The most recent fantasy MMA news from RotoWire.
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 AnalysisRodriguez reportedly turned down a fight against Ricardo Lamas earlier in the year, and turning down a recently-proposed bout against Zabit Magomedsharipov was seemingly the last straw for White. The UFC President offered scathing remarks with respect to Rodriguez on Thursday, saying "The guy's off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn't want to fight a guy below him in the rankings? He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him." Rodriguez is a 25-year-old prospect with a very bright future, making the seemingly-rash decision to release him come as a big surprise. He began his UFC tenure by winning six consecutive fights, but was defeated handily by an established veteran in Frankie Edgar nearly one year ago. It's understandable if his team wanted to take a step back after that tough defeat, yet still surprising they were unable to ultimately work out a deal. Rodriguez will have plenty of suitors in free agency, and will likely get a long look from both Bellator MMA and Combate Americas.
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 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 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.
Fantasy AnalysisFacing one of the most dangerous men in the division, Pepey never had a chance. He found himself retreating moments after the opening bell rang and it was abundantly clear that he didn't have a prayer of matching the skill or athleticism of Bektic. The 30-year-old Brazilian is now 1-3 in his last four fights dating back to July 2016, and he is closer to being released than he is to cracking the top-ten in the UFC's featherweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisOver the course of his Bellator career, Gonzalez has proven that he is a game competitor. He has made some high profile opponents look terrible against him. However, he is rarely able to pull out the win in these fights against top competition. This was another example. His defensive style gave Larkin a lot of trouble. With that being said, Gonzalez simply did not have enough offense to win this fight. He will continue to fight Bellator, but, at this point, it looks like he will not get over the hump against higher level fighters. Gonzalez also missed weight for the third-straight fight even though Bellator made the bout at a 180-pound catchweight.
Fantasy AnalysisGrove tried to use his reach advantage in this fight. His plan was to land straights and kicks on the outside. However, Matthews had an edge in terms of technical striking. He was able to avoid and slip punches and come forward with counters. Grove spent a lot of this fight walking backwards, which limited him offensively. It was not a blowout, but Grove struggled in the striking battle. With the decision loss, he has now lost three fights in a row. His professional record falls to 23-18.
Fantasy AnalysisKozola began his Bellator run with three-straight wins. However, he has now lost back-to-back fights. He came out aggressively in this fight. He wanted to close the distance and score with punches. Smith had other plans. He stepped in with a right that stunned Kozola. Smith sensed the opening and finished the fight. Kozola falls to 8-2 overall and 3-2 in Bellator.