Coming off back to back wins, at Rebel FC, 22 year old Australian Top Team owner, coach, and fighter Suman Mokhtarian should hold the title of being be the busiest man in the Oceanica MMA scene. Just weeks after cornering Tuerxen Jumabieke, at UFC Sydney, Suman has been playing the role of a promoter and matchmaker for his own MMA promotion, Urban Fight Night(UFN). WIth ten bouts going down December 14th, at Parkroyal in Parramatta, MMA Latest News caught up with the youngest MMA promoter in the world to find out how he is going to shake things up down under.
Its a team effort, we all play a certain role according to the qualities that we can bring to the table and that makes us unique. – Suman Mokhtarian
“UFN is a promotion run by my brother Ashkan Mokhtarian (Pro MMA Fighter)his wife Azize Mokhtarian and myself,” explains Mokhtarian. “Its a team effort, we all play a certain role according to the qualities that we can bring to the table and that makes us unique. With the exception of Azize, we are still active MMA fighters and as fighters we understand what we would like if we were fighting on a show and Azize is the level headed person who reminds us if some of these fantasies are possible. Haha. Unlike any other regional shows in Australia, cut men will be provided . [The cut men] will be wrapping everyone’s hands and attending to cuts in between rounds. We also hired 2 masseuses to help relax and massage our fighters before their fights. We aim to give the amateurs what the professionals experience and we also want to deliver the best fighting and grappling display the fans could experience.”
With a plethora of promotions in Australia, such as giants AFC (Australian Fight Championship) and Brace, Suman must have a felt an urgent need to be different from his competitors.
There are plenty shows in Australia but he felt that together we could bring something else to the table. – Suman Mokhtarian
“UFN was an idea brought up by my brother Ashkan. He is always full of ideas and most often than not would be the main guy to make things happen. When he sees something not being done to its best,he will step up and change it. There are plenty shows in Australia but he felt that together(with his wife and me) we could bring something else to the table. We want a show where we can showcase various martial arts. We are the first and only show in Australia where we are hosting 10 MMA fights together with an 8 man submission only grappling championship. Two guys brawling for a few minutes, hit the floor without advancing or attempting a finish have been in staple in regional shows. We are introducing our grappling championship to give the spotlight to our BJJ community in Australia and show how exciting an intense grappling match can be…….. and well if you don’t like it then you can go to the bar have a drink until the next mma fight starts. We have zero breaks, no intermissions. Purely constant night of fights and contests.”
Regional promotions, especially those run or owned by gym owners are notorious for matchmaking lopsided fights in favor of their own fighters. With a bulk of the competitors(seven) coming from his own gym, Suman assures that his own gym will not be getting any favors in terms of matchmaking.
Since I’m the match maker for the event, people would think I’m favoring my own fighters but that’s not what I’m after. – Suman Mokhtarian
“There’s a few reasons for my own fighters making the bulk of our fight card. We have been limited to a number of our own fighters on other shows so why not get as many of my own fighters on my own show. The guys can have more training together for the same duration and having the other fighters helping them out. Another reason is because they are the most reliable source of fighters i can find, if i have 8 of my own fighters on one card, i have 8 less people I have to worry about pulling out for unknown reasons. We have about 25 ACTIVE fighters at the moment in our team so if we have injuries we have fighters to take their place. Since I’m the match maker for the event, people would think I’m favoring my own fighters but that’s not what I’m after. Especially in amateur ranks, I would rather give my fighters the test that they really need before turning professional. In the process of matchmaking, i would provide full information of my fighters to the coaches(of other gyms) to see who they would like to match. One of my own fighters whos 4-1 in his amateur career is fighting another who is 5-0 and considered one of the top prospects its sure to be a great test for both fighters who would be looking to go pro soon.”
He might end up gaining 7 wins or risk 7 losses, but its a gamble he is willing to take.
The biggest help in this promotion is the big boss Azize [Mokhtarian] for she is the one who makes sure all the paper work and everything is in order from sanctioning to venue preparation. She’s a genius. She taught herself photoshop and within days started creating all our amazing posters. – Suman Mokhtarian
“My brain would explode if I was to be doing this all on my own and I would have gone into hiding for a few months. The biggest help in this promotion is the big boss Azize for she is the one who makes sure all the paper work and everything is in order from sanctioning to venue preparation. She’s a genius. She taught herself photoshop and within days started creating all our amazing posters. My part is to make sure fighters are healthy and ready to go, every time fighters or coaches messages me, I would be scared of opening it at times fearing they would pull out. We’ve been very fortunate and had fighters and gyms step up on very short notice when the scheduled fighters have had to pull out.
It have been stressful but very fun at the same time. I always thought Sean Shelby or Joe Silva in the UFC had the dream job so its crazy that at the age of 22 im doing something similar even though its on a much smaller scale, You can say im a kid playing doctor haha. I love fighting in the cage but im in love with everything involved from coaching to promoting and fighting. I love being apart of MMA in anyway possible. This sport has changed my life so seeing other fighters now stepping in and living their dreams is extremely pleasing to me. Fighters are real life superheroes, growing up we always wanted to be someone with super powers and I feel MMA fighters are the closest thing to it, Fighters are amazing us more and more each day and hopefully UFN is able to create some memories for fighters and kids who grow up aspiring to do this one day.”
Featured image from Suman Mokhtarian’s Twitter account
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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