UFC International Fight Week is almost upon us and, following the list of fights not to miss for July, we now focus our attentions entirely on Las Vegas and the events of the week to come. Without further ado, let us dive straight into it.
1.) July 7th, UFC Fight Night 90 – Joseph Duffy vs Mitch Clarke
The first of three events in consecutive days for UFC International Fight week takes place on July 7th and gets the ball rolling very nicely. Opening the main card will be a lightweight bout between Joseph Duffy and Mitch Clarke. Duffy has impressed in his 3-fight stint in the UFC so far, even in defeat to Dustin Poirier in his most recent outing. Prior to that, he earned consecutive finishes, defeating Jake Lindsey by TKO and submitting Ivan Jorge in a victory that earned him Performance of the Night honours. “Irish Joe” will look to get back to winning ways and kick off International Fight week with a bang. His opponent, Mitch Clarke, will be looking to use the fight to turn his own fortunes around. Having lost a decision to Michael Chiesa in April of 2015, Clarke was pencilled in to return to action in his home town of Saskatoon later that year. However, a gruesome injury caused by an acupuncture needle embedding itself in his arm muscle required surgery and scuppered those plans. In the true spirit of International Fight Week, it is a battle of Ireland vs Canada at lightweight and it should provide great entertainment to fight fans.
2.) July 8th, The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale – Ross Pearson vs Will Brooks
To The Ultimate Fighter Finale now and one of the most anticipated UFC debuts in recent history. The man who vacated the Bellator lightweight title just last month to sign for the UFC, Will Brooks, makes his bow for the promotion. Holding a professional record of 18 – 1 with 10 of those wins coming by way of a finish, Brooks has built up an impressive record with wins over the likes of Marcin Held, Alexander Sarnavskiy and twice over Michael Chandler. The 29-year-old has completed his dream move to the UFC now, but Ross Pearson is planning to turn that dream into a nightmare on July 8th. The man from Sunderland, England is a veteran of the UFC, having amassed 19 fights for the promotion which included winning the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite wins over Paul Felder, Gray Maynard and Sam Stout among others to his name, Pearson heads into the fight with Brooks as the betting underdog, but will relish the chance to prove everyone wrong. This is without doubt a fight that every MMA fan should be looking forward to greatly.
3.) July 9th, UFC 200 – Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon
The biggest card in UFC history takes centre stage now, and it would be plain wrong not to include the hot favourite for Fight of the Night honours on this list. Between Diego Sanchez and Joe Lauzon, there are 13 Fight of the Night bonuses, 7 Performance of the Night bonuses and an incredible 4 UFC Fight of the Year winners. That alone is reason enough to mark this one down as must watch MMA. Sanchez and Lauzon are both long-time UFC veterans, and it is somewhat of a surprise that their paths have not crossed sooner. The two men love a brawl and seem to be at their very best when the blood starts to flow, but there is much more to them than that, as both are incredibly skilled in all aspects of MMA. The strength and depth of quality fights on the UFC 200 card means this bout headlines the UFC Fight Pass exclusive preliminary portion of the night and subscribers can expect to get their money’s worth and more from this fight. Time to ensure you have that Fight Pass subscription renewed.
4.) July 9th, UFC 200 – Cat Zingano vs Julianna Peña
Another fight from UFC 200, and this time we head to the women’s bantamweight division for a match that could very well decide who will receive the next title shot. Cat Zingano has already had a crack at UFC gold, but that 14 second loss to Ronda Rousey is certainly not indicative of her abilities. In fact, that remains the only loss of Zingano’s professional MMA career to date and an interesting side note is that she currently holds UFC victories over both fighters in the women’s bantamweight title fight which will take place later on in the night between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes. Should Zingano emerge victorious on July 9th, that would be a useful bargaining chip for her in title fight negotiations. However, Julianna Peña is hungry for her first title shot and has no intention of being anyone’s stepping stone. The first female winner of The Ultimate Fighter has a perfect 3 – 0 record in the UFC and has finished all but 1 of her 7 professional wins. Peña has been increasingly vocal about her ambition to fight for the belt and a win over former challenger Cat Zingano may very well see her earn that right. Which of these fierce competitors will take a giant stride towards the gold strap they covet? At UFC 200, that question will be answered.
5.) July 9th, UFC 200 – Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt
One last fight, fittingly once again from UFC 200, and probably the most predictable entry on this list as former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar makes his return to the promotion against “The Super Samoan” Mark Hunt. Just a few short weeks ago, this fight existed purely in the realms of fantasy, but on July 9th it will become reality. Lesnar, of course, needs no introduction. The man who TKO’d Randy Couture to win the UFC heavyweight title in 2008 is back and he has a point to prove after ending his MMA career on a bum note with successive first round losses to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem. Mark Hunt, however, possesses what many believe to be the kryptonite to Lesnar’s Superman – powerful striking. And they do not come much more powerful than Hunt, who has become famous for his “walk-off knockouts”, with Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve among those on his hit list. The consensus is that Hunt holds a massive advantage on the feet, whereas the fight enters Lesnar’s world if he gets Hunt to the mat. Whatever the outcome, the eyes of the world will be firmly on the octagon for UFC 200’s co-main event.
So there we have it, five MMA fights not to miss during the UFC’s International Fight Week. Do you agree with the list? Is there any other fight in particular you are looking forward to this month? Get in touch and let us know on Twitter @MMALatestNws or contact me personally @KeefeMcKenna.
Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.
Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.
Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?
I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.
Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?
I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened. They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.
Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?
I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.
It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?
I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.
Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!
2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures
After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.
Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.
Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.
At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.
For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.
Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.
Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:
- Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan 125 lbs
- Anna Astvik vs. Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
- Chamia Chabbi vs. Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
- C. McCrudden vs. Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
- Gase Sanita vs. Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
- Yernaz Mussabek vs. Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
- Gamzat Magomedov vs. O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
- Joel Arolainen vs. Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
- V. Andruhovich vs. Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
- Sola Axel vs. Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
- B. Haraldsson vs. Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
- Pavel Pahomenko vs. Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
- Irman Smajic vs. Lev Vins 265 lbs
- Atanas Krastanov vs. Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate
Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.
But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.
After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.
The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.
Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.
He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.
In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.
Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.
It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.
Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.
The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.
Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.
Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.
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