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Invicta 18 Fighter To Watch: Agnieszka Niedzwiedz

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There are not many fighters who could make peace with suffering an injury just before a title shot yet for Agnieszka “Kuma” Niedzwiedz, experiencing that setback was a blessing in disguise. After withdrawing from her title bout due to stomach pain, the fighter eventually realised she was pregnant, something she was unlikely to have ever known should she have continued to take blows and hits throughout her camp.

After almost going into her title fight pregnant, the then 19-year-old put her fighting career on hold to give birth last Summer yet only one year later she returns to the cage for both her Invicta and flyweight debut.

Racking up a 7-0 record prior to her pregnancy, Niedzwiedz kicked off her career with three successive TKO’s in her homeland featuring on cards alongside future UFC talent Krzysztof Jotko and Damian Grabowski.

The Pole fought her next three bouts in the UK, two of which under Cage Warriors. Showing she had the tools to win fights by any means necessary, she added a decision and two submission wins to her record. After returning to Poland to pick up her seventh win, Niedzwiedz was scheduled to fight Pannie Kianzad for the Cage Warriors bantamweight title in November 2014 but fate had other plans. Now, despite fighting in the same organisation as Kianzad, it’s unlikely that the two will ever meet as the 21-year-old has moved down to 125lbs for the first time in her career.

Starting a new life in Invicta at a new weight, Niedzwiedz has kept good company in her return to MMA. Both a friend and training partner, one-time Invicta fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz has shown exactly what exactly could be in store for Kuma if she impresses in the flyweight division. Although there’s no doubt her first call of business is the 125lb belt, Niedzwiedz is more than aware that a contract with the UFC could be in store if she can keep her unbeaten record.

Originally scheduled to face fellow Invicta debutant, Claudia Rey, travel issues mean Niedzwiedz finds herself fighting a new opponent on three days notice. Now bumped up to the co-main event, Christine Stanley has stepped up to welcome Kuma to the Invicta family. Given the two have had words on twitter long before Niedzwiedz’s involvement with Invicta 18 was even announced, it’s no surprise Stanley got first refusal on this one.

After Stanley posted, “Ready to fight anyone. Who wants some? Bring it Flyweights!” The Pole retweeted and commented, “Never heard of her but my elbows are ready for some demolition job. I’ll hunt every 125er to fight on #Invicta18.” Niedzwiedz also added, “You’ll spend that paycheck on face surgery. Guaranteed,” when Stanley said she was cool with an easy payday. Currently 2-0 with Invicta, Stanley too will be keen to make a run at the title but given the three-day notice and their nasty exchange on twitter, could the fighter be running into this fight purely on emotion?

It’s been two years since Niedzwiedz last touched gloves and although her unbeaten record remains, it’s yet to be seen if the fighter who earned it returns as well. After being on the cusp of a title win at 19 years old, coming back at 21 still gives this new mother plenty of time to become a belt holder. As Invicta have been known to offer title shots after only one/two fights with the promotion, Friday night could be the making of another Polish female champion.

Invicta 18 takes place on Friday, July 29th and can be watched on UFC’s Fight Pass.

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Fighter Profile

Jake Collier Re-Signs with the UFC

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UFC light heavyweight, Jake Collier (11-4, 3-3 UFC) , took to twitter yesterday, announcing a four fight contract renewal with the promotion.

The Missouri-born, Collier, amassed a 7-1 professional record fighting exclusively in his home state. Following his next fight, a 1st round submission victory over Gabriel Checco in the RFA promotion, Collier signed with the UFC.

Originally, Collier signed as a middleweight. His promotional debut took place in December of 2014 at, UFC Fight Night 58. A bout which he lost to Vitor Miranda via TKO (Head kick and punches) with only one second remaining in the opening round.

In 2017, “The Prototype”, moved to the light heavyweight division. The move came after a three-year stint at middleweight that saw him go 2-2. Losing to the likes of Dongi Yang, while defeating Ricardo Abreu. His final fight at the lower weight earned him a performance of the night bonus in his, UFC Fight Night 88, TKO win over Alberto Uda.

Upon moving to light heavyweight, Collier has the same .500 win percentage with a record of 1-1. His debut at the weight originally scheduled him against John Stansbury. Unfortunately, Collier withdrew from the card due to injury. Devin Clark replaced him on, The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 24, and defeated John Stansbury by unanimous decision. Clark then fought Collier next, defeating him by unanimous decision. “The Prototype”s most recent bout, a victory over Marcel Fortuna in November at, UFC Fight Night 120.

According to, UFC.com, Collier is booked to fight UFC-newcomer, Marcin Prachnio at, UFC on Fox 28, in Orlando, Florida. The only bout booked to the February 24th card, of next year.

Prachnio, holds a record of 13-2, with 10 knockouts. He most recently fought for the Asian-based promotion, One Championship. The Karate practitioner comes to the UFC on an eight fight win streak, the previous four in One Championship. At twenty-nine, Prachnio is another, in his prime, European light heavyweight signed to the UFC this year (Volkan Oezdemir being the other).

 

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Chris Wade Blasts UFCs Matchmaking Process

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Chris Wade (12-3, 5-2 UFC) is not happy with Sean Shelby and Dana White. The UFC fighter took to social media to air a long-winded grievance with his employer.

Wade won his most recent bout against Frankie Perez by unanimous decision on the July 22nd card, UFC on Fox 25.

With statements like these, it seems Wade is in a peculiar position. Obviously, he lacks the good graces of the UFC. In addition, lightweight is an extremely deep division in the UFC. In reality, a long while may pass before a portion of talented fighters gain rankings. There is a massive backlog of talent in the division. Not too long ago, James Vick was in the same position.

The Texas native earned a record of 8-1 before being awarded the #14 ranking. It took three consecutive finishes to get him there. Finishes over Joe Duffy, Marco Polo Reyes and Abel Trujillo. Vick not only had to flash inside the cage but also, make his voice heard.

Wade is in a similar position but, not an identical one. James Vick was a guy whom a lot of people were keeping an eye on. Even before the “Texacutioner”, made his case against the rankings clear, talk spread about his skills. Unfortunately, the same can not be said of Chris Wade. His record of 5-2, is very respectable. Yet, the reasons why he sits unranked and a fighter like Vick does not, are more than numbers.

Losses to Rustam Khabilov and Islam Makhachev are certainly a factor in this equation. Makhachev and Khabilov are two more lightweights who could have the same grievance as Wade. Especially Khabilov, whom currently rides a five-fight win streak. Wade would garner greater footing in his division with high stakes match up.

The New Yorker does not look to be in the position of picking fights. Yet, the only way to advance in the one hundred and fifty-five-pound division is beating prospects. Not necessarily young fighters but, unranked fighters who have developed a profile within the MMA community. Lando Vannata is one of a few whom fit the description.

Although Vannata’s UFC record shows mixed success, his potential is well-known. His record, 1-2-1, includes a lost bout taken on short notice against, current, interim Lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson.

This fight would be an ideal matchup for Wade. The hype behind Vannata is growing, and his exciting style will draw an increasing amount of eyes every time he enters the octagon. Assuming Wade’s statements on social media are true, and he is on thin ice with management, he needs those eyes.

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Can Darren Till fill Michael Bisping’s role of being the UK’s MMA golden boy?

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After his explosive TKO finish of UFC legend Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Gdansk, Darren Till is the name on everyone’s lips.

Am I surprised? Absolutely not. Prior to the fight Till had 15 professional MMA wins to his name and 44 kickboxing wins. And although he was relatively unknown to some, there is no denying the talent the Liverpudlian has, in fact, he oozes class.

The UK MMA community is buzzing with the level their homegrown talent is performing at and there have already been calls to have Till main event a UFC fight night in his home town of Liverpool. With rumours circulating that Michael Bisping could soon retire, could Till be the man to fill his boots when it comes to being the poster boy for British MMA?

Next stop Echo Arena Liverpool ? 👀 @danawhite @ufc 🦍

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It’s no secret that Bisping is brilliant at marketing himself, but at times his nationality and popularity in the UK alone would be enough to sell out any arena in the UK.

But with Bisping currently holding the middleweight title, he has many PPV match ups and big fights in the US ahead before his impending retirement.

That leaves a big question mark over the future of the UFC in the UK. After all, 3 out of 4 of Bisping’s most recent main event fights have been in the UK and have all pulled in impressive ticket sales with very flattering gate numbers. 9 of Bisping’s 27 UFC fights have taken place on this side of the pond, showing how valuable he has been in selling tickets and growing the sport in the UK.

With the sport growing rapidly in the UK & Ireland thanks to a certain charismatic Irishman, the UFC must keep up this momentum by putting on solid cards with good main event fights and local talent.

With Marc Diakese, Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson all losing in their last fights respectively we are unlikely to see them main event a UK event for sometime.

So who’s better to trust than the man who just demolished Cerrone in one round? With Dana White calling Till the “the future” then surely he must be the future of UK MMA and the man to step in ready to fill Bisping’s boots when he eventually throws in the towel on his remarkable career.

He is perfect to become the next face of UK MMA, he has the back story, the physical attributes and most importantly the talent.

Who knows maybe it could be Darren Till vs Mike Perry in early 2018, to start his reign as the new boss of UK MMA. But one things for sure, he’s certainly capable of filling Michael Bisping’s role as the UK’s primary main event star.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts below!

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