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The overdue homecoming of ‘The Prospect’

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After missing out on March’s London event after his opponent pulled out at last notice, Nathaniel Wood will finally get his long overdue homecoming this Saturday. London’s own ‘The Prospect’ Nathaniel Wood will return to the octagon after nearly two years out, ready to showcase a new and improved version of the fighter that we last saw at UFC 254. 

After losing a close decision to Casey Kenney in his last fight at bantamweight for the time being, Saturday will also mark a move up in weight divisions for Wood. Weighing in at 145 pounds for the first time, Wood’s move up came as a surprise to many but was hard to deny after he posted a photo on social media of his last weight cut. 

Standing across the cage from the home fighter will be a man who has been in the UFC since 2014, Boston’s Charles Rosa. Coming into the fight off of back-to-back decision losses, Rosa has shared the octagon with some of the division’s elite. The likes of Yair Rodriguez, Shane Burgos and Bryce Mitchell have all been victorious against Rosa in the past and Nathaniel Wood will be looking to build some serious momentum on his featherweight debut by adding himself to that list.

Whilst the reception Wood will get when he walks to the cage will undoubtedly be one of the moments of the night, after three cancelled fights in a row, getting some time in the octagon will signify the next step of his career. A win over Charles Rosa, who has been operating in this division for 12 fights now, will reignite the excitement around ‘The Prospect’. A loss however, could raise serious question marks around his move up a weight class after his success at bantamweight.

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Matchmaker Monday | what’s next after UFC 276?

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The premier event of International Fight Week, UFC 276, has come and gone. The card saw contenders emerge and champions showcase their dominance. Now, Matchmaker Monday is here and it’s time to see what’s next for the winners and losers.

DISCLAIMER: this is purely opinion based, feel free to disagree!

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(c) Israel Adesanya (23-1) – UFC middleweight champion

It was another shutout performance from defending middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Though it may not have been the exhilarating finish that was promised, ‘The Last Stylebender’ found the path to his fifth title defense on the scorecards. The next challenger for the champ is known by the masses, and that is Adesanya’s old foe Alex Pereira. Not only does it present an dangerous stylistic matchup for Adesanya, the history between the pair will create fireworks in the build up. We could be in for an amazing fight with this one.

(#2) Jared Cannonier (15-6) – UFC middleweight contender

The first UFC title shot of contender Jared Cannonier has come and gone. An lackluster performance from the Texas native has surely left a bitter taste in his mouth. At 38 years old, a second shot at the belt is unlikely, so Cannonier will need to make a statement to reestablish himself. The division is somewhat tied up in fights, but a main event against the winner of Jack Hermansson vs Darren Till would be a fun fight & another name for his resume.

(c) Alexander Volkanovski (25-1) – UFC featherweight champion

Is there a hotter fighter than Alexander Volkanovski after UFC 276? The champ put a decisive end to his rivalry with Max Holloway with a brutal display of speed and aggression in their co-main event title fight. Though he’s open to defending his title more against the contenders of 145lbs, Volkanovski is eager to get back to action against the best competition. He called for a vacant title fight at lightweight with former champ Charles Oliveira, and I’m all for it. Two pound-for-pound elites fighting for a world title? Sign me up!

(#1) Max Holloway (23-7) – former UFC featherweight champion

It may not be his first, but this is definitely the toughest loss in the storied career of Max Holloway. His third loss to the reigning champ has essentially locked the former titleholder out of the title picture for the forseeable future. A lot of Holloway’s future will depend on what Volkanovski chooses to do next, but if the pride of Hawaii is staying at featherweight, I think that Josh Emmett makes sense. It would be a fresh face for Holloway and a chance for Emmett to explode into the top contender status. It isn’t a solid pick, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it at all.

Alex Pereira (6-1) – UFC middleweight contender

The power of Brazil’s Alex Pereira was on full display over the weekend, picking up a first round knockout over Sean Strickland. In only 9 months, the former GLORY double-champ has put himself into title contention. There is only one fight for ‘Poatan’, and it has to be against champion Israel Adesanya. Given their history in kickboxing and their competitive rivalry, this could be one of the most important title fights at 185lbs in recent years.

(#4) Sean Strickland (25-4) – UFC middleweight contender

The decision to stand and bang with Pereira was a regrettable decision for Sean Strickland, leaving him with his first ever loss at middleweight. This certainly hurts Strickland’s chances at earning a title opportunity, but all hope is certainly not lost. Someone else in need of a win at 185lbs is Kelvin Gastelum, a former title challenger with fast hands and an exciting style. I could definitely see these two contenders in need of a rebound win facing off later in 2022.

Bryan Barberena (18-8) – UFC welterweight contender

The legend-killing streak of Bryan Barberena continued on Saturday night, becoming the first man in six years to finish Robbie Lawler with strikes. ‘Bam Bam’ has quietly built a three-fight run and is now potentially knocking on the door of the top 15. It wouldn’t quite break him into the elite, but a scrap with Andre Fialho will line Barberena up for a bigger fight in the future. Not only would it be a major fight in both of their careers, it would be a reckless brawl.

Robbie Lawler (29-16, 1 NC) – former UFC welterweight champion

Dropping a TKO to Bryan Barberena has stunted the returning momentum of Robbie Lawler, but he has no hopes of slowing down. Another pay-per-view appearance later in the year for the former champ would make the most sense. A hardened veteran in his own right, I think that a rematch with Matt Brown could be an exciting affair for Lawler. Their bout from eight years ago was FOTY contender, so, why not run it back?

(#9) Pedro Munhoz (19-7, 2 NC) & (#13) Sean O’Malley (15-1, 1 NC) – UFC bantamweight contenders

An anticlimactic end to a crucial bantamweight bout left both Pedro Munhoz and Sean O’Malley disappointed. Neither man was able to deal much damage up to the point that the bout was ended due to an eye-poke, which has left fans and fighters with a bad taste in their mouths. Depending on the timeframe associated with Munhoz’ recovery, a rematch likely makes most sense to be their next bouts. Better yet, schedule the rematch for five rounds.

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How would you matchmake these fighters? Do you disagree with my picks? Let us know in the comments!

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Jake’s Takes | Deiveson Figueiredo is on the way to bantamweight

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In the recent days, MMA headlines have been covering the ongoing saga with UFC flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo. The Brazilian powerhouse is unhappy with the creation of an interim title during his absence due to injury. Now, ‘Deus da Guerra’ is giving the UFC an ultimatum that could see him relinquish his title.

This is my two cents on it all – this is Jake’s Takes!

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The summer of 2020 saw Deiveson Figueiredo claim the 125lb title with a brutal win over Joseph Benavidez. The champion got his first title defense against Alex Perez in November, before turning around three weeks later and fighting future-rival Brandon Moreno. The pair fought to a hotly-contested draw, all but guaranteeing a rematch between the two.

The following June, Figueiredo and Moreno had a rerun of their first contest. This time around, Moreno was able to beat the champion from pillar to post, finishing him in the third round. The loss was seemingly the end of the rivalry, with the new-champ Moreno surveying fights with Alexandre Pantoja and Askar Askarov. Injuries for both opponents gave way for a third fight between Moreno and Figueiredo to be booked.

The loss sparked a fire in the Brazilian. He teamed up with former double-champ Henry Cejudo in preparation for the rubber match. Their third fight was reminiscent of their initial meeting, with the fight going to a close decision. Figueiredo would get the judges’ nod and become a two-time champion in the process. With the series now tied up at 1-1-1, a fourth fight seemed inevitable.

Reports after the fight suggested that Figueiredo had sustained injuries to his hand, which would keep him sidelined. The champion was eyeing a return for winter, but the UFC had other plans. An interim title fight between former champion Moreno and top contender Kai Kara-France was booked for UFC 277 only a few weeks ago.

In the media, Figueiredo let it be known that he wasn’t on board with the UFC’s creation of the title. Speaking to MMAFighting, the champ said, “I think there was some miscommunication. The UFC was supposed to get these documents that prove my injury, but, from what I’ve heard, the UFC hasn’t received it. They could’ve reached out to me to know if I was okay instead of booking a fight for an interim belt.”

“That was bullshit. I’ve saved a main event in the UFC, doing the quickest turnaround in the history of the UFC as a champion, and now I’m getting ripped off,” he continued. “The belt is mine. There’s no other belt, except for this plastic belt. This joke they’re doing between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France.”

The validity of the interim title is an issue for the flyweight kingpin, but he also feels like the wrong man is fighting Moreno for the ‘plastic belt’.

“They’re two guys who are at the top, but I think they put the wrong guy to fight Brandon Moreno,” he said. “I think the guy to fight him should be [Alexandre] Pantoja. I don’t know what happens with the UFC. We don’t think they value Pantoja. They don’t give the opportunity to a good fighter like Pantoja.”

The cut to flyweight has been notoriously hard on the the champion, with him even missing weight in his first meeting with Joseph Benavidez. The creation of an interim title and stripping Figueiredo of his undisputed status appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back; ‘Deus da Guerra’ wants a bigger paycheck if he’s going to continue fighting as a flyweight. If not, a move to 135lbs will be on the cards.

“I don’t rule out this option. It’s up to the UFC. If we have a chat and they can increase my earnings inside the organization, then I’ll stay in the division. If nothing happens, I’ll be forced to move up. I’ll stay at flyweight if they increase my purse. I already wanted [to move up] but still wanted to fight three more fights in the division. With this decision [to create an interim title], they’ve made my decision to go up sooner 95% more likely.”

Given the UFC’s tendency to be steadfeast during their negotiations, it seems rather unlikely that Figueiredo’s demands of a bigger cheque will be met. This could open the door to a superfight between Figueiredo and bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. Even if that is a possibility, the chances of the UFC allowing Figueiredo to carry the title into that fight are slim.

With an international star in Moreno booked for a title fight, the promotion may strip Figueiredo entirely and let their more marketable athlete fight for the undisputed title at UFC 277. If the status of the fight isn’t changed, Moreno could still be promoted to undisputed after the fight. This, in the UFC’s eyes, would eliminate the need for a unification fight, the need to pay Figueiredo more and to potentially jeopradise the messy 135lb title picture by inserting their reigning 125lb champ.

Whether the promotion will choose to strip him or not, I can absolutely see Figueiredo making the move to bantamweight later this year. It seems beneficial to the UFC to allow Moreno a chance to become undisputed and not increase Figueiredo’s pay by allowing him to shift weight classes. The morals of those involved, if it does pan out that way, will be questioned, but we’ve seen how the UFC operates.

By the end of the year, I think ‘Deus da Guerra’ will have found a new home as a bantamweight.

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TUF Contestants, Where Are They Now? | Luke Cummo

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The Ultimate Fighter is a reality television series produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) which debuted on January 17 2005 and has been running ever since. A huge moment for the company was when the first seasons finale featuring Forrest Griffin versus Stephen Bonnar aired on Spike TV drew millions of eyes to the UFC and the sport itself.

This was just one amazing moment on the television show, the show has had 29 seasons and counting, the show introduced many champions such as TJ Dilashaw, Kamaru Usman, Julianna Pena, Carla Esparza, Micheal Bisping, Rashad Evans, Robert Whittaker, and Rose Namajunas to name a few. It also introduced us to a wide variety of colorful characters that made us laugh, cry, and appreciate who these fighters are a human beings. We will be chatting with some and catching up with what they do now and in this article well be looking at Luke Cummo.

Which season of TUF did Luke Cummo compete in?

He fought on the show way back on the second season and was runner up to Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, despite being picked last by his coach in the opening episode. The fight was so exciting that Dana White gave Cummo a UFC contract despite coming in second place. His UFC record stands 3 wins and 4 losses as of 2008, with his last fight resulting in a loss to Tamdan McCrory at UFC 87. He fought out Serra/Longo for the duration his career.

People may remember him for vicious Muay Thai and his veganism, spiritual beliefs, his love of comic books, his use of urine therapy, and sleeping with his head facing north.

If you need reminding of Luke’s skills in the cage have a look at this highlight here:

What does he do now?

Luke runs a YouTube page (MASTERLUKEY) where he talks about topics that interest him, he also produces content about martial arts such as lifestreaming workouts, sparring sessions, client sessions, and grappling matches. He still does interviews and is very open about his thoughts on health and sparring (he did a brilliant one with Tales From The Cage and The Sully Special). He works out of PinPoint MMA located in Lynnbrook, NYC and he is also active in Operation: Wounded Warriors. He has developed his own grappling ruleset called “The Powerhold Ruleset” too, he has kept busy over the years and continues to march to the beat of his own drum to this day.

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