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Does Dos Anjos Have a New Strategy Ready For Khabib Nurmagomedov?

AJ Camacho

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Nothing in fighting is more frustrating than not being able to work your game. It’s a demoralizing and physiologically frustrating feeling that sets in when your opponent is capable of neutralizing and shutting down your game before you can even begin to initiate it. You can handle going out in a blaze of glory, on your shield, dying by the sword, and all that other cliche shit but simply being negated, neutralized, and shut out of a fight leaves you without a sense of conclusion. There’s no finality and you barely feel like you were even there in the same cage.

When current Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos was asked about his pre-Champion loss to undefeated and #1 ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov, you could feel those sentiments simmering behind his words. In an interview with media at UFC Fight Night 62, Dos Anjos explained how he felt about a potential future match up with the last man to decisively beat him.

“He’s a tough guy, but I fought again 45 days after facing him,” recalled do Anjos. “I was calling my manager ten minutes after the fight and asking to fight again… He didn’t hurt me. He just held me down and killed my game.”

In their previous bout, Khabib Nurmagomedov was able to blitz Dos Anjos back into the cage where he would then smother him into the ground with an incessant and frustrating grappling game. Dos Anjos was mindful of this, but Nurmagomedov’s ability to blend his striking with his takedowns made his efforts unstoppable.

“It was basically a grappling match.” said Dos Anjos as he downplayed Nurmagomedov’s strategy. “He has a strong game close to the fence. Not chasing him maybe is a good strategy.”

Dos Anjos’ observations seem solid, but this was the same game plan that Dos Anjos’ corner told him to employ after his first round against Khabib. His corner encouraged Dos Anjos to move in and out like Machida and to stay away from the fence. In the second round, Dos Anjos did put more pressure onto the Russian, very conscious of keeping his own heels away from the fence. But once he advanced, Khabib’s punching flurries would continually back Dos Anjos off and once his defenses were raised he would get jammed up with the clinch and subsequent takedown.

Despite how Dos Anjos downplays the bout, the crowd was literally booing at his impotence against the cage. Legs sprawled out like a wet newborn fawn still attached to its cord, Dos Anjos was helpless under the relentless Askren-esque pressure that Khabib was smashing him with.

“No excuse, he was better that night,” explains Dos Anjos. “I was under pressure, I had issues before that fight, but he was better. Next time, the fight will be different. I only lost one of my last 10 fights. I want to clear that up.”

Having partially torn his right MCL in his knee, during training leading up to his championship win over Pettis, there’s no expectations for his matchup with Nurmagomedov to happen anytime soon. His current timeline would put him hopefully back in the cage around October or December of this year. With a timeline out that far though, there’s a potential for his next match to happen in Brazil. An idea that excited the current champion.

“I would love to fight in Brazil, but the UFC makes the call. We have to see their schedule, see if it’s going to work,” he said. “When my knee and foot are better, I will be available to fight. I believe I will be cleared to train hard in three months, and then I will need at least three months to get ready for a title fight.”

Before any of that can happen though, Nurmagomedov faces Donald Cerrone at UFC 187 in Las Vegas. Cerrone might seem like an easy obstacle to some, but Cerrone has turned a new leaf, demonstrating a new found ability to control the range in his fights compared to the brawling in the pocket fighter that he used to be. How Cerrone intends to shut down Khabib’s takedowns will determine his ability to win that fight, and all eyes will be on Cerrone vs Nurmagomedov to find out who the next challenger for the title will be.

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Fight Announcements

Darren Stewart Among Changes made to UFC Winnipeg

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December 16th, the UFC will touch down in the cold Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The third Canadian event for the promotion this year, lost its main event in the second week of November, Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas, when Aldo, replaced Frankie Edgar at last weekends pay-per-view event, UFC 218. Fortunately, Josh Emmett was booked last week, to replace Aldo. The former featherweight champion is not the only one whom won’t make the walk in Canada.

Several fighters on the card have been forced to withdraw. The UFC announced changes to card yesterday releasing an article, indicating the replacements. Justin Scoggins withdrew due to a spinal injury, otherwise known as, spinal process fracture.

According to the Winchester Hospital website, most of these injuries heal without long-term damage.

Replacing the injured Scoggins, the undefeated British prospect, Pietro Menga. “Pitbull” compiled a 13-0 record before signing with the UFC. Seven, by way of submission. The British newcomer will face Tim Elliot at flyweight. Elliot, winner of TUF 24: Tournament of Champions, has had a bitter-sweet return to the UFC. With a record of 1-2 since his return, he looks to put on a dominating performance in order to find his way back into title contention.

The other Brit to posthumously join the Winnipeg card, Darren Stewart. Stewart replaces Vitor Miranda, to fight Julian Marquez in the middleweight division, the news was originally announced by MMA Today’s Nolan King.

After entering the UFC with an undefeated record, Stewart has gone winless in his three bouts with the promotion. Twice he fought Francimar Barroso, winning their first match-up, only to have the decision overturned by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) for an inadvertent headbutt.

His opponent, Julian Marquez, found his way to the UFC roster through, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Marquez, knocked out his opponent, Phil Hawes, in the second round. Nicknamed, “the Cuban Missile Crisis”,  he dominated his opponent, taking him down twice in the round before cleanly landing a head kick as Hawes, stood up against the fence.

The final change to the card comes in the welterweight division. Oddly enough, the opponents of both, Danny Roberts and Nordine Taleb, withdrew. Roberts and Taleb instead, will fight each other, as reported by Nolan King as well.

Hopefully, Canada’s final UFC event of the year proceeds with its twelve scheduled bouts. UFC Winnipeg takes place at the Bell MTS Place, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on December 16th. The card features, Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael Dos Anjos, in the main event, elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on fan favorite Mike Perry.

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Announcement

Sijara Eubanks out of TUF 26 Finale, Roxanne Modafferi steps in on short notice

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Sijara Eubanks (2-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)  is out of The Ultimate Fighter: A New World Champion finale. In her absence the UFC has announced that #1 ranked TUF 26 semifinalist, Roxanne Modafferi (21-13 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will be stepping up to fight Nicco Montano for the inaugural women’s flyweight championship.

Modafferi lost to Eubanks in the very last episode of TUF, she was then set to fight fellow castmember Barb Honchak in the finale that takes place on December 1. Early Thursday afternoon, Sijara has forced to pull out of the fight giving Roxanne the opportunity to fight for the championship against Nicco Montano

UFC released an official statement about the change courtesy of MMA Junkie “Due to medical issues, Sijara Eubanks, was hospitalized Thursday morning and has been pulled from her bout against Nicco Montano at Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Stepping in for Eubanks to fight in the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight championship bout will be Ultimate Fighter 26 semifinalist Roxanne Modafferi.”

Honchak will now likely be facing TUF 26 alternate Lauren Murphy on December 2. Murphy lost her opponent Priscila Cachoeira after Cachoeira failed to get a visa for the fight.

Eubanks has taken to her personal Instagram to put out a statement to her fans. In the post, she writes, “First of all, I’m a champion. Point blank. I will be UFC champion, but it’s God’s will that it won’t be Friday night. I’m a gangster and I’ve cut more weight than most male fighters, and unfortunately, there were some miscalculations this cut, no excuses, I worked my ass off and went out on my shield. I was hospitalized early this morning for kidney failure but best believe I’ma be right back training and right back after that belt. This game is full of ups and downs, true champs know that and bounce back. Nicco and Roxanne I’m sure will have a great fight and best wishes to both those ladies. True class, those two. Nothing changes, I’m still the queen and I will claim my throne.
Thank you to all my coaches, friends and family and the wonderful staff at UFC.
God is good and I am truly blessed.”

The entire fight card to date is as follows:

  • Roxanne Modaferri vs Nicco Montano
  • Emily Whitmire vs Gillian Robertson
  • Barb Honchak vs Lauren Murphy
  • Ariel Beck vs Shana Dobson
  • DeAnna Bennett vs Melinda Fabian
  • Rachael Ostovich vs Karine Gevorgyan
  • Montana De La Rosa vs Christina Marks
  • Sean O’Malley vs Terrion Ware
  • Eric Spicely vs Gerald Meerschaert
  •  Joe Soto vs Brett Johns

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale “A Champion Will Be Crowned” is still set to take place Dec.1st at The Park Theater, Paradise Nevada.

 

 

 

 

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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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