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Shaquille O’Neal once showed off his MMA skills by putting ESPN.com reporter Michael Wallace in Shaquille O’Neal once showed off his MMA skills by putting ESPN.com reporter Michael Wallace in Shaquille O’Neal once showed off his MMA skills by putting ESPN.com reporter Michael Wallace in Shaquille

For a while, Shaquille O’Neal studied and practiced MMA before eventually applying it to a helpless reporting.

visit this Instagram post DR. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL, Ed.D. (@shaq) shared a post.

Michael Wallace, an ESPN.com writer, was once subjected to Shaquille O’Neal’s demonstration of her mixed martial arts prowess. The never-ending NBA Big Man Man was refining his MMA talents while playing for the Miami Heat throughout his absence. So, on a press day when the Heat training camp began, he made the decision to reveal his development to one of the media.

Michael Wallace of ESPN.com remembers his contact with Big Man in an article honoring Shaq’s remarkable connection with the media. Shaq has a wide range of interests outside of mixed martial arts, including dancing, music, rap, etc. In fact, he took pride in the wide range of interests he has outside of the court.

A reporter is used by Shaquille O’Neal to deliver the message.

Michael Wallace recalls how, when he was covering the Miami Heat, Shaq put him in a “Shaqmission” to squeeze him. It should be unpleasant to be caught capturing a 7-meter-tall enormous athlete.

But fortunately, Wallace continues, “There was even a time when he appeared on a media day at the start of the Heat training camp and tried to put me in charge, saying he had finished all offseason training with MMA fighters. To demonstrate how much you have studied, “Shaqmission” (post) is crammed. You will undoubtedly go down in entertainment history as the ideal individual.

Love of MMA by Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq discussed his passion for MMA in an interview with Ariel Helwani. Shaq believes that MMA is the most challenging sport in the world.

In essence, MMA requires athletes to recall several techniques from other sports while simultaneously reacting to their adversaries’ strikes. Shaq remarked that MMA is a really challenging sport since it uses all of the muscles. “Try not to get any rest and then someone will choke you and punch you, that was a very challenging game,” he added.

The four-time NBA champion also won championships in wrestling and mixed martial arts. It improved his focus, firmness, and paint-controlling skills. Additionally, it helped him strike the correct balance between moving toward defenders and getting the gun.

Also Read: Aljamain Sterling’s UFC 279 contract still hasn’t been signed.

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Stephen Thompson says he’ll be careful when it comes to his next fight

When choosing his next battle, Stephen Thompson is using sound judgment.

After being outworked by the grappling of Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad, Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC), a former two-time UFC welterweight title challenger, is currently on a two-fight losing streak.

Thompson believes there are many competitors in the class that would be more amenable to his striking-based style, even though he fully understands and respects that wrestling is a component of the sport.

“Wonderboy” hasn’t fought since losing to Muhammad at UFC Fight Night 199 in December, and while he would typically have done so by now or at least have one planned, Thompson is instead serving as a sensei for Season 4 of Karate Combat, which premieres on Saturday and is broadcast live online by the promotion. He is aware that this is a crucial time in his career and that he must make the right decision.

It may be taking so long because Thompson is having trouble finding the perfect opponent for his next bout, he told MMA Junkie. “I’m always working to improve; I train constantly. To be honest with you, even though I’ll be 40 next year, I still feel young. I believe my training regimen has a lot to do with it. Still, I feel great. Every day, I continue to learn.

Thompson, who is now ranked No. 9 in the welterweight division by USA TODAY Sports and MMA Junkie, says there are several solid choices available at 170 pounds. Simply bringing something to existence is all that is required.

The victor of Robbie Lawler vs. Bryan Barberena at UFC 276 will be under his “very tight” watch, he claimed. In recent months, he has also called out Dustin Poirier, Nate Diaz, and Nick Diaz on social media.

Additionally, Thompson stated that he is pleased to provide opportunities for the upcoming stars in the weight class. He believes that Kevin Holland (23-7 MMA, 9-4 UFC) and Michel Pereira (27-11 MMA, 6-2 UFC) are two fighters who are rising, and even though they are both ranked below him, he would be open to giving either of them a shot.

You have a lot of young men, Thompson remarked. “You have Pereira, who recently had a victory. He just, in my opinion, defeated (Santiago) Ponzinibbio. He’s a decent guy. Obviously, you have Kevin Holland who just won his fight. I know he’s calling out Sean Brady, but he’s definitely a guy who is moving up the rankings quick. He was great at 185, he made the cut to 170 fairly easy. There’s a lot of guys that I’m keeping my eye on, because they’re coming up the rankings pretty quick and they’re dangerous guys. There’s a lot of guys.”

One name Thompson isn’t particularly keen to fight, he said, is the undefeated Brady (15-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC). It’s a matchup he openly admits he’s not eager to do at the moment, especially given how his past two have gone.

“I know Sean Brady has called me out, but Sean Brady, I know exactly what he’s going to do,” Thompson said. “I don’t think it’s going to be fun for the fans, either, because he’s going to just shoot, shoot, shoot. Which is understandable in a situation like mine. There are other guys out there. We just gotta make it happen.”

Thompson knows he will eventually come back around to the overwhelming grapplers of the division, and said he will continue to work diligently so that he doesn’t fall into the same pitfalls he did against Muhammad and Burns.

“I’ve had wrestlers in the past try to do that, but you’ve got a new wave of high-level wrestlers,” Thompson said. “Not just straight wrestlers, but they’re so well rounded. So I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and really focus on not just defending the takedown. … But being dangerous in those situations, as well. So I’m going to go make sure I’m dangerous everywhere. It was a problem on my part not evolving my skills in every area of the game.”

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Sabatello Advances to Grand Prix Round in Bellator

CONNECTICUT: UNCASVILLE It may not be attractive, but Danny Sabatello doesn’t seem to care.

Sabatello (13-1 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) easily defeated Leandro Higo (21-6 MMA, 4-4 BMMA) in the Bellator 282 co-main event on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena despite the crowd’s boos and jeers (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) by unanimous decision.

No time was lost for Sabatello. Like in his previous appearances in Bellator, Sabatello dragged Higo to the ground and displayed strong control techniques on the back. In this position, Sabatello largely coasted for the remainder of the round and used it once more in Round 2. Higo, however, switched roles this time and snatched Sabatello’s back, where he continued the fight.

There were a few brief striking exchanges in Round 3 before the inevitable happened. The altercation resumed on the ground. Sabatello was in charge this time. The boo birds frequently appeared, and Round 3 was no exception. Referee Dan Miragliotta determined that Sabatello had done enough and let him to finish the round on top. After the end-of-round horn, Sabatello made fun of the spectators.

Sabatello shot once more during the finals. Higo briefly hinted for an arm-in guillotine choke, but he got the takedown and moved into guard. Sabatello continued to damp blanket Higo. Higo would repeatedly stand up before being hauled back down. With 10 seconds left, Sabatello got loose, ate a spinning backfist, and the round was over.

The final round continued in the same manner. Sabatello fought harder. Higo had greater trouble. The audience continued to jeer. While avoiding quick efforts at submission and making sure to talk more after the final whistle, Sabatello easily won the match.

With the victory, Sabatello moves on to the semifinals of the Bellator bantamweight grand prix, where he will later this year fight interim champion Raufeon Stots. One of Bellator’s rising stars, Sabatello has not only displayed dominance inside the cage but has also established himself with his emcee abilities outside of it. Jornel Lugo and Brett Johns were two of his other victories in Bellator.

Higo’s winning streak of three matches has been broken. The most recent time he lost prior to Friday was a September 2018 knockout defeat against Aaron Pico.

The full Bellator 282 results include:

Danny Sabatello def. Leandro Higo via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal Magomed Magomedov def. Enrique Barzola via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 4, 1:27 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal Brennan Ward def. Kassius Kayne via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:11 Killys Mota def. Dan Moret via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Lucas Brennan def. Johnny Soto via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:34 Alexander Shabliy def. Brent Primus via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:22 Cat Zingano def. Pam Sorenson via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-27, 29-27) Anatoly Tokov def. Muhammad Abdullah via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:28 Sabah Homasi def. Maycon Mendonca via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:58 Ilara Joanne def. Alejandra Lara via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27) James Gonzalez def. Cody Law via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26) Aaron Jeffery def. Fabio Aguiar via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:32 Mandel Nallo def. Bryce Logan via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:07

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Stevie Ray knocked out Anthony Pettis in the second round to earn a spot in the PFL playoffs

ATHENS — In order to advance to the 2022 PFL playoffs, Stevie Ray had to defeat former UFC champion Anthony Pettis on Friday. For the 32-year-old veteran, the task was successfully completed.

With a rare finishing move against Pettis, Ray (24-10) punched his ticket to the PFL playoffs. At 3:57 of the second round of PFL 5 inside Overtime Elite Arena, the Scottish fighter submitted Pettis using a modified body hold. He received five points for the victory, placing him as the No. 4 lightweight.

Ray got a body triangle on Pettis from the back, which led to the finish. Pettis (23-10) managed to enter the body lock, but Ray used his legs to keep hold of Pettis’ lower body and twist him awkwardly, breaking one of his ribs. Pettis winced in agony and tapped right away. After a while, he left the premises on his own, saying he would return for the playoffs.

Due to Myles Price’s first-round defeat in May, Pettis still holds the top spot in the lightweight division despite the loss. He will play Ray again if he is fit enough to participate in the playoffs. The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds are Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Alexander Martinez, respectively.

The night’s other shocker was not Ray’s triumph.

Bruno Cappelozza (15-6) of the heavyweight division, the champion for 2021, was severely defeated by Matheus Scheffel (16-8). The Brazilian fighter Scheffel, from Curitiba, struck Cappelozza many times in the opening round before retaining his composure on his feet for the remainder of the fight. Scheffel, a huge underdog in the heavyweight match betting, won by unanimous decision from all three judges.

In addition to Cappelozza, another promising Brazilian heavyweight in Renan Ferreira (9-3) lost a three-round decision to Klidson Abreu (17-5). Ferreira entered the fight fresh off consecutive knockout victories in barely 25 and 31 seconds. But Abreu was prepared for the power of the 6-foot-8 heavyweight. He took Ferreira down at will, tired him out and even won several exchanges on the feet en route to unanimous scorecards.

Although Cappelozza and Ferreira suffered upset losses, they will both still make the playoffs based on first-round finishes in the opening round. Ferreira is the No. 4 seed, while Cappelozza is the No. 3 seed. Russia’s Denis Goltsov (29-7) will enter as the No. 1 seed, off a decision win against late replacement Maurice Greene. And 2021 runner-up Ante Delija (21-5) is the No. 2 seed, after a victory against Shelton Graves.

At featherweight, Chris Wade (22-7) seized control of the No. 1 seed by knocking out Kyle Bochniak in the first round with a left head kick. Japan’s Ryoji Kudo (11-3) earned a stunning playoff berth by knocking out Alejandro Flores with a right hand in the very first round. The victory handed Kudo the No. 2 seed, even though he lost his opening season matchup earlier this year.

Former NCAA national wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins (18-5) secured the No. 3 seed with an easy decision win over Reinaldo Ekson, and Manchester’s Brendan Loughnane (23-4) earned the No. 4 seed with a decision win of his own against Ago Huskic.

The PFL’s regular season will wrap up next week in the same venue, and feature the women’s lightweight and welterweight divisions.

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Bec Rawlings vs. Britain Hart 2

This is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida’s BKFC 26 live blog for the headlining fight on Friday’s main show, Bec Rawlings vs. Britain Hart 2.

This flyweight matchup is a rematch of the August 2018 contest, which Rawlings won by a split decision over Hart.

Rawlings, who is 3-0 in bare-knuckle boxing and 8-9 in mixed martial arts, hasn’t participated in BKFC since defeating Cecilia Flores in February 2019. She is likely best remembered for her time spent competing in the UFC, when she took on well-known fighters like Tecia Torres and Paige VanZant. In her most recent combat sports debut in February 2020 at Bellator 240, Rawlings defeated Elina Kallionidou by unanimous decision.

Hart, who is 1-3-3 in professional boxing and 4-3 in bare-knuckle competition, makes a comeback after losing a unanimous decision to Christine Ferea in her attempt to capture the vacant BKFC flyweight title. Hart has notable bare-knuckle boxing victories over Pearl Gonzalez and former UFC fighter VanZant.

View the live blog for Bec Rawlings vs. Britain Hart 2 below.

First round: Both fighters began cautiously, with Hart jabbing from the outside. Rawlings begins to practice her jab after Hart responds. Rawlings maintains patience as Hart continues to shoot from the outside. Close up and unleash a combo from Rawlings. She straightens her right and catches Hart. Hart is stopped when he attacks wildly with hooks. The bell rings when Rawlings pokes the sternum.

Rawlings wins the round by a score of 10-9.

Rawlings comes out aggressively in round two. Hart on the move, circling and jabbing to slow the advance. Hart approaches the body, but Rawlings once more intercepts her with the right, and they are forced to bind up in order to separate. Hart back on the move; she looks tentative, but her jab to the body at distance has been successful. Rawlings resets while leading to the right. She hits the target with her jab. After Hart misses with an uppercut, Rawlings scores again with a straight.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Rawlings, who’s up 20-18.

Round 3: They trade right hands early, and Rawlings doubles up with the right as Hart goes low. Hart caught on the counter coming in. Rawlings technique a lot cleaner inside, she’s wasting less movement as Hart tries to get inside and land and fires back to keep distance. Hart with a nice shot to the body on the back end of a combo. Rawlings lands a two-punch combo off the back end. Hart goes back to the jab, and Rawlings short with a right.

Very close round, but Hart’s late-round work gives her the frame, 10-9, and it’s 29-28 Rawlings.

Round 4: Early straight rights from Rawlings off the jab. Hart dodges most but gets caught with one right. Hart back to the jab, circling around, and then looses a two-punch combo. Rawlings comes back on the end of Hart’s advance, but she’s a little off and misses. Hart’s activity might win her the round here; Rawlings’ right a little short again. Jab and cross to body is Hart’s best work. Finally, Rawlings lands a right and left hook, and Hart chases her with a flurry to close.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Hart, and it’s 38-38.

Round 5: Rawlings leads early with a flurry of punches that connect, and they start to trade heavy. Rawlings is on early, and Hart resets. Rawlings cathces Hart coming in and then lands a straight right. Hart back to the body with her left hand, and then she unloads as Rawlings closes in. Hart ducks as Rawlings charges in and goes back to moving. Rawlings stalking, lands a right and left hook in counter. Rawlings’ hair is an issue as it flops around. She clowns Hart and closes in. Hart trying to hit and run, and Rawlings swings. They start cursing at each other, and Hart gives a finger. Not a classy end to a very technical fight.

MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 to Rawlings, who gets the 48-47 decision.

OFFICIAL DECISION: Britain Hart def. Bec Rawlings via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)

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Robbie Lawler says he was surprised to find out he would be fighting on the preliminary card of a UFC event for the first time in 20 years.

When Robbie Lawler learned that he would be competing on the preliminary card of a UFC event for the first time in 20 years, he was a little taken aback.

On the undercard of UFC 276 on July 2 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Lawler (29-15 MMA, 14-9 UFC), a former UFC welterweight champion and one of the most thrilling fighters in the history of the sport, will face Bryan Barberena (17-8 MMA, 8-6 UFC).

Following prelims, which were just confirmed to show on both ABC and ESPN – and early prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ – the main card for the event will air on pay-per-view.

Although a pay-per-preliminary-card view’s platform occasionally attracts more viewers than the main card, being positioned at the top of the schedule carries some prestige. Since his promotional debut against Aaron Riley at UFC 37 in May 2002, Lawler hasn’t competed on the prelims of a UFC show, and he acknowledged he didn’t anticipate it at this point in his career.

I won’t lie: I was shocked, Lawler admitted to MMA Junkie on Friday. “OK, anything,” I say. It’s wonderful that I can leave there earlier. I wish they would just prioritize me. Begin the show, then leave. Fly home, perhaps.

A significant change from Lawler’s most recent bout is the fight with Barberena at UFC 276. In a highly anticipated rematch of one of his career’s defining defeats, “Ruthless” just defeated Nick Diaz via TKO at UFC 266 in September 2021. It was a major matchup against a legendary great, but now Lawler faces Barberena, whose star power isn’t as high as Diaz’s.

Lawler is okay with that, though, as he is certain that Barberena will offer an exciting event.

Lawler remarked, “I mean, obviously it’s entirely different. “It’s wonderful that they’re both lefties. Bryan is a lefty, and (I) recently trained for a leftie in Nick. It makes a good transition. I don’t have to make many changes. But the key is to remain professional, be focused, and attempt to apply the same enthusiasm to a fight with Bryan. … There is undoubtedly no back story, but the fact that Bryan shows up to fight makes for a decent tale. I’m here to fight, and the spectators will witness two men slugging it out for standing-up finishes. You can never predict what will occur. We’ll see, but it’s possible he’ll wrestle. I’m excited to go out there and showcase my skills.”

UFC 276 will mark Lawler’s first fight since his turned 40 in March. He’s not willing to put a timeline on when he’s going to walk away from competition, but said he’s currently satisfied with his performance in the gym and in the octagon and has no desire to walk away.

“Just one fight at a time,” Lawler said. “We’ll see what happens. I enjoy doing this. I can do it at a high level. I’m training with really good guys at Sanford MMA. They’re pushing me. I’m holding my own. So as long as I’m enjoying it and my body feels good and I’m excited to fight and put on a show, then I’m going to continue to do it.”

The entirety of Lawler’s focus at the moment is centered around Barberena. He’s excited to be part of the UFC’s annual International Fight Week festivities, and though the competition is going to be fierce for performance bonuses, Lawler expects to be in the running when the UFC brass issues extra $50,000 checks at the end of the night.

“I always feel like I’m going to go out there and put on a fight,” Lawler said. “That’s the only way I know how to do this. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m not planning on switching my style anytime soon. But there’s really good fighters on the card. Really good fighters – real technical, real exciting. Guys who bang, guys who do it all. It’s going to be a tough one to get that Performance of the Night.”

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Ronda Rousey on her new interest in Pro Wrestling

Ronda Rousey is adamant that professional wrestling matches are not nearly as difficult as mixed martial arts (MMA) contests.

visit this Instagram post a message that Ronda Rousey (@rondarousey) shared

The WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle’s podcast, “The Kurt Angle Show,” recently featured “Rowdy One” aka Ronda Rousey as a guest to talk about his incredible wrestling history and professional wrestling career. Both mountains have been scaled by Rousey.

But Rousey was convinced that living in a cage is more taxing than being paid to wrestle in a ring. For me, the true feeling that MMA brings to the table is something quite different.

And that’s what makes it seem real to me, like an injury, since, you know, accidents happen all the time when people are acting in Pirates of Penzance.

And I remember leading the Cor Coria conflict and asking myself, “Why did I do this?” each time I engaged in combat. Why am I punishing myself in this manner? I hate this because it’s so bad.

“And then, you know, I was there right up to the very end, ranking everyone.” This is the Rocky 4 character!

On her renewed interest in professional wrestling, Ronda Rousey

While Rousey clearly enjoys watching professional wrestling, she also enjoys actual competition just as much, if not more. In the world of professional wrestling, you seldom ever encounter it. Because you are actually working with your opponent rather than against him when you are in the ring.

Since planned competition is what I much prefer, I feel that genuine, or as we say, actual, competition will always be challenging. What is the hippest method to talk about a company?

I’ve always told myself I want to perform the Sode Tsurikomi Goshi, a throw I don’t frequently perform in mixed martial arts. Think about all the different ways I could have done it, and yet, you know, it never did.

But I always do it, just like in wrestling. I get to participate in all the games, if you realize what I mean. Fighting may be made as enjoyable as possible. What do you use in place of a match? It simply ends. Additionally, it’s enjoyable.

“Why is saying it’s fun bad? When people ask, it is easy, yes, physically difficult. But everyone works together to make sure it works. It’s not like everyone is plotting against you to prevent you from achieving your goal, you know, at the moment. “

Ronda Rousey is the current WWE Smackdown women’s champion and former Raw women’s champion. In MMA, she was a Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion before reaching the domestic level in the UFC while running for two years at bantamweight.

Also Read: Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals chronology for Eagle FC’s rise to the top of the MMA world

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Ian McCall vs Manel Kape, Fabian Edwards vs Michael Shipman and Fabian Edwards vs Michael Shipman

The main purpose of weigh-ins in combat sports has always been to determine if competitors can compete the following day by staying under the class weight limit. Additionally, when they flex their muscles on the scale, fans may tell if the weight loss was simple or difficult by how they look. During the staredown, the rivals also demonstrate their ferocity and hostility. Even while many weigh-ins don’t feature much action, occasionally a unique weigh-in might become just as popular as the fight itself. The top three weigh-ins that astonished fans are listed here.

The three most memorable MMA weigh-ins

Manel Kape versus Ian McCall

Video: Manel Kape and Ian McCall grapple in this clip https://t.co/OommZYLuHf MMA.UNO (@mmaunola) December 28, 2017 http://t.co/gsqgimCvxR

The UFC veteran Ian McCall made his Rizin debut while competing against the up-and-coming Manel Kape during the Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: 2nd Round. McCall, who was hoping to avenge his unanimous decision loss to John Lineker, was on a terrible luck streak when all five of his scheduled fights were postponed before he departed the UFC. The former UFC fighter asked to have his contract terminated, and his request was granted. McCall made his debut against Kape shortly after being signed by Rizin. Kape had just finished a six-fight winning streak, all of which had gone the distance. On December 28, 2017, in Saitama, Japan, the two competed, and thereafter they did the customary look toward the crowd for photographs. As Kape continued, McCall burst out laughing at what the young boxer was saying. The UFC veteran was struck in the back of the head by Kape, and McCall attempted a left hook in return. Before the authorities could intervene and separate the two, Kape would attempt two open-handed attacks. After receiving a cut caused by the ropes, McCall would lose the bout via TKO.

Michael Shipman versus Fabian Edwards

Bellator London- MVP vs Melillo weigh-ins, back on November 23, 2019, saw a chaotic stare down between the undefeated Fabian Edwards and Michael Shipman. When Edwards couldn’t take his eyes off Shipman, the press and officials knew this staredown was going to be intense. The resulting next couple of seconds were not expected however as a scuffle ensued when Edwards raised his arm up against Shipman’s face. The Birmingham fighter accused Shipman of flinching so Shipman tried to grab him while Edwards answered back with a slap. Many officials intervened and even main event fighter Michael “Venom” Page attempted to go after Edwards. Officials eventually got all parties to leave without continuing the staredown. Edwards would end up being victorious with a split decision win the next night.

Amadeusz Roslik vs Adrian Polanski 1

Polish fighters Amadeusz Roslik and Adrian Polanski had a crazy weigh-in at the first meeting at Fame 4 taking place on June 22, 2019, in Częstochowa, Poland. When the two stared down, Roslik immediately met Polanski with a slap and Adrian looked to commit to a tackle. Security separated them with two guards mounting and pinning Roslik to the ground. While trying to push off officials, Polanski fell off behind the banner and off the stage along with an official that was trying to subdue him. Roslik would end up being reprimanded and Polanski would be taken off stage. Adrian Polanski would win the fight against Roslik via decision.

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The former UFC bantamweight contender found two major things appealing when deciding where to go following his departure from the UFC

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Jimmie Rivera’s move to Bareknuckle Fighting Championship was an easy one to make.

The former UFC bantamweight contender found two major things appealing when deciding where to go following his departure from the UFC in August 2021. Rivera, who’s set to debut for BKFC on Friday against Howard Davis, liked the pay and contract flexibility that came with the promotion.

“Dave (Feldman) is doing a great job. He’s bringing some big stars in and the paychecks are what fighters want to get paid, so that’s a great plus,”

Rivera told MMA Junkie. “At the same time, we have the leniency, too. I can do bareknuckle, but I can still do MMA and I haven’t stopped for MMA.

“I’m looking forward to getting another MMA fight in hopefully sometime this year, depending on the outcome of this fight here, depending on whether he wants me to come back and fight again, and my health, and how I feel after this fight, too. But I definitely want to get an MMA fight in, and I think I might stay at 145 in MMA.

“We’ll see what happens. We can do a one-off with Bellator, PFL, just do something and get in there and compete. I didn’t retire from MMA, I just changed promotion. I have the leniency that I can do both.”

Rivera, who competed for the UFC from 2015 to 2021, says the pay at BKFC is bigger than what he saw in the UFC. However, he’s not ruling out a return to the UFC and would take an opportunity to return.

“It was more than what I was making in the UFC,” Rivera said. “With being a free agent and being able to explore a few places, I mean, it took some time. We had other things there. We also were trying to see if PFL was going to open a 135 weight class and a grand prix for $1 million – that’s really good at 135. Why not? But they didn’t decide to go that route.

“The paycheck they’re offering in bareknuckle is more than the UFC. I didn’t burn any bridges with the UFC, and the reason that I didn’t burn any bridges is because if I want to go back, I want to go back. I’m not going to sh*t talk. It was a great run with the UFC. I might end up back there one day, I might not. I had fun the six, seven years I was there. It was great competition. It was fun.”