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What did we learn from UFC Fight Night 105?

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After a fun night of fights, we have a few takeaways to consider going forward:

Canada’s MMA future looks really promising

Where does one begin with that? From Aiemann Zahabi’s and Gavin Tucker’s UFC debut to Marcos’ great win and Elias’ hard fought battle against Cezar Ferreira, some of UFC’s Canada representatives proved the country’s great future in the sport.

Aiemann Zahabi, younger brother of the legendary MMA coach Firas Zahabi, made his UFC debut on Sunday night and had a very tough fight against Reginaldo Vieira. Even though he faced some difficulties, the Bantamweight prospect managed to get a well-earned unanimous decision against the Brazilian in the Scotiabank Centre and he stayed undefeated with a record of 7 wins and 0 losses.

Secondly, Gavin Tucker, Nova Scotia native, had the Canadian crowd on its feet with every single one of his moves. After a very one-sided two first rounds for Tucker, his opponent, Sam Sicilia decided to search for the finish and as a result there were a few exchanges but in the end, the Canadian Featherweight prospect got the unanimous decision victory, he remained undefeated with a record of 10 wins and 0 losses and the crowd gave him an amazing reaction.

In addition to all that success, Elias Theodorou, former TUF Canada winner, faced Cezar Ferreira, former TUF Brazil winner in a back and forth battle. Theodorou proved that besides having “the best hair in MMA”, he has some fighting skills. He established his range and proved his toughness after getting out of a few submission attempts by Ferreira. After the end of the three rounds, he won a fairly controversial unanimous decision and maybe earned a future opportunity against a ranked Middleweight contender.

Lastly, Randa Markos, unranked before her fight on Sunday, had her toughest test to date in the face of former Strawweight champion, Carla Esparza. Bettingwise, Markos was one of the biggest underdogs of the night as she was heading in the biggest fight of her career and after a very brutal fight with hits landing for both fighters, the Canadian won the split decision and quite possibly a spot in the top 10 of the Strawweight division.

Duke Roufus still on top

The camp of Roufusport had a great night in Canada as both of its fighters delivered first round finishes on their coach’s birthday.

In the first fight of the night, Gerald Meerschaert submitted the Canadian Ryan Janes via armbar within two minutes. Janes came out fast and fired a load of punches and the two men ended up on the mat after the Canadian tripped the Roufusport fighter. On the ground, Meerschaert secured the full-guard and from that point and put Janes in the armbar.

In a slightly different fight, Paul Felder defeated Alessandro Ricci via TKO in the last seconds of the first round. Back and forth they went until Felder threw a perfectly timed elbow on Ricci’s nose and Ricci fell down.

Even though Duke Roufus has the Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in his camp, he got a lot of criticism due to Anthony Pettis’ bad run in the Lightweight division and his loss against Max Holloway at UFC 206, before which he lost his opportunity at the Interim Featherweight championship due to missing weight.

Everything seems to work out for one of the greatest coaches in the world, as he’s preparing Woodley for his rematch against Stephen Thompson at UFC 209.

The weight-cut plays a huge factor in the outcome of a fight

Once again, the weight-cut, one of the most controversial issues in MMA, it was proven to play a key role in the result of a fight.

Johny Hendricks, after missing three times the 171-pound weight limit, decided to go up to the Middleweight division and Hector Lombard did his best to welcome him. Hendricks looked like a different fighter and much more comfortable fighting as a Middleweight. His movement was good, he seemed to be full of energy and his timing was on-point as he landed a few knees on Lombard. “Bigg Rigg” earned the unanimous decision victory, which was his first since March 14th, 2015 against Matt Brown.

Hendricks seems to have found his new home at Middleweight and he should enjoy his victory along with the best wishes.

The “Experience” factor

UFC booked for Sunday’s Fox Sports 1 card, a fight between former Bantamweight championship challenger, Sara McMann and undefeated newcomer Gina Mazany.

Sara McMann, with a record of 10 wins and 3 losses, was coming in Sunday’s event on a two-fight win streak after a unanimous decision victory against Jessica Eye and an arm-triangle submission win against Alexis Davis.

Gina Mazany, a holder of a record of 4 wins and 0 losses, was a newcomer in the UFC and decided to test her metal against a fighter in the top 10 of the Bantamweight division.

Understandably, McMann crushed Mazany with a first round arm-triangle submission early in the first round. The experience factor is key in a stage like the UFC and Mazany lacked. After the tap-out, the annoyance on her face was pretty clear but this fight might just be a bump on the road for the Xtreme Couture prospect.

Sara McMann capitalized on Mazany’s inexperience and gained, even more, momentum moving forward in a division that shapes up really good for the near future, with many possible interesting match-ups in the top 10.

An unexpectedly great fight card

UFC Fight Night 105 was one of those fight cards, that a fan can end up saying: “That was worth watching.” Without having the biggest names or the greatest match-ups, the fans got their money and time worth for many reasons, with one of them being the amazing wheel-kick KO by Thiago Santos against Jack Marshman.

When there was not a spectacular finish, back and forth hard-fought battles took place, with Markos vs Esparza being a great example of that. Of course, Derrick Lewis delivered one more in amazing fashion against Travis Browne with a second-round KO.

Considering the most recent Pay-Per-View event was a forgettable card, this evening needed to breathe life into UFC fans, and it did exactly that.

 

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Announcement

UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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