The UFC has officially confirmed the UFC 197 rumors that have been floating around the MMA world as of late. The UFC announced today that UFC 197 will be co-headlined by two highly anticipated title fights: Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor for the Lightweight belt, and Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate for the Women’s Bantamweight title. The fight card is scheduled for March 5th and will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
This will be Conor McGregor’s first fight since capturing the Featherweight belt when he defeated longtime champion Jose Aldo in a matter of 13 seconds. McGregor will be looking to mimic what he accomplished in the European promotion Cage Warriors, where he held both the Featherweight and Lightweight belt simultaneously. While both BJ Penn and Randy Couture held UFC belts in two separate weight classes, McGregor, if successful versus Dos Anjos, will be the first fighter in the UFC’s history to hold two belts at the same time.
Rafael Dos Anjos is also coming off a successful 2015, as he defeated Anthony Pettis last March to capture the Lightweight title, and then defended it successfully vs. Donald Cerrone last month, just one week after McGregor defeated Aldo. Like McGregor, Dos Anjos took little to no damage in his title defense as he finished the challenger in an early flurry and the fight was stopped just 1:06 into the 1st round. Dos Anjos is on a 5-fight win streak and has looked as impressive as any other fighter in the promotion, largely in part to the work of his world-class trainer, Rafael Cordeiro.
Holly Holm will be attempting to defend her Bantamweight title for the first time since shocking the world when she KO’d the formerly undefeated Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November. After original talks that Holm would first defend her belt in a rematch vs. the former champ, the UFC has decided to grant Tate a shot at the title before Rousey gets her inevitable chance to reclaim the title. This seemingly works well for all parties involved as Holm has stated that she wanted to defend her belt sooner rather than later and the extra time to recover will aid Rousey in the long run.
Miesha Tate will finally get her 2nd shot at the title after being promised to get the next chance at Rousey when she defeated Jessica Eye last summer, but eventually, she was passed for Holm instead. Tate has won 4 straight since losing to Rousey in 2013, with 2 of those wins coming against former title contenders Liz Carmouche and Sara McMann. The winner of Holm/Tate will most likely face the former champion in her return. It would be the first rematch for Holm, but if Tate captures the championship then it will be her third fight vs. Rousey. She lost the first two bouts via submission.
Without announcing any other fights that will take place on the card, UFC 197 is already highly anticipated as Holm and McGregor were arguably the two biggest story lines of 2015. This card is set to take place just 3 months before UFC 200 which by all indications may be the most stacked card since UFC 100 that took place back in 2009 and still holds the record for the most PPV buys in the promotions history. It’s safe to say that it’s a beautiful time to me a fan of Mixed Martial Arts.
Darren Till vs Stephen Thompson set for February 24th in England
Wow! Nobody could have expected this news this morning. Dana White has stated he is moving the UFC Fight Night card in Orlando, Florida to the UK so rising star Darren Till (16-0-1) can face Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (14-2-1) in his backyard.
According to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, Dana White revealed the news during a Q&A in Santa Monica, California.
Dana White says he’s moving his UFC card from Orlando, moving it to England so popular Darren Till can fight @WonderboyMMA
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) November 8, 2017
Logistically this fight has its problems. White didn’t state that the fight was scheduled to take place in Liverpool, I assume that is plan A for the UFC though. However, on the 24th the Echo Arena in Liverpool is booked by the UK MMA promotion, Cage Warriors.
Although White may be able to throw some money at the promotion, it is unlikely they’ll budge. Another possibility is to co-promote an event with Cage Warriors, but that’s even more unlikely, even though the concept is a great one.
The fight would not make sense in another UK city like Glasgow, Birmingham or Newcastle. Making the fight is strange if it’s unable to be in Liverpool, or at the top of the UFC London card.
The event would be three weeks before UFC London, which is unheard of for events over in Europe. Normally England would be lucky to get two events in a year, let alone a month. Which makes you think it will either be one or the other. European cards are never typically stacked and having two in the space of three weeks in one country would eat into the quality on show in each card.
Could this be another case of Dana White talking too soon, or are we set for two mega UFC fights in the space of three weeks in the UK. We’ll find out soon enough.
Khabib vs Barboza UFC 219 breakdown
Khabib vs Barboza has been made official for UFC 219 and it promises to be an absolute cracker, so in this article, I’m going to give a full breakdown of this fantastic fight.
UFC 219 just got a whole lot better with the addition of Khabib vs Barboza to the main card, Khabib will be hungry to grab a victory in his first fight since his submission win over Michael Johnson at UFC 205.
However, UFC fans will be crossing their fingers and hoping that the fight does happen as Khabib has been scheduled to fight in the main event, back in April 2016, but his opponent Ferguson had to pull out of their scheduled main event because doctors had found fluid and blood in his lungs. Khabib also pulled out of there fight at UFC 209 because he was hospitalized trying to cut weight for there highly anticipated bout, which played down his chances at him getting a title shot against McGregor. This fight is a chance for him to once again prove himself to get that title shot. Hopefully, we do not see a repeat of these past scheduled fights for Khabib and hopefully, we can see him back in the octagon for UFC 219.
Now onto Barboza, who is an explosive and aggressive fighter, his last three fights have resulted in three wins for the Brazilian who won his last fight by TKO/KO with his latest loss coming from Ferguson by way of submission at the Ultimate Fighter Finale, back in 2015.
This Brazilian fighter prefers to stand and trade with his opponents and usually outclasses his opponents on the feet, however, most of Barboza’s losses have come by submission, one of those opponents being Michael Johnson (who Khabib beat by submission) so Barboza may want to work on his submission defence and ground game altogether because Khabib is a very dominant fighter who can control the fight and has a strong ground game so he will be looking to take Barboza to the ground.
Barboza needs to try to take control of the fight away from Khabib and keep it stood up to try and outclass Khabib, which will make for a very Interesting bout on December the 30th and many will be tuning in to see how it turns out.
I believe Khabib will walk with the victory over Barboza at UFC 219 in a fight which promises to be exciting and aggressive throughout.
Dan Hooker vs. Marc Diakiese set for UFC 219
Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker will make his 8th UFC appearance when he squares off against Englishman Marc ‘Bonecrusher’ Diakiese at UFC 219 in December. The lightweight bout will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on a card where the main event has yet to be announced.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) October 24, 2017
New Zealand born Hooker has alternated between wins and losses thus far in his UFC career. However, he is coming off a notable TKO victory over Ross Pearson on home soil, earlier this year in Auckland. The fight was Hooker’s first in the lightweight division as all his previous bouts in the UFC had been at featherweight. Hooker looked flawless in his performance against the seasoned veteran Pearson, where he landed a vicious knee to win by KO in round two. It’s no surprise to see the Kiwi stick around 155 pounds and as he goes for back-to-back wins for the first time in the Octagon.
While Hooker looks for a second consecutive victory, Marc Diakiese aims to avoid two straight losses. The 24-year-old had his momentum derailed on his last visit to ‘Sin City’ in July, losing a split decision to Drakkar Klose. He started in the UFC with three consecutive wins that included a 30 second 1st round KO, and a TKO win on his debut in his hometown of Manchester, this time last year. Diakiese tends not to waste too much time in the cage with six career wins coming within the first round.
Both fighters are notable up-and-coming prospects in their respective countries and the contest has the potential to be stand-out on the card. Dan Hooker has great versatility and has a proven record of finishing fights by submission or knock-out. While arguably not as well rounded as Hooker, Diakiese will be the more powerful and aggressive of the two and will likely attempt to dictate the pace of the fight.
A win for either man will mean a significant step towards the elite top 15 at lightweight, especially on a big stage – that being the UFC’s marquee final pay-per-view of the year.
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