Francis Ngannou vs. Bojan Mihajlovic full fight video highlights
Watch Francis Ngannou vs. Bojan Mihajlovic full fight video highlights from UFC on FOX's main card fight above, courtesy of ESPN.
UFC on FOX 20 took place July 23, 2016 at the United Center in Chicago. Francis Ngannou (8-1) squared off against Bojan Mihajlovic (10-4) on the night's main card, which aired live on FOX. Catch the video highlights above.
For more on Ngannou vs. Mihajlovic, check out the play-by-play courtesy of MMAFighting.com's Chuck Mindenhall.
Round 1: Heavyweight bout next. Newcomer Mihajlovic from Serbia against Ngannou. Could be quick. Referee for this one is Herb Dean. They stroll out and touch gloves. Very casual. Mihajlovic with a leg kick, and now he back-pedals out. Mihajlovic very cautious, and lots of...
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Urijah Faber wonders if PEDs will eventually lead to 'attempted murder' charge
When the news broke Friday of Brock Lesnar's potential out-of-competition USADA violation -- which was followed by Tuesday's news of his UFC 200 in-competition drug test failure -- Lesnar's opponent, Mark Hunt, was none too happy.
Hunt, after all, had absorbed a 10-8 beating in the third round of his loss to Lesnar at UFC 200. The timing of the testing was such that even though Lesnar was tested out-of-competition, the results didn't come in until after the fact.
Urijah Faber, for his part, wonders what this all could mean going forward. Mixed martial arts is a dangerous pursuit, as "Cyborg" Santos' gruesome skull fracture over the weekend attests. While Faber isn't accusing Santos' opponent, Michael Page, of anything, the sheer scope of the injury, coming at a time when performance enhancing drugs figure prominently in the news, makes the former WEC featherweight champion wonder if the timing involved in these drug tests could lead to potential legal action.
"It puts things in perspective when you see Cyborg's head get crushed, his skull get crushed," Faber said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "The human body, certain individuals have certain abilities. Is there a legal attempted murder if you're using something like that, if you're using something potentially using to make yourself a weapon that's illegal, and you're going to crush somebody's skull. It's a weird thing, and there's a reason why we have rules in this sport to make sure something like that doesn't happen."
For his part, Faber has never failed a drug test in 14 years of competing at the highest levels. He's also been around long enough to know there are always going to be fighters looking to get around the system, no matter how stringent the testing becomes.
"The cheaters are going to find way to cheat over and over again," Faber said. "I've never been that guy that prides myself on that, I have a feeling of pride, I've never done anything like that and I know that guys, even though they've passed drug test and everything else, they don't have that same pride, some people. I'm not saying any names, but they know who they are."
At the end of the day, Faber can only take care of himself, and he wants to be able to look himself in the mirror without guilt.
"This is a sport to test yourself and to see where they stand up, and it's like a chick with fake lips, fake boobs, fake hair, fake teeth, fake tan, when she has a kid, the genetics aren't going to show any of that stuff. It's one of those things that you look at, where do you really stand up. I have a lot of pride in being a top contender in this sport, a world champion, I have 14 years in this sport, I'm 37, I feel amazing, and never have cheated. Everyone else? It is what it is."
Sara McMann wants Julianna Pena or Valentina Shevchenko next, talks division upheaval
Sara McMann was in Las Vegas during International Fight Week and present during the UFC 200 ceremonial weigh-ins at T-Mobile Arena. The UFC women's bantamweight contender heard the crowd boo when, in a promo, UFC president Dana White called Miesha Tate "the baddest woman on the planet — except for Ronda Rousey."
McMann was pretty surprised. Tate was about to defend her UFC women's bantamweight title against Amanda Nunes in the main event of what was supposed to be the biggest card in UFC history.
"I heard that and I kind of like winced a little bit -- I was like, oh, ouch," McMann told MMA Fighting. "That's not really something very inspiring for the girl who is going out there. That's like saying, ‘Oh Sara, she's a great fighter, but she lost in the Olympic finals.' It takes a little bit off of your momentum. [Tate] earned that title. She did what Ronda couldn't do. She beat Holly [Holm]. Ronda was losing the striking game also. Miesha didn't get kicked in the head and knocked out. And she took her down and submitted her. Don't take that away from Miesha. She did something pretty f*cking miraculous considering she was losing that fight. To be down in the fifth round, do you know what it takes to lose to somebody for freakin' five rounds and still have enough belief in yourself to turn around and win?"
Of course, the division continued to shift 24 hours later. Nunes beat Tate via first-round submission to win the belt at UFC 200. On that same card, Julianna Pena beat Cat Zingano in her best performance to date to put her name on the list of title contenders. And, two weeks later, Valentina Shevchenko pulled off an upset of Holm in the UFC on FOX 20 main event in Chicago.
The division seems a long way from when Rousey ruled over it even though that was only a year ago. McMann, currently ranked sixth in the UFC's official rankings after a unanimous decision win over Jessica Eye in May, thinks fighting either Pena or Shevchenko next would make the most sense for her. One of them is likely to face Nunes for the title next; the other will probably need at least one more win.
"Julianna doesn't have a fight if the UFC doesn't give her a title shot," McMann said. "And I want to fight her. I think that helps me and that's what I'm interested in. I want to keep fighting people above me. And I want to keep fighting worthy people above me. Everyone one of those girls in the top five are great fighters. That's the challenge that I'm looking for.
"[Shevchenko] did a great job against Holly and I want to fight the best girls rising in the division."
Shevchenko lost to Nunes at UFC 196 in March. McMann has also fallen to Nunes as well as Tate and Rousey. That's just the look of the division now: parity across the board. And that's not a bad thing, McMann said. After Holm knocked out Rousey and Rousey went on hiatus, the rest of the contenders have proven themselves.
"I think it's good for our sport," McMann said. "It shows that we had a dominant champion and everybody rose up to become a better fighter. If Ronda comes back, she'll have her hands full. Every one of us is improving our games."
Pena qualifies there. She has never lost in the UFC, unlike all of the other contenders, and has come back stronger after a devastating knee injury. McMann was very impressed with her win over Zingano. She not only wants to fight Pena because of her ranking, but also her exciting fighting style and willingness to take on all comers.
"I have a really hard time getting people to accept fights against me and I think Julianna would be game," McMann said. "I don't think she's someone that backs down from strong competition. I'm selecting the people who I want to fight and someone tough enough to not look at me and say, ‘No, I don't think I should take that fight.' It's a compliment to her. I think she'd say, ‘OK, let's fight.'"
The women's bantamweight division is now one of the the most interesting in the UFC after being just a one-woman race for years. Rousey remains out with no timetable for her return. Holm and Tate, the two other biggest draws, are coming off loss (two in a row for Holm). Nunes is the champion. Pena and Shevchenko are the top contenders. And McMann is right there as well.
McMann, 35, said she still practices armbar defense from all the positions Rousey gets them from. She's anticipating a Rousey comeback. But, for now, without the woman who started the division, the others at 135 are carrying on just fine.
"You can say that Ronda did great before without saying the rest of us are terrible, if you choose to," McMann said. "For a long time, though, was she a notch above everybody else? Yeah. But it was just a notch."
UFC on FOX 20 Aftermath: Bedlam in the women's bantamweight division
The UFC has faced relentless criticism over the past couple years for making money fights over the bouts that adhere to pure sport.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz at welterweight? Twice? Sure, why not put the entire featherweight division on ice for a year, and create an interim title when the champion isn't hurt?
Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson in a rumored rematch for the middleweight title? Take a seat, Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, and let the story play out.
And so on, and so forth.
Curiously, the one marquee division in which the company hasn't let the promise of the biggest bucks get in the way of the divisional scheme is women's bantamweight, of which we were so vividly reminded at Saturday's UFC on FOX 20.
Rather than go with a ready-made rematch between Miesha Tate and Holly Holm at UFC 200, coming off Tate's stunning fifth-round submission win over Holm to claim the bantamweight belt at UFC 196, Tate asked for and got Amanda Nunes, followed just two weeks later by Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko.
What unfolded was a demonstration of just how deep the talent runs at 135 pounds these days. Nunes mauled Tate in the first round and claimed the title. Shevchenko had her way with Holm, who has stunningly dropped two in a row since beating Rousey last November. And, while we're at it, Cat Zingano, who seemed poise to crack the top tier once again, was swept aside by the rising Julianna Pena at UFC 200.
It makes for an exciting time for hardcore fans, who have a bunch of new matchups to ponder.
It's also a disaster for luring in the casual fans who made 2015 such a blockbuster year. Rousey's return will be big no matter who she fights. But, with all due respect to the superb talents of Nunes and Shevchenko, the UFC's gone from having multiple 135-pound women's title fights which could headline major events to a potential Nunes-Shevchenko matchup which has "Fight Pass card in Europe" written all over it.
Last year will forever go down as the example as to how big this sport can blow up when everything clicks. This month, however, has been a reminder just how wildly unpredictable this sport can get, and how the best-set plans can be blown to bits.
UFC on FOX 20 quotes
"I have to get back in there and go forward. I know I'm capable of more. I just have to believe in myself more. I know I can do more than the way I performed tonight." -- Holly Holm, on her loss to Shevchenko.
"I worked on getting my anxiety under control which was a huge factor. And this was the first fight where I felt relaxed and where I felt like I did everything in the fight I know I'm capable of, things I do in the gym." -- Felice Herrig, on her impressive win over Kailin Curran
"My biggest goal is to pay my house off so my wife doesn't have to continue to work. I would like it so my wife doesn't have to work, and if I could pay the house down low enough and refinance, she doesn't have to go back to work." -- Eddie Wineland, on what he'll do with his $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus after defeating Frankie Saenz
"She's definitely scared. I'm ready for five rounds, for sure. I will take whoever I need to fight next. But I think she's definitely scared." -- Shevchenko on Nunes, who handed Shevchenko her only UFC defeat
Up: Edson Barboza. Finally, Barboza has rounded into the legitimate title contention that's been expected of him for so long. Barboza masterfully picked apart Gilbert Melendez on Saturday night, with swift and brutal kicks, and just as important, highly improved takedown defense. The guy who once seemed to make mental lapses at the worst time has been replaced into a patient and smart fighter who's now scored back-to-back victories over Melendez and Pettis. Barboza's evolution from the fighter who lost to a downtrending Jamie Varner to the fighter he is today has been a joy to behold.
Down: Gilbert Melendez. Melendez's other UFC losses have been easy to justify. He probably should have gotten the call against Benson Henderson; he was winning against Pettis until he made a mistake and lost in the blink of an eye; he lost a tight one to Eddie Alvarez. The loss to Barboza, though, is disconcerting. Coming off a PED suspension, the former Strikeforce and WEC champ simply didn't look like the Melendez of old. With a 1-4 record in the UFC, "En Niño" needs to go back to the drawing board and fast.
Up: Francis Ngannou. It's hard not to get excited when a fresh faces comes along and starts making waves in the heavyweight division. Ngannou improved to 3-0 in the UFC by running over Bohan Mihajlovic, making for his third straight knockout victory in the UFC and seventh straight finishes overall. While it's way to soon to call the 29-year-old Parisian by way of Cameroon a contender, a step up in competition is certainly called for at this point.
Up: Felice Herrig. Time off appears to have done Herrig a world of good. Herrig put on an inspired performance in taking our Kailin Curran on Saturday night, moving into position for a rear-naked choke and sticking with it despite Curran's best efforts at shaking it off. Herrig's always been as newsworthy for her social media presence as anything else, perhaps now she'll make a real run in the strawweight division to go with it.
Up: Eddie Wineland Did the inaugural WEC bantamweight champion's knockout win over Frankie Saenz mean he's going to once again become a contender at 135 pounds? Probably not. But with so much rapid turnover in the sport over the past couple years, there was something fun in seeing Wineland, one of the sport's good guys, win with his bread and butter after a tough couple years. If Wineland has a few more fights like this left in him, we all win.
Hallelujah ... after all these years, we've finally seen a referee dock a point for a fence grab. John McCarthy penalized Alexander Yakovlev for grabbing the fence in his unanimous-decision loss to Kamara Usman, after Yakovlev grabbed the fence early, often, and in a blatant manner. Sure, we had to see about a billion of them happen before one finally got called, but this was at least a step in the right direction.
Joe Rogan's protestations to the contrary, Herb Dean's stoppage in the Ngannou-Mihajlovic fight was fine. It was pretty clear in the replay that Mihajlovic went limp from one of Ngannou's hammerfists and then came back around. At that point, Dean can stop the fight any time.
Fight I'd like to see next: Barboza vs. any elite lightweight
There's an embarrassment of riches atop the lightweight division at the moment. How do you even go ahead and book things at the top, with the likes of champion Eddie Alvarez, a newly minted superstar in Diaz, the incredibly exciting Tony Ferguson, former champion Rafael dos Anjos, and a cold-blooded killer in Khabib Nurmagemedov? After knocking off Pettis and Melendez, Barboza's name belongs in that mix. And it's hard to pick just one out of the bunch, because you could throw all of these guys' names into a hat, pick matchups at random, and probably never go wrong.
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