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Jim-Talk: 10 tips for MMA fans going to Las Vegas

Jim Edwards

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So you’ve got the big ticket! UFC 194 in Las Vegas on December 12th Aldo vs McGregor. For many fans, especially the ones hoping over the pond, this is going to be a trip of a lifetime. To help you make the most of your Vegas jaunt here are my top 10 tips for enjoying your trip to Las Vegas.

  • Buy tickets for other activities before you get to Vegas. For many, going to Vegas won’t just be about the big fight night. You’ll likely want to go to shows, sample the nightlife, fire a gun in a shooting range and see the Grand Canyon (if only to keep the other half happy!). Do not leave this until the last minute – tickets bought online from the likes of www.Viator.com www.lastminute.com etc. will save you a ton of $$$ which means you will have more cash to spend when you get there.
  • Do not have a total blowout the first night there. Vegas is an unforgiving place both on your body and on your wallet. Many of you will ignore this tip so I won’t go overboard on the preaching here. Trust me, I can’t stress enough how stupid you feel after leaving the casino without your shirt or your dignity for the rest of you trip. Have fun but remember you are there for not just that night … I don’t know why I bothered typing this tip :)
  • Get to events like weigh-ins and open workouts HOURS before they start. At UFC 189 hundreds of fans were queuing no fewer than 2 hours before the doors even opened for the open workouts. Lots of fans were left disappointed when they couldn’t get in. So get there early, grab snacks, drinks and just talk away the long ass wait with your fellow fight fans in the queue.
  • Be courteous to fighters and their camps. For some guys/girls that fight week is the most important week of their lives and they are focused on one thing and one thing only. 95% of fighters are friendly and approachable but give them space, if they don’t look like they want to talk to you then trust your instincts – oh and for the love of god don’t ever say ‘do you remember that time I tweeted you’.
  • Avoid looking like a scalper. I’ve seen many an innocent fan pull out 50 garments of clothing/photos to get signed by their favourite fighter to only be told to take a hike because they look like a scalper. Most fighters really don’t appreciate scalpers making money off their name, especially in a day and age where they are finding it harder to do so themselves with the sponsorship issues. The best advice to avoid being mistaken for one is just get one item signed and to NOT stand by the fountains on the grand floor of the MGM Grand at the lifts (you’ll see all the scalpers hanging there).
  • Free drinks in the casino. In some of the casinos (MGM Grand, Bellagio, Venetian etc) there will be drinks ladies working the casino floor offering free drinks whilst you play on the slots and tables. The first time you get offered a drink remember your pleasantries e.g. ask how their night is going etc, order an EASY drink to fetch (no Pina Colada cocktails this time) and then tip them well (anything in the $5-10 is well above average). Trust me you are then set for drinks for the night – it only takes little extra tip and some good manners.
  • Free buffet/meal vouchers. When you arrive at your hotel tell them either one of two things: 1) it’s your first time in Vegas 2) it’s the 5th time you’ve been back this year to this hotel. With any luck, programs like Wizard Slot Promotions will allow you to get offered either some credit in the casino or some buffet vouchers.
  • Go to the Joe Rogan comedy show. I think only Joe Rogan himself would recommend you go more than I will. As long as you are with a party all over the age of 18+ I encourage you to get tickets to a show of his (normally in the KA theatre at the MGM Grand the night before the ‘Big Fight’). I’ve not met a single person who has been disappointed. Grab a long iced tea cocktail before you go in and prepare to laugh like an idiot for the next 2 hours.
  • The first day you arrive buy a big 2L bottle of water. Take that water and stick that in your bedroom in preparation of the night/morning after that awaits you after your first evening there. No doubt you’ve totally ignored tip #2 (don’t have a blowout) and you’ve drank more free cocktails and beer than you could ever of imagined. This leads to only one thing and that’s the Las Vegas desert appearing in your mouth at 5am the next morning only for you to realise you can’t drink the tap water. This will be the tip you totally ignore and then think back to when you wake up in the morning and realise ‘Yep Jim was right’ J
  • Give yourself 24 hours before heading back to work. This is a total luxury if you can do it but try not head back to work less than 24 hours after you arrive back on home soil. Vegas takes its toll on you no matter how hard you go. The combination of food, drink, lack of sleep (and time zones if you are from Europe) and trust me your colleagues and boss won’t be all that impressed by your post-Vegas haze and zombie like state. Get back home eat a salad, drink plenty of water, do some yoga and repress the sins of the last week J

So there you have it my top ten tips for visiting Vegas as an MMA fan. If you like these tips or have your own to share please hit me up at @MMA_Jim on twitter using #JimTalk – I’ll retweet the ones I like.

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UFC Shanghai: Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview

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UFC Shanghai is only 2 days away, something that looked unlikely only a few weeks ago after Anderson Silva was pulled from the main event after testing positive for a banned substance. With little options and very few interested, the main event and entire card looked in tatters. Then up stepped the always reliable company man Michael Bisping. Fresh from defeat at UFC 217 no one would have expected Bisping to step up to fight in Shanghai just three weeks later. But here we are, two days out from Bisping vs Gastelum.

Both fighters are coming off difficult losses that must have been hard to swallow. Bisping was doing well against a tired and damaged GSP, and Gastelum had knocked down Weidman at the end of the first round and was moments away from a finish, but both men went on to lose in the third round.

Both fighters will be motivated and desperate for a win to cleanse the demons their respective last fights have brought them.

The Fighters

 

Gastelum is a fantastic young talent, not many fighters are considered top level guys in two divisions like he is. Gastelum is a good all-rounder in all aspects of MMA, his tenacious boxing and solid wrestling are stand outs in his game. There is no question he has the skills to succeed in the 185lb division. But his biggest struggle is the physical disadvantage he faces in the middleweight division.

Gastelum is 5’9″ with a 71.5 inch reach. Since his return to middleweight he has been the smaller man in every fight. After his loss to Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on FOX 25, Gastelum told reporters “He felt really big, he felt really strong” and “170 is my home” (MMAJunkie). A clear indication that Gastelum knows he is too small at this weight, but perhaps the aura of facing Anderson Silva was too much to turn down.

By now you know what Michael Bisping brings to the table. This is his 29th fight with the UFC. He is the definition of a UFC veteran.

Bisping excels on the feet where he uses his great boxing skills and high work rate to nullify his opponents. Bisping also has underrated wrestling skills and a gritty clinch game to match his own gritty style. Under Jason Parillo, Bisping’s striking has only gotten better and better. Just look at the Rockhold fight as an example. His kicks have vastly improved and so have his hands, especially his killer left hook.

Unsurprisingly, as he is a former light heavyweight, Bisping will be the much larger of the two men in the octagon. Bisping stands at 6’1″ and has a reach of 75.5″.

The Fight

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Two main components of Mixed Martial Arts will come into play in this fight, boxing and cardio.

You have to imagine most of this fight take place on the feet. The only way it goes to the ground is if Gastelum can’t keep up with Bisping’s relentless pressure, and feels it’s the best way to get the victory. But after seeing the way Bisping battered and bloodied GSP from his back, Gastelum should be wary.

Gastelum uses his excellent and aggressive jabbing technique to gauge distance against his opponents. He did an excellent job of keeping Tim Kennedy at bay as he tried to enter the pocket. As Bisping is a fighter who uses movement and feints to put a volume of strikes together inside the pocket, Gastelum must use his jab to nullify Bisping’s main tools and keep him at bay, especially as the rounds progress and Bisping throws more combinations. Gastelum can then hide behind that jab to set up more strikes and find a knock out blow. After all Bisping is a very hittable fighter, who focuses more on offence than defence.

But with all that being said, no jab on earth will stop Bisping marching forward.

Bisping will also use his jab throughout the fight as he looks to set up multiple strikes. However, when Bisping dives in with his jab he leaves himself open to a counter punch. We saw GSP do this perfectly, which ultimately set up his finish. Gastelum may want to fight as a counter puncher rather than the aggressor. Not only will it allow him to conserve his energy, but it also means he may find that knock out punch when Bisping leaves himself open, especially to the left hand.

Gastelum must try to slow Bisping down with hard shots to the body, because if Bisping is fresh after UFC 217, like he said he is, then he can go all night at a pace Gastelum won’t be able to keep up with.

The later the fight goes the more aggressive Bisping can be as his shots get harder to grind you out and put you away. He increases his output, which will make Gastelum have to work even harder as the rounds progress. Even if Gastelum does not gas, he will naturally slow down and that’s when Bisping smells blood. Bisping will close the distance and change his game from jabbing you to death to landing some brutal combinations.

Prediction

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva of Brazil (L) and Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping of England (R) compete in their Middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night held at at Indigo at The O2 Arena on February 27, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

I believe Gastelum will win the early exchanges. Whilst Bisping will land a few pecking jabs, it will be Gastelum who finds success early. Gastelum may even look for an early knock out. But as time goes on and the fight progresses, I feel Bisping will find his groove and take over.

His reach advantage will come into play as he dances around Gastelum and finds a range where he can get off several long strikes at once. And once the fight enters the later rounds Bisping will close the distance to up the tempo and fight his fight.

As much as I can envision a TKO victory for Gastelum, with his experience and composure I believe a fired up Bisping will overcome Gastelum’s boxing skills to right his wrongs at UFC 217.

Official Prediction: Michael Bisping defeats Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision – 48-47

 

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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