On Saturday, January 18th, Conor McGregor (16-2) makes his return to Ireland’s lost city and some short, german dude who looks like a beat-up Daniel Craig (Dennis Siver is 22-9-1NC) will be joining him in the octagon for 25 minutes. UFC Fight Night 59 will take place in Boston’s TD Garden and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 at 10PM ET and 7PM PT. Be sure to follow our blow-by-blow write-up of the main event and our post-fight coverage of all the fights.This is your main-card preview!
Norman Parke vs. Gleison Tibau
Stormin’ Norman Parke (20-2-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) has looked better and better since winning the lightweight tournament on TUF: Smashes. The irishman picked up his first knockout in the UFC against Naoyuki Kotani in his last fight. Gleison Tibau has one of the longest UFC tenures in history . His 15-8 UFC record means he is unmatched at lightweight for experience. If he wins, he’ll extend his winning streak to three for the first time since 2011 and crack the top 15. Parke’s counter-wrestling has looked good but his judo background will be put to the test against the enormous Tibau who averages 4.39 takedowns a fight. Parke might be wise to use his improving striking and movement and attempt to emulate Michael Johnson’s success.
Uriah Hall vs Ron Stallings
Ron Stallings (12-6) makes his UFC debut on a week’s notice as an injury replacement for an injury replacement. He may also be the first fighter in history to debut coming off a loss. He is, unsurprisingly, a large underdog (see our betting preview to see if he’s worth a punt [link]) but his record of 6 knockouts and 6 submissions suggest a well-rounded fighter who may make the most of his opportunity.
Uriah Hall (9-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is undoubtedly possessed of a lot of talent and tremendous physical gifts but has shown some troubling defensive flaws and some psychological issues in his game. His destruction of the ghost of Chris Leben and his hard-fought win over Thiago Santos have not removed the question mark over whether his career will come to the fruition his talent deserves. Against a fighter of significantly lower calibre like Stallings, look for Uriah to put on a striking clinic on the way to a knockout. Unless, of course, he decides to drop his hands, back straight up, and chill out against the fence as sometimes is his wont…
Benson Henderson #5 vs. Donald Cerrone #3
Was there ever a professional like Cerrone? Agreeing to fight the former lightweight champ, against whom he is 0-2 a scant two weeks after his win over upstart Myles Jury. Cerrone (26-6) has been on an incredible tear, dismantling 6 opponents in 13 months including Jim Miller and Eddie Alvarez. Technically, he looks better than ever, adding a vicious counter-knee thrown with beautiful timing to his excellent striking arsenal and his ground game looks as swift and deadly as ever. Bendo (21-4), by contrast, is coming off a tough loss to Rafael dos Anjos and has slipped to 5th in the rankings. A win over Cerrone is crucial if he wishes to retain his status as a potential title challenger. Both fighters could leapfrog the passed-over and constantly injured Khabib Nurmagomedov to face the winner of Dos Anjos vs Anthony Pettis. Both fighters kick dynamically but have shown vulnerability to kicks themselves making for a very interesting contest. The ground game could be even more exciting since their first bout featured some unbelievable escapes by Henderson who managed to submit Cerrone with a guillotine in their second fight. Don’t miss this one!
Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver
McGregor (16-2) is just four fights into his UFC career but is already a colossal star.With a win over Dennis Siver, McGregor will receive a title shot against Jose Aldo which promises to be a hotly anticipated fight. If #10 featherweight Siver can pull off the upset, he will gather heat of a sort his career has never seen, perhaps also receiving a title shot. Siver is 3-1 1NC since moving to featherweight. The lone loss was a destruction at the hands of Cub Swanson who used speed and dynamic striking to put Siver down in the 3rd. This bodes ill for the German striker whose muscular frame is unlikely to keep up with McGregor over five rounds. McGregor has yet to be tested against a wrestler and has shown no inclination to check leg kicks. Siver, since dropping to featherweight, has made use of his size and strength with a smothering top game and might be wise to attempt something similar against McGregor. Given the trash talk and the degree to which the veteran has been overlooked in the lead-up to this fight, perhaps he will elect to trade with the brash and dynamic Irishman. Both heavily employ kicks with Siver possessing one of the most feared spinning back kicks in the sport. McGregor has claimed Siver will not last two minutes but Siver might just surprise us!
Check out our 10 minute preview below;
Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
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.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
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.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
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!
2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures
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
Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate
Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.
But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.
After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.
The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.
Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.
He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.
In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.
Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.
It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.
Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.
The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.
Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.
Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.
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