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eddie alvarez

Fresh off reclaiming the bantamweight belt, Dominick Cruz finds himself ranked ninth in the latest UFC pound-for-pound Top-15.

Cruz, who bested T.J. Dillashaw over the weekend, joins a Top-10 that features all champions except No. 1 Jon Jones and eighth-ranked Jose Aldo.

Dillashaw fell to 12th overall.

There is also a new No. 1 contender in the lightweight division, as Eddie Alvarez jumped three spots after defeating Anthony Pettis. Alvarez has now scored back-to-back decisions over Pettis and Gilbert Melendez.

The former Bellator champion moved ahead of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Pettis and Donald Cerrone.

ufc 197

Sparks are sure to fly today when the main and co-main events for March’s UFC 197 event get together for a pre-fight press conference.

FightLine will bring you all the action beginning at 2 p.m. ET from the MGM Grand in Studios A and B.

Along with UFC president Dana White, lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and his challenger, featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor, will be joined by Miesha Tate and female bantamweight champion Holly Holm.

The press conference coincides with ticket sales for the March 5 event beginning today. UFC Fight Club members can purchase tickets starting a noon PT, while newsletter subscribers can on Thursday with the same start time.

For general public ticket sales, those will begin Friday at noon PT.

Tickets range in price from $204-$1,454.

joanna jedrzejczyk

The UFC confirmed on Sunday night that strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Claudia Gadelha will meet on the finals of The Ultimate Fighter 23 after coaching on the upcoming season of the reality series.

It will take place July 8, going down a day ahead of UFC 200 in Las Vegas.

The two will coach light heavyweights and strawweights on the season of TUF, which premiers April 20 on FOX Sports 1.

Jedrzejczyk defeated Gadelha via decision in a close bout to become the top contender. She went on to win the title and has defended it twice since.

Below is the complete press release:

The Ultimate Fighter will put mixed martial arts’ global dominance on display again as UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will coach opposite No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha. The coaches will lead a group of eight light heavyweights and eight strawweights who will compete for a UFC contract and the title of The Ultimate Fighter.

The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia will kick-off on FS1 on Wednesday, April 20 with a two-hour season premiere airing at 10 p.m. ET as 32 competitors fight for one of 16 slots – eight in each weight class – available to be coached by two of the sport’s best. The season will continue with 11 one-hour shows Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET. The series is the highest rated and most watched original program since the network’s inception in August 2013.

Poland’s first UFC champion, Jedrzejczyk (11-0, fighting out of Olsztyn, Poland) stormed onto the scene in 2014 with her first Octagon® appearance. Since then, she’s gone on to win five straight, won the strawweight title, cemented her place on the top pound-for-pound list and is widely considered as one of the best strikers in the sport. She’ll now lend her expertise to the next generation of athletes who hope to follow in her footsteps and one day wear UFC gold themselves.

Gadelha (13-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) trains at the renowned Nova Uniao gym, home to former champions Jose Aldo & Renan Barao. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist hopes to get another crack at current strawweight champion, Jedrzejczyk, who provided Gadelha with the only blemish on her record – a three-round split decision loss in late 2014. Their contrasting styles should provide for an entertaining season between the two teams. The Brazilian’s comfort zone is on the canvas and will provide a stark contrast to the Pole’s highly skilled striking attack brings a completely different skillset to the show.

The series culminates on live on FS1 Friday, July 8 in Las Vegas as part of International Fight Week and will be headlined by Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha in a championship bout for the strawweight world title.

ufc fight night 81

The Octagon touched down from “Beantown” for a special Sunday night edition of UFC Fight Night 81.

Six takedowns and a strong third round helped Eddie Alvarez claim a decision victory over Anthony Pettis in the co-main event. Alvarez, a former Bellator champion, earned his second victory since signing with the UFC by taking a page from the book of Rafael dos Anjos.

Travis Browne got back in the win column with a third round TKO over Matt Mitrione. After going 1-2 over his last three entering the fight, “Hapa” was able to find a home for his right hand in the third, following up with vicious ground-and-pound for the victory.

Two alums of The Ultimate Fighter, Ross Pearson and Francisco Trinaldo, kicked off the FOX Sports 1 main card with a three-round battle. In the end, it was Trinaldo – a member of TUF: Brazil’s first season – picking up the decision over Pearson – a winner in 2009 on the reality show.

To conclude the prelims, former middleweight title contender Patrick Cote improved to 6-1 over his last seven with a second round TKO vs. Ben Saunders. Cote has now picked up three straight, including two via stoppage.

Fighting at 205 pounds for the first time, Ed Herman showed his power remains with a second round finish of Tim Boetsch. The Ultimate Fighter veteran connected with a knee and followed up, prompting the finish. Chris Wade pushed his win streak to six, including four with the UFC, by scoring a first round submission vs. Mehdi Baghdad. The submission was the second among Wade’s Octagon appearances.

It’s taken Luke Sanders a long time to get to the UFC, but he made the most of his opportunity. After a thrilling opening few minutes, Sanders caught Maximo Blanco with a left to begin the televised action, immediately locking up a rear-naked choke and earning the win.

Coming off a pair of tough decision losses, Paul Felder earned his 11th victory – and first via submission – with a rear-naked choke win over Daron Cruickshank to complete the UFC Fight Pass prelims.

Finishes are becoming the norm for Sweden’s Ilir Latifi, as he knocked Sean O’Connell out in just 30 seconds of their light heavyweight contest affair. Kyle Bochniak stepped up on four days notice and pushed Charles Rosa to the distance. Rosa, though, pulled out the decision victory.

Boston’s Rob Font got the first finish of the night, dropping Joey Gomez and handing him his first career loss in the second round. It was the first bout for Font since 2014 due to injuries. Francimar Barroso opened the night with a decision over UFC newcomer Elvis Mutapcic.

Cruz and Dillashaw were awarded $50,000 each for “Fight of the Night,” while Herman and Sanders claimed the same after winning “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The attendance was announced at 12,022 for a live gate of $1.3 million.

Check out complete play-by-play on FightLine, with quick results below:

Dominick Cruz def. T.J. Dillashaw via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 49-46) to become new UFC bantamweight champion

Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione via TKO (strikes) at 4:09 of Round 3

Francisco Trinaldo def. Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Patrick Cote def. Ben Saunders via TKO (strikes) at 1:14 of Round 2

Ed Herman def. Tim Boetsch via TKO (knee/strikes) at 1:39 of Round 2

Chris Wade def. Medhi Baghdad via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:30 of Round 1

Luke Sanders def. Maximo Blanco via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:38 of Round 1

Paul Felder def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:56 of Round 3

Ilir Latifi def. Sean O’Connell via KO (strike) at :30 of Round 1

Charles Rosa def. Kyle Bochniak via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Rob Font def. Joey Gomez via TKO (strikes) at 4:13 of Round 2

Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

ufc fight night 81

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC Fight Night 81.

The action comes to us from the TD Garden in Boston and airs on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, T.J. Dillashaw defends his bantamweight title against the man who never lost it, Dominick Cruz.

Dillashaw (12-2) has won four in a row, including a pair of title defenses vs. Renan Barao and Joe Soto. Both of those fights, the former Ultimate Fighter alum won via finish, knocking out Barao in the fourth and Soto in the fifth.

Cruz (20-1) returned from a three-year layoff in 2014 and knocked Takeya Mizugaki out in the first round, but another torn ACL sidelined him all of last year. The UFC stripped “The Dominator” of the belt after his first series of injuries.

In the co-main event, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis takes on ex-Bellator titleholder Eddie Alvarez, while heavyweights Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione collide in another main card bout.

Lightweights Francisco Trinaldo and Ross Pearson begin the FS1 main card broadcast after four prelims bout – also on FS1 – featuring Ben Saunders-Patrick Cote, Ed Herman-Tim Boetsch, Medhi Baghdad-Chris Wade and Maximo Blanco-Luke Sanders.

On Fight Pass beginning at 6 p.m. ET will be Paul Felder-Daron Cruickshank, Charles Rosa-Kyle Bochniak, Sean O’Connell-Ilir Latifi, Rob Font-Joey Gomez and Elvis Mutapcic-Francimar Barroso.

Now, on to the action! Remember to keep hitting “refresh” for all the latest results:

PRELIMINARY CARD

Francimar Barroso vs. Elvis Mutapcic

We begin the night on UFC Fight Pass and in the light heavyweight division, as Francimar Barroso (17-4) welcomes Elvis Mutapcic (15-3) to the Octagon. Mutapcic, who was set to fight for the Victory FC title later this month, replaces Abdul-Kerim Edilov on just eight days notice.

Round 1: Right off the bat, Barroso lands with a huge right hand that stuns Mutapcic. Barroso follows up a kick with another big right, but this one misses. Spinning attack by Mutapcic is answered by another body shot. Feeling out process in the early stages outside of the big shots thrown. Takedown scores by Barroso, but he is met with several nasty and sharp elbows. Quickly, Barroso shuts that down and lands his own strikes from the top. Nice, active top game from the Brazilian. Mutapcic, though, is showing his own skills from the bottom, connecting with shots and really avoiding many strikes in the process.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Mutapcic

Round 2: Much like the first, Barroso with a heavy right to start this round. Another leg kick finds a home and he even catches that of Mutapcic. Some damage starting to form on the inside leg of “The King,” as Barroso continues to mix his strikes and kicks. Takedown defended by Mutapcic this time. Brief break in the action after Mutapcic’s mouthpiece comes out. Mutapcic has center of the Octagon, but he hasn’t been able to take advantage of it. Barroso with a left that finds its mark. That last strike opened a huge cut on the face of Mutapcic, and again his mouthpiece comes out.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Barroso

Round 3: Mutapcic comes firing out this round, showing much more aggression and intensity. He follows up with a good shot and seems to have his feet under him now. Barroso lands with an uppercut and fires back with loose jabs to the body. For a third time, Mutapcic’s mouthpiece comes out. Joe Rogan reports it is a cheap one, thus the reason for it coming out. The corner of Mutapcic instructing him to push the pace, but he’s staying more consistent with his attacks and not rushing in. Barroso with more power shots at the end of the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Barroso

Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Rob Font vs. Joey Gomez

We’ll move down to the bantamweight ranks for the first time, as Boston’s Rob Font (11-1) goes up against Joey Gomez (6-0).

Round 1: Font comes right out and is ready to go. He’s been out of action with injuries since 2014, so it’s obvious he wants to engage. Gomez appears to be hurt after a body shot and the corner of Font is instructing him to relax and attack. Takedown for Font but he can’t keep him on the ground for very long. Another takedown, but Gomez gets right back up again. Uppercut followed by a left hook that just graces the face. Once more, Font with the takedown and Gomez pounces back up. This time, he finds a home with a shot on the break.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Font

Round 2: Font with a flurry of shots that find a home through the defense. A left followed up by a front-kick by Font, as he is the superior striker. Gomez decides enough is enough, getting aggressive with his offense finally. He goes to the body with a liver kick. Another left and Gomez is hurt. It was a left-hook from Font that did the initial damage. He lands another and Gomez scores with a takedown. Blood pouring from the nose of Gomez and Font attacks, forcing the ref to step in after several shots.

Rob Font def. Joey Gomez via TKO (strikes) at 4:13 of Round 2

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