Three fights set for upcoming UFC Fight Night events
The UFC worked fast to set up a new bout for the Fight Night event in Krakow.
After losing Claudia Gadelha vs. Aisling Daly due to an injury, the promotion inked a deal with Polish featherweight Damian Stasiak and matched him up against Yaotzin Meza. The featherweight clash takes place at the UFN 64 card on April 11.
Stasiak (8-2) makes his Octagon debut riding a five-fight winning streak with four submissions, while Meza moves back up to bantamweight following a unanimous decision loss to Sergio Pettis at 135 pounds.
UFC Fight Night 70 will feature former Cage Warriors welterweight champion versus a former Jungle Fight 170-pound titleholder in Goiania, Brazil, on May 30, as undefeated Nicolas Dalby meets welterweight prospect Elizeu Zaleski.
The UFC has yet to announce the match-up, but sources close to the situation told MMAFighting.com that both fighters agreed to fight in Brazil. Combate first reported the news.
Dalby makes his UFC debut with a perfect record of 13 wins in 13 fights, including seven finishes. Zaleski (14-4), who won and defended the Jungle Fight belt in 2014, makes his first appearance in the Octagon after a four-fight finishing streak in the Brazilian circuit.
The UFC made official a welterweight clash between Igor Araujo and Sean Strickland for UFC Fight Night 72 in San Diego, Calif., on July 15.
Araujo (25-7, 1 no-contest) who stayed away from the Octagon since September to help his wife in a battle against cancer, dropped to 2-1 in the UFC with a knockout loss to George Sullivan. Strickland (15-1) tries to get back to the win column after his first professional loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio in February.
Niklas Backstrom vs. Noad Lahat in the works for UFC Fight Night Berlin
Swedish prospect Niklas Backstrom will look to get back on track in Berlin later this year.
According to sources close to the fight, the UFC is working towards booking Backstrom vs. Noad Lahat on June 20 in Berlin at UFC Fight Night 69. The promotion has yet to officially announce the featherweight contest.
Backstrom (8-1) suffered the first loss of his career in October when he was knocked out by Mike Wilkinson. He has yet to fight since then.
Lahat (8-1), just the second Israeli-born fighter to compete in the UFC, most recently defeated Steven Siler last July after suffering the first pro loss of his career in his UFC debut.
UFC 69 will be headlined by Alexander Gustafsson, Backstrom's teammate at Allstars Training Center, vs. Glover Teixeira, and it is scheduled to air on UFC Fight Pass from the O2 World in Berlin.
Heavyweight bout between Frank Mir and Todd Duffee targeted for this summer
After snapping a four-fight losing skid against Antonio Silva in February -- and doing it in resounding fashion -- former heavyweight champion Frank Mir has his sights set on his next victim. And it's not Brock Lesnar, as he'd originally hoped.
It's Todd Duffee.
According to a report on UFC Tonight, after much campaigning a heavyweight bout between the two-time champion Mir and the 29-year old colossus Duffee is in the works. Though no exact date has been set on the fight, it is being considered for sometime this summer.
Mir's manager Malki Kawa told Ariel Helwani that he recognizes this isn't an ideal opponent, but that Mir really wants to stay active, and uphold a broader goal of competing at least three times in 2015.
Heading into his UFC Fight Night 61 bout with "Bigfoot" Silva and having lost four straight fights, Mir (17-9) was faced with a do-or-die situation. Not only did he score a much-needed victory, but he knocked Silva out violently in the first round. The 35-year old Mir hadn't won a fight in the Octagon since UFC 140 back in 2011.
Duffee (9-2), meanwhile, has reemerged as a conversational piece in the heavyweight division in his second stint with the UFC. After defeating Phil De Fries at UFC 155 via first-round TKO, he followed that up with a huge knockout of Anthony Hamilton at UFC 181 this past December.
Overall Duffee has won three fights in a row. He also remains a shareholder for the fastest knockout in UFC history, which he scored against Tim Hague at UFC 102 in 2009 (seven seconds). Of Duffee's nine professional victories, eight have come via first-round KO or TKO. The other was a second round TKO against Assuerio Silva in 2008.
For UFC champ Ronda Rousey, no further WWE deal in the works
Though Ronda Rousey's appearance at Sunday night's Wrestlemania set the table for a much bigger participation, it appears that was a one time thing.
For now at least.
Rousey's agent Brad Slater told UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani that there is no other WWE deal in the works for the UFC's women's bantamweight champion. Even though plenty of speculation began about Rousey playing a future role with the WWE, Slater said with certainty that nothing is planned for this year, and that there's no guarantee of anything beyond what happened this past weekend.
On Sunday's Wrestlemania show from Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, Rousey came into the cage to help resolve a conflict between The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. When McMahon taunted The Rock and said that he wouldn't hit a woman, he climbed out of the cage and walked over to Rousey -- who was seated cageside with her fellow Four Horsewomen, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir -- and invited her into the ring.
Once there, Rousey hip-tossed Triple H and later wrenched McMahon's arm as she threw her out of the ring.
Though people began to wonder if this was all a prelude to bigger things with Rousey with the WWE, Slater -- who also represents middleweight champion Chris Weidman -- reinforced that her sole focus is on her fight with Bethe Correia, which takes place at UFC 190 on Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro.
Brandon Thatch versus John Howard booked for UFC 189 in July
UFC 189 is shaping up to be one of the biggest cards of the year, and its not done being built.
On Wednesday night, UFC Tonight announced that a fight between welterweights John Howard and Brandon Thatch has been booked for the July 11 card, which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
For the Boston native Howard (22-11), this could be a critical fight with do-or-die stakes for his UFC roster spot. Howard has lost three fights in a row, dating back to last April when he dropped a unanimous decision to Ryan Laflare. He subsequently dropped a split decision to Brian Ebersole, and was knocked out in his last appearance against Lorenz Larken at UFC Fight Night 59.
Before the losing streak had won four fights in a row, including victories over Uriah Hall and Siyar Bahadurzada in the UFC.
Thatch, 29, is coming off his first loss of his UFC career. He succumbed to Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night 60 in Broomfield, Colo., after his originally scheduled opponent, Stephen Thompson, was forced off the card due to an injury. Thatch (11-2) had won back-to-back fights in the UFC before that, scoring victories over Justin Edwards and Paulo Thiago.
UFC 189 will feature a featherweight title fight between the Irish firebrand Conor McGregor and longtime champion Jose Aldo, as well as a middleweight title bout between Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler.