Just a few days ahead of their upcoming interim title bout at UFC 209, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov went toe to toe verbally today on the UFC 209 Media Conference Call.
The fight between the pair has fallen through twice in the past, but as the old saying goes, third time is the charm. Originally scheduled to meet at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale, Nurmagomedov suffered an injury that forced him out of the bout. The bout was rescheduled for UFC on FOX 19, however this time, Ferguson would have to pull out of the bout due to injury. Now the bout will proceed at UFC 209 in the co-main event slot for the Interim Lightweight Championship.
Today on the conference call, Ferguson and Nurmagomedov got into multiple heated exchanges of words as they let each other know how they feel heading into their championship matchup.
It didn’t take much to get the firestorm blazing between these two. Nurmagomedov responded to a question about his feelings heading into the fight, in which he stated, “March 4th, I’m gonna make history. I’m gonna break this guy. He thinks he’s tough, but when cage closes, me and him alone inside the cage, I’m gonna break this guy.”
Before Nurmagomedov could utter another word, he was quickly cut off by Ferguson who flatly stated, “You ain’t breakin’ shit.”
This exchange sparked a war of words over the course of twenty minutes during the call, which both fighters took verbal shots at each other.
“He no understand how I am strong. He no understand this. All the time when he fight with wrestling guys he have problems,” explained Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani wrestler has won nearly all of his professional fights by implementing his dominant wrestling game. With an undefeated record to back up his claims, it’s hard to argue the effectiveness of Nurmagomedov’s wrestling game.
However, despite the zero in the loss column, Ferguson isn’t impressed with Nurmagomedov’s skills. Furthermore, Ferguson believes there should be at least one loss on Nurmagomedov’s record as he stated, “You lost to Tibau, dude. Straight up.”
The fight Ferguson is referencing is a bout between Nurmagomedov and Gleison Tibau which took place at UFC 148 in 2012 that ended in a unanimous decision in favor of Nurmagomedov.
“Your first fight. You lost to him. I beat him in the first round,” said Ferguson. Quick to the rebuttal, Nurmagomedov referenced another common opponent between the two in Michael Johnson. “Okay, but you lost to Michael Johnson. Michael Johnson kicked your ass,” said Nurmagomedov.
The verbal exchanges grew and intensified as the call went on, which prompted the moderator to intervene at one point to allow more questions to come in from media members.
Just a week ahead of the bout, both men said they feel better than ever coming into this fight and promised to put on an incredible show for the fans at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner of the bout at UFC 209 will walk away as the UFC Interim Lightweight Champion.
“You try to take me down, you’re gonna find out exactly how sharp my elbows are,” warned Ferguson.
“Okay, we will see. March 4. One week. One week. After one week, everybody will see who is who,” replied Nurmagomedov.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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