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6 Things We Learned From UFC Rotterdam

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The first ever UFC event in The Netherlands is now in the books and it was a great night of fights, in particular for the Dutch fighters who, with big victories for Germaine de Randamie, Stefan Struve and Alistair Overeem, went 3-0 in their bouts. The card also saw notable wins for Gunnar Nelson and Kyoji Horiguchi, as well as Rustam Khabilov and debutant Josh Emmett.

It was an entertaining night of fights and the big thing to take away from this first ever Dutch-based UFC event is that Holland’s passion for MMA is huge, their crowds enjoy every aspect of the fight game and it’s highly likely we will see the promotion return to the Netherlands at some point in the future. When it came to events inside the octagon, here are 6 of the things we can learn from UFC Rotterdam:

Overeem is a Man With a Plan

We start with the main event and Alistair Overeem; this fight against Andrei Arlovski was one that the Dutchman reportedly asked for and as if that wasn’t enough pressure to win he was also headlining the first ever UFC card in his home country. However “Reem” thrived under that pressure, as he withstood an early blitz to take control of the fight before he finished Arlovski with punches on the ground after he had landed a spectacular crane kick to drop the Belarussian. This big win means that Overeem’s next bout will likely be for UFC gold against the winner of next week’s Heavyweight title fight, which is between current champion; Fabricio Werdum & number one contender Stipe Miocic. In his post-fight interview with Jon Anik, Overeem stated that his plan is to beat either Werdum or Miocic in the UFC’s inaugural event at Madison Square Garden and then defend the Heavyweight title at the Amsterdam Arena, in The Netherlands, in 2017.

Struve is Back With a Bang & Bigfoot Has Some Big Decisions to Make

The second Dutch win of the night took only 15 seconds to materialise for a newly invigorated Stefan Struve against an Antonio Silva, who looks a shadow of his former self. Struve it was who caught Silva in what was the first exchange of the fight, he then hit the Brazilian with a big knee to the body that dropped Silva, Struve then followed up with big elbows from the top to finish for the 3rd fastest win in UFC Heavyweight history. The co-main event between “The Skyscraper” and “Bigfoot” was billed as a crossroads fight for both men and the loser was likely to have some big decisions to make and it will Antonio Silva that will be pondering his next step. Since the ban on TRT; a treatment Silva relied upon because of a pre-existing medical condition, he has looked nothing like the man that beat Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko. Seemingly his chin has been significantly diminished in the last 18 months as he has fallen to 4 losses in his last 5 UFC fights and there is a chance that Sunday was the last time we will see this iconic Heavyweight compete inside the octagon.

Germaine de Randamie is a Legitimate Threat at 135lbs

The first Dutch fighter of the card was Germaine de Randamie, a famed striker who had looked very good in her previous fight; a TKO win over Larissa Pacheco at UFC 185. Visibly buoyed by an absolutely rousing reception from her home crowd, de Randamie proceeded to put on a masterclass in the use of knees from the clinch, as she finished UFC debutant Anna Elmose inside the first round to put the entire Women’s Bantamweight division on notice. This impressive performance from de Randamie only served to tell us that she belongs amongst the elite of the women’s 135lb division. We should fully expect her next opponent to be ranked within the top 10 and this fight has proved beyond much doubt that Germaine de Randamie is as good a pure striker as there is at Bantamweight in women’s MMA.

Gunnar Nelson is an Ever Evolving Fighter

Arguably the most impressive performance of the night came in a Welterweight clash that many people had billed as not only a tough fight for both men, but a potential fight of the night. However a tight match up on paper does not always translate that way in the octagon and it was Gunnar Nelson who took an impressive victory against tough striker Albert Tumenov. Much like he did against Brandon Thatch at UFC 189, Nelson showcased his ever improving striking arsenal; confusing the Dagestan native with slick boxing and a variety of feints to set up his takedowns, before eventually submitting the highly touted Tumenov in the second round. Nelson cut through the Russian’s guard like a hot knife through butter when he got the fight to the mat; however his display on the feet against an accomplished striker like Tumenov showed how far the Icelandic, SBG product has come in such a short period of time. Not only did this fight prove to everyone how good “Gunni” is and his potential to challenge the elite of the 170lb division, it also showed his ability to come back from adversity, having suffered a loss the fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Demian Maia in his previous UFC appearance. He will undoubtedly be a top 15 UFC Welterweight when the rankings are released later this week.

Kyoji Horiguchi is Not Far Away From Another Shot at Demetrious Johnson

The featured prelim bout on UFC Fight Pass saw former title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi face perennial tough out, Neil “2 Tap” Seery in an intriguing Flyweight fight. The result was a dominant unanimous decision victory for Horiguchi who looked to have the advantage in every aspect of the fight, however ,that only tells half of the story. After having lost at the hands of the Flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, the Japanese-born Horiguchi felt like he needed to focus a lot of effort into improving his wrestling and made the big decision to take his training stateside. He therefore, chose to lay his roots down at American Top Team, home of current UFC Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. This is a decision that looks to have been immediately vindicated judging by his performace in Rotterdam, not only did he look fast and sharp on the feet, he mixed in a good number of solid takedowns in his most well-rounded UFC performance to date. The only minus in an otherwise flawless performance was that Horiguchi did not finish Seery, though the Irishman’s amazing heart and chin that does not detract from the reality of Horiguchi’s dominance. Without a doubt, Kyoji Horiguchi is extremely close to getting a rematch against Johnson with this most recent performance.

 Josh Emmett Impressed in His UFC Debut

Last but certainly not least, UFC Rotterdam taught us that Team Alpha Male product Josh Emmett has not entered into the UFC to simply make up the numbers. What was a more than accomplished promotional debut, Emmett, 31, showed fantastic footwork and lateral movement, not to mention a varied arsenal of strikes on his way to a split decision win over the tough Jon Tuck. Having taken the fight on extremely short notice after the late withdrawal of Nick Hein, seemed to play to Emmett’s advantage as he proved he was ready for the step up in competition. He did not once lack confidence, constantly pushing forward he attack Tuck consistently and not even when he suffered a freak finger injury during the 3rd round did he look like he was going to succumb to the dreaded “octagon shock”. After this very impressive debut Josh Emmett is most certainly a Lightweight to keep an eye on as he embarks upon his journey in the UFC.

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5 Things We Learned from UFC on Fox 26: Lawler vs Dos Anjos

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The UFC’s return to Winnipeg in over 4 years certainly did not disappoint the fans, as the card delivered just as it was expected with plenty of action packed fights.

Upset was in play often times for this card as on more than one occasion, the fans’ jaws dropped in shock and the predictions going into the fights were completely defied.

There are plenty of things to take away from this card, but what were the 5 biggest lessons learned here?

1. Rafael dos Anjos means business at welterweight

While Vegas odds may not have reflected it, dos Anjos had plenty of doubters coming into this fight on whether he could beat the top fighters in the welterweight division, his new found home. I’ll be the first to say, I didn’t think he’d be able to deal with Lawler’s power and size, considering that ‘Ruthless’ used to compete at middleweight, but he completely changed my perspective on what he brings to this division.

With the mix of powerful leg kicks and crisp boxing, dos Anjos completely neutralized the former welterweight champion and took home a dominant victory, winning all five rounds of the fight.

Yes, Lawler was injured and barely moved for the last three rounds, but that should not discredit the masterful performance that dos Anjos had tonight. This only sets up a fight with the current champion Tyron Woodley now (unless Colby Covington gets it), and while Woodley is a whole different match up, it makes for an entertaining fight.

2. Robbie Lawler is still one of the toughest fighters on the roster

Despite both his legs looking like they were completely destroyed by the third round and him losing the fight, we once again saw the toughness and grit of Lawler to never give up.

While we don’t know how bad his injury was, when you see Lawler not moving much and standing still for three rounds straight, you know something is seriously hurting. He endured an unbelievable amount of punishment tonight but at the end was still standing pumping up the crowd. What a warrior.

3. Josh Emmett… the new force to be reckoned with at 145lbs?

Simply no words. It was easily the biggest shocker of the night and maybe even upset of the year. Stepping in on relatively short notice for Jose Aldo, Emmett was counted out in this fight on paper against the former title challenger Ricardo Lamas, and weighing in at 148.5lbs on the scale didn’t help convincing the fans.

It’s My Time!

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But it definitely didn’t matter as he delivered a left hook from hell, sleeping Lamas at the end of the first round, sending a shock to the entire division and rising as a new threat to everyone in top 10. He said that his goal here was to shock the world, and shock the world he did. With this performance, Emmett immediately rises to a position where he now only needs one or two more significant wins from a possible title shot.

4. Mike Perry needs some time to develop into a title contender

Despite showing an unbelievable toughness in a three-round war against Santiago Ponzinibbio, Perry was unable to back up his words before the fight, losing via unanimous decision.

In a fight against a very tough opponent, Perry was once again exposed in a couple of areas as he was against Alan Jouban on his endurance, as he showed signs of fatigue as the second round came around. At the age of 26, he still has plenty of time, but Perry will need to fill that massive hole in order to continue to rise the ladder in the extremely stacked welterweight division, or else he’ll run into some trouble sooner or later.

5. Glover Teixeira isn’t done just yet

This fight was an excellent example of advantages a veteran brings compared to a young and upcoming fighter. Teixeira, coming off that tough loss in Sweden against Alexander Gustafsson, was also doubted by many as he came in as the underdog against a rising prospect in Misha Cirkunov.

Teixeira was put in immediate trouble in the first round, getting tagged by Cirkunov multiple times and getting backed up against the cage, but was able to outsmart Cirkunov by dragging him down to the ground and eventually pounding him out. Teixeira seemed to have lost all momentum against Anthony Johnson, and even more so against Gustafsson, but this fight proved that he is not done just yet, and showed the difference in level between the top 5 and top 10 of the division.

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*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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