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Katlyn Chookagian Debuts Against Lauren Murphy at UFC Fight Night 91

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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.

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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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Cage Warriors

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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