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ufc 187

Former two-division UFC champion BJ Penn will be the fourth and final member of the 2015 UFC Hall of Fame class. The announcement was made during the prelims for UFC 187 Saturday night.

Penn is one of two people to hold UFC gold in multiple weight classes, as “The Prodigy” is a former lightweight and welterweight champion. He’ll go into the Modern Era wing.

He went unbeaten over an eight-plus-year run in the lightweight division, including a nine-fight unbeaten streak.

Penn joins Jeff Blatnik, Bas Rutten and the second Matt Hughes-Frank Trigg fight as inductees this year.

Below is the press release from the UFC:

UFC President Dana White said: “It is our honor to induct BJ Penn into the UFC Hall of Fame. He was one of those stars who helped build the UFC. When we bought this company, we were told no-one cared about lightweights. BJ Penn not only made people care, he was one of the biggest draws in UFC history. And what he accomplished inside the Octagon speaks for itself – he is one of only two people to win two UFC titles in two different divisions and he beat a who’s who of his era. He is a legend and a no-brainer for the UFC Hall of Fame.”

Born Jay Dee Penn on December 13, 1978, “Baby Jay” is believed to have earned a legitimate Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt faster than any practitioner of the martial art. He was awarded the honor by André Pederneiras in 2000, aged 20, less than three years after taking his first lesson. Penn validated his black belt status just weeks later, when he became the first American to ever win the black belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships.

Because of the speed of Penn’s achievements in BJJ, he was dubbed “The Prodigy” – a moniker which he carried into his MMA – and UFC – debut vs Joey Gilbert at UFC 31 on May 4, 2001.

“Nothing personal, I just want the belt,” Penn said after scoring a first round knockout.

The first UFC championship came at welterweight, when he choked out the previously unstoppable Matt Hughes in the opening round of their UFC 46, January 2004, clash. However, Penn never defended the title, spending the next two years competing outside of the UFC organization.

A truly fearless competitor who’s self-belief knew few boarders, Penn defeated both Renzo Gracie and Rodrigo Gracie in middleweight bouts outside of the UFC; he even took a 225lbs Lyoto Machida the distance in a heavyweight fight.

Whether inside or outside the Octagon®, Penn fought the best of the best and his scalp list includes luminaries like Caol Uno, Matt Serra and Takanori Gomi.

But it was his achievements in the UFC lightweight classes that Penn cemented his legacy as one of the very best of all time.

Upon returning to the division in 2007, Penn embarked on a three year reign of terror. He swiftly avenged his first career loss to Jens Pulver before winning the vacant 155lbs title with a one-sided beatdown of Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. In winning the title, Penn became only the second man to hold two UFC titles in two weight divisions. He then defended the belt against former champion Sean Sherk, and surging contenders Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez in impressive fashion before finally losing the title to Frankie Edgar in 2010.

Along the way Penn also attempted to win back the UFC welterweight title, in a rematch of a very close and controversial fight vs Georges St-Pierre. The UFC 94, January 2009, main event was a rare UFC champion vs UFC champion superfight and one of the biggest fights of the decade.

Penn’s final win came in November 2010, at UFC 123, when he knocked out his great rival turned friend Matt Hughes in 21-seconds, winning their trilogy 2-1. Penn last competed one year ago, losing a somber fight against nemesis Frankie Edgar at International Fight Week 2014.

Now, 12 months later, Penn will be given the send-off his legendary career deserves.

What made Penn a perpetual pound-for-pounder was his unique combination of high-level BJJ, takedown defense, remarkable balance plus his supreme boxing skills. Even the most experience fight commentators marveled at the Hawaiian’s skill set; UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan once opinioned that Penn had more flexibility and dexterity in his legs than most good fighters had in their arms and, in 2008, famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach said Penn was the best boxer in MMA “by far.”

According to FightMetric, the official statistics provider to the UFC, Penn spent a total of 5-hours, 18-minutes and 7-seconds in the UFC Octagon, the second most of any UFC fighter. He landed 1,736 strikes in the UFC, the fourth most in organization history, with 1215 of them setting a lightweight division record. He landed with over half of his power shots and his takedown completion rate of 66.7% remains the most accurate in the UFC lightweight division.

vitor belfort

Two title fights highlighted the Memorial Day Weekend event that was UFC 187 Saturday night.

Daniel Cormier weathered an early storm from Anthony Johnson, relying on his Olympic-level wrestling in the second and third rounds to score a submission win over “Rumble” and become the new UFC light heavyweight champion.

The title had been declared vacant after Jon Jones was stripped of it following an alleged hit-and-run incident in New Mexico.

Following his title-winning performance, Cormier grabbed the microphone and delivered a stern message to the former champion, instructing him to get his “shit together” and that he’d be waiting for him.

It took Chris Weidman one takedown a less than a minute to put away Vitor Belfort in the co-main event, earning his third successful title defense vs. a former Brazilian champion. The reigning UFC middleweight champion took Belfort’s best shot early on, scoring with his patented power takedown and ending it in less than three minutes.

Weidman, unbeaten, has now downed Anderson Silva twice, Lyoto Machida and Belfort in succession.

Nothing Donald Cerrone did in the first round could make John Makdessi quit. In the second, though, “Cowboy” landed with another head-kick that broke the jaw of Makdessi, propelling him to his eighth straight win and fifth finish in the lightweight division.

Ex-UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne engaged in what might go down as the greatest round in heavyweight history, standing and banging for four minutes. After dropping Browne, Arlovski finished him with a flurry on the feet and earned a win over the third-ranked fighter.

In a battle of former UFC flyweight title contenders, it was Joseph Benavidez coming out on top, besting John Moraga via decision. Benavidez has now won three straight since a 2013 first round knockout loss to Demetrious Johnson for the title.

John Dodson made a triumphant return to the Octagon following surgery for a torn ACL, besting Zach Makovsky in a key flyweight contest via unanimous decision. Dong Hyun Kim, fighting for the first time since a 2014 loss to Tyron Woodley, choked out Josh Burkman.

Rafael Natal pulled out a split decision over Uriah Hall. The two came out like gangbusters against one another, but it was the wrestling of Natal that made the difference. Colby Covington was pushed to the distance for the first time since joining the UFC, besting veteran Mike Pyle.

Justin Scoggins kicked off the night with a hard-fought decision win over Josh Sampo, while Islam Makhachev had an impressive Octagon debut. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter scored a second round rear-naked choke on Leo Kuntz, who was also fighting for the first time with the UFC.

Arlovski and Browne claimed “Fight of the Night” honors, while Cormier and Weidman each earned “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The attendance for the card was announced at 12,615 with a live gate of $5,189,167.

Complete results can be found below:

Daniel Cormier def. Anthony Johnson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:39 of Round 3 to become the new UFC light heavyweight champion

Chris Weidman def. Vitor Belfort via TKO (strikes) at 2:53 of Round 1 to retain the UFC middleweight championship

Donald Cerrone def. John Makdessi via TKO (strikes) at 4:44 of Round 2

Andrei Arlovski def. Travis Browne via TKO (strikes) at 4:41 of Round 1

Joseph Benavidez def. John Moraga via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

John Dodson def. Zach Makovsky via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Dong Hyun Kim def. Josh Burkman via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:13 of Round 3

Rafael Natal def. Uriah Hall via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Colby Covington def. Mike Pyle via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Islam Makhachev def. Leo Kuntz via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:38 of Round 2

Justin Scoggins def. Josh Sampo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

vitor belfort

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of tonight’s UFC 187 event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

While the planned card has taken a bit of a hit due to injuries and legal matters, we’re still going to get two world title fights and several other intriguing bouts spread from the flyweight division up to heavyweight.

In the main event, Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson will square off for the vacant light heavyweight title. Johnson was scheduled to challenge Jon Jones for the belt, but “Bones” was stripped and suspended following his alleged hit-and-run in New Mexico.

The co-main boasts a much-delayed middleweight championship match between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort. The two were expected to face off last year, but injuries and the move to ban TRT has forced postponements.

Other main card fights include Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi – after an injury knocked Khabib Nurmagomedov out – in the lightweight division, Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne at heavyweight and flyweights Joseph Benavidez and John Moraga going one-on-one.

The prelims will also include a key 125-pound contest, as John Dodson battles Zach Makovsky. The remaining FOX Sports 1 fights feature Dong Hyun Kim vs. Josh Burkman, Rafael Natal vs. Uriah Hall and Mike Pyle vs. Colby Covington.

Let’s get to the action:


Josh Sampo vs. Justin Scoggins

Flyweights will kick-start the evening, as Josh Sampo (11-4) goes up against Justin Scoggins (9-2). Sampo has six submission wins to his credit, while Scoggins has five first round finishes and seven stoppages overall.

Round 1: Scoggins starting strong with the kicks, even trying a spinning attack right off the bat. He’s using the rear-kick to push Sampo away. Another spinning attack followed up by a front-leg hook-kick from Scoggins, who is really moving forward. Sampo with a nice flurry, scoring for the first time. Another front-kick connects for Scoggins, who is really utilizing his karate background. Sampo with a hard takedown attempt, but he’s denied easily. Good left by Sampo is answered with a pair of stiff kicks to the body. Knee that appears to catch some of the chin and body by Scoggins to end the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Scoggins

Round 2: Little bit more of a calm pace set forth by both men to start, but it’s Scoggins who is landing with the kicks. Sampo tries to put together a combo of strikes and is denied. They clinch, but Sampo is unable to secure a takedown. Left from Sampo lands and he tries to follow up with the clinch only to be denied. More body work for Scoggins, who seems to have no idea what is coming next or from where. Sampo finally catches a kick, moves to the back for a takedown and Scoggins pulls guard. They reverse, scramble and wind up back on the feet. Sampo gives him a taste of his own medicine, connecting with a pair of kicks to the body. Much less energy being exerted by Scoggins, as he gets kicked off his feet.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Sampo

Round 3: Just like the second half of round two, Sampo is applying more of the pressure. Scoggins has slowed dramatically and is unable to string together combos like he was early on. Out of nowhere, though, he connects with the front-kick again. Nice kicking display for Scoggins. He gets a little reckless and Sampo scores with a takedown, moving to the top position as we head under two minutes. Sampo does a little work on the ground, but Scoggins lands a takedown to end it. Interesting round, and fight, to score.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Scoggins

Justin Scoggins def. Josh Sampo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Leo Kuntz vs. Islam Makhachev

We’ll conclude the early prelims in the lightweight division, as Leo Kuntz (17-1-1) meets Islam Makhachev (11-0). Kuntz is 14-0-1 in his last 15, while Makhachev trains at AKA and was brought up in the sport by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father. Both are making their official Octagon debuts.

Round 1: Right off the bat, Makhachev throws a big overhand left, and the 23-year-old is ready to engage. Left-right lands by Makhachev and he clinches against the fence, unloading on the body. Perfect trip-takedown by Makhachev, who moves to the back and is all over Kuntz. He’s got one hook in and this one might be over quickly. Nice defense by Kuntz, who is looking to sneak out the back. He does and comes out swinging with heavy shots. Exchange of uppercuts and we have two minutes left in the round. A series of uppercuts while controlling the clinch for Makhachev, who drags him to the canvas with seconds left.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Makhachev

Round 2: Makhachev is just a step or two quicker and he’s concerned with getting taken down. All of that’s leading to nasty shots connecting. Makhachev again lands and Kuntz is hurt, as he dropped to his knees, giving up his back. Makhachev has the hooks in and is working for the choke with plenty of time left. Kuntz tried to spin out and was denied. Full body-triangle secured and many shots getting through now. They roll and Makhachev gets the arm under and this one is all over.

Islam Makhachev def. Leo Kuntz via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:38 of Round 2

vitor belfort

Relive the five of the more impressive knockout finishes in the career of Vitor Belfort in the video below.

Belfort takes out Matt Lindland with one punch, scores a victory in his early UFC career, finishes Michael Bisping with a head-kick, does the same vs. Luke Rockhold and knocks out Wanderlei Silva with an incredible flurry in 1998.

This Saturday night, Belfort challenges Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 187.

vitor belfort

Two title fights, a red-hot lightweight, a pair of heavyweights trying to knock each other out and flyweights hoping to get back in the championship picture.

That’s what UFC 187’s main card this Saturday night presents, and despite losing Jon Jones, it’s still a pretty sound event.

The main event will feature Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier meeting to determine the new UFC light heavyweight champion after Jones was stripped of the title. The co-main also boasts a title fight, as Chris Weidman – finally – defends his belt vs. Vitor Belfort.

And while Donald Cerrone-Khabib Nurmagomedov would have been a “Fight of the Year” contender, we still get “Cowboy,” as he meets John Makdessi.

Former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski tangles with Travis Browne and the card kicks off with flyweights Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga.

Here’s a look inside those fights. And as always, FightLine will have complete coverage, including live play-by-play and results.

Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga

With a combined 37 wins and three previous shots at the belt, you would be hard-pressed to find a main card opener more talented than Benavidez vs. Moraga.

Benavidez (21-4) has suffered two of his four career defeats at the hands of UFC champion Demetrious Johnson, while Moraga (16-3) was topped by “Mighty Mouse” before, as well.

The Team Alpha Male fighter owns an incredible 3.2 significant strikes landed per minute and has a 55-percent takedown defense. Moraga lands at 2.4 and has stuffed 42-percent of takedown attempts.

And for a division that constantly gets called out for its lack of finishes, Benavidez has topped 29- and 43-percent of his fights via either knockout of submission, while Moraga is at 13- and 50-percent.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne

Top-10 ranked heavyweights Arlovski (23-10) and Browne (17-2-1) put those stoppage percentages of Benavidez and Moraga to shame, as they have finished nearly all of their opponents.

“Hapa” sits right outside the upper-echelon of heavyweights at No. 3. He’s turned himself from a basketball player into a complete mixed martial artists, and will actually have a reach advantage over Arlovski.

“Pit Bull” once held the world title and would like nothing more than to become a challenger once again after all these years.

Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi

The idea of Cerrone-Nurmagomedov being just a highlight on this card was almost too much to believe, and maybe that’s why we don’t have that fight.

Nevertheless, credit Makdessi (12-3) for agreeing to fight just under a month after besting Shane Campbell. And while he doesn’t have the resume of a Cerrone (27-6), he does hold a strong offensive game, as “The Bull” lands 4.8 significant strikes per minute.

Of course, this one should be all “Cowboy,” who has worked his way back to No. 3 in the lightweight division on the heels of impressive victories. He’ll have a five-inch each and has finished over 50-percent of his wins.

Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort for the UFC middleweight title

It’s been talked about since last year, and we’ll finally get to see Weidman (12-0) and Belfort (24-10) go toe-to-toe.

While the majority of the “numbers” favor Weidman, the only one that is really important will not show up on the fight-sheet.

Belfort was forced to stop taking TRT after the UFC and Nevada Athletic Commission moved to ban the substance. He is a former champion, has fought for the title before, but “The Phenom” we watched on TRT destroy Michael Bisping, Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold is not likely to be the same one to take on Weidman.

Along with finishes vs. Anderson Silva, “The All-American” has topped Lyoto Machida and Mark Munoz during his impressive Octagon career.

Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title

Many felt that “Rumble” was the toughest opponent to date for Jones and his title. That includes the likes of Cormier, Rashad Evans, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Machida, Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen.

Johnson (19-4) fought previously at welterweight for the UFC, but returned at his more natural 205-pound weight and has dominated Phil Davis, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Gustafsson since. He is both an effective striker – landing three significant strikes per minute at 45-percent – and wrestler – 2.5 takedowns and 85-percent takedown defense.

Cormier (15-1) suffered his first pro loss at the hands of Jones earlier this year and is an ex-Olympic wrestler. He’s stuffed 81-percent of takedown attempts against him and has a 53-percent finish rate via knockout.

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