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Jeremy Stephens upsets Doo Ho Choi with highlight KO at UFC Fight Night in St. Louis

Jeremy Stephens has been in the UFC for more than 10 years, and his punching power is no secret by now. But it still carries a shock factor. Stephens (27-14) delivered a jaw-dropping knockout against Doo Ho Choi on Sunday, finishing the Korean prospect with a pair of monstrous right hands in the second round. The featherweight bout headlined UFC Fight Night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The upset finish came at the 2:36 mark. Stephens dropped Choi with an overhand right behind the ear and stood over his…

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Who will win Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix?

Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix kicks off Saturday when Chael Sonnen faces Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at The Forum in Los Angeles. Other fighters participating at later dates include Frank Mir, Ryan Bader, Fedor Emelianenko, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Matt Mitrione and Roy Nelson. We asked our panel — ESPN MMA reporter Brett Okamoto, ESPN MMA editor Greg Rosenstein, SportsCenter hosts Max Bretos and Phil Murphy, and digital contributor Eric Tamiso — for their picks. Okamoto: Matt Mitrione As boring as it is to take the odds-on favorite, I’d be lying…

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Yoel Romero will replace UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in fight vs. Luke Rockhold at UFC 221

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has withdrawn from a scheduled title defense against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 next month due to an undisclosed injury. Whittaker, 27, tried to remain on the event but was ruled medically unable to compete by physicians. Rockhold (16-3) will now face Yoel Romero (12-2) for an interim 185-pound championship. UFC officials told ESPN that Whittaker will face the winner in a unification bout. “I’m beyond disappointed that I’m unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia,” Whittaker stated. “I hope the…

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UFC has booked Moscow stadium, report says

The UFC is actively working toward its first event in Russia and could visit the country in 2018. According to a report by RT Sport, the UFC has booked Moscow’s Olympic Stadium, an indoor venue, on Sept. 14 and 15 for a potential event. Officials told ESPN on Friday there is no official event to announce, but confirmed its interest in the market. “UFC continues to make progress in the Russian market and is actively working on a partnership that could result in the global brand potentially hosting its first-ever…

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Vitor Belfort to retire after this weekend’s UFC fight against Uriah Hall

Legendary mixed martial artist Vitor Belfort intends to retire this weekend, following his middleweight fight against Uriah Hall in St. Louis. Belfort (26-13) will meet Hall (13-8) in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night inside Scottrade Center. The 40-year-old Brazilian has said it will be the final appearance of his career. Vitor Belfort (red trunks) fighting Michael Bisping in a UFC fight. Belfort intends to retire this weekend.¬†Susumu Nagao for ESPN “This is my retirement fight,” Belfort told UFC Unfiltered. “After that, I am putting my body to rest….

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Jessica-Rose Clark rejuvenates career, life after move to Las Vegas

Jessica-Rose Clark is addicted to thrift shopping. Clark — “Jessy” for short — cannot seem to stop herself from dropping a few bills at a thrift shop every weekend. It started as a way to wear something other than gym clothes and has blossomed into 22 pairs of jeans and 30 jackets. It’s a bona fide problem. “I don’t wear any of it,” Clark said in a phone interview. “And who even needs that many jackets and pairs of jeans?” Some guy took her to Savers and well, she’s had…

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UFC’s new sponsor Modelo highlights Stipe Miocic in ad campaign

The UFC and Modelo Especial officially kicked off a multi-year, multimillion dollar partnership on Jan. 1. And so far, the biggest beneficiary of the deal might be UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic‘s mother. A key part of Modelo’s marketing strategy is its “Fighting Spirit” campaign, which consists of a series of commercials that profile successful, blue-collar minded individuals. When Modelo surveyed the UFC’s roster for an athlete to partner with, it quickly chose Miocic. With the new year upon us, we asked our MMA contributors to provide the fight they…

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Conor McGregor faces off against Richard Branson in Dublin

Jan 11, 2018 ESPN staff Conor McGregor faced off topless with Richard Branson at an event in Dublin Wednesday. McGregor, who hasn’t fought since his defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in August, remains in the public eye due to activities in his social life, like renting out an amusement park. This latest event involving McGregor took place at the Pendulum Summit in Dublin’s Convention Centre after McGregor was present with the Pendulum Summit Lifetime Achievement Award. McGregor is still yet to confirm a date for his next fight but…

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Africans to note on UFC’s 2018 calendar

Africans enjoyed a banner year in combat sports in 2017, but the coming months are shaping up to be even bigger for the continent’s fighters across the various organizations. The UFC has released its events schedule for the first quarter of the year, so Kwes√©ESPN looks at the top African fighters on the cards over the next few months. Francis Ngannou – Heavyweight (Cameroon) As a reward for his first round knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 in December (ESPN’s Knockout of the year), the UFC granted Francis ‘The…

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Ronda Rousey, WWE executive Triple H have dinner in Los Angeles, fueling talk of possible leap

While her MMA career remains in limbo, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey continues to fuel speculation that a leap to professional wrestling could be next. Rousey, who adopted the “Rowdy” nickname from WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, met with WWE executive Paul Levesque over dinner in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The two sides have had ongoing conversations for months, and Rousey has even made guest appearances at WWE events. “We are talking to Ronda, as we’ve been for a while,” Levesque, better known as wrestling…

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