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Duane Ludwig Returned To Help T.J. Dillashaw Ahead Of UFC 177

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Many wondered what would happen the night T.J. Dillashaw won the UFC bantamweight title.

Head coach Duane Ludwig had already announced plans to move to Colorado, leaving Team Alpha Male and starting his own gym.

Some wondered if the chemistry developed between the two would dissolve having to deal with the miles between Colorado and California.

Instead, Dillashaw and Ludwig grew even closer in the weeks leading up to tonight's UFC 177 rematch with Renan Barao. They became roommates for the eight-week training camp.

"Duane lived with me for this camp," said Dillashaw, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. "He moved his family to Colorado and then moved back and has been living with me. For the last eight weeks, he's been my roommate."

Dillashaw, a runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter, dominated Barao earlier this year in handing the Brazilian his first Octagon loss. Despite the commanding performance, he knows there will always be those that doubt him.

"No matter what, you'll have critics," he said. "You have to ignore them, know the hard work is what you have to do and just keep winning.

"You'll always have critics and doubters."

After a loss via split decision to Raphael Assuncao, Dillashaw defeated Mike Easton. While he was awaiting his next fight announcement, Assuncao was forced to turn down a title fight vs. Barao. In stepped Dillashaw, who made history by becoming the first Team Alpha Male fighter to secure UFC gold.

Now, entering as the champion, has the pressure shifted to Dillashaw?

"Not at all," he said. "He's the guy I want to beat again and get on that pound-for-pound list. I feel there's more pressure on him after his last performance.

"He has to make the changes. It'll be harder for him to step in the Octagon than me. I'm dealing with this fight the same as every other fight."

Fighters.com will live report from the UFC 177 tonight.

UFC President Discusses Future Welterweight Bouts

Friday, August 29th, 2014

UFC president Dana White returned from Mexico just in time for another edition of his Download interview on UFC.com this week.

White, who helped kick-start ticket sales for the Mexico debut of the promotion, was greeted with a spot on the GQ Magazine "Top 25 Sleaziest People in Sports" list. Despite scoring a Top-10 nod, White wasn't too concerned.

“You’re never going to be able to stop what people say about you, and everybody isn’t going to love you,” White said. “But I don’t take offense to anything. When you’re in a public position like this you’re always going to have people say things about you. Believe me, if I worried about everything that was said about me, I would have been a mess a long time ago. That kind of stuff doesn’t bother me at all, not even a little bit.”

Grouped between the recently-arrested former fighter, War Machine, and the banished ex-Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong, White only saw one reason to be concerned with appearing on the list.

"The thing that's unfortunate is that it's unfair for the UFC as a brand," White said. "UFC pays its fighters very well."

A welterweight match between Tyron Woodley and Hector Lombard could soon be made official, as White indicated that is the plan for both fighters. Woodley is coming off a first round knockout of Dong Hyun Kim, while Lombard had to pull out of his last planned fight due to a training injury.

Woodley was hoping to face Matt Brown next, but Lombard seems the better fit, says White.

“What’s weird about that is that Woodley calls out Matt Brown, but he’s ranked higher than Matt Brown,” White said. “But we want to do Tyron Woodley vs. Hector Lombard – that’s the fight we want to do. Hector said yes, we’re just waiting to hear from Woodley. Lombard said he would fight him, no problem.”

Check Out A Video Simulation For UFC 177's Main Event

Friday, August 29th, 2014

EA Sports has put together a simulation to predict this Saturday night's main event fight at UFC 177 between bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao.

Earlier this year, Dillashaw stunned Barao with a fifth round TKO victory, dominating the former champion for the better part of 20-plus minutes.

According to the simulators, the outcome will be different this time around, with Barao scoring a decision victory. Check out highlights courtesy "EA Sports: UFC" in the video below:

Get The Latest News And Info On Mark Hunt, Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva

Friday, August 29th, 2014

On a recent episode of "UFC Tonight" it was reported that heavyweight Mark Hunt has signed a new six-fight extension with the promotion ahead of his bout with Roy Nelson.

Hunt, who had fans in a frenzy when he announced he was no longer with the UFC earlier this year, will meet Nelson in the main event on September 20 from Japan at UFC Fight Night 52.

According to Ariel Helwani, Hunt has signed a six-fight deal that will take him into retirement.

What next for Bisping, Machida?

The middleweight division continues to chase Chris Weidman, and several contenders could soon be lined up. It is being reported that Lyoto Machida will face C.B. Dollaway next after Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping are booked.

“Last week it was reported that Lyoto Machida might be facing Luke Rockhold. But this was before Michael Bisping won his fight last weekend against Cung Le in China," Helwani said. "It seems now that Bisping will be partnered with Rockhold. That leaves Machida without a fight and Machida’s camp doesn’t call people out, but they say the fight that makes sense now is C.B. Dollaway. Nothing is official yet.”

"The Axe Murderer" update

Wanderlei Silva's push to have any possible suspension for fine for failing to take a drug test could hit a snag, as the Nevada Athletic Commission told Helwani that once a fight is announced, "they do hold regulation with a person who's about to compete."

Silva refused a drug test in the weeks prior to his fight with Chael Sonnen. The whole ordeal is expected to be brought up next month.

King Mo Lawal Sticking In Bellator For The Foreseeable Future

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal has found a home with Bellator MMA, and he plans on staying put for the extended future.

The promotion announced recently that Lawal has signed a long-term extension to remain a member of the light heavyweight division. The former Strikeforce champion has posted a 4-3 record since signing with Bellator.

“This was one of the easiest decisions I could have made,” Lawal said. “After everything that went down over the last six or seven months, I didn’t think this was something that would ever happen, but when (Scott) Coker came on board with Bellator, everything changed. This is where I want to be. I don’t care who I fight, when it is, or where it is. I get paid to fight, and that’s what I’m going to do for Bellator. That’s it.”

Lawal made it quite public that he did not agree with former Bellator president Bjorn Rebney, but he has a long history with Coker, who was hired earlier this year to replace Rebney.

Next action for Lawal is next Friday night at Bellator 123 in the co-main event against Dustin Jacoby.

Luke Rockhold Gets Himself In Hot Water Over Tiger "Fondling"

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold caught flack from those on social media over a video he posted with a tiger.

Rockhold, a top contender in the UFC's middleweight division, issued an apology along with the video on Instagram.

"Here's the video. For those of (you) who think it was disrespectful I'm sorry," he wrote. "Was so minor just joking around.

"I was way too scared and would never do anything harmful to any animal."

Rockhold took part in media events while the UFC was overseas, joining the promotion for stops in China. He also toured Thailand, where he snapped the below picture that led to the apology.

UFC Champ Believes He's In The Head Of Challenger Going Into UFC 177

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

When it comes to confidence, UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is oozing with it.

Dillashaw, fresh off a dominating four-plus round performance vs. Renan Barao, will rematch the Brazilian this Saturday night at UFC 177.

Most were left stunned when Dillashaw (10-2) controlled the action against Barao (32-2) earlier this year at UFC 173 before stopping him in the fifth. For the Team Alpha Male Fighter, competing with him a second time is of no concern.

"I've got his number," said Dillashaw, in an interview with TheSHOOT!, which you can view below. "I'm in his head. Now, I just have to go back and push repeat."

Dillashaw has won six of eight fights inside the Octagon, including two in a row. Since falling in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 14, the 28-year-old has only lost a split decision to Raphael Assuncao.

When they first met in May, Barao was on a seven-fight UFC win streak and the odds-on favorite to retain his title. In fact, Dillashaw only got the opportunity when Assuncao had to decline due to injury.

"I don't mind rematches," he said. "With Barao, it's a little different situation. I'm getting the rematch because of the fact he was such a great champion for so long."

FightLine will have complete coverage of all the action this weekend, including post-fight news and information.

Emotional Video Blog From UFC President Dana White

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

UFC president Dana White has returned with a special video blog in the days leading up to UFC 177.

White and the camera crew takes us back to July and UFC 175, which featured Chris Weidman defeating Lyoto Machida in the main event.

Also, the event saw a heavyweight contest canceled at the last minute when Stefan Struve began suffering issues backstage. The cameras catch an emotional moment between Struve and his opponent, Matt Mitrione.

We also get to see exactly what was said between Joe Rogan and White after the "truck" asked Ronda Rousey to fight again in a few weeks.

UFC Fight Night 53 Update: Max Holloway Replaces "Korean Zombie"

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

It didn't take officials long to find a new opponent for Akira Corassani, tabbing the recently-victorious Max Holloway for the UFC Fight Night 53 co-main event.

Set for October 4 from Stockholm, Holloway will replace Chan Sung Jung, who suffered an injury in training recently. The main event for the card features Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story.

Holloway (10-3) finished Clay Collard this past weekend via third round TKO, moving his win streak to three in a row. All three of those victories have been stoppage wins, as he also topped Andre Fili and Will Chope.

The youngster has rebounded from back-to-back decision losses in 2013 to Conor McGregor and Dennis Bermudez that halted his three-fight win streak in 2012.

Corassani (12-4) is coming off a second round TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in April that snapped a three-fight win streak.

Below is the current lineup:

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass/3 p.m. ET)

Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story

Featherweight: Akira Corassani vs. Max Holloway

Light Heavyweight: Ilir Latifi vs. Jan Blachowicz

Featherweight: Niklas Backstrom vs. Mike Wilkinson

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/12:10 p.m. ET)

Middleweight: Magnus Cedenblad vs. Scott Askham

Welterweight: Alexander Yakovlev vs. Nico Musoke

Featherweight: Dennis Siver vs. Robert Whiteford

Welterweight: Cathal Pendred vs. Gasan Umalatov

Middleweight: Tor Troeng vs. Krzysztof Jotko

Lightweight: Mairbek Taisumov vs. Marcin Bandel

Featherweight: Ernest Chavez vs. Zubaira Tukhugov

Conor McGregor Tries His Best To Provoke Dustin Poirier

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Conor McGregor has created quite possibly the biggest stir in terms of trash-talking among the lighter weight classes in years.

McGregor, known as "Notorious," returns to the Octagon this September against Dustin Poirier at UFC 178. He'll put his 11-fight win streak on the line, which includes three victories with the promotion.

The Irish fighter continued to push the envelope during a recent appearance on "UFC Tonight," delivering some fighting words for Poirier - while trying to maintain a sense of respect.

“I have nothing against him. He’s a nice, humble hillbilly kid from a back town, but I have nothing against the guy," McGregor said. "He has nothing for me. Coming against me, it’s not going to be a good night for him.

"When he wakes up with his nose plastered on the other side of his face, he’ll realize this is the next level guy. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what they think.”

McGregor (15-2) hasn't lost since a submission defeat to Joseph Duffy in 2010. Since, he's earned nine finishes via knockout and one more by submission.

Some have been outspoken against McGregor because of the push the UFC has provided him. His last fight was a main event in Ireland, while he toured with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier during the recent media events promoting the pay-per-view.

“For me it’s all these little featherweights who are crying like girls," he said. "'Why is he getting the headliner in his hometown? Why is he getting on the best card of the year?'

"For me, I’m in shape 24/7, 365 days a year, and I show up for fights. I don’t freeze, I come forward and I put people away. I know myself and they know who the new king is. There’s a new king in town.”

McGregor explained his recent win in front of the vocal Irish fans, proclaiming it the "best UFC event in history atmosphere-wise."

"Now, it's on to Vegas, Dustin Poirier and I'll put him away in one round and move on the crusade of eliminating this whole featherweight division one-by-one," he concluded.

Opponent Change Of Little Concern To Bellator's "King Mo" Lawal

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal believes that "anything's possible" when it comes to Bellator MMA competing neck-and-neck with the UFC.

One thing the former college wrestling standout does know for sure is that there is currently too much MMA available for fans.

"The way MMA's looking, I don't think it's looking that bright right now," he said, during a recent interview on Submission Radio. "The future of MMA is kind of murky because the market's been over-saturated.

"People are having all these shows, having these pay-per-views; they're trying to get money from all these people and they're putting on sub-par shows. I think that eventually things have to change. Have less shows, more quality and they'll do better."

Recently, the UFC held two events on the same day again, with the shows airing from two different countries. Bellator plans to go away from the weekly events schedule of the past in 2015.

Along with the needing to change the way events are ran, Lawal believes the pay structure could use some change.

“In boxing what happens is you get your show money, and whatever you make, win or lose, is what you get. I feel like that would be better because if you tell a fighter, 'Hey you're going to make 75 and 75,' the fighter's gonna be like, 'You know what? I gotta win. So I’m gonna go out there and just win,'" Lawal said. "But if you tell a fighter, 'Hey I’m gonna give you 150 straight up,' he will just go out there and fight. He has no worries.

There’s no worries, just go out there and fight. Instead of the win bonus, just gave him the pay bonus. It’s like this, if they get a knockout, then give 'em a little extra but if they go out there to fight, then that’s good enough. Just pay them the money.”

Lawal (12-4) is slated to return to action next week against Marcus Sursa at Bellator 123. He was expected to meet Tom DeBlass, but an injury knocked DeBlass out.

"The opponent change don't matter (because) whoever's gonna fight me, I'm fighting to knock'em out," he said. "I promote violence, so I'm trying to get out there and do my damage and win the fight."

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