The most recent fantasy MMA news from RotoWire.
Fantasy AnalysisMendes was recently handed a suspension for a failed drug test, and while he was in the process of appealing the suspension, he has ultimately elected to not wait to take part in one last fight with the UFC. The Absolute Championship Berkut announced Thursday that they had signed a deal with Mendes, and his departure from the UFC confirms that. In four years as an MMA fighter, Mendes boasts a 6-2 record.
Fantasy AnalysisMcCall distinguished himself as one of the top flyweights during his 15-year career, compiling a 13-7-1 record across 21 bouts. The 33-year-old first rose to prominence in 2011 for the Tachi Palace Fights promotion and immediately became one of the premier 125-pound fighters in the UFC when it added the flyweight division in 2012. McCall had seen his career take a downhill turn in recent years after leaving UFC for the Rizin promotion, with his final bout coming earlier this month when he was knocked out by Kyoji Horiguchi in nine seconds. McCall didn't dismiss the possibility of fighting again if a lucrative offer came his way, but it seems unlikely that a major payday would be in the cards for a fighter in decline and approaching his mid-30s.
Fantasy AnalysisGonzalez has now won back-to-back contests since joining Invicta FC, starting with a unanimous decision over Kali Robbins in March, and most recently this first-round stoppage. Though Gonzalez came up empty in her UFC opportunity, the 31-year-old could get a chance to make another run if she's able to keep up the current winning streak.
Fantasy AnalysisKaufman ended her UFC tenure with back-to-back losses to Valentina Shevchenko and Alexis Davis, and proceeded to take more than a year off. She's been able to get back on track since, defeating Jessica-Rose Clark while competing for Battlefield Fighting Championship, and then picking up consecutive wins under the all-female Invicta FC banner. At 32 years old, Kaufman seemingly has room for another run in her, though it remains to be seen when she might get that opportunity. Though she has victories over several UFC bantamweights on her resume, Kaufman has never faced current champion Amanda Nunes.
Fantasy AnalysisSmith was scheduled to face Aspen Ladd at UFC Atlantic City last Saturday, but Ladd missed weight by 1.8 pounds, which began intense negotiations between Smith and the promotion. According to Smith, she proposed to the UFC that she would still accept the fight if the promotion chose to extend her deal. Instead, Smith says the UFC paid her both show money and a win bonus on her current contract, and now considers her a free agent. Smith has long been a figurehead for fighter rights, and is the interim president of Project Spearhead -- the most recent organization formed in an effort to unionize MMA fighters. The 35-year-old bantamweight, who had won back-to-back fights, does not believe she received a fair shake, and intends to take legal action against the UFC. Despite the small winning streak, it would be surprising to see her compete in a sanctioned event any time soon as she shifts her focus to the courtroom.
Fantasy AnalysisSmith was offered 20 percent of Ladd's purse and an extra $5,000 after Ladd failed to make weight Friday, but Smith declined the offer and the fight is officially off.
Fantasy AnalysisGonzalez fought against Kali Robbins in March at Invicta FC 28 and won by unanimous decision to bring her professional record to 7-3. The former UFC strawweight will have a quick turnaround of just six weeks before facing off with Acioly on May 4.
Fantasy AnalysisRawlings really struggled in this fight. She landed her share of strikes, but she was behind the entire time. Whenever she landed a strike, she also absorbed multiple strikes. It is hard to imagine how she keeps her job in the UFC. She is now riding a four-fight losing streak and has lost five of her last seven fights.
Fantasy AnalysisRawlings will be coming up from the strawweight division, while Evans-Smith is moving down from the bantamweight division, so it's not surprising to see the latter with a two-inch height and three-inch reach advantage. Furthermore, neither has secured a victory in 2017, so each could be fighting with their UFC future on the line. Over relatively short sample sizes, Rawlings averages a slightly higher striking output, while Evans-Smith is the more careful striker, owning the better striking differential. As of Wednesday afternoon, Rawlings finds herself approximately a (+170) betting underdog.
Fantasy AnalysisPepey (13-6) originally joined the UFC via the first edition of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil back in 2012 -- going 3-0 during the reality show. In fewer than six years as a UFC fighter, he went 5-6 and will end his UFC career on a two-fight losing streak.
Fantasy AnalysisLike many fighters put in this situation, Mendes asserted his innocence and says he intends to thoroughly examine every recent supplement he's taken. There's at least precedent here, as multiple fighters have gotten their two-year suspensions successfully reduced to six months by proving a contamination in a supplement that they regularly take. The likelihood of this happening is a bit dependent on the specific substance Mendes tested positive for, which he failed to disclose in the statement.
Fantasy AnalysisUFC will seek a replacement fight for Merab Dvalishvili, who was suppose to take on Mendes next month. Mendes has not competed since April 2017, a unanimous decision loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC on FOX 24.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's unclear if Gonzalez had his contract expire or was simply given his release papers, but he's one of the most prominent of 13 fighters to be removed from the roster this week. Gonzalez, 34, sports a 7-2 record under the Bellator banner, with his only losses coming to very respectable opponents in Michael Page, and most recently, Lorenz Larkin. He even has a win against top UFC prospect Curtis Millender back in 2015. Gonzalez and the remainder of the jobless fighters will look to catch on with other promotions, with one of the most attractive options being PFL's upcoming tournaments that award a $1 million prize to the winner. Other fighters left without a roster spot after the announcement include Alexis Dufresne, Ben Reiter, Francis Carmont, Francisco France, Georgi Karakhanyan, Kendall Grove, Kevin Casey, L.C. Davis, Mike Rhode, Philipe Lins, Steve Garcia and Steve Kozola.
Fantasy AnalysisThe fight started with good exchanges where both fighters landed. Piechota was able to land an overhand right that dropped Williams. "Imadlo" capitalized on the opportunity with follow-up punches and the ref stepped in to award the Polish middleweight the TKO victory.