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UFC-USADA Anti-Doping Program: What are the rules.

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Upholding Fair Play, Sport Integrity and Athlete Wellness

The news about discontinuing the partnership agreement between USADA and UFC has been going around for a while. It was heralded by creating a UFC-owned anti-doping Center called Drug Free Sport International.

While the agreement between UFC and USADA has been in existence since 2015, the partnership is sadly coming to an end, thanks to the rift between both parties, which was due to how Conor McGregor was handled.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor

Let’s go over how UFC-USADA anti-doping policy works.

A Comprehensive Anti-doping Program

The UFC, in collaboration with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), instituted a comprehensive anti-doping program to preserve the integrity of mixed martial arts. This program features meticulous testing protocols, including unannounced, year-round tests for all fighters on the UFC’s extensive roster.

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Each year, a minimum of 2,750 tests are administered across the UFC roster, ensuring that athletes are held to the highest standards. On average, this equals approximately five random tests per fighter per year. 

These testing procedures are the cornerstone of the UFC’s commitment to clean competition and its determination to eliminate the use of banned substances and methods.

Embracing a Contemporary Approach

The UFC and USADA took significant steps to modernize their rules regarding marijuana use by athletes participating in the anti-doping program. Effective January 1, 2021, these changes signify a dramatic shift from previous regulations. Importantly, these updated rules no longer penalize athletes who test positive for marijuana, specifically for THC.

Previously, the UFC had set a threshold of 180 ng/ML for marijuana use, exceeding this limit during in-competition testing constituting a doping violation. However, research has demonstrated that there is no standardized limit that can reliably indicate impairment due to marijuana use. 

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In response, the UFC has revised its anti-doping program rules to align with a more contemporary and nuanced approach to addressing athletes who use marijuana.

Under these updated regulations, marijuana will only be tested during in-competition periods, which are defined as the six hours immediately before and after a fight. Offenders found to have used marijuana during this window will face penalties. 

For the first offense, a one-year suspension is imposed; a second offense results in a two-year suspension, and a third offense leads to a four-year suspension. These penalties are notably less severe than those announced by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

However, with the termination of the partnership between UFC and USADA, one can only wonder if the rules will change or remain the same. We won’t know until January 2024.

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Prominent Cases Worldwide

The issue of drug use and doping violations extends beyond the realm of MMA and the UFC. This broader perspective underscores the universal significance of anti-doping endeavors and their influence on athlete careers and the integrity of sports globally.

UFC Anti-Doping Policy

Numerous athletes and fighters have been caught or admitted to using banned substances or performance-enhancing drugs. Some notable examples include:

  • Lance Armstrong (Cycling)
  • Ben Johnson (Track and Field)
  • Marion Jones (Track and Field)
  • Alex Rodriguez (Baseball)
  • Barry Bonds (Baseball)
  • Maria Sharapova (Tennis)
  • Jon Jones (Mixed Martial Arts)
  • Anderson Silva (Mixed Martial Arts)
  • Brock Lesnar (Mixed Martial Arts/Wrestling)
  • Tyson Fury (Boxing)

Conclusion

The UFC’s unwavering commitment to fair competition and the well-being of its athletes is exemplified through its rigorous anti-doping program. 

By implementing meticulous testing procedures, modernizing regulations concerning marijuana use, and offering transparent guidelines for the therapeutic use of banned medications, the UFC ensures that fighters compete on a level playing field while prioritizing their safety and well-being.

This comprehensive approach underscores the UFC’s dedication to maintaining the highest standards of fairness and integrity in mixed martial arts, ultimately preserving the essence of competition and the health of the sport’s most valuable assets – its athletes.

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Stay tuned for upcoming articles that will explore stories of athletes found guilty of drug use and the enduring consequences of their actions.

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UFC Female Fighters with the Most Title Defenses

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Title defense is a occur when a title holder successfully defends their title against a challenger.

Winning a UFC title is hard but defending it is twice harder. Do you know why? It’s because being a champion puts a lot of top-tier targets on your back.

However, as hard as it seems, some badass UFC female fighters manage to achieve this feat on multiple occasions. 

Here is the list of UFC female fighters with the most title defenses.

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  • Amanda Nunes’s 10 title defenses

Born on May 30, 1988, in Brazil, Amanda Nunes, fondly known as “The Lioness,” stands as the unrivaled force in the UFC, with a remarkable 22-5 record. Her journey unfolds as a tale of dominance, weaving through two weight divisions—bantamweight and featherweight.

Amanda Nunes is a multiple title defender

Amanda Nunes with two titles.

Notably, The Lioness holds the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship twice, defending it five times, and the Women’s Featherweight Championship once, with two successful defenses. 

Beyond statistics, her legacy pulses with the energy of versatility, showcased in her victories over renowned fighters.

Facing the likes of Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Raquel Pennington, Holly Holm, and Germaine de Randamie, Nunes’s triumphs read like chapters in a story of unparalleled skill and resilience.

While her recent retirement adds a bittersweet note, Nunes leaves behind a human story of triumph, embodying the essence of female fighting excellence and etching her name as the undisputed queen in the vibrant history of the UFC.

  • Valentina Shevchenko 7 title defenses

Marching into the UFC spotlight, Valentina Shevchenko, or “The Bullet,” emerges as a formidable force in the flyweight division, defending her title with precision and flair.

Born on March 7, 1988, in Kyrgyzstan, Shevchenko boasts a stellar 23-4 record, signaling her prowess as a versatile fighter in both bantamweight and flyweight divisions.

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In the Women’s Flyweight division, Shevchenko’s dominance echoes through seven successful title defenses, with her latest showcase of skill on June 12, 2022. 

Valentina Shevchenko Title defenses

A fighting goddess, Shevchenko’s journey spans various disciplines—Muay Thai, taekwondo, boxing, judo, and kickboxing.

Her mastery culminated in an extraordinary seven-defense streak, only recently halted by Alexa Grasso. This setback fuels her quest to reclaim the title, positioning her for further glory.

Victories over formidable opponents like Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, and Jennifer Maia underline her well-rounded excellence in both striking and grappling.

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Shevchenko, the queen of precision, continues to etch her name as one of the most skilled fighters in UFC history.

  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk 5 defenses

Hailing from Poland, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, once known as the “Polish Hammer,” carved her legacy in the UFC’s Women’s Strawweight division with a formidable 16-5 record. 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a title

Joanna Jedrzejczyk

In 2014, the division quickly witnessed Jedrzejczyk’s dominance, becoming its second champion in 2015. Her aggressive striking and technical footwork marked a reign that saw her defend the title five times.

Jedrzejczyk’s journey in the strawweight division reached its pinnacle with victories over Jessica Penne, Valerie Letourneau, Claudia Gadelha (twice), and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Each defense showcased her striking prowess, underlining her ability to overwhelm opponents with relentless pressure. 

The streak, however, met its end in 2017 at the hands of Rose Namajunas, yet Jedrzejczyk’s contributions endure, solidifying her as one of the greatest female fighters in UFC history. 

  • Ronda Rousey 6 defenses

Ronda Rousey is an American trailblazer, who captivated the world with her submission prowess, earning the distinction of being the first female UFC champion. 

Born on February 1, 1987, her legacy in the Women’s Bantamweight division is etched with a record of 12-2, marked by an impressive reign defending the title six times.

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Rousey’s impact transcends the octagon; she not only showcased dominance with her armbar finishes but also paved the way for women in the UFC, becoming a beacon of inspiration for a generation of female athletes

In the realm of iconic victories, Rousey’s armbars and swift finishes became emblematic in women’s MMA.

Triumphs over formidable opponents like Miesha Tate (twice), Sara McMann, Alexis Davis, and Cat Zingano solidified her status as a pioneer. 

Despite her last title defense occurring on August 1, 2015, Rousey’s impact on the sport and the empowerment of female athletes resonates far beyond her time in the octagon.

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UFC Male Fighters with the Most Title Defenses

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Title defenses pose a unique challenge in the world of UFC. Unlike snagging a title initially, defending it truly separates the champions from the contenders, as Althea Gibson wisely noted. 

So now imagine successfully defending it multiple times, shouldn’t that be considered a feat? It’s like a football team maintaining a winning streak across all competitions. 

This article delves into the remarkable feats of the UFC male fighters with the most title defenses.

  • Jon Jones’s 13 title defenses 

Jon “Bones” Jones, a powerhouse in the light heavyweight division. His journey began in 2011 when, at just 23, he clinched the UFC championship by defeating Shogun Rua at UFC 128. What followed was a remarkable reign with a record-setting 13 successful title defenses.

Jon Jones has one the highest title defenses in UFC

Jon Jones

Jones not only defended his title but also boasts records for the most wins, most submission victories, and the longest win streak in the 205-pound division. 

His list of conquered challengers reads like a who’s who of the division, including Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Daniel Cormier, to name a few.

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Transitioning to the heavyweight category in March 2020, Jones left an indelible mark on the light heavyweight division, solidifying his status as one of the UFC’s all-time greats.

  •  Demetrious Johnson – Flyweight (11 Title Defenses)

In another weight class, Demetrious Johnson, a maestro in the flyweight division, began his era of dominance in 2012. His championship defense record stands at an impressive 11 times. 

Notable opponents like John Dodson (twice), Joseph Benavidez (in a rematch), Ali Bagautinov, and Henry Cejudo tested him.

Despite a setback in a rematch against Cejudo at UFC 227 in August 2018, where he suffered a split decision loss, Johnson’s legacy endures. 

He was later traded to ONE Championship for Ben Askren, where he triumphed in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix tournament, showcasing his resilience and skill on a global stage.

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  • Anderson Silva – Middleweight (10 Title Defenses)

Anderson Silva, known as the “Spider,” left an indelible mark in UFC history with 10 title defenses, securing the No. 3 spot. 

His journey began in October 2006, claiming the middleweight title by defeating Rich Franklin.

The ‘Spider’ defended his title against a formidable lineup, including Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin (in a rematch), Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen (twice).

Silva holds records for the most finishes in title fights (nine) and the highest number of fights in the middleweight division (13).

Chris Weidman ultimately ended Silva’s reign in a championship showdown in 2013.

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  • Jose Aldo – Featherweight weight ( 7 Title Defenses)

Jose Aldo, a featherweight legend, notched an impressive seven title defenses since the WEC merged with the UFC in 2010. 

Facing tough opponents like Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, and Chad Mendes, Aldo showcased his dominance. 

Despite a setback against Conor McGregor in 2015, Aldo seized redemption in July 2016, reclaiming the title with a victory over Frankie Edgar.

  • Georges St-Pierre – Welterweight (9 Title Defenses)

Georges St-Pierre, the esteemed Canadian MMA athlete, rebounded from a disappointing loss to Matt Serra in his first title defense. 

Reclaiming his welterweight belt in a rematch in April 2008, St-Pierre went on to retain his championship an impressive nine times. His reign included victories over Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, and Johnny Hendricks. 

After relinquishing his title in 2013, GSP made a triumphant return, securing the middleweight championship by defeating Michael Bisping in November 2017.

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Conclusion 

In the relentless arena of the UFC, fighters like Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, and Georges St-Pierre forged legacies through tenacious title defenses. 

From Jones’s record-setting reign to Silva’s mesmerizing performances, each defense added layers to their stories. Aldo showcased resilience, and St-Pierre, after a hiatus, returned triumphantly. 

These champions transcend mere winners; they are legends and their multiple title defenses are a testament to that.

 

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Men’s Weight class UFC Rankings

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UFC Rankings is like the leaderboard for a given weight class. The rankings are the comparative standings of the top active fighters in the given weight division.

How is UFC Ranking Determined?

UFC Rankings are determined through a panel of media members, journalists, and UFC commentators. The panel votes on the top fighters in each division, and the averaged results from the weekly UFC rankings

The criteria for voting involve the panel’s subjective assessment of a division’s top performers. This means that other people may have a different opinion on who should or should not be on the ranking, it’s subjective, unlike science. 

Pound-For-Pound UFC Rankings:

Pound-for-pound rankings are the comparative standings of all the champions and top-standing fighters of all the weight divisions combined. 

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It’s like the overall best player or student award. The creamiest of the cream across all divisions.

Pound-For-Pound UFC Rankings:

  1. Islam Makhachev (25-1-0): Makhachev claims the top spot with an impressive record and a relentless fighting style.
  1. Jon Jones (27-1-0): A perennial force, Jones continues to showcase his prowess and remains a stalwart in the Pound-For-Pound hierarchy.
  1. Alexander Volkanovski (26-3-0): The featherweight champion proves his mettle, earning a spot among the Pound-For-Pound elite.
  1. Leon Edwards (21-3-0): Riding high in the welterweight division, Edwards solidifies his standing with a formidable record.

Flyweight Division UFC Ranking:

Champion: Alexandre Pantoja (26-5-0)

UFC Rankings: Alexandre Pantoja leader of the Flyweight division

Brandon Moreno (21-7-2): A relentless contender, Moreno eyes the flyweight throne with an impressive track record.

  1. Deiveson Figueiredo (21-3-1): Former champion Figueiredo remains a potent force in the division.
  1. Amir Albazi (17-1-0): Albazi’s ascent in the flyweight ranks showcases his potential for future contention.
  1. Brandon Royval (15-6-0): Known for his exciting style, Royval looks to climb the flyweight ladder.

Lightweight Division UFC Ranking :

Champion: Islam Makhachev (25-1-0)

  1. Charles Oliveira (34-9-1): The seasoned Oliveira eyes the lightweight throne, showcasing a mix of striking and grappling prowess.
  1. Justin Gaethje (25-4-0): Gaethje’s explosive style and knockout power keep him in the championship conversation.
  1. Dustin Poirier (29-8-1): A fan favorite, Poirier’s resilience and striking make him a constant contender.
  1. Beneil Dariush (22-5-1): Dariush’s well-rounded skills and recent victories position him as a threat in the lightweight division.

Welterweight Division:

Champion: Leon Edwards (21-3-0)

  1. Kamaru Usman (20-4-0): The welterweight king, Usman’s dominance and strategic brilliance make him a formidable champion.
  1. Belal Muhammad (23-3-1): Muhammad’s consistent performances and resilience place him as a top contender in the division.
  1. Colby Covington (17-3-0): Known for his intense rivalries, Covington’s skill set keeps him among the welterweight elite.
  1. Gilbert Burns (22-6-0): Burns’ grappling prowess and striking ability continue to make him a force in the division.

Middleweight Division:

Champion: Sean Strickland (28-5-0)

UFC rankings: Sean Strickland vs Isreal Adesanya

  1. Israel Adesanya (24-3-0): Former champion Adesanya remains a striking virtuoso and a top contender in the middleweight division.
  1. Dricus Du Plessis (20-2-0): Du Plessis’ explosive style and finishing ability make him a dark horse in the division.
  1. Robert Whittaker (24-7-0): The former champion Whittaker’s well-rounded skills keep him among the middleweight elite.
  1. Jared Cannonier (17-6-0): Known for his power, Cannonier is a constant threat in the middleweight division.

Light Heavyweight Division:

Champion: Alex Pereira (9-2-0)

  1. Jamahal Hill (12-1-0): Hill’s striking prowess and recent performances have elevated him in the light heavyweight division.
  1. Jiri Prochazka (29-4-1): Prochazka’s dynamic style and knockout power make him a thrilling contender in the division.
  1. Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1): Ankalaev’s consistent performances showcase his potential for a bright future in the division.
  1. Jan Blachowicz (29-10-1): The former champion Blachowicz’s experience and well-rounded game keep him in the title conversation.

Heavyweight Division:

Champion: Jon Jones (27-1-0)

  1. Tom Aspinall (14-3-0): Aspinall’s impressive performances and finishing ability make him a rising star in the heavyweight division.
  1. Ciryl Gane (12-2-0): Gane’s technical prowess and undefeated record position him as a serious contender for the heavyweight title.
  1. Sergei Pavlovich (18-2-0): Pavlovich’s powerful striking and solid record keep him in the mix among the heavyweight elites.
  1. Stipe Miocic (20-4-0): The former champion Miocic remains a legend in the heavyweight division, known for his resilience and skill.
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PFL acquisition of Bellator

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In a recent development, the Professional Fighters League PFL, took a bold and strategic move with the hope of redefining the landscape of combat sports. PFL announced the acquisition of Bellator.

PFL founder Donn Davis confirmed the acquisition of Bellator MMA and added that the acquisition not only marks a significant corporate maneuver but signals the initiation of a new chapter in the history and future of MMA.

PFL Plans For Bellator MMA

PFL announced that its plan is not simply to absorb Bellator but to also rebrand it as the “Bellator International Champions Series.” Set to debut in 2024, this series will serve as a platform for eight global events in major cities, spotlighting champion versus champion showdowns between PFL and Bellator titleholders. 

PFL

 

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This is an excellent business strategy that also underlines PFL’s commitment to providing top-notch entertainment to MMA enthusiasts worldwide.

The timing of this announcement is significant, following closely on the heels of Bellator’s final event under the Showtime banner, Bellator 301, where two new champions emerged. 

The transition to the Bellator International Champions Series adds an extra layer of excitement for MMA fans, offering a glimpse into what the future holds for these two influential entities.

Interesting days ahead, as the competition will begin between the New Bellator and the established home of combat sport, the UFC.

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In a statement to The Financial Times via MMA Fighting, Donn Davis emphasized the transformative nature of this acquisition, stating, “This totally changes the MMA landscape overnight.” By amalgamating the strengths of PFL and Bellator, Davis envisions the creation of a co-leader in the MMA industry. 

The combined roster now boasts 30 percent of fighters ranked in the top 25 globally by Fight Matrix, positioning it on par with the UFC’s esteemed roster.

Bellator, established in 2008, has been a formidable force in MMA, housing legends like Fedor Emelianenko and current stars such as Patricio Freire and A.J. McKee.

Under the stewardship of Scott Coker since 2014, Bellator has forged its identity and is known for its tournaments and commitment to showcasing both seasoned and emerging talent.

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PFL on the other hand, emerged in 2018 from the restructuring of the World Series of Fighting, and has been making waves with its unique tournament format.

The annual PFL tournament crowns six champions, each earning a substantial $1 million prize. Notable signings, including Jake Paul and Francis Ngannou, have added star power to the league.

The Bellator International Champions Series is not the sole focus of PFL’s ambitious plans. The recent partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has injected a staggering $100 million into PFL through SRJ Sports Investments, a subsidiary of PIF.

This collaboration extends beyond financial backing; it includes the launch of PFL MENA in 2024, marking PFL’s expansion into the Middle East.

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As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia will host fights within the PFL Super Fights division, a groundbreaking concept where fighters stand to earn at least 50 percent of the PFL’s pay-per-view revenue. This innovative approach to fighter compensation sets a new standard in the MMA world and has attracted high-profile names such as Jake Paul, Francis Ngannou, and Claressa Shields to the PFL Super Fight division.

Donn Davis, expressing his excitement about the partnership, stated, “PFL is now a global powerhouse in MMA.” This sentiment encapsulates the league’s bold vision for the future—a future where PFL stands as a major competitor challenging the supremacy of organizations like the UFC.

Conclusion

The PFL’s acquisition of Bellator and the strategic collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s PIF mark a turning point in the MMA landscape.

The fusion of these entities not only creates a powerhouse in global MMA but also introduces innovative concepts that redefine how the sport operates. 

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As we eagerly await the PFL World Championship Finals on November 24, the stage is set for a thrilling chapter in MMA history, where PFL’s bold moves promise to captivate audiences and elevate the sport to new heights.

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Controversial Decisions in UFC History

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Controversial judges’ decisions are one of the many things weakening the largest MMA organization in the world. From split decisions to unanimous wins, both have been contentious at some point.

The scoring system’s lack of quality control in training, assessing, and selecting judges fuels the idea that the promotion is taking the issue seriously. 

Most Controversial Decisions in UFC history

  • GSP vs. Hendricks, UFC 167

UFC 167 is inarguably one of the most controversial bouts in UFC history. Georges St-Pierre defended his welterweight title against Johny Hendricks. 

Hendricks came out strong in the first two rounds, landing heavy punches and taking St-Pierre to the mat.

After a grueling five-round battle, Pundit and enthusiasts believed Hendricks earned enough points to dethrone the longtime champion.

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However, St-Pierre won via the split decision. The judges’ decision outraged fans and analysts, including Hendricks himself. He caused GSP more damage than he did. 

This controversial nature of the bout divided the MMA community at the time, with most people siding with Hendricks.

The decision increased the discourse on how fights should be scored. Most shareholders agreed that the system at the time needed to be more nuanced. 

  • Machida vs. Shogun I UFC 104

The controversial nature of the judges’ decision at UFC 104 etched it into UFC history.

The light heavyweight title fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua ended disappointingly courtesy of the judge’s decision.

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Throughout the fight, Shogun appeared to dominate with effective striking and aggression. However, the Judges unanimously crowned Machida. 

The bout’s result led to a discussion about judging criteria in MMA. It prompted the UFC to review and refine scoring systems to avoid and minimize similar controversies in the future.

  • Edgar vs. Henderson, UFC 144

The UFC lightweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson at UFC 144 ended in a unanimous decision victory for Henderson.

A decision that dissatisfied most people. Many fans and analysts argued that Edgar had done enough to win the title defense.

The closely contested bout highlighted the subjectivity of judging in MMA and continued the debates about the criteria used to score fights.

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  • Dillashaw vs. Cruz, UFC Fight Night 81

UFC Fight Night 81 is an anticipated bantamweight title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz.

Like every item on this post, the judge’s decision was controversial as Cruz emerged victorious via split decision, which left the fans of Dillashaw furious. Dillashaw fans said she had done enough to win the bout.

The bout is a classic example of a close contest, showing that closely contested fights are more challenging to judge than they seem to be to onlookers.

  • Jones vs. Gustafsson, UFC 165

In 2013, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson clashed swords for the first time during the light heavyweight title at UFC 165, which remains one of the most iconic bouts in UFC history. 

Controversial decision plague this bout

It was a clash of titans, so it was a close contest, and like most close contests, the result was controversial. Jon Jones won via unanimous decision—a decision that many fans and experts questioned.

Many fans and experts severely contested and criticized the decision, so President Dana White ordered a quick rematch. They believed Gustafsson had done enough to dethrone the reigning champion.

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The rematch didn’t reveal anything new, though the fight was epic, and Jon Jones secured a victory with a rear-neck choke.

  • Alexander Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev (UFC 284)

Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev clashed for the lightweight title at UFC 284 and remained the most controversial decision in 2023.

The fight, as expected, was closely contested, with both fighters demonstrating their grappling prowess and striking skills. However, Makhachev controlled most of the fight with his wrestling, while Volkanovski landed the more significant strikes on the feet. 

Even though the Russian did minor damage compared to his opponent, the judges scored the fight in favor of Makhachev. The decision got mixed reactions from fans and pundits.

Conclusion

Controversial decisions in the UFC are often inevitable, which usually outrage fans, pundits, and fighters alike. It is one of the Achilles’ heels of sporting promotion.

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While it is easier to blame judges’ decisions, it is imperative to know that until the UFC and MMA, in general, incorporate technology like the VAR in football, such controversy will continue to ensue.

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Biggest Rivalries in UFC

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Rivalries plagued every human endeavor since time immemorial. It exists in politics, religion, and sports, which include mixed martial arts.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has witnessed some of the most intense and iconic rivalries in mixed martial arts. 

Eight Biggest Rivalries in UFC history:

  • Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor. UFC 229

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor headlined UFC 229. Due to their rivalry, it was a highly anticipated event that lived up to the hype and controversy. 

 

The pre-fight build-up featured intense verbal exchanges, with McGregor targeting Nurmagomedov’s personal life.

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One of the rivalries in UFC

Khabib vs Mcgregor

McGregor showed early success with striking in the Octagon, but Nurmagomedov’s grappling prowess dominated, leading to a fourth-round submission win for the Russian. 

The rivalry peaked when post-fight chaos erupted. Nurmagomedov leaped over the cage to confront McGregor’s corner men, resulting in a brawl. 

Both fighters faced disciplinary actions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. 

  • Chuck Liddell vs.Tito Ortiz 

Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Tito Ortiz used to run the light heavyweight division. Their contrasting styles and personalities laid the foundation for a rivalry that defined their era. 

Rivalry

Chuck Liddell vs.Tito Ortiz

The duo fought it out at UFC 47 and UFC 66, where Liddell’s knockout earned him victories. In both encounters, Ortiz’s grappling prowess couldn’t level up against Chuck’s power punch.

Their rivalry is one the biggest during their era, and both are undisputed legends in UFC history. 

  • Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell

Randy “The Natural” Couture and Chuck Liddell engaged in one of the most memorable rivalries in UFC history. Couture, known for his wrestling acumen, faced off against the striking powerhouse Liddell. 

Rivalries

Their trilogy bouts showcased the evolution of MMA, with Couture winning the first bout, Liddell the second, and Couture ultimately securing the rubber match. 

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Their rivalry is a cornerstone to establishing the UFC as a mainstream sport.

  • Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel “DC” Cormier captivated fans with a bitter and personal rivalry in the light heavyweight division.

One of the bigger Rivalries in UFC history.

Their animosity peaked with a highly publicized brawl at a press conference. 

Jones won both encounters; the heated exchanges and intense build-up added a new layer of drama to the division.

  • Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor

The rivalry between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor transcended the octagon, showcasing the power of personalities in MMA. 

Their first encounter, on short notice for Diaz, resulted in a stunning submission victory for the Stockton native. 

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Rivalries

The anticipation for the rematch was unprecedented, with McGregor ultimately claiming victory in a closely contested bout. 

  • Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz

In the early days of the UFC, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz engaged in a feud that helped elevate the organization’s profile. Shamrock, a veteran of the sport, faced the brash and confident Ortiz. 

Their rivalry included a controversial draw and a subsequent grudge match, with Ortiz emerging victorious. This feud was pivotal in attracting attention to the UFC during its formative years.

  • Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and Gray “The Bully” Maynard engaged in a trilogy that showcased resilience and determination. 

Their first encounter ended in a draw, with Maynard winning the second. However, Edgar made a spectacular comeback in the third fight, securing a knockout victory to settle the score. 

  • Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes

Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes’ rivalry defined the welterweight division in the mid-2000s. 

With a submission victory, Hughes initially held the upper hand, but GSP’s evolution as a fighter led to a reversal of fortunes. 

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St-Pierre clinched the welterweight title in their rematch, marking a turning point in his storied career. This is one of the biggest rivalries in the UFC.

Conclusion

The rivalries above showcased the rivalry, diversity, and drama that have defined the UFC over the years. 

Rivalry varied from historic clashes to personal vendettas. However, these rivalries have contributed to the UFC’s evolution and global popularity. 

As the UFC grows, new rivalries will inevitably emerge, adding to the rich tapestry of mixed martial arts history.

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Fighter Spotlight: Valentina Shevchenko

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Valentina Shevchenko is currently the best pound-for-pound female MMA Fighter and Female Flyweight after Zhang Wieli and Alexa Grasso, respectively.

From Bishkek’s streets to the UFC octagon’s bright lights, Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko’s journey is a tale of raw determination and martial arts mastery.

Born on March 7, 1988, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Shevchenko’s initiation into combat sports began at age five under the watchful eye of her mother, Elena Shevchenko, a Muay Thai legend.

Valentina Shevchenko Early Childhood

Shevchenko’s striking prowess flourished under her mother’s rigorous tutelage, winning multiple Muay Thai championships, including the IFMA World Muay Thai Championships in 2009 and 2010. 

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The image of a young Valentina, tirelessly training in Muay Thai in her mother’s backyard, captures the essence of her early years and the foundation of her combat skills.

The Bullet MMA Journey

In 2013, Shevchenko entered the MMA arena, quickly establishing herself with a triumphant professional debut. Her seamless transition showcased her striking finesse and a newfound grappling dimension. 

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) took notice, and in 2015, Shevchenko made her UFC debut, leaving a trail of defeated opponents in her wake.

The defining moment came on December 8, 2017, when Shevchenko faced Joanna Jędrzejczyk in a five-round spectacle, clinching the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship. 

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This victory began a reign of masterful title defenses against Jessica Eye, Katlyn Chookagian, and a historic rematch with Amanda Nunes.

UFC Career Highlights 

Valentina Shevchenko boasts an impressive mixed martial arts record of 23-4-1, with a well-rounded display of skills reflected in her eight knockout victories, seven submission wins, and seven decisions. 

As the reigning UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion, her journey from a debut fight at 15 to dominating the UFC stage is marked by notable achievements.

Her early career showcased victories with methods ranging from TKO to submissions like armbars. She made her UFC debut on December 19, 2015, at UFC 196, securing a unanimous decision win. 

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From there, a series of triumphs followed, including a head kick and punches TKO at UFC 231 and a retirement-induced TKO at UFC 238.

Valentina Shevchenko

A pivotal moment in Valentina’s career came on December 8, 2017, when she claimed the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship unanimously at UFC 231 on Fox 25. 

Her most recent victory, a TKO via punches at UFC 275 on June 11, 2022, solidifies her status as a dominant force in the UFC’s Flyweight division. 

Valentina Shevchenko has an impressive record of 23-4-1.

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Fighting style

Her fighting style, a mesmerizing blend of Muay Thai precision and calculated counter-striking, showcased her technical brilliance and adaptability. 

Each defense of her title was a testament to her relentless pursuit of perfection and ability to conquer diverse fighting styles.

Life outside the Cage

Valentina Shevchenko’s multifaceted persona extends beyond the octagon. Fluent in Kyrgyz, Russian, Spanish, and English. 

Her net worth is estimated at around 5 million USD as of September 2023. This reflects her athletic success and lucrative endorsement deals with companies like GuardLab, Brownells, Dapper Scrappers, LUCHO Shoes, Girls with Guns Clothing, VEOSPORT, and Smith & Wesson Corp.

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Unsurprisingly, The Bullet is a gun enthusiast, as evidenced by her nickname, and deals with Brownells and Smith & Wesson Corp. She indulges this passion in pistol shooting competitions. 

Valentina Shevchenko with a riffle

The Bullet with a gun

Her diverse interests include collecting antique firearms, dancing, and playing guitar. Despite her high-profile career, Shevchenko maintains a private personal life and is currently not in any relationships. 

She also holds an undergraduate degree in film directing and the title of Honored Professor from the National Academy of Arts. 

She featured in EA Sports UFC games and showcased her acting prowess in Netflix’s “Bruised” alongside Halle Berry.

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Greatest Fights in UFC History

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Greatest fight in UFC history

The greatest fights in UFC history are full of memorable moments, outstanding performances, and a display of resilience and grit.

The UFC has seen its fair share of such unforgettable moments, with these fights standing out as some of the best in the promotion’s history. 

From epic comebacks to technical masterclasses, here’s a look at some of the greatest fights ever.

  • UFC Greatest Fights : UFC 62

Most people believe this bout put the UFC on the mainstream map. To put it more eloquently, the first encounter between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar was nothing short of a war. 

Both fighters left everything inside the Octagon in a display of heart, determination, and skill. The back-and-forth battle showcased the raw essence of MMA, with Griffin securing a close unanimous decision victory. 

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This fight is often credited with saving the UFC from potential collapse and is a cornerstone in the promotion’s history. According to Dana White, UFC 62 is responsible for the explosive popularity of the giant MMA promotion. 

Even after almost three decades later, it remains one of the greatest fights in UFC history.

  • Lawler vs. MacDonald II (UFC 189, 2015)

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald engaged in a five-round, exciting, memorable fight. The fight displayed incredible heart and resilience from both fighters, with each round escalating the intensity. 

The tempo of the cage reached its climax in the fourth round when Lawler landed a series of crushing punches, which unfortunately smashed MacDonald’s nose. 

The clash was a perfect blend of technical prowess and sheer grit, earning it a place among the greatest fights in UFC history.

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  • UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen I

The clash between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen was a classic example of the striker vs. grappler dynamic. Anderson Silva is a Striker with unmatched skills, while Sonnen is one of the best grapplers in the division at the time.

Sonnen dominated the fight with his wrestling, controlling Silva for most of the bout. However, in the closing moments of the fifth round, Silva secured a triangle armbar, forcing Sonnen to tap out. 

Silva’s triumph and Sonnen’s performance put UFC 117 on the map of the greatest fights ever.

  • UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III

Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard‘s third meeting is one of the greatest fights in the promotion’s history. The trilogy reached its climax in UFC 136— a bout that had fans on the edge of their seats. Maynard, known for his powerful striking, had previously handed Edgar his only career loss. 

However, during the third encounter, both fighters showcased incredible courage and durability, with Edgar overcoming early adversity to secure a fourth-round knockout. 

  • UFC 139: Henderson vs. Shogun

Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua delivered an instant classic in a five-round war that amazed everyone. The fight featured moments of action, with a fair share of moments of dominance.

However, Henderson ultimately secured a unanimous decision victory in one of the greatest fights in history. 

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However, both men earned the respect and admiration of fans, enthusiasts, and pundits for their incredible display of skill and determination.

  • UFC 248:  Joanna vs. Zhang Weili

The Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk fight at UFC 248 was a highly intense and competitive battle for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship. 

The fight featured many significant strikes, with both Zhang and Jędrzejczyk delivering and taking powerful blows. The bout went the full five rounds.

 Zhang Weili emerged victorious, retaining her title via a closely contested split decision.

Greatest fight in UFC history

Joanna sustained a giant hematoma on her head due to the impact of the punches. The fight is regarded as one of the greatest in UFC history.

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  • UFC 236: Adesanya vs. Gastelum

Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum engaged in a tough battle for the interim middleweight title. The fight featured high-level striking exchanges, with both fighters displaying incredible skill and resilience.

Israel Adesanya in one of the

Israel Adesanya in one of the greatest fight in UFC history.

Gastelum’s powerful shots surprised Adesanya, but the TUF winner fought back. The bloodied Adesanya is ready for anything as he declared, “I’m prepared to die” before the final round. 

Adesanya eventually secured the victory via unanimous decision. The win solidifies his status as one of the sport’s rising stars, and UFC 236 is one of the greatest fights in UFC history.

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