Plenty of things can happen in the world of MMA in seven days.
From event announcements and the fights on the weekend to the best tweets and latest trash talk between fighters, we’ll keep you in the know at the end of each week with the latest happenings in the sport.
But first off, make sure you buy this year’s Holiday Issue of Fighters Only Magazine! It’s now available on all good newsstands and on the Fighters Only app, featuring the likes of Tyron Woodley, Michael “Venom” Page, Weili Zhang, Demetrious Johnson and more:
OUT NOW! This years' Fighters Only Holiday Issue is in stores and online on the Fighters Only App!
Featuring our ground-breaking cover star, @MmaWeili, this article is packed with features with @Michaelpage247 , @TWooodley and @MightyMouse
— Fighters Only (@FightersOnly) November 25, 2019
UFC on ESPN 7: Alistair Overeem’s lip, Stefan Struve’s unfortunate return
You can see his lip completely fly off from that Jairzinho Rozenstruik just woke everyone up.
— WhatsUpMMA (@WhatsUp_MMA) December 8, 2019
Two UFC heavyweight Dutchmen didn’t have the most fortunate of Octagon outings at UFC on ESPN 7 in Washington D.C.
Alistair Overeem was just seconds away from taking a fairly dominant decision win home with him on Saturday night until unbeaten Surinamese kickboxer Jairzinho Rozenstruik launched a hellacious right hand to knock his opponent out.
Not only did Rozenstruik snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, he also split Overeem’s top lip in half with said punch.
MMA really isn’t for the faint of heart.
A couple of fights down the card, the towering Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve took on veteran heavyweight Ben Rothwell.
Struve has flirted with the thought of retirement on multiple occasions in recent years.
In 2013, Struve was reported to be suffering from a number of heart issues which threatened to bring his then-burgeoning MMA career to a very abrupt halt. His heart condition improved and he returned to the cage at the tail end of 2014.
He has since indicated it was time to hang up the gloves a couple more times – most recently following his arm-triangle choke win over Brazil’s Marcos Rogerio de Lima earlier in 2019. However, he then signed a six-fight deal to continue his time in the UFC with Rothwell as his first dance partner.
Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go to plan. The fight was paused twice due to Rothwell kicking his foe in the groin on both occasions.
It was a near-mircale to see Struve recover well enough to fight on at the first time of asking. The second time was even worse.
Referee Dan Miragliotta essentially baited Struve into fighting on – suggesting he thought Struve was up on the scorecards and that he was deducting a point from Rothwell – only for Struve to promptly get knocked out.
Rothwell was apologetic at least, saying he’s sure those kicks would have been landed clean on his opponent if he wasn’t so tall.
Poor Stefan Struve. Comes out of retirement for this.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 8, 2019
It was a bizarre night of fights and the misfortune of these two talented Dutch fighters pretty much summed it all up.
Combate Americas 51: Tito Ortiz ended Alberto ‘El Patron’ Rodriguez, AKA former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio with ease
¡Lo enterró! 💀
¡Lo enterró! 💀
Tito Ortíz le gana a @PrideOfMexico por sumisión con un "mata-león". Increíble. En el primer round…
— TUDN MEX (@TUDNMEX) December 8, 2019
To further the outright weirdness of MMA on Saturday night, former UFC light heavyweight champion took on former WWE champion Alberto Rodriguez – AKA Alberto Del Rio – at Combate Americas 51 in Hidalgo, Texas.
The fight didn’t last all that long.
To be fair to Rodriguez, he did score a suplex on his much more MMA-experienced opponent in the opening stages of their bout.
When back on their feet, El Patron went for another takedown which was expertly stuffed by Ortiz. From there, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” landed the kind of ground and pound which helped propel his career during his UFC glory days.
Trying to avoid an avalanche of punches, Del Rio rolled over and Ortiz swiftly took a rear-naked choke to secure a win on his Combate Americas debut.
KSW 52: Scott Askham handily defeats Mamed Khalidov on his MMA return
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) December 7, 2019
Scott Askham has looked in fine form since performing on Polish MMA promotion KSW’s platform.
The KSW middleweight champion took on legendary Polish MMA figurehead Mamed Khalidov – a former two-weight KSW champion – and looked totally at ease throughout.
England’s Askham showed little respect for Khalidov’s renowned grappling game, taking the Russia-born fighter down with unexpected regularity and happily staying in his guard to deliver punishment from on top.
Khalidov was returning to the sport after emotionally announcing his retirement immediately after his second fight with KSW light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun.
He spent the majority of the fight on his back. It certainly wasn’t the fight a highly-regarded veteran like Khalidov would have hoped for when it was announced he was coming back after his brief hiatus from MMA.
Askham easily took a three-round unanimous decision from this catchweight bout, and the Doncaster man took his opportunity to call out the aforementioned Narkun for a future champion vs. champion fight down the line. The victor moves to a stellar 4-0 record since signing with KSW.
Elsewhere on the card, unbeaten French fighting prospect Salahdine Parnasse defended his interim KSW featherweight championship against European MMA stalwart Ivan Buchinger with a dominant unanimous decision win.
Aged only 22, Parnasse will be a problem in this sport and he is the kind of talent the UFC would love to have on its roster with it becoming increasingly-likely that they will be putting on a show in France in the near future.
Parnasse showed in-cage experience which belies his years against a man in Buchinger who has fought a who’s who on the European circuit.
Conor McGregor set for UFC return against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January
ICYMI: The UFC look set to enter a new decade in style with a MASSIVE fight between Conor McGregor and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC 246.
Who do you think will win the fight and why?
— Fighters Only (@FightersOnly) November 29, 2019
We all knew it was happening, and it’s now been confirmed.
Easily the biggest news of the week, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a welterweight scrap which will certainly provide fireworks.
Diego Sanchez vs. Michel Pereira announced – potential for one of the craziest fights in UFC history?
— Marcel Dorff 🇳🇱🇮🇩 (@BigMarcel24) December 4, 2019
We hope this materialises. We hope this fight gets as crazy at it looks on paper.
Best Social Media of the Week
I’ll be on the @arielhelwani show tonight to talk all the things that happened in the fight last Saturday. In the meantime I’ll just leave this here, let’s see how many people get this right, which kick doesn’t belong in a MMA fight? #mma #ufc #stefanstruve #blueballs pic.twitter.com/lKNcQt7BmZ
— Stefan Struve (@StefanStruve) December 9, 2019
Stefan Struve is still smarting from his controversial loss against Ben Rothwell at UFC on ESPN 7 in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night. He has a point.
We didn’t mention it in the above report, but Bryce Mitchell – AKA @ThugNastyMMA – grabbed himself a rare twister submission at the UFC show in D.C. on Saturday night.
We say it’s rare… It had only been done once before – by Korean Zombie, who clearly voiced his approval at Mitchell’s in-cage exploits.
I’m different, on February 8th I’ll prove that again. Will you be a witness? pic.twitter.com/0jnVd5c3hy
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) December 7, 2019
Jon Jones is on the warpath ahead of his fight with the unbeaten Dominick Reyes.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
A bit late, but it’s the kind of fight announcement to capture anyone’s attention.
Thank you Mayor Flanagan ☘️ https://t.co/SiJ2aDWQRE
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 9, 2019
It’s safe to say Conor McGregor’s transformation is pretty startling. Just think, he only began his UFC run six years ago.