On September 5th, in Las Vegas Nevada, when the curtain goes up on UFC 191, the main card will feature a matchup of former Heavyweight Champions. The #4 ranked Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski squares off against the #10 ranked Frank Mir in a fight that could and probably should have title contention implications.
The amazing thing about this fight is the longevity of these two gladiators. Arlovski made his UFC debut in 2000 at UFC 28, that’s 15 years ago ladies and gentleman. Frank Mir, debuted at UFC 31 in 2001 and incredibly outside of injuries hasn’t left the promotion for 14 years.
In his decade and a half career, “The Pitbull” has faced literally two generations of top contenders in mixed martial arts. Fighters like Ricco Rodriguez, Pedro Rizzo Vladamir Mayushenko and Tim Slyvia who he defeated for the UFC Champion in his early days and now his last three fights against the younger generation of Travis Browne, Antonio Silva and Brendan Schaub each of who Arlovski dispatched.
The same can be said for Mir. He has fought a who’s who of heavyweight fighters in the UFC for the last decade plus. Sims, Freeman, Nogueira, Kongo, Lesnar, Carwin, CroCop, Nelson, Dos Santos, Cormier, Barnet, Overeem are just some of the names that litter Frank Mir’s resume. This former Champion has built his career on fighting the top fighters in the world.
The fact that both of these men are still ranked in the top ten of the heavyweight division coming of multiple fight winning streaks and are in consideration for title contention more than a decade after their debut is a testament to the caliber fighter we are talking about. These two men should be considered first ballot UFC Hall of Famers when they finally retire, but have shown no sign of slowing down.
Mir, who entered the UFC as probably the best American heavyweight jiu-jitsu practitioner has evolved in to a very dangerous striker. Both of his last two victories came with knockouts over Todd Duffee and Big Foot Silva. Improved cardio, dangerous striking and one punch knockout power to go hand in hand with his top level submission ability makes Mir one of the most dangerous finishers in the heavyweight division.
Arlovski is as dangerous as they come when the fight is standing. Of his 24 career victories, 17 have come by way of knockout. When the “Pitbull” is across the Octagon from you, you know that he is trying to take your head off. However, that doesn’t mean that he is one dimensional in the least. His Sambo background makes him a nightmare for grapplers. In the UFC, Arlovski has defended an astonishing 85.71% of takedowns attempted against him. His phenomenal balance makes it very difficult to take him to the mat, and when an opponent does he has a deceptively good guard that has earned him three submissions wins as well.
Both Mir and Arlovski are 36 years of age. While they are obviously not on the decline considering their rankings and the last couple times we have seen each of them in the Octagon, they are certainly closer to the end of their career than the beginning. On September 5th, we will see one of these former Champions take a big step towards the chance to fight for a UFC Championship once again. This is a fight that any long time UFC fan should be anticipating and excited for and any new age UFC fan should sit up and take notice of. On September 5th, two UFC Legends are going to collide and with all things considered it could very well be a contender for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night or Submission of the Night so don’t look away.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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