Heading into 2019, most of us figured there was a fantastic chance the UFC flyweight division was on its last legs. But when Henry Cejudo knocked out TJ Dillashaw in the first round of their bout at UFC Fight Night 143, we believed there was an opportunity the branch could be saved, particularly since the UFC declared a few other battles at 125lbs for different occasions.
Well, it seems like that might not be the case, since the promotion has reportedly released several different flyweights.
According to Cejudo, who talked to the press last weekend at UFC Fight Night 144, the UFC has released top-ranked flyweights Dustin Ortiz and Matheus Nicolau. In addition, John Moraga was eliminated from the UFC’s official rankings, indicating he also has been published. The UFC has not yet commented on if these fighters have indeed officially been published, but generally it is around the fighters to inform the fans and media when that occurs. Virtually anytime someone has been removed from the rankings for unknown reasons, however, it is usually because the UFC released them.
Even though the UFC flyweight division is clearly on its way out, the choice to cut an excellent fighter such as Ortiz is downright shocking, and dare I say, dumb. Ortiz is coming off of a competitive unanimous decision loss to Joseph Benavidez in UFC Fight Night 143 which was one of the better fights on that card. There’s a chance Benavidez gets another crack at Cejudo’s belt, meaning that the UFC just cut Ortiz coming from a title eliminator. And before the Benavidez fight, Ortiz had won three straight fights, including a mind kick knockout within the above Nicolau, a decision win over Alexandre Pantoja — a gifted flyweight who it appears has been spared from the cuts so far — and a 15-second KO over Hector Sandoval that was the fastest knockout in UFC flyweight history. If anything, the UFC must have advised Ortiz to maneuver up to bantamweight, which Alex Perez apparently will do (along with fighters like Said Nurmagomedov). Releasing such a gifted and improved fighter such as Ortiz outright just seems absurd.
In terms of Nicolau, he’d won all three of his battles in the Octagon before dropping to Ortiz, and even though he did not seem to be a title contender, he still provided valuable thickness at 125lbs. He also holds a notable win over Moraga, who it seems has also got the boot. That is another cut which shocks me. Moraga was actually one of the first flyweights the UFC signed back in 2012, and although he had an up-and-down UFC career, he was still considered to be a good gatekeeper and the perfect test for up-and-comers to take on. In his last fight, he had been knocked out by Deiveson Figueiredo, who appears to be one of the few flyweights the UFC nevertheless has on the roster. There’s no reason Moraga couldn’t have stuck around and continued to act in a gatekeeper role. It just seems too harsh to cut a guy who had been one of those few fighters with completing possible in a branch that generally sees fights move the distance.
Now, it’s very weird that which the UFC is doing together with the flyweights. If you ask UFC president Dana White, he says the promotion has not made a determination on the branch, but it feels like every day we are seeing a flyweight get cut, then the next day we see that a flyweight fight booked. It would be nice if the UFC could make up its mind and cut all of the flyweights or keep a full branch, because right now the fighters have no clue what kind of job security they have moving forward, and that’s not fair to anybody.
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The town of Greenville, South Carolina hosts a Featherweight crossroads bout this Saturday night (June 22, 2019) when”The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, faces Brazilian standout Renato Moicano in the primary event of UFC Fight Night 154 on ESPN+.
Experienced bruiser John Lineker measures up on short notice to rematch Rob Font in the nighttime’s bantamweight co-feature, while Bryan Barberena squares off with Randy Brown at a secured Welterweight slobberknocker.
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What Went Wrong at UFC 238?
Naught. Aljamain Sterling and Alexa Grasso wear terrific performances, and while Petr Yan had more trouble with Jimmie Rivera than expected, his two knockdowns carried him to a decision victory.
Kevin Aguilar (-150) vs. Dan Ige (+130)
Luis Pe??a (-380) vs. Matt Wiman (+315)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-220) vs. Allen Crowder (+180)
Ariana Lipski (-280) vs. Molly McCann (+240)
Deron Winn (-280) vs. Eric Spicely (+240)
Anderson Dos Santos (-125) vs. Andre Ewell (+105)
Ideas: this week is not going to break your bank. Let’s see what we could squeeze from Kevin Aguilar and Deron Winn.
I have been high on Aguilar for a little while, and after watching him completely shut down Enrique Barzola’s wrestling game in March, I finally feel as though I could have faith in his takedown defense. Ige’s a dangerous grinder, but is more grit than strategy on the toes, leaving him in the mercy of Aguilar’s killer jab. I think”The Angel of Death” punches his ticket to a top 15 competition on Saturday on the strength of his boxing.
Winn is a work-in-progress, but he is a stylistic nightmare for Spicely, that depends on his control. “Zebrinha” is woefully outgunned from the wrestling against a former Olympic hopeful and Winn’s got the hand speed and power. Cormier’s prot??g?? comes out victorious in his Octagon introduction.
A teeny bit on Andre Ewell can do the job. He’s got a ridiculous reach benefit and Dos Santos has never been difficult to hit. Don’t go too hard, though; Ewell’s ground game is his Achilles’ heel and”Berinja” is much more than good enough to finish him if it hits the mat.
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The UFC heads to Australia for the first time this year once it sets up shop in Perth to get UFC 221. Although the card is far from the sexiest you’ll notice, there are still lots of compelling bouts to stay diehard fans interested.
The main event features Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold facing off. This bout was for the interim middleweight crown but after Romero failed to make weight, the name is only going to be on the line for Rockhold. The remaining portion of the card is stuffed with loads of hometown talent that will look to get the audience in Perth eager for their first event .
Yoel Romero vs Luke Rockhold
Romero (+120) is an athletic freak. Despite being 40 years old,”The Soldier of God” has more speed, power and athleticism than fighters half his age. This is the foundation of the entire game of Romero. In the striking stage, the Cuban only begs and begs for his moment to explode into strikes. It works exactly the exact same for his wrestling. Romero is a Olympic wrestler and depends upon that skill set more than any other but he still prefers to land takedowns with explosiveness instead of grinding it out.
However, Romero has a small gas tank. He’s patient in the Octagon since he burns off his cardio extremely fast. You are able to see him visibly breathing heavily after a significant explosion of motion. That is why his whole game is built around controlled proportions of energy leading to controlling his competitor.
Not to be outdone, Rockhold (-150) is more athletically gifted than 95% of the fighters in the UFC. The former champion is powerful and fast but uses his normal size benefit better than many in the branch, whether that is working from range behind his left hook and body kick or controlling the leverage battle from the clinch. Offensively wrestling isn’t something Rockhold concentrates on — unless working from the clinch — he is just one of the craftier entry fighters in the division.
There are holes in Rockhold’s game. The only minor flaw which sticks out is that his inclination to rely on particular strikes on the toes. He could rely a lot on his left body and hook kick, telegraphing and giving up a opportunity to get countered.
Romero is very harmful as they come but his cardio is simply not there to compete with Rockhold. “The Soldier of God” can always land a KO shot — he has demonstrated that — but Rockhold’s clinch work will wear Romero down.
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