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ufc 180

Former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen has found a new gig, agreeing to work ESPN’s coverage of upcoming MMA events.

Sonnen, previously the host of “UFC Tonight” and other UFC-led programming for FOX Sports 1, was released from his contract with the network after failing multiple drug tests. According to a report by ESPN, he has signed a multi-fight agreement as a studio and on-site analyst, providing expert pre- and post-fight insight on ‘SportsCenter’s coverage of major UFC pay-per-view events.”

That contract includes this coming weekend, as Sonnen will help break down UFC 180 coverage for ESPN. He was a two-time UFC middleweight title contender and one-time challenger to the light heavyweight title.

“Chael is a tremendous analyst and we are excited to have him join ESPN,” said Glenn Jacobs, ESPN senior coordinating producer. “Along with our established UFC analyst Gilbert Melendez, Chael allows us to provide unparalleled UFC coverage. We feel his insights from years in the octagon and his outgoing personality will enhance SportsCenter’s place as a destination for UFC fans.”

Most recently, Sonnen was the color commentator for BattleGrounds MMA alongside former WWE announcer Jim Ross. He also started his own podcast, “You’re Welcome with Chael Sonnen.”

“The industry leader in sports and ESPN have finally joined forces. You’re welcome, wait! These mics hot? The biggest thing to happen to ESPN since well nothing really comes close,” Sonnen said. “In all seriousness, to ESPN, to Disney, to the Hearst Corporation and to all the viewers…you’re welcome. From one industry leader to another, I look forward to the opportunity of bringing my stories, insight and unique perspective of mixed martial arts to the network.”

john lineker

Ian McCall flew all the way to Brazil last week in preparation of fighting John Lineker and trying to move closer to becoming the UFC’s No. 1 contender at flyweight.

After Lineker initially missed weight, the bout appeared in jeopardy. But, he found 126 pounds on the scale and the co-main event seemed set to go.

Hours later, doctors pulled “Uncle Creepy” because of a viral infection, canceling the fight.

Ali Bagautinov, a former No. 1 contender who is suspended until mid-2015 due to testing positive for EPO after the loss, took to Twitter to “call-out” McCall and Lineker over the issues this past weekend.

As one might imagine, McCall didn’t take that too lightly, firing back with his own shot.

And while McCall and Lineker had some in-your-face moments before their canceled fight, the two did pose for a picture after all of it had calmed down. McCall also posted that he hopes to fight “before years end” and wants to meet Lineker.

ufc fight night 56

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC Fight Night 56: Shogun vs. St. Preux.

Tonight’s card comes to us live from the Ginasio Municipal Tancredo Neves in Uberlandia, Brazil. All of the action airs on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.

Now, on to the fights! Remember to keep hitting refresh for the latest results.

PRELIMINARY CARD

Colby Covington vs. Wagner Silva

We begin the night in the welterweight division, as former NCAA wrestling standout Colby Covington (6-0) takes on Wagner Silva (3-1).

Round 1: Nice body shot with the leg from Covington to start, working out of the southpaw stance. Short elbow lands by the former wrestler and he goes to the body once again. Silva throws a huge right counter that just misses. Both men missing with wild, knockout-intended blows. Halfway through the round and Covington shoots for a takedown, scoring with ease. He quickly moves to mount, switching to side-control. Covington works a choke, has an arm triangle there, but Silva slips free and they scramble to their feet. Covington with a right, but he does eat a kick at the same time. Deep in on another takedown, but Silva peppers him with elbows to fight it off. Covington with a takedown in the final seconds to secure the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Covington

Round 2: Silva comes firing out with everything, and Covington responds with a takedown to stop his onslaught. The Brazilian gets back to his feet, only to get taken down once more with ease. Silva doing a much better job of fending off the repeated takedown attempts, and we have a break in action after Covington lands a low blow. Counter left connects for Covington, who shoots for a takedown with a minute left. He drops down to the canvas, but is unable to secure it.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Covington

Round 3: Great left hook for Silva, but Covington immediately resorts to his wrestling and lands a takedown seconds into the round. Working from the half-guard, Covington is very active and constantly looking to better his position. Silva trying to fight off his back and possibly lock up a submission, but it’s allowing Covington to posture up and hammer down. Covington transitions to the back, locks up the rear-naked choke and gets it.

Colby Covington def. Wagner Silva via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:26 of Round 3

Thomas Almeida vs. Tim Gorman

We’ll drop down to the bantamweight ranks next, as another unbeaten fighter, Thomas Almeida (17-0) meets Tim Gorman (8-3).

Round 1: This marks the Octagon debut for Almeida, who many are hyping as a future superstar. Gorman comes right out and takes the center of the cage, shooting for a takedown and getting it. Gorman bullies his way out of a possible choke, but Almeida is able to get to his feet. Another choke attempt allows Gorman to get the takedown. He jumps on the back, locks in both hooks and has a modified neck crank working now. Almeida calmly breaks the hands and is working to free himself from the hooks. He does and goes to work with his strikes, landing a huge combo. Elbow connects, a knee and Gorman fires back with his own right. Each time Gorman comes in with a quick right, Almeida throws a huge overhand shot that is just missing. Almeida senses blood and is cutting of Gorman. A big right sends him fleeing and Almeida with another shot, but he eats one as well. Almeida teeing off now as we go under a minute, and Gorman with a takedown. Right back to his feet is Almeida, landing more heavy knees to the face and body.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Almeida

Round 2: Through the first minute, Almeida’s been able to keep this one standing. He’s got some rapidly developing swelling around the right eye, and it’s almost completely closed. Another liver punch by Almeida connects, but Gorman won’t go down. Gorman’s jab is landing and doing damage, but Almeida is hitting him with swooping lefts and rights that are doing much more damage. One thing about Almeida, he’ll string together two or three strikes, but then back away. It appears as if he could do more, but maybe he’s concerned with the takedown threat. An inside leg kick is followed up by several knees and shots from Almeida. Almeida knocks out his mouthpiece and we have a break. Another shot to the body and he presses forward soon after. Gorman gets a late takedown, but is unable to do any damage with it.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Almeida

Round 3: Gorman comes firing out after Almeida, pressuring him with a series of lefts and rights. More offense by the underdog, and it would appear as if Gorman is the fresher fighter. Good uppercut-knee combo from Almeida, as his corner tries to get the Brazilian fans chanting. He follows up an inside leg kick with another big-time right, sending Gorman pedaling. Another solid combo by Almeida, as it would appear Gorman slipped between the canvas and fence. High knee connects for the newcomer. Several shots by Almeida at the end of the round, but Gorman survives and we go to the judges for the first time.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Almeida

Thomas Almeida def. Tim Gorman via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Charlie Brenneman vs. Leandro Silva

Our first – and only – lightweight contest is next, as Charlie Brenneman (19-7) battles Leandro Silva (16-2).

Round 1: Brenneman comes out and backs Silva down with kicks, but he finds himself caught in a choke. They separate and exchange, and Brenneman again goes for the takedown. This time, he is successful. Silva already has a hematoma forming over his right eye from the punishment of Brenneman on top. Silva scrambles, gets to his feet and counters with a takedown of his own as we approach two minutes. We have our third takedown of the match, this time it’s Brenneman scoring. Another reversal by Silva and it’s an all-out wrestling affair. Silva takes the back, gets his hooks in and rolls for a rear-naked choke. And he gets it, as this one is all over.

Leandro Silva def. Charlie Brenneman via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:15 of Round 1

vitor belfort

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will have been preparing for almost a full-year to fight Vitor Belfort by the time the two actually collide.

And Weidman is honestly worried all of that prep and training will go to waste.

The two are set to meet in February at UFC 184 from Los Angeles and the Staples Center. Belfort, though, must pass a series of blood and urine tests to show that he is not on TRT before he will be allowed to compete.

During a pre-fight press conference in Australia earlier this week, Weidman, Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold were all asked about Belfort.

“Vitor’s a joke to me,” said Rockhold, who lost to Belfort when he was on TRT. “Let’s see what comes out (of the tests). I’m very interested to see what he turns up and I’m interested to see what happens to the drug test he took the other day.”

Weidman, who mentioned on Twitter that he had yet to hear of any testing being given to Belfort just moments before it was confirmed, responded to Rockhold’s comments by saying, “Yeah, I’m worried about that.”

Bisping, another victim of Belfort inside the Octagon, stated “Vitor was juiced to the gills for many years and now he’s not. Is he going to be the same person? That’s the question that everybody’s asking and only he knows. We shall see.”

ufc fight night 55

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman stopped by the UFC Fight Night 55 pre-fight press conference in Australia recently and was asked his thoughts on Friday’s main event between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping.

Weidman, who will face Vitor Belfort in 2015, didn’t shy away from making a prediction on the bout despite both fighters being right there with him.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting (fight),” Weidman said. “You know Bisping doesn’t go away, he’s a tough guy with great heart. It’s going to be hard to finish him, but, I’m going to have to say I think Rockhold wins this fight.”

Bisping, never one to back away from a verbal encounter, fired back, saying “Of course the Yanks. They stick together. You need all the help you can get (pointing to Rockhold).”

Weidman added that he hopes for a “good fight. I wanna watch a good fight and I’m hoping that it is. As long as the ‘Tim Kennedy’ Bisping doesn’t show up, it could be a great fight.”

Bisping lost a decision to Kennedy earlier this year in his return after an eye injury. He rebounded with a finish vs. Cung Le more recently.

“Hey, that guy’s never showing up again, but shut up Chris,” Bisping responded. “This is our press conference.”

Thanks to Submission Radio for the video and quotes.

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