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Gastelum, Escudero tapped for ‘TUF: Latin America’ 2 coaches’ roles

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MMA fans who are hoping to see new faces in the octagon won’t have to wait long as the UFC is entering “The Ultimate Fighter” season. To go along with “TUF 21” – where fighters from Blackzillians will take on American Top Team, UFC announced a new season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” with Kelvin Gastelum and Efrain Escudero serving as coaches.

Gastelum and Escudero will each coach a team of lightweights and welterweights whose names will be released in the weeks ahead.

This is interesting as this the first time that two previous “TUF” winners will coach opposite of each other. In the past fans have seen several “TUF” winners in the coaching spot, including Forrest Griffin, Matt Serra, Roy Nelson and Rashad Evans but they were always against former champions or well-established faces.

Gastelum (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who is of Mexican descent, competed on “TUF 17” under the guidance of Chael Sonnen and defeated Uriah Hall to win the middleweight tournament. Since “TUF 17,” Gastelum dropped to welterweight and won his next four fights. His unblemished record was broken after a split-decision loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 183.

UFC President Dana White ordered Gastelum to move back up to middleweight after missing weight in two of his last four fights.

Escudero (23-9, 4-5), a native of Mexico, has had a longer and different road than Gastelum. He appeared on “TUF 8” as a member of Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera’s team and won the lightweight tournament. He has had his difficulties over the years, including being released from the UFC roster twice and fighting in Bellator and regional promotions.

He returned to the promotion in 2014 is 1-1 in his current stint. Escudero has never lost outside of the UFC.

I think both Gastelum and Escudero are good fits as coaches. They not only bring octagon experience, but also know the trials and tribulations that come with competing on the “TUF” program. They’ll also bring some of the techniques and tips from their respective gyms.

The UFC had success with “TUF: Latin America,” which featured UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and interim titleholder Fabricio Werdum as coaches. Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez and Alejandro “El Diablito” Perez won the featherweight and bantamweight tournaments, respectively. According to a UFC press release, the first season drew an average of seven million viewers per episode in Mexico and millions more throughout Latin American countries.

According to MMA Fighting, it’s unlikely that Gastelum and Escudero will face each other in a traditional coach vs. coach bout but they may compete on the bout.

When UFC President Dana White announced that “TUF” was going to include international talent I was thrilled. It gives competitors from around the world to compete on a big stage and earn their places in history with the likes of Forrest Griffin, Matt Serra and T.J. Dillashaw. It also gives fans a chance to see a new batch of fighters. Not every competitor will make it to the UFC, but if some fans get attached to a particular fighter, they can continue to follow his career after the show.

I’d say the concept has been successful so far. Since 2012, the UFC has aired seven international “TUF” seasons. “TUF: Brazil 4” is scheduled to air in April with Nogueira and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as coaches.

“TUF: Latin America 2” will begin filming this month and air on UFC Fight Pass in August. The finale is scheduled to take place in the fall.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

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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Announcement

*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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