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Unfiltered: David Branch, Derrick Lewis & Atlantic City Recap

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UFC Staff Report
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David Branch joins the show after his impressive knockout of Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee and discusses his game plan going into the fight, learning from his loss to Luke Rockhold, whether he'd move up to Light Heavyweight or not, Whittaker vs. Romero 2, and more. Later, “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis calls in and talks about his UFC 226 bout with Francis Ngannou, making changes to his training, trash talking on social media, and a lot more. Plus, Jim and Matt discuss Matt's upcoming induction into the UFC Hall of Fame and break down all the action from Atlantic City from this past weekend.

Full Episode

David on his gameplan vs. Thiago Santos, and Thiago trying to take away his movement

David on what he learned from the loss to Luke Rockhold

Would David Branch consider moving up to the Light Heavyweight division?

Derrick is not impressed with Francis Ngannou's cardio

Derrick on working on his overall game

Derrick on the possibility of getting in Francis Ngannou's head with trash talk

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Holloway – Looking back and moving forward

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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Max Holloway sounded tired. And he had every right to. The UFC featherweight champ was enjoying Easter when he got the call from manager Brian Butler, wondering if he was interested in a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title.

In six days. With no training camp and a long flight from Hawaii to New York and a vicious weight cut to make it to 155 pounds ahead of him.

So, of course, Holloway was interested.

“There was no hesitation,” he said. “I told him, ‘Let’s go.’ I wanted the fight and I just wanted to make sure that we can make this weight.”

If you ask him today, Holloway will insist that he would have made 155 pounds on April 6. But as he closed in on the championship weight on that Friday morning, he was deemed medically unfit to continue cutting, and his chance to make history as only the second fighter to hold two UFC titles simultaneously was over for the moment.

It was a crushing blow, one seemingly made a little easier to take by the announcement that he will defend his 145-pound crown against number one contender Brian Ortega at UFC 226 in Las Vegas on July 7.

Tickets go on sale this week for Holloway’s bout on what he likes to refer to as Hawaii’s “Ninth Island” in the fight capital of the world. And it’s a fight that will be as eagerly anticipated as that night’s main event between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, as it pits a champion on a 12-fight winning streak against an unbeaten challenger who many see as the future of the sport. But Holloway wants to make it clear that he is the present, but before that happens, it’s important to look back at the recent past, more specifically, that fight week in Brooklyn.

GET TICKETS TO UFC 226 ON FRIDAY AT 10AM PT

Yeah, Holloway was tired, but that was the price to pay for glory. Not money, but glory. History. Legacy. Any word you want to use to say that there is a greater purpose for going through the blood, sweat and tears of the fight game than a paycheck.

“I ain’t doing this for money, I’m doing this for legacy, and I want to be one of the best ever,” Holloway said. “I said it before: if you want to be the number one pound-for-pound guy in the world, you gotta be willing to fight anybody in any weight class. I feel like I’m that dude. If this guy (Nurmagomedov) proves me wrong, I’ll keep doing it. I want to go out there and fight. There’s a great quote going around: heroes get remembered, but legends never die. So I’m trying to become a legend.”

He’s on his way. It’s too early to put that title on anyone who is yet to reach his 30th birthday yet, but to know that he’s accomplished so much already at just 26 years old and is not close to being satisfied makes the odds of him joining the DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway celebrates after defeating Jose Aldo of Brazil in their UFC featherweight championship bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)greats of the game one days pretty good. But it’s not just wins and losses that make a legend; it’s facing adversity, staring it down, and getting past it. Let’s face it, the odds weren’t with him against Nurmagomedov. He had the weight cut, the short notice and the idea of facing a swarming wrestler who would have a size and strength advantage on fight night. Holloway still took the fight, willing to roll the dice for a chance to do something his son would hear strangers talking about one day.

It’s hard to capture that in words. In fact, none were really necessary or fitting to describe what Holloway was going to attempt. So, hearing the weariness in his voice on that Tuesday morning of the UFC 223 fight week, I promised him I’d get him off the phone quick. He appreciated it, and as we ended the interview, I got in the real question I wanted to ask.

There’s no training camp, the weather in Brooklyn is far removed from that in Waianae, he’s got a lot of weight to cut, and he’s facing a monster a weight class higher than his. So when the Octagon door closes, does this just become a Hawaiian street fight? No tactics, no strategy, just scrap?

“It’s not a secret,” Holloway said, starting to perk up. “When you fight Max Holloway, you’re gonna face a striker. I’m an MMA fighter, I’m ready for all styles, but my game plan is to go out there and punch you in the face. It doesn’t change for anyone. Khabib likes taking guys down and pounding them, he’s an animal. But I’m going out there with the right mindset. A lot of guys fear this man and I don’t know why. We’re all human, we all train, we all bleed red, and I can’t wait for Saturday night to share the Octagon with this guy and prove to the world why I’m one of the best ever.”

Holloway didn’t get his chance on April 7. On July 7, he does. There’s another seemingly unstoppable force in front of him in Brian Ortega, and those are the fights that make it all worth it for a champion with the mindset of a hungry challenger.

Just scrap.

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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Invicta FC 29: Kaufman vs Lehner

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FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/InvictaFights
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/InvictaFights
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Bellator 198: Best Of – Rafael Lovato Jr.

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Rafael Lovato Jr. makes his way back to the cage to face John Salter at #Bellator198!

#Bellator198 | SATURDAY, April 28th, 2018 | On Paramount Network at 9/8c

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Fight Night Atlantic City: Fantasy Rewind

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By Damon Martin
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Kevin Lee earned a lopsided win over Edson Barboza to cap off UFC Fight Night from Atlantic City, but “The Motown Phenom” didn't walk away without surviving a major scare.

After dominating the first two rounds with his wrestling and a vicious ground-and-pound attack, Lee was caught by a spinning wheel kick from Barboza that nearly brought the fight to an end. Fortunately for Lee, he was able to scramble for a takedown that gave him enough breathing room to recover before getting back on track before the end of the round.

The rest of the fight shifted directly back into Lee's favor as he continued to pressure and put Barboza on the mat before unleashing a barrage of punches and elbows in a dominant performance. The end finally came in the fifth round after Lee did so much damage that a nasty cut had opened over Barboza's eye that concerned doctors enough to stop the fight.

With the win, Lee will likely jump into the top five rankings in the lightweight division while showcasing to the world that he will challenge for a UFC title again one day soon.

Heading into the event, Lee was actually a slight underdog to Barboza based on the selections made by fantasy players. Lee was only chosen by 43 percent of fantasy players, but he came through with a spectacular win while also earning the players who picked him an extra 120 points because it was such a close matchup.

The co-main event saw Frankie Edgar get back on track following a loss in his last fight as he earned a unanimous decision win over Cub Swanson after three rounds.

Edgar was able to use his boxing to control the pace of the fight while out landing Swanson throughout the 15-minute affair. Edgar was definitely one of the biggest favorites on the entire card, with 75 percent of fantasy players picking him and another 81 percent correctly predicting that he would earn the victory by decision.

Justin Willis was able to gut out a hard-fought win over Chase Sherman in the biggest toss up on the entire card. Willis was selected by 51 percent of fantasy players compared to 49 percent for Sherman in a fight between two hard-hitting heavyweights. Ultimately, Willis got the job done as he remains undefeated in his UFC career.

David Branch was able to pull off a shocking first-round knockout against Thiago Santos on Saturday night with just 28 percent of fantasy players picking him to win. Branch also earned those players who had faith in him another 120 points because this was a close matchup on paper going into Saturday night.

Aljamain Sterling came through as a favorite in his fight against Brett Johns as he handed the Welshman his first professional loss. Sterling was chosen by 72 percent of fantasy players and he cruised to victory over three rounds.

Dan Hooker was also favored to win in his fight against Jim Miller, with 67 percent picking him as he earned a jaw-dropping knockout with a huge knee strike in the opening round.

On the preliminary card, Ryan LaFlare came though as a favorite with 61 percent of fantasy players picking him to defeat Alex Garcia.

Meanwhile, newcomer Ricky Simon earned a stunning third-round finish against Merab Dvalishvili with 46 percent of fantasy players picking him to win. Because it was his debut, players who picked Simon also earned an extra 40 points.

Siyar Bahdurzada picked up another knockout to add to his resume as he finished Luan Chagas, with 59 percent of fantasy players selecting him on the card. Corey Anderson also came through as a solid favorite, with 66 percent of fantasy players picking him to beat Patrick Cummins in this battle of light heavyweights.

Anderson also earned those players an extra 120 points because his fight with Cummins was considered a toss up at the start of the night.

Tony Martin also got a win in the only early prelim of the night as he defeated Keita Nakamura as a solid favorite, with 74 percent correctly predicting his victory.

By the end of the night, eight favorites came away victorious based on the selections made by fantasy players while there were only three upsets that took place at UFC Fight Night from Atlantic City.

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Matt Serra Defining Moments

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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Matt Serra was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame Saturday
Last Saturday night, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra was announced as the next member of the UFC Hall of Fame’s Pioneer Wing. And while we have a little while to go before his induction in July, it’s the perfect time to revisit the defining moments of “The Terror.”

Shonie Carter – May 4, 2001 – UFC 31
Result – Carter KO 3

You’ve seen the finish a thousand times, and for Matt Serra, it probably feels like he’s seen the ending of his UFC debut against Shonie Carter a million times. But what is lost when discussing Carter’s spinning backfist knockout of Serra at UFC 31 is that the previous 14:51 seconds of the bout contained some of the best back and forth action seen in a UFC fight before or since, and that if Serra would have been able to get up from the second spinning backfist he took (he was also rocked by one in the opening round), the final decision was up to debate and he could have walked away with a win. Regardless, Serra, even in defeat, defined himself as an aggressive and talented competitor who would always come to fight.

Kelly Dullanty – March 22, 2002 – UFC 36
Result – Serra Wsub1
Following the loss to Carter, Serra bounced back with a tough decision win over Yves Edwards at UFC 33 but in his next bout six months later he was obviously looking to score his first finish in the Octagon against unbeaten newcomer Kelly Dullanty. Well, he got it, attacking from the opening bell and putting Dullanty through Jiu-Jitsu 101 as he moved effortlessly from a rear naked choke to an armbar to a final triangle choke finisher to end the bout at the 2:58 mark. Sure, Serra was scrappy, but his jiu-jitsu was also world-class, something he put on display for the world on March 22, 2002.

BJ Penn – September 27, 2002 – UFC 39
Result – Penn W 3
It was expected to be a ground lover’s dream fight, but instead, the fight between Serra and BJ Penn turned into a closely contested tactical battle that left Penn with a one-point victory on each of the three judges’ scorecards. Penn, only eight months and one fight removed from his upset loss to Jens Pulver, still seemed in a funk as he wasn’t the same aggressive fighter that burst on the scene a year earlier, even saying “I fought real bad tonight,” in a post-fight interview. In response, Serra pushed the pace all night, and while Penn’s balance and takedown defense was on point, “The Terror” kept battling, and by the end of the three rounder, many observers thought the fight could have gone either way. Serra took the defeat with class though, saying, “I knew he had great balance and he was tough as hell. He's the man tonight.”

Karo Parisyan – June 4, 2005 – UFC 53
Result – Parisyan W 3
In Karo Parisyan’s five previous UFC fights, it’s hard to recall him ever being as hurt as he was in the early stages of his bout against Serra, who planted him on the canvas with a right hand seconds into their UFC 53 bout. Parisyan got up and instinctively fought back, but Serra opened up with both hands, seemingly seconds away from a stoppage victory. It didn’t happen, Parisyan got his legs back, and by the end of the round he was in control of the bout against a fatigued Serra, who went on to lose a three round unanimous decision. Serra wouldn’t return to the Octagon for over a year, and when he did, it was as a member of The Ultimate Fighter season four cast. But when he did come back, it was clear that he learned many lessons about striking discipline and conditioning. What he didn’t have to learn was toughness, which he showed in abundance as Parisyan turned up “The Heat” on him in rounds two and three.

The Ultimate Fighter, Season Four – 2006
Those of us who had covered Serra from his UFC debut knew that he was a true New Yorker, a guy who talked loud but had a heart as big as his mouth. We also knew that if the rest of the country got a dose of him, they would love him. That’s what happened on season four of The Ultimate Fighter, when Serra brought his particular brand of charisma to a national television audience on a weekly basis and soon developed not only a huge fanbase, but an added level of respect from his peers on the show, who were the beneficiaries of his coaching during the six weeks in the TUF house and gym. And who will ever forget his dressing down of grappling coach Marc Laimon, a memorable moment from the series that gained him even more fans in and out of the fight game.

Chris Lytle – November 11, 2006 – TUF4 Finale
Result – Serra W 3
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t exciting, and it was far from Serra’s best performance, but in terms of career importance, it’s hard to find a fight bigger than the Long Islander’s three-round decision win over Lytle, a victory that not only won him the TUF4 crown, it got him a title shot against Georges St-Pierre. And ironically, for a guy who never seemed to get any of fortune’s light shining on him in terms of close decisions (Penn, Din Thomas), having this close one go his way was perhaps an omen of good things to come just five months later.

Matt Serra def. Georges St-Pierre during UFC 69 at Toyota Center in 2007. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Georges St-Pierre – April 7, 2007 – UFC 69
Result – Serra TKO 1
If you listened to pundits and fans before this fight, Serra didn’t even need to show up against the ultra-talented GSP, whose reign was expected to last as long as he wanted it to. All this did was fire up Serra, who went into the bout with no expectations on him, and thus, no pressure. The result? He came out loose, confident, and ready for war, and when he tagged St-Pierre and took his legs out from him, he wasn’t the wild swinging brawler that exhausted himself against Parisyan. Instead, Serra picked his shots as St-Pierre stumbled in an effort to get his legs back, and landed practically all of them until the bout was halted at 3:25 of the first round. There was a new UFC welterweight champion, and his name was Matt Serra.

Frank Trigg – February 6, 2010 – UFC 109
Result – Serra KO1
Injuries kept Serra on the sidelines after the GSP fight, and when he returned against the Montrealer in April 2008, it was St-Pierre taking the title back. A year later, Serra lost a close (and some would say disputed) decision to Matt Hughes in a Fight of the Night at UFC 98, but he would get back in the win column in a big way in February 2010, as he knocked out Frank Trigg in the first round. As Serra told me last week, this was one of his career highlights. “It was at a time in my career when it was the best time to fight him. I was 35 years old, I came into the UFC at 26 and I clocked in a lot of rounds with (coach Ray) Longo and it was a time when I really believed in my standup, so I fought him differently than I would have when I was very green and new to the UFC. It was a great night and a great memory. If I’m having a rough day, I throw that one on.”

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Oezdemir-Rua to headline in Hamburg

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The bout between Brazilian MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and No. 2-ranked light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir has a new date and location, as the two will collide in the main event of UFC Fight Night at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany on July 22.

The two were originally scheduled to meet on May 19 in Chile.

Tickets go on sale on April 27. The card airs on FS1.

The former light heavyweight champion of the world, the 36-year-old Rua has proven in his recent bouts that he still has another title run in him, as he has won three straight over Rogerio Nogueira, Corey Anderson and Gian Villante. Considering that run of success, Rua's opponent Oezdemir is well aware that with a big win in July, he will be knocking on the door of another crack at the 205-pound championship.

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UFC Now: Top 5 Submission Artists

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Yves Edwards and Jessica Penne give their top 5 submission artists in the most recent episode of ‘UFC Now.' Check out full episodes of ‘UFC Now” anytime on UFC FIGHT PASS.

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Bellator 198: Big John talks Frank Mir

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Big John McCarthy gives his thoughts on Frank Mir and what he's bringing to his fight against Fedor! #Bellator198 #BellatorWGP

#Bellator198 | SATURDAY, April 28th, 2018 | On Paramount Network at 9/8c

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Fight Night Singapore – Tickets on Sale

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Unfiltered: David Branch, Derrick Lewis & Atlantic City Recap

**This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS Feed** This is the original article: http://www.ufc.com/news/Unfiltered-Episode-190 UFC Staff Report **This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS...

Holloway – Looking back and moving forward

**This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS Feed** This is the original article: http://www.ufc.com/news/Holloway-Looking-back-and-moving-forward By Thomas Gerbasi **This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS...