This Week In MMA – March, Week 4

MMA
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC & Chris Unger – Zuffa LLC

Take a look back on a week in MMA where the majority of the headlines were grabbed by the surprising return of former UFC bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate, the assuming of the heavyweight throne in spectacular fashion by Francis Ngannou, the impending comeback of Khamzat Chimaev, and middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Kicking off the week, multiple-time ADCC and World Jiu-Jitsu champion, John Danahar and Garry Tonon black belt, Gordon Ryan penned a deal with ONE Championship — where he will compete in both professional mixed martial arts and submission grappling.

Former undisputed UFC and Strikeforce middleweight best, Luke Rockhold continued to flirt with a summer return to the Octagon, claiming that a “fire” has been lit in him once more to make a return to active competition for the first time since July of 2019

Ahead of his welterweight title challenge against Jack Grant at the Cage Warriors trilogy in June, undefeated Team KF mainstay, Ian Garry floated a potential UFC debut after the matchup, detailing how he’d “f*cking ruin” the polarizing Mike Perry in his first Octagon walk

Off the back of his UFC Vegas 22 loss to Derek Brunson, the outspoken striker, Kevin Holland reflected on the snapping of his five-fight rise at middleweight, explaining how he had lost sleep after his main event clash, due to the fear he had let people close to him down

Former UFC featherweight and lightweight championship challenger, Kenny Florian is also set to make his return to the commentary booth under the PFL (Professional Fighters League) banner this year. The Massachusetts favorite served as a colour-commentator for the UFC as well as featuring as an analyst during the promotion’s partnership with FOX Sports.

Despite questions of his fighting future asked at the beginning of the month amid his ongoing health issues with the novel coronavirus, Khamzat Chimaev insists he’s “coming back to smash everybody“. 

Added to UFC 264 on July 10th. — an eye-catching featherweight matchup between The Ultimate Fighter 22 victor, Ryan Hall is slated to finally make his Octagon return, in an interesting pairing with recent UFC newcomer, the surging, Ilia Topuria

Also set for the summer event, a high-stakes flyweight matchup between most recent title challenger, Jennifer Maia, and one-time title chaser, Jessica Eye has been booked for UFC 264.

Ahead of his Octagon return over the weekend, Sean O’Malley maintained he “wasn’t beaten” by Marlon Vera last August at UFC 252, before his UFC 260 clash with Thomas Almeida. 

Set to feature at UFC 262 on May 15th. in Houston, Texas, former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Jacare Souza is slated to matchup with Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Andre Muniz.

Yet to feature since UFC 254 last October, former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje questioned why he had yet to book an Octagon outing since that ‘Fight Island’ defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov, questioning if he had “pissed” somebody off.

Slated to make her first Octagon walk since November of 2016, former undisputed bantamweight best, Miesha Tate snaps an almost five-year retirement — returning to the Octagon in a UFC Fight Night event, the Washington native, Marion Reneau who herself is making her final professional mixed martial arts walk. 

With championship aspirations on the forefront of her mind, Tate spoke of her interest in rematching current two-weight champion, Amanda Nunes following her UFC 200 loss to the Brazilian back in July of 2016

Posting a flippant rape comment in response to insults from the aforenoted, Holland, reigning UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya hit the headlines — responding with; “Bro, I’ll f*cking rape you” in an Instagram story which was deleted. Adesanya, who issued an apology for the post, was condemned by New Zealand deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson for his post. German vehicle manufacturer, BMW also dropped Adesanya as an official brand ambassador in New Zealand

Commenting on the status of the undisputed lightweight championship, Dana White commended Dustin Poirier’s decision to pursue a summer trilogy matchup with two-time foe, Conor McGregor, detailing how the Louisianan had made a “smart” decision to fight McGregor rather than fight for the vacant title

Providing an update on the bantamweight championship outlook, White claimed that he was exploring the possibility of pairing current two-weight best, Nunes with The Ultimate Fighter 18 winner, Julianna Pena in the next title clash in the division.

Rescheduled for Bellator 258 in May, a lightweight clash between multiple-time lightweight title chaser, Patricky Pitbull and Straight Blast Gym staple, Peter Queally has been rebooked for May 8th. following a cancelled matchup last October in Dublin, Ireland amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rebounding to the winner’s enclosure following his August loss to the above-mentioned, Vera, O’Malley turned in a masterful striking performance against Almeida — stopping the Brazilian with a massive ground strike in the third round. 

Dropping his fourth consecutive defeat, former welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley started well against Vicente Luque — launching massive shots, before ultimately finding himself on the receiving end of a strikes from the latter, before an eventual D’Arce choke loss in the first round.

Taking the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship, Francis Ngannou displayed a patient gameplan through the opening round, stuffing a takedown attempt from Stipe Miocic, and scoring his own trip, to take the opening frame.
With less than a minute elapsed in the second round, Ngannou dropped Miocic with a stiff jab, before closing the show during an exchange in the center of the Octagon with a massive left hook. 

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