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ufc 186

Flash back to August of last year.

Joe Soto was preparing to make his long-awaited UFC debut against Anthony Birchak at UFC 177.

Then, just hours before stepping on the scale for weigh-ins, Soto was asked to make the move from the prelims to the pay-per-view main event, taking on bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw for the title.

It all happened so fast for Soto, a former Bellator and Tachi Palace Fights champion, that he’s still trying to come to grasp with everything as he prepares to make his second venture inside the Octagon soon.

Soto (15-3) lost to Dillashaw via fifth round knockout, but proved to many that he is a legitimate contender in the 135-pound division by taking the champion deep into the fight on extremely short notice.

“I’ve watched the fight a few times,” said Soto, during a recent interview with “I have mixed feelings about it, but considering the circumstances, I thought I did good.

“I’m still just disappointed that I didn’t win and that I got caught with that kick in the last round. But that’s MMA and (expletive) happens. T.J.’s a great fighter.

“There were definitely a few things I could have done different that I think would have changed the fight result. The good thing is that I will learn from that loss and come back a better and smarter fighter.”

The former two-time All-American at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Soto won six in a row to earn his ticket to the UFC. He stopped five of those opponents, including four via submission. Among those victims were Terrion Ware, Jeremiah Labiano, Cory Vom Baur, Chad George and Chris David, along with a decision victory over Romeo McCovey.

ufc rankings

Behind a dominating five-round decision victory over Anthony Pettis, new UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos finds himself ranked ninth in the overall pound-for-pound Top-15.

Dos Anjos won the belt this past weekend and immediately entered the rankings. The loss dropped Pettis to No. 10 overall.

Cain Velasquez, Ronda Rousey, T.J. Dillashaw and Robbie Lawler all benefited from the change, moving up.

Alistair Overeem climbed to eighth in the heavyweight division after defeating Roy Nelson, though he still remains ahead of Ben Rothwell, who knocked him out last year. Nelson fell to 10th.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Fabio Maldonado flipped for 12th at 205 pounds, while Thales Leites and Michael Bisping did the same for ninth at 185.

Kelvin Gastelum moved ahead of Jake Ellenberger and into 10th at welterweight, while Ryan LaFlare and Gunnar Nelson flipped for 14th. At lightweight, Edson Barboza and Myles Jury each moved ahead of Josh Thomson and into seventh and eighth, respectively.

Atop the featherweight rankings, Chad Mendes moved back ahead of Frankie Edgar and into the role of No. 1 contender to Jose Aldo, while Mitch Gagnon and Alex Caceres switched 14th and 15th at bantamweight.

The flyweight division saw Henry Cejudo debut this past weekend and best Chris Cariaso, and he was rewarded by being ranked 10th. Jussier Formiga and John Moraga flipped for fourth, while Cariaso, Tim Elliott and Wilson Reis each fell.

Heather Clark and Seohee Ham each moved up a position in the women’s strawweight division, while Paige VanZant and Angela Hill fell one spot each. At 135 pounds, Germaine de Randamie jumped Raquel Pennington for 14th.

ufc fight night

The Octagon heads to Brazil this coming Saturday night with UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare.

In the main event, Demian Maia takes on Ryan LaFlare on FOX Sports 1.

The current lineup, along with Maia and LaFlare discussing their fight, can be found below:

MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1/10 p.m. ET)

Welterweight: Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare

Welterweight: Ben Saunders vs. Erick Silva

Lightweight: Gilbert Burns vs. Alex Oliveira

Lightweight: Tony Martin vs. Leonardo Santos

Female Bantamweight: Shayna Baszler vs. Amanda Nunes

Featherweight: Godofredo Pepey vs. Andre Fili


Lightweight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Akbarh Arreola

Featherweight: Katsunori Kikuno vs. Kevin Souza

Lightweight: Drew Dober vs. Leandro Silva

Lightweight: Cain Carrizosa vs. Leonardo Mafra


Lightweight: Christos Giagos vs. Jorge de Oliveira

Flyweight: Fredy Serrano vs. Bentley Syler

ronda rousey

AnnMaria De Mars has used social media to respond to remarks made by Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

Now, in an interview with Submission Radio, she’s continuing her verbal assault against the current Invicta FC champion.

Cyborg, who competes at 145 pounds, has pushed for Ronda Rousey to come up to meet her either at a catchweight or 145. Instead, the UFC bantamweight champion says the challenger needs to “come to the champion” and De Mars agrees.

“Ronda will break her arm,” De Mars said. “I can say that right now. I’ll tell you two things: Ronda will break her arm and Ronda will not go up in weight. The reason she won’t is because Cris Cyborg has missed weight multiple times.

“If you have her fight at 140, she’s going to show up at 145 or 150. If she’s gonna miss 135, she can at least give Ronda 10-percent of the purse.

“Secondly, she has kind of an inflated record because if you look back at some of her matches, she’s fought women who were 125 pounds and she’s 160. I’m not impressed with her record and of course, failing the drug test. I’d say her whole record is under suspicion.”

Having raised Rousey into being an Olympic medalist and unbeaten MMA fighter, De Mars knows the kind of person she is. And that all could lead to a nasty finish if she gets to face Cyborg.

“I love Ronda, she’s a great person, she has many wonderful qualities, but one thing about her is she holds a grudge,” she said. “She will break Cris Cyborg’s arm.”

ufc 185

Two title fights were on the line Saturday night at UFC 185, along with bouts featuring former champions and many hoping to become titleholders in the near future.

Rafael dos Anjos took over the top spot in the UFC’s lightweight division, dominating Anthony Pettis like no one ever has in becoming the 155-pound champion. The Brazilian, the 11th from his country to secure UFC gold, earned a convincing decision.

Dos Anjos scored nine takedowns and was the more effective striker, putting pressure on “Showtime” from the start. He nearly finished it with a rear-naked choke in the final moments to put an incredible exclamation point on his performance.

In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk did exactly what she said she would do, picking Carla Esparza apart on her feet and becoming the new UFC female strawweight champion. The former muay Thai legend, Jedrzejczyk had no trouble imposing her will on Esparza, who claimed the title after winning The Ultimate Fighter 20.

Jedrzejczyk remained unbeaten in her career, claiming the TKO victory at the 4:17 mark of round two. The loss was the first for Esparza since a 2011 split decision defeat to current World Series of Fighting champion Jessica Aguilar.

Johny Hendricks made sure to cement his future title shot in the welterweight division, controlling Matt Brown for three rounds. “Bigg Rigg” could have waited to rematch with Robbie Lawler, but instead, he opted to take on Brown. Hendricks is the likely opponent for Lawler-Rory MacDonald, who fight later this year.

Former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem and ex-U.S. Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo each picked up dominating decision wins on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Overeem downed Roy Nelson at heavyweight, using his striking to leave “Big Country” with a bruised body. Cejudo, meanwhile, controlled recent flyweight title contender Chris Cariaso for 15 minutes.

Ross Pearson, Elias Theodorou, Beneil Dariush and Jared Rosholt each earned finishes, with Pearson, Theodorou and Rosholt claiming TKOs and Dariush a submission. Pearson’s was of the highlight-reel variety, as he sent Sam Stout flying across the Octagon with a left hook.

The early prelims, which aired on UFC Fight Pass, all featured stoppage victories. Ryan Benoit knocked out Sergio Pettis in the second round after almost getting finished in the first, Joseph Duffy made his debut with the UFC by stopping Jake Lindsey in under two minutes and Germaine de Randamie topped Larissa Pacheco in the second.

Benoit’s win, though, was marred by his decision to kick Pettis in the behind after the referee had pulled him off. He apologized afterwards, saying he was caught up in the moment.

Dos Anjos, Jedrzejczyk, Ross Pearson and Beneil Dariush all earned “Performance of the Night” bonuses and an additional $50,000. The attendance was announced at 17,160 with a live gate of $2.155 million.

All seven prelim bouts were finishes, setting a strong tone for the night.

Complete results can be found below, along with full play-by-play on FightLine:

Rafael dos Anjos def. Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) to become the new UFC lightweight champion

Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Carla Esparza via TKO (strikes) at 4:17 of Round 2 to become the UFC female strawweight champion

Johny Hendricks def. Matt Brown via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Alistair Overeem def. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Henry Cejudo def. Chris Cariaso via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Ross Pearson def. Sam Stout via KO (strikes) at 1:33 of Round 2

Elias Theodorou def. Roger Narvaez via TKO (strikes) at 4:07 of Round 2

Beneil Dariush def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:28 of Round 2

Jared Rosholt def. Josh Copeland via TKO (strikes) at 3:12 of Round 3

Ryan Benoit def. Sergio Pettis via TKO (strikes) at 1:34 of Round 2

Joseph Duffy def. Jake Lindsey via TKO (strikes) at 1:47 of Round 1

Germaine de Randamie def. Larissa Pacheco via TKO (strikes) at 2:02 of Round 2

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