No sooner had Brazilian prospect Ketlen Vieira announced her signing with the UFC, than the promotion added another exciting newcomer to its bantamweight ranks. Katlyn Chookagian is the newest member of the UFC roster and is scheduled to make her debut against Lauren Murphy. The fighter announced the fight via her Instagram page on Monday.
UFC Fight Night 91 takes place July 13 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The event was to be headlined by a lightweight tussle between Tony Ferguson and Michael Chiesa, but Chiesa was forced to pull out of the bout and a replacement opponent is being sought for Ferguson. That came after the addition of Chookagian vs Murphy appeared to have completed the card.
Lauren Murphy approaches the bout off the back of her first UFC win, against Kelly Faszholz in February of this year. Prior to that she dropped questionable decisions to Sara McMann and Liz Carmouche, proving in defeat that the former Invicta FC bantamweight champion was capable of competing against some of the best fighters in the world.
But what of her opponent in Sioux Falls? Katlyn Chookagian might not be a household name, yet, but she will be looking to take a major step towards becoming one when she steps into the octagon for the first time on July 13.
A self confessed selfie junkie, Chookagian boasts an impressive 7-0 professional record with three wins coming inside the distance. The majority of her pro career has been fought under the Cage Fury Fighting Championships’ promotional banner. There she won championship fights at both flyweight and bantamweight. Not a bad haul considering Chookagian was the promotion’s first ever women’s champion.
Most recently Chookagian defeated Stephanie Bragayrac in only 45 seconds for CFFC’s bantamweight title in March this year. That stunning performance came little more than two months after a dominant unanimous decision win over Isabelly Varela earned her the company’s flyweight title belt.
With the UFC promoting their first ever women’s flyweight bout between Joanne Calderwood and Valerie Letourneau in Ottawa back on June 18, an eventual move to 125 pounds in the UFC seems likely should that division be added.
Until then Chookagian, a natural flyweight, will compromise for the big opportunity, carrying all the tools necessary to become a success at the highest level at 135 pounds. After all, many of the UFC’s top bantamweights – Cat Zingano and Jessica Eye to name but two – fought at flyweight before signing with the promotion.
The AllStar BJJ and Ricardo Almeida trained fighter also holds a notable amateur submission victory over Legacy FC flyweight champion Andrea “KGB” Lee. It is a much talked about highlight in an impressive, undefeated, amateur career that prepared Chookagian well for the professional ranks.
As for what to expect in the cage, the New York native is an accomplished striker with a background in kickboxing, and competitive Golden Gloves boxing experience.
While that might have provided the base layers to build from, Chookagian has developed into a skilled BJJ technician and has become the epitome of the evolved well-rounded fighters we take for granted in the modern era. The BJJ purple belt is an aggressive submission grappler more than a positional one, so don’t expect a snoozefest when her fights hit the mat.
Now all roads lead to Sioux Falls, where Chookagian will hope to do what Kelly Faszholz was unable to on her UFC debut. Defeat a battle tested former Invicta champion in Lauren Murphy. That is a tall order, but one that will be relished by a fighter who has leapt impressively over every career hurdle put in her way so far.
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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