Ten­sions high be­tween Cy­borg and Nunes ahead of their UFC 232 clash ... Kelle­her with­draws from fight with Jack­son due to ill­ness ... Fans not lov­ing Eubanks

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NEW YORK — In the hi­er­ar­chy of his­tor­i­cal MMA beefs, the sim­mer­ing bad­blood

Amanda be­tween Nunes Cris Cy­borg

and doesn’t rank espe­cially high.

Dana UFC pres­i­dent White

prob­a­bly doesn’t need to worry about step­ping be­tween the two to pre­vent punches from be­ing thrown, and nei­ther cham­pion is likely to jump out of the cage af­ter their fight at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 and start swing­ing on the other’s team­mates.

But make no mis­take, there is gen­uine heat be­tween the two, and that came across clearly this week when they sat on stage to­gether at a press con­fer­ence to pro­mote UFC 232. “I (ac­cepted) to fight her

Holly Holm when I fought (last De­cem­ber) and then she asked for nine months for train­ing,” Cy­borg said when she was asked to ex­plain the source of their mu­tual an­i­mos­ity. “I think when you call some­one out, (you) have to be ready. They shouldn’t have to have nine months to be ready.”

To be clear, this is not a fight that should re­quire any bad-blood for fans to be in­ter­ested.

Cy­borg is the women’s feath­er­weight cham­pion and the most dom­i­nant fighter in women’s MMA his­tory.

Nunes, mean­while, is the women’s ban­tamweight queen and has been as ter­ri­fy­ing in the oc­tagon as any­one over the past cou­ple of years.

Cur­rently, they’re the con­sen­sus two top pound-for­pound fighters in women’s MMA, and you’d have to go back a long, long time to find a fight that matched up the best two pound-for-pound fighters in ei­ther the men’s or women’s weight classes.

Nei­ther fighter has proven to be a huge draw for the UFC, though, which par­tially ex­plains why they’re su­per­fight for Cy­borg’s feath­er­weight ti­tle will be the co-main event at UFC 232,

Jon Jones’ set­ting up fight

Alexan­der Gustafs­son with for the light-heavy­weight cham­pi­onship.

A lit­tle bad blood will prob­a­bly draw a few ex­tra eye­balls, even if the root of their quote-un­quote ri­valry is largely based in Nunes’ re­spect for Cy­borg’s abil­i­ties, which un­der­cuts the ten­sion just a lit­tle bit.

“I gave (the UFC my time­line), I have to be ready for her,” Nunes said. “She’s strong and she’s pow­er­ful, I have to be ready. I gave her my time and my day and now we’re go­ing to fight. That’s right, I asked for nine months be­cause I’m go­ing to be ready.”

CAN­CELLED

Satur­day’s fight card took a lot of hits over the past cou­ple weeks, and then took one fi­nal knock in the fi­nal hours right be­fore it kicked off.

Twenty-four hours af­ter Brian Kelle­her

missed weight for his bout with Mon­tel Jack­son,

the Amer­i­can fighter with­drew from the fight due to ill­ness.

While the fight was sched­uled from the pre­lims and wasn’t ex­actly a block­buster that was go­ing to bring in a tonne of eye­balls — it was the op­po­site of that, re­ally — it was an­other re­minder of how in­juries took their toll on UFC 230.

The card was ini­tially sup­posed to be co-head­lined by a thrilling matchup be­tween Nate Diaz Dustin Poirier.

and

Diaz is ba­si­cally a na­tional trea­sure in the MMA world, and Poirier’s had as good a year as any­one in MMA in 2018, but an in­jury forced him to with­draw. The card also fea­tured a

Chris re­match be­tween Wei­d­man Luke Rock­hold,

and

who fought for the mid­dleweight ti­tle in 2015 and put on a gen­uinely thrilling fight.

The Kelle­her-Jack­son fight wasn’t on the level of ei­ther of those, ob­vi­ously, but it sure added to the feel­ing that UFC 230 was a lit­tle cursed from the start.

DE­FEND­ING HER

Si­jara Eubanks didn’t en­dear her­self to fans on Fri­day when she missed weight for the sec­ond time in less that a year.

Set to square off against Rox­anne Modaf­feri

on Satur­day night, Eubanks couldn’t make the 125pound limit for their fly­weight fight, and as any­one who has been around the fight game for a while knows, that’s not some­thing that goes down well with fans.

Af­ter a tough month that saw Eubanks get a ti­tle shot ripped from her hands by the UFC for purely pro­mo­tional rea­sons, her team­mate Kat­lyn Chook­a­gian

ad­mit­ted that it was dis­ap­point­ing to see the fans vil­ify Eubanks.

“It is un­for­tu­nate, I think there’s so much pres­sure for us as fighters,” Chook­a­gian said. “It’s an in­di­vid­ual sport, and to deal with that, it’s al­most al­ways com­ing from peo­ple who have never come close to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing what we do.”

QUICK HITS

Lando Van­nata

hasn’t won a fight since 2016, but the UFC ab­so­lutely should not cut him. On Satur­day,

Matt Frevola Van­nata and fought to a ma­jor­ity draw in one of the most fun fights of the year, and while Van­nata has now gone four fights with­out a win. He’s fun every time he steps into the oc­tagon, though, and that should keep him em­ployed … Be­tween the crazi­ness of Khabib Nur­magome­dov’s

Conor McGre­gor fight with and the weird­ness of the

Daniel Cormier UFC book­ing Der­rick Lewis

to fight in Satur­day night’s head­liner, it’s been a weird month in the world of MMA. At least among the me­dia who gath­ered in New York this week, there was a sense that ev­ery­one’s look­ing for­ward to get­ting back a lit­tle bit of nor­malcy.

Things get bloody dur­ing the feath­er­weight bout be­tween Shey­mon Mo­raes (left) and Julio Arce at UFC 230 last night at Madi­son Square Gar­den in New York. Mo­raes won the match.

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