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8 fighters who could possibly feature on TUF 24

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The next season of TUF is possibly going to be one of the best as we will see some of the best flyweights in the world compete against one another to become the next TUF winner. Unlike most seasons of TUF, this one will probably be one of the most competitive yet because the contestants will not only competing for a UFC contract, they will also be competing for an opportunity to become the next UFC flyweight champion. This season will be coached by Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo and contestants will be decided by invite only, meaning the best fighters from around the world will be handpicked by the UFC. So here at MMA Latest News we decided to take a look at who are the top contenders that could possibly make it on the show and this is who we’ve come up with.

1. Rany Saadeh

First up we got the BAMMA flyweight champion of the world, Rany Saadeh (8-1). Rany has been dominating the BAMMA flyweight ranks since 2013, picking up the title in only his 3rd bout under the promotion with a win over Jody Collins. He has since gone on to successfully defend his belt once and is expected to defend it again in September at BAMMA 26. Hailing originally from Germany, Saadeh now trains out of Phuket Top Team, a top gym in Thailand, and he is also arguably the top European Flyweight around at the moment.

At only 23 years of age, Saadeh is a very well rounded fighter, capable of comfortably bringing the fight anywhere. His striking is possibly his strongest aspect of his game, boasting very quick hands with powerful leg kicks to follow. When it comes to clinch work then he is usually very dominant, putting his opponents back against the cage, throwing effective strikes and ultimately landing big takedowns that will land him in top control of his opponent. Rany would certainly be a great addition to the TUF 24 season and after dominating the flyweight division of Europe’s top promotion at the moment, he would most definitely be a worthy contender.

2. Magomed Bibulatov

Up next is Magomed Bibulatov who is most well-known by some after winning the inaugural WSOF flyweight title in his promotional debut. Bibulatov boasts a spotless 12-0 record dominating every challenger who stood across from him. As well as his WSOF glory, Bibulatov has proven victorious in an ACB 8 man tournament at 135lbs and is currently in the final of the Akhmat Fight Show 125 Grand Prix.

The Russian has previously spoken about his want to join the UFC, in an interview last year with Bloody Elbow he explained how he believed he could beat the current champion Demetrious Johnson and how he’d love to join the UFC. TUF 24 might just well be his shot at doing so. Bibulatov has been a fan and practitioner of wrestling and sambo since he was young, both playing a fair role in his fight style. Despite only one TKO on his record, though, his striking is nothing to sleep on, excelling in his practice of Kempo Karate. Bibulatov would be an extremely tough and competitive guy to have on the season that would bring the fight to anyone in his way.

3. Alexandre Pantoja

Top Brazilian prospect, Alexandre Pantoja (16-2) has broken through the ranks over at well-known American-based promotion, RFA to become the company’s flyweight champion. As well as taking over as king of the RFA flyweights, he has also proved just how good he is, with an outstanding submission victory over UFC veteran and current Legacy FC champion Damacio page at RFA vs. Legacy FC: Superfight. Now currently riding a 9 fight win streak, the Nova Uniao fighter would be the perfect fit for the show.

At the beginning of his career, Pantoja seemed to prefer to finish his opponents with his phenomenal striking, however, in most recent times he has gone on to show his prowess on the ground, finishing 4 of his last 5 by way of submission. Similar to the other champions on this list he is still only young at 26 making him more appealing to have on the show becuase if he was then signed by the promotion he would have quite a lot of years ahead of him to fight and excel in the promotion.

4. Yuki Motoya

26-year-old Yuki Motoya is arguably the top flyweight out in Asia right now, making easy work of everyone put in front of him. Motoya is currently enjoying his second spell as DEEP flyweight champion after avenging his loss to the man who once dethroned him to take back his coveted crown. He has most recently fought under RIZIN, with the bout ending in a no contest. Motoya making the cast would actually make a lot of sense, especially since he was chosen for Roy Nelson’s team on “Road to UFC” but unfortunately was forced to pull out due to injury, therefore an invite here would really get his UFC dreams back on track

Motoya is currently undefeated since 2013 winning 7 consecutive fights. Despite only starting training at the age of 18 Motoya is a unique all-round type of fighter that is capable of finishing the fight wherever it goes with numerous wins coming from all methods of victory. Since 2014 following his successful title challenge, Motoya has been eager to travel overseas and fight in the top promotions, if he is seen as a serious contender for the season, a call to take part in TUF 24 could finally be his shot.

5. Bruno Menezes

Bruno Menezes (16-5) is currently the flyweight champion under top Brazilian promotion Jungle Fight where former UFC champions such as Fabricio Werdum, Jose Aldo and Lyoto Machida once competed. Menezes picked up the title there back in 2015 with a decision victory over Nildo Nascimento then followed it up 3 months later by successfully defending his the flyweight strap with a 1st round TKO victory. He has yet to fight since his first defence, despite being scheduled at the end of last year, the fight was scrapped after Menezes failed to make weight, something that could possibly damage his hopes of getting an invite to the TUF 24 house if he was ever to be in contention.

Menezes is quite big for a flyweight, he likes to stand in front of his opponents and strike, he likes to look for that big right hand to finish it while mixing it up with a variety of different kicks. Whilst being a rather technical fighter, he has not been shy of taking his opponents to the mat and putting together a lock or choke to force his opponent to submit. Without a doubt, this guy would be an intriguing one to have in the cast.

6 .Sean Santella

At 15-5, Santella has been knocking on the door to the big show for quite some time. He is widely recognised as the one of the most talented flyweights in the Northeast region of the US and has achieved a large and loyal fan base fighting in well-established organisations like Ring of Combat and the Cage Fury Fighting Championships, both of which he was the champion. Sean has fought at both bantamweight and flyweight and has amassed a flyweight record of 7-2-1. His 10 submission wins should indicate that he is a dangerous grappler and aggressive finisher.

When he isn’t training with the likes of Frankie Edgar, Corey Anderson, and Edson Barboza at Ricardo Almeida’s gym, he’s mixing it up with Jim and Dan Miller at Miller Brother’s MMA, where he is the head Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. He has fought UFC veterans in Aljamain Sterling and Nick Pace at bantamweight and there are even some rumoured TUF 24 competitors that have turned down fights with Santella in the past. Being a former CFFC champ also seems to hold weight with the UFC nowadays as Paul Felder, Jim Miller, the aforementioned Aljamain Sterling, and Lyman Good are all former CFFC champs who were called up to the UFC and have found success there. We might be adding Santella to the list sometime soon.

7. Matt Schnell

Fighting out of ATT, Matt Schnell (10-2) is the current Legacy FC interim flyweight champion and is best known for appearing on ‘Caged’. A docu-series produced by MTV profiling four young fighters from Louisiana and looking at their journey with MMA and efforts to make the big time.

Schnell is quite the grappler and submission artist, finishing 7 of his 10 wins via submission, be it a lock or a choke. He has only been brought the distance on two occasions throughout his career, winning one and losing one. Since the last time he has gone the distance, none of his fights have made it out of the second round, some not even making it past 30 seconds. Now on a 7 fight win streak and after 2 organised fights falling through an opportunity tom compete in TUF 24 would be perfect for him to get back in there if it ever came about.

8.Nkazimulo Zulu

Although it may only be quite an outside chance he may feature, “Zulu Boy” (8-2) has been dangerous over in leading South African based promotion EFC where he has held titles in two different weight classes. Starting his career at Bantamweight, Zulu won the title in the respected weight class at EFC 27, upon losing it in his first defence he opted to move down to flyweight where he has most recently won the title.

Zulu, who’s inspiring story can be seen in a Fightland documentary, is an exciting fighter who doesn’t like to give his opponent a moment to breath, he very active on the feet and likes to throw some crazy combos. He may not be the most likely to get an invite due his lack of experience at 125lbs but wouldn’t be out of place in the competition that’s for sure, especially after his displays under his current promotion in each weight division.

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

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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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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