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5 Things We Learned From UFC Fight Night 90



The first card of International Fight Week is in the books and it was one heck of a way to start off a 3-day period of fight cards. After a crazy 24-hour period that included Jon Jones being pulled from UFC 200, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz entertaining everyone at a press conference and speculation over if Daniel Cormier would still fight on Saturday and who his opponent would be if so, many fans were just grateful to finally get to just sit down and watch some fights. And what a night of fights it turned out to be. Here’re 5 things we learned from UFC Fight Night 90: Dos Anjos vs Alvarez.

The art of the submission is very much alive

Fans love seeing fights end in a knockout. They’re often exciting and come out of nowhere. Submission victories for fighters are often the result of grinding out your opponent on the ground ultimately securing the choke or the joint lock. At Fight Night 90, submissions were the way to go for many fighters. The first 5 fights on the card ended in submission and Joe Duffy pulled off the fourth fastest submission in UFC Lightweight history on the main card. Overall, half of the fights on the card ended in submission victories and fans were treated to a variety of them including a pair of armbars, a D’Arce choke, a guillotine and a rear naked choke. There are quite a few fighters whose opponents will have to think twice about taking to the mat after this card.

Joseph Duffy can be a serious lightweight contender

Coming off his first UFC loss at the hands of Dustin Poirier at UFC 195 in January, many people wondered how the highly touted Irish lightweight would respond. Going against Mitch Clarke, another potential Lightweight standout, it didn’t take Duffy long to answer the question. It took less than 30 seconds for Duffy to drop Clarke with a massive right hand that sent Clarke crashing to the canvas. As Clarke attempted to recover, he gave Duffy his back and it was all over as Duffy immediately sank in a rear naked choke for the victory. Duffy showed power in his hands and added another submission victory to his record in a performance that’s sure to have other 155 lber’s taking notice.

Belal Muhammad may be the juggernaut

There are fights where, even in a loss, a fighter makes a name for himself. Belal Muhammad did just that on Thursday night when he took on Alan Jouban. For most of the first round, Muhammad took a hellacious beating from Jouban, getting dropped twice and absorbing a massive amount of punishment. That trend continued in the second round as Muhammad was dropped again and looked very much the worse for wear after the first 10 minutes of the fight. Despite many not even being sure how he was still conscious, much less continuing to fight. Muhammad then came forward relentlessly in the final round, landing some big shots that appeared to have Jouban in serious trouble at times. Muhammad wasn’t quite able to finish in any of those exchanges however and Jouban would take the unanimous decision victory. After the final bell, both fighters received a standing ovation from the crowd and Muhammad had obviously earned the respect of everyone who watched the fight.

Lewis vs Nelson wasn’t exactly what fans had hoped for

The co-main event was a battle between heavy-handed fan favourite heavyweights as Derrick Lewis took on Roy Nelson. Both fighters had been calling for this fight and both alluded to wanting to fight someone who would put on a show for the fans. Lewis came out in the first round with bad intentions and was getting the better of the promised striking exchanges. Nelson decided to switch up strategies a bit and began implementing clinches and takedowns into the fight, securing 7 of them throughout the fight and controlling the action for much of the time. Lewis came on strong towards the end of the final round and at one point landed a right hand that almost took Nelson’s head off his shoulders. Somehow, Nelson survived the final barrage and the fight that almost everyone assumed would end in a knockout, went to a judge’s decision. The 37-4 significant strike difference appeared to be the deciding factor as Lewis won a split decision victory. After the fight, Lewis called for a rematch against Nelson, saying “I promised a knockout”.

Eddie Alvarez returned to form

Former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez hadn’t had the most impressive opening run upon entering the UFC. A loss to Donald Cerrone followed up with a pair of split decision wins over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis had many people wondering where the “old” Eddie Alvarez was. Where was the brawler who had epic wars with Michael Chandler and knocked out Patricky Freire? On Thursday night, that Eddie Alvarez showed up again as he faced off against one of the most dominant 155 lb champions in recent memory in Rafael Dos Anjos. The first 2 minutes consisted mostly of leg kicks, feeling each other out and blocking each others punches. Then, about midway through the round, a perfectly placed right hand from Alvarez wobbled the champ and that was all the opening Alvarez needed. Alvarez swarmed Dos Anjos, not giving him a second to possibly recover and unleashed what ended up being a total of 57 significant strikes to the champion before Herb Dean had had enough and stepped in and a new Lightweight Champion was crowned.

In what is being called the biggest week in UFC history, with the biggest card in UFC history approaching on Saturday, UFC Fight Night 90 certainly set the bar high. Now we can only hope that the remaining two cards can rise to the occasion and at least match what Fight Night 90 brought to the table.

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Fight Announcements

Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg

Harry Davies



The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.

The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.

Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.

Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.

Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.

Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.

With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:

  • Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
  • Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
  • Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
  • Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
  • Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
  • Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
  • Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
  • John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
  • Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
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Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions



  • The debacle that were the UFC 216 weigh-in last Friday further highlighted current weight cutting problems in mixed martial arts.

More specifically in this case it was in the UFC’s lightweight division. A fight between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks was pulled due to Lentz having ‘medical issues’ according to a UFC statement, hours before he was due to weigh-in.

Title challenger Kevin Lee then took to the scale seconds before the deadline and was over the limit by a pound. Fortunately he made weight after being given an extra hour. But these are not isolated cases, especially at 155-pounds.

There isn’t necessarily a solution to this problem but there may be a short term fix in the form of new weight classes approved by the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports) in July 2017. These include 165 and 175-pound divisions.

While not specific to the lightweight division, the problems with weight commonly occur there. In March this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov was rushed to hospital during fight week when cutting down for his title contest with Tony Ferguson. Subsequently the UFC 209 main event was cancelled. Khabib has been regularly discussed as a title challenger but he’s often struggled to make weight and failed on numerous occasions.

With drastic dehydration it is still unknown what health implications may effect him and other mixed martial artists in the future.

Some top ranked fighters such as Donald Cerrone, Jorge Masvidal and Rafael Dos Anjos have moved up to the welterweight division to preserve their health from these strenuous cuts, and have all been relatively successful.

Former UFC lightweight Donald Cerrone has looked spectacular since making the move up to 170-pounds.

However, many fighters are still reluctant and insist on dropping 10-20% of their bodyweight in the hours and days leading up to a bout. For example, Kevin Lee was rumoured to be 19 pounds over the day before he stepped on the scales.

At 170 pounds, welterweight is fifteen pounds more than lightweight which is a noticeable difference between relatively low weight classes. Especially when you consider that the divisions increase ten pounds from as low as 115 up to 155. There are many fighters who find themselves too big to be a lightweight, yet too small to compete at welterweight.

The incidents last Friday should hopefully be a wakeup call to the UFC, who can also set an example for other organisations such as Bellator, One FC, and Cage Warriors.

So far in 2017 the UFC has lost 14 fights in 48 hours or less before they were due to take place. That is one fight every two cards. While weight cutting is not always to blame, more often than not it plays a big role. These situations leave the UFC at a loss, fighters without opponents and a pay check, and fans disgruntled. Not to mention the health implications for the athlete involved.

The UFC must recognise these common patterns, remove the 170 pound welterweight division and create 165 and 175 pound rosters instead. Some may see an additional weight class as devaluing UFC titles even further but this would not be the case.

The UFC’s official website only lists four fighters in the women’s featherweight division.

Recently the women’s featherweight title was created without having a roster of women to fill it. However, the difference with lightweight and welterweight is that they are comfortably the two deepest, most talent stacked divisions in the organisation.

Admittedly, there is a lot of history attached to the welterweight title since Pat Miletich first won it back in 1998. The likes of Matt Hughes and Georges St Pierre have also added prestige to the belt over the years.

Even so, the sport has changed since then and it’s in a transitional phase. We are in the era of USADA, the era of banned IV drips and certain commissions tightening their regulations on how much they allow fighters to safely cut. Everyone is accountable and aware of the dangers, yet steps still need to be taken.

The athletic commissions and the UFC in particular must act by introducing super lightweight (165lbs) and super welterweight (175lbs) divisions. Perhaps from a fighter’s perspective it seems like a no-brainer that their health should be the main priority.

From a fans point of view there is plenty of talent that could be used in those two divisions. The novelty of fighters blending into these classes would also have the feeling of a superfight. The likes of Nurmagomedov, Lee, Masvidal, Cerrone and Dos Anjos would certainly fit well into a 165 pound division.

Similarly, at 175 pounds, Tyron Woodley could transition from welterweight champion to super welterweight champion. Top talents such as Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Robbie Lawler would be perfect matches for this weight.

Could we see the current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley compete at 175-pounds in the future?

If this was a success then super middleweight (195lbs) and cruiserweight (225lbs) divisions could be an option in future too.

As previously mentioned this won’t necessarily fix the issues of weight cutting but it gives martial artists another option and is a positive step towards fighter’s safety. Currently there has been no mention by the UFC about introducing these new divisions.

However, with fighter safety being of upmost importance these new divisions must be given serious consideration.

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James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury



Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by

The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016.  James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.

After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.

Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.

Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”

His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.



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