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EXCLUSIVE: UFC 216 Main Event Fighters Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee

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The UFC Lightweight division never has a shortage of title contenders and the number one contendership is a game of musical chairs that often sees a logjam at the top of the rankings. Conor McGregor’s extensive inactivity in the UFC of late certainly has not done any justice to that tense and complicated situation. UFC has partially remedied the issue by implementing a few interim titles. The decision has been met with harsh criticism, particularly in the Middleweight division, where Michael Bisping is set to face Georges St Pierre, rather than Robert Whitaker – the Interim Middleweight Champion and rightful number one contender.

Nonetheless, the UFC is doing its level best at restoring order to the chaotic title picture, and UFC 216’s Main Event between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will crown an Interim Champion in the UFC Lightweight division. Khabib Nurmagmedov was originally slated to face Tony Ferguson for the interim title in UFC 209’s co-main event, but after a devastating weight cut hospitalized the Russian, Ferguson was left without an opponent.

Tony’s situation turned out for the better in the long-term. As fate would have it, the UFC Lightweight Champion, Conor McGregor would not have been available to defend the title by mid-year due his recent boxing superfight with Floyd Mayweather. According to recent comments from Dana White and the Champion himself, McGregor is targeting a return by November or December of this year.

For the time being, his next opponent needs to be identified; enter Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee. Though a trilogy with Nate Diaz is the most talked about, and seems to be the most favored match-up for Conor McGregor, the true number one contender to the UFC Lightweight title will be determined by the winner of UFC 216’s Main Event between Ferguson and Lee.

Tony Ferguson has largely flown under the radar of the casual fan, but a 9-fight win streak with a recent victory over former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos, has put him on a bigger platform to get well-deserved mainstream exposure. Rising star Kevin Lee has shown incredible potential to be a major force on the UFC roster and only has two losses in his 11-fight UFC career.

Following Lee’s most recent fight, a submission victory over Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Chiesa, the inevitable clash between the two outspoken lightweights played out on live television. Tony Ferguson was sitting on the Fox Sports One desk as an analyst while Kevin Lee was being interviewed, and the two engaged in a war of words that caught the attention of many fans and reporters. In August, Lee was an in-studio guest on Chael Sonnen’s podcast, “You’re Welcome,” when he explained that there was a more backstory than most people were aware.

“I’ve been in Tony’s head for a long time,” Lee told Chael Sonnen. “Tony is a fan of mine. For him to try and downplay me on air…look, there won’t be any disrespect without retaliation over here.” Kevin Lee then went on to reveal that although he and Ferguson did not attend at the same time, they are both alumni at the same alma mater, Grand Valley State College.

“Tony knows I always gave him the business, in college. When Tony would come back, he’d get the business – Tony knows. He was a national champion and I was an All-American. He would come back around with a little chip on his shoulder and I made sure to knock that shit right off.” A willing and eager ambassador for the newest generation of hybrid MMA fighters, Kevin Lee told Chael Sonnen that he is not worried in the slightest about Ferguson’s wrestling ability compared to his own, “In an MMA fight, I’m the best damn wrestler in the world.”

MMA Latest News caught up with Tony Ferguson at the UFC Headquarters and asked him if he was aware of Kevin Lee’s comments, to which he replied, “I’ve never had my eye on Kevin Lee. We never crossed paths. When would I actually take the time and go visit Grand Valley State? Maybe like one time, and that was before he went to school there,” Tony told MMA Latest News.

Tony said his plan is to apply relentless pressure, “I’ll make him quit, test his conditioning (and) hit him in the stomach – make him piss blood.” Click here to see Kevin Lee’s expletive-laced response to Tony’s threats of violence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0EDwfno62Q

 

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*WATCH* DaveNoseMMA – Aljamain Sterling Knockout Aftermath

Harry Davies

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In this video, MMA Latest’s Dave Noseworthy shares his thoughts on Marlon Moraes’ brutal knockout of Aljamain Sterling that took place this past weekend at UFC Fresno.

Check out Dave’s thoughts below:

 

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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