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  • Cody Garbrandt has that ‘inevitable’ feeling to him, which is perfect for bantamweight division

    It’s a sign of a healthy division that Renan Barao, once a shrewd interjection to the raging pound-for-pound conversation, was forced to flee his bantamweight kingdom in search of reinvention. It didn’t quite work out for him in his featherweight debut at UFC Fight Night 88, either, as he lost a unanimous decision to Jeremy Stephens.

    As far as career trajectories go, the fight game is full of such sharp left turn cruelty.

    Yet that bantamweight division that he once ruled has become a deep and colorful flowerbed for competitive matchmaking, as evidenced on Sunday night in Las Vegas. Aljamain Sterling, one of the key names on the "watch out for that dude" list, was stalled in his first fight back after signing a new contract. It turns out the man who beat him, Bryan Caraway, has more than a diverse troll game — he has his own ambitious plans for the weight class. With no better explanation for such perseverance, the best everybody could do after Sunday night was nod Caraway through as a "seasoned veteran," and stick him full of "wily" adjectives.

    Just like that, Caraway’s in the top five space in what could be the UFC’s most compelling weight class.

    But the true future of the division played out in the main event between 24-year old Cody Garbrandt and Brazil’s 24-year old Thomas Almeida, two dystopian strikers who carried that youthful feeling of invincibility to the Octagon. Similar to how Jon Jones’ headlining spot against Brandon Vera felt like a glimpse of an inevitable champion ready for the role in 2010, Garbrandt needed less than three minutes to take Almeida out with punches. It was a virtuoso performance in his biggest test to date. Garbrandt, now 9-0, vanquished his fellow prospect as if he himself were anything but. "No Love" Garbrandt announced his arrival on Sunday night.

    And it’s a good time to arrive. The banty world is Garbrandt’s oyster (and you can't help but feel happy for him, given all he's done).

    The top of the division is as healthy as it’s ever been, and as dramatic — everything is deliciously laden with back-story. Dominick Cruz will defend his title against Garbrandt’s Team Alpha Male campmate Urijah Faber at UFC 199 next week, and should he be victorious you’d have to believe Garbrandt will feel like his vindicator. Much like T.J. Dillashaw was when Faber lost to Barao at UFC 169, right before the [expletive] hit the fan and Dillashaw set Barao on his spiral, bolted TAM, and everybody began feuding in the media.

    Dillashaw fights Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200, a fight that could well produce the next contender at 135 pounds. Garbrandt views Dillashaw as a kind of modern day Benedict Arnold, and would love to lay hands on him just for the satisfaction of saying he did. That’s another future rumble.

    Not that there are any bad match-ups for Garbrandt in that top 10 space. Imagine Garbrandt fighting the winner of Michael McDonald and John Lineker, who square off in July. That would make for a hell of homecoming to his native Ohio, when the UFC visits Cleveland in September. There’s also Takeya Mizugaki hovering out there. Stylistically, that’s not bad. And John Dodson is coming off a 37-second annihilation of Manny Gamburyan. That, too, could be fireworks.

    At some point, and perhaps at some point soon, Frankie Edgar could trickle down.

    In other words, matchmaker Sean Shelby’s bantamweight roster is stacked like never before, and Garbrandt just became the most compelling dance partner for any of the aforementioned. A Garbrandt fight has its own ring to it. People will tune it to watch him compete. Even if it’s against the seasoned veteran himself, the wily Bryan Caraway, who can keep up with Garbrandt in one of the most important elements in matchmaking: Timing.

    Whatever the case, Garbrandt's future is now. And given the present state of things, that's a fun thought.

  • Cody Garbrandt wants top-10 ranking, fight at UFC 203 in Cleveland

    Cody Garbrandt earned the biggest victory of his career Sunday at UFC Fight Night 88, but he's still gunning for more.

    After knocking out the formerly undefeated Thomas Almeida inside one round in the night's main event, Garbrandt put the MMA universe on notice, establishing himself as a legitimate threat – no longer just a hot prospect – in the bantamweight division.

    Now, Garbrandt – who was unranked heading into his bout opposite the No. 7 Almeida – wants some respect in the rankings.

    "First off, I deserve some respect, that's going out there, we're talking about a 21-0 guy who just ran through everybody, and I knocked him out in under three minutes, so let me get at least in the top 10," Garbrandt said in the post-fight press conference. "Let me get these guys that I want to fight, these guys that are high-caliber. The higher the opponent for me, the more that I shine."

    A top-10 ranking isn't all Garbrandt wants moving forward. An Ohio native, Garbrandt eyes the Sept. 10 UFC 203 card in Cleveland with particular interest.

    "UFC 203, Stipe Miocic is defending his belt in Cleveland, Ohio, that's where I spent a lot of my amateur career and boxing, it's an hour and 20 minutes from my hometown," Garbrandt said. "I would like to dance with someone there in the Quicken Loans Arena. Whoever it is, [whoever] the UFC wants to give me, I'm more than ready for them.

    "Hopefully the Cavs [the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers] get that Finals win. We got Stipe winning the title, the Cavs, going back there in September, it's going to be rock-and-roll for sure."

  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett set to headline UFC Fight Night Hamburg

    Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett are going to give it another try.

    The heavyweight duo have been booked as the main event of UFC Fight Fight 93 on Sept. 3 in Hamburg, Germany, the promotion announced Monday morning.

    The former UFC heavyweight champions were scheduled to meet in Oct. 2008 at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, however, that event was ultimately canceled. Barnett's team expressed interest in fighting Arlovski recently, as well.

    Between them they have 80 professional fights and 36 years of fighting experience.

    Both fighters are also in need of a win. Arlovski (25-12, 1 NC) has been TKO'd in his last two fights, most recently by Alistair Overeem earlier this month. Meanwhile, Barnett (34-8) was forced to tap for the first time in his career when Ben Rothwell caught him in a Gogo choke back in January.

    Also officially added to the card, which takes place at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, was Ryan Bader vs. Ilir Latifi

  • Morning Report: Freddie Roach says Conor McGregor has not done well in training against professional boxers, would love to help him

    Legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach says Conor Mcgregor has not done well boxing professional boxers in his gyms, would love to help him prepare for possible Mayweather bout.

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. is really trying to make that fight with Conor McGregor happen.

    For weeks now the MMA world has been held hostage by discussions about McGregor moving over to boxing to challenge the undefeated (and retired) Mayweather. The story has mostly been driven by rumors from the fighters themselves but now Mayweather appears to be reaching out to an old foe to help make the fight a reality. Last week Freddie Roach, fabled boxing trainer of Mayweather nemesis Manny Pacquiao, told Inside MMA on AXS TV that Mayweather approached him to convince him to train McGregor for the fight.

    "There are a lot of rumors out there that I'm getting calls from Conor, asking me to train him; they're not true. He has not called me yet but Mayweather did come by my gym last week and he asked me to take that job if it's offered to me. He told me the fight is gonna happen and we're gonna make a lot of money."

    Roach has been in the rumor mill about his potential involvement with a McGregor-Mayweather boxing match but had seemingly not given the idea much credence, possibly because he is of the same belief that many boxers and MMA fighters have: Conor McGregor stands no chance in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.

    "As I told Mayweather, I said, ‘it would take me three years at least to get him ready to fight you.' I don't really think it's possible for an MMA fighter to fight a boxer and I don't even really think it's fair. Depends on what rules you fight under, one person has too big of an advantage. Mayweather would outbox him all day long. Conor McGregor seems like a tough guy and all that but being a tough guy doesn't really help you in boxing...

    But I do know that he's trained at Wild Card West which is one of my gyms on the west side and he's sparring with a couple of my professional fighters over there and I hear he's not doing that well with my professionals.

    Mayweather is the best boxer in the world and I think he would absolutely not even lose a round against a guy with Conor's experience. I mean, he looks like an okay boxer, he's a very good MMA fighter but the thing is this is boxing and he's kind of a beginner at boxing. It probably would take me almost three years to get him ready for a fight against a guy like Mayweather."

    Roach says that he was hoping Mayweather would be coming to ask for a rematch with Pacquiao and was disappointed when that didn't happen but he does admit that even in his brief discussions with Mayweather, no dates of the event were discussed. Rumors have placed the theoretical bout in mid-September and though that falls well short of the three years Roach says he needs to properly prepare McGregor, he did end the interview by saying he would be happy to help if he can.

    "If I can help him I would definitely do that. I work twelve hours a day in the gym, I like to stay busy in the gym. I think we could help him and if he did come and ask I would love to help him."

    You can listen to the interview below.




    Hope is a good thing. Tyron Woodley says he never lost hope that he would get a title shot.

    Now for something new and different. Wanderlei Silva responds to Chael Sonnen's comments, wants to punch him in the face.

    He didn't need it. Michael Bisping slams Jacare Souza for turning down the title shot against Luke Rockhold.

    Bring a gun. Fabio Maldonado explains how he plans to beat Fedor.

    Pick on Jacare day, and everybody's celebrating. Chael Sonnen says Jacare Souza should be removed from the UFC rankings for turning down a short notice title shot.




    The Monster. Shaun Al-Shatti wrote one of the best pieces you will read this year. It's about Kevin Randleman. Go read it now if you haven't already.















    What an awesome image. Stipe Miocic: Firefighter and UFC Heavyweight Champion.

    — Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) May 28, 2016


    Striking with @duanebangcom I learned some smooth technique! Really fits my style. Fight camp is going great!

    — chepe (@chepemachine) May 27, 2016


    Speedy recovery to Darrell Horcher -- who made his UFC debut April against Khabib, was in motorcycle accident Wed.

    — MMA Now TV (@MMANowTV) May 27, 2016


    I'd love to fight @FabricioWerdum next but...

    — Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) May 28, 2016


    @FunkMaster_UFC gonna put in work. I know it.

    — Roy Hibbert (@Roy_Meets_World) May 28, 2016


    Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Firing off my Potato Gun

    — Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) May 29, 2016


    #SundayBrunch #UFC #UFCVegas #theblackbeast

    — Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) May 29, 2016


    It takes a nutsack and a fat wallet to rock all white. Know that.

    — Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 28, 2016


    If our brothers were alive they wouldn't want to hang out with a depressed drunk whining bitch Have fun #memorialday

    — Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) May 29, 2016


    Man, this one broke my heart back in the day. I wonder what would have happened with that left body shot had chuck kept his feet planted on it, rather than floating to the left with it. The feint was set and the shot was there but he floated with it when he thru it, taking everything out of the shot. He was almost mid air just as the counter hook clipped him. It knocked him down while he was off balance and the following shots are what really ended it. If that was boxing he'd have been back up by the 8 count fresh. But it ain't boxing. Chuck was the man! Rampage was an animal too. Good times! #MMAHistory

    A video posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on


    Me and my boy @callum11231 with mans best friend after a great Saturday workout. #ufc199

    A photo posted by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on


    I'm sad I missed our 40th water well celebration, but I'm happy they are so happy :-) #FightForTheForgotten

    A video posted by Justin "The Viking" Wren (@thebigpygmy) on




    Fabricio Werdum (20-6-1) vs. Ben Rothwell (36-10-0); UFC 203, September 10.

    Shamil Gamzatov (10-0-0) vs. Louis Taylor (12-3-0); WSOF 32, July 30.

    Hakeem Dawodu (5-0-1) vs. Marat Magomedov (7-0-1); WSOF 32, July 30.




    1997: UFC 13: The Ultimate Force was held which featured the professional debuts of MMA legends Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. Couture won the event's heavyweight tournament and Ortiz was submitted in the finals of the lightweight tournament by Guy Mezger.

    2015: Carlos Condit defeated Thiago Alves via TKO at the end of round 2 in the main event of UFC Fight Night 67.


    1988: Amanda Nunes

    1983: Bart Palaszewski

    1982: Ivan Menjivar

    1979: Yves Jabouin

    1978: Lyoto Machida

    Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

    What was your favorite fight from the main card last weekend?

      298 votes | Results

  • UFC Fight Night 88 bonuses: Cody Garbrandt's knockout win leads the pack

    Cody Garbrandt, Jake Collier, Jeremy Stephens, and Renan Barao all earned postfight bonuses at UFC Fight Night 88 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, with the first two taking Performance of the Night awards and Stephens vs. Barao taking Fight of the Night honors.

    Garbrandt (9-0) capped off the evening with a star-turning knockout of previously unbeaten Thomas Almeida in the main event, earning the win at 2:53 in the opening round.

    Collier (10-3) had his most impressive career performance, as he used a beautiful spinning back kick to the body to set up his second-round TKO victory over Alberto Uda.

    Stephens and Barao, meanwhile, had a memorable slugfest in Barao's featherweight debut. Barao, the former UFC bantamweight champion, got off to a strong start, but Stephens rallied over the final two rounds with his trademark uppercuts to change the tone of the fight and earn a unanimous decision.

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