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Matthew Lopez Submitted in UFC Debut by Rani Yahya 

Peyton Wesner

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For the first time ever, UFC action took Sioux Falls, South Dakota by storm on Wednesday night as another product of “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight” Matthew Lopez squared off with promotion veteran Rani Yahya. The rookie and Arizona native Lopez brought in a spotless 8-0 professional record and seven finishes while Yahya entered with a 5-1 mark in his last seven bouts (1 no contest) in addition to a hunger to add the first blemish to his opponent’s record. In other words, this evening’s UFC Fight Pass prelim was bound to be entertaining.

Round 1

As soon as the five-minute clock started, Yahya rushed out and began his attack with a right kick and a follow-up 1-2 strike. Silent initially, Lopez responded with an engage, in which both traded, landed, and broke away. Moreover, the American continued to push the pace prior to nailing his opponent with a hard shot. To answer, the experienced submission artist started a body lock while up against the side of the cage. In close quarters, Yahya initiated solid knees before landing his first takedown. Although the time on the canvas would be swift for the bantamweight pair since Lopez transitioned to top position and was able to get back to his feet, it was Yahya, not Lopez, who enjoyed a big strike in stand-up via a kick. Following the landed strike, however, Lopez began to find his groove. From landing nice counters to taking advantage of the Brazilian’s predictability, the rookie started scoring before the 2:00 mark. Under the aforementioned amount of time remaining, Yahya missed a leg kick, which allowed Lopez to get the action to the ground and showcase his submission talent. Yet, the veteran escaped the loose hold in a scramble and even withstood a knee bar attempt. The segment would end with Yahya inducing a failed mediocre choke on the opposition.

Round 2

Unlike the 1st, the two fighters took it slow to begin the 2nd. However, once the pace quickened, it did not slow. The first strike was a heavy right straight, which blasted Lopez at the end of a flying knee attempt. Despite the previous, the American scored a nice takedown but ultimately put his arm in danger as Yahya looked for isolation. Yet, it was Lopez who had the submission of the round, for he locked in an inverted leg triangle that was tight around the veteran’s neck. With more than 3:30 remaining, some were skeptic of whether Yahya could survive the remaining time. Though, it really never became a factor as Lopez abandoned his tight submission attempt, allowing his opponent to take top position while unleashing haymakers with his left hand. Yahya persisted to take advantage of his position by landing brutal right hand punches. Displaying a grit of his own, the Cal State Fullerton product got to his knees and sprawled on the submission artist. Moreover, Lopez took the match back to stand-up; but, the style would be short lived as Yahya capitalized on a left counter and took down the opposition. The Brazilian advanced his position to top mount and attempted a well-angled armbar. But, Lopez survived and a 3rd round was up next.

Round 3

At first glance, both Rani Yahya and Matthew Lopez were visibly gassed. While the veteran landed some soft jabs and a kick, Lopez took top position after a takedown. Again on the ground, the Brazilian eyed an armbar; yet, there was nothing going as Lopez realized to get off the canvas and ultimately slipped out. Later, Yahya tried a takedown; however, it was defended very well by his adversary. But, the never ceasing Yahya continued to work hard for a desirable position, and he found it shortly after the 3:30 mark by covering Lopez like a blanket. On top, he unloaded short elbows and rock hard punches. After slamming Lopez to the mat when the two were locked up, Yahya took top position again and did not squander the finish opportunity, for he beautifully set up an arm triangle and earned the tap-out with just 41 seconds remaining in the bout.

Result

Rani Yahya defeats Matthew Lopez via arm triangle, Round 3 – 0:41

He Said It:

It’s a great win. Matt is definitely a prospect, he was undefeated. I wanted to fight against, like him, a good wrestler, who was undefeated,” said Rani Yahya in his initial thoughts of his performance.

He Said It (Part II)

Yeah, he’s a grappler too. I wanted to strike and surprise him, and I think it did work. The grappling came natural. I think it is natural for both of us,” analyzed Yahya.

He Said It (Part III)

“I want to fight in Brazil. It’s my hometown and birth town. There’s a fight [card] in September and I would like to be in it,” stated Yahya about where he would like to fight next.

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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