Fighter Profile: T.J. Dillishaw

Photo Courtesy of Chris Carlson AP

With an impressive 12-4 record T.J. Dillishaw has been to the pinnacle to the pit in terms of MMA and has climbed to the cusp of the top again and many think Dillishaw should get the next title shot in the UFC Bantamweight Division.  He definitely has an amazing redemption story and I’m glad he is back fighting in the UFC beating top level competition like Cory Sandhagen.

Dillashaw was born February 7, 1986  in Sonora, California. Dillishaw would grow up in Angels Camp, CA where he’d attend Bret Harte High School. While in High School Dillashaw would wrestle under Coach Jan Schulz. He was a standout in wrestling with a record of 170–33. He’d go on to wrestle in College at Cal State Fullerton. After college Dillishaw turned his focus towards MMA. He’d start striking and training Jiu Jitsu to add to his wrestling he’d achieve a Black belt in Bang Muay Thai under Duane Ludwig and a Purple Belt in Jiu Jitsu under Philipe “Furão” Della Monica

Dillishaw would make his professional debut against Czar Sklavos winning the bout by Unanimous Decision. He would then face off against Brandon Drucker in May of 2010 winning the bout by Submission (rear-naked choke.) Mike Suarez would be next for Dillishaw he’d win the bout again by rear-naked choke. Taylor McCorriston would be next for young Dillishaw winning the bout by TKO (punches.) The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller would be next for Dillishaw on the show he secured three victories, but ultimately lost to John Dodson in the finale.

Dillishaw’s  Next fight would be against Walel Watson in Febuary of 2012 he’d win the bout via Unanimous Decision. He’d then get his first Submission victory against Vaughn Lee  winning by a Neck Crank. He’d then get back to back Knockout victories against Issei Tamura and Hugo Viana. Raphael Assunção would be next for Dillishaw in October of 2013, unfortunately for Dillishaw he lost the tough Split Decision. He’d then fight Mike Easton in January of 2014 winning the three round bout by Unanimous Decision.

Dillishaw would win the UFC Bantamweight title in his next bout when he faced off against Renan Barão at UFC 173 in May of 2014. He’d defend the belt twice the first successful title defense was against Joe Soto at UFC 177 his second successful defense was a rematch against Renan Barão. He’d then lose his belt to Dominick Cruz losing on the judges scorecard in a Split Decision. Dillishaw would win his next two fights against Raphael Assunção and John Lineker.

Dillishaw would then face Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 for the UFC Bantamweight title he’d win the bout  and the belt and would face Garbrandt again in his next outing securing his title defense. Dillishaw would then make his Flyweight debut against Henry Cejudo For the UFC Flyweight Championship he’d lose the fight by TKO. Dillashaw would get popped though as he tested positive in pre and post-fight drug screening for erythropoietin. Cory Sandhagen would be his comeback fight on  July 24, 2021 Dillishaw would win the five round contest by Split Decision

What’s Next For Valentina Shevchenko After UFC 275

Valentina Shevchenko stepped into the UFC Octagon at UFC 275 and everyone thought this would be a typical Shevchenko title defense where Shevchenko would show how she is the most dominant Flyweight in MMA history. But to everyone’s surprise Taila Santos gave Shevchenko a very big challenge, one that Shevchenko rose above in the end but it was very close with one judge even scoring it for Santos. We decided to look ahead at what should be next for Shevchenko.  

One obvious fight to make is a rematch with Santos. That fight was a great fight, and once Santos recovers from that broken orbital we think that she should face off against Shevchenko in an immediate rematch as Shevchenko has cleared out that division and it looks like no-one in that division is of the same caliber as the Bullet. If Shevchenko doesn’t move up I think it’s imperative that we see this fight run back sometime in 2023, but Shevchenko might want to be more active than that. 

The Obvious other matchup in the Flyweight division is a rematch with Katlyn Chookagian. since their last matchup at UFC 247 before the Pandemic, Chookagian has put together a 5-1 record with a four fight win streak. Chookagian was supposed to face Manon Fiorot at UFC Paris, but has since pulled out of that matchup. We think the number one Flyweight contender would be a good matchup fans would like to see.

The real matchup fans would like to see is Shevchenko vs. the winner of the Julianna Peña vs Amanda Nunes Bantamweight title bout at UFC 277.   Shevchenko’s only losses in her MMA career were against Amanda Nunes. I think that fans would like to see these two fight again even though Shevchenko lost both bouts. This would be a good fight if Nunes wins her bout and her belt back after she faces Peña. If Peña wins against Nunes again this sets up an interesting situation. Shevchenko won her bout against Peña in January of 2017. She’d be a heavy favorite if she went up and challenged Peña for the Bantamweight belt. Both these fights would make Shevchenko a two division champion which we’d love to see.

These matchups make sense for Shevchenko in our eyes. We can’t wait to see her in the cage again very soon.

What’s Next For Jessica Andrade?

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Jessica Andrade made UFC history a few months ago when she faced off against Amanda Lemos and got the victory with the First ever Submission by Standing Arm-Triangle Choke in UFC history. Andrade the Former Strawweight Champion has many fights that i think would make sense for her on her way to fight current Champion Carla Esparza.  One Possible matchup is between her and grappling ace Mackenzie Dern. Another matchup that would make sense would be between Andrade and  the loser of the fight between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. The third option which I really like is a matchup between former two time Strawweight champ Rose Namajunas. 

Mackenzie Dern is a very interesting matchup for Andrade as they both have Submission skills.  Dern has many grappling achievements and looked great in her last performance when she got into the win column against striking expert Tecia Torres. Dern has an impressive 12-2 record and is a few fights away from fighting for the UFC Strawweight title. It may make perfect sense for Dern’s path to the title to go through former champion Andrade.    

The loser of Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Weili Zhang at UFC 275 would be an interesting matchup for Andrade; former UFC Strawweight champions Jedrzejczyk and Zhang will face off in the rematch of their epic championship bout, and we think that the loser of the bout could be matched up with Andrade. A rematch bout with Jedrzejczyk would be an interesting matchup for Andrade as the two are different fighters from the first time the matched up with Joanna Jedrzecjyk improving on her already amazing striking game training everyday since her war with Zhang on the feet and Andrade also gotten better on the feet in recent outings not just relying on her Jiu Jitsu.

Rose Namajunas will always be linked to Andrade as it was Namajunas who Andrade won her belt from at UFC 237. In their second matchup Namajunas won a very close Split Decision. Namajunas is much like Andrade as she has very good ground game but also has a very good striking game. Namajunas looked rough in her last outing not doing much of anything in the fight while receiving awful coaching from her corner and fiance. On the other hand Andrade looked awesome in her last outing. We definitely think Andrade would win a matchup against Namajunas.

We can’t wait to see who Andrade will face in her next outing and whoever she faces will bring the fight.

Three Great MMA Fights Coming In The Month of June

Photo By: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

June is already here and Bellator and the UFC have some killer fights coming up in the month of June. The first two are from the biggest MMA promotion’s first PPV in Asia since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The other fight is a matchup between Bellator Middleweights in a championship bout. 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Weili Zhang UFC 275

Former UFC Strawweight champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Weili Zhang will face off in the UFC Octagon at UFC 275 in the rematch of their epic championship bout which has been called the greatest Women’s MMA fight of all time where Zhang inflicted so much damage on  Jedrzejczyk that she had a giant hematoma on her head  the size of a small Nerf football. It was a major fight for the Division which was only about 6 years old at the time. And got a lot of people that weren’t into the idea of Women’s MMA to actually enjoy female MMA.  Zhang has been training with Henry Cejudo in recent camps. It is also rumored that former champion Rose Namajunas has reached out to Jedrzejczyk to help prepare her for the showdown at UFC 275.

Valentina Schevchenko vs. Taila Santos UFC 275

The second fight we’re excited for is a matchup between Flyweight Champion Valentina Schevchenko and Taila Santos for the Flyweight title. Schevchenko has shown mastery in the UFC cage throughout her UFC career with her only two losses of her career coming against Female MMA G.O.A.T. former two division champ Amanda Nunes. Schevchenko’s striking is next level and we think this is a great matchup for the fans as Santos is also a striker growing up in a house with a father who was a Muay Thai coach, she is riding a four fight win streak with wins over ‘Meatball’ Molly McCann, Submission specialist Gillian Robertson and UFC veterans Roxanne Modafferi, and Joanne Wood.

Gegard Mousasi vs Johnny Eblen Bellator 282

Former Strikeforce and UFC veteran Gegard Mousasi will return to the Bellator Cage in a few weeks at Bellator 282 live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. In his last appearance in the Bellator cage  Mousasi faced off against a then Undefeated Austin Vanderford and made quick work of the heavily tatted in his second successful title defense which extended Mousasi’s win streak to four wins in a row. Since entering Bellator, Mousasi has an impressive 7-1 promotional record. His opponent Johnny Eblen, much like Vanderford, is undefeated. Mousasi will look to put an end to Eblens run to the top of the Bellator Middleweight division. 

Fighter Profile: Nina Ansaroff Nunes

Nina Nunes is on the coaching staff of the New season of The Ultimate Fighter behind her wife Amanda Nunes. The pair are a UFC power couple and this season has not disappointed so far. Nunes is currently ranked in the top 10 of the Women’s strawweight division and has a record of 10-7-0 and will make her return to the UFC Octagon on July 9, 2022 in the UFC Apex Center. She is looking to get back into the win column after two losses in her last outings to Tatiana Suarez and Mackenzie Dern.

Nunes was born Nina Ann Ansaroff on December 3, 1985 in Weston, Florida. Nunes started taking classes in Taekwondo at the age of 6 she would later earn a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo. Nunes wrestled in high School at Lake Region High School. Nunes would start training MMA to lose weight and stay active after a Motorcycle accident. She’d later earn a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Nunes would start her amateur MMA career in 2008 where she compiled a 3-0 record. She turned pro in September of 2010.

Nunes would make her pro debut  against Catia Vitoria in the Crowbar MMA promotion; she’d win the bout by Unanimous Decision. She’d then hit the first rough patch of her career losing her first bout to future two time UFC Champion Carla Esparza by Split Decision. Nunes would then face future Invicta FC Flyweight Champion losing to Barb Honchak. She’d lose her next bout too to Casey Noland, but Nunes was not deterred; she’d face Jessica Doerner in November of 2012 winning the bout by TKO. This win by Nunes started a five fight win streak which would lead to Nunes ending up in the UFC.

Nunes would make her UFC debut against Juliana Lima Unfortunately for Nunes she lost the contest. She then would face World Muay-Thai Champion Justine Kish at UFC 195 losing the bout by Unanimous Decision. Nunes would get back in the win column in her next bout when she’d face off against Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger winning the fight by Submission (rear-naked choke) in January of 2017.  She’d get her second win in the UFC against Angela Hill in November of 2017. Randa Markos would be next for Nunes and she would win the bout on the judges scorecards by Unanimous Decision. She’d then get another win against Claudia Gahdelha in December of 2018. Nunes would lose her next two bouts to Suarez and Dern.

We’re excited to see how Nune’s next fight shakes out. 

UFC 275 Preview

UFC 275 is right  around the corner in June which is headlined by two major title fights. We have three fights that we are really excited about. The first fight we’re excited for is a rematch between Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Zhang Weili, the first fight between the pair was one of the craziest female UFC fights of all time. The next fight we’re excited for is between Flyweight Champion Valentina Schevchenko and Taila Santos for the title. The final fight we’re very excited for is a matchup between Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira and Jiří Procházka for the belt in one of the most interesting divisions since it was left by former Champion Jon Jones.

Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Zhang Weili faced off at UFC 248 in March of 2022 for the Strawweight title. The pair put on one hell of a show, with Zhang Weili doing a significant amount of damage on Jędrzejczyk causing a giant hematoma on Jędrzejczyk’s head the size of a Nerf Football. Jędrzejczyk has some of the best striking in Women’s MMA and looks to win this rematch with hopes of getting back to wearing the Strawweight title by the end of this year. It is Rumored Former Two time Strawweight Champion, and former rival Rose Namajunas will be helping Jędrzejczyk with her camp. It should be interesting to see how this one goes down.

The next fight  that night is a matchup between Flyweight Champion Valentina Schevchenko and Taila Santos for the Flyweight title. Schevchenko has shown mastery in the UFC cage throughout her UFC career with her only two losses of her career coming against Female MMA G.O.A.T. former two division champ Amanda Nunes. Schevchenko’s striking is next level and we think this is a great matchup for the fans as Santos is also a striker growing up in a house with a father who was a Muay Thai coach, she is riding a four fight win streak with wins over ‘Meatball’ Molly McCann, Submission specialist Gillian Robertson and UFC veterans Roxanne Modafferi, and Joanne Wood.

The next fight is a matchup between Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Texieira and Jiří Procházka. Teixeira shocked the MMA world when he won the Light Heavyweight strap in October at UFC 267 at the age of 42 making him the oldest first time Champion in the UFC. The victory, which came by Submission (rear-naked choke,) won  Teixeira Fight of the Night Honors. Procházka is riding a 12 fight win streak and is undefeated in his two fights in the UFC. Procházka is no stranger to big fights as he won the inaugural Rizin Light Heavyweight Championship and defended his belt once. 25 of  Procházka’s 28 wins have come by means of Knockout. It will be interesting to see who comes out of this title fight on top.

We’re excited for this card. It should be awesome to see who wins.

Fighter Profile: Maycee Barber

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One of the most promising fighters to ever come off of Dana White’s Contender Series is Maycee “The Future” Barber who is riding a two fight win streak after her win against Montana De La Rosa at UFC Vegas 53 a few weeks ago and sports an impressive 10-2 record in her young MMA career and is currently ranked in the top 15 of the Flyweight division, and she could be at the top of the division in the very near future if she chooses the right fights.

Barber was born in Greeley, Colorado on May 18, 1998. When Barber was younger she had one dream of becoming an MMA fighter. Her parents got behind her dream and let her pursue it with the best training imaginable driving her and her brother who is signed with Bellator all over the country to train with the hopes of them getting skilled enough to take the least amount of Damage. Barber would earn her Black Belt in Karate and currently holds a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After securing one amateur MMA victory Barber would turn her sights on making MMA her profession

Barber would make her Professional MMA debut in June of 2017 in The Legacy Fighting Alliance. She’d earn the victory against Itzel Esquivel via Submission (armbar.) She’d then face Mallory Martin in September of 2017  winning the bout via Unanimous Decision. Kaila Thompson would be next for Barber who would secure the victory via Submission (rear-naked choke) at LFA 33. Barber would then face Audrey Perkins in May of 2018,  at LFA 39 by way of TKO (punches and elbows.) She’d then get the call to fight on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Barber debuted on the National stage when she’d fight Jamie Colleen winning the three round contest by TKO (elbows.) She’d make her official UFC debut in November of 2018 when she’d face off against Hannah Cifers, winning the bout by TKO (elbows and punches) in the second round. She’d then face JJ Aldrich winning the bout by TKO (Knees and punches) in March of 2019. Barber would then face Submission Specialist Gillian Robertson, barber would win  the contest by TKO (punches.)  She’d then drop two contests in a row, the first to MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi and the second to Alexa Grasso. She’d win her next two bouts to Miranda Maverick and Montana De La Rosa both by Decision.

Barber is set to take on Jessica Eye at UFC 276 in Las Vegas. We’re excited to see how this one shakes out for Barber.

What’s Next For Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera?

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Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera and Massachusetts native Rob Font  Gave UFC fans an amazing performance on Saturday when they faced off against each other in the UFC Octagon. We think that there are some clear fights that make sense for Vera. One fight I think makes a lot of Sense is a bout with Cory Sandhagen. Another matchup that makes sense for Chito is with Russian Striking ace Petr Yan would also make sense as Yan. A matchup I think the fans would love to see would be a rematch between Vera and Jose Aldo. The Bantamweight Division is full of interesting matchups.

Sandhagen Is coming off a loss to Petr Yan for the interim UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 267 which won him Fight of the Night honors. Sandhagen is a striker but also holds a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I think this matchup makes sense for Chito as he’d be able to bring it to the ground and hopefully get a submission as he is a grappler and 8 of his 19 mins have come from his submission game.

Petr Yan is a very good matchup for Vera. Yan looked very uncomfortable on the ground in his rematch Championship bout against current Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling. Chito holds the advantage in the grappling department, but on the feet Yan could make things interesting, all MMA fights start on the feet. Seven of Yans victories come by way of Knockout making this one of those striker vs. grappler matchups that the UFC loves to make, it’s one of the most entertaining fights I think makes sense. 

Two fights that I think fans would like to see, and matchups that Vera has called for. One is a rematch with former Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. The other is with former Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Aldo is an interesting matchup for Vera as they both have already met in the Octagon so they know each other well. Both have amazing submission skills so this may actually stay on the feet. The matchup with Dominick Cruz actually makes more sense for Vera in my opinion, Vera has a huge advantage on the ground with years of grappling experience. 

It’ll be interesting to see what is next for Vera. We think he is climbing his way to the top of this stacked division.

Three Great MMA Fights Coming Up In May

Photo Courtesy of the PFL

The MMA world has some killer cards coming up in the month of May with some of the sport’s most talented fighters facing off in the major promotions’ cages. The PFL, Bellator, and The UFC have some major fights this month, but these are three of the fights that we are excited for at the moment.

Kayla Harrison Vs. Marina Mokhnatkina PFL 3

Marina Mokhnatkina is a Sambo fighter hailing from Russia. This will be her second fight in the PFL. She has previously fought in Bellator and has a career record of 6-2. She will have her work cut out for her in Kayla Harrison. Harrison is a two time Judo Olympic Gold Medalist and back to back PFL Women’s Lightweight Champion. Harrison recently resigned to the PFL after a lengthy free agency period where she was pursued by both the UFC and by Bellator. Bellator made an impressive offer, but the PFL matched their offer forcing Harrison to sign with the Promotion. The undefeated Harrison is a heavy favorite to win the PFL’s new season title  as she’s a very big fish in a very small pond.

Justin Gaethje Vs. Charles Oliveira UFC 274

The UFC Lightweight title is up for grabs in a bout that will feature Justin Gaethje facing off with Submission Specialist the Reigning Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira. Gaethje is no stranger to big fights as he is the Former World Series of Fighting Lightweight Champion and is also a former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion he hopes to take Oliveiras belt. Oliveira will do everything in his power to stop this. The Brazilian grappler has been on an awesome ten fight winning streak two of those wins were title fights where he beat Michael Chandler vacant UFC Lightweight Championship. Broke the UFC record for most finishes (17). And a great title defense against one of the best Lightweights in the world Dustin Poirier. This matchup between Gaethje and Oliveira is going to be must-see TV and we are excited to watch how this goes down.

Update: Charles Oliveira missed weight and has been stripped of his UFC Lightweight title and will not be eligible to win the Lightweight title if he is victorious at UFC 274

Michael ‘Venom’ Page vs. Logan Storley Bellator 281

Former four-time All-American wrestler will face off against #1 ranked British Kickboxer Michael ‘Venom’ Page for the Bellator Welterweight title at the OVO Arena in London.  Storley is coming off back to back victories against Dante Schiro and Jiu Jitsu ace Neiman Gracie. It will be interesting to see how this one shakes out for Storley who will face Page’s ferocious striking. MVP is riding a six fight win streak and looked very good in his last fight against Douglas Lima who was previously considered the best Welterweight outside of the UFC.

UFC 274 Preview

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UFC 274 is right around the corner, and the main card is must watch TV. The first fight of the night features MMA veteran and all around badass Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone facing off against another badass UFC veteran Joe Lauzon. The next fight of note is between former interim Champ Tony Ferguson and former Bellator Champ Michael Chandler. Both Ferguson and Chandler are both in need of a win.  The Card is then headlined by two title fights the first title fight is between Strawweights former champ Carla Esparza will face current champ Rose Namajunas. The final fight of the night will be between Justin Gaethje and Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira.

Donald Cowboy Cerrone has made a career out of taking short notice fights and fighting all comers. Some think that this will be Cerrone’s last fight in the UFC cage. Cerrone has had a couple of rough outings over the last three years most notably a Knockout loss to Conor McGregor. Joe Lauzon is on the back nine of his career; he got back in the win column in his last outing when he faced off against Jonathan Pearce winning by TKO. This was after a very rough patch in his career when he dropped three in a row to Stevie Ray, Clay Guida, and Chris Gruetzemacher. It will be Lauzon’s first bout in the UFC since before the Pandemic in 2019.

The next bout we’re really excited for is a matchup between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. Chandler put on one of the best fights last year when he squared up against Justin Gaethje in the UFC Octagon. The pair traded shots for a long time with Gaethje coming up the victor in the end. Chandler is now set to face Tony Ferguson with the pair being on losing streaks both are hoping to get back to their winning ways. Ferguson in his last three outings has faced top tier competition but was unable to secure victories against Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush. It should be interesting to see who comes out of this matchup with a win.

The final two bouts on this card are title fights. The first being a rematch between Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas. The pair faced off during The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale for the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship. Esparza walked away with the belt in their first meeting and will hope to reclaim the title from Namajunas. Namajunas is on her second stint as UFC Champion and hopes to make her second title defense this go around when she faces off against Esparza.

The final bout of UFC 274 is for The Lightweight title and will feature Justin Gaethje facing off with Submission Specialist Charles Oliveira. Gaethje is no stranger to big fights as he is the Former World Series of Fighting Lightweight Champion and is also a former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion he hopes to take Oliveiras belt. Oliveira will do everything in his power to stop this. The Brazilian grappler has been on an awesome ten fight winning streak two of those wins were title fights where he beat  Michael Chandler vacant UFC Lightweight Championship. Broke the UFC record for most finishes (17). And a great title defense against one of the best Lightweights in the world Dustin Poirier. This matchup between Gaethje and Oliveira is going to be must-see TV and we are excited to watch how this goes down.

You can catch UFC 274 on ESPN+ PPV on May 7th.

Update: Charles Oliveira missed weight and has been stripped of his UFC Lightweight title and will not be eligible to win the Lightweight title if he is victorious at UFC 274