instagram that “it was going well until it wasn’t,” but he doesn’t regret his approach.

“Sh*t was going really well until it wasn’t. My camp pushed me in ways I haven’t been pushed in a while. I committed, and swore to myself I would bring the tiger out that earned me gold. I saw the opportunity for the KO and got too excited. Paid a big cost.

“I don’t regret my aggression as that’s what God created me to do. [Luque] is a tough and humble fighter. Was an honor to share the cage with you tonight.”

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 – Results (Highlights)


Marc-Andre Barriault def Abu Azaitar via Knockout, Round 3 (4:56)

Fast start to the bout for Azaitar as he comes out with some powerful hooks to begin but they miss the target for the most part. Barriault throws a hook back that makes Azaitar lose his balance and the two clinch up against the cage but Barriault accidentally lands a low blow for a short pause in the action. Azaitar comes forward very aggressively once more, with flurrys that end with a nice knee to the body before another clinch. Nice elbow in the clinch from Barriault but Azaitar responds with a big knee in the clinch that lands flush. Azaitar working the body well as they clinch up once again and staying very busy as we enter the final 90 seconds of the round. More knees to the body in the clinch from Azaitar but Barriault stay in there and eating, while returning with shots of his own. Nice counter left from Barriault lands in an exchange but Azaitar should take that round. 10-9.

Barriault takes the centre at the start of this round and is landing his jab well early on as Azaitar looks considerably slower than the first round. Barriault landing the better shots but then Azaitar comes forward with a nice leg kick. Azaitar throws a big hook that lands and wobbles Barriault, but he continues to come forward and continues to push a fast pace. Azaitar looks for a takedown, which his corner isn’t happy about, but Barriault defends it well to keep the fight standing. Big one-two lands from Barriault as Azaitar takes a big deep breath and is slowing down a lot. Nice uppercut lands from Azaitar and then a front kick lands but he’s very lathargic with his strikes and Barriault is walking him down now with big right hands. Barriault slips a left hook and lands three strikes in a row that wobble Azaitar but he’s staying in there and survives the round! 19-19.

Barriault takes the centre at the start of the third round and eats a big leg kick to make up ground and start landing big right hands. Azaitar is stiffened up and is fighting purely off instinct right now. Barriault lands a big right hand that drops Azaitar but the referee doesn’t stop it. Azaitar spits out his mouth guard with Barriault on top landing ground and pound and the referee stops the fight to allow him to put it back in and then the ground and pound continues, with Barriault landing huge shots. Azaitar continuing to move but it’s pure instinct and he’s taking a battering right now. This fight could be stopped at any moment but Azaitar is trying to move away. Barriault keeps landing huge strikes on the ground but the referee is letting them go with 30 seconds to go. Barriault is battering him and somehow Azaitar is surviving but the referee ends the bout with four seconds remaining! Huge win for the Canadian.


Omar Morales def Shane Young via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Slow fight to this bout as both men engage in a feeling out process, both circling and flicking jabs but not going too hard. Young checks a leg kick from Morales and then both continue to just throw out feelers. Young pushes forward for a takedown against the cage but Morales defends well, puts in a body lock and reverses the position before picking up and dropping Young. Young gets back to his feet quickly and they clinch up against the cage to a stalemate as we enter the final minute of the round. Morales lands a nice uppercut as Young tries to enter for another takedown and they clinch up once more as the round ends. 10-9 Morales, but close.

Second round starts and Morales throws a leg kick pretty early that gets caught and Young immediately moves into top position. Morales defending off his back and as Young moves for a leg lock, Morales is able to stuff it and get back to his feet quickly. Morales doing well on the feet with a nice jab and some good leg kicks too, but Young is checking them well and closing the distance well. Young shoots in for a takedown again but Morales defends it well, then throws a knee that just misses. Morales takes the centre well and forces Young backwards then lands a nice leg kick, followed by an uppercut that Young just eats. Two jabs and then a one-two from Morales lands clean and forces Young backwards again. Morales pours on the pressure towards the end of the round with his right hand and a knee attempt as they end in a clinch. 20-18 Morales for me.

Morales looks to take the centre early in the third round and throws his jab well, but Young does well to change it around and they clinch in the centre. Morales is able to get a trip and gets into a dominant position in side control, but Young is able to scramble and chase a single leg takedown of his own to get back to his feet. They clinch against the cage again and Young shows a physical strength advantage, but Morales lands a couple of nice leg kicks as they separate and fighting well behind his jab. Nice right hand lands from Morales as we enter the final minute, but Young keeps coming forward and then ducks a high kick to look for a takedown but Morales defends well to end the fight and likely take the win. 30-27 Morales.

Michal Oleksiejczuk def Modestas Bukauskas via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Bukauskas opens the fight with a spinning heel kick that misses by a matter of inches, before Michal steps forward and lands a big left hand early. BUkauskas lands a decent right hand but Michal is walking him towards the cage well. Bukauskas shoots for a takedown but it’s well stuffed, before a clinch exchange allows Bukauskas to show his strength advantage as he powers him all the way across the octagon. Bukauskas lands a nice right hand flush and then steps forward with a nice flurry that hurts Michal! He goes for a finish but Michal defends well and recovers. Bukauskas throws a straight that Michal slips and throws a big overhand left that lands clean! Michal starts walking Bukauskas backwards again and misses with a left hand but then lands a nice right hand. Bukauskas throwing lots of kicks to try and maintain the distance but Michal continues to step forward and close it. Both men land a few more shots and Bukauskas ends the round with a head kick that is partially blocked. Really competitive round, I lean 10-9 to Bukauskas.

Second round is more of the same, as Michal comes forward and throws lots of hooks but Bukauskas continues to circle on the outside and uses his length well to keep a distance. Michal keeps marching forward and lands a nice left hand but Bukauskas eats it well. Michal throws it again and lands flush on the chin, but Bukauskas continues to move well and then throws a nice front kick to the body. Bukauskas lands two straight rights nicely then misses a wild overhand, as Michal looks to grab a leg but does nothing with is. Bukauskas lands a nice lead elbow but Michal clinches up and eats it, before Bukauskas shows the physicality advantage again and is able to reverse the position and then separate. Bukauskas lands a head kick and then ends with a round with a big flurry of hooks that land, but Michal still there and probably takes that round. 19-19 for me but it’s close.

Bukauskas and Michal in the final round following a similar pattern to the previous two, with Bukauskas circling on the outside. Both men throw a right hook but it’s Bukauskas who lands better and then he follows it up with a straight and an uppercut too. Michal goes in for a body lock looking for a takedown but Bukauskas defends it really well and uses the cage well to keep the fight standing. Michal throws a couple of knees but nothing that troubles Bukauskas who is able to separate and is starting to land some good strikes of his own. Michal continues to march forward but Bukauskas is happy to trade with him now as we enter the final 90 seconds. Big right hook lands from Michal but Bukauskas eats it and throws a right hand of his own. Michal throws a huge uppercut to the body that has really hurt Bukauskas but Michal hasn’t noticed how hurt he is and both men go out swinging as the fight goes the distance. Great fight, 29-28 Bukauskas for me.

Abubakar Nurmagomedov def Jared Gooden via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Gooden opens up the round super relaxed, carrying his hands down by his hips ready for any takedown attempts and throwing some jabs that immediately redden the eye of Nurmagomedov. Gooden has a big speed advantage and is able to get in and out quickly but Nurmagomedov not rushing for any grappling and is throwing his jab very well too. Nurmagomedov closes the distance and lands a big one-two flush on Gooden’s chin that rocks him! He closes the distance and looks to take the fight down but Gooden is able to escape quickly. Nurmagomedov throws a strong leg kick and then a big knee in the clinch too. Another jab from Nurmagomedov has Gooden backing up and he’s now started to carry his hands a bit higher in respect of Nurmagomedov’s strikes. A big left hook from Nurmagomedov lands again and he just misses with a follow up head kick, then ends the round with a nice jab. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov takes the centre in the second round and lands his jab well once again as Gooden starts to throw his right hand some more. Nurmagomedov steps back and slips the punches brilliantly before landing a nice right hand of his own. Nurmagomedov is piecing Gooden up on the feet right now, completely dominating the striking exchanges. Big right hand lands and then throws a huge head kick that lands and hurts Gooden! Nurmagomedov backs Gooden against the cage and looks for a clinch, throwing elbows and a nice left hand. Gooden can’t get near him right now as he eats another jab flush to the nose. Big left hand lands clean on Gooden whose chin is holding up well right now as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov using his jab once again early on, completing in control of the striking exchanges. Gooden takes the centre and loads up a nice uppercut but Nurmagomedov shoots in for a takedown and ends up with a body lock on the back. He picks him up and drops him down, but Gooden does well to get back to his feet before Nurmagomedov shoots in for a takedown once again and ends up on top. Gooden throwing great elbows from the bottom but Nurmagomedov eating them well and controlling the position before landing some ground and pound of his own. He steps over into half guard and starts setting up an arm triangle, but Gooden is aware and defending it well. Both men throwing body strikes on the ground as we enter the final minute of the round. Nurmagomedov controls the position for the remainder of the round and should take a comfortable decision win.

Alonzo Menifield def Fabio Cherant via Submission (Von Flue Choke), Round 1 (1:11)

Menifield comes out flying with a big one two and then goes for a takedown early. Cherant looks to lock up a guillotine but Menifield is able to turn him and slam him down with a big takedown into side control. Cherant keeps hold of the neck, all the while Menifield is synching in a Von Flue choke. He gets it tight and heavy and Cherant has no choice but to tap out! What a win for Menifield!


Jamie Mullarkey def Khama Worthy via Knockout, Round 1 (0:46)

Fast start to the round for both guys as Mullarkey lands a nice left hand early before Worthy responds with a couple of jabs. Mullarkey fakes a couple of shots and then throws a big, tight left hook that catches Worthy on the chin and gets him wobbling and faceplants! Mullarkey rushes in with a few ground and pound strikes and the referee steps in the wave it off! Huge win for Mullarkey!

Miranda Maverick def Gillian Robertson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Nice active start to the fight from both ladies, with Maverick throwing nice combinations early and staying out of range of Robertson’s attacks. Maverick holding the centre well and and landing the better strikes in the exchanges on the feet, but Robertson not backing up too much and throwing some strikes of her own. Maverick lands a nice short-right hook and lots of leading leg kicks to the body. Maverick pushes Robertson onto the ground and then jumps on top with really heavy top pressure, then lands a couple of ground and pound strikes as Robertson looks to get back up to her feet. Maverick shoots a power double leg and gets the fight down with ease as the round comes to an end to take the opening round. 10-9 Maverick.

Busy start to the second round for Maverick as she seems to be more aggressive, landing some heavy punches and coming forward with more intent. Nice superman punch lands from Maverick then Robertson changes levels and shoots in for a takedown, then secures top position. Maverick tries to escape by kicking out and swinging her hips, but Robertson adjusts perfectly and looks to take the back now. Robertson sticking to her like glue and trying to find submissions, but Maverick is doing well to keep moving and not settling for positions. Robertson keeps looking for the positions but Maverick is eventually able to get back to the feet with about 45 seconds remaining in the round. Maverick spends the rest of the round walking Robertson down and landing big shots against the cage but should still be a Robertson round. 19-19.

Maverick comes out swinging in this third round and is walking Robertson down, landing some big straight punches. Robertson shoots for takedowns but Maverick defends them twice and then is able to take Robertson’s back herself. She switches into full mount and then side control and is landing some big ground and pound strikes, but Robertson is threatening with an armbar. Maverick is able to escape the armbar and gets back on top to land more ground and pound. Robertson tries to sweep her but Maverick too strong and gets back to the feet. Maverick lands a couple of straights against the cage then shoots for a takedown of her own and sees out the round in a dominant position to take a decision.

Sean O’Malley def Thomas Almeida via Knockout, Round 3 (3:52)

Good start to the round for O’Malley as he opens with a clean one-two on Almeida’s chin. O’Malley switching stances well and landing kicks to the body and legs, with Almeida seeming quite hesitant early on. O’Malley lands another one-two and then a nice spinning back kick to the body before Almeida lands a big hook of his own. O’Malley throws a big head kick that seems to land with the knee and then a big left hand drops Almeida! O’Malley walks away but the referee doesn’t wave the fight off and he goes back in with a spin kick that misses. O’Malley looking for style points for a finish but Almeida has recovered now and O’Malley sees the round out with some more clean striking. 10-9 O’Malley for sure.

O’Malley opens up with some front kicks to the body and a calf kick, but Almeida coming forward still and lands a couple of leg kicks of his own. O’Malley landing with his left hand in a one-two quite cleanly and often, but Almeida refusing to go away. Some knee stomps from O’Malley and kicks as he continues to switch stances, showing great speed to be first in the exchanges. O’Malley goes for a flying knee towards the end of the round and misses, falling onto his back. Almeida lands a big shot on the ground but O’Malley uses his long legs to defend really well and sees out the round. 20-18 O’Malley.

O’Malley opens up the round with a huge calf kick that takes Almeida’s balance away, before a knee stomp once again makes Almeida very uncomfortable. A few more leg kicks land and then O’Malley throws a nice one-two, but Almeida continues to come forward. Exchange near the cage and Almeida lands a decent left hand, but O’Malley continues to slip the majority of the shots and landing well himself. Beautiful one-two from O’Malley lands and Almeida just can’t get near him. Huge left hand as he moves backwards catches Almeida and drops him and O’Malley tries to walk off again but the referee doesn’t stop it again! O’Malley strolls over and lands one nasty ground strike that puts his lights out and that’s that! The ‘Suga’ show is back!

Vicente Luque def Tyron Woodley via Submission (D’Arce Choke), Round 1 (3:56)

Woodley comes out and immediately goes for a body lock and takedown against the cage. Luque defends it well and is able to rotate Woodley against the cage, but they fight to a stalemate and eventually separate. Woodley lands a big overhand right and then a couple of one-twos before going back to his wrestling, where Luque is able to steady him and get him back against the cage. Luque throwing punches to the body while Woodley looks for knees as they clinch up before separating. Woodley throws a huge right hand that wobbles Luque and he goes for the kill with big punches, then Luque fires back with a huge right overhand that lands on Woodley’s chin and wobbles him! Luque comes forward and throws bombs and Woodley is in trouble! He throws a hook that lands on Luque and wobbles him back then goes for a takedown but his legs give out on him. Luque drops down and locks in a d’arce choke and despite fighting it against the cage, Woodley is forced to tap! Huge win for Luque!

Francis Ngannou def Stipe Miocic via Knockout, Round 2 (0:52)

Ngannou opens the round with a heavy low kick that Miocic eats and continues to circle on the outside. Miocic lands a couple of leg kicks of his own before Ngannou explodes with a big right hand that lands clean and Miocic just eats. Ngannou explodes again and Miocic shoots in for a double leg takedown but Ngannou defends it brilliantly, sprawls and is able to take Miocic down himself! He takes the back of Miocic and starts throwing some heavy shots but the champion eats them and separates. Ngannou then throws a head kick that lands clean but once again Miocic eats it. A couple more leg kicks from Miocic in the remainder of the round, but it’s a Ngannou round. 10-9.

Miocic comes out and knows he needs to be a bit more aggressive. Ngannou being patient in the middle once more and lands a nice leg kick. Ngannou throws a big left hand that rocks Miocic and drops him! He goes for the finish and lands some big shots but Miocic gets back up and eats an uppercut. Miocic lands a massive left hand of his own but Ngannou eats it and then lands a short left hook that puts Miocic’s lights out! He lands one more huge shot before the referee gets there but this is all over! NEW CHAMPION!

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 – Main card predictions

It’s the big one, as the baddest man on the planet is decided in the main event of UFC 260 when Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou.

The two met previously during Miocic’s first reign as champion, and he dominated to a victory but yet he is still the underdog coming into this fight. Overlooking Miocic seems crazy, but it’s happening again and not least because of the sheer power of his opponent.

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley fights for his career in the UFC as he takes on Vicente Luque after the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega was cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Last week at UFC Vegas 22, we went 6/10 with three perfect picks to move to 262/416 (62.98%) with 118 perfect picks (45.04%).

There are scheduled to be ten bouts on this card and having already predicted the prelims here, lets look to improve it with the main card also.

Jamie Mullarkey (12-4) vs Khama Worthy (16-7) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really fun lightweight fight between two guys looking to get back in the win column to open up this main card. Mullarkey has lost his last two bouts, dropping decisions to Brad Riddell and Faras Ziam most recently at UFC Fight Island 6. Worthy had a seven fight win streak snapped in a little over 90 seconds when he was put away but Ottman Azaitar at UFC Vegas 10 back in September.

Mullarkey is a wrestler who is capable of standing and striking, but he’s often a sitting target when it comes to the stand-up game. Worthy is a powerful striker with nine knockout wins in his career. If Mullarkey can’t get the fight to the ground, he is in big trouble. He’s got a granite chin but with the power that Worthy hits at, plus the fact that Worthy isn’t a sloppy wrestler himself, ‘The Death Star’ should be able to get himself a hard-fought victory.
PICK – Khama Worthy via Knockout, Round 3

Gillian Robertson (9-5) vs Miranda Maverick (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Two very highly rated women’s flyweight prospects go head-to-head in this one.

Another chance for Robertson to make an impact on the division as she takes on Maverick in the flyweight division. Robertson was on a two-fight win streak prior to getting dominated by Taila Santos in December, while Maverick is on a four-fight win streak including a doctor’s stoppage between rounds last time out against Liana Jojua at UFC 254.

Robertson is a strong wrestler who’s main aim is always to get the fight to the ground, with her six submission wins standing out on her record. Maverick is a great, technical striker with good wrestling of her own. Robertson’s striking is iffy at best, while Maverick often leaves herself open for takedowns by coming forward. Both can attack the weaknesses of their opponent but Maverick is the better all round fighter and I think she can come away with a wide decision win.
PICK – Miranda Maverick via Decision

Sean O’Malley (12-1) vs Thomas Almeida (22-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

My pick for fight of the night here in the bantamweight division as ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley makes his return to the octagon following his first defeat to take on Thomas Almeida. O’Malley was en-route to superstardom, stopping Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 before being stopped by Marlon Vera at UFC 252, getting knocked out after a leg injury. Almeida has suffered all of his professional defeats inside his last five fights, including three in a row and most recently against Jonathan Martinez at UFC Fight Island 6.

O’Malley is a super-technical striker who can work off either stance and has legitimate one-punch knockout power. Almeida is a great technical striker himself, but his biggest issue is his durability. Almeida has been knocked out whenever he’s been hit clean and O’Malley is one of the most accurate strikers in the 135lbs division. This is certainly a favourable match up for O’Malley to get back on track towards a title shot with a height, reach, technique and power advantages and he should get an impressive win.
PICK – Sean O’Malley via Knockout, Round 1

Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) vs Vicente Luque (19-7-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A very big fight in the welterweight division between the former champion Tyron Woodley and the ‘Silent Assassin’ Vicente Luque. Woodley has lost three in a row, including most recently when he verbally submitted to Colby Covington at UFC Vegas 11 following a rib injury. Luque on the other hand is on a two-fight win streak, knocking out Niko Price before a stoppage win over Randy Brown at UFC Vegas 5.

Woodley is known for his fantastic wrestling defence and impressive knockout power, but in his last three fights he’s been gun shy when it comes to striking and has been taken down with ease. Luque is a boxer who pressures his opponents and walks them down, happy to take a shot to give one in the belief he will knock them out. Luque hits harder than any of Woodley’s last three opponents and is a long-time training partner of both Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. If Woodley comes back in this fight and shows his old self where he throws heavy punches and threatens with his wrestling, he could very well get the win. But it’s hard to expect that from a guy who’s lost his last 14 rounds in a row and was finished in the 15th. Luque has youth on his side, is confident and has great pressure, work-rate and power, so I think he is able to get a win in this fight.
PICK – Vicente Luque via Decision

Stipe Miocic (20-3) vs Francis Ngannou (15-3) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

The baddest man on the planet will be decided as the greatest heavyweight of all-time makes the second defence of his second reign as champion against ‘The Predator’ Francis Ngannou. Miocic beat Ngannou back in 2018, before going 2-1 in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier which came to an end at UFC 252. Ngannou lost his next fight after that loss to Derrick Lewis, but has since won four-in-a-row against Curtis Blaydes, Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and Jairzinho Rozenstruik all via first round knockout.

Miocic is one of the most well-rounded heavyweights ever, with fantastic wrestling skills but also legitimate knockout power himself. Ngannou is a banger, who comes in with explosive power and one-punch knockouts. The first fight was incredibly one-sided, with Miocic wrestling his way to a dominant win. Since then, Ngannou has become “obsessed” with grappling but it’s not something we’ve been able to see in the cage yet. Miocic is quicker, the better wrestler and in the first fight he was able to eat Ngannou’s punches that landed. He’s taken a lot of damage since then, being KO’d by Cormier so whether he can take the punches this time is questionable but he is so much better than that first fight too.

Ngannou’s skillset is limited despite his success, but his power is absolutely unreal. The issue is that he’s so big his cardio just can’t go for 25 minutes. Miocic can and has several times. It only takes one punch from Ngannou, but it’s hard to see this fight going much differently to the first one – except this time I think Miocic gets the stoppage on an exhausted, grounded Ngannou.
PICK – Stipe Miocic via Knockout, Round 4

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 – Prelims predictions

It’s the big one, as the baddest man on the planet is decided in the main event of UFC 260 when Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou.

The two met previously during Miocic’s first reign as champion, and he dominated to a victory but yet he is still the underdog coming into this fight. Overlooking Miocic seems crazy, but it’s happening again and not least because of the sheer power of his opponent.

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley fights for his career in the UFC as he takes on Vicente Luque after the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega was cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Last week at UFC Vegas 22, we went 6/10 with three perfect picks to move to 262/416 (62.98%) with 118 perfect picks (45.04%).

There are scheduled to be ten bouts on this card, so lets look to improve that record starting with the prelims here.

Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4) vs Abu Azaitar (14-2-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting clash to open the card in the middleweight division. Barriault is winless in his last four fights, losing three in a row before knocking out Oskar Piechota. That fight was overturned to a no contest though, when he failed a drugs test. Abu Azaitar makes a long awaited return to the roster, having not fought since 2018 following fights falling out and a failed drugs test of his own. He hasn’t lost since 2012 though and before his spell on the sidelines had won five in a row.

‘Power Bar’ Barriault is a technical striker with big power punches, but he struggles with takedowns and looks to take your head off with every punch. Azaitar is an average striker with wrestling good enough to get him out of rough spots, but not much else. He’s now 35 and hasn’t fought in almost three years which just makes this a nightmare match up for him. Barriault is bigger, stronger, more powerful and Azaitar isn’t a strong enough wrestler to trouble Barriault’s takedown defence.

Unless Azaitar has made big changes in his time away, which is possible, I think Barriault gets him out of there.
PICK – Marc-Andre Barriault via Knockout, Round 2

Shane Young (13-5) vs Omar Morales (10-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Two exciting featherweights come into this card looking to bounce back from a defeat last time out. Young was KO’d by Ludovit Klein at UFC 253 back in September on Fight Island, while Morales was well beaten by Giga Chikadze the following week at UFC Fight Island 5.

Young is a fine striker, who loves to throw combinations and mixes it up with some kicks too while Morales is a former lightweight who throws big shots and relies on that power to put his opponents on the back foot. He has good submission skills, with half his career wins coming via tap out but this will likely be a stand up bout. Morales has the power advantage between the two and while Young has a more volume-heavy approach, he has shown to be far more hittable than the fighters Morales has struggled against in the past. Young will probably land more shots, but Morales will land the bigger stand-out shots to take a close decision win.
PICK – Omar Morales via Decision

Modestas Bukauskas (11-3) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-4) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Two young light heavyweights looking to get back on the winning trail in this highly exciting match up. Bukauskas made his UFC debut back on Fight Island and got the knockout win in interesting circumstances with big elbows to deny a takedown before the round ended, with his opponent unable to get back up and answer the round. He then got knocked out by Jimmy Crute a few months later, while Oleksiejczuk’s last bout was also a defeat to Crute where he was submitted in the first round in February 2020.

This is a really interesting fight because both men excel where the other struggles, which means this fight could well be one-sided in either direction. Bukauskas has phenomenal cardio and does hit hard while Oleksiejczuk is a bulldozer who will take your head off if given the opportunity. Bukauskas often finds himself with his back against the cage and with no takedown offence in his arsenal, Oleksiejczuk will march him down and throw his vicious combos to make the gas tank null and void.
PICK – Michal Oleksiejczuk via Knockout, Round 1

Jared Gooden (17-5) vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A fun welterweight bout between two guys who lost their UFC debuts. Gooden took on Alan Jouban at UFC 255 and was well beaten to a unanimous decision, while Nurmagomedov was submitted by David Zawada back in November 2019. This is his first fight since then.

This is a complete clash of styles, with Gooden a good striker with not-so-great grappling while Nurmagomedov is a rubbish striker with grappling that goes hand in hand with his surname. Gooden throws some good strikes up the middle that will make Nurmagomedov think twice about shooting in lazily, but it’s his clearest path to victory. Gooden could definitely clip him and we’ve seen Nurmagomedov freeze up when hurt before, but I think his grappling skills should see him able to get the fight down often enough to secure top control and a win.
PICK – Abubakar Nurmagomedov via Decision

Alonzo Menifield (9-2) vs Fabio Cherant (7-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A super-late notice bout in the light heavyweight division as Alonzo Menifield takes on UFC debutant Fabio Cherant. Menifield has lost his last two, dropping a decision to Devin Clark at UFC 250 before being knocked out by Ovince Saint-Preux, while Cherant has won his last three after the first defeat of his career in Dana White’s Contender Series in July 2019.

Menifield is a power striker, with eight of his nine career wins coming via knockout, while Cherant is a very different type of fighter with five of his seven wins coming via submission. Menifield is a very big 205lber and is good at backing his opponent against the cage to try and unload his heavy hands. Cherant is very well rounded fighter but coming in on just a few days’ notice is likely to hinder him more than help him. If Menifield can apply pressure early and land big against the cage, he should get the win. The longer the fight goes though, the more likely it is that Cherant can get a big upset win.
PICK – Alonzo Menifield via Knockout, Round 1

Stipe Miocic is already the best heavyweight ever – but he’s still overlooked

Imagine being the consensus greatest heavyweight fighter of all time in the UFC and the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, and still being overlooked when it comes to defending your crown.

That’s the situation that Stipe Miocic finds himself in as he heads into UFC 260 to take on Francis Ngannou in a rematch from over three years ago. He will be making the second defence of his current title reign, and the sixth in his career – more than any other heavyweight champion has ever managed.

So how on planet Earth is he the betting underdog going into this fight?

Now, credit where it’s due, Ngannou is an absolute animal. He has 12 UFC fights under his belt, with ten wins – all by stoppage, including nine knockouts and a kimura finish. He is now into his sixth year with the company and Miocic remains the only man to outclass him in the octagon. His only other defeat came immediately after that title fight, to Derrick Lewis, in a bout where both men just basically refused to throw any strikes.

Since that Lewis defeat, Ngannou has won four fights in a row by knockout in a combined time of 2:42 – just over half a round to beat four different ranked opponents. But this is remarkably similar to the run he went on before he fought Miocic the first time.

When that fight happened, Miocic took Ngannou’s shot right on the chin and then wrestled him to the ground and completely beat him up for 25 minutes. As every minute passed by in that fight, it became more and more clear that there were several levels between the two fighters and since Miocic could take the punch that nobody else could he’d win the fight.

Now they meet again and Miocic is in a similar position to what he was in back then. After a brilliant trilogy with Daniel Cormier, where he not only recovered his defeat but got his knockout back and then won the final bout handily, Stipe is moving on.

He’s beaten the greats of the division, knocking out Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, Mark Hunt and Fabricio Werdum. In fact the only person that’s ever beaten him that he hasn’t beaten is the ‘Skyscraper’ Stefan Struve way back in 2012 – but I think it’s safe to say he’s come a long way since then.

So when you look at the career of Miocic, his fighting style, the way he’s developed over the last few years in terms of his fight IQ as well as physically it’s crazy to think that people still go against him when it comes to betting or predicting.

Ngannou has reach, height, size and power on Stipe, and yet he had all those things the first time they fought too. We’ve not seen anything from Ngannou since that fight that suggests he will have improved on the ground – although rumours from his camp suggest he is now “obsessed” with grappling in training.

That’s all well and good, but it takes more than three years to beat a lifelong wrestler the calibre of Miocic. Ngannou without a doubt has a chance in this fight, simply because he hits so God damn hard, but that’s all it is. He’s not going to outwork Miocic, he’s not going to out-grapple Miocic, he won’t beat the volume of Miocic and he won’t outlast Miocic.

He’s got a puncher’s chance, and it’s one hell of a punch, but it’s absolutely time to put some respect on the name of the Cleveland fire fighter’s name.

Tyron Woodley fighting for his career at UFC 260

It wasn’t that long ago that Tyron Woodley was the welterweight champion of the world and in the conversation for one of the best 170lbers to ever do it in the UFC.

After winning the belt from ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler with a stunning first-round knockout, ‘The Chosen One’ went on to successfully defend his title four times with wins over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, Demian Maia and Darren Till.

Then he came up against Kamaru Usman and Woodley’s whole demeanour changed once he entered the octagon.

He was dominated for 25 minutes by the man he’d spoken down on during the build up to the fight, out-wrestled, out-struck and out-worked en route to a unanimous decision defeat with two judges handing the challenger a 10-8 round too.

He then tried to bounce back from that defeat by getting in the octagon with Usman’s training partner Gilbert Burns a little over a year later. Once again though Woodley was out-worked, out-wrestled and out-struck by his opponent and beaten via the exact same scorecards for another unanimous decision.

He then tried to save his legacy as one of the best welterweights ever when he matched up against Colby Covington last September at UFC Vegas 11. He made it 15 rounds in a row of pure domination when he was beaten to a pulp by Covington and forced to verbally submit after breaking a rib when being taken down.

UFC Fight Night: Covington v Woodley : News Photo

Since his last title fight, Woodley has been out-struck 724-192 in total strikes and also been taken down seven times in three fights. With the UFC not shy of cutting big names recently and with his 39th birthday just a little over a week after fight night, Woodley’s career is most definitely now on the chopping block.

He’ll take on another of Usman’s teammates in Vicente Luque, in a match-up that looks less than ideal for him on the evidence of his most recent fights.

Luque is a pressure fighter with an excellent chin, lots of volume and dynamite in his hands. If there is anything that Woodley doesn’t want right now, it’s someone walking him down looking to take his head off while he backs up against the cage and hesitates to throw his own hands.

But there is more to this fight than Woodley just looking to get back in the win column, his career is hanging in the balance.

A loss will almost certainly see him cut from the company after four consecutive defeats, with Luque more likely than not to get a finish than the other three were. He is battling for his career after already tarnishing his legacy as one of the greats, so a show stopping performance is needed now more than ever.

Alex Volkanovski tests positive for COVID-19, fight with Brian Ortega postponed

UFC 260 has lost one of it’s double-header of title fights a week before fight night, as Alexander Volkanovski has tested positive for COVID-19 meaning his fight with Brian Ortega is off.

Volkanovski was due to defend his featherweight title for the second time in the co-main event of the card against Ortega but it was revealed during the UFC Vegas 22 broadcast on Saturday night that he has tested positive and the fight will now be postponed.

A new date for the fight has not yet been announced, but the organisation have said the fight will be re-made at a later date.

The news broke on the same day that Volkanovski’s training partner Brad Riddell was withdrawn from his co-main event bout against Gregor Gillespie owing to COVID-19 protocols, sparking suggestions that the two cases are likely linked with each other.

Volkanovski released a statement on Twitter shortly after the news broke, stating he was ‘gutted’ that the fight was cancelled since he and his team had ‘done everything right’.

Brian Ortega earned a shot at Volkanovski’s title after a stunning performance against the Korean Zombie on Fight Island in October, his first fight since being decimated in a title bout against Max Holloway back in December of 2018.

He showed a brand new style where he showed a more polished striking game to go with his already super dangerous grappling skills. It was expected that he would pose a whole new threat to Volkanovski, who beat Holloway in back-to-back title fights to win the belt and then defend it.

The defence against Holloway was controversial, with many believing that ‘Blessed’ had secured the win in the rematch after an excellent performance – but the judges disagreed. It led to speculation over a trilogy bout despite Volkanovski leading 2-0 on victories, but ultimately the decision was made to move on from that rivalry for now.

Ortega also released a video on his Instagram to acknowledge the cancellation of the bout, wishing Volkanovski a speedy recovery so they can finally get it on.

The hope is that the fight can be rescheduled in the near future, potentially added to an already existing pay-per-view card in a co-headline slot once again. If not the next open headline slot is July at UFC 263, although reports suggest that date is being targeted for Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor’s trilogy bout.