Following UFC Release, Michael McDonald Quickly Inks Bellator Deal

After asking for and being granted his UFC release, highly ranked bantamweight Michael McDonald quickly inked a deal with Bellator MMA.

Bellator officials confirmed the signing following an initial report by ESPN on Friday.

The move comes a week after McDonald was granted his release by the UFC, despite multiple fights remaining on his contract. Prior to his release, McDonald had called the UFC to task for its business practices.

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“The UFC was dishonest in the way they tried to do business with me and it’s resulted in a complete waste of my time,” McDonald told ESPN. “I want to feel like my employer isn’t out trying to cut my head off. I’m looking to enter a mutually respectful business contract with another fight organization.”

McDonald joins a Bellator division topped by champion Eduardo Dantas. There has been no date set for his promotional debut.

He is the latest of a bevy of former UFC fighters to sign with Bellator. Prior to McDonald, the promotion most recently signed Lorenz Larkin, who will be granted an immediate title shot, and Ryan Bader.

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/following-ufc-release-michael-mcdonald-quickly-inks-bellator-deal

 

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Hunt is Official; Joseph Benavidez, More Join Fight Card

Derrick Lewis revealed on Monday that he would be fighting Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 110 on Sunday, June 11, in Auckland, New Zealand.

UFC officials on Thursday confirmed the fight, noting that it would headline the promotion’s return to Auckland. In addition to confirming Lewis vs. Hunt, officials revealed several other bouts for the fight card, which will take place on Saturday, June 10 in the U.S. due to the time difference. 

Derrick Lewis vs Mark HuntTop ranked flyweight Joseph Benavidez (25-4) will put his six-fight winning streak on the line against rising star Ben Nguyen (17-6), who has gone 3-1 in his first four UFC bouts.

Aussie middleweight Daniel Kelly (13-1) is on a four-fight winning streak, coming off of a win over Rashad Evans. He’ll be looking to crash into the middleweight rankings if he can get past Derek Brunson (16-5), who sits at No. 9 in the 185-pound division.

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In addition to Benavidez vs. Nguyen, another flyweight fight joins the card with John Moraga (16-6) squaring off with UFC newbie Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-1), a top Aussie flyweight prospect.

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Klayton Mai: LFA 7 Opponent Roberto Sanchez a ‘Big Test’

Coming off a three-fight winning streak, even as a late replacement, flyweight Klayton Mai felt like couldn’t pass up an opportunity to fight in a main event title fight against Matt Schnell at Legacy FC 52 in March of 2016.

Unfortunately for Mai, he was unable to repeat the success he had against Schnell in 2014, and ended up losing via submission in the first round of their rematch.

“I wasn’t training like I had a belt on the line for a month or two out, but I was in pretty good shape,” Mai told MMAWeekly.com. “We decided to take the fight on late notice. I made the weight and everything, but it just didn’t go my way.

“On the other hand, taking that fight on short notice, being in the main event and fighting for a belt, I had a lot of eyeballs watching me, it stayed with me. I’ve got that experience under my belt and will be more prepared going into this next (main event).”

While some fighters might be concerned with having a year away from active competition like Mai has had, he doesn’t base his career expectations off of activity level.

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“I view myself differently than a lot of martial artists do,” said Mai. “I’ve been doing martial arts in the first grade. It’s always been a part of my life. Competing is just a recent thing.

“I don’t look at it like I need to be fighting three times a year or once a year, it just kind of works out that way. I’ve been ramping it up since 2017 started and I’m ready for this one. I’m excited to get back in there.”

Friday night in Houston, Texas, Mai (8-2) will make his second headlining appearance as he takes on Roberto Sanchez (5-0) in the 125-pound main event of Legacy Fighting Alliance 7.

“Everyone is a different kind of puzzle to solve,” Mai said. “I know (Sanchez’s) game plan is probably to take me down and try to submit me. In the fights I’ve seen, he just gets past everybody’s guard, pounds on them a little bit, and somewhere down the line they make a mistake.

“My game plan coming in is to stick to my game: use good movement and use my wrestling advantage. Just counter-wrestle him, look for my submissions, and take every advantage I can while we’re on the feet.”

For Mai moving forward, the main thing is for him to perform the best he can with each opportunity given to him in 2017, starting with Friday’s bout against Sanchez.

“This is a big test right here,” said Mai. “There’s going to be a lot of big eyeballs on this one. Everything has been leading up to this moment. I’ve got to enjoy it, and everything I’ve learned throughout these years, put it out on display, rack up this win and who knows what doors will open up for me.”

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/klayton-mai-lfa-7-opponent-roberto-sanchez-a-big-test

 

Ashley Cummins Expecting ‘Tough Fight’ with Amber Brown at Invicta FC 22

After suffering through a streak that saw her lose four straight bouts including her lone match on The Ultimate Fighter 23, Ashley Cummins made the decision to drop down from 115-pounds and has since rebounded with a win at Bellator 157 last June.

While initially Cummins believes she could have made 105-pounds, the decision was made for her first bout out of 115-pounds to be a catchweight fight, and it definitely paid off, as she picked up a second round submission win over prospect Nicole Smith.

“After my last loss I said to myself that I’d never fight at 115-pounds ever again,” Cummins told MMAWeekly.com. “My Bellator fight was a catchweight of 110-pounds. I only cut three pounds to make 108-pounds, so I knew I could make 105-pounds.

“That (Smith) fight I felt a lot faster and stronger. It was nice for a change for the first time to fight someone my own size. I definitely felt the difference at the lower weight and I knew this is where I belong and the weight class I should have been at years ago.”

While Cummins initially had reservations about trying out for TUF 23, she managed to make onto a single episode of the show, which in turn has given her some boost in notoriety.

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“I didn’t think I had a lot of chance of getting picked,” said Cummins. “My manager at the time thought I should do it, and then I talked to my coaches and my coaches were really excited for it and wanted me to try out.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get the win (against Lanchana Green), so I was only on one episode. Being on that one episode maybe got me a little bit of recognition. Obviously I don’t think the impact was that match since I was only on one episode.”

Cummins (4-3) will look to pick up her second win in a row when she takes on Amber Brown (6-3) in a main card 105-pound bout at Invicta FC 22 this Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I think Amber is one of the top atomweights for Invicta,” Cummins said. “I think she is very good. She’s very well-rounded and is good everywhere. I’m expecting a tough fight, but that’s what I’ve prepared for.

“I feel more than ready for this fight. I’m ready for a war. I think I have a good game plan going into this fight and am expecting my hand to get raised at the end of the night.”

In a new weight class where she feels she can make headway, Cummins is looking forward to big things with Invicta in 2017.

“Right now the goal is winning this fight and then climb the atomweight rankings and one day fight for the Invicta 105-pound belt,” said Cummins. “It doesn’t matter when it happens.

“I think at 105lbs, I’m one of the best in the world. I don’t think there’s a 105lber that can beat me. It doesn’t matter when it happens, but eventually I’m going to be fighting for that Invicta belt.”

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/ashley-cummins-expecting-tough-fight-with-amber-brown-at-invicta-fc-22

 

 

 

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