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Former MMA Legend Is Returning to the Cage



MMA Fighter Hand Raised After Victory

Urijah Faber is 44 years old and hasn’t fought since 2019, but that hasn’t stopped The California Kid from launching a comeback. He’s set to headline his own promotion, A1 Combat, on May 25.

This isn’t the first time the MMA legend has retired and made a comeback. After defeating Brad Pickett in 2016, Faber took a three-year break. He returned to the octagon against Ricky Simon and scored an emphatic knockout. Unfortunately, he suffered a head-kick knockout against Petr Yan in his last fight. 

Since being knocked out by the Russian, Faber has continued training. The former WEC featherweight champion looks in fantastic shape. Anyone who takes on Faber should be prepared for war, especially as Faber will be fighting in his home state in his own promotion! 

Faber Put the Little Guys on the Map

During the early 2000s, MMA in the US and Western countries was all about the upper weights. The UFC’s lowest weight division was lightweight, and casual fans weren’t interested in watching small fighters compete. However, that all changed thanks to the emergence of the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), which was founded in 2001 and ultimately purchased by the UFC in 2006.

Faber competed in the WEC from 2006 to 2010 and played a massive role in getting American MMA fans interested in featherweights and bantamweights. In his fight in the WEC, Faber won the featherweight championship by knocking out Cole Escovedo. 

Faber impressed crowds with his ultra-aggressive style and ferocious pace. He overwhelmed opponents with his superior wrestling and crisp boxing. He loved getting into brawls and took great pleasure in slamming his opponents. 

In the WEC, Faber had great fights against Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Jens Pulver, and Mike Brown. Even during losses, Faber never backed down and kept swinging until the final bell. The WEC fights were so exciting that the UFC ended up shutting down the promotion and adding featherweight, bantamweight, and flyweight divisions to the UFC.

Faber Becomes a Promoter

Following his loss to Petr Yan at UFC 245, Faber started his very own MMA promotion, A1 Combat. The promotion held its first show in 2022 and focuses on developing young fighters from California. 

A1 Combat has signed a deal with the UFC. Since launching, two cards have been shown on UFC’s streaming service, Fight Pass. 

When Faber isn’t promoting fights, he runs Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness in Sacramento, California. The California Kid himself teaches a bunch of BJJ, MMA, and wrestling classes. There aren’t many gyms where a beginner can come off the street and learn from a UFC hall of famer.

It’ll be interesting to see how Urijah responds to the layoff. Almost five years is a long time to be out of the cage, but Faber is known for being extremely disciplined with his training and dieting even since retiring. Also, he’s constantly at his gym, coaching his fighters and regularly getting involved in sparring sessions.

His Opponent Is Yet to Be Determined

It’s official: Urijah Faber will be fighting on May 25 in Visalia, California. The California Kid will be headlining his own A1 Combat show, but there’s no word on his opponent. We’ll have to wait and see who Faber takes. 

After a long time out of the cage and the fact he’s 44 years old, don’t expect Urijah to take on a young prospect. He’ll most likely take on another former legend like himself. A fight against Clay Guida would be awesome to see, but it looks like he’s still under contract with the UFC.

As this is a special comeback fight, you can pick up discounted tickets for the show for just $50. Whoever Faber fights, you know it’s going to be a brawl. The local crowd is going to go nuts when his infamous walkout song, California Love, is blasted around the arena.

If you’re a serious MMA fan, mark May 25 in your calendar and tune into A1 Combat 20 as UFC and WEC hall of famer Urijah Faber steps back into the cage. This will probably be the last time we’ll see the California Kid fighting, let’s hope he scores a highlight reel worth knockout!

Read More: Anthony Joshua Set For Retirement?

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UFC Fighters Share Their Opinions on New Glove Design



Ufc new gloves design

Legendary MMA referee John McCarthy isn’t impressed with the new UFC gloves. The man who actually invented the term mixed martial arts believes the redesigned gloves won’t prevent eye pokes.
The latest rendition of the MMA gloves debuted at UFC 302 and was significantly lighter with additional padding. The gloves are now seamless and have a new design that prevents fighters from fully opening their hands.
Unlike boxing gloves, which enclose the entire hand, UFC gloves leave the fighter’s fingers and palm exposed so they can grapple, wrestle, and apply submissions. The padding is only placed over the knuckles to protect the fighter’s hand and limit cuts.
The lack of padding and the fact it’s easier to make a fist means we should see more knockouts. UFC fighters are already calling them a puncher’s glove.

Why Did the UFC Change the Gloves?

As the fighter’s fingers are exposed, athletes are constantly poking each other in the eye, which is illegal and can lead to serious damage. Fighters like Jon Jones took advantage of the old glove design by constantly fully opening their hands and pawing at their opponent’s faces.
This would not only distract opposing fighters but result in eye pokes. The offending fighters could claim that these infractions were simply an accident, and often, the fight would continue with no penalties imposed.
The new gloves are meant to prevent fighters from delivering eye pokes as the stiffness and updated curve make it harder to straighten your fingers. However, McCarthy remains unconvinced.
He said that when a fighter wearing the new gloves squeezes his hand, their fingers will still go straight. To get rid of eye pokes, the legendary ref said that the gloves must be designed so that fighters have to apply significant force to straighten their fingers. He wants the gloves to feature a curved design which forces the fighter’s fingers to be rounded.

Sean Strickland Isn’t a Fan of the New UFC Gloves

Former middleweight UFC champion known for being incredibly outspoken vented about the new gloves. He said they suck and proceeded to drop a bunch of F-bombs, criticizing the UFC and the people who made them, accusing them of knowing nothing about fighting. It’s hard to know how much of Strickland’s rant is part of his shtick and how much of it is his true feelings.
However, Strickland wasn’t the only fighter taking issue with the controversial gloves. The lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is against the change. He believes the new gloves will cause a lot more cuts as they’re much stiffer than the previous design.
The glove makers specifically made the gloves seamless in a bid to reduce cuts. So we’ll have to see if Makhachev’s prediction of more cuts is on the money.
Randy Brown, who is a welterweight contender, agreed with McCarthy. He doesn’t believe the new gloves will solve the eye poker issue. He does see strikers getting an advantage due to the lack of padding and how easy it is to make a fist.
Dustin Poirier, who is known for his fast hands and power punching, is one of the few fighters to like the gloves. The UFC legend said the gloves are much more comfortable than the old ones. He likes the limited padding and can generate more power.
However, he agrees with Islam when it comes to causing more cuts. The 35-year-old believes fighters’ knuckles will pierce right through the limited amount of padding and open fighters up. If that is the case, the UFC will have to go back to the drawing board and redesign them.

The Jury Is Still Out on UFC’s New Gloves

The new UFC gloves have only been used at UFC 302. We’ll have to wait at least one year until we know whether gloves are a flop or not. It seems like they’ve got some things right, like the reduction in padding and the ease of making a fist.
Unfortunately, there’s a chance that the new gloves may cause additional cuts, and fighters can still extend their fingers too easily, resulting in eye pokes. Hopefully, the next iteration will feature a curved design, and eye pokes will be eradicated from mixed martial arts for good!|
Read more: Alex Pereira vs. Jiří Procházka to Headline UFC 303 After McGregor Withdrawal

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Alex Pereira vs. Jiří Procházka to Headline UFC 303 After McGregor Withdrawal



Alex Pereira vs. Jiří Procházka UFC 303

Conor McGregor’s UFC comeback will be further delayed as he has withdrawn from his UFC 303 fight against Michael Chandler due to injury. UFC president Dana White confirmed the news on Thursday, stating only that McGregor had sustained an injury.

UFC Shake-Up

The main event, originally set for June 29, will now feature a light heavyweight title rematch between champion Alex Pereira and former champion Jiri Procházka. Pereira previously claimed the belt by defeating Procházka via second-round TKO at UFC 295 last November.

Additionally, the co-main event, initially slated to be between former light heavyweight champ Jamahal Hill and Carlos Ulberg, has also been reshuffled due to Hill’s injury. Brian Ortega will now face Diego Lopes, while Ulberg will take on Anthony Smith.

This upheaval comes as another blow to the UFC, following the disruption of the Fight Night event scheduled for the week before UFC 303. The main event between Khamzat Chimaev and Robert Whittaker was derailed due to a medical issue with Chimaev, prompting the UFC to announce that Whittaker would instead fight Ikram Aliskerov.

Inconsistent McGregor

McGregor’s last appearance in the Octagon was at UFC 264 in July 2021, where he lost to Dustin Poirier via TKO after breaking his tibia at the end of the first round. It has been over four years since McGregor’s last victory and nearly eight years since his last title fight win.

Rumors of McGregor’s withdrawal had been circulating for more than a week. Speculation grew after a scheduled press conference with Chandler was abruptly postponed on June 3, with little explanation from the UFC. As rumors and a video of McGregor partying with his fiancée circulated, McGregor posted on X, attributing the postponement to “a series of obstacles” but maintaining his eagerness to fight again.

McGregor’s last bout against Poirier was marked by a heated exchange and a broken leg, ending in a loss that led to soul-searching for the former champion. McGregor, who has never defended a UFC title and was stripped of both due to inactivity, took a slow recovery route, focusing on his business ventures and making his acting debut in the “Road House” adaptation.

Chandler’s Disappointment

Despite Chandler’s reassurances and ongoing promotion of the fight, veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported increased pessimism about the bout’s likelihood. Helwani later confirmed McGregor’s injury had occurred a day or two before the postponed press conference, and McGregor’s camp had hoped he could recover in time.

Chandler remained relatively quiet during the fallout of the UFC 303 main event. While he tweeted quotes intermittently to divert attention, he did not directly address the speculation. The former Bellator champion did share a message on Instagram through his sponsor, megafitmeals, a day after the cancellation.

This development is particularly tough on Chandler, who had been patient for what would have been the most lucrative fight of his career. Chandler last fought in November 2022, losing to Poirier. He and McGregor were set up as coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter,” but the fight date was delayed for months amid disputes over McGregor’s reentry into the USADA testing pool.

“[Conor McGregor] was never the safe bet as an opponent; he was always the highest risk,” Chandler wrote. “Maybe the highest reward… but the biggest opportunity. There is no right or wrong in business… you only take risks to grow or remain comfortable where you are.

Now, with his return to the UFC postponed once again, questions loom about how much longer the promotion can support and accommodate McGregor.

Read more: Does MMA Have a New Heavyweight Superstar?

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Countdown to UFC 302



UFC 302 matchups

As the excitement builds for UFC 302, fight fans around the world are gearing up for a night of electrifying matchups and high-stakes showdowns. This event promises to deliver unforgettable moments, featuring a stacked fight card with some of the sport’s most dynamic athletes. To prepare, we will look at the top 3 fights on UFC 302 this Saturday June 1st. 

Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier

Islam Makhachev, born in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia, began his journey in MMA under the instruction of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the father of his close friend and former world champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Makhachev’s background in combat sambo, in which he is a world champion, heavily influences his fighting style. Known for his dominant grappling, suffocating top control, and relentless pressure, Makhachev has developed into one of the most formidable lightweights in the UFC. As of now, he holds an impressive professional record of 25-1-0, with the majority of his victories coming via submission or decision, showcasing his prowess on the ground. Makhachev continues to train at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California, alongside other elite fighters, maintaining the Dagestani legacy in mixed martial arts.

Dustin Poirier embarked on his MMA career in 2009, quickly rising through the ranks with his relentless work ethic and versatile striking. Poirier’s preferred fighting style combines crisp boxing with powerful leg kicks, complemented by his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. This blend of skills has allowed him to finish fights both on the feet and on the ground. With a professional record of 30-8-0, Poirier has become a mainstay in the UFC’s lightweight division.

With Islam the favorite at around -600 odds, it is no doubt that everyone thinks he will be the winner. If Islam can take the fight to the ground, it could be an easy paycheck for him. However, if the fight can stay standing, Dustin’s experience in striking can prove to be the deciding factor in this fight.

Sean Strickland vs Paulo Costa

Sean Strickland began his MMA career at the age of 16, transitioning from a troubled youth to a disciplined martial artist. Strickland is known for his aggressive striking style, which is characterized by relentless forward pressure and a high volume of punches. He is a versatile fighter, capable of utilizing both his striking and grappling to secure victories. Strickland has compiled an impressive professional record, with many wins coming by way of knockout or decision.

Paulo Costa, also known as “The Eraser,” hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and began his MMA journey inspired by his brother and the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. Costa is renowned for his explosive power and aggressive fighting style, often overwhelming opponents with his striking and physicality. His preferred style is to engage in stand-up battles, leveraging his knockout power to finish fights early. Interesting fact: Before fully committing to his MMA career, Costa worked as a real estate agent and even appeared on a Brazilian reality TV show, highlighting his diverse background and charismatic personality.

It is difficult to see this fight going to the ground since most of their fights have stayed standing. Sean’s willingness to walk forward even while taking large amounts of damage may prove to be his downfall. Costa’s power and efficiency can take Sean down if he gets caught. However, Costa may not want the fight so close to him and can become overwhelmed by Sean’s onslaught. 

Kevin Holland vs Michal Oleksiejczuk

Kevin Holland began his MMA career in 2015 after transitioning from Kung Fu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Known for his eclectic and unorthodox striking style, Holland’s fighting approach is characterized by his long reach, agility, and dynamic striking techniques, which include a mix of punches, kicks, and elbows. He has a reputation for being a highly active fighter, often taking multiple fights within a short period. Holland has compiled an impressive record, with half of his wins by knockout.

Michał Oleksiejczuk, from Łęczna, Poland, began his professional MMA career in 2014. Known for his powerful and precise striking, Oleksiejczuk prefers to stand and trade blows with his opponents, often looking for the knockout with his heavy hands. His fighting style is aggressive, relying on his boxing skills and ability to control the pace of the fight. 

This fight can be expected to be a striking matchup unless Holland decides to take the fight to the ground. Kevin’s reach advantage looks to be a deciding factor as he will look to exploit it during the fight. If Michal doesn’t finish Holland early, the fight could go Kevin’s way with his level head and stoicism during fights, minus his talking. 

Read more: Jose Aldo Dominates Jonathan Martinez at UFC 301

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