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5/20/16: Top Five Stories of the Week
In our regular Friday feature, we list out the most newsworthy stories/articles from the past week in MMA.
5. UFC 201 in Atlanta gets Lawler-Woodley, Johnson-Reis title fights: The UFC is returning to Atlanta, Ga., on July 30, their first trip to the city in four and a half years, and they’re bringing two title fights along. The main event sees the return of Robbie Lawler for his second title defense of 2016, and he’ll take on Tyron Woodley, who hasn’t fought since January of 2015. Flyweight Champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson also looks for his second defense in 2016, taking on Wilson Reis in a bit of a “stay busy” fight while the UFC determines the challenger after that through The Ultimate Fighter 24 this fall.
4. Bellator releases Lightweight Champ Will Brooks, sets up new title bout: For the second time in two years, Bellator has outright released their reigning Lightweight Champion. Brooks was getting close to the end of his most recent deal, and had been outspoken about the fact that he wanted to compete elsewhere, so after keeping him sidelined for several months the organization finally opted to grant him a full release. Now, the man he beat twice to take that belt after Eddie Alvarez vacated the belt, Michael Chandler, gets yet another crack at putting it around his waist when he meets Patricky “Pitbull” Freire for the once-again vacant title in St. Louis next month.
3. Jacare Souza demolishes Vitor Belfort: Somewhat erasing the memory of his fight with Yoel Romero, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza absolutely destroyed Vitor Belfort in Brazil at UFC 198 last weekend, getting the longtime vet to the ground twice and beating him down with strikes from top position. It was a masterful performance, and seemed to surely set him up as the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division…
2. Chris Weidman out of UFC 199 with injury, Michael Bisping gets shot against Luke Rockhold: … Of course, Chris Weidman’s injury removal from UFC 199 has thrown everything into upheaval in the 185 lb. field, and a knee injury suffered by Jacare cost him the next shot at the belt. Instead, Michael Bisping is finally getting his first shot at UFC gold after almost a decade in the organization, stepping in on short notice to meet Luke Rockhold in Inglewood, Calif. Souza is likely to get a shot down the line, but it’s now going to depend on how long it winds up taking Chris Weidman to recover from an impending neck surgery.
1. Stipe Miocic knocks out Fabricio Werdum to take UFC Heavyweight Title: No fighter has ever been able to keep a real hold on the UFC Heavyweight Championship, and Fabricio Werdum became no different last weekend as he got knocked out cold by Stipe Miocic. Now the latest man to have the belt strapped around his waist, Miocic gets to enjoy his time as champion, and may even get a title defense in his hometown later this year.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]
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