SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE 7/8: Nunes out of UFC 213, Goethje’s incredible performance earns bonuses, Gallagher to Bantamweight

By Cole Henry, MMATorch contributor

Amanda Nunes
Amanda Nunes (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

Amanda Nunes pulls out of UFC 213 title defense

Reports have surfaced that UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes has pulled out of her scheduled UFC 213 title defense due to illness. The main event will now be Yoel Romero against Robert Whitaker in a Middleweight Interim title fight. This is a disappointment which surely hits Nunes opponent, Valentina Shevchenko that hardest. Hopefully this fight can be rescheduled.

Henry’s Analysis: This is disappointing, and I wonder if it is related to weight cutting in any way. It’s always strange when a fighter gets sick around fight day and it leaves many questions, but knowing that these fighters sometimes deplete themselves to almost nothing, I guess sickness is to be expected. Nunes is a warrior and will be back ready to fight, but we will have to wait for the issues between these two women to be resolved.

Justin Gaethje earns extra $100,000 after incredible performance

After a debut that went above expectations, Justin Gaethje has a lot to be excited about. He beat a top ten opponent and earned near universal praise – and perhaps above all else he got paid. On top of his contracted earnings, Gaethje also brought home an extra $100,000 thanks to his winning the Performance of the Night and the Fight of the Night bonuses. With this win, Gaethje immediately inserts himself into the top of the division, and could be a win or two away from challenging for the title. He has made is known that he would next like to face Tony Ferguson and then eventually Connor McGregor.
The fight itself was a back and forth affair that saw both men land, and survive, huge shots. While Michael Johnson was an incredibly game opponent, Gaethje’s iron will and determination proved to be too much. Michael Johnson now falls to 1-4 in his last five, while Gaethje improves to 1-0 in the UFC.

Henry’s Analysis: Last night’s fight was nothing short of incredible. That was two men who gave it all, something that really isn’t appreciated enough. We sometimes expect these types of fights and we are disappointed when we don’t get them, but these are rare. Fights like this should be appreciated for what they are, and the fighters involved should always be applauded for their efforts. Gaethje made good on his debut, and really appeared to be something other than human at certain points in that fight. Johnson was game as always and proved a solid test for Gaethje. Still, though, Gaethje uses a dangerous style so it does seem like only a matter of time before something happens and his chin can’t keep up. Until then, though, I will continue to be amazed by a man who really seems to be unbreakable. If I had things my way, I would book him against Tony Ferguson or Edson Barboza next. A McGregor-Gaethje fight seems unlikely, but if it happens I don’t think I will be able to handle the anticipation. It might be bad for my health.

Professional Fighters League Viewership for debut show

The PFL had their debut event recently and reports, though conflicting, seem to indicate that the show did better than the average World Series of Fighting event. Some sources have indicated a number somewhere around 300,000 viewers, while others are reporting that the number is closer to half a million. Either way, it’s about the average of 200,000 that WSOF was used to and is potentially a good sign of things to come.

Henry’s Analysis: The card was weak, in terms of name value, in my opinion, but still did alright. I look forward to what PFL can do in the future.

James Gallagher set for Bantamweight debut

Fresh off an impressive beating of Chinzo Machida at Bellator 180, James Gallagher feels as though a move to 135 is in his best interest. The Irish brawler made it clear that the move was not due to his size, or feeling over powered, but was in fact an attempt to earn a belt and compete his goal of becoming a two-division champion. Gallagher is certainly not short on confidence and has a lot in common with his teammate Conor McGregor, particularly his me-against-everyone-else mentality. No opponent has been announced yet, but with the card being a co-promotion with BAMMA, its entirely possible that his opponent is a fighter from there. Regardless, when he returns to action, it will be another chance for us to get a glimpse of a fighter that could dominate the sport for years to come.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/7: Chris Weidman turned down trilogy fight with Anderson Silva + More News (w/Henry’s Analysis)

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