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Breakdown: UFC 268 surpasses expectations



What. A. Night! Last night, the UFC returned to the Big Apple for UFC 268, the first time in over a year as the cage doors were locked in the Garden, for a night of rematches, with the co-main event a rematch between ‘Thug’ Rose and Zhang Weili, and the main event a rematch between the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ and ‘Chaos’ Covington.

Ever since UFC 268 was announced, fans knew they’d be the beneficiaries of a wild night of fights, and it surpassed already high expectations, taking the crown of card of the year. Fans thought they may be in for a long night of fights when the first three bouts all went to the judges scorecards, but lone behold, the next six fights all ended by KO/TKO.

Heavyweight but light on the feet – Villante vs Barnett

The first KO of the night came by way of a highlight reel wheel kick by none other than 263lber, Chris Barnett. In what was veteran Villante’s last fight, he hoped to go out with a win, but Chris Barnett had other plans. The Spanish born American epitomised relaxed and exhilarated when he was making the walk at UFC 268 for only the second time for the promotion, as he was body popping and smiling just moments before getting to business. The fight started with Barnett looking extremely light on his feet for a heavyweight utilising outside leg kicks extremely well to nullify Villante’s power. The unimaginable happened in round 2, when ‘Huggy Bear’ stepped forward and unleashed a ferocious wheel kick landing flush, getting the remarkable finish. He used his post fight mic time to show incredible respect to his long serving opponent, urging the buzzing MSG to stand and applaud Villante in what was his last fight.

( Chris Barnett lands picture perfect wheel kick to end the fight

The ‘Future’ impresses on debut – Garry vs Williams

One of the most highly anticipated debuts since a notorious Irishman, saw Ian ‘The Future’ Garry take on contender series victor, Jordan Williams. 23-year-old Garry was making his first walk in the promotion with the entire MMA world watching with baited breath, after the young Irishman impressed over in Cage Warriors, vacating the Welterweight strap to pursue his dream of fighting in the UFC. On the lead up to his scrap with Williams, Garry personified confidence stating that he will get a first round KO and show the world the future of MMA, and proclaimed he will become the next Conor McGregor.

It didn’t take long for the MMA world to see the future as in the dying embers of round 1, Garry stepped back and unleashed a picture perfect counter right hand, starching Williams and living up to his intriguing hype. Garry had to face some adversity during his first round in the promotion as Williams was utilising a dangerous popping jab putting Garry on the back foot for the majority of the round, only letting himself get too confident in the last 5 seconds of the round resulting in a devastating KO.

Garry is not only blessed with immense fighting talent as in his Octagon interview he showed he is a natural on the mic too. Rogan said “The hype is real.” in which Garry replied “F***ing right it is.” He went on to explain that for the first time ever he felt nervous coming into a fight however it didn’t last long. He said: “23 making my UFC debut at MSG, it doesn’t get bigger than this, we just shocked the world, the Irish are back baby!

“We’re gonna be a world champion we are taking over the division. A wise Irish man once said before me, he stepped in this very cage and said ‘we’re not here to take part we’re here to takeover’, and this is the takeover part 2.”

( Ian Garry impresses on highly anticipated UFC debut

Another anticipated debut goes to plan – Pereira vs Michailidis

Garry wasn’t the only man making his hugely anticipated debut last night, former GLORY Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion, Alex Pereira, was making his first walk to the UFC Octagon against Andreas Michailidis. The Brazilian kickboxer came into the promotional powerhouse with a lot of expectation due to his dominance in GLORY, and most notably, his two wins over current UFC Middleweight king, Israel Adesanya, being the only fighter to have knocked out the Nigerian.

Similarly to Garry, Pereira’s first round didn’t go as he would’ve anticipated as Michailidis fought the perfect first round against the ferocious striker, using his grappling credentials to dominate Pereira on the ground. Although ‘the Spartan’ dominated on the ground, he didn’t implement much damage to Pereira, as he may have been looking to use his BJJ black belt credentials with a submission, but it didn’t come.

Although Michailidis came with the right game plan, In round 2, Pereira managed to keep the fight on the feet, and just 18 seconds into round 2 landed a brutal flying knee, folding the Greek fighter.

Being a big name in the MMA world, there is no doubt the UFC will try and push Pereira, but will be cautious of feeding him to any renowned grapplers as he seemed to have a slight issue when his back was on the mat.

( Alex Pereira lands highlight reel flying knee to win on UFC debut

The war we knew we needed but didn’t know could be this good – Gaethje vs Chandler

When Gaethje vs Chandler was announced, MMA fans around the world sat up knew this was one of the most MUST WATCH fights ever created. The fight was originally scheduled to take place just before the co-main event between Rose and Weili, however, due to Trevor Wittman being in Rose’s and Usman’s corners, Gaethje vs Chandler opened the main card.

When the fight was booked, MMA fans thought the judges would not be needed for this anticipated war as a stoppage was all but guaranteed.

Round 1 started exactly as everyone imagined with both fighters swinging in a phone booth with absolutely everything they had. ‘Iron’ Mike started the fight the better of the two, connecting on multiple occasions with hooks, while on the other side, Gaethje invested his first round in leg kicks. Possibly the best duo in MMA, Gaethje and leg kicks, his ability to throw the outside leg kick with such ferocity from absolutely anywhere never fails to blow my mind, he chewed up the leg from clinches and when in the middle of the Octagon. Although Chandler took the first round on two of the judges scorecards, Gaethje’s brutal leg kicks were sure to play a part in the rest of the scrap.

Two minutes into round 2, the ‘Highlight’ Gaethje landed a perfect uppercut as Chandler momentarily dipped his head, dropping him and pouncing on him unleashing almost fight ending ground and pound, but Chandler managed to hang onto Gaethje’s leg with a single leg attempt. Gaethje, not a man who looks for submissions, had the perfect chance to lock in a guillotine and end the fight, but opted against it much to the fans delight. In the second round, Chandler’s stock rose dramatically as he showed the heart of a champion eating all of Gaethje’s best shots.

During the last 2 minutes of round 2, Chandler switched to southpaw as he could no longer put weight on his left leg, but soon realised he didn’t have the same striking threat in Southpaw and switched back to Orthodox.

The unimaginable happened and we were lucky enough to see a third round between these two warriors. Gaethje’s early investment in leg kicks paid off in round 3, as Chandler’s striking held less to no power. Two minutes into round 3, Gaethje landed a beautiful uppercut followed by a short left hook resulting in Chandler spitting blood onto the mat. With two minutes left of this electrifying war, Gaethje continued to land bombs wobbling Chandler on multiple occasions, but ‘Iron’ Mike was going nowhere.

The unthinkable happened and the judges scorecards were in fact needed. Gaethje picked up the unanimous decision saying: “He is a warrior, we are living in the wrong times let me tell you, me and him should’ve been fighting to the death in a colosseum.”

Gaethje and thousands of others believe he is now next in line to fight the winner of Oliveira vs Poirier as he said: “Hopefully it’s Oliveira in Brazil or Poirier down in Louisiana I don’t give a f*ck. I’m rank number 2 and just got an impressive win, who else? I’m the only motherf***er left.”

The possibility of Poirier vs Gaethje 2 for the Lightweight strap is utterly mouthwatering.

( Gaethje and Chandler embrace after an all out war for the ages

‘I’m the best’ choruses out again – Namajunas vs Zhang

Co-main eventing UFC 268 was a rematch between the two best Strawweight’s in the world, champion, ‘Thug’ Rose and former champ, Zhang Weili.

In their first bout over 6 months ago, Rose Namajunas defeated the then champion, Zhang Weili with a beautiful head kick to become the new queen of the division. With no other clear contenders in the division, Weili was granted an immediate rematch, hoping to rectify her mistakes in their first meeting becoming ‘and new’ again.

With the first fight being won in such impressive fashion, everyone was expecting that Weili will have worked on dealing with Rose’s unique footwork for their second meeting, and in the first round she showed that she was far more wary of Rose’s constant danger, keeping the distance between her and the champion.

In the first few rounds, Weili seemed to have some trouble closing the distance between her and Rose, as she wasn’t throwing in combinations, and instead was looking to land one big shot every time she tried to close the distance.

After three rounds, the consensus was that Zhang was 2-1 up on the scorecards, however, she was fighting a sloppy fight. In rounds 3, 4 and 5, the champion utilised her grappling and got the fight to the mat, taking rounds 3 and 4. In many fans opinions, the fight was 2-2 going into the final round, with Rose’s rounds been far clearer than Weili’s. Rose left round 5 in no doubt as again, she took the fight to the ground giving her another clear round.

Michael Bell was the only judge who scored the bout in favour of the contender, putting Weili 48-47 up, with the other two judges, Eric Colon and Doug Crosby giving Rose 49-46 and 48-47 for the split decision victory.

In a fight that played out completely opposite to their first meeting, neither fighter really stamped their mark on the bout, putting an end to their feud for the time being.

( Rose Namajunas retains strawweight title with victory over Weili Zhang

The eagerly anticipated rematch – Usman vs Covington

The rematch that we knew would be different, but just how different did we think it’d be? We all anticipated it to be more grapple heavy than the first fight between the two which was a war for the ages.

While Covington was at the preparation point, he appeared to look nervous, puffing out his cheeks, looking around taking in the moment.

The fight began with Usman on the front foot, popping his dangerous jab out to keep Colby out. Covington’s game plan was clearly different too that of his first fight game plan, which suggests that his new camp saw something his old camp didn’t. Usman grew in confidence after the first round as it became clear to him that Colby didn’t possess anything different to their first war.

‘Chaos’ didn’t look to cause chaos early on as he was keeping his distance from the champion, being extremely wary of the power he knew Usman possesses. It was always going to be a tough ask for Covington, who has only fought once since their last bout, to beat the pound for pound greatest fighter alive.

The champion has stayed active since the first time they were locked in together, defeating Masvidal twice, one by viscous KO, the other by dominant decision, and also starching teammate, Gilbert Burns.

The difference in activity between the two fighters became apparent as the second round went on, as Usman began ripping shots to the body and in the last 15 seconds of the round, caught Covington with a short left hook dropping the challenger. Colby stumbled to his feet, only moments later, being dropped again with a jab. Colby rode the wave and was saved by the bell to make it to the stool for a third round.

Covington began to show the side of him we are all familiar with in round 3 and 4, as he began to throw with volume instead of looking for counter shots. He found some success with his volume striking, but just didn’t do enough of it as he was still too wary of the ‘Nigerian Nightmares’ power.

With neither fighter really showing anything massively impressive, Usman fought a calm fight and didn’t let the occasion get the better of him, showing his champion mentality. If Covington employed his natural style, would things have gone differently? I don’t think so. Usman’s power is unmatched and if you get into a striking affair with him, he’s shown he possesses frightening power that can switch your lights off in an instant. I would’ve liked to have seen more of the in your face Colby as I feel it could’ve broken up Usman’s rhythm and caused him to become sloppier with his striking.

I have one big take away from Usman’s performance last night. Leon Edwards could’ve caused that version of him slight issues. As Edwards showed in his extremely dominant victory over Nate Diaz, he keeps the distance well and has an array of different strikes in his arsenal. ‘Rocky’ has also shown throughout his career that he is extremely dangerous when exiting the clinch with short sharp elbows. If Usman tried to grapple with him against the cage, he could become susceptible to those short lights out elbows.

( Kamaru Usman puts the pressure on Covington
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Sumo: Kyushu Tournament Day 14 – Can Terunofuji seal the championship?



The penultimate day of the Kyushu tournament gives Terunofuji the chance to take glory as the 13-0 wrestler takes on his nearest challenger Abi who is on 12-1.

Before we dive into day 14, lets see how the leaderboard has developed since the last article. Abi faced Takakeisho yesterday in a battle between two wrestlers with 11-1 records. The former won the battle to move on to 12-1 in his first top division appearance since his suspension. Takakeisho moved to 11-2 and only has an outside chance of being involved in a playoff. Ura, in fourth place and the only other man to hit double figures so far, has no chance of winning the tournament as he sits on 10-3. Here is the top of the table at the end of day 13;

Terunofuji (Y) 13-0

Abi (M15) 12-1

Takakeisho (O) 11-2

Ura (M7) 10-3

Day 14

Day 14 promises to be full of action and drama as the top two men, Terunofuji and Abi finally face each other. If Terunofuji wins it, then he will take the tournament victory with an uncatchable 14 wins. 9 fighters on 7 defeats will be looking to avoid a losing record and both Endo and Chiyoshoma were looking to secure their winning records. Let’s see what went down on the penultimate day of the last tournament of the year.

It was an intense matchup between Yokozuna Terunofuji and Abi. Abi used his pushing and thrusting technique to great effect to back Terunofuji against the rope, but the big Yokozuna held on and managed to fend off the attack, finishing Abi with an oshitaoshi. Terunofuji moves to 14-0 and HE IS THE KYUSHU TOURNAMENT CHAMPION. He wins his 6th title, can he go 15-0 for the first time? It’s hard to see any other result.

Such is the nature of a league-style tournament like this, at day 14 there are quite a few dead-rubber matches. Lots of wrestlers have already confirmed winning or losing records and are fighting for pride alone. However, aside from the championship race, there was still a lot to play for on the dohyo.

There was a showdown between the two Ozeki ranked fighters, Shodai and Takakeisho. Until yesterday’s defeat to Abi, Takakeisho was in with a chance of the title win. The disappointment of defeat didn’t seem to affect him though, as he beat Ozeki Shodai with ease. Shodai is not fighting like an Ozeki of late but is continuing to achieve winning records to maintain his rank. Can Takakeisho make another run on the Yokozuna rank in 2022?

Chiyoshoma produced a nice uwatenage finish to achieve winning record against Yutakayama. Out of all the wrestlers on 7 defeats, only Okinoumi and Yutakama confirmed their losing records, with their defeats to Ishiura and Chiyoshoma. It means there are many fighters left on 7-7 records, and so there it lots to play for on the final day.

Takanosho, Hokutofuji and Mitakeumi all managed to achieve double figures as they each improved their records to 10-4. Ura, who had a 10-3 record going into day 14, was defeated by Meisei and is the fourth man on 10-4. Both Komosubis were defeated as Ichinojo went down to Hokutofuji and Kiribayama to the young star Hoshoryu.

Full Results

Winners in italics, record after day 14 shown

Keisei (M17e) 7-7 vs Chiyonokuni (M14w) 8-6 – Oshidashi

Kotonowaka (M11e) 6-8 vs Tochinoshin (M13w) 6-5-3 – Yorikiri

Akua (M16e) 8-6 vs Terutsuyoshi (M11w) 6-8 – Shitatenage

Chiyotairyu (M10e) 6-8 vs Shohozan (M17w) 3-11 – Tsukidashi

Aoiyama (M9e) 4-10 vs Chiyomaru (M15e) 7-7 – Hatakikomi

Sadanoumi (M16w) 8-6 vs Tobizaru (M8w) 7-7 – Hikiotoshi

Yutakayama (M13e) 6-8 vs Chiyoshoma (M7w) 8-6 – Uwatenage

Shimanoumi (M6e) 5-9 vs Kagayaki (M14e) 4-10 – Tsukidashi

Takarafuji (M4e) 5-9 vs Kotoeko (M8e) 3-11 – Oshidashi

Okinoumi (M3e) 6-8 vs Ishiura (M12e) 7-7 – Yorikiri

Onosho (M2e) 5-9 vs Myogiryu (M3w) 2-12 – Hatakikomi

Hidenoumi (M9w) 8-6 vs Takanosho (M2w) 10-4 – Yorikiri

Daieisho (M1e) 7-7 vs Takayasu (M5e) 5-9 – Tsukiotoshi

Endo (M4w) 7-7 vs Wakatakakage (M1w) 7-7 – Yorikiri

Ichinojo (Ke) 5-9 vs Hokutofuji (M12w) 10-4 – Tsukiotoshi

Hoshoryu (M5w) 6-8 vs Kiribayama (Kw) 5-9 – Yorikiri

Mitakeumi (Se) 10-4 vs Tamawashi (M6w) 9-5 – Hatakikomi

Ura (M7e) 10-4 vs Meisei (Sw) 6-8 – Oshidashi

Shodai (Oe) 9-5 vs Takakeisho (Ow) 12-2 – Tsukidashi

Terunofuji (Ye) 14-0 vs Abi (M15w) 12-2 – Oshitaoshi

Watch the matches from today here. Find the VMTV Sumo Guide here. Stay with us to find out what happens on day 15!

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ONE: NEXTGEN III Final Weight and Hydration Results



ONE Championship™ (ONE) today released the ONE: NEXTGEN III Final Weight and Hydration Results. In todays event, former UFC athlete Jarred Brooks squares off against Lito Adiwang in a highly anticipated strawweight match-up which could see the victor earn a spot in the divisional rankings. A Bantamweight Muay Thai bout between Alaverdi Ramazanov and Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym will take place as the co-main event.

ONE: NEXTGEN III Final Weight and Hydration Results

Mixed Martial Arts – Strawweight (52.3 KG – 56.7 KG)
Lito Adiwang (56.70 KG, 1.0053) vs. Jarred Brooks (56.00 KG, 1.0027)

Muay Thai – Bantamweight (61.3 KG – 65.8 KG)
Alaverdi Ramazanov (65.55 KG, 1.0207) vs. Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym (65.80 KG, 1.0244)

Mixed Martial Arts – Strawweight (52.3 KG – 56.7 KG)
Alex Silva (56.70 KG, 1.0103) vs. Rene Catalan (56.60 KG, 1.0066)

Kickboxing – Flyweight (56.8 KG – 61.2 KG)
Panpayak Jitmuangnon (61.20 KG, 1.0160) vs. Daniel Puertas (61.20 KG, 1.0168)

Mixed Martial Arts – Lightweight (70.4 KG – 77.1 KG)
Pieter Buist (77.10 KG, 1.0222) vs. Ruslan Emilbek Uulu (76.40 KG, 1.0070)

Kickboxing – Bantamweight (61.3 KG – 65.8 KG)
Felipe Lobo (65.60 KG, 1.0156) vs. Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym (65.80 KG, 1.0078)

Hydration values less than or equal to 1.0250 earn a passing mark, while values greater than or equal to 1.0251 earn a failing mark. Athletes who failed weight and hydration tests on Day 1 or Day 2 are given another chance to clear tests on the morning of the event.

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Sumo: Kyushu Day 11 of 15 – who will take glory?



Kyushu Day 11, Fukuoka, Japan. The Kyushu tournament heads into day 11 of 15 and we are two-thirds through. Who is going to take the tournament victory?

The story so far

Yokozuna Terunofuji is the only undefeated wrestler left after Takakeisho was defeated by Meisei on day 10. Abi got back to winning ways and joins Takakeisho sitting on 9-1. Whatever happens, Abi is in for a huge surge up the ranks for the first 2022 tournament in January. It looks very likely that the winner of the tournament will come from one of these three rikishi, but Mitakeumi and Ura are among four wrestlers who have an outside chance currently holding 8-2 records. Here are the leaders going into day 11;

Terunofuji (Y) 10-0

Takakeisho (O) 9-1

Abi (M15) 9-1

Mitakeumi (S) 8-2

Tamawashi (M6) 8-2

Ura (M7) 8-2

Hokutofuji (M12) 8-2

All of the above wrestlers in the Maegashira rank have also confirmed a winning record for this tournament and can expect to move up the rankings for the next tournament. Myogiryu, Kotoeko and Shohozan already have 8 defeats and can no longer post a winning record. Shohozan will likely be demoted for the next tournament.

Day 11

Such are the records after day 10, no rikishi can achieve a guaranteed winning record as none of them currently sit on 7 wins. However, there are seven wrestlers including Komosubi Kiribayama and high-ranking Maegashira Daieisho and Wakatakakage are in danger of securing a losing record and moving down in the rankings for next tournament.

Terunofuji was put to the test by Ichinojo who managed to find some fighting spirit. After a long and hard battle, Terunofuji came through with the victory and extended his run to 11-0 to continue leading the tournament by 1.

Abi faced Ura in a highly-anticipated matchup between two of the most exciting rikishi in the sport. It was a quick affair in the end as Abi continued his fine form on his return to the top division. The M15 ranked fighter moves to 10-1, Ura moves to 8-3, his winning record already confirmed. Ozeki Takakeisho joins Abi on 10-1 after seeing off a spirited effort from Endo.

Kiribayama again managed to hold off the losing record with an impressive liftout victory against Myogiryu. Kiribayama remains on 7 defeats for another day, after going 0-6 from the start it would be an incredible feat to end up with a winning record.

Aoiyama continued his poor form, after winning the first 3 matches, he has now lost 8 in a row. Maegashira ranked Hokutofuji and Tamawashi both moved to 9-2 records alongside Sekiwake Mitakeumi.

An exciting battle between two of the smaller wrestlers saw hot prospect Hoshoryu overcome the flying monkey Tobizaru.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Ozeki Shodai over Sekiwake Meisei, and former tournament winner Daieisho against Onosho. To watch the matches from Kyushu Day 11, click here (all credit to NattoSumo and NHK). For a guide to Sumo and some of the words used, click here. See the full list of results from Day 11 below.

Full Results

Winners in italics, record shown after day 11

Chiyomaru (M15e) 5-6 vs Hokutofuji (M12w) 9-2 – Okuridashi

Ishiura (M12e) 5-6 vs Sadanoumi (M16w) 7-4 – Yoritaoshi

Kagayaki (M14e) 3-8 vs Terutsuyoshi (M11w) 5-6 – Oshidashi

Kotonowaka (M11e) 4-7 vs Akua (M16e) 6-5 – Yoritaoshi

Kaisei (M17e) 5-6 vs Hidenoumi (M9w) 6-5 – Yorikiri

Aoiyama (M9e) 3-8 vs Chiyonokuni (M14w) 6-5 – Tsukitaoshi

Kotoeko (M8e) 2-9 vs Shohozan (M17w) 3-8 – Yorikiri

Tochinoshin (M13w) 4-4-3 vs Chiyoshoma (M7w) 6-5 – Yorikiri

Ura (M7e) 8-3 vs Abi (M15w) 10-1 – Tsukitaoshi

Chiyotairyu (M10e) 5-6 vs Tamawashi (M6w) 9-2 – Tsukiotoshi

Shimanoumi (M6e) 5-6 vs Yutakayama (M13e) 4-7 – Oshidashi

Tobizaru (M8w) 5-6 vs Hoshoryu (M5w) 5-6 – Yorikiri

Takarafuji (M4e) 4-7 vs Takanosho (M2w) 7-4 – Yorikiri

Okinoumi (M3e) 4-7 vs Wakatakakage (M1w) 4-7 – Hikiotoshi

Daieisho (M1e) 4-7 vs Onosho (M2e) 4-7 – Hatakikomi

Myogiryu (M3w) 2-9 vs Kiribayama (Kw) 4-7 – Tsuridashi

Mitakeumi (Se) 9-2 vs Takayasu (M5e) 5-6 – Yorikiri

Endo (M4w) 5-6 vs Takakeisho (Ow) 10-1 – Oshidashi

Shodai (Oe) 7-4 vs Meisei (Sw) 5-6 – Yorikiri

Terunofuji (Ye) 11-0 vs Ichinojo (Ke) 4-7 – Yoritaoshi

Stick with VMTV to see how the rest of the tournament plays out!

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