Can Conor McGregor beat Jose Aldo for the unified belt?

Connor Mcgregor Jose Aldo UFC 194
Connor Mcgregor Jose Aldo UFC 194

Conor McGregor made mincemeat of Chad Mendes earlier this summer to stake his claim to the UFC interim featherweight title, but the Irish phenom still has a lot to prove if he wants to be the undisputed champion.

Despite the current string of victories for the Irish dynamo, there are many detractors who still feel the fighter has much to prove if he’s going to back up his cocksure banter. Even Joe Rogan has said that fans shouldn’t get carried away and should remember that as good he is, McGregor isn’t the undisputed champion, yet.

“Let’s be honest. McGregor has an illegitimate belt. It’s a made up belt,” Rogan said in his podcast. “We call it the ‘interim’ belt but Aldo defended his title a year ago. Stripping a guy because he doesn’t—because he can’t get through a camp without getting injured is a part of MMA. It’s always been a part of MMA.”

Until the UFC says otherwise, the official featherweight champion is still Jose “Scarface” Aldo and will continue to be until later this year. For the time being, McGregor can talk all he wants but he will still be forced to share the title until the belts can be unified.

Aldo, for his part, doesn’t plan to go down without a fight and has already said he plans to end McGregor’s hopes quickly, though victory is the main thing on his mind. “It doesn’t matter if I’m going in there and finishing this quickly, if I’m punching him once and he goes down,” the Brazilian fighter said in an interview for Combate’s Facebook page. “The important thing is that I’ll come out victorious, it doesn’t matter what I’m going to do in there.”

McGregor (18-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Aldo (25-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) were originally supposed to fight earlier this July at UFC 189. However, Aldo was forced to pull out of the fight at the last minute due to a rib injury that occurred during training. The two are set to finally square off in the octagon at UFC 194 on Dec. 12 at the iconic MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Aldo has begun his training regimen in earnest in preparation for the upcoming fight, but both will have their work cut out for them come UFC 194. For those trying to gain some edge and insight on the upcoming fight, there’s a plenty of info on all the upcoming cards at the page for Betfair Betting. The site currently lists McGregor at 8/15 odds and Jose Aldo at 6/4, but this could very well be anyone’s match. The big question will be how Aldo returns from his rib injury and any effect it might have on his form, if at all.

Now the braggadocios fighter has announced his plans to move up a weight class to the lightweight division. MMA Junkie reports that McGregor revealed his intentions during a Los Angeles media luncheon.

“I’m going to unify the belts and destroy the division and then I’m going to go up and take the lightweight division, as well,” McGregor said. “So that’s where I’m headed right now.”

Big words from the current featherweight interim champ but don’t expect McGregor to be moving any time soon—he’ll have to get through Aldo first.

Follow The Money; Who’ll Get Floyd Mayweather Next?

Floyd Mayweather CBS Andre berto

Following the world’s most lucrative, albeit not the most exciting, boxing bout with Manny Pacquiao earlier this year, Floyd Mayweather signalled his intention to fight one more time before finally hanging up his gloves. At 38, Mayweather stands at 48-0 in professional boxing following many years as an amateur. That’s a big toll on the body and brain so it’s hard to argue that ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd wouldn’t be making the right call.

Detractors said that the Pacquiao bout came too late and lacked the relevance it once would have had. With one fight left on the table and a lot of money to be made, would Mayweather finally silence the critics that question how and when he picks his fights?

It seems unlikely. Mayweather has offered a few potential opponents, but nothing the fans are particularly salivating over. His own suggestions were Andre Berto and Karim Mayfield, with Amir Khan, Kell Brook and a Pacquiao rematch also being touted amongst others. Who has the best shot, and what’s realistic?

Gennady Golovkin
Golovkin is the wild card. It seems extremely unlikely that Mayweather would entertain a fight with a hard-hitting, bigger man. He’s spent years mostly bringing people up in weight to fight him and this would be very risky against the undefeated Kazakhstan fighter. This would be the fight fans want, but it won’t be a fight Mayweather wants.

Kell Brook
Fellow undefeated fighter Brook brings that unblemished asset to the table, as well as the IBF World Championship and a good following in Britain. This is likely second on the list of fights we’d want to see, but that seems to be inversely proportional to the fights Mayweather is likely to take. Brook is a threat, with speed and power.

Amir Khan
Another Brit who does bring some interest to the fight. Despite his good run of five wins, his three losses have really detracted from his star power. With a questionable ability to take a punch, he could be a perfect fit for Mayweather. He has credibility, a win streak and a fan base. However, it’s hard to see him beating Floyd and that will be key in setting up his final bout.

Andre Berto
At 27-0, Berto was one of the most touted prospects in boxing. He’s a hard hitter and exciting, but Ortiz, Guerrero and Karass derailed any hype he had. He was a WBC champion and currently has the interim WBA belt, but it’s a hard fight to build up given Berto’s recent run.

Karim Mayfield
You might be thinking why has his name even been thrown into the mix? Well, because Mayweather himself brought it into play. He has less experience than the rest, no notable titles and two defeats in his last three fights. Maybe it is an easy way to stay undefeated for Floyd, so to that end it could be possible. As fans, you wouldn’t like to think so, however.

With Mayweather now dismissing Pacquiao in a second fight, it appears we’ll be left with one of the above to varying degrees of likelihood. We’ll have to wait on the whim of Floyd himself to see who actually steps into the ring with him in September.

What UFC 187’s Winners Expect Next

ufc 187 cormier johnson weidman belfort
ufc 187 cormier johnson weidman belfort

This year, the UFC 187 was the highest profile, successful event organized by the organization and they surely did not disappoint; they delivered in a big way. Jon Jones lost the belt and we now have a new champion in Daniel Cormier, who filled the light-heavyweight void left in the division by Jones. The title did not come easy to Cormier, who was facing Anthony Johnson in a match that was the pay-per-view headliner. On the other side, there was a co-main event going down at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, where Chris Weidman tore apart Victor Belfort in a first round TKO. This meant that Chris successfully, for the third time, defended his UFC middleweight title. It was a great platform for lovers of the event to cash in and place a bet or two. You can also learn more about the advantages of the betting odds so that you make informed decisions and put your money into good use

Apart from the Chris Weidman fight, there were three other matches which featured performances by Andrei Arlovski, Donald Cerrone and Joseph Benavidez. After these matches, every fan is now wondering who their respective opponents will be in the coming matches. Let us take a look at these three individuals, how they won their matches, who they will be facing next and why.

Joseph Benavidez:
Once again, Benavidez proved that he is no ordinary flyweight as he saw out the durable John Moraga. The unanimous decision, the verdict of the judges marked a victory for him that showed how Benavidez is on a totally different level than his opponents. Although he still remains as one of the top contenders in the flyweight division, losing twice to Demetrious Johnson places him in a tough position. This is something he admits and he even addressed the matter in the post fight press conference. Looking ahead, he should fight Kyoji Horiguchi and he has no option but to win and hope that Johnson loses at least one of his matches.

Andrei Arlovski:
The 36 year old came into his match against Travis Browne struggling to shake off a leg injury that had put him in a position that he had considered withdrawing from the fight. If a few years ago I had told you that Arlovski was to fight again for the UFC, then you would have probably laughed it off. However, there was nothing laughable about his first round knockout of Browne, that proved to be one of the biggest wins of his entire career. UFC received its fair share of criticism after bringing Arlovski back to the organization, but he repaid them back and we even expect him to fight the winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum in his next match.

Donald Cerrone:
A funny statistic perhaps? Cerrone is the only UFC fighter, who has had eight consecutive victories but has never received a shot at the title. After defeating John Makdessi, he became the most deserving fighter in the lightweight division to get a shot at the title, especially with Khabib Nurmagomedov sidelined with an injury. Since August 2013, Cerrone has defeated all his opponents and most people expect the winning streak to continue.


Canelo Alvarez & James Kirkland look ready to make up for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao


By Alex Mattis

Houston, Texas is never quiet. So, that ruins any hopes of having a clever opening line like “It’s quiet in Houston, Texas… A little too quiet. One may say, it’s the calm before the storm.” that I was hoping for. No, Houston is really loud. Like it always is. However, what was heard yesterday when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez hit the stage today was a noticeable increase in the local volume.

Canelo Alvarez is a star and not even his highly-publicized loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013 could waver that. The crowd reaction he’s received every time he has stepped in front of a crowd since would indicate that he never even lost. His presence in Texas has become something of spectacle; first fighting at the Alamodome in front of 40,000+ in 2013 and, today, at Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros have recently started their season. His star power is not to be questioned and neither are his fighting abilities. While on 24 years-old, Canelo has asserted himself as one of the most exciting and drawing acts in boxing. The future is a bright one for Alvarez.

James Kirkland is what, at this point, is the standard boxing tale of “what could have been.” He burst on to the seen, leaving a path of destruction that led some to dub him “the little Tyson.” Legal and personal problems however, have made his career as a boxer an uncertain one. This is a gigantic opportunity for him. Yes, the fact that he ditched Anne Wolfe (the last time he did, he was humiliated by Nobuhiro Ishida in his only loss) and is utilizing his current camp for the first time ever, in the biggest fight of his career, is alarming. James Kirkland has the kind of punching power you can never doubt, though.

It’s so weird. This is something only the all-encompassing combat sports fans will understand, but I feel like this is Forest Griffin vs. Keith Jardine from UFC 66. The heavily beloved talent of his division, back on the rise pitted against this battle-tested but no-one-really-thinks-is-going-to-win brawler. Now obviously, I understand it’s a different sport and the skill level is VERY different but the story feels so familiar. Point being, no one should automatically rule-out James Kirkland.

From the opening bell, this should be a war. Something that the people who were disappointed by the Mayweather-Pacquiao event from last weekend may want to tune into. This bout should satiate any and all desire for wild combat. The way there two pair-up, I honestly don’t see this one reaching the eight round. Buckle up.

Canelo and Kirkland both weighed-in at 154.5 yesterday on the scales.

The co-feature, sadly, is off. Frankie Gomez came in over-weight at 147.5 for a fight that was, originally, scheduled at 140. Despite the cancellation, Humberto Soto is said to still be getting paid. Golden Boy can’t be too pleased with this one…

All the action goes down tonight on HBO at 9pm ET.

Boxing Odds Update as Mayweather vs Pacquiao Looms Closer

Mayweather Pacquiao face off 2015
Mayweather Pacquiao face off 2015

Money has poured in favor of Manny Pacquiao heading into his much anticipated mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao’s line has slowly trickled down, that is after he opened as a considerable underdog. While the public is seemingly backing Pacquiao, Mayweather now offers plenty of value after all the line movement.

Mayweather has excellent counter punching, defense and reflexes. The last time Pacquiao faced an excellent counter puncher, he was knocked out cold against Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather is a lot faster and slicker than Marquez, so Pacquiao may be in for a rough night.To add to that Pacquiao isn’t much of a body puncher himself, which plays right into Mayweather’s excellent shoulder rolls and head movement.

Confidence in Pacquiao has gained since the boxing betting line at was released weeks ago. He’s now only a +160 underdog.

That line has come a long way from the +220 it sat at just a little over a month ago. The belief in Pacquiao isn’t all blind, though. Mayweather has a weakness against quick and aggressive southpaws. His fight against Zab Judah in 2006 comes to mind. Judah matched Mayweather’s speed and precision in the early rounds before eventually fading late in the fight, thus leading to a Mayweather unanimous decision victory. If Pacquiao can impose his speed, power and aggression more consistently, he has a good chance of scoring the upset.

This is the type of fight that should invite a lot of big bets, even as high as seven-figures. Should the public continue to back Pacquiao, then the odds may slide further by May 2.

Bottom line: no matter what happens at the books, this should be a great bout.

Lucas Browne waiting for world title shot

lucas browne heavyweight title shot

The undefeated Lucas Browne is hoping for a major title shot this year. At the same time, Browne would have the chance to become the first Australian to be named a heavyweight champion of the world.

Having mainly fought in Australia and England during his career so far, Browne is a bit far away from a mega Las Vegas title bout. But just like those of us who dream of playing the blackjack tables in Vegas, there is nothing wrong with staying closer to home. The research by Casino Shortlist into the various online casinos and real money slots will ensure you are fully prepared. That is just like Browne will be when he does find his next opponent in the ring.

A bout with Alexander Ustinov has recently been mooted. But Browne’s promoters – Hatton Promotions – have poured cold water on a meeting with the Russian. Instead Ricky Hatton, a two-weight world champion during his own boxing career, wants Browne to be looking upwards at a better calibre of opponent.

Browne’s record of 22 wins from as many fights, with 19 coming by way of knock-out, certainly makes him a formidable opponent. He is also a formidable presence in the ring. He is ranked number four on the WBA’s list and he is the highest available challenger for the title held by Ruslan Chagaev. The WBA (Regular) belt was won by Chagaev last July and he has not fought since. Time is running out to name an opponent.

Former MMA fighter Browne, who will turn 36 in April, had his most recent fight when beating Chauncy Welliver in November. Browne is certainly open to the prospect of a meeting with Chagaev. He also fancies a future fight with Deontay Wilder, who won the WBC belt by beating Bermane Stiverne in January. It would certainly be satisfying if a heavyweight could unify at least part of the division again. But whether Browne is that man is a good question.

As a latecomer to boxing, he has risen through the ranks impressively and won the Commonwealth title by beating Eric Bahoeli last April. He suffered a severe cut during that fight and that has been an issue for Browne. There have also been concerns raised about his movement. His 6ft 4ins, approximate 19 stone frame does not lend Browne to being one of the more mobile heavyweights. That is especially the case if you compare him to someone like Anthony Joshua.

However, Browne packs a punch. He is aggressive. He would at least ensure the sterility which has been a hallmark of many world heavyweight fights in recent years is not present in the ring. The British fighter Tyson Fury has shown a willingness to fight Browne. But a meeting between those two looks unlikely until one of them is in possession of a world title belt.

For his part, Browne has not ruled out a fight with Fury’s promising young cousin Hughie Fury, who is due to face Andriy Rudenko. Browne beat Rudenko in a unanimous decision last year. There is certainly a gap at the top of the heavyweight division to be filled following the retirement of Vitali Klitschko. And there is probably no rush for Browne to go chasing a fight with Wladimir Klitschko, who beat the Australian boxer Alex Leapai in five rounds last year.
Chagaev and Wilder are not on a par with Klitschko or the better heavyweight world champions of the past 20 years. But Browne’s aggressive style could trouble either of those two. Browne has done well to put himself in line for a title shot. He now needs to take that next step to create history by becoming the first Australian world heavyweight champion.

UFC Scotland – What Can We Expect?

ufc scotland ufc news mma news
UFC Scotland 2015!

It was confirmed last month that Scotland would finally be getting a UFC event of its own. It’s been requested by fans and media alike for so many years that it became an in-joke at any European UFC press conferences. There’d always be the token Scot, grabbing the mic and asking UFC president Dana White when there were plans to finally host a show in Scotland. For so long they were fed the same old rhetoric about expansion plans, TV deals and business strategies. But now the date has been set and the Scottish MMA fans are duly excited.

Things really picked up pace when the UFC brought in the 115lbs female division, with Joanne Calderwood seen as one of the frontrunners to get her hands on the prize – the strawweight title. The Muay Thai specialist had won over many fans with performances in Invicta and Cage Warriors and they fully expected her to get the title and drag Zuffa to Glasgow kicking and screaming.

Her time in The Ultimate Fighter didn’t go to plan, although she did put in some good performances, so it wouldn’t be a marquee title fight that forced the UFC’s hand. However, the impression she made was enough that things were kick-started and put into motion. With fervent fans, an ideal arena of 13,000 and recent success hosting the Commonwealth Games, now is better than ever. But who can we expect to see on the card?

joanne calderwood ufc scotland
joanne calderwood ufc scotland

Joanne Calderwood:

Of course Calderwood is the first pick. The 28-year-old striker still has her unbeaten record intact despite a loss on TUF and at 9-0 with four knockouts she’s one of the most exciting female fighters in the world. She has more than 20 Muay Thai fights to her credit and a smooth, efficient style that never fails to impress.

Despite losing to a second round submission to finalist Rose Namajunas, Calderwood still picked up Fight of the Season and almost finished her opponent in round one. “Bad Mofo Jo Jo” has since gone on to impressively defeat Seo Hee Ham at the finale in December, and she’s itching to get back to business before the Scotland show comes around.

She’s been very vocal on the social networks, and presumably that’s because another win might put her in line for a title shot in her hometown. That’s still speculative, but it would be an automatic marketing win for the promotion, the fans, and Calderwood herself. We’ll wait and see on that one, but we definitely expect her to be a part of it.

Robert Whiteford:

Robert Whiteford was the first Scot to sign for the UFC and the first Scot to get a win in the Octagon. The Dinky Ninja judoka has had some injuries since debuting at late notice in October of 2013 and managed just a single fight in 2014. But he’ll have his eyes set on a home fight in the summer. Whiteford has been a part of European Judo’s push to promote their collaboration with the UFC, and he’s getting in favour with the UFC brass for a return. It’d be good to see him active before July but again there’s no confirmation just yet.

Who else?

There are a few other fighters knocking at the door, some louder than others, to get a shot in the UFC. Cage Warriors lightweight champion Steven Ray has been consistently asking to be signed up and this would be a better time than ever. The 16-5 fighter has won four of his last five, including a finish of UFC veteran Curt Warburton last time out. Many years ago we’d have looked to the likes of Paul McVeigh and James Doolan, but both fighters are now concentrating on coaching duties. Top featherweight Graham Turner has won six of his last seven and has plenty of high-level experience.

Outside of Scotland, you could look to other fighters who have a claim to a fight on Glaswegian soil. Jim Alers springs to mind, having defeated Turner in his last fight before signing for the UFC. Under the Cage Warrior banner, Alers made many fans in the UK and that included a main event win over Joni Salovaara in Glasgow. He comes in as 7/4 at the time of writing with betfair when he faces Chas Kelly in his second UFC fight this weekend. But win or lose he could have the right credentials to earn a return battle in somewhat familiar territory. There’d be plenty of support for the Irish, including Bushmills’ Norman Parke and any of the Dublin fighters, such as Pendred, Holohan, Seery or Redmond.

There’s still a lot of time and a busy European UFC schedule coming up. But the Scottish fans are thirsty for action and they’ll lap up everything the UFC throws at them when they finally reach Glasgow.

First Scottish UFC event to be held this year


The long-awaited inaugural Scottish UFC event will now definitely take place later this year. UFC announced at a press conference in Stockholm last week that UFC Fight Night 73 will take place at the SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow.

Within an hour of the announcement, more than 3,000 fight fans had pre-registered to buy UFC Scotland tickets. There has been talk of UFC coming to Scotland for more than five years now. But up until the SSE Hydro arena was opened last year the reason for the delay was thought to be connected to the lack of a suitable arena.

Added to the opening of the Hydro, the signing of Scottish fighter Joanne Calderwood to UFC probably tipped the balance for this year’s event to get the go-ahead. Back in November last year, UFC president Dana White had hinted that it wouldn’t be long until UFC would come to Scotland. But he had not given any kind of provisional date.

Fans interested in attending the event should put a note in their diary. Tickets should go on sale in May and it will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 in the States and on BT Sport in the UK.

Of course, if you want to get a bet on the fights during the event, you can do so at many of the bookmaking sites, such as 32red or Paddy Power, both online and on mobile.

Calderwood has said she’s delighted at the prospect of fighting on home soil. The 28-year-old was the first Scotswoman to fight in the UFC and she was featured in season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC reality TV show. In the finale, Calderwood fought South Korean Seo Hee Ham and although she was tagged repeatedly by Ham at the beginning, she managed to take control of the fight and finished the winner. In her pro career, she has a 9-0 record and is working towards a shot at a title – the 115lb belt which is currently held by Carla Esparza. To go for the title at the UFC Scotland event would obviously be the icing on the cake for Calderwood.

Another Scottish fighter who’s eager to take part in the UFC Scotland event is Robert Whiteford. He is one of the Dinky Ninja fight team based in Glasgow. Whiteford is the first Scot to have a UFC victory and is very likely to have a place at the July event. The 31-year-old has been struggling with back and knee injuries for almost a year now and so is looking to get a fight in during April in order to raise his game before the summer. His injury ruled out his fight with Dennis Siver last year. Whiteford is particularly looking forward to the possibility of fighting on home soil as he imagines that all Scottish fighting fans will get behind the home fighters.

It’s customary for UFC to sign additional local fighters when it first visits a new territory. So, it’s not just Whiteford and Calderwood who could be making Scotland proud in July. Indeed, there could be a number of other Scottish fighters for the undercard. One strong favourite to be signed would be Steven Ray, who is the Cage Warriors lightweight champion. The 24-year-old has a 16-5 fighting record and two victories under his belt over former UFC fighter Curt Warburton.