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KSW 35 Preview

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KSW 35 takes place this Friday, the 27th of May from the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. It will be the second event in 2016 for the Polish organisation following KSW 34 which took place this past March. The event will feature two title fights as well as other names who will be familiar to many followers of European MMA.

The main event will be in the 185 pound division for the KSW middleweight title as the champion, Mamed Khalidov, looks to defend the title he won last November. His opponent will be 39-year-old knockout artist, Aziz Karaoglu. Khalidov is without doubt one of the best fighters currently plying their trade outside the UFC, having turned down the chance to make the move into the octagon after failing to come to financial terms with the promotion. The Chechen-born fighter holds an impressive record of 31 – 4 – 2 and has finished 29 of those wins – 12 by knockout and 17 by submission. Some of the names on his win list include Melvin Manhoef as well as UFC veterans Kendall Grove, Maiquel Falcao, Matt Lindland and James Irvin. It has been over 6 years since Khalidov last tasted defeat and that is a streak he will be looking to keep alive on Friday.

For Karaoglu (9 – 6), this is a chance to wear KSW gold for the first time. Currently riding a 3-fight, first round knockout winning streak, Karaoglu has made a surge towards title contention. His most recent victory came at KSW 33, the same event in which Khalidov captured the middleweight title, against Maiquel Falcao. Karaoglu wasted little time, finishing the Brazilian just 30 seconds into the opening round. In truth, not many of Karaoglu’s wins have gone past the first round, and he has finished each of his 9 professional wins, 8 by knockout and 1 by submission. In fact, between the careers of Karaoglu and Khalidov, only 6 out of 52 bouts have gone to a decision. All signs indicate that this could be a short main event whichever way it goes.

The other title fight on the card is at 155 pounds between undefeated Mateusz Gamrot and Mansour Barnaoui. Gamrot made his professional debut in 2012 and has been victorious in every outing so far en route to compiling a perfect record of 10 – 0. Gamrot is just 25-years-old and is certainly one of the brightest prospects in European MMA at the moment. Standing across from him on Friday will be 23-year-old Mansour “The Afro-Samurai” Barnaoui. The Frenchman holds a record of 12 – 3, including wins over Colin Fletcher and Curt Warburton. With 4 wins by knockout and 7 by submission, Barnaoui is another who does not hang around when the opportunity to finish presents itself. This is a lightweight title fight between two up and coming stars that promises to be an entertaining collision.

Other notable names on the card include former World’s Strongest Man, Mariusz Pudzianowski. The Pole is 9 – 4 with 1 no contest in his near 7 year career and is always one of the most popular competitors on any KSW card. His opponent will be fellow Polish Heavyweight, Marcin Rozalski, who is looking for a turnaround in fortunes following 2 straight losses. The man who Mamed Khalidov defeated for the KSW middleweight title also returns, facing 46-fight veteran, Antoni Chmielewski. Elsewhere, fromer UFC fighter and TUF season 22 semi-finalist, Marcin Wrzosek, fights for the first time since his release from the promotion on home soil against Filip Wolanski.

KSW 35 takes place this Friday, the 27th of May from Gdansk, Poland. The full card is as follows:

KSW 35 Card

  • Mamed Khalidov vs Aziz Karaoglu – KSW Middleweight Title
  • Michal Materla vs Antoni Chmielewski
  • Mariusz Pudzianowski vs Marcin Rozalski
  • Mateusz Gamrot vs Mansour Barnaoui – KSW Lightweight Title
  • Lukasz Chlewicki vs Marif Piraev
  • Rafal Moks vs Robert Radomski
  • Kamil Szymuszowski vs Mindaugas Verzbickas
  • Marcin Wrzosek vs Filip Wolanski
  • Karol Celinski vs Marcin Wojcik
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Interviews

UFC 219’s Jimmie Rivera to TJ Dillashaw “Defend Your Belt or Vacate.”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest had the chance to talk to #4 ranked UFC bantamweight Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera ahead of his fight at UFC 219 against John Lineker.

Rivera (21-1) extended his unbeaten run to twenty when he defeated Thomas Almeida at UFC Long Island in July. Originally scheduled to face former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, we began by asking Rivera how the opponent change had affected his preparation for UFC 219.

The only thing that’s changed is the game plan, everything else stays the same. Cruz is more of an irritating fight because he just doesn’t stop moving, but with Lineker, he’s going to stay in the pocket and bang, and I love that.

Recently, Rivera posted a video to his Twitter account of him sparring with the recently crowned bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. He told us about the context of this video, and how the sparring went down between them.

It was 3 or 4 years back. I think TJ had just lost to (John) Dodson on TUF. My teammate Louis Gaudinot was actually fighting Tim Elliott at the time, and we were in Milwaukee so I got to train with (Urijah) Faber and Dillashaw.

I just sent it to TJ to say, don’t forget what happened. I was getting the best of him, and I don’t really brag about it. But he wants to leave the weight class and fight DJ for the money fight, and I want to fight for the belt, so it’s defend your belt or vacate.

After briefly referencing the potential superfight between Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw, I asked Rivera about his thoughts on the somewhat flawed UFC rankings system, and title fights being put together purely for entertainment value.

It sucks. When I become champ I won’t be like a TJ or McGregor, I’m going to be like Demetrious Johnson and defend my belt against people coming up, it’s the right thing to do. If you want to win the belt and leave the division straight away, it’s kind of bullshit.

Rivera concluded by telling me that although he isn’t looking past Lineker at 219, “the only fight that makes sense after this one, is fighting TJ for the belt.”

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Announcement

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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Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira Officially Booked for Belem, Brazil card

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The wait is over. Valentina Shevchenko (14-3, 3-2 UFC) will make her highly anticipated flyweight debut when the UFC returns to Brazil. She will face Priscila Cachoeira (8-0) on the February 3rd card scheduled for Belem, Brazil. Luciana Andrade was the first to report the match-up last week. On Tuesday, the UFC posted an article which stated the bout had been set.

Now that the flyweight tournament is over and the inaugural champion has her crown, many women shall migrate from the strawweight and bantamweight ranks in search of a more suitable weight class. The division is so infantile means a lot moving parts in the rankings. Yet, only women who fought at one hundred and twenty-five lbs. are ranked. Such practices muddy the title picture for the time being. Essentially ruling out the idea of Montano vs. Shevchenko for the first defense of the belt, illogical. An idea that floated around the internet until today’s confirmation of the newest female flyweight match-up. The TUF 26 winner, Nicco Montano called it, “kinda silly”, earlier this week while on The MMA Hour. Montano believes her first title defense, as it stands, should pit her against the original finalist of the flyweight tournament, Sijara Eubanks. Although Eubanks withdrew from the title fight, she is still ranked as the #1 contender in the division.

Shevchenko explained her desire for the flyweight belt on The MMA Hour, a week earlier than Montano, “For me it’s number one, to fight for the title… It doesn’t matter for me, if I have to have one fight before it, okay I will do it… my main goal is to be the champion… It doesn’t matter I move from one thirty-five to one twenty-five. My goal is still the same, to be the champion”. The Russian fighter is coming off an unsuccessful title shot in the bantamweight division against the current reigning champ, Amanda Nunes. The bout went to a decision after close five rounds, Nunes ultimately defeated Shevchenko via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47).

Her opponent, Priscila Cachoeira, is not only new to the UFCs female flyweight division but the promotion’s roster as well. Cachoeira originally was scheduled to make her promotional debut against veteran Lauren Murphy at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 26. The Brazilian fighter withdrew from the bout due to visa issues. As a professional, she is undefeated with four knockouts in her eight fights.

UFC Belem is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018. The card will feature Timothy Johnson vs. Marcelo Golm in the heavyweight division. It will also have Thiago Santos taking on Anthony Smith in the middleweight division.

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