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Midnight Mania! Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns confirmed for title shot … after Colby Covington

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MMA: UFC 272 - Covington vs Masvidal Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

This weekend (Sat., May 6, 2023), top-ranked Welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad will throw down in the co-main event of UFC 288 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Both men have been vocally campaigning for a title shot for quite some time, and their willingness to step up on very short notice and face one another is a risk that deserves to be rewarded.

Fortunately, White confirmed the bout as a title eliminator, meaning the victor will receive a chance at Welterweight gold. However, he remains committed to Colby Covington as the next-in-line contender for Leon Edwards’ throne, meaning Burns and Muhammad are battling for the second place in line.

“One hundred percent … yes, the guy who wins this fight will get the next shot (after Covington),” White said at the pre-fight press conference (via MMAJunkie).

Likely, Covington vs. Edwards is expected to go down sometime in fall, meaning the Burns vs. Muhammad victor might see their title shot materialize early in 2024? That’s assuming all goes well, and there’s no injuries that delay any of the involved parties.

What does it mean for the rest of the division? Kamaru Usman and Shavkat Rakhmonov are the two top contenders left out, so perhaps those two end up locked in the cage together.

Assuming White doesn’t hate that fight, too.

LIVE! Watch UFC 289 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

OCTAGON RETURNS TO THE GREAT WHITE NORTH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Canada for the first time in almost four years when it hosts UFC 289 inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sat., June 10, 2023. In UFC 289’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, women’s Bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, will lock horns with No. 5-ranked 135-pound contender, Irene Aldana, while former Lightweight kingpin and current No. 1-seeded contender, Charles Oliveira, battles No. 4-ranked Beneil Dariush in the co-feature with 155-pound title implications on the line.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!


Can Christian Rodriguez build his big win over Raul Rosas Jr. into a significant Bantamweight win streak?

Alex Pereira isn’t impressed with the gloating come from Israel Adesanya’s direction. Think the two eventually meet at 205-pounds?

Conor McGregor’s meme near the end of this post is the funniest he’s been in years.

Another Mike Perry meme for good measure:

It’s always very interesting to see someone come up with a different style that addresses the common reasons other people don’t fight/wrestle this way.

It doesn’t look like Frankie Edgar went that easy on him! Also, keep your eyes open my man!

Are there any fight results you firmly believe to be faked?

Slips, rips, and KO clips

I’ve never seen an arm triangle (basically) finished from the opposite side like this! Saidyokub Kakhramonov is very clearly very good and should never have been released.

Given how much more flexible female fighters tend to be, I could see buggy chokes becoming more common in women’s MMA.

Both men were ripping kicks and making reads, but Bobryshev found his mark first.

Random Land

This clip is just incredible. It might have been posted here before, but I don’t care, watch it again.

Midnight Music: Folk rock, 1971

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

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