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Dana White

Paige VanZant: Perseverance and Personality Paying Off

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UFC strawweight fighter Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant continues to turn heads and “wow” fans.

She impressed the mixed martial arts world after her dominating victory over veteran and Muay Thai fighter Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig at the April 18 UFC on FOX event. VanZant controlled Herrig for all three rounds to get the decision win – one judge even scored the fight 30-26, a rarity for UFC bouts.

One person in particular who praised VanZant was UFC President Dana White. In a post-fight interview, White talked about 12 Gauge’s victory, her performance during the fight and the “it” factor she has.

“Everybody in my dressing room wanted to meet Paige VanZant.”

White also likened VanZant’s rise to Irish superstar Conor McGregor, who will fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight title in July. VanZant came into the UFC as a dark horse. “The Ultimate Fighter 20” was on the air and most fans and critics seemed to be focused on the 16 strawweights on the show rather than the fighter who couldn’t get into the “TUF” house because she was too young. Then VanZant had a three-round war with Kailin Curran and people took notice.

Like McGregor, VanZant’s personality started showing and she began to get opportunities, one being a solo sponsorship with Reebok, much to chagrin of fans and fighters who felt they deserved to have a big sponsor like Reebok. The UFC later announced VanZant would face Herrig and 12 Gauge’s pre-fight comments irked some folks. In the weeks leading up to the fight, Herrig said she was not impressed with VanZant’s fighting skills and said she wasn’t a “threat anywhere.”

VanZant proved Herrig – who is one of the toughest fighters in the 115-pound division – and other critics wrong. The 21-year-old made some fundamental mistakes during the fight – something White acknowledged – but she was able to prevent the Lil’ Bulldog from capitalizing on them.

VanZant’s win resulted in a lot of critics keeping quiet while others predicted that they knew 12 Gauge would win. I’m not surprised to see the love for VanZant. She is good-looking and she’s not afraid to speak her mind and that draws in people.

Some purists prefer the type of fighters who are humble and prefer to do their speaking in the cage, but many fans are attached to the athletes who are themselves, will go out of their way to promote their fight and do a little trash talking on camera and social media. This also brings in potential sponsorship opportunities.

As for her work inside of the cage, VanZant has a long career ahead of her. If she can improve on the mistakes she made in the Herrig fight and sharpen her skills, she’ll be a top 10 fighter for years to come.

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Dana White

UFC to Sell #VegasStrong Shirts and Donate the Proceeds

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Our hearts are heavy this week as we remember our brothers and sisters that lost their lives in Las Vegas.

The perpetrator Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 59 people and injuring over 500 more.

It was the largest mass shooting in Modern American history.

Dana White and the UFC were quick to step up as they donated $1M to the residents of Las Vegas who were affected by this tragedy. White has also stated that this weekend’s UFC 216 card will be “dedicated to the entire city of Las Vegas.”

The UFC and Fanatics have also teamed up to sell #VegasStrong shirts and 100% percent of the proceeds will be donated.

These shirts are available at UFCStore.com

#VegasStrong

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Conor McGregor

Dana White posts sparring footage of Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi

Matthew Wells

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What happens in the gym, stays in the gym.

That is, until recently when Conor McGregor’s camp posted photos of his former training partner Paul Malignaggi on the receiving end of what looked to be a knockdown during a sparring session. McGregor, preparing for the blockbuster fight against Floyd Mayweather taking place on August 26, brought in Malinaggi to help sharpen and test his skills in preparation for the boxing contest.

However, when pictures of their sparring battles surfaced, painting Malignaggi in a negative light. The former IBF/WBA World Champion boxer turned analyst took to social media to defend himself stating the images were taken out of context, sparking controversy.

Late Friday evening, UFC President Dana White out all of the rumors to bed by taking to Instagram to post a pair of clips from their sparring session, most notably, the infamous “knock down” that Malignaggi defended adamantly.

Video 1: The video shows McGregor blasting Malignaggi with a hard left hand that popped his head back and then following up with a series of punches causing Malignaggi to retreat from the pressure.

 

Video 2: The knockdown. Conor hits Malignaggi with a punching combination, sending the former boxing champion to the canvas.

While the knock down does come after a series of punches from McGregor, Malignaggi was not completely knocked out. With this video evidence coming to light, it seems the UFC Lightweight Champion’s hands may be better prepared for the upcoming fight against one of boxing’s best than previously thought.

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather takes place on August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Contender Series

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series – Week 2 Recap

Matthew Wells

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The second week of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series provided some incredible moments from fighters looking to earn their shot in the UFC.

With five fights on the docket and Dana White handing out only one, possibly two UFC contracts at the end of the show, fighters not only had to win their fights, but make a statement to impress the boss. If nobody makes a strong enough impression, White could also decide to not award anyone with a contract.

That was not the case on Week 2 thanks to three exciting finishes.

Sean O’Malley said in video packages in the lead up that he shows up to knock people out and he did exactly that with an exciting first round finish of Alfred Khashakyan. O’Malley kept his undefeated record in tact by utilizing hard, fight-ending strikes that sent his opponent to the canvas in the closing minute of the first round. A hard right hand dropped Khashakyan for good and O’Malley ran over towards Dana White to let him know he’s ready for his shot.

The Ultimate Fighter 22 veteran Thanh Le got the fans on their feet with his impressive finish of Lazar Stojadinovic, and made his case with Laura Sanko for Dana White to give him a contract.  Stojadinovic, a solid boxer began fighting angry in the second round after getting caught with a few clean strikes, which only left more openings for Le. Moments later, Le would land a beautiful kick followed up by hard strikes to get the second-round stoppage.

Daniel Spohn, after a rough start to his fight against Angel De Anda, recovered from illegal blows to the back of the head to lock in a submission in the first round. Referee Big John McCarthy paused the action after three illegal blows by De Anda, and once the action resumed, Spohn blitzed across the cage to unleash strikes and eventually find the arm triangle submission.

At the conclusion of the show, Dana White decided to give Sean O’Malley an opportunity on the big stage by awarding him with a UFC contract due to his flashy, exciting style inside the Octagon.

Below are the full results of Week 2:

  • Daniel Spohn (16-5) vs. Angel De Anda (18-6)
    • Result: Daniel Spohn def. Angel De Anda via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 1 – 3:10
  • Sean O’Malley (8-0) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (8-4)
    • Result: Sean O’Malley def. Alfred Khashakyan via KO (Punch), Round 1 – 4:14
  • Thanh Le (7-1) vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (15-6)
    • Result: Thanh Le def. Lazar Stojadinovic via KO (Strikes), Round 2 – 1:35
  • Sidney Outlaw (9-4) vs. Michael Cora (4-2)
    • Result: Sidney Outlaw def. Michael Cora via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • CJ Hamilton (11-5) vs. Casey Kenney (7-0-1)
    • Result: Casey Kenney def. CJ Hamilton via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
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