The Friday Five: July 5th, 2019

1.  The Only Two Women To Drop Ronda Co-Headline UFC 239

For Amanda Nunes, UFC 239 is not the next step to fighting Cris Cyborg, or going for a third division world title, but a chance to defeat Holly Holm.

“I won the belt and I have to continue defending my title and continue to make history,” Nunes told Brazilian reporters on Tuesday. “This is a great fight and I’ll continue on this path.”

“I’m prepared to go five rounds,” Nunes said of her co-main event.

“We can’t get in the cage thinking that we’ll win quickly, that we’ll get the knockout. I’m ready for five rounds. I can win this fight in a decision. On the feet and on the ground, I’m ready. Of course that I’ll try to knock her out, but I’m not attached to this idea. We have five rounds. The opportunities will definitely come throughout the fight and I’ll be ready to capitalize on that.”

“Holly has fought the best of the division,” Nunes said of Holm, who has not been seen inside the Octagon since June 2018 and lost two of her last four fights. “Coming off losses or not, she has headlined several shows, fought Cris and put on a really tough fight, beat Ronda. She wasn’t on a good streak, but if you look at the division when this fight was done, there was no one else to fight. There’s a history with Holly, she was a boxing champion, a former champion in the UFC, so if you think about it it’s a good choice to defend my belt.

2. Thurman Tells Pacquiao To Just Play Basketball

Even though he is the defending champion for their July 20th clash, but Keith Thurman feels he is being treated like the b-side for his fight against Manny Pacquiao.

“This is my fight. He’s fighting for my belt. And yet, it’s as if the world has forgot. So I wanted to … stab him a little bit, hit him where it hurts,” Thurman said on PBC’s Face to Face. “He’s fighting for my belt…it’s as if the world has forgot.”

“I just believe the hourglass is almost finished,” Thurman said of the 40-year-old Pacquiao. “He doesn’t have much left. Go play basketball, Manny! You say you like to play basketball every day. Go shoot hoops with the guys, man!”

 

“I’ve watched Manny for many years, this is the first time truly being face to face. I’m trying to look for some grey hair, I don’t really see much. He don’t look too aged, he’s got that Asian blood in him, he still looks like he’s 15 years old. But does he move like he’s 15? After he gets punched, is he going to be able to recover like the young fighter?

3. Unlikely Canelo-Kovalev To Happen In September

Photo Credit: HBO Boxing

Bob Arum cautioned anyone  who is looking forward to Canelo Alvarez moving up to light heavyweight on September 14th, that it won’t be against Sergey Kovalev.

Kovalev, who has a co-promotional agreement with Top Rank, will most likely finalize a deal to fight Anthony Yarde in Kovalev’s home country of Russia on August 24th, dropping a potential opponent for the current unified middleweight champion’s wishlist.

“Canelo wants to fight Kovalev for another title, and it’s a good fight,” Arum said. “DAZN were talking to Golden Boy, the promoter of Canelo. They were expecting a Golovkin fight. Canelo won’t fight Golovkin. So now, at this late date, they have come to us [with] the possibility of a Kovalev-Canelo fight happening. The problem is, the Kovalev people have an offer outstanding for the fight in Russia against Yarde. And our understanding with [Yarde promoter] Frank [Warren], which we reached before the Tyson Fury fight [June 15] in Las Vegas, and Kathy [Duva, Kovalev’s promoter], is if Yarde was asked to step aside, Frank and Yarde would get a substantial payment, and they agreed to that.

“But everything is coming really too close, so my feeling is I believe Yarde and Kovalev will proceed sometime in August in Russia. And if Kovalev wins that fight, a fight with Canelo can take place in the winter of this year. I don’t think it’s possible to put it together for September 14th.”

4. BKFC Falls Over 182,000 Buys Short Of Owner’s Estimate

Photo Credit: Phil Lambert

Earlier this week, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship founder David Feldman claimed that their initial Pay-Per-View offering BKFC 6 will make 200,000 buys.

Per Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, early estimates are showing around 18,000 buys on traditional pay-per-view, with no numbers coming from digital platform FITE, which rarely match the same numbers as traditional pay-per-view.

“We got our digital numbers right away” Feldman told MMA Junkie. “In April, we did a certain amount, and in June, we did six times that digitally. It’s given us a gauge that we’re gong to end up at the 200,000 line.”

5. Ruiz To Rely On Pressure To Beat AJ In Rematch

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing UK

Unified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr already knows what his gameplan will be for a rematch with Anthony Joshua, but first he needs to put pen to paper.

“We are still negotiating. What is being talked about is whether or not it will take place in the United States or over there on their soil (United Kingdom),” said Ruiz Jr.

“We are struggling to have it in the United States or take it to Mexico. That is what we want to do. The negotiations have not been that difficult.”

“We want to be focused and prepared for the rematch. I do not want to lose the belts,” Ruiz said of his newly won glory.

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