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6/24/16: Top Five Stories of the Week
In our regular Friday feature, we list out the most newsworthy stories/articles from the past week in MMA.
5. Fedor Emelianenko nearly loses in Russia: “The Last Emperor” hand-picked Fabio Maldonado for his return to Russia, and in shocking fashion he nearly got stopped in the first round of that fight on UFC Fight Pass. This despite Maldonado making it extremely easy for Emelianenko to close distance to bring the fight where he wanted it, and even after the knock down he was given plenty of time to recover. He wound up getting a gift decision, but the performance might have been enough to give the UFC pause on trying to bring him in now.
4. CM Punk’s debut set for UFC 203 in Cleveland: After more than a year and a half since his signing was announced, former WWE star CM Punk finally has his first MMA fight booked. The former WWE Champ announced this week that he’ll face off against Mickey Gall at UFC 203, finally putting an end to the lengthy layoff between his WWE exit, his UFC announcement, and actually setting a date for a debut. Getting to the cage may yet be another story, but there’s an end date in sight.
3. Stephen Thompson beats Rory MacDonald in Ottawa: It wasn’t the most thrilling main event fight ever, but Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson was the better man last Saturday night, beating Rory MacDonald by decision at UFC Fight Night 89. The win extended Thompson’s winning streak, followed up on his February TKO win over former Welterweight Champ Johny Hendricks, and has him positioned as the No. 1 contender in this division.
2. Georges St-Pierre officially ready to return; wants Michael Bisping: The former Welterweight Champion has been playing coy for months and months regarding whether or not he actually wanted to return, and this week he finally came out and said it. Not only that, but he named current UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping as his top choice for a comeback fight. He feels the time is right for this return, and he doesn’t want to have any regrets about not coming back, so we may see him before 2016 is done.
1. Zuffa selling UFC? Bid reportedly accepted: We may also see new ownership in the UFC in 2016. Though vehemently denying multiple reports, the organization has reportedly accepted a $4.2 billion dollar deal which would transfer ownership from the Fertitta brothers, Dana White, and Flash Entertainment to a group consisting of multiple companies. It’s still very early in the process, and the sale could yet fall through. However, if it comes to fruition, this would be the third ownership group in the UFC’s history, and would be an unfathomable return on investment from the $2 million purchase price the Fertittas paid for the organization in 2001.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]
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