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Neil Magny: “I’m just expecting the guy who beat GSP to show up”

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The act of self-marketing has fast become an art form in the fickle sport of mixed martial arts, maybe more so now the entertainment giants WME-IMG have staked their claim in the prosperous market. How each fighter approaches this craft can be as diverse, and entertaining, as their respective disciplines – and Neil Magny is no exception.

In a recent interview with MMA East Europe, the level-headed Magny has clearly identified an angle to promote his upcoming fight against Johny Hendricks at UFC 207, one that could give him leverage should he be victorious in December. Having recently suffered a damaging derailment to his 170-pound hype-train, Magny is back looking for a way to raise his stock to a welterweight prospect, and by linking arguably the greatest fighter of all time to his forthcoming fight, may have found him a way to do so:

“I am very excited about this fight. Johny Hendricks is a guy that I have looked up to for a while, ever since his fight with Georges St-Pierre, where a lot of people thought that he won that fight. I’ve always looked up to Johny Hendricks.”

Whilst what Magny says is true, and that Hendricks narrowly lost to Georges St-Pierre in a result that could have ended differently on a different night, it ultimately didn’t, yet this did not deter the 29-year-old from pushing his agenda.

“I want to fight the guy who a lot of people think beat GSP, so I am excited for the opportunity to go out there and do it.”

In a game that continually advances, so must the strategy of marketing a fighter, whether it be done by themselves or their promotion. Magny’s last opponent Lorenz Larkin has suffered the perils of sub-standard marketing – to the bemusement of many – and the soon-to-be free agent now stands on the edge of unemployment, November 20th to be exact. This is the date when Larkin officially becomes a free agent and able to accept offers from other promotions, but in this cut throat business of pain, Magny is moving his chess pieces around to avoid being in the same position.

“Since my last fight, it didn’t go my way, I’ve been super motivated to get back in the gym to show how much better I’ve become, and how much better I was since my last fight. So I am just excited to go out there and show the fans that I am a great fighter and I’m here to stay.”

Having the loss against Larkin hanging over his head, and knowing that the guy is on the cusp of being let go, Magny realises that by pushing the notion that Hendricks beat St-Pierre at UFC 167, and then going on to beat Hendricks at UFC 207 – he’ll become the man, who beat the man, who beat the man – “Apollo” Cook would be proud.

So should the Brooklyn-born fighter dispose of Hendricks with ease, it could well be the last time we see the former welterweight champion in action. Win or lose, UFC 207 is a step towards retirement for Hendricks, something that he has talked about openly, but this is no concern to his upcoming adversary:

“He may not have a choice after this fight but to retire, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. If he retires, good for him, if not, whatever. I am just focusing on going out there and beating the guy who beat GSP. I’m not really worried about what he says in interviews, or anything else like that, I’m just expecting the guy who beat GSP to show up.”

It’s a clever marketing tactic by Magny, to introduce St-Pierre into the mix. The link is tenuous, as Hendricks is on a two-fight losing streak with a string of weight complications to his name, but it’s easy to see why the young welterweight has done this. Even throughout his hiatus, St-Pierre’s name rarely left the tip of the tongue, and with the recent shenanigans of his rumoured return and muddy contract dispute, this has never been so true.

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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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