People may criticize the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation [often mistakenly referred to as the Texas Athletic Commission] for the various blunders that have made headlines over the years but, regardless of what they say, there is an incredible MMA scene in the Lone Star State. Some of the world’s best fighters, top Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and many of the country’s best MMA Schools call the Republic of Texas home. Additionally, the fan population is vast, expanding and incredibly loyal. Why else would UFC and Bellator consistently host events in both Dallas and Houston, or frequently bring fan-expos to Texas that are usually limited to Las Vegas?
210 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth another pair of big cities, Austin and San Antonio, sit in close proximity to one another. Though the state’s capital and the Alamo City may not get the UFC and Bellator love that has shone upon H-Town and the Big D, they are making plenty of moves on their own. San Antonio has recently hosted UFC Fight Night, Legacy Fighting, RFA and the newly formed LFA; as well as promotions from further south, like Fury FC and Cage Combat.
Up the road, in Austin, local professional MMA competition has rarely been on display, but that will soon change. On April 8th, Strike League debuts at the H-E-B Center, a state of the art facility that seats a little over 8,500 people. Strikeforce held an event there in 2011 and Bellator 161 took place in the venue last September. It is truly the perfect stage for concerts and cagefights.
MMA Latest News sat down with local fighter, Stetson Horne and his significant other, CeCe Chancellor; the co-owners of Strike League, a newly formed, Austin-based promotion.
“It’s really hard to find a good venue for mixed martial arts in Austin,” CeCe Chancellor told MMA Latest. “Most of them seat anywhere from 600-1,000 people and from there they jump to 3,000 seats. Stetson said ‘go big or go home’ so we’re going to the H-E-B Center. It’s perfect. Everyone loves it. Fans especially love it, as do all the vendors and sponsors.”
Most regional show posters are adorned with little known businesses with names such as Dirty Doug’s Dive bar or Bootleg Tattoo – not Strike League. Keeping the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy intact, Stetson and CeCe secured juggernaut sponsorships from Bud Light and even H-E-B, a powerhouse grocery chain based in south Texas.
“Not only is Bud Light sponsoring the event, they’re giving us all the premium accommodations,” the Strike League owners said. “They’re giving us advertising on radio stations, online media, print media and even hosting fighter meet and greet events here in Austin.”
It appears that the recently crowned owners of Austin’s first pro MMA organization have all of their priorities in line. They are showcasing their brand at the best venue in town and they have enticed the biggest sponsors anyone could hope to obtain. Once those two key elements were in place, only the most important aspect remained – booking great fighters to put on the show.
Name recognition certainly enhances the advertising appeal of upcoming prize fights, in fact, a marquee is precisely what all promoters strive to build their card around. Most of the time, the regional circuit has to cultivate local fighters from the ground up, which is largely what Strike League is doing with their event. They did however, manage to secure another heavyweight (literally) to complete their recipe for an event that is sure to be a success.
Headlining the card is Ultimate Fighter alumni and former Jackson-Winklejohn protégé Bubba “The Menace” McDaniel. “I had a little retirement phase, and that’s what it was – a phase.” McDaniel told MMA Latest News. “I realized that I couldn’t go without some kind of training in my life. It’s ridiculous to even fathom,” Bubba reflected on his hiatus. “For a guy my age that’s been fighting since I was 20 years old, it was just weird. Whenever I ‘retired’ I hated looking at myself in the mirror. It seemed like I was looking at a completely different person and I didn’t like it.”
Bubba had his ups and downs in UFC and Bellator, posting a 1-2 record in the former and going 1-1 in the latter; however, his post UFC run is 8-2. Bubba comes into the April 8th bout on 2-fight KO streak, having won 5 of his last 6 fights. With a respectable 28-10 overall record, the 33 year old McDaniel still has plenty of fight left in him.
“I got a call from the producers at TUF about the (current season) redemption show, and it’s part of the reason I came back to fighting to be honest with you. It kind of lit a fire under me.” McDaniel said, “I told them ‘if you get a 205lb show together, give me a call back.’”
When and if that call comes remains to be seen. Until then Bubba McDaniel is not holding his breath. Instead, he is fully committed to staying ready. Consistently training has renewed his love for the sport of mixed martial arts and for the first time in a long time, his head is in the right place.
Few things are certain in life, especially in MMA, but one thing is certain at this point in time. Bubba McDaniel will face Juan “El Toro” Torres in the main event at Strike League, on the 8th of April. Tickets can be purchased here.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
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)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.
Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.
First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)
EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that Eryk Anders (@erykanders) has gotten his wish. He'll headline UFC Fight Night: Belem against Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) in Brazil. Ask and you shall receive. #UFC pic.twitter.com/qX62A9qH6k
— The MMA Kings (Nolan King) (@mma_kings) December 14, 2017
Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.
Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.
Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.
In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.
UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira.
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