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MMA: Borg released, Means in action

Albuquerque MMA fighter Ray Borg, left, seen sparring with John Dodson, has been released from the UFC. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal file)

The UFC has released Ray Borg, the Albuquerque MMA bantamweight confirmed on Friday.

Borg said in a phone interview that he preferred not to say anything more.

“Honestly, I don’t really know if I can discuss it without my manager’s consent, just because of what happened,” he said.

A message left on social media for Ali Abdelaziz, Borg’s manager, was not returned.

Borg (13-5) was scheduled to fight on an Aug. 1 UFC card but withdrew for reasons still undisclosed. He’d withdrawn from a June 13 UFC card due to concerns about the health of his 2-year-old son, Anthony.

He also has failed to make weight on several occasions, though those fights took place as scheduled.

Borg, who turned 27 on Tuesday, is 7-5 in UFC competition, his most recent fight a loss by split decision to Ricky Simon in Jacksonville, Florida on May 13.

He said he had no immediate plans to seek a spot with another organization and held out hope he could re-sign with the UFC at some point.

“With the way things we’re talking about are shaping up, I don’t really have any plans to make a big jump to (another) organization,” he said. “I’m just gonna take care of a couple of things and hopefully get right back to the UFC.”

The story was first reported by mmafighting.com.

Borg trains at Jackson’s Acoma.

MEANS BACK: Before his last fight, Tim Means was still dealing with the recent deaths in a car crash of two friends from his hometown of Moriarty.

His plan, he said three days before his Feb. 15 fight against Daniel Rodriguez on a UFC card the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, was to fight for his departed friends, Pedro and Mateo Sandoval, and use the emotion of the moment to his advantage.

“It’s a good time for a fistfight,” he said.

It wasn’t, at least not for Means. Battered by Rodriguez’s fists, he fell victim to a standing guillotine choke in the second round.

Nonetheless, for Means, there’s never been a bad time for a fistfight. He’ll be back in the Octagon on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada against Argentina’s Laureano Staropoli (9-2).

It will be Means’ 22nd UFC fight since making his debut with that organization on Feb. 15, 2012, eight years to the day before the Rodriguez fight. He’s 11-9 (with one no contest) in UFC competition, 29-12-1 overall.

In a highly unusual occurrence, both fighters initially failed to make weight on Friday. Means weighed in at 172 1/2 pounds, a pound-and-a-half over the allowable welterweight limit of 171; Staropoli came in at 174 1/2.

On a second try, Means hit 171. Staropoli, having failed to do so, will forfeit to Means 20 percent of his contracted pay.

Means trains in Albuquerque at FIT-NHB.

GARCIA OUT: Rio Rancho lightweight Steve Garcia (11-4) has withdrawn from a scheduled fight against Peter Barrett on Saturday’s card. No reason for Garcia’s withdrawal has been given.

Garcia made his UFC debut in Norfolk, Virginia on February 29, losing to Luis Pena by unanimous decision. He trains at Jackson-Wink.

RIVERA REVISITED: This is pure speculation, but it perhaps was only the quality of his opposition that prevented Santa Fe flyweight Jerome Rivera from getting a coveted UFC contract.

On Tuesday, Rivera (10-2) defeated Mexico’s Luis Rodriguez (11-2) by unanimous decision on Dana White’s Tuesday Contender Series.

Rivera’s performance, however, was not judged by White — the ultimate if not sole arbiter — as good enough to earn a contract.

The three other winners on Tuesday’s card — light heavyweight Dustin Jacoby, lightweight Uros Medic and lightweight Jordan Leavitt — all were awarded contracts.

Medic and Leavitt won by first-round stoppages over Luke Flores and Mikey Gonzales, respectively. Jacoby was dominant in winning by unanimous decison over Ty Flores (no relation to Luke).

Rivera, in contrast, got all he could handle from Rodriguez. The judges’ scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, all for the Santa Fean, did not reflect how competitive the fight was, round by round.

And that was White’s complaint.

“I absolutely disagree with the judges,” White said at end of the espn+ streaming of the card. “And how two judges could have that fight 30-27 is insanity.

“I think both (fighters) are talented guys. … Both of these guys will be in the UFC someday, I think. Just not tonight.”

All the same, Rivera has turned his career back around.

After winning his first nine fights (two amateur, seven pro), he lost to Roberto Sanchez by third-round submission (arm bar) on an LFA card in June 2017. In his next fight, he suffered a gruesome injury — a dislocated elbow in a loss to Brandon Royval.

Since then, Rivera is 3-0.

“I went out there and I fought my ass off against a very tough and game opponent,” he posted on Instagram after the DWTCS victory. “… Time to get back to the grind, make the adjustments and keep getting better.”

Rivera trains in Albuquerque at Luttrell-Yee.

Saturday

UFC Fight Night: Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik, Tim Means vs. Laureano Staropoli, 10 other fights, UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada. Streaming: espn+, 4 p.m. prelims (Means-Staropoli), 7 p.m. main card (Lewis-Oleinik)

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