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Aljamain Sterling opens up about UFC Fight Night 102 scratch vs. Raphael Assuncao

Matthew Wells

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UFC Fight Night 102 was home to an incredible matchup between Top 10 bantamweights Aljamain Sterling and Raphael Assuncao.

The fight is now scratched due to an injury sustained by Sterling, as reported earlier today by MMA Junkie.

Aljamain Sterling is currently ranked eighth in the bantamweight division, was looking to rebound from the first loss of his professional career against Bryan Caraway in May.  The news comes as a huge disappointment for New York native Sterling, who could not find his way onto the card for the UFC’s first trip to the Empire State, UFC 205. The promotion’s next trip to the state travels upstate to Albany, New York for UFC Fight Night 102, where Sterling was looking forward to putting on a show in front of the New York crowd.

Raphael Assuncao sits at number three on the rankings list and is also looking to find his way back into the win column after suffering a loss to former champ TJ Dillashaw at UFC 200 in July.  Prior to that bout, Assuncao was on a seven fight win streak stretching back to August of 2011. Due to injuries of his own, Assuncao’s fight against Dillashaw was the only time he stepped into the Octagon in 2016, in addition to missing all of 2015 as well. Assuncao and Sterling share a common opponent in Caraway, who Assuncao defeated via Unanimous Decision in October of 2014, the last opponent he faced before his lengthy layoff.

The UFC is currently searching for a replacement opponent for Assuncao, who is still hoping to fight on December 9th in Albany.

Shortly after the news broke, Sterling took to Facebook to deliver a statement about the situation:

“Ok, thanks for the genuine concerns, but I want to assure you all that I’m alright! Trying to do everything I can, to get on the closest card I can fight on. Things happen and my health was being looked after first. Thank you to the NYSAC and the UFC for making sure I was safe and healthy first. Very Disappoint to not fight in NY, but I expect things to be sorted out sooner than later. I’m in tremendous shape and mentally in a great place. I should have an update after the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the family you have, as everyone isn’t fortunate to have some of their loved ones around.

Much love,

Aljo”

https://twitter.com/FunkMaster_UFC/status/801594377307045888

Stay tuned for further developments regarding Sterling’s health and a replacement opponent for Assuncao.

UFC Fight Night 102 takes place on December 9, 2016, in Albany, New York at the Times union Center. The event’s headliner is a matchup in the heavyweight division as Derrick Lewis takes on Shamil Abdurakhimov.

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Bellator

James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury

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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 MMAFighting.com.

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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Injuries

UFC 216: Paige VanZant Pulls Out of Fight with Jessica Eye

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Paige VanZant vs Ronda Rousey

The UFC 216 card looks to have suffered a major blow as Paige VanZant has been pulled from the card citing a back injury, per Ariel Helwani.

VanZant (7-3) has not fought since losing to Michelle Waterson back in December 2016 and was scheduled to make her Flyweight debut against the unranked Jessica Eye.

As of, MMA Fighting, the number 10 ranked UFC Strawweight suffered an intervertebral disc injury whilst training jiu-jitsu, and was advised by her doctor to miss training for a few weeks.

Not only is this a major blow for VanZant as she looks to regain some momentum following her last outing, but it must be considered a huge blow for the UFC as VanZant is a popular figure who can contribute significantly to the buy rate.

Eye (11-6) will also be feeling hard done by on this occasion, as this marks the second time in a row her opponent has pulled out of scheduled bout, she was looking to make things right after suffering four defeats in a row.

The injury will not require surgery so there is a possibility of rescheduling the contest for a later date, although nothing has yet been mentioned. It remains to be seen whether Eye will wait, or ask to be rescheduled with a new opponent.

UFC 216 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 7th and is headlined by Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee for the Interim Lightweight Championship, it also features UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as he takes on Ray Borg in his record eleventh title defence.

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Injuries

Germaine de Randamie out of UFC Fight Night 115

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Former UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Germaine de Randamie has been forced out of next weeks Fight Night event in Rotterdam. The Dutch fighter was set to fight Marion Reneau in the UFC’s return to the Netherlands. The news was first reported by MMA Junkie.

‘GDR’ won the Women’s Featherweight belt back in February after beating former Women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm. The kickboxer won the fight by a controversial decision after punching Holm after the bell in two rounds. Germaine also injured her hand in the fight and announced shortly after that she would need surgery. GDR never ended up getting the surgery and that same injury has now forced her out of the upcoming fight.

Germaine ended up getting her title stripped a few months later after she refused to defend the belt against the now current champion, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. She told many reporters that she considered Cyborg a cheater after she ended up failing a drug test for performance enhancing drugs. After a lot of backlash from both fans and fighters, the UFC stripped her title and made a new title fight at UFC 214 between Cyborg and Tonya Evinger. Cyborg ended up winning the fight by TKO in the 3rd round.

The UFC plan on keeping her former opponent Marion Reneau on the card and are currently searching for a replacement opponent. Reneau is currently coming off of a majority draw against Brazilian fighter Bethe Correia. Reneau’s biggest win so far in the UFC is against Jessica Andrade in a fight she won by submission via triangle choke.

The card is currently headlined by a heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve and Alexander Volkov. The card takes place on September 2nd in Rotterdam, Netherlands and will stream exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

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