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Midnight Mania! Juan Archuleta expects improved TJ Dillashaw following USADA suspension

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UFC Fight Night: Cejudo v Dillashaw Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Few have experienced as harsh a fall as TJ Dillashaw. After capturing and defending the Bantamweight title by stopping bitter rival Cody Garbrandt, Dillashaw pursued double champion status by dropping down to face Henry Cejudo. Instead, Cejudo promptly knocked him out in less than a minute. Dillashaw didn’t even have his Bantamweight strap to console him for long, as a positive drug test for EPO stripped him of the title and sentenced him to the sidelines for two years.

Could it really all be for the best?

Longtime Dillashaw team mate and upcoming Bellator Bantamweight title challenger, Juan Archuleta, is optimistic. He spoke with TMZ Sports about Dillashaw’s return, explaining why he believed the former champion would return better than ever.

“T.J.’s doing well, man,” Archuleta said (transcription via MMAJunkie). “He’s getting big, strong recovering from his double surgery, the shoulder surgeries, that he had. Of course, his suspension is coming to an end so we’re getting him ready so that when his suspension is lifted he’s gonna be ready to be in the title mix.

“I honestly think he’ll be a lot better,” he suggested. “You get that time off and you get to rest the brain, rest the body, and that guy’s always ‘pedal to the metal.’ So he gets to recover his whole body. People don’t know he was dealing with two shoulder surgeries going into that fight. Every other practice, I swear to you, man, we’d be wrestling or scrapping and his shoulder would just pop out!”

There’s little doubt that Dillashaw’s decade of competition resulted in some wear-and-tear, so perhaps those surgeries and time away will help him heal up. However, by the time Dillashaw is eligible to return in January of 2021, he’ll be just a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday.

Will he still be a title threat?

Insomnia

Diego Sanchez is using Michel Pereira’s recent success to defend his own performance, which ... seems like a reach.

Yes, I would definitely watch this rematch. Both men have improved greatly since 2014!

Ricardo Lamas elaborates a bit more on his retirement:

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I’ve received so many messages and will do my best to respond to all of them. First I have to thank my family. Without the support and help from my wife, parents, brothers and extended family I would have never been able to achieve what I’ve achieved in this sport. To my kids I want you to know that you’ve been the biggest and most powerful form of motivation that I’ve ever had in my life. Everything that I’ve done and every sacrifice I’ve made has been to be able to give you a better life. Thank you to my trainers Cesar Carneiro and Daniel Valverde from @mmamasters and Matt Kuschert from @ufcgymnaperville for preparing me for every fight. Thank you to all my training partners who have also helped prepare me. Shout out to my boy Luis Palomino and Karen Ebihara for opening their home to me this last camp and making my weight cut so easy with their meal prep service @balancedlifebento To my fans, thank you for the support all these years. It’s been an honor to perform for you and have you all in my corner. First and foremost I’d like to say that I am a proud American that does not take for granted the freedoms that I have known all my life thanks to the sacrifices made by my parents to give my brothers and I a better future. To my fans from Mexico and Cuba, know that I will always carry these flags with pride and represent our culture with honor and integrity. He recibido tantos mensajes que es muy difícil responder a todos. Primero quiero darle gracias a mi familia. Sin el apoyo y la ayuda de mi esposa, mis padres y mis hermanos, nunca hubiera podido lograr lo que he logrado en mi carrera. A mis hijos quiero que sepan que ustedes fueron la motivación más grande y más poderosa que he tenido en mi vida. Todo lo que yo hice fue para poder darles una vida mejor. Gracias a mis entrenadores Cesar Carneiro, Daniel Valverde y Matt Kuschert por prepararme para cada pelea. A mis fans, gracias por el apoyo de tantos años. Ha sido un honor tenerlos en mi esquina. Para mi querida gente de Mexico y de Cuba, siempre llevaré estas banderas con tremendo orgullo y los seguiré representando a ustedes con honor e integridad. ¡Viva México y Viva Cuba libre!

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So, about the UFC video game ...

The MMA world is a more entertaining place with the Diaz brothers active.

Speaking of, Leon Edwards responded to Nate Diaz’s trash talk.

Valentina Shevchenko works on her spinning strikes:

Slips, rips, and KO clips

I do my best to highlight when my team mates do cool stuff, so here’s the baddest 115-pounder I’ve met picking up a DEEP title!

A really sweet armbar off what looks to be a failed takedown attempt.

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Slick

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A quick overhand catches Jun off-guard and puts him on the mat:

Random Land

Delivered to your door with care.

Midnight Music: Tonight, I listened to Townes Van Zandt’s second album, Our Mother The Mountain, which is wonderfully written like most of his work, but heavier on the ballads.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.