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Top Bantamweights set to square off in Albany as Raphael Assuncao faces Aljamain Sterling

Matthew Wells

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UFC is taking New York by storm to close out 2016.

First, UFC 205 will mark the first event in the Empire State at Madison Square Garden in New York City for one of the biggest cards of the year.  Less than a month later, the promotion will return to the state for an event in Albany on December 9, which now has its first fight confirmed according to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.

The Times Union Center in Albany, New York will play host to a UFC Fight Night card featuring an exciting matchup in the bantamweight division between #3 Raphael Assuncao and #8 Aljamain Sterling.

Raphael Assuncao returned to action after a lengthy layoff due to injury at UFC 200 where he faced former Champion, T.J. Dillashaw in a rematch of their Fight of the Night bout from 2013, on the preliminary portion of the fight card.  The 34-year-old Brazilian fighter fell on the wrong side of a unanimous decision on the evening, moving his career record to 23-5. Prior to that bout, Assuncao rattled off seven wins in a row against top competition in the division. Assuncao will look to get back into the win column against a rising star in the Bantamweight division to solidify his position at the top, knocking on the door for a title shot.

Aljamain Sterling is coming off the first loss of his professional career, a split decision loss to Bryan Caraway in May. Regarded as one of the best up and coming talents at 135, Sterling was riding a four-fight winning streak, with two impressive submission victories over Takeya Mizugaki and Johnny Eduardo before his first taste of defeat. The bout in Albany against Assuncao not only marks a huge opportunity to notch a win over a top 5 opponent, it’s a dream come true to fight for the first time in his home state for the biggest promotion around. Sterling hails from Long Island, New York, and while he would have loved to be on the UFC 205 card, the “Funkmaster” won’t mind putting on a show for the fans in Albany.

Stay tuned to MMA Latest for more fight announcements as they are announced for UFC Fight Night Albany.


For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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Cage Warriors

Lewis Long vs. Ross Houston Officially added to Cage Warriors 91

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Cage Warriors returns to the Newport Centre in Wales on March 3rd. The promotion announced today, via Twitter, the booking of Lewis Long vs. Ross Houston in the welterweight division.

The two fighters look to be on differing ends of their careers, yet, the bout marks an important opportunity for both fighters.

For Long, his record sits at, 15-5. In addition to his impressive record, the Welsh fighter holds a victory over former UFC contender, Che Mills. His victory over Mills emphasized a three fight unbeaten stretch. Regrettably, Long’s streak of three consecutive victories ended in his most recent bout.

Roberto Soldic defeated Long in decisive fashion at CW: 87, in his home country of Wales. Following forty seconds of the first round, Soldic landed a heavy head kick to finish the fight.

Long looks to re-gain momentum while his opponent looks to ride his momentum. Houston holds an undefeated record of, 5-0. Three of his five wins, coming in the Cage Warriors promotion. He holds two submission victories to his perfect record, the remainder of his victories came by way of decision. The Scotsman, fights out of SBG Inverness.

Cage Warriors 91 takes place in Newport, Wales at the Newport Centre on March 3rd. As it stands, the card features twelve amateur and eight professional bouts. Of the professional bouts, six of the eight will feature a fighter native to Wales.

On the main card, bantamweights Josh Reed and Brian Bouland will attempt to assert their names in the title mix. Officially, the CW:91 card is incomplete, more fight announcements to complete the Welsh card are expected to come.

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Fight Announcements

Mamed Khalidov vs. Tomasz Narkun Officially Booked for KSW 42

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KSW

KSW 42 in Lodz, Poland has its main event. The promotion’s middleweight champion, Mamed Khalidov (34-4), will compete in a superfight against light heavyweight champion, Tomasz Narkun (14-2).

Khalidov and Narkun will not put their belts on the line, as this main event fight will be a catchweight bout.

Mamed Khalidov last fought at KSW 39 when he defeated Borys Mankowski via unanimous decision. Fans were dissatisfied with the verdict, reacting with whistles and boos. Khalidov did not give an interview after the fight, and instead left the cage going straight to his changing room.

The 37-year-old from Olsztyn enters this superfight against Narkun on excellent form, being unbeaten in his last 14 fights. Khalidov has Szymon Bońkowski and Paweł Derlacz in his corner, the two coaches who had a major part to play in former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s success.

This will be the second fight in a row in which Khalidov will not defend his championship belt. He last defended his title in May of 2016 at KSW 35, beating Aziz Karaoglu via unanimous decision.

Like Khalidov, Narkun last fought at KSW 39, defeating Marcin Wojcik via submission (triangle choke) in the first round. He won his light heavyweight belt via first round TKO when he defeated former UFC fighter Goran Rejlic, at KSW 32 in London. A 28-year-old warrior from Szczecin, Narkun frequently requested a fight for the KSW heavyweight belt, but the federation had other plans for the well-developed “Giraffe.”

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