TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/26: Marlon Moraes rejects 145 pound fight with Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)

BY ZACK HEYDORN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

Jimmie Rivera just can’t seem to get a fight at UFC 219. News broke over the weekend that Rivera’s scheduled opponent on the card, John Lineker, had bowed out of the fight due to a tooth infection. Lineker was already a replacement for Dominick Cruz who had bowed out in November after suffering a broken arm.

When the Lineker news hit, it appeared that Marlon Moraes was ready and willing to take on Rivera. Now, it appears that fight is off too. Moraes and Rivera hashed out unofficial fight details on Twitter with Rivera giving Moraes all the weight concessions that he wanted. Still, Moraes did not agree and the fight is off.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This is a very tough situation for Jimmie Rivera. The man has done everything in his power to fight on the UFC 219 card and it doesn’t appear that it will matter. He deserves to be a paid every penny owed to him. Marlon Moraes looks pretty silly right now. Clearly he had no intention of actually accepting this fight so what is the purpose of acting otherwise.

TUESDAY NEWS NOTEBOOK

Josh Emmett is angling for a fight against Brian Ortega. Due to the fact that the featherweight championship picture is currently occupied by Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar, Josh Emmett had a different thought as to who he’d like to fight next. On the MMA Hour, Josh Emmett alluded to the fact that he’d be interested in squaring off against Brian Ortega in a top contender battle with the winner getting the next championship shot against either Edgar or Holloway. On the show, he said, “I want to be a world champion like I said, so if something was presented to me like a title shot, like I said, I’ll take that in a heartbeat.” “But I know (Frankie) Edgar and (Max) Holloway, they’re in talks about fighting. I think Edgar has definitely earned it, so what makes the most sense to me is maybe if Brian Ortega and I fight. The winner of us gets the winner of Edgar-Holloway.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: This would be a fantastic fight. I give Josh Emmett loads of credit for trying to capitalize on his momentum coming out of his victory against Ricardo Lamas by politicking for the biggest fight possible. For him, that fight is against Ortega. That said, he’ll need to address the fact that he didn’t make weight for that Lamas fight. 

Rafael dos Anjos wants Tyron Woodley. In the category of least shocking news ever, Rafael dos Anjos wants to fight Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight championship. On the MMA Hour, dos Anjos staked his claim to the championship by saying, “I beat the toughest guy of the division and the way that I did, I don’t see other guys (to fight) Woodley.” “I think I deserve to fight for the title. Now it’s my turn.” Rafael dos Anjos is a former lightweight world champion who moved into the welterweight division in 2017. Since that move, he’s been undefeated and was victorious in definitive fashion in each fight.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This is the fight to make. Unless a mega-fight makes itself available for Tyron Woodley like Nate Diaz, booking dos Anjos against Woodley makes the most sense. He’s a viable championship fighter and his 2017 results prove it. With Woodley out due to a recent surgery, the timetable for a dos Anjos/Woodley battle is questionable. Dos Anjos could roll the dice and fight again before Woodley returns to pad his title bout qualifications or he can hold off until Woodley’s next fight is set.

UFC 217 was about redemption for Georges St. Pierre. In an interview with the MMA Hour, GSP’s jiu-jujitsu coach, John Danaher, said that the plan for GSP at UFC 217 was to overcome his career long criticisms. In the interview, Danaher said, “We talked about it a little more and I said to him that there has always been three criticisms of your career. The first is that you’re so controlling and tactical in your approach to fighting that it makes for boring fights. That’s always been a persistent criticism. The second is that you never fought up a weight class. You always fought guys at welterweight. The third is that you don’t finish fights. Those are the three persistent criticisms of the legacy of Georges St-Pierre. I said why don’t we focus on a training regiment that strongly emphasizes submissions and TKOs/KOs and punching power that you need to finish a fight. You go up a weight division and you focus on the old, dynamic in-and-out and lateral movement of Georges St-Pierre to create a faster paced fight that people find more interesting. We ran the idea past other people – Firas Zahabi, Freddie Roach etc. – and everyone said that it was a good idea.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m tired of GSP. At this point, his reasoning for fighting was a straight money grab and its tough to believe otherwise given what has happened since the fight. It’s admirable for St. Pierre to try and rectify his career demons, but I simply just don’t buy any story out of that camp right now.

Contact Zack at heydornzack@gmail.com and follow Zack on Twitter at https://twitter.com/zheydorn


NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS: FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/22: Stephen Thompson calls out Rafael dos Anjos for number one contender spot (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)

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