This Week in MMA (4/24-5/1): Diego Brandao Released, Shawn Jordan Signs with WSOF, Jones-Cormier 2 Announced
This week in MMA, despite not being home to a show from any of the leading MMA promotions, contained quite a few developments and stories for fans to absorb. Let’s take a look at all of the action!
Diego Brandao Released from UFC Following Assault Arrest
Diego Brandao, featherweight winner of TUF 14 and Ten-time UFC veteran, has been released by the promotion following his arrest for assault. Brandao allegedly waved a gun at employees of an Albuquerque strip club in mid-April, before striking one of these individuals in the face with the weapon.
This is a real shame to see, first because violent crimes are never acceptable in any way, shape, or form, and second because the young Brandao had so much potential, even with ten UFC fights under his belt. He will, of course, be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and his contract has once again been terminated. With both of these things considered, I’m hoping that Brandao will pay for his crime, make amends, and receive the appropriate help (anger management and therapy) to assure that nothing like this happens again.
I truly don’t believe that he is a bad guy; I still remember, after he won TUF when he exclaimed that he’d finally be able to buy a new house for his mother. With that said, he evidently has an anger issue that must be remedied immediately. Objectively speaking, though, many athletes—even those in combat sports, more specifically—have done far worse and returned to great success. While these instances don’t (and shouldn’t) enable Brandao’s behavior, the reality is that Jon Jones caused a pregnant woman to break her arm as a result of a collision for which he was at fault while under the influence of drugs. Whether or not this is worse than Brandao’s offense is debatable, but the checkered domestic-abuse record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, prior to his involvement in the biggest pay-per-view event of all time, isn’t.
After Brandao pays his debt to society and his victims, hopefully, he’ll be able to reignite his MMA career, as he is very talented.
Shawn Jordan Signs with the World Series of Fighting
Ten-time UFC competitor Shawn Jordan has signed with the World Series of Fighting.
The announcement came early this week, and this is an interesting career choice for Jordan to say the least. I say this not because of the WSOF’s relatively limited heavyweight division (as each major promotion has come to understand, finding viable MMA heavyweights is very difficult), but rather, because Jordan and WSOF President Ray Sefo were bantering on Twitter about the terms of Shawn’s deal not long after the contract was signed.
Hopefully, everything will be worked out, and we’ll be able to see Jordan back inside the cage ASAP, as he really is a joy to watch compete.
The UFC Announces a Series of New Fights, Including Jones-Cormier 2
The UFC really hit a homerun this week in terms of fight announcements, as a number of intriguing contests—including several late-replacement bouts—were revealed:
Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 at UFC 200 on July 9th
With McGregor officially off of UFC 200, the promotion needed to make a big statement with its replacement main event, and that’s exactly what this booking of DC and Jones is: a big statement. This is a fight that should require little additional promotion and “hyping”; it’s clear that both men, who are also highly skilled, strongly dislike one another, and this rematch is going to be incredible.
Joe Duffy vs. Mitch Clarke at UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez on July 7th
This is certainly a solid contest that will affect the career trajectory of both men for quite a while to come. It should also be fun to watch, given the style of each fighter.
Valerie Letourneau vs. Joanne Calderwood at UFN 89 on June 18th
Once again, the UFC is playing hardball in its recent matchmaking. These ladies, who are two of the very best strawweights in the world, are also very exciting to watch compete; I don’t know how this fight could be anything other than entertaining. Of course, its result will also play a massive role in shaping the divisional landscape.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Anthony Smith at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale on July 8th
Anthony Smith’s original opponent, Scott Askham, was forced to withdraw from the bout due to visa issues, and “Mutante” accordingly stepped-up to fill his spot. This new contest, between two of the most underrated middleweights in the sport, should be awesome.
James Vick vs. Evan Dunham at UFC 199 on June 4th
Evan Dunham’s original opponent, Leonardo Santos, was forced to withdraw from the contest due to injury and was replaced by James Vick, who is fresh off of a triumph over Glaico Franca at UFC 197. This is a very appealing contest that will be a massive test for Vick—quite possibly the biggest of his professional career. Fans are in for a real treat.
Anthony Birchak vs. Dileno Lopes at UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez on July 7th
This is another brilliant contest that is all but certain to be exciting to watch. While I admittedly haven’t seen much of Lopes (he has only fought in the UFC once thus far), his finish-heavy record indicates an exciting style. Birchak, inversely, has been a fighter who I have enjoyed watching compete for some time. Win, lose, or draw, something thrilling and unexpected happens in each of his fights. Anthony Birchak is skilled, and absolutely thrilling to watch compete.
Roy Nelson vs. Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez on July 7th
Forget about divisional standings and the progress of the heavyweight weight class; this match-up is one which was made for the fans—pure and simple. Both Lewis and Nelson are big hitters, and barring a takedown for Nelson; this is a fight that either competitor can take.
This week in MMA was enjoyable, thanks to some key fight announcements, and next week stands to be even better, mainly due to the live-and-free UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs. Overeem event, which airs on Fox Sports 1 Sunday afternoon.
Enjoy the fights!