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Chaitanya Gavali – The First Ultimate Beatdown Champion

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Ultimate Beatdown crowned their first champion, since its inception in 2010.  Unlike other promotions who favour on placing a belt over debutant challengers, Ultimate Beatdown painstakingly built their challengers to gather win streaks within the promotion before setting up the featherweight title fight on Ultimate Beatdown 17 last weekend. Contender, Ireland’s Keith Alden was on a 3 fight win streak since Ultimate Beatdown 13 on November of 2013 while Chaitanya Gavali was on a 2 fight win streak(Promoter pushed Chaitanya to fight in the now-defunct Borneo FC when his opponent pulled out from a scheduled fight on Ultimate Beatdown) since Ultimate Beatdown 11 on March 2013.

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Keith Alden (left) facing Chaitanya Gavali (right) on the Ultimate Beatdown 17 weigh ins

After an intense staredown with both fighters making weight at 64.5kg, the  highly anticipated main event kicked off past 1 am on fight night. Both fighters looked tentative to exchange, but it was clear that Chaitanya did not want to go to the ground. The champion revealed that he hurt his left foot prior to the fight.

“My coaches Jitendra Khare & Nick Kilstein analyzed Keith’s previous fights and came up with a game plan. We worked on a lot of footwork and striking, especially in the grappling range. Having said that I’m also a Purple belt in BJJ and hence wasn’t that worried of being taken down as we were confident that I could handle myself well on the ground too. I had hurt my left foot 2 weeks out of the fight and hence we decided to avoid a grappling exchange as much as possible.

I knew I had 25 minutess to work and hence didn’t want to rush in with the strikes. I think most of Keith’s previous opponents tried to dive for a guillotine or tried to clinch him in the grappling range and he was successful in taking them down and imposing his game. We worked on landing strikes to catch him coming in and breaking free and creating distance” – Chaitanya Gavali

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Chaitanya was ready to ward off every takedown attempt and battered his opponent with well-timed combos on the feet. Halfway through round 1, he caught Keith Alden with a right hook and knocked him out cold to become the first Ultimate Beatdown featherweight champion.

“My coaches had clearly asked me not to go looking for the KO or that one big punch but instead stick to the game plan. They believe I have heavy hands and the KO would come if it had to. I was surprised when the ref didn’t stop the fight when he fell face first. This being a big fight I couldn’t take any chances and hence had to throw the strike till the ref jumped in and stopped the fight. At that moment, I realized that I had won the championship belt and the feeling was surreal.” – Chaitanya Gavali

After the post-fight interview, Chaitanya who was also the first Indian to capture an MMA title on foreign soil was adamant of giving his belt to his head coach.  He hopes that his win could make a positive impact for Indian MMA.

“An MMA fighter steps into the cage alone but his team gets him there. My head coach Jitendra Khare is the man behind Team Relentless and has made me into what I am today. I wanted to dedicate my success to him, and also Nick Kilstein, my wrestling coach. This success would not have been possible without them.

I am honored to be the first Indian to win a title on foreign soil and I take this as a matter of great pride. I plan to hold on to this belt as long as possible. I do realise that now I have a target on my back and I have to work harder to keep this belt. Hopefully this also opens up more doors for me and for Indian MMA. MMA in India is still at a very nascent stage and I hope this win can get some eyes on Team Relentless and other Indian talent. I hope to continue to put myself, my team and my country on the MMA map of Asia” – Chaitanya Gavali

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Check out our MMA Latest facebook page for more pictures of Ultimate Beatdown 17.

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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