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Pannie Kianzad on Invicta, New Nickname, Katie Taylor and More

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Pannie Kianzad is one of the most well-known fighters on the Invicta FC roster and is renowned for her crowd pleasing fighting style. Holding a professional record of 8 – 1 at the age of just 24, the Swedish standout is considered to have a very bright future in MMA ahead of her.

Kianzad does not currently have a fight scheduled, but she is happy with how her training is going. “Training right now is amazing,” she smiled. “I’m totally injury free; it’s weird to say it but I have no injuries, no pain. It has been really bad because when I was getting back into camp, my back totally went out – I had bulging discs in my lower back. They (doctors) told me ‘no MMA for two months’, so I did my rehab every day and I’m totally fine now.”

Kianzad suffered the first loss of her professional career to Tonya Evinger for the Invicta bantamweight title in September 2015, but she has taken the loss with a level of maturity far beyond her years. “It was my first full contact loss since 2011,” she began. “If I don’t do my work, if I don’t do my best and I don’t deserve my win, then why should I win? And I didn’t perform that night so I just take it as a learning experience. I mean, I don’t know many 24-year-olds with an 8 – 1 record so, I don’t really mind, I just really want to get back in there.

Kianzad trains out of Rumble Sports in Denmark, a gym that houses current UFC fighters such as Nicolas Dalby, Damir Hadzovic and Anna Elmose. She knows she is in the right place to further her career and spoke highly of the gym. “At Rumble Sports we do produce, not only good fighters at the moment, but we’ve always produced good fighters,” she said. “I mean, (Nicolas) Dalby has been competing for 10-12 years, we have Mats Nilsson who was our first UFC fighter and we have two females (Kianzad and Elmose) who compete at the highest level.

Of course, with the link between Invicta and the UFC, many wonder when we will see Kianzad in the world-famous octagon. Every fighter has such ambitions, but Kianzad is biding her time. “I would say of course it’s always a goal,” she explained. “But I think that all of the organisations before you get to the UFC is actually the most important part because if the other organisations weren’t there, nobody would come to the UFC.

Recently, Kianzad was in Rotterdam for her team-mate Anna Elmose’s UFC debut. Elmose faced home crowd favourite Germaine de Randamie at that event, and Kianzad explained that fighting away from home is something that she personally enjoys. “I’m always a big fan of fighting outside my home country, I like to be the underdog coming to another country. I would rather fight a home fighter than be the one fighting in Sweden.” Kianzad did go on to say that she would, one day, like to have the experience of fighting for the UFC in her home country. “Of course, it’s always been a dream to fight in the biggest league in the world and fight in Sweden. I would always be dreaming of, not in my debut, but doing a UFC fight in Stockholm or somewhere in Sweden. And I think I’d deserve it. I don’t think one defeat says everything about me, because I think Invicta produces fighters as good as in the UFC – most of their bantamweight and strawweight roster in from Invicta.

Kianzad went on to elaborate about her future. “I just think it’s a matter of time when it comes to signing for the UFC,” she stated. “So I’m not really waiting for anything, I’m just fighting my way up until it happens. As long as I get to fight and fight good opponents I’m happy.

In this ever-growing sport of MMA, female fighters are becoming more and more prominent. The term ‘women’s MMA’ has become popularised, but it is not a term that Kianzad uses. “I don’t like it,” she explained. “It’s got nothing to do with feminism or anything like that. It’s just, aren’t we doing the same sport?” With that said, the topic of the impact Invicta FC is having on the sport of MMA as a whole came up, and Kianzad spoke in glowing terms about the organisation and its president, Shannon Knapp. “MMA has been a super manly dominated world and Invicta are showing it is not only manly dominated, but that it’s for everybody. I think when Invicta came along, people were super interested and were like ‘f*ck, these girls are as good as the guys’. It’s not about what gender you are, it’s about how good of a fighter you are.

A common theme of Kianzad’s social media is that of one of her obsessions – pugs. Her face lit up when she spoke about them and explained her love of the dog breed. “I am totally in love with pugs! Like, I could actually die when I see one. I have pug shirts, pug socks, everything with pugs on them. I haven’t got one yet, but when I get my own one I’m going to dress it up in all different kinds of stuff, like a lamb suit.

As Kianzad came from a boxing background, a fighter she hugely admires is Ireland’s 2012 Olympic gold medallist, Katie Taylor. “She’s amazing,” Kianzad enthused. “Before I got into MMA, my career started in boxing in 2005. I’m always watching the Olympics, World Championships, Europeans and she was the first and biggest name I heard when I started boxing. I think she’s amazing and I’m really happy to see that it’s going well for her.”

Back to her MMA career, and Kianzad said, while she has no date or opponent confirmed yet, she is itching to get back into the cage and fighting again. “I’m just waiting, waiting, waiting,” she started. “Staying in shape and waiting.  I’ll fight whoever. I talked a bit in Rotterdam with Cindy Dandois, we both want to fight and we’re happy to fight each other. I was hoping for (Irene) Aldana as well, but for me, it doesn’t really matter, I just want to get a good match-up and to fight, so I’m not picky. So everyone tweet that you want Pannie on the card!

Recently, Kianzad has been introduced as Pannie “Sexy Scramble” Kianzad, due to the grappling positions she sometimes finds herself in. However, she had an announcement to make regarding that very topic. “For my next fight, I’m going back to my roots,” she announced. “I’m going back to my first nickname. I’m going back to ‘Banzai’. I just feel like that’s more me, it’s where I came from, and I want it back, so spread it all over the world.

In closing, Kianzad had a message for her fans. “I just want to say thank you to the fans for asking really cool questions and for always supporting me. After I lost my fight, I felt, you know, as an athlete you always think that you’re going to be forgotten or that people will forget what you’ve accomplished. I’m trying to rebuild myself and been going through a lot of personal sh*t, so I just want to say thank you to everybody who has continued to support me all the way.”

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Bellator

Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.

Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.

‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”

Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?

I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.

Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?

Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.

Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?

Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.

There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.

Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?

I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.

Credit – michaelpagemvp – Instagram

Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?

The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.

Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?

Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.

You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.

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BAMMA

Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking

Harry Davies

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We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.

Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.

Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?

Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.

Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?

Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.

Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?

Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?

That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.

Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him? 

He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking  guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.

He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.

BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.

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Bellator

Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald

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Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.

Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.

What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”

Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.

Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.

A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.

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