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PREVIEW: Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series Week 7

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UFC Fight Pass is a God-send for the most loyal fans of mixed martial arts. Whether one’s viewing preference is The Ultimate Fighter, Invicta, Titan FC or the archive of hundreds of fights throughout WEC, Pride, Strikeforce and UFC there is no shortage of choices. Fight Pass does an excellent job of not only providing a seemingly endless catalog, but has also consistently developed Zuffa’s digital imprint by providing fresh, original content.

One such is example is “Dana White’s: Lookin’ For a Fight” which chronicles the world’s best combat sports promoter in his travels with UFC-veterans-turned-world-class-MMA-coaches, Din Thomas and Matt Serra. The show documents the trio as they tour the country, scouting up and coming MMA talent on the regional level; which is a return to Dana White’s roots in the sport.

The latest original programming features a similar concept, only on this particular show White leaves the scouting to his matchmakers and the traveling to the fighters. “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” is filmed each week, when fighters from around the world converge in the UFC’s backyard to throw down at the Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas.

Here is a quick user’s guide to Week 7 of the show (#DWTNCS):

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT: Anton Berzin (5-1) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu (2-0)

A pair of Light Heavyweights with less than 10 pro mma fights combined between them will collide in the main event of week 7. The promotion does not typically showcase individuals with less than 10 pro fights (each) but the perpetually shallow 205lb division is always hiring.

There are plenty of young, up and coming prospects at Light Heavyweight, but the UFC always needs more. Berzin had a stint on TUF 19 but lost a decision in his first fight in the tournament. He spent the next 2 and a half years on the shelf, returning to the cage in last April earning a submission win.

A May 2017 knockout victory brings his win streak to 2-0 since returning to competition. Kennedy’s  2-0 represents the totality of his professional fight record. Despite limited experience, he comes in highly touted as the #8 Light Heavyweight from the state of Texas. An interesting fact about Nzechukwu: he made his pro debut at Heavyweight (where he also fought his only amateur fight) against a fighter with 18 professional fights (9-9) and put his opponent away in the 2nd round. Expect fireworks, as Berzin is no slouch at striking either.

BANTAMWEIGHT: Benito Lopez (7-0) vs Steven Peterson (15-5)

The UFC’s Bantamweight division has more attention on it than ever with stars like Cody Garbrandt, TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz at the top of the division. The rest of the top-10 boasts a handful of fan favorites as well, but none of them are truly household names. This division is deeper than it has ever been, but still desperate for stars to fill its ranks. Either one of these men would make a welcome edition to the Bantamweight roster.

MMA Latest News caught up with Steven Peterson, who said he does not anticipate the phenomenon known as “Octagon Shock.” In fact, Peterson told MMA Latest News he prefers the challenge of the bigger stage, “I tend to thrive in the high pressure situations, I enjoy it. The more pressure, the better.” Winning big is the name of the game. A contract is not guaranteed to all the winners, so at the conclusion of the show, UFC President Dana White signs each of the fighters with the best wins.

When prompted, Peterson quickly named his poison, “I prefer a TKO. I like to break my opponent. That’s what I forsee on Tuesday night. I’m going to push the pace. By the second round, he’ll be broken and I’ll finish him.”

Benito Lopez is an undefeated Team Alpha Male prospect. Though he has considerably less experience in the cage, there is something to be said for the company he keeps. The UFC Bantamweight Champion, Cody Garbrandt and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber are certainly two of the best mentors and training partners that an up and coming Bantamweight can surround themselves with.

FLYWEIGHT: Joby Sanchez (10-2) VS JP Buys (4-1)

Jackson-Winklejohn prospect Joby Sanchez gets a second chance to fight in the UFC after posting a 1-2 record across three fights in the promotion. Sanchez suffered his 1st professional loss at the hands of Wilson Reis back in 2014, but currently rides a 3-fight win streak since being cut from the UFC roster in 2015. He is opponent, JP Buys, comes all the way from South Africa for his chance at a spot on the coveted roster. With minimal experience as pro, at 4-1, he is currently riding a 3 fight win streak, including a submission victory that avenged the only loss on his record.

LIGHTWEIGHT: Mike Santiago (20-9) VS Mark Cherico (11-1)

This Lightweight fight is not to be missed! Santiago has won 10 in a row (7 submissions, 2 KO’s and 1 Unanimous Decision) and is ranked as the #1 Lightweight AND Featherweight in both Indiana and New Jersey. Cherico is ranked #1 at Lightweight in the state of Pennsylvania and has only one loss in his pro career, adding to an impressive amateur record of 9-0 (all by finish – 8 submissions and 1 KO).

FLYWEIGHT: Nick Urso (10-3) vs Jordan Espinosa (10-5)

Urso is another product of New Mexico’s Jackson-Winklejohn and he is ranked as the #1 Flyweight in his home state, as well as in Colorado. Espinosa also fights out of Albuquerque, but trains with a different camp – of course. This fight is actually a rematch from a 2016 bout that resulted in a no contest.

Urso appeared to be in control of the fight and revealed in a post-fight interview with Combat Sports Weekly  that he thought the ref stoppage was the result of a TKO; believing he had won the fight until the ref ended the action for illegal blows to the back of the head.

This is by far the only true grudge match on the lineup for the evening. With both men still verbally sparring in interviews they are looking to settle the score once and for all, with a possible UFC contract at stake. Follow the action on @MMALatestNws via Twitter or watch with a Fight Pass subscription, the event will be streamed live on Tuesday evening.

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Vitor Belfort vs Uriah Hall in the works for January 14th

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Vitor Belfort vs. Kelvin Gastelum UFC

Longtime UFC veteran Vitor Belfort announced on his Instagram that he is set to meet “The Ultimate Fighter 17” runner-up Uriah Hall.

The fight is set to take place on January 14th according to “The Phenom”, no event has been announced for the date yet. The bout marks Belfort’s first fight since beating Nate Marquardt in a controversial unanimous decision, back in June. Belfort had previously announced his retirement fight would come against Marquardt but has since changed his mind.

Belfort has been on an interesting run since his amazing KO filled 2013. He came back in 2015 in a middleweight title fight against then champion Chris Weidman. He would end up losing the fight via TKO after almost knocking out Weidman early on. He went on to knock out Dan Henderson before dropping three fights in a row by TKO, the latest, against Kelvin Gastelum, was changed to a no-contest, after Gastelum failed a drug test for Marijuana.

Uriah Hall looks to make his return to the cage after knocking out Krzysztof Jotko, back in September, in a fight many deemed the “comeback of the year”. Uriah had previously been on a three-fight losing skid, dropping a decision to current interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, and losing his next two via TKO.

The winner of the fight would end up on a two-fight winning streak and could potentially find themselves a few fights away from a title shot. Although no event has been announced for January 14th, it seems the UFC is already looking to get some fights booked. It is still unclear if this fight will serve as the main event.

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Bellator

Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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Fight Announcements

Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg

Harry Davies

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The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.

The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.

Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.

Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.

Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.

Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.

With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:

  • Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
  • Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
  • Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
  • Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
  • Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
  • Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
  • Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
  • John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
  • Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
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