UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier Full Report

Last weekend, the UFC headed to the United Arab Emirates for a special pay-per-view. The evening had 13 fights, including a main event involving Russian Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim Lightweight Champion Dustin “Diamond” Poirier. In a building that was built specifically for the event, UFC 242 started with eight preliminary fights. 

Bout 1: Fares Ziam (10-2) vs. Don Madge (8-3-1) (Lightweight)

The evening kicked off with Fares Ziam and Don Madge in a lightweight bout. Madge tried for a takedown in the opening moments of the bout. They stayed clinched up against the cage for a while as no takedown was landed. Ziam gave Madge tons of knees to the thighs while in the clinch. With just under two minutes left in the round, the referee put them back in stand-up due to inactivity. Madge clinched up again, trying for a takedown which Ziam avoided. Madge did another body lock early in the second round. As the second round was closing out, Madge finally scored his first takedown. The final round was a dominant one for Madge, doing pretty much what he did in the two rounds before. The judges all had Don Madge getting the win (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ziam 9 9 9 27
Madge 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Zak Cummings (23-6) vs. Omari Akhmedov (18-4-1) (Middleweight)

The next fight had two much more experienced MMA fighters in Zak Cummings and Omari Akhmedov face off. There was a pause very early on as Akhmedov was hit in the groin. Halfway through the first round, Cummings dropped Akhmedov with a left hook. He was able to get back up and continue in the fight. Akhmedov got a double leg takedown with two minutes left in the first round. Akhmedov had a good second round, out-striking Cummings on the feet, and then getting in some ground and pound in with less than a minute left. Akhmedov got another takedown near the end of the final round. Similar to the round before, Akhmedov ended the round with some ground strikes. Omari Akhmedov got the unanimous decision win when they turned to the judges (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Cummings 9 9 9 27
Akhmedov 10 10 10 30

Bout 3: Muslim Salikhov (14-2) vs. Nordine Taleb (15-6) (Welterweight)

Tristar Gym’s Nordine Taleb was pitted against Muslim Salikhov in the next fight. The fight started off somewhat slow with both fighters being weary of each other’s power. Salikhov landed a good spinning kick which got Taleb in the mid-section. A pause came shortly after as a kick hit Salikhov in the groin. In the final minute of the first round, Salikhov floored Taleb with a right hook, immediately earning the victory via walk-off KO.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 4: Takashi Sato (15-2) vs. Belal Muhammad (15-3) (Welterweight)

After his impressive UFC debut, Takashi Sato was put against Belal Muhammad on this card. Muhammad’s striking was looking sharp early on. Muhammad got a takedown, but Sato got up shortly after. In the final minute of the first round, Muhammad got a slam takedown and took the back of Sato, looking for a rear naked choke. Muhammad had another good round, although Sato had a decent moment near the end, landing a takedown and staying in control on the ground. Muhammad failed to score a takedown early in the third round. When he tried again he succeeded. Muhammad took Sato’s back quite easily and applied a rear naked choke which eventually made him tap out. Getting his first career win via submission, Belal Muhammad got his second victory in a row.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Sato 9 9
Muhammad 10 10

Bout 5: Teemu Packalen (8-2) vs. Ottman Azaitar (11-0) (Lightweight)

Switching over to ESPN for the rest of the preliminary card, Teemu Packalen versus Ottman Azaitar was up next. Both fighters were landing hard shorts early on. While Packalen was having his moments, it was Azaitar who was getting more action in. Packalen shot for a single leg takedown but had it denied. With over a minute left in the first round, Azaitar landed an overhand right which dropped Packalen. Extending his undefeated streak, Ottman Azaitar impressed in his UFC debut.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 6: Sarah Moras (5-6) vs. Liana Jojua (7-2) (Bantamweight)

The first of two female fights of the evening featured Sarah Moras and Liana Jojua. Moras aimed to even her record with this fight. Moras had Jojua up against the cage for a large amount of the first round until the referee separated them. Moras was pushing the pace of the fight, consistently coming forward. In the second round, Jojua was able to get the top position on the ground. Moras was able to reverse the position after a minute or so. Jojua had top position for a decent amount of time in the start of the thirds round. Moras was able to get top position and start getting strikes off. After tons of unanswered strikes, the referee eventually stepped in, giving Sarah Moras a win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Moras 10 10
Jojua 9 9

Bout 7: Lerone Murphy (8-0) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4) (Featherweight)

The next preliminary fight had English fighter Lerone Murphy attempt to extend his undefeated streak against Zubaira Tukhugov. In the second minute of the fight, Tukhugov dropped Murphy with strikes. He got back up, but at tons of strikes in the process. Tukhugov swarmed Murphy on the ground, staying on him and throwing him back down when he would get back up. Murphy’s only real offense was an upkick at the end of the round. Murphy got more striking in at the start of the second round. Tukhugov landed a strong double leg takedown, but on the ground Murphy nearly got a guillotine choke in. When standing up, Murphy put in another guillotine that Tukhugov had to fight out of. While Murphy got some good punches in later, Tukhugov scored another takedown before the round ended. Murphy’s takedown defence got stronger in the final round, finally stuffing a takedown. Tukhugov’s grappling overwhelmed Murphy for most of the final round, making it so that he was defending and never really getting to attack. The scorecards added up to a rare split draw (29-28, 29-28 & 28-28). Lerone Murphy stayed undefeated, but added a “1” to the third column of his record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Murphy 8 10 9 27
Tukhugov 10 9 10 28

Bout 8: Andrea Lee (11-2) (#6) vs. Joanne Calderwood (13-4) (#5) (Flyweight)

The final preliminary bout on the card was flyweight prospects Andrea Lee and Joanne Calderwood facing off. It was the first fight on the card that included ranked fighters. With over a minute left in the first round, Lee caught a kick, and used it to take the fight to the ground. Lee scored a solid takedown early in the second round. Calderwood got a takedown of her own in the closing seconds of the second round. Calderwood had a more busy final round, out-striking Lee. Going to the scorecards, the judges had a split decision, with the win ultimately going to Joanne Calderwood (29-28 Lee, 30-27 Calderwood & 29-28 Calderwood).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Lee 9 10 9 28
Calderwood 10 9 10 29

Bout 9: Diego Ferreira (15-2) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) (Lightweight)

The main card kicked off with Diego Ferreira and Mairbek Taisumov. In the first round, Taisumov stayed on the outside of the octagon, circling around Ferreira. Taisumov rocked Ferreira with a punch halfway through the round. Ferreira had a good closing moments of the round, landing a few good strikes. Taisumov scored a good judo throw early in the second round. Ferreira was much more generous with strikes in the second round. Taisumov was getting tagged much more. Ferreira applied the pressure from the very start of the third round. The third round was the best one for Ferriera, who landed tons of combos while not getting anything in response. Diego Ferreira walked away with the victory (29-28, 29-27 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ferreira 9 10 10 29
Taisumov 10 9 9 28

Bout 10: Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4) (#9) vs. Curtis Blaydes (11-2 1 NC) (#4) (Heavyweight)

In the next fight, the show went to the big boys as ranked heavyweights Shamil Abdurakhimov and Curtis Blaydes competed. Blaydes shot for a takedown early, taking the back of Abdurakhimov. They got back up after Blaydes was dominant on the ground for a couple of minutes. Blaydes got another takedown and continued to smother Abdurakhimov. Blaydes finally started to unload some strikes on the ground in the final seconds of the first round. As expected, Blaydes got another takedown early in the second round. Blaydes started with the ground and pound again, with the referee ending the fight after a cut was opened on Shamil Abdurakhimov’s face.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Abdurakhimov 8
Blaydes 10

Bout 11: Davi Ramos (10-2) vs. Islam Makhachev (17-1) (#15) (Lightweight)

Before the main event, we got two lightweight bouts between high level fighters in the division. The first of two fights was Davi Ramos versus Islam Makhachev. Early in the fight, Ramos stopped a takedown attempt by Makhachev. The striking was pretty quiet from both fighters in the first round. Ramos tried to score a takedown early in the second round after a combination of punches, but Makhachev stopped it. Halfway through the round Ramos landed a jab which wobbled Makhachev. In the final round there was a scary moment for Ramos, where he was dropped by a knee and hit with more strikes on the ground. He was able to recover but gave Makhachev the top position on the ground. The fight went all fifteen minutes with all three judges handing it to Islam Makhachev (29-27, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ramos 9 9 9 27
Makhachev 10 10 10 30

Bout 12: Paul Felder (16-4) (#10) vs. Edson Barboza (20-7) (#7) (Lightweight)

The co-main event of the evening was a lightweight rematch between Paul Felder and Edson Barboza. There was a pause in the first round after a clash of heads caused a cut on Felder’s head. Luckily, the fight was able to continue. Felder was the one coming forward throughout the first round. While Felder opened the second round with clean striking, Barboza scored a takedown in the second minute of the round. An elbow cut open Barboza in this position. Felder tried for an armbar from bottom position but couldn’t get it. Both fighters were swinging away in the final minutes of the fight. Barboza scored one last takedown as the fight was about to end. The scorecards were split, with Paul Felder being favoured (30-27 Barboza, 29-28 Felder & 30-27 Felder). He was quite emotional afterwards. The win for Felder makes the rivalry 1-1 between the two.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Felder 10 10 10 30
Barboza 9 9 9 27

Bout 13: Dustin Poirier (25-5 1 NC) (IC) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

Finally, the main event of the evening was the clash between the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion, Dustin Poirier, and the Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. The crowd was very pro-Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov shot for his first takedown a minute and a half into the fight. Poirier was initially able to prevent it, but Nurmagomedov’s pressure made it so that they eventually went to the ground. Nurmagomedov got on the back of Poirier and tried for a rear naked choke. Poirier escaped, and was also able to get back up, albeit in a standing clinch against the cage. Nurmagomedov took it back to the ground again before the round ended. In top position, Nurmagomedov let some punches go at the end of the first round. More stand-up was showcased in the second round, with Nurmagomedov retreating at one point because Poirier was landing some solid shots. Nurmagomedov got his fourth takedown, smothering Poirier for a few minutes. Poirier got a guillotine when standing against the cage with a minute left in the second round, but Nurmagomedov popped out of it eventually. Nurmagomedov got a takedown in the third round, with Poirier trying for a guillotine again. Nurmagomedov stayed in it for some time but stayed composed and eventually worked his way out of it. Nurmagomedov took the back of Poirier, eventually putting in a rear naked choke which made Poirier tap out. Khabib Nurmagomedov earned his 28th professional win, putting on an amazing performance against Dustin Poirier.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Poirier 8 9
Nurmagomedov 10 10

This weekend, UFC heads to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for UFC on ESPN+ 16. The main event of the card features “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone facing Justin Gaethje.

UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier Full Preview

Under a year ago, Khabib Nurmagomedov put on a dominant performance over Conor McGregor. The fight was stopped after four rounds, with McGregor tapping out to a rear naked choke. It was set to be a triumphant moment at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA for the Russian fighter who had just made his first Lightweight Championship defense, but that’s only the first half of the story. Right after his win, Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage and lunged at McGregor’s corner. Despite the phenomenal performance, it was the fight after the fight that made headlines across the world. That was the last time Nurmagomedov competed in the octagon, as many people from his camp, including him, were handed suspensions and fines. 

The lightweight landscape has changed since then, and while many names could arguably get a title shot, the man who’s next in line is Dustin Poirier. The fight will take place on Saturday, with the special location giving the event an early start time. Live from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UFC 242 has the Lightweight Championship will be on the line as the current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will face the interim champion Dustin Poirer. The show also includes 12 other fights, with the prelims starting at 10:15 AM Eastern, and the main card beginning at 2 PM EST.

Bout 1: Don Madge (8-3-1) vs. Fares Ziam (10-2) (Lightweight)

The evening will begin in a contest between two lightweight prospects in Don Madge and Fares Ziam. Madge came into the UFC earlier this year, earning a victory against Te Edwards. The South African fighter has an 8-3-1 record, although is on a hot five fight winning streak. His opponent, Fares Ziam will be fighting in the UFC for the first time ever, also currently on a five fight victory streak. Ziam has been around the European scene for most of his career.

Bout 2: Zak Cummings (23-6) vs. Omari Akhmedov (18-4-1) (Middleweight)

In the first fight of many more on the card featuring Russian fighters, middleweight Omari Akhmedov faces Zak Cummings. Holding a 6-3-1 recording within the UFC, Akhmedov recently went to the scorecard against Tim Boetsch, getting back in the win column after going to a scorecard draw against Marvin Vettori. With an 8-3 win-loss record within the promotion, Zak Cummings has had a good past year, defeating Trevor Smith and Trevin Giles. Neither fighter is currently ranked, but chances are a win for either one could put them on the list.

Bout 3: Nordine Taleb (15-6) vs. Muslim Salikhov (14-2) (Welterweight)

Coming off over a year of a layoff, Muslim Salikhov will return to face Nordine Taleb. Salikhov has only fought twice in the UFC, experiencing victory and defeat. With much more experience in the UFC, Nordine Taleb is returning after a May loss to Kyle Prepolec. The Tristar Gym fighter holds a 7-4 promotional record, although half of the losses came in his last three fights. 

Bout 4: Belal Muhammad (15-3) vs. Takashi Sato (15-2) (Welterweight)

Finishing off the UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims will be a prospect fight in the welterweight division. Takashi Sato made his UFC debut back in April, getting a TKO victory over Ben Saunders. Previous to then, he had made a name for himself within the Japanese MMA promotion Pancrase, being a consistent finished in his fights. Belal Muhammad has only been in the UFC since 2016, although he has already attained a record of 6-3. While not being much of a finisher, Muhammad has been favoured frequently on scorecards. His recent win was in April against Curtis Millender.

Bout 5: Teemu Packalen (8-2) vs. Ottman Azaitar (11-0) (Lightweight)

Starting off the preliminary card on FXX and ESPN+, Teemu Packalen will return to the UFC after a large absence to face a debuting Ottman Azaitar. Packalen lost to Marc Diakiese in 2017, and currently has a 1-2 UFC record. Azaitar is an undefeated MMA fighter, being experienced in regional promotions, frequently finishing his fights via strikes. Both fighters still have to prove themselves to the UFC fanbase.

Bout 6: Sarah Moras (5-5) vs. Liana Jojua (7-2) (Bantamweight()

Recently, Canadian fighter Sarah Moras evened her win and loss column, getting her third loss in a row in May. In a real must-win situation, Moras will face Liana Jojua, who will be looking to impress in her UFC debut. Jojua has fought all around the world, including notable promotions like Kunlun Fight League and Fight Nights Global, currently on a five-win run. The fight is the first of two female fights on the card.

Bout 7: Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4) vs. Lerone Murphy (8-0) (Featherweight)

On Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be the only America Kickboxing Academy fighter on the card. Holding a record of 3-1 in the UFC, Tukhugov will look to bounce back from his first big-league loss, which was against Renato Moicano. He will also attempt to make it a hard promotional debut for Lerone Murphy, who has attained an undefeated 8-0 record through the British MMA scene. Only debuting as a professional in 2017, Murphy has attained numerous first round stoppages.

Bout 8: Joanne Calderwood (13-4) vs. Andrea Lee (11-2) (Flyweight)=

Concluding the preliminary portion of the card, Joanne Calderwood will fight Andrea Lee in a women’s flyweight contenders match. Joanne Calderwood recently lost to Katlyn Chookagian, with wins over Ariane Lipski and Kalindra Faria before then. Andrea Lee has had a much better recent track record, being undefeated since her UFC debut. On a 7-0 run, with three of those fights in the UFC, it’s safe to safe the Lee is on a run. Both fighters are highly ranked in the division, and chances are the winner of this fight will be discussed as one of the next in line for a title shot.

Bout 9: Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) vs. Diego Ferreira (15-2) (Lightweight)

The pay-per-view section of the night will begin with experienced fighters in Mairbek Taisumov and Diego Ferreira. Ferreira will be attempting to extend his four-fight winning streak, recently going to the scorecards against Rustam Khabilov. While that recent tear is impressive, Taisumov’s six-fight winning streak blows it out of the water. While the record is impressive, Taisumov has been absent for a year, with his last win coming from September 2018 against Des Green.

Bout 10: Curtis Blaydes (11-2) vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4) (Heavyweight)

In the only heavyweight fight of the evening, Curtis Blaydes will face Russian talent Shamil Abdurakhimov. Both fighters have been at a high level of the heavyweight division for some time now. Blaydes recently came back from a loss, defeating Justin Willis via decision. Shamil Abdurakhimov is on a three-fight streak of wins, although it’s worth noting that the first win in that series came in late 2017, so Abdurakhimov isn’t fighting as frequent as others.

Bout 11: Islam Makhachev (17-1) vs. Davi Ramos (10-2) (Lightweight)

For the rest of the night, it will be lightweights taking the stage. In the first fight of three lightweight fights, ranked fighter Islam Makhachev will face up-and-coming Davi Ramos. Ramos has picked up four wins recently, with three of them via rear naked choke. A win over Makhachev would likely put Ramos in the top 15 lightweights. Makhachev hasn’t lost since 2016, recently beating Arman Tsarukyan in April.

Bout 12: Paul Felder (16-4) vs. Edson Barboza (20-7) (Lightweight)

In a rematch, Paul Felder will face Edson Barboza in the co-main event of the show. Their last meeting was in 2015, with Barboza getting the better of the matchup. Going to decision, Barboza won, ending Felder’s undefeated record at the time. Felder has been 6-3 since then, with Barboza having a record of 4-4 within the same period of time. Felder is ranked #10 in the lightweight division, with Barboza currently holding the #7 spot.

Bout 13: Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) vs. Dustin Poirier (25-5) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

In the main event of the card, UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will seek to take the interim belt off of Dustin Poirier’s shoulders. While Nurmagomedov has won the belt and defended it once, he’s never had a real crowning moment with the belt being placed around him inside the octagon. He will strive for that this weekend when facing Dustin Poirier. His last win came against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in a complete dismantlement of the MMA icon. It was clear in the fight that while McGregor was struggling to compete in stand-up, that Nurmagomedov was clearly the better fighter on the ground. This was proven definitely when McGregor tapped to a rear naked choke in the fourth round. Not only will Nurmagomedov’s Championship be put on the line, but just like every fight in his life, it will be putting his undefeated record on the line as well.

While there’s many names in the lightweight division that could give Khabib Nurmagomedov a good fighter, with Tony Ferguson being a prominent name on that list, Dustin Poirier earned this fight. Defeating Max Holloway in a decisive five round battle in April, Poirier was crowned the interim Lightweight Champion. “The Diamond” will be in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday.

After UFC holds their PPV in The United Arab Emirates, a week afterwards the promotion will head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for UFC on ESPN+ 16. Live from the Rogers Arena, the show is currently scheduled to be headlined by Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Justin Gaethje.

The September 2019 MMA P4P List

Here is the very first pound-for-pound MMA ranking list on the site. This will be updated monthly as fights change the list. Let’s start:

Men’s P4P Top 15:

1. Khabib Numagomedov (27-0)

Khabib Nurmagomedov has been a flawless fighter in his whole professional career. After getting a round four victory over Conor McGregor, Numagomedov not only became the best fighter in his weight class, but became the best in the world. In days he will be tested once again when he faces interim champion Dustin Poirier.

2. Jon Jones (25-1)

While Jon Jones has been a highly ranked fighter for quite some time, his recent nail-biting performance against Thiago Santos has knocked him down a spot on the list. On paper, Jones continues to reign terror over the light heavyweight division.
3. Henry Cejudo (15-2)

If 2019 has been a breakout year for anyone, it was for Henry Cejudo. After pulling off an upset last summer against Demetrious Johnson, Cejudo has successfully defended his belt while also climbing up to bantamweight, claiming that championship over Marlon Moraes. While being the only male double champ is a valid case to take the #1 spot, Cejudo’s championship reign has been short thus far. Nonetheless, his success in 2019 can’t be emphasized enough.

4. Robert Whittaker (20-4)

Since it’s been a year and some change before Robert Whittaker last fought, his skillset isn’t necessarily fresh in our minds. But, looking at the stats, it’s there, and nobody has proven superior to it yet. Carrying a win streak that dates back to 2014, “Bobby Knuckles” won a title fight over Yoel Romero back in 2018 to earn Middleweight gold. In October, Whittaker will face Israel Adesanya in his home country of Australia.

5. Stipe Miocic (19-3)

After a year’s absence from the MMA, Stipe Miocic came back last weekend to reclaim his Heavyweight Championship, taking Daniel Cormier four rounds deep before finishing him with punches. After having three defenses before, Miocic showed that his chapter with the championship isn’t done as he started his second reign as the champ in July.

6. Max Holloway (21-4)

If this list was created months ago, Max Holloway would be in the conversation of being one of the top fighters. Although after his loss to Dustin Poirier in April, losing his interim Lightweight belt, he lost some value. In a bounce-back bout back in July, beating Frankie Edgar and retaining his Featherweight Championship, Holloway showed that he is still a very valuable fighter in the division.

7. Kamaru Usman (15-1)

Kamaru Usman earned his long-deserving Welterweight Championship shot back in March, defeating Tyron Woodley via decision. With a fifteen win record with only one blemish, Usman has been nearly perfect in his career. People are awaiting the announcement of his next fight.

8. Israel Adesanya (17-0)

Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker’s time on the bench has given Israel Adesanya a chance to fight up the division’s rankings. Only joining the UFC in 2018, Adesanya has went 6-0 since then, defeating big names like Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva and most recently, Kelvin Gastelum. His recent win pushed him to the front of the divisions line, as Gastelum was aimed to be the next person to fight Whittaker.

9. Dustin Poirier (25-5)

“Diamond” Dustin Poirier dethroned Max Holloway back in April, and now awaits his championship fight in September against Khabib Nurmagomedov, unifying the interim and Lightweight UFC Championship. His impressive recent wins have put him on this list, but his next particular fight give him a chance to shoot even higher up the rankings.

10. Daniel Cormier (22-2)

While Daniel Cormier lost to Stipe Miocic on Saturday, the loss ended a year long stretch of high level wins. Cormier had a strong 2018, continuing to defend the light heavyweight championship and claiming the heavyweight championship. Now, despite only losing once, Cormier is now beltless. And while politics could describe the end of his light heavyweight reign, Miocic beat “DC” fair and square. Since Cormier has been public about contemplating ending his MMA career lately. So, his next move, whether it’s in or out of the octagon is yet to be seen.

11. Colby Covington (15-1)

For a year or so now, Colby Covington has been the odd man out of the Welterweight title picture. In 2018, he beat Rafael dos Anjos in an interim title match. After getting his belt taken away from him, he came back in early August to beat Robbie Lawler in a five round clash. Likely being the next person to face Usman, Covington is one of the biggest names to watch.

12. Paulo Costa (13-0)

In July, Paulo Costa defeated Yoel Romero in a three-round war, moving to the front of the Middleweight lineup. The jacked Brazilian fighter has been undefeated since his entrance into the UFC in 2017. His more notable wins came over Uriah Hall and Johny Hendricks.

13. Demetrious Johnson (29-3-1)

Easily the best Flyweight outside of the UFC, Demetrious Johnson has had a graceful transition into ONE Championship, after being traded there in early 2019. Heading into the Flyweight GP finals in October, “DJ” has defeated Yuya Wakamatsu and Tatsumitsu Wada before. His exit in the UFC came after taking his first loss in a long time against Henry Cejudo via split decision.

14. Tony Ferguson (25-3)

Tony Ferguson has been chasing the Lightweight Championship for a long time. Despite his resume, Ferguson isn’t the next person to get a shot, something he’s heard before. In the meantime, he’s beat high profile names like Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis and most recently, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Showcasing his “SnapJitsu” on the big stage, “El Cucuy” is one of the many big names within the stacked 155-pound division.

15. Kai Asakura (13-1)

At RIZIN 18, Kai Asakura went from prospect to title contender, defeating Kyoji Horiguchi in over a minute, causing a huge upset in Japanese promotion RIZIN. The win makes it so that Asakura will likely get another fight with Horiguchi, but that time in a championship setting. Becoming the best in the bantamweight division overnight, Asakura is someone to watch.

Women’s P4P Top 15:

1. Amanda Nunes (18-4)

There’s no doubt, Amanda Nunes is the best female fighter on the planet. Being the Bantamweight Champion for three years, and winning the Featherweight Championship from Cris Cyborg in December, Nunes is one of the two double-champs in the UFC. Attempting to make her fifth bantamweight title defence, Nunes will face Germaine de Randamie in December.

2. Valentina Shevchenko (18-3)

Claiming the Flyweight Championship back in December, Valentina Shevchenko has kept a close hold onto her belt. After defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a five round decision, she has beat Jessica Eye with a rude head kick and Liz Carmouche in a heavily dominant bout. The Flyweight division’s biggest struggle is finding someone who can actually give the Kyrgyzstan fighter a run for her money.

3. Weili Zhang (20-1)

For all of 2019 so far, the UFC Strawweight Championship has been a hot potato. From Rose Namajunas, to Jessica Andrade, and now to Weili Zhang, the belt hasn’t had any real home. Zhang claimed the belt last weekend, steamrolling Andrade in a fight that could fit within an Instagram video. Being China’s first Champion, Zhang could open business doors for the UFC with her reign.

4. Cris Cyborg (21-2)

Cris Cyborg’s short run in the UFC seemingly ended back in June, when she went three rounds with featherweight prospect Felicia Spencer, getting the nod via the judges. But, although that is the case, Cyborg is still a very high level fighter. Despite a sudden loss to Amanda Nunes in 2018, Cyborg has had a nearly flawless career. Wherever she goes next in her career, she will be expected to continue her dominance.

5. Jessica Andrade (20-7)

Jessica Andrade suffered a loss to Weili Zhang last weekend via strikes. Before then, she wrapped up her four-fight winning streak with a slam KO over Rose Namajunas. Andrade’s sudden loss is one that likely won’t make her fall too far away from the title picture. While she might have to fight someone else before another title shot as many people are high level contenders currently, Andrade getting another shot in the future is not a wild prediction.

6. Germaine de Randamie (9-3)

Germaine de Randamie has been a dominant fighter in her UFC career, although she hasn’t always been in the spotlight. Many could remember her controversial win over Holly Holm back in 2017, making her the first Featherweight Champion. Since then she has only fought twice, bettering Raquel Pennington and most recently Aspen Ladd. In December, de Randamie will have the biggest challenge of her career ahead of her, facing Amanda Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

7. Rose Namajunas (8-4)

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how fights went when the finish stealed the show. Rose Namajunas lost to Jessica Andrade back in May via a second round slam KO. While the knockout was absolutely brutal, it’s worth remembering that Namajunas was putting up a good battle before then. While seemingly being prone to takedowns, Namajunas didn’t disappoint in the striking department. It’s clear that Namajunas is a high level strawweight, and now no longer being a champion, is clearly a high level prospect.

8. Tatiana Suarez (8-0)

Despite having a short MMA career, Tatiana Suarez can say something about herself that many other fighters can’t: she’s undefeated. While the strawweight division is easily the most stacked women’s division, Suarez’s track record shows that she is likely a win or so away from a title shot. However, it looks like that can’t come immediately as the top dogs of the division have to hash out their fights.

9. Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (10-0)

Bellator were either really lucky or had a great eye for talent when they signed the 1-0 Ilima-Lei MacFarlane. The Hawaiian born fighter is approaching her second full year as their flyweight champion, with three title defenses since being crowned. While all opponents have been fair matchups, her biggest win was over UFC alumni Valerie Letourneau, which took place in Honolulu.

10. Julia Budd (13-2)

Julia Budd is also an example of talent that was early in their career when Bellator discovered them. Julia Budd fought in Strikeforce and Invicta before her 2015 Bellator debut. It’s worth noting that her two losses were in Strikeforce and came to Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. Similar to the promotion’s Flyweight Champion, Budd is riding a three-fight winning streak and is undefeated within the promotion. While not at the highest tier of MMA, Budd’s skill level is undoubtedly at a high tier.

11. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3)

For a large portion of her career now, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has competed at a high level of MMA. The Polish fighter has a record of 2-3 in her last three fights, recently losing a title fight to Valentina Shevchenko in December. She has a chance to bounce back into title contender status when she faces Michelle Waterson in October.

12. Michelle Waterson (17-6)

Michelle Waterson has been a real up-and-comer in the strawweight division recently. On a three fight winning streak, Waterson has defeated big names in Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Felice Herrig recently. Wanting to become the first “Mom Champ,” undoubtedly the biggest test for the Jackson Wink fighter will come in a five round fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in October on ESPN+.

13. Ayaka Hamasaki (19-2)

The atomweight divison has long been a (no pun intended) small division in MMA. It’s not represented in many large organizations like UFC or Bellator. But in Japan, the weight class has it’s niche, and it definately has it’s #1 fighter in Ayaka Hamasaki. The experienced fighter is on a five-fight winning streak. She punched in her title fight ticket by defeating DEEP Jewels Champion Mine Kuroba. On New Year’s Eve, she dethroned Kanna Asakura, and has won in a rematch against Jing Yu Frey and defeated Thailand prospect Suwanan Boonsorn A.K.A AMP The Rocket. Many people predict a superfight between her and Road FC Champion Seo Hee Ham on the horizon. The fight would be the biggest in the division in years.
14. Viviane Araujo (8-1)

Viviane Araujo has quickly made a name for herself in the UFC. Taking a short notice fight against Talita Bernardo in May was what got her foot through the door. She won the fight with an overhand right, which was working for her in the three rounds she competed. She has since defeated Alexis Davis via decision and landed a December fight against Jessica Eye. The fight would spring her up the rankings even more, as currently she is still not on the radar of some MMA viewers.

15. Andrea Lee (11-2)

Andrea Lee’s short UFC career has made her one to watch. Coming from Invicta FC including a couple fights within LFA, Lee has went to the scorecards three times in the UFC, all earning herself a win. In a week’s time, Lee will face arguably a similar-level fighter in Joanne Calderwood, who fell to Katlyn Chookagian in June.

Radar Fights:

This is the section that shows upcoming fights from fighters on the P4P lists.

9/7/19: Khabib Nurmagomedov (#1) vs. Dustin Poirier (#9) – UFC 242

8/7/19: Andrea Lee (#15) vs. Joanne Calderwood – UFC 242

10/5/19: Robert Whittaker (#4) vs. Israel Adesanya (#8) – UFC 243

10/12/19: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (#11) vs. Michelle Waterson (#12) – UFC on ESPN+ 19

10/13/19: Demetrious Johnson (#13) vs. Danny Kingad – ONE Championship: Century Show 1

12/14/19: Amanda Nunes (#1) vs. Germaine de Randamie (#6) – UFC 245

12/14/19: Viviane Araujo (#14) vs. Jessica Eye – UFC 245


Luke Rockhold Off UFC 230 Due To Injury

UFC 230 lost it’s co-main event again. This time the fight between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman has been scrapped. Earlier this evening ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the story that Rockhold had withdrawn from his bout due to injury. In the tweet that reported the story he also added that UFC is currently “shuffling things around” because of this.

What was one of the first bouts announced for the show, Nate Diaz versus Dustin Poirier, was also thrown away due to an injury to Poirier. Injuries aside, this card has seen its fair share of shuffling around. Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks were set to fight for UFC’s vacant flyweight championship, but Eubanks has been re-booked to fight Roxanne Modafferi on the prelims, with Shevchenko fighting for the belt against Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 231.

People have become wary of undisclosed injuries lately due to the USADA’s new policy. In September it was announced that USADA will no longer announce drug test violations until the case is closed. Fighters now only have to notify the public about their violation if they want to. Recently Sean O’Malley did this once he was taken off of the UFC 229 prelims. While Rockhold’s injury may very well be legitimate, people won’t hesitate to speculate on the situation (and they haven’t).

UFC’s last two appearances at Madison Square Garden came with fewer bumps in the road, with each being supercards in their own right. The promotion’s debut at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in 2016 consisted of three title fights, with Conor McGregor defeating Eddie Alvarez in the main event. The next year the venue would see another three title event, with George St. Pierre returning to MMA for the first time in four years in the main event.

Currently the main event of 230 is Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier versus Derrick Lewis, who received a huge boost in popularity after UFC 229. On that show he performed a last minute knockout in a bout he would have otherwise lost. Alongside that performance he was praised online for his comedic post-fight interview. As a result, he shot up from around 300 thousand Instagram followers to over a million before the weekend was over.