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Johny Hendricks vs Kelvin Gastelum Official for UFC 200

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The UFC last night revealed details for July’s UFC 200 event, which the organisation are planning to be the biggest in UFC history. While the McGregor vs Diaz and Edgar vs Aldo rematches announcement invoked the biggest reactions, there were more big fights added to the card. One of those is a welterweight collision between former champion Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks and The Ultimate Fighter season 17 winner, Kelvin Gastelum.

A former NCAA Division 1 champion wrestler, Johny Hendricks came within a split decision of dethroning long-time UFC 170 pound champion Georges St Pierre when they fought back in 2013. When the Canadian decided to take an indefinite break from MMA, Hendricks had the chance to fight for the now vacant title against Robbie Lawler – a chance which he would grab with both hands, becoming the UFC welterweight champion in a Fight of the Year winning performance for 2014. However, his reign would not last long as Lawler would defeat him later that same year to capture UFC gold. Following a win over Matt Brown, Hendricks was matched with Tyron Woodley in what was likely a number one contender match at UFC 192. However, Hendricks would never make it to the match, as weight-cut issues resulted in Hendricks suffering kidney stones as well as an intestinal blockage and, ultimately, the fight was cancelled. Most recently, Hendricks faced Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC Fight Night 82 and, while he had no problem with the weight-cut this time, he would succumb to Thompson’s heavy strikes and suffer the first stoppage loss of his career little over 3 minutes into the first round. At UFC 200, Hendricks gets the chance to bounce back from that defeat when he fights Kelvin Gastelum.

Since winning TUF 17 as a middleweight, Gastelum has largely competed as a welterweight. However, like his opponent at UFC 200, Gastelum has had some weight cutting issues in the past. Sandwiched between a Performance of the Night submission win over Jake Ellenberger were two incidents of weighing in over the 170 pound welterweight limit. First, at 172.75 against Nico Musoke (a fight he went on to win) and then tipping the scales at 180 pounds prior to a split decision loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 183. Following that loss, UFC president Dana White publicly stated that Gastelum would have to continue his career for the promotion as a middleweight. In his next fight, Gastelum did just that, returning to middleweight to face MMA legend Nate Marquardt, who he dominated en route to a TKO victory following the second round. However, Gastelum felt that he had unfinished business at welterweight and, following an injury withdrawal by Matt Brown, was paired with Neil Magny at The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 Finale. Despite ending up on the wrong end of a split decision, Gastelum showed that his weight issues were firmly behind him by putting in a fiercely competitive performance from minute one to minute 25 in a Fight of the Night classic. He now faces arguably the biggest name he has ever fought at UFC 200 in Johny Hendricks.

UFC 200 will take place at the newly build T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 9th. The main event will be a rematch at 170 pounds between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Also featured on the card will be an interim featherweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and former champion Jose Aldo. With UFC 200 planned to be the biggest in UFC history, expect more blockbuster fights to be added in the weeks and months ahead. As it stands so far, the stacked card looks as follows:

UFC 200 (Bout order TBC)

  • Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz
  • Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar *Interim Flyweight Title*
  • Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez
  • Derek Brunson vs. Gegard Mousasi
  • Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez
  • Takanori Gomi vs. Jim Miller
  • Kelvin Gastelum vs. Johny Hendricks

 

For up to date MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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Lewis Long vs. Ross Houston Officially added to Cage Warriors 91

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Cage Warriors returns to the Newport Centre in Wales on March 3rd. The promotion announced today, via Twitter, the booking of Lewis Long vs. Ross Houston in the welterweight division.

The two fighters look to be on differing ends of their careers, yet, the bout marks an important opportunity for both fighters.

For Long, his record sits at, 15-5. In addition to his impressive record, the Welsh fighter holds a victory over former UFC contender, Che Mills. His victory over Mills emphasized a three fight unbeaten stretch. Regrettably, Long’s streak of three consecutive victories ended in his most recent bout.

Roberto Soldic defeated Long in decisive fashion at CW: 87, in his home country of Wales. Following forty seconds of the first round, Soldic landed a heavy head kick to finish the fight.

Long looks to re-gain momentum while his opponent looks to ride his momentum. Houston holds an undefeated record of, 5-0. Three of his five wins, coming in the Cage Warriors promotion. He holds two submission victories to his perfect record, the remainder of his victories came by way of decision. The Scotsman, fights out of SBG Inverness.

Cage Warriors 91 takes place in Newport, Wales at the Newport Centre on March 3rd. As it stands, the card features twelve amateur and eight professional bouts. Of the professional bouts, six of the eight will feature a fighter native to Wales.

On the main card, bantamweights Josh Reed and Brian Bouland will attempt to assert their names in the title mix. Officially, the CW:91 card is incomplete, more fight announcements to complete the Welsh card are expected to come.

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Fight Announcements

Mamed Khalidov vs. Tomasz Narkun Officially Booked for KSW 42

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KSW

KSW 42 in Lodz, Poland has its main event. The promotion’s middleweight champion, Mamed Khalidov (34-4), will compete in a superfight against light heavyweight champion, Tomasz Narkun (14-2).

Khalidov and Narkun will not put their belts on the line, as this main event fight will be a catchweight bout.

Mamed Khalidov last fought at KSW 39 when he defeated Borys Mankowski via unanimous decision. Fans were dissatisfied with the verdict, reacting with whistles and boos. Khalidov did not give an interview after the fight, and instead left the cage going straight to his changing room.

The 37-year-old from Olsztyn enters this superfight against Narkun on excellent form, being unbeaten in his last 14 fights. Khalidov has Szymon Bońkowski and Paweł Derlacz in his corner, the two coaches who had a major part to play in former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s success.

This will be the second fight in a row in which Khalidov will not defend his championship belt. He last defended his title in May of 2016 at KSW 35, beating Aziz Karaoglu via unanimous decision.

Like Khalidov, Narkun last fought at KSW 39, defeating Marcin Wojcik via submission (triangle choke) in the first round. He won his light heavyweight belt via first round TKO when he defeated former UFC fighter Goran Rejlic, at KSW 32 in London. A 28-year-old warrior from Szczecin, Narkun frequently requested a fight for the KSW heavyweight belt, but the federation had other plans for the well-developed “Giraffe.”

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