Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Leon Edward’s first title defense remains unbooked.
When Edwards’ shin crashed into Kamaru Usman’s dome in the fifth round of their championship rematch, there was an obvious next step. Clearly, a rematch was justified, as Usman was a longtime champion, Edwards’ knockout was a stunning come-from-behind shot, and the rivalry remains tied at one victory a piece. When Usman agreed to a London showdown, the stage seemed to be set from a scrap at UFC 286 in March.
Still, no contract has been signed and no fight has been announced. Instead, rumors swirl. Stephen Thompson claimed that Kamaru Usman’s hand was injured, prompting UFC to look for another option like Jorge Masvidal. Meanwhile, Belal Muhammad says he has a signed contract to fight Leon Edwards, and Usman is walking around with some sort of cast on.
Just what the hell is going on?
Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, took to Twitter to clear the air. “Please enough with the rumors,” he tweeted. “Kamaru is fighting León next, he is good to go. We bringing this belt back to where it belongs.”
Generally, I would advise a grain of salt or two when processing Abdelaziz tweets. However, he did recently call the Aljmain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo match up, and despite the lack of an official announcement, it really appears UFC is moving that direction (regardless of Sterling’s desires). Perhaps he knows something here as well — it certainly wouldn’t benefit him to lie if Usman’s hand is indeed broken.
UFC 286 is 10 weeks away.
I am very obviously in favor of improving fighter pay, but I also have to wonder how Bryce Mitchell is so broke living on his farm in Arkansas. Squirrel soup isn’t that pricy!
Why didn’t Bryce Mitchell (@ThugnastyMMA) pull out of his fight against Topuria when he got sick? This is why. And he’s not complaining. This is the game. But it’s important to know what goes into these hard choices fighters face. pic.twitter.com/ouKUFh1yau— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) January 5, 2023
Anthony Pettis is plenty willing to fill in against Jake Paul if Nate Diaz doesn’t accept his offer.
Canada on Canada violence! “Proper” Mike Malott is one of my favorite people, so I humbly request my readers cheer for him as well.
Anthony Rocco Martin teases some juicy drama ...
I will be releasing shit on Kayla H, Ali A, and Tyrone Spong shortly— Anthony Rocco Martin (@TonyRoccoMartin) January 4, 2023
Kayla won’t look so pretty in the world when the truth is out. Ali cared more about politics. And where does Tyrone fit in? Things are going to get interesting. Stay tuned— Anthony Rocco Martin (@TonyRoccoMartin) January 4, 2023
Just a quick leak before I finish writing everything up and releasing it, guns, threats, money, lies, cheating, kids, all of that is on the table.— Anthony Rocco Martin (@TonyRoccoMartin) January 5, 2023
THIS IS SUCKS!
Francis Ngannou is back ripping kicks! I really hope we see “The Predator” back in the Octagon.
Sean Strickland and Dominick Reyes getting after it!
Slips, rips, and KO clips
I cannot even imagine how upsetting it would be to lose a professional MMA fight via meme choke. Devastating.
Buggy choke by Evgeny Tabarovsky at today's Hardcore FC MMA event.— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) January 5, 2023
(uploaded today, not sure when it happened) pic.twitter.com/LvS5nCozqW
A whole lot of spit went flying off this right hand.
A positive update to the Damar Hamlin situation.
Dr. Timothy Pritts of UC Health, on Damar Hamlin: "He's made substantial improvement. It appears his neurological condition and function is intact. We are very proud to report that. ... This marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2023
Midnight Music: Classic rock, 1972
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.