Glendale, Arizona, is the home to one of the most well-established mixed martial arts gyms on the planet – MMA Lab.

As a gym that’s created UFC Champions, current top-ranked UFC competitors, and fighters that often dominate the rankings throughout their respective organizations – expecting a busy 2022 schedule for their athletes should come as no surprise. And thus far, we’ve already witnessed the likes of Benson Henderson (who’s also a notable head coach), Jared Cannonier, Mario Bautista, and Kyler Phillips enter the win column.

However, the hard work for Arizona’s finest doesn’t stop there. Join us as we review MMA Lab’s UFC successes and preview the upcoming schedule for the first quarter of 2022.

Kyler Phillips def. Marcelo Rojo via Triangle-Armbar: February 12 at UFC 271

One of the recent hottest prospects from the MMA Lab is UFC bantamweight contender Kyler “The Matrix” Phillips (10-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC).

Following a disappointing end to 2021, where a controversial decision win was handed to his opponent Raulian Paiva, Phillips returned to the octagon in February and dominated the contest from start to finish.

Sportsbooks anticipated the one-sided affair with closing odds reaching -440, and the heavy betting favorite certainly exceeded those expectations. However, Arizona sports betting enthusiasts were quick to steam the opening line from -300 into the 400s for their Glendale MMA Lab fighter, and this rightful position paid bettors without a sweat.

Phillips was unquestionably heading to a unanimous decision victory. Still, in the third and final round, the opposition couldn’t outsmart the savvy jiu-jitsu skills of the 26-year-old, who found a triangle armbar at the 1-minute 48-second mark of Round 3.

Jared Cannonier def. Derek Brunson via TKO: February 12 at UFC 271

The No.3 ranked MMA middleweight contender Jared Cannonier was also joyous to extend MMA Labs’ positive start to 2022 at the same event as Phillips when he matched up with top-contender Derek Brunson on the main card of UFC 271.

After losing title eliminator fights on two previous occasions across multiple weight divisions, it was a special moment for Cannonier (15-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who collected his fifth victory at 185lbs.

Nobody was surprised when Brunson spammed takedown attempts on Cannonier from the opening round in a classic striker versus grappler matchup. It was imperative for Brunson to wrestle because the entire MMA community knew the inevitable would otherwise happen. And because Cannonier’s ability to get back to his feet allowed him to deliver the powerful strikes, he’s best known for.

With 31 seconds remaining in Round 2, a massive elbow from Cannonier connected flush with Brunson, and the follow strikes cemented another MMA Lab success.

As the headline contest of UFC 271 saw Israel Adesanya victoriously defend his championship against the No.2 ranked Robert Whittaker, there’s no doubt that Jared Cannonier is next in line for a title opportunity. And perhaps he’ll become the first UFC middleweight champion to fight out of the MMA Lab.


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Alex Caceres vs. Sodiq Yusuff: March 12 at UFC in Vegas 50

Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres (19-12-0) rides his UFC career’s first five-fight win streak. As a long stayer amongst the featherweight division’s finest, we’re finally witnessing Caceres enter his prime fighting years after spending eleven years with the promotion.

Alternating wins and losses has been the story of Carceres’ UFC tenure, but as he creeps up on the top-15 rankings, could we be witnessing a storybook rise to stardom?

Bryan Barberena vs. Matt Brown: March 26 at UFC in Vegas 52

Guaranteed violence is expected when the MMA Lab faithful Bryan Barberena (16-8-0 MMA, 7-6 UFC) steps into the octagon with Matt Brown’s legendary.

Most known for his back-and-forth wars with Vincente Luque and Randy Brown, Barberena has earned the right to receive such a high-profile name as Matt Brown. But, behind his dog mentality, expect the MMA skillset and durability of Barberena to give Brown one of his toughest tests to date.

Notable Mention: Mario Bautista def. Jay Perrin via decision at UFC Vegas 48 

Mario Bautista extended MMA Labs’ impressive 2022 victories this past weekend when he defeated UFC newcomer Jay Perrin by unanimous decision.

Bautista outclassed the new arrival with a mixture of heavy blows from range and inside the clinch, securing his first win in two years. Moving up to a 9-2 record, Bautista’s diverse attributes were on display, and aged just 28, his future is undoubtedly a bright one.