POLLOCK’S MMA UPDATE: Cerrone-Ferguson expected, UFC vs. Bellator tonight

A huge lightweight fight is expected for UFC 238 next month, a preview of UFC 237, Bellator 221 takes place from Chicago, BJ Penn's team issues a statement & more.

Photo courtesy: UFC

POST IT NOTES

**I’ll be back late tonight with a UFC 237 POST Show discussing the UFC and Bellator 221 shows, which will be on the main POST Wrestling RSS feed.

MMA NEWS

**ESPN reported Friday that a huge lightweight fight is close to becoming official. Former interim champion Tony Ferguson is expected to fight Donald Cerrone next month at UFC 238 in Chicago in a fight featuring two of the top lightweights in the division. Brett Okamoto reports that the contract is not signed yet, but it is expected for the show. Cerrone is turning around immediately after defeating Al Iaquinta in a five-round fight last weekend in Ottawa, Ontario. Ferguson has won 11 fights in a row and last competed at UFC 229 in October 2018 where he defeated Anthony Pettis. Cerrone has had his arm raised in his last three outings, including the last two at lightweight over Alexander Hernandez and Iaquinta.

**The UFC 237 card is tonight from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil featuring a women’s strawweight title fight with champion Rose Namajumas defending against Jessica Andrade. It’s Namajunas’ first fight in 13 months after defeating and defending the title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Andrade beat three strong names in Claudia Gadelha, Tecia Torres, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz to earn the title fight and is the betting favorite to win the fight. Here is the full card with results from Friday’s weigh-ins:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on pay-per-view)
*Rose Namajunas (114.5) vs. Jessica Andrade (114.5) – UFC strawweight title
*Anderson Silva (185) vs. Jared Cannonier (184.5)
*Jose Aldo (146) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (145.5)
*Thiago Alves (170.5) vs. Laureano Staropoli (170.5)
*Irene Aldana (135.5) vs. Bethe Correira (141*)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm on ESPN)
*Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (203.5) vs. Ryan Spann (204)
*Kurt Holobaugh (154.5) vs. Thiago Moises (155)
*Sergio Moraes (170) vs. Warlley Alves (170)
*Clay Guida (153.5) vs. BJ Penn (155.5)

FIGHT PASS CARD (6:30 pm Eastern)
*Luana Carolina (124.5) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (125.5)
*Raoni Barcelos (135.5) vs. Carlos Huachin (135.5)
*Viviane Araujo (131) vs. Talita Bernardo (134.5)

One fight fell through with a lightweight bout between Francisco Trinaldo and Carlos Diego Ferreira scrapped due to Ferreira suffering from kidney stones ahead of the weigh-ins. The other news from Friday was Correia missing weight by five pounds and will forfeit 30% of her purse. Not only is Correia’s fight with Irene Aldana still on the card but it was moved up to the pay-per-view portion when Trinaldo vs. Ferreira was removed.

**The card features Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and BJ Penn as the biggest names on the show. Of the four, only Aldo is a favorite ahead of his fight with Alexander Volkanovski and that’s going to be a major test for both. If Aldo can beat a fighter the caliber of Volkanovski, it’s a strong argument in Aldo’s favor to fight for the 145-pound championship once again. Silva doesn’t have a marquee opponent in Jared Cannonier, who has been a .500 fighter in the UFC but moved down to middleweight in his last fight and defeated David Branch. Silva was able to hang with Israel Adesanya for three rounds this past February but at 44-years of age, there are no illusions of seeing the Silva of old, who has been on a downward trend since 2015.

**BJ Penn has lost his last six fights with his last win taking place in November 2010. It has not been a pretty picture for the UFC Hall of Famer and has been punctuated by allegations outside of the cage. A restraining order was filed against Penn by the mother of his children, alleging physical and sexual abuse, although Penn has not been charged. It was reported by Steven Marrocco and Fernanda Prates of MMA Junkie that Penn is also being investigated by the Hawaii Police Department over an alleged incident from January 2018 where Penn is accused of threatening a neighboring farmer with a machete during a trespassing dispute.

Penn would not speak with the outlet during fight week in Rio de Janeiro with MMA Junkie also reporting that Penn’s team had given instructions that media were not to bring up the subject of the allegations.

On Thursday, Penn’s team did issue the following statement to MMA Junkie:

BJ is in a highly-contested child custody case involving his two young daughters. The order of protection has made serious allegations against BJ. The allegations are so, misleading, hurtful and false that any further comment by BJ or about BJ would cause more damage to the well-being of his children and potentially further inflame the pending custody proceedings. BJ and his family ask that you respect their privacy at this very difficult time.

**Bellator 221 takes place tonight from the Allstate Arena in Chicago and streams live on DAZN. The card has a lot to sink your teeth into with featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire coming up in weight to challenge Michael Chandler for the lightweight and could be an excellent fight. The first semi-final fight of the Welterweight Grand Prix takes place between Michael “Venom” Page and Douglas Lima, which is easily Page’s toughest fight of his career. Plus, Jake Hager will have the second fight of his pro career when he takes on unheralded T.J. Jones, who is a 1-1 fighter that last fought in October 2017.

The preliminary fights will begin streaming at 6:30 pm Eastern with the following main card fights at 9 pm Eastern:
*Michael Chandler (154.8) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freira (154.7) – Bellator lightweight title
*Douglas Lima (169.5) vs. Michael “Venom” Page (169.9) – Welterweight Grand Prix
*Pat Curran (146) vs. A.J. McKee (145.8)
*Jake Hager (239.1) vs. T.J. Jones (263.7)
*James Bennett (145.8) vs. Tywan Claxton (145.8)

**Former UFC fighter Josh Burkman announced his retirement on Friday night following a split decision loss to William Macario at LFA 66. It was Burkman’s sixth consecutive loss going back to May 2016. Burkman started his professional career when he was 22 and would fight ten times in 2003 and going 9-1 that year. With a 13-3 record and coming off a loss to Jeremy Horn, he made it onto the second season of Ultimate Fighter, which featured coaches Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin. Burkman defeated Melvin Guillard in the house but suffered an injury and was replaced by Jason Von Flue on the series.

Burkman was given a UFC contract and fought for the promotion from 2005 until 2008 where he went 5-5, ending that stint with losses to Mike Swick, Dustin Hazelett, and Pete Sell. He competed well outside of the UFC and became one of the early faces of the World Series of Fighting organization (now the Professional Fighters League) where he fought in their inaugural event in November 2012. He went 4-1 with WSOF, including a 0:41 submission over Jon Fitch in June 2013. He fought Steve Carl to crown the inaugural welterweight champion, which Carl won by triangle choke. After a knockout over Tyler Stinson, he was brought back to the UFC in January 2015.

He was matched against Hector Lombard in his return and lost by decision, but it was later changed to a no contest after Lombard failed a post-fight drug test. Burkman fought at welterweight and lightweight over the next three years and left the UFC following five straight losses. His last fight with the UFC was in February 2018 where he was submitted by Alex Morono.

**The Professional Fighters League kicked off their latest season this past Thursday night with a card on Long Island, New York. The regular season features six events, three playoff cards, and the finals take place on New Year’s Eve. The point system consists of each winner receiving three points in their regular season fights and one point each if it’s a draw. If a fighter finishes their opponent in the first round they receive an addition three points, two extra points for a second-round stoppage, and one-point for a third-round stoppage.

Below are the results from Thursday’s card featuring the men’s welterweight and women’s lightweight tournament fights:
*Roberta Samad def. Moriel Charneski by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Chris Curtis def. Andre Fialho by TKO at 4:17 of Round 3
*Glaico Franca def. Gamzat Khiramagomedov by rear-naked choke at 4:06 of Round 1
*Bobbi-Jo Dalziel def. Genah Fabian by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Handesson Ferreira def. Bojan Velickovic by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Sadibou Sy def. David Michaud by TKO at 0:17 of Round 1
*Sarah Kaufman def. Morgan Frier by arm-triangle choke at 2:22 of Round 1
*Ray Cooper III def. Zane Kamaka by rear-naked choke at 4:29 of Round 2
*Magomed Magomedkerimov def. John Howard by guillotine choke at 4:54 of Round 1
*Kayla Harrison def. Larissa Pacheco by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)

**Here are the standings for both tournaments after the first fights of the season:

Women’s Lightweight: Sarah Kaufman (6 points), Roberta Samad (3), Kayla Harrison (3), Bobbi-Jo Dalziel (3), Moriel Charneski (0), Morgan Frier (0), Larissa Pacecho (0), Genah Fabian (0)

Men’s Welterweight: Magomed Magomedkerimov (6 points), Sadibou Sy (6), Glaico Franca (6), Ray Cooper III (5), Chris Curtis (4), Handesson Ferreira (3), John Howard (0), Zane Kamaka (0), David Michaud (0), Bojan Velickovic (0), Gamzat Khiramagomedov (0), Andre Fialho (0)

**The next card is Thursday, May 23rd at the same location of Nassau Coliseum on Long Island with Lance Palmer fighting Alex Gilpin in the main event and fights from the men’s lightweight and featherweight tournaments.

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About John Pollock 889 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.