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Kimbo vs. Thompson, Koscheck vs. Daley set for Bellator 158: London

Iain MacMillan

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The main and co-main event for Bellator’s long awaited London debut has been set. On July 16th inside the O2 Arena, two long-awaited rematches will take place when Josh Koscheck (17-10) will face off against Paul Daley (38-13-2) in the cards co-main event, followed by the main event which features Kimbo Slice (6-2) vs. James Thompson (20-16). The card will also feature a pair of English-born fighters in Michael “Venom” Page (9-0) and Linton “The Swarm” Vassell (16-5), their opponents are yet to be determined.

The event will be aired for free in the UK on Channel 5 and SPIKE UK, as well as in the U.S. on SPIKE. Exact details on the broadcast will be released in the coming days.

The co-main event between Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley is a long awaited rematch that’s 6 years in the making after their first bout ended in controversy when Daley struck Koscheck with an uppercut long after the final bell rang in their fight at UFC 113. Koscheck went on to win the fight via Unanimous Decision, and Daley was subsequently let go by the UFC immediately following the events. The two have been at each others throats since the incident, and this rematch will finally settle the 6 year long dispute.

This will be the promotional debut for Koscheck after he signed with Bellator nearly a year ago. He will be looking to get back in the win column with a 2nd victory over Daley, as he has lost his last 5 straight fights. Daley, on the other hand, is on a 5 fight win streak with 3 of them coming within the promotion. His latest win came in electrifying fashioned when he KO’d Andy Uhrich at Bellator 148 in January of this year.

The main event between fan-favorite Kimbo Slice and James Thompson is a rematch of a fight that broke the viewership record at the time for a Mixed Martial Arts event when it reached a total of 6.51 million viewers during the broadcast at EliteXC: Primetime back in May of 2008. Kimbo won the fight via 3rd round TKO, but the two have agreed to duel once again, this time in front of a London crowd at the 02 Arena. Thompson has been calling for this rematch since the fight occurred 8 years ago, and he will have his hometown England crowd supporting him for this go around.

Kimbo is coming off his 2nd straight win since returning to MMA last year for the first time since 2010. His latest victory came against Dada 5000 in a controversial but entertaining bout at Bellator 149 in February. Thompson will be looking to snap his 2-fight losing streak while attempting to avenge his loss vs. Slice.

Bellator 158: London is set to take place in front of an expected sold out O2 Arena of 20,000 spectators. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, April 22nd, with a Bellator Nation presale running this Thursday, April 21st. Tickets starting at £40.00 will be available at TheO2.co.uk or The O2 Box Office.

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Sensor Equipped Tracking Gloves to be Used at UFC 219

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From implementing the likes of USADA, the UFC Performance Instiute and the introduction of the instant replay. The UFC has always prioritized being at the top of the sport science game. 

Now, at UFC 219 on December 30th, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved a test run for sensor equipped tracking gloves to be worn by a selection of fighters on the card.

The technology behind the gloves comes from AGI International (an analytics company) along with HEED (a consumer platform company). A collaboration founded by the UFC.

After a sparring exhibition between top lightweights, Edson Barbosa (19-4-0) and Mark Diakiese (12-1-0), HEED co-founder Mati Kochavi had this to say regarding how “70 insights” collected from sensors on the gloves, the corner-men, the octagon itself can depict a clearer image of a fight.

“Those insights are covering entire aspects  of the fight between Diakiese and Barbose. Their passion, power of the fight, resiliency and strategy. All happen in the octagon.“

Shouldn’t sport be told in real-time, with real data, information and emotions?”

He finally promises “We are a company which is trying to revolutionize the way we (broadcast) sports and live events”

As for now there is little to zero information into the technical aspects of the gloves, however products like a Fit Bit have similar abilities to give data on speed,  force, motion, elevation, heart rate etc.

The UFC 219 card takes place on Decemebr 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It will be headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between current champion Cris Cyborg (18-1) and former UFC bantamweight champion, Holly Holm (11-3).

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Mark Hunt Returns to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221

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UFC 221 in Perth has officially added a another Australian to the main card. Joining Robert Whittaker is the knockout legend Mark Hunt.

The Daily Telegraph first reported that Hunt will be stepping into the octagon to face #9 Curtis Blaydes. Some weren’t sure if we would ever see Hunt fight again after he was pulled from the main event in UFC Fight Night 21 against Marcin Tybura. The UFC removed him due to “medical concerns” while Hunt was stating he was perfectly fine.

After getting evaluated and cleared to fight by Australian and American doctors, it looks like his time has come to return.  Hunt’s last fight was back in June when he derailed the Derrick Lewis hype train with a 4th round TKO win.

Hunt had been adamant about calling out #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and trying to get that rematch booked, labelling Werdum a “chicken shit” and a “coward.”

Curtis “Razor” Blaydes who has an 8-1 record, is coming off a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage at UFC 217 in November. Since losing to now title challenger Francis Ngannou in April of 2016, Blaydes has rattled off three straight wins over Alexey Oleynik, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Cody East.

With all this momentum from the win streak, Blaydes looks to capitalize and win the biggest fight of his career against Hunt.

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Angela Magana says she has been cut from the UFC

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Angela Magana announced her release from the UFC on Twitter yesterday.

The now-former UFC strawweight was 0-3, in as many contests with the promotion. Her most recent loss came at the hands of Amanda Cooper, at UFC 218, on the UFC Fight Pass Prelims. A bout which she lost by TKO in the second round.

Her first opportunity arose with the UFC when she appeared on, The Ultimate Fighter 20. A #12 seed, in the tournament of strawweights, Magana lost her preliminary round bout to #4 seed, Aisling Daly. Unfortunately, her promotional debut, on The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 20, resulted in another loss. Tecia Torres defeated Magana that night via unanimous decision. The following summer, Magana fought Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson at The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 21. Waterson won by submission (rear-naked choke) in the third round of the bout.

Oddly enough, following her July 2015, loss to Waterson and before her final bout with the UFC, Magana seemingly instigated a feud between herself and current featherweight champion, Cris Cyborg. A feud which began on social media and boiled over at the 2017 UFC Athlete Retreat. Disregarding her well-documented spat with Cris “Cyborg”, Magana managed her way through a storm of misfortune on her way to UFC 218.

After falling in love with Puerto Rico while on vacation, Magana moved to the island in the fall of 2016. Her entire life followed her there, as she began to train on the island she fell in love with. The tropical paradise turned to an apocalyptic wasteland following Hurricane Maria, the category five hurricane which decimated the area. The disaster became an extreme hindrance for the strawweight.

Her UFC 218 bout became official in early October. Yet, in spite of horrendous living conditions, she powered on through the natural disaster that left her home without power, until the week of the fight. Magana took to social media to tell fans that she would not stop fighting and is currently training for her next opportunity.

 

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