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Luke Rockhold was offered Yoel Romero at UFC 205

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Since Luke Rockhold lost his short-lived middleweight crown to Michael Bisping at UFC 199, some could say that the American’s eye has wandered from the sport of mixed martial arts, but it hasn’t, in fact quite the opposite – a more focused and driven individual has emerged from the depths of his loss.

People react differently to adversity, and outside of the cage Rockhold has bounced back with style. Having forged a burgeoning modelling career, a fledgling entrepreneurial venture and a no-nonsense approach to his UFC contract negotiations, the 32-year-old is demonstrating a reinvigorated commitment to his goals, and his next opponent Jacare Souza is exactly that.

Souza presents the next box for Rockhold to tick on his way back to UFC glory, but it seems that the Brazilian veteran was not the first choice for the UFC. Speaking on Submission Radio, Rockhold said that he was originally offered a place on the landmark UFC 205 event:

“I was offered 205 [UFC] against Yoel Romero, and I said, give me Yoel and five rounds, and they came back somehow with Jacare [Souza], not sure how that all worked out.”

There could be a host of speculation as to why Rockhold’s appearance on the New York event was hampered; maybe Romero didn’t want a five round fight, maybe the stacked Madison Square Gardens card could not cope with the additional rounds that Rockhold was looking for, or maybe his hard line approach to contract negotiations wanted a more prominent slot on the night.

“New York would’ve been cool, it was a good stage, but a three round fight just doesn’t tell the true tale as to who is the better fighter. There’s too much risk involved, and if I am going to fight one of the top guys, it’s going to be in the main event, and it’s going to be in a five round fight.”

Rockhold’s insistence on having a 25-minute opportunity to put his next opponent away could be a nod towards his first meeting with Souza, a bout in which Souza’s 185-pound Strikeforce title was on the line. Going the distance, the fight was a very close and competitive affair, with the judges ultimately giving the decision to the American – an outcome that Souza has questioned ever since.

With Rockhold, Souza, Chris Weidman and Romero all competing in November, the competition is hotting up for the next challenger to Bisping’s UFC middleweight crown. UFC Fight Night 101 will take place in Melbourne, Australia, on November 27th 2016.

 

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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