Sure, Khabib. We believe you (wink, wink). At the UFC 219 media lunch, Khabib Nurmagomedov worked to convince skeptics that his weight cut for UFC 219 was on pace and going well. At the lunch, Nurmagomedov said, “My weight is perfect. My shape is good. I have three more hard days and I finish all my training camp and focus on making weight. We’ll see. I am not in bad shape. I’m very excited about it. I want to show this.” He continued by saying “I have plan for cutting weight.” “I’m gonna cut my left or right leg [off] Friday morning, before weigh-ins. Now we think about this — left or right?”
At UFC 219, Nurmagomedov will fight Edson Barboza in a lightweight bout. Nurmagomedov has been plagued with missing fights due to unsuccessful weight cuts and went to the hospital this year due to a weight cut issue in the lead up to his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Cutting weight is an issue that needs to be addressed by the sport of MMA. UFC should lead that charge. That said, fighters must make weight in order to be seen as marketable and reliable in the eyes of their promoter. When Khabib fights, he looks like one of the best mixed martial artists in the world. The keyword there is “when.” It just doesn’t happen enough and big fights of his have been cancelled due to him not making weight. I want to see him fight this year and therefore hope that he makes weight. While his comments on the subject relay confidence that he will, history proves otherwise. Also, even in his confident remarks, he still maintains an out clause with “we’ll see.” That means there is some doubt in his mind. This is Nurmagomedov’s last shot. If he misses this weight limit, I don’t see the UFC featuring him in a prominent position ever again.
WEDNESDAY NEWS NOTEBOOK
–UFC on Fox 26 attracts 3,071,000 viewers. UFC on Fox featured the main event of Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos. The program did 3,071,000 viewers during the last three rounds of that main event. In the key male demos, the UFC beat everything on TV aside from the NFL.
–Tim Elliott is back for UFC 219. At UFC on Fox 26, Elliott’s opponent, Pietro Menga bowed out of the fight because of kidney issues due to his weight cut. Per Ariel Helwani, Elliott will still fight this year and it will be on the UFC 219 card. Elliott will take on Mark De La Rosa. UFC 219 takes place on December 30th and features the main event of Holly Holm vs. Cris Cyborg.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m glad we’ll get to see Tim Elliott again this year. The fact that it’s at UFC 219 and against Mark De La Rosa is even better. De La Rosa is new to the UFC but is an up and coming fighter. This could be a fight of the night contender when everything wraps on December 30th.
–Damir Hadzovic vs. Alan Patrick will happen at UFC Belem. UFC Fight Night Belem takes place on February 3rd, 2018 and features a main event bout pitting Lyoto Machida vs. Eryk Anders
–Alex Oliveira set to have surgery. Oliveira was knocked out at UFC 218 by his opponent, Yancy Medeiros. Due to damage done to his nose in that fight, he’ll undergo surgery in Brazil. The fight was heralded as one of the best of the year and received the fight of the night bonus. This was the first knockout Oliveira has suffered and it halted his winning streak at five. MMA Fighting first reported this news.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was an incredible fight with an incredible amount of damage done to both guys. If nose surgery is the worst that happens out of this, I consider that a positive for both fighters involved.
–Matt Mitrione opens as the favorite to win Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix. Odds were released yesterday for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. They are as follows:
Matt Mitrione — 9/4
Ryan Bader — 14/5
Frank Mir — 4/1
Fedor Emelianenko — 6/1
Roy Nelson — 6/1
Any Alternate Fighter — 6/1
Muhammed Lawal — 11/1
Chael Sonnen — 14/1
Quinton Jackson — 16/1
Heydorn’s Analysis: This tournament is very intriguing as its scheduled and booked right now. If it stays that way, count me in. The problem with these types of tournaments is they don’t stay as originally booked. If this does, it could end up being one of the most exciting happenings for Bellator in 2018. If it doesn’t, it will quickly become one of Bellator’s biggest disappointments.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST: GSP’s coach says he’ll return for “epic” and “most interesting” fight (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)