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

Fighter Profile: Bryce Mitchell

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Bryce Mitchell proved at UFC 272 that he is well on his way to being one of the best fighters in the Featherweight division. Mitchell stepped in the cage and put on a great performance against Edson Barboza. He smothered Barboza much like Khabib did when he faced Barboza in 2017. Mitchell’s ground work is top level and it would be interesting to see him take on someone who’s just as good as him on the ground or a pure striker. Mitchell is exciting to watch and he wears many hats including fighter, farmer, and gun advocate. Mitchell is also a rapper and is skilled in academics earning a degree in economics from Harding University.

Mitchell was born October 4, 1994 Cabot, Arkansas. Growing up he didn’t know his father and was raised primarily by his mother. Mitchell went to Cabot High School where he played basketball and wrestled. Mitchell would place second at the 7A  state championships as a junior and fourth at the 6A state championships as a senior. After graduating he’d move to Searcy, Arkansas where he’d go to college and get his degree.  He’d eventually start training MMA in Searcy out of Barata MMA. He’d earn his Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu here and would start competing in armature MMA where he held an impressive 5-1 record.

Mitchell would make his professional debut in January 2015 when he faced off against Sheldon Smith. Mitchell would secure his professional win via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.)Mitchell would then face Jesse Sanderson in May of that year again winning by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) Mitchell’s next opponent would be Tony Williams, and no surprise he’d win this again by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) He’d then face Chris Culley winning by Submission (Armbar.) Jorge Medina would be next for Mitchell in the World Series Of Fighting promotion; he’d get the victory via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) He’d win his next four fights before getting the call to compete on the Ultimate Fighter.

Mitchell would appear on the Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated. On the show he’d win his first bout against castmate Jay Cucciniello before getting knocked out of the show with a loss to Brad Katona. Mitchell faced Tyler Diamond on July 6, 2018 in his UFC debut he’d win by Majority Decision. He’d then face Bobby Moffett  in his next outing winning the contest by Unanimous Decision. Matt Sayles would be next for Mitchell, Mitchell would get the victory with an impressive and rare Twister Submission. He’d then fight Charles Rosa and Andre Fili in his next two contests winning both by unanimous decision. He’d then face MMA veteran Edson Barboza in his second most impressive outing, smothering the Brazilian fighter for three whole rounds.

Mitchell has a lot of hype behind him for good reason, his grappling is next level and it’d be interesting to see him face off against a fighter of higher rank like Calvin Kattar or Giga Chikadze.

Fighter Profile: Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Joanna Jędrzejczyk is without a doubt one of the scariest female fighters to have ever reigned over a UFC Women’s division. The self pronounced Boogie woman reigned supreme over the Strawweight division for four years beating an impressive list of names in multiple title defenses.  Jędrzejczyk is set to come back to the UFC Octagon for the first time since she fought Zhang Weili before the Pandemic and sustained one of the most gruesome head injuries mma fans have ever seen.

Jędrzejczyk was born August 18, 1987 in Olsztyn, Poland. She started her journey into martial arts when she was 16 after discovering  Muay Thai. She’d start taking Muay Thai classes with hopes to compete in the art. She’d do just that winning about 60 Muay Thai and Kickboxing matches over a ten year span. During this span Jędrzejczyk would win an impressive five world titles including the WKN World Championship, J Girls Championship, WBKF Championship, WKF European Championship, and the WMC Championship. She’d soon switch her focus to Mixed Martial Arts.

Jędrzejczyk would make her MMA debut against Sylwia Juśkiewicz in May of 2012 she’d win by Unanimous Decision. She’d then go face Lily Kazak in December of 2012 winning by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) Jędrzejczyk would then face Kate Jackson winning by TKO (doctor stoppage.) She’d face three more fighters in smaller promotions, she’d beat all of these fighters and would get the call to fight for the UFC.

 Jędrzejczyk would make her UFC debut against Juliana Lima winning by Unanimous Decision. From there she’d face Cláudia Gadelha winning in a controversial Split Decision. This would be a title eliminator and in her next bout she’d fight Carla Esparza for the UFC Women’s Strawweight title winning by TKO (Punches.) She’d make her first two successful title defenses against Jessica Penne and Valérie Létourneau. 

 Jędrzejczyk  would then go on to Coach The Ultimate Fighter against heated rival Cláudia Gadelha the two would face each other at the conclusion of the Season with Jędrzejczyk winning the second meeting. She defended the  belt successfully two more times against Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jéssica Andrade before losing the belt to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217. Jędrzejczyk would then face Namajunas again. She’d then face Tecia Torres winning by Unanimous Decision. She’d then move up to fight for the vacant Flyweight Title losing by Unanimous decision. She’d win her next fight against Michelle Waterson before losing a Split Decision to Zhang Weili at UFC 248 for the Strawweight title.

We hope Jędrzejczyk makes a successful return to the UFC Octagon sometime soon!

What’s Next For Bryce Mitchell

Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Although he has many controversial opinions Bryce Mitchell proved that he is one of the best fighters in the Featherweight division. Mitchell stepped in the cage and put on a great performance against Edson Barboza. He smothered Barboza much like Khabib did when he faced Barboza in 2017. Mitchells ground work is top level and it would be interesting to see him take on someone who’s just as good as him on the ground or a pure striker. There are some really good matchups that could be made in the Featherweight division.

The first fight I think that would make sense for the Arkansas based Jiu Jitsu Black Belt would be a matchup between him and Giga Chikadze. Chikadze is a great striker who I think would be a no-brainer matchup for the UFC to make. It’s a classic striker vs. grappler matchup which they love to make. Chikadze is coming off a loss to Calvin Kattar in January where Chikadze took a lot of abuse and was Medically Suspended indefinitely so who knows when Chikadze will be able to fight again, but this is definitely a matchup I’d like to see for Mitchell.

Another matchup I think that would make sense for Mitchell would be between him and the Boston Finisher Calvin Kattar. Kattar is one tough fighter who has a Knockout power and would be a good binary between Mitchells grappling. Kattar is coming off a win to Giga Chikadze and in the outing before that one he lost to Featherweight great Max Holloway. Kattar has an amazing resume with 28 professional bouts to his name starting his career 15 years ago in 2007. Since then he’s only had an impressive five losses.

The final matchup I think would make sense for Mitchell would be the winner of Dan Ige and Movsar Evloev. Ige is very proficient on the ground with a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Jeff Doner, he also wrestled in college and also has a Brown Belt in Judo. This matchup would be good for Mitchell as it might prepare him for someone as high caliber as Brian Ortega at some point down the line.   Evloev is a Russian who is Master of Sports in Greco-Roman wrestling and is Undefeated. I think this would be a good matchup for Mitchell.

We’re not the UFC matchmakers but there are some great fights that they could definitely put together for Mitchell who is on his way to proving he’s one of the best Featherweight MMA fighters in the world.

Fighter Profile: Roxanne Modafferi

Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.

Women’s MMA trailblazer Roxanne Modafferi hung up her gloves at UFC 271 after 19 years as a professional fighter. Modafferi ended her career with a record of 25-20 and that didn’t include her record of 3-2 in exhibition fights on the Ultimate Fighter which adds up to a stunning 50 fights in her career. Modafferi had the whole crowd roaring and applauding when former UFC Champion Daniel Cormier Interviewed her after her final performance in the UFC Octagon.

Modafferi was born  on September 24, 1982 in Wilmington, Delaware. The Happy Warrior got her start in Taekwondo. Modafferi would then quickly move on to study Kenpo Karate. She’d then start training in Judo where she holds a Brown Belt. Modaferri would also earn a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Mike Pyle and Evan Dunham. She’d move to Japan and it was here that she’d start looking seriously at competing in both Jiu Jitsu and MMA.

Modafferi would make her MMA debut in November of 2003 when she’d face off against Hikaru Shinohara in the Smackgirl promotion. She’d win by Submission (Armbar.)  In her pre UFC career she’d win the IFC women’s Middleweight Title. She’d then win the FFF Lightweight title. She’d also Fight for The Strikeforce Bantamweight title. She’d eventually get the call to go on the Ultimate Fighter. She’d be on the eighteenth season of the Show which was coached by Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.  She’d lose on the show but would still get a shot on the Finale.

Modafferi would make her UFC debut against Raquel Pennington on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate Finale, unfortunately for her it would be a loss. She’d then Fight for Invicta before getting the call to fight on The Ultimate Fighter: A New World Champion which introduced the Flyweight division to the UFC. Modafferi would lose on the show but she’d end up in a title fight for the Inaugural UFC Flyweight title. This would be a loss for Modafferi but she had found her MMA forever home and would fight her last fight with the promotion five years later.

We wish Modafferi the best in retirement as she is a true trailblazer In the sport of MMA. The happy warrior gets to walk into the sunset as a UFC fighter, an amazing feat considering Women weren’t in the UFC.

Fighter Profile: Raquel Pennington

Raquel Pennington has been banned for six-months after reporting herself to drug testers
Photo Credit: Mike Roach

Women’s MMA veteran Raquel Pennington made her return to the UFC Octagon in December at the UFC Apex when she faced off against Macy Chiasson and won by Submission (Guillotine Choke.) Pennington who has been fighting now for 13 years has strung together a three fight win streak and is currently ranked 7th in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division one of the most stacked divisions in all of MMA.

Pennington was born September 5, 1988 in Colorado Springs, CO. Growing up she played many sports and wanted to box. Harrison High School in 2007 as secretary of the National Honor Society. She’d then go on to college to study medicine, but would not play sports at the collegiate level due to breaking her back while snowboarding. She’d start training Martial Arts at 19 and would start fighting armature MMA starting in  2009 to 2011. She held an armature record of 7-1 before going pro.

Pennington made her professional MMA debut in March of 2012 when she faced Kim Couture for the MFP promotion Pennington would win by TKO (Knees To The Body.) She’d then get the first loss of her career when she faced off against Tori Adams. She’d then face Sarah Moras in Invicta and would win by Unanimous Decision. She’d then face Raquel Pa’aluhi and would win by Submission (Guillotine Choke.) Pennington would then drop two fights in a row to Cat Zingano and Leslie Smith moving her record to 3-3. She’d then get the call to be on The Ultimate Fighter. On the show she’d go 2-1 with victories over Tonya Evinger and Jessamyn Duke but would lose to Jessica Rakoczy in the Semi-final bout.

Pennington would make her UFC debut in November 2013 when she’d face off against Roxanne Modafferi winning by Unanimous Decision. She’d then lose a bout to future Strawweight champ Jéssica Andrade. Pennington would get into the win column again in her next fight when she faced off against Ashlee Evans-Smith. Pennington would then face Holly Holm losing by split decision. Pennington would then win four fights in a row including wins in a rematch against Andrade and against former Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate. She’d then drop two fights in a row including a fight with women’s MMA GOAT Amanda Nunes for the Women’s UFC Bantamweight title. She’d then win four of her next five fights.

It is unknown who Pennington will face next in the UFC Octagon next , but we hope she’ll make it four wins in a row next.

Fighter Profile: Brandon Moreno

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Brandon Moreno lost his belt at UFC 270, but he did make history last year becoming the first Mexican UFC Champion in any weight class. Moreno made a valiant effort trying to retain his belt and some said he may have won the fight and the Judges were wrong. Moreno has a heart of gold and we think their a great case for a fourth fight between Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo 

Moreno was born on December 7, 1993 in Tijuana Mexico. His family owned a piñata business.  Moreno Decided at age 12 that he needed a change in his life and his mother signed him up for an MMA gym to help him with this mission. Moreno wanted to be a lawyer, but loved training MMA so much that he decided that this would be something he would pursue full time, and he did just that.

Moreno made his MMA debut against Atiq Jihad. He’d win the fight by Submission (Triangle Choke) in April of 2011. He’d then take a loss against  Marco Beristain Castillo in June of that same year. Moreno would then face Luis Garcia in January 2012 winning by Submission (Armbar) he’d then fight Ron Scolesdang losing by Unanimous decision moving his record to 2-2. He’d win his next four fights before fighting C.J. Soliven for the vacant WFF Flyweight Championship. He’d win the fight and thus the title by Submission (Rear-naked Choke.) He’d defend that belt three times. Before being cast on The Ultimate Fighter.

On the show Moreno lost to Alexandre Pantoja by Submission (Rear-naked Choke.) He made his real UFC debut on October 1, 2016 when he faced off against Louis Smolka winning by Submission (Guillotine Choke.) He’d then face Ryan Benoit who he’d beat by Split Decision. He’d get his third victory with the promotion when he faced Dustin Ortiz winning by Technical Submission (rear-naked choke.) He’d then drop two in a row to Sergio Pettis and Alexandre Pantoja. He’d then score a victory against Maikel Pérez winning by TKO (Punches.)

 The next fight for Moreno was a Draw against Askar Askarov. He’d then win three in a row landing him in a title fight against  Deiveson Figueiredo.  Figueiredo was deducted one point in round three due to repeated groin strikes and the fight ended in a draw. He’d then fight Figueiredo again at UFC 263 which he would win by Submission (Rear-naked Choke) becoming the First Mexican UFC Champion. The UFC would give Figueiredo an immediate rematch and Unfortunately Moreno would lose the Belt to Figueiredo. Now they might fight a fourth fight to finish this odd series of events.

Fighter Profile: Carla Esparza

UFC Fight Night: Xiaonan v Esparza
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former Invicta and UFC Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza has been out of the UFC Octagon since she beat Yan Xiaonan in May of 2021. Esparza is supposedly next in line for a shot at Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas. Who she won the Inaugural UFC Strawweight belt against all the way back in 2014. Fans definitely want to see this matchup again, even if Dana White doesn’t. Esparza has a five fight win streak and it’d be great to see her face Namajunas.

Esparza was born October 10, 1987 in Torrance, CA. She would attend Redondo Union High School wrestling for the varsity team during her junior year. She would win a few tournaments and would have the option to go to college for wrestling which she did. Esparza would attend Menlo College, a NAIA Division 1 School. She’d become an All American in Wrestling under the tutelage of coach and former two-time Olympian Lee Allen. Esparza in addition to wrestling while in college would also take up Brazillian Jiu Jitsu under Rener, Ryron, and Ralek Gracie at the Gracie Academy in Torrance. She is currently a Brown Belt. 

Cassie Trost was Esparza’s first MMA opponent in February of 2010. Esparza would win by TKO (Punches) in round one. Esparza would then face Karina Hallinan winning by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) She’d then face Lacey Sears she’d win by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in round two. She’d then get the first loss of her career when she stepped into the cage against Megumi Fujii for Bellator. She’d then get two wins in a row against Nina Nunes (née Ansaroff) and Yadira Anzaldua. She’d then drop a fight to Jessica Aguilar. She’d win her next three fights before competing for the Invicta Strawweight belt against Bec Rawlings she’d win by Unanimous Decision.

Esparza would then get the call to be on the Ultimate Fighter 20 Women’s Strawweight tournament.Esparza would face Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, and Jessica Penne on the Ultimate fighter Earning her a spot in the show’s live finale. She’d face Rose Namajunas winning by Submission (rear-naked choke) and thus winning the show and the first UFC Strawweight belt. She’d lose the belt in her next fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Esparza would win three of her next four before dropping two in a row to Claudia Gadelha and Tatiana Suarez. She’s currently riding a five fight win streak including victories over Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez, and Yan Xiaonan.

We hope to see Esparza fight soon, and we hope it’s for the belt.

Fighter Profile: Katlyn Chookagian

Katlyn Chookagian UFC

Katlyn Chookagian fought her way to her tenth win in the UFC when she fought Jennifer Maia on the 15th of January. She now holds a 10-4 record in The UFC and an overall record of 17-4 and she is now a free agent. Chookagian who fought for the UFC Flyweight title is currently ranked second in the division, which leads many to ask why Chookagian hasn’t been re-signed. Many think it’s because when she wins she almost always wins by decision, but she does keep winning so what’s the hold up? We’re going to look at how Chookagaian got to this point because we enjoy watching her fight.

Chookagian was born December 28, 1988 in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. She would start her journey into martial arts at age 4 when she started taking Karate. She’d attend Quakertown Community Senior High School and would graduate. Chookagian would go on to attend Fairleigh Dickinson University where she would earn her degree in Business Management and Marketing. Chookagian Would work odd jobs including being a bartender before turning her sites on MMA first as an armature in 2012 and then turning pro in 2014. She currently holds a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Renzo Gracie.

Chookagian made her pro MMA debut in June of 2014 when she would face off against  Rebecca Heintzman for Cage Fury FC. She would win via unanimous decision. She’d then face Brigitte Narcisse for the World Series of Fighting Promotion she would win by Knockout (Knees.) She’d then fight Linn Wennergren PMMAL Hungarian Fight Championship 9, she’d secure the win by Unanimous Decision.  She’d then face Melinda Fábián for the same promotion winning by Submission (Armbar.)  Sijara Eubanks would be her next opponent Chookagian would beat her by Unanimous decision. Eubanks would later Corner for Chookagian in her later fights. She’d win her next two fights including championship bouts for the Cage Fury Flyweight title and Bantamweight title. She’d then get the call to fight for the UFC.

Chookagian made her UFC debut against Lauren Murphy in July of 2016 She’d win by unanimous decision. She’d then face Liz Carmouche losing by split decision, her first loss in her career. She’d then win her next three fights against Irene Aldana, Mara Romero Borella, and Alexis Davis. She’d then face Jessica Eye losing by Split Decision. She’d then score victories against Joanne Calderwood and Jennifer Maia earning her a title fight against women’s Flyweight GOAT Valentina Schevchenko, Schevchenko would win the fight by TKO (Elbows and Punches) in the third round. She’d then face Schevchenko’s sister Antonina winning by Unanimous decision. She’d then drop a fight to  Jéssica Andrade. She’d Win her next three fights against Cynthia Calvillo, Viviane Araújo, and Jennifer Maia.

Currently Chookagian is a free agent and no one knows who she’ll be facing next or in what promotion. We hope to see her in the Octagon soon.

Fighter Profile: Robert Whittaker

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Former UFC Champion Robert Whittaker hopes to regain his title at UFC 271 in February against Israel Adesanya whom he lost the belt to at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia in 2019 before the pandemic. Whittaker is an all around threat to anyone he faces in the UFC octagon and sports an impressive 23-5 record three of those career losses in the UFC the highest level of competition in the sport.

Whittaker was born on December 20th, 1990 in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand. He is of Australian, European, Māori and Samoan lineage. He got his start in martial arts when his father enrolled him into Goju-ryu Karate which he would earn his Black Belt in after eight years. He’d then switch to Hapkido which he’d also earn the rank of Black Belt his Hapkido gym would turn into an MMA gym and Whittaker would start training MMA. Whittaker would later earn A Black Belt in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. Whittaker is truly a triple threat.

Whittaker made his MMA debut on March 14, 2009 against Chris Tallowin he’d win by TKO(punches.) He’d then face Richard Walsh in the Cage Fighting Championships promotion, Whittaker would win by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) He’d then go on to face Nick Ariel in March of 2010 he’d win by Knockout (punch) in round one. Whittaker was now 3-0 with three first round finishes. He’d win his next four fights also by quick finishes in the first round. He’d then face Hoon Kim losing by Submission (triangle choke.) He’d then go on to fight three more fights before getting the call from the UFC to be on The Ultimate Fighter.

Whittaker made his UFC debut in December of 2012 against Brad Scott he would win by Unanimous Decision and thus winning The Ultimate Fighter. He’d then go on to fight Colton Smith winning by TKO (punches)  in the third round. He’d then drop two in a row to Court McGee and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. He’d then fight Mike Rhodes, winning by Unanimous Decision. It would be Whittakers last fight at Welterweight.

Whittaker would make his Middleweight debut against Clint Hester he’d win by TKO (knee and punches.) He’d win his next five fights before fighting Yoel Romero for the Interim Middleweight title. Whittaker would beat Romero by Unanimous Decision. This would later be promoted to an undisputed title. Romero was then given a rematch but would miss weight and it wouldn’t be a title fight. Whittaker would win by split decision. Whittaker would lose his next bout to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243. Whittaker would win his next three fights earning him a rematch against Adesanya in Febuary of 2022 at UFC 271.

We hope Whittaker can reclaim his title. Also if you’re a gamer you can find Whittaker in Skyrim where he is a NPC.