- Yahoo Sports16 hrs ago
Alexander Gustafsson isn't a trash talker. He doesn't crack jokes when he speaks publicly. He's not known for being glib.
But when the UFC light heavyweight speaks of his fight on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London with Jimi Manuwa, he seems about ready to doze off.
Gustafsson lost one of the best fights of 2013, and one of the best matches in UFC history, when he was narrowly defeated by Jon Jones in their light heavyweight title bout in the main event of UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
It was a stirring, back-and-forth bout in which Gustafsson, even in defeat, earned raves for his performance.
As a reward for that great performance, Gustafsson gets a no-win bout against the largely unknown Manuwa, who is a power puncher with a 14-0 record.
Manuwa has everything to gain, and Gustafsson everything to lose from the bout. Manuwa has one of the lowest profiles of any fighter in the main event of a UFC card during the Zuffa era, which dates to January 2001.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports17 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez won his first world title when he was just 20 years old, younger than Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya were when those boxing legends captured their first world championship belts.
He had 20 wins before he turned 18, 30 wins before he was 20 and 40 wins before he was 22.
He headlines a pay-per-view card Saturday against junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo at the MGM Grand Garden as he comes off the first defeat of his career, a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Alvarez is 42-1-1 and a heavy favorite to defeat Angulo, but boxing history suggests that though he is still a very young man, we may have seen the best of Alvarez in the ring.
He turned professional on Oct. 29, 2005, when he was 15 and was 4-0-1 before he was 16. He fought twice in 2005, seven times in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and eight times in 2008.
He gained critical experience and moved up rapidly in the world rankings in those early years. But as he started to have more success, and earn more money, he fought less frequently.
- Yahoo Sports1 day ago
It's odd how things work in mixed martial arts. In September, a few days before Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight title against Alexander Gustafsson at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, UFC president Dana White was telling a throng of reporters that, indeed, the Swede was a worthy title contender.
There were skeptics in that media gathering who didn't have faith in Gustafsson's ability to successfully compete head-to-head with an all-world talent such as Jones.
Now, though, six months and a near-miss later, Gustafsson is suddenly a big name giving another virtual unknown a chance.
But Jimi Manuwa, that relatively anonymous 14-0 fighter, insists he's not overcome by the moment. He'll face the best opponent of his career by a long shot when he meets Gustafsson in the main event of a card Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.
Manuwa has never gone to a decision and never been into the third round in a fight. Though Gustafsson is heavily favored, Manuwa laughs it off easily.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
LAS VEGAS – Standing on a platform in front of a small group of fans and photographers, the image of Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo couldn't be more stark.
The red-headed, freckle-faced Alvarez looked like the kid serving chocolate malts at the local scoop shop. It's in great contrast to Angulo, the former interim WBO champion whose scowl and closely cropped dark hair make him look like a movie villain.
Angulo is a few days away from the biggest fight of his life, or at least the biggest boxing match, when he meets Alvarez in the main event of a Showtime pay-per-view card at the MGM Grand. In Alvarez, he'll face one of the sport's brightest stars, an up-and-coming junior middleweight whose ability, even at 23, to sell tickets and pay-per-views is already documented.
Angulo has largely been a below-the-radar type of fighter, though his matches with James Kirkland and Erislandy Lara were the kind of fights that would give boxing a chance to become one of the big four sports again if they were typical of the sport's regular bouts.
Images, though, are deceiving, and at perhaps the darkest hour of his life, Angulo showed his character.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Other fighters had quietly been issued therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) long before Chael Sonnen made them household acronyms in the UFC.
Sonnen's TRT case is the most widely known, and in some ways, misunderstood, of all those exemptions given.
Last week, the Nevada Athletic Commission voted 4-0 to end all exemptions for TRT. A day later, the commission in Brazil followed suit.
The reasoning for the ban was sound: Less than one percent of all men need testosterone replacement without having previously abused steroids. Essentially, approval of TUEs for TRT amounted to state-sponsored cheating. So Nevada did the right thing and pulled the plug on them.
That won't stop illicit use of testosterone, or other anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs, of course, but it's unseemly when a regulatory body OKs the use of a steroid because a person has used steroids in the past.
- Yahoo Sports5 days ago
SAN ANTONIO – Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. entered the ring at a shockingly empty Alamodome on Saturday at something of a career crossroads at just 28-years old.
His commitment to the sport was being questioned, even by those close to him, and his fans appeared to be abandoning him.
The son of one of the greatest fighters in boxing history, Chavez did his part to regain some of his lost luster before 7,323 at the Alamodome by routing Bryan Vera in a fight he won by repeatedly clubbing Vera with a crunching right hand.
Judges scored it 117-110 twice and 114-113 for Chavez. Yahoo Sports scored it 118-109 for Chavez.
It was the second fight in a row where the attendance at one of Chavez's fights was less than expected, and in the early stages of Saturday's bout, the crowd couldn't seem to make up its mind whether it was for Chavez or Vera.
He drew roughly half the crowd to the Alamodome that he did in his last appearance in San Antonio, when he attracted 14,120 to watch him fight Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4, 2012.
- Yahoo Sports6 days ago
The uncertainty over whether Vitor Belfort could gain a license from the Nevada Athletic Commission led the UFC to ask the controversial middleweight to step aside from his planned May 24 title bout in Las Vegas against Chris Weidman.
Belfort has used Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) for several years and had a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) from the Brazilian commission to use it for his three fights in 2013.
He scored spectacular knockouts in those fights over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson and made himself the middleweight division's No. 1 contender.
But only hours after the Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to end exemptions for use of testosterone replacement, Belfort issued a statement to Fox Sports 1 in which he said he would not fight Weidman at UFC 173.
The UFC then announced that Lyoto Machida would step in to replace Belfort.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
SAN ANTONIO – Athletic commissions exist to ensure the health and safety of the athletes who compete in combat sports in their respective states, but doling out exemptions to fighters to use Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) essentially amounted to a state-sanctioned license to cheat.
And so kudos to the Nevada Athletic Commission for confronting arguably the most serious issue facing combat sports today and ordering an end to all therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for TRT. A fighter who has low testosterone levels will no longer be permitted to petition the state to allow him to use exogenous testosterone.
In a statement, UFC president Dana White said he "fully supports" the 4-0 vote by the Nevada commission. White said he would order the UFC to adopt the ban in international events where there is no commission and it self regulates.
The battle is far from over, however. Other states remain free to make their own decisions and can still provide TUEs for fighters who request it.
- Yahoo Sports8 days ago
The one opponent that John Hathaway can't defeat is the very one that has kept him from becoming one of the UFC's elite welterweights.
Hathaway's body has betrayed him as he has gotten to the highest level of mixed martial arts. He has Crohn's Disease and it has limited him to just three fights in the last three years.
He'll make it four on Saturday when he faces Dong Hyun Kim on Saturday in the main event of a UFC Fight Pass card in Macau, China.
Hathaway, 26, will be looking to regain the momentum he had after he joined the UFC in 2009. He made a quick splash, routing local icon Tom Egan in Dublin, Ireland, in his promotional debut at UFC 93, then bested Rick Story, Paul Taylor and Diego Sanchez in his next three outings.
A terrific all-around athlete who was once a promising rugby player, Hathaway seemed to be on the path to stardom when his body betrayed him. He's 17-1 overall in MMA and 7-1 in the UFC, but has been an infrequent participant over the last three years.
Not long after a surprising loss to Mike Pyle at UFC 120, Hathaway began feeling lethargic frequently, got ill often, and would have flare-ups of intense abdominal pain.
- Yahoo Sports8 days ago
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has every incentive he needs to put on a great performance on Saturday when he meets Bryan Vera at the Alamodome in the main event of an HBO-televised card in San Antonio.
Chavez is coming off a lackluster victory over Vera in September, a bout in which he struggled mightily to make weight.
He was shunned by fans in that fight, who unexpectedly failed to turn out in big numbers for the match at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Fans seemingly have gotten tired of his act, in which he coasts on the name of his legendary father and gets every break handed to him.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said the apathetic fan trend is continuing for the rematch. The Alamodome is scaled for a $1 million gate, but Arum said it is looking more like it will be $600,000.
"Not nearly what he did in San Antonio before," Arum said.
Arum is deep in talks with K-2 managing director Tom Loeffler for a July 12 bout at 168 pounds between Chavez and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
It would be yet another big-money, high-stakes bout for Chavez.