The Lineal Strawweight title will be on the line at Rizin 18

14 Aug , 2019,
Richard Mann
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Basically all lineal titles and number-one rankings are aligned with the UFC titles these days. However, there are a few key exceptions. One of those exceptions is the lineal strawweight title, which will be on the line at Rizin 18 this weekend.

#1 SW Haruo Ochi enters the event as the top-ranked fighter in the division, which Fight Matrix defines as 121.9 lbs and below. His opponent for the night will be UFC veteran #3 SW Jarred Brooks, who previously made a name for himself on the strawweight scene before moving up to flyweight to fight in the UFC.

Ochi dropped to strawweight in 2015 after competing at higher weight classes. In 2017 he captured the Deep strawweight title with a victory over Kanta Sato. A year later he picked up the biggest win of his career over #11 SW Mitsuhisa Sunabe at Rizin 13. In the process he took over the number-one spot at strawweight and claimed the lineal title. Sunabe had been undefeated since 2011 and was the strawweight King of Pancrase.

Brooks was a nationally ranked high school wrestler who was never really able to make it work on the collegiate level. Instead, he launched an MMA career in 2014. In his eight professional fight, he defeated veteran #23 SW Junji Ito and entered the strawweight rankings at number three. He fought once more in the division, scoring a victory over Jun Nakamura under the Pancrase banner, before moving up to flyweight to sign with the UFC. During his run in the UFC, he went 2-2 with victories over #31 FLW Eric Shelton and #34 FLW Roberto Sanchez. The promotion then released him as part of their ill conceived and ultimately unsuccessful plan to eliminate the flyweight division.

Considering the issues that the flyweight division has had getting over in the U.S., it seems unlikely that the strawweight division will ever really make a ton of headlines. However, the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO all sponsor multiple boxing divisions under 125 pounds, so there is still a chance that the strawweight division could flourish on the international scene.

Richard Mann is a regular contributor to @ESPNMMA, @FightMetric, @RotoWireMMA and @InterMat. You can follow him on Twitter at @richardamann.

Featured Upcoming Bouts (Outside of UFC)

Sunday, August 18th 2019: RIZIN 18
 [#1 SW] Haruo Ochi [#3 SW] Jarred Brooks
Last Fight Date: 3/09/2019 [DEEP]
Last Opponent: [NR] Namiki Kawahara
Last 5: W W W W W
Last Fight Date: 9/08/2018 [UFC]
Last Opponent: [#34 FLW] Roberto Sanchez
Last 5: W W L L W
Saturday, September 7th 2019: Bellator 226: Bader vs. Kongo
 [#4 HW] Ryan Bader [#10 HW] Cheick Kongo
Last Fight Date: 1/26/2019 [BellatorFC]
Last Opponent: [#22 HW] Fedor Emelianenko
Last 5: W W W W W
Last Fight Date: 2/16/2019 [BellatorFC]
Last Opponent: [#25 HW] Vitaly Minakov
Last 5: W W W W W
Saturday, September 28th 2019: Bellator 228: Pitbull vs. Archuleta
 [#5 MW] Gegard Mousasi [#11 MW] Lyoto Machida
Last Fight Date: 6/22/2019 [BellatorFC]
Last Opponent: [#4 MW] Rafael Lovato Jr.
Last 5: W W W W L
Last Fight Date: 6/14/2019 [BellatorFC]
Last Opponent: [NR] Chael Sonnen
Last 5: L W W W W

Fight Matrix Program – UFC 241: Cormier vs. Miocic 2 (08-17-2019)

12 Aug , 2019,
jcs
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Heavyweight Championship (265)
[#1/#3DD/#3P4P] Daniel Cormier (22-1-0, 236.5lb, -141) vs. [#3] Stipe Miocic (18-3-0, 230.5lb, +117)
Daniel Cormier is the All-Time #12 ranked Heavyweight and #11 ranked Absolute fighter.
Stipe Miocic is the All-Time #6 ranked Heavyweight and #30 ranked Absolute fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Daniel Cormier (3-0-0)
2018-11-03: W vs. [#6HW+] Derrick Lewis (21-7-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 2:14 of round 2
2018-07-07: W vs. [#3HW+] Stipe Miocic (18-3-0) via KO (Punches) in 4:33 of round 1
2018-01-20: W vs. [#10LHW] Volkan Oezdemir (16-4-0) via TKO (Punches) in 2:00 of round 2

Last 3 Fights: Stipe Miocic (2-1-0)
2018-07-07: L vs. [#1HW+/#3DD/#3P4P] Daniel Cormier (22-1-0) via KO (Punches) in 4:33 of round 1
2018-01-20: W vs. [#2HW+] Francis Ngannou (14-3-0) via UD (50-44, 50-44, 50-44)
2017-05-13: W vs. [#5HW+] Junior dos Santos (21-6-0) via TKO (Punches) in 2:22 of round 1

Odds Favorite (Implied): Daniel Cormier – Win%: 55.94
Elo Favorite (Standard): Daniel Cormier (2425.27) [+234.50] – Win%: 74.49
Elo Favorite (Modified): Daniel Cormier (2379.98) [+201.59] – Win%: 70.73
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Daniel Cormier 287, Stipe Miocic 406
Previous Match-up Record: Daniel Cormier leads 1-0-0
Wins Against Common Opposition: Even: Both have 1 win(s) against common opposition.
.

Welterweight (170)
[#6] Anthony Pettis (22-8-0, 169.5lb, -135) vs. [*] Nate Diaz (19-11-0, 170.0lb, +111)
Anthony Pettis is the All-Time #37 ranked Absolute fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Anthony Pettis (2-1-0)
2019-03-23: W vs. [#10WW] Stephen Thompson (14-4-1) via KO (Punches) in 4:55 of round 2
2018-10-06: L vs. [#2LW/#4DD/#8P4P] Tony Ferguson (25-3-0) via TKO (Corner Stoppage) in 5:00 of round 2
2018-07-07: W vs. [#24WW] Michael Chiesa (16-4-0) via Submission (Triangle Armbar) in 0:52 of round 2

Last 3 Fights: Nate Diaz (2-1-0)
2016-08-20: L vs. [*] Conor McGregor (21-4-0) via MD (47-47, 48-47, 48-47)
2016-03-05: W vs. [*] Conor McGregor (21-4-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 4:12 of round 2
2015-12-19: W vs. [#23FW] Michael Johnson (19-14-0) via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Odds Favorite (Implied): Anthony Pettis – Win%: 54.79
Elo Favorite (Standard): Anthony Pettis (2042.82) [+62.60] – Win%: 57.10
Elo Favorite (Modified): Anthony Pettis (2009.89) [+26.40] – Win%: 52.88
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Anthony Pettis 147, Nate Diaz 1092
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: Anthony Pettis leads 4-2
.

Middleweight (186)
[#2] Yoel Romero (13-3-0, 184.5lb, -140) vs. [#13] Paulo Henrique Costa (12-0-0, 186.0lb, +116)
Yoel Romero is the All-Time #12 ranked Middleweight fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Yoel Romero (1-2-0)
2018-06-09: L vs. [#1MW/#9P4P] Robert Whittaker (20-4-0) via SD (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
2018-02-10: W vs. [#11LHW] Luke Rockhold (16-5-0) via KO (Punches) in 1:48 of round 3
2017-07-08: L vs. [#1MW/#9P4P] Robert Whittaker (20-4-0) via UD (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)

Last 3 Fights: Paulo Henrique Costa (3-0-0)
2018-07-07: W vs. [#14MW] Uriah Hall (14-9-0) via TKO (Punches) in 2:36 of round 2
2017-11-04: W vs. [*] Johny Hendricks (18-8-0) via TKO (Punches) in 1:23 of round 2
2017-06-03: W vs. [*] Oluwale Bamgbose (6-4-0) via TKO (Punches) in 1:06 of round 2

Odds Favorite (Implied): Yoel Romero – Win%: 55.74
Elo Favorite (Standard): Yoel Romero (2143.44) [+285.58] – Win%: 78.66
Elo Favorite (Modified): Yoel Romero (2167.66) [+279.72] – Win%: 77.29
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Yoel Romero 434, Paulo Henrique Costa 406
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: No common opposition or both are winless against common opposition.
.

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Daniel Cormier Isn’t Very Hot On The Prospect Of A Third Fight With Jon Jones

7 Aug , 2019,
A. J. Riot
No Comments

Daniel Cormier isn’t all that hyped over a potential third fight with Jon Jones as retirement looms.

It appears that Cormier’s name will always be tied to Jones’s, with the 40-year old having failed to beat the latter on the previous two occasions. Jones won their first fight by unanimous decision at UFC 182 but his UFC 214 knockout win over Cormier was sullied by his testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug that ultimately saw Cormier handed the light heavyweight belt back.

Jones is constantly touted as the best fighter of all time but Cormier can boast having won both the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles, something Jones has yet to do. Their rivalry is one of the most talked up in the history of MMA and UFC boss Dana White only recently told reporters he would love for them to fight once more, albeit admitting that the bout isn’t a must.

It’s easy to want to see Cormier and Jones go at it. They’re at the top of the MMA food chain right now and this has to be the fight fans want to happen. Cormier, though, isn’t as enthusiastic as he reckons whatever results from the potential fight will be tainted, given Jones’s failed drug test.

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Fight Matrix Program – UFC on ESPN+ 14: Shevchenko vs. Carmouche 2 (08-10-2019)

6 Aug , 2019,
jcs
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Women Flyweight Championship (125)
[#1/#3DD/#3P4P] Valentina Shevchenko (17-3-0, -1017) vs. [#2] Liz Carmouche (13-6-0, +640)
Valentina Shevchenko is the All-Time #13 ranked Women’s fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Valentina Shevchenko (3-0-0)
2019-06-08: W vs. [#4FLY] Jessica Eye (14-7-0) via KO (Head Kick) in 0:26 of round 2
2018-12-08: W vs. [#3SW/#8DD] Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3-0) via UD (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
2018-02-03: W vs. [#73FLY] Priscila Cachoeira (8-3-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 4:25 of round 2

Last 3 Fights: Liz Carmouche (2-1-0)
2019-02-23: W vs. [#47FLY] Lucie Pudilova (8-5-0) via UD (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
2018-07-14: W vs. [#5BW/#10P4P] Jennifer Maia (17-5-1) via UD (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
2017-12-09: L vs. [#15FLY] Alexis Davis (19-10-0) via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Odds Favorite (Implied): Valentina Shevchenko – Win%: 87.07
Elo Favorite (Standard): Valentina Shevchenko (1810.62) [+181.20] – Win%: 69.59
Elo Favorite (Modified): Valentina Shevchenko (1830.49) [+180.64] – Win%: 68.80
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Valentina Shevchenko 63, Liz Carmouche 168
Previous Match-up Record: Liz Carmouche leads 1-0-0
Wins Against Common Opposition: Valentina Shevchenko leads 2-1
.

Light Heavyweight (205)
[#11] Volkan Oezdemir (15-4-0, -148) vs. [#13] Ilir Latifi (14-6-0, +123)
Volkan Oezdemir is the All-Time #38 ranked Light Heavyweight fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Volkan Oezdemir (0-3-0)
2019-03-16: L vs. [#9LHW] Dominick Reyes (11-0-0) via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
2018-10-27: L vs. [#3LHW] Anthony Smith (32-14-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 4:26 of round 3
2018-01-20: L vs. [#1HW+/#3DD/#3P4P] Daniel Cormier (22-1-0) via TKO (Punches) in 2:00 of round 2

Last 3 Fights: Ilir Latifi (2-1-0)
2018-12-29: L vs. [#7LHW] Corey Anderson (12-4-0) via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
2018-02-24: W vs. [#28LHW] Ovince St. Preux (23-13-0) via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in 3:48 of round 1
2017-09-09: W vs. [#52LHW] Tyson Pedro (7-3-0) via UD (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Odds Favorite (Implied): Volkan Oezdemir – Win%: 57.09
Elo Favorite (Standard): Ilir Latifi (1797.74) [+110.23] – Win%: 62.33
Elo Favorite (Modified): Ilir Latifi (1820.19) [+92.45] – Win%: 59.98
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Volkan Oezdemir 147, Ilir Latifi 224
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: Even: Both have 1 win(s) against common opposition.
.

Welterweight (170)
[#20] Mike Perry (13-4-0, +180) vs. [#27] Vicente Luque (16-6-1, -224)

Last 3 Fights: Mike Perry (2-1-0)
2019-04-27: W vs. [#29WW] Alex Oliveira (20-7-1) via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
2018-11-10: L vs. [#4LW] Donald Cerrone (36-12-0) via Submission (Armbar) in 4:46 of round 1
2018-07-07: W vs. [#9LW] Paul Felder (16-4-0) via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Last 3 Fights: Vicente Luque (3-0-0)
2019-05-18: W vs. [#93WW] Derrick Krantz (24-11-0) via TKO (Punches) in 3:52 of round 1
2019-02-17: W vs. [#88WW] Bryan Barberena (14-7-0) via TKO (Knees and Punches) in 4:54 of round 3
2018-10-06: W vs. [#266LW] Jalin Turner (8-5-0) via KO (Punches) in 3:52 of round 1

Odds Favorite (Implied): Vicente Luque – Win%: 65.94
Elo Favorite (Standard): Vicente Luque (1900.29) [+62.90] – Win%: 57.14
Elo Favorite (Modified): Vicente Luque (1925.79) [+126.51] – Win%: 63.50
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Mike Perry 105, Vicente Luque 84
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: No common opposition or both are winless against common opposition.
.

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Fight Matrix Program – UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler (08-03-2019)

29 Jul , 2019,
jcs
No Comments

Welterweight (170)
[#4] Colby Covington (14-1-0, -230) vs. [#17] Robbie Lawler (28-13-0, +184)
Colby Covington is the All-Time #23 ranked Welterweight fighter.
Robbie Lawler is the All-Time #4 ranked Welterweight and #24 ranked Absolute fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Colby Covington (3-0-0)
2018-06-09: W vs. [#7WW] Rafael dos Anjos (29-12-0) via UD (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
2017-10-28: W vs. [#13WW] Demian Maia (27-9-0) via UD (30-27, 30-26, 29-27)
2017-06-17: W vs. [*] Dong Hyun Kim (22-4-1) via UD (30-26, 30-27, 30-25)

Last 3 Fights: Robbie Lawler (1-2-0)
2019-03-02: L vs. [#16WW] Ben Askren (19-1-0) via Technical Submission (Bulldog Choke) in 3:20 of round 1
2017-12-16: L vs. [#7WW] Rafael dos Anjos (29-12-0) via UD (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
2017-07-29: W vs. [#4LW] Donald Cerrone (36-12-0) via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Odds Favorite (Implied): Colby Covington – Win%: 66.43
Elo Favorite (Standard): Colby Covington (2189.89) [+152.92] – Win%: 66.79
Elo Favorite (Modified): Colby Covington (2144.16) [+164.70] – Win%: 67.28
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Colby Covington 420, Robbie Lawler 154
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: Colby Covington leads 1-0
.

Light Heavyweight (205)
[#11] Volkan Oezdemir (15-4-0, -144) vs. [#13] Ilir Latifi (14-6-0, +116)
Volkan Oezdemir is the All-Time #38 ranked Light Heavyweight fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Volkan Oezdemir (0-3-0)
2019-03-16: L vs. [#9LHW] Dominick Reyes (11-0-0) via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
2018-10-27: L vs. [#3LHW] Anthony Smith (32-14-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 4:26 of round 3
2018-01-20: L vs. [#1HW+/#3DD/#3P4P] Daniel Cormier (22-1-0) via TKO (Punches) in 2:00 of round 2

Last 3 Fights: Ilir Latifi (2-1-0)
2018-12-29: L vs. [#7LHW] Corey Anderson (12-4-0) via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
2018-02-24: W vs. [#27LHW] Ovince St. Preux (23-13-0) via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in 3:48 of round 1
2017-09-09: W vs. [#51LHW] Tyson Pedro (7-3-0) via UD (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Odds Favorite (Implied): Volkan Oezdemir – Win%: 56.03
Elo Favorite (Standard): Ilir Latifi (1797.74) [+110.24] – Win%: 62.33
Elo Favorite (Modified): Ilir Latifi (1820.19) [+92.46] – Win%: 59.98
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Volkan Oezdemir 140, Ilir Latifi 217
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: Even: Both have 1 win(s) against common opposition.
.

Lightweight (155)
[#36] Jim Miller (30-13-0, -180) vs. [#43] Clay Guida (35-18-0, +149)
Jim Miller is the All-Time #39 ranked Lightweight fighter.
Clay Guida is the All-Time #29 ranked Lightweight fighter.

Last 3 Fights: Jim Miller (2-1-0)
2019-04-27: W vs. [#401LW] Jason Gonzalez (11-5-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 2:12 of round 1
2018-12-15: L vs. [#6LW] Charles Oliveira (27-8-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 1:15 of round 1
2018-09-08: W vs. [#111LW] Alex White (14-5-0) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in 1:29 of round 1

Last 3 Fights: Clay Guida (2-1-0)
2019-05-11: W vs. [#376LW] B.J. Penn (16-14-2) via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
2018-06-09: L vs. [#6LW] Charles Oliveira (27-8-0) via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in 2:18 of round 1
2017-11-11: W vs. [*] Joe Lauzon (27-15-0) via TKO (Punches and Elbows) in 1:07 of round 1

Odds Favorite (Implied): Jim Miller – Win%: 61.55
Elo Favorite (Standard): Clay Guida (1755.08) [+88.05] – Win%: 59.92
Elo Favorite (Modified): Clay Guida (1751.18) [+89.89] – Win%: 59.71
Days Since Last Pro Fight: Jim Miller 98, Clay Guida 84
Previous Match-up Record: No previous match-ups.
Wins Against Common Opposition: Even: Both have 6 win(s) against common opposition.
.

Read More…

What does it take to make a UFC champion?

Jul , 2019,
A. J. Riot
No Comments

There is no single path to becoming a successful professional athlete. This is particularly true for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – a relatively new sport which combines the elements of many different striking and grappling martial arts and combat sports. In this article we will examine and analyze the career paths of 81 athletes who have captured the most prestigious honor in MMA: the UFC title.

MMA is a modern amalgamation of a number of different disciplines, ranging from wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to boxing, Muay Thai, and taekwondo. There are opportunities for athletes and practitioners of many of these sports to transition to MMA, provided they are willing to round out their game and learn aspects of mixed martial arts that they may not be familiar with from training just their base art. For example, the UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway started out in kickboxing before discovering MMA. His next opponent, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, was a standout collegiate wrestler before making his MMA debut after just a few weeks of training. These two fighters alone illustrate some of the different routes for martial artists seeking an opportunity to compete in the UFC, where the earning potential is significantly higher than within the individual disciplines – with the exception of professional boxing at the highest levels of competition. Understanding the different aspects of MMA, including how different styles match up with each other, is crucial when placing an educated bet with a sportsbook such as Betway.

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Fight Matrix Ranking Points for the Bellator Featherweight Tournament

23 Jul , 2019,
Richard Mann
No Comments

Last week Bellator announced the participants in what they are calling the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix Tournament. Despite obviously being the number-two MMA promotion, Scott Coker and company were able to put together quite the field. Headlining the tournament is reigning Bellator featherweight and lightweight champion #6 LW Patricio Freire. Also in the bracket are former Bellator champions #12 BW Darrion Caldwell, #38 FW Pat Curran and #128 LW Daniel Straus as well as former WSOF champion #39 FW Georgi Karakhanyan.

The following chart looks like the Fight Matrix ranking history of all participants since they were first ranked by the system. An interactive version is available via Tableau Public.

Other Notes:
Highest Ranking Point Total: Patricio Freire with 553 (7/1/2019)
Highest Ranking: Pat Curran at #2 Featherweight (7/1/2012 to 1/1/2013)
Earliest Rank Date: Daniel Weichel (1/1/2004)
Latest Rank Date: Tywan Claxton (1/1/2019)
Most Wins: Daniel Weichel with 39
Most Losses: Daniel Weichel with 11

Richard Mann is a regular contributor to @ESPNMMA, @FightMetric, @RotoWireMMA and @InterMat. You can follow him on Twitter at @richardamann.