“How did you guys like the fights?” Dana White asked the media during a scrum at the end of the Week 7 broadcast. “This was the best one yet,” he said with a jovial grin. No one in the huddle disagreed. The impromptu press conference with the UFC President and Jeff Novitzky came as a result of the breaking news of Jon Jones’ failed drug test, but the real reason for the gathering at the Ultimate Fighter gym was to celebrate the 10 athletes who traveled to Las Vegas for a potentially painful job interview.
The night was action packed from the very beginning. In the first bout Jordan Espinosa scored a beautiful d’arce choke against his arch-rival Nick Urso, ending the fight in just over a minute. After that, a pair of submission savvy grapplers, both sporting impressive win streaks, clashed and it was another quick finish. Mike Santiago finished Mark Cherico at 2;59 of the 1st round by knockout.
But neither one of those impressive wins was enough to earn a contract, apparently. Instead, the 1st UFC contract was award to Joby Sanchez, a returning competitor to the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series. Sanchez previously competed 3 times in the UFC posting a 1-2 record before being cut from the roster. Tonight he returned and got the redemption he fought so hard for in his first appearance on the show. His opponent JP Buys, was the biggest underdog on the card with a 4-1 professional record, but he almost looked capable of pulling off an upset in the early in the 1st.
A big kick wobbled Sanchez which Buys followed up with a thunderous German suplex. The young South African spent much of the round on the back of Sanchez and clearly won the round. Joby Sanchez was determined to keep his eyes on the prize and came out of the gate in round 2 looking like a completely different fighter. Whatever advice his corner gave him worked wonders for his approach because he wasted no time taking the fight to JP Buys and overwhelming him with volume, aggression and technique. Once he gained a dominant position on the ground, Sanchez took his opponent’s back and flattened him out before ending the fight with a TKO, earning a UFC contract in the process.
The co-main event between Steven Peterson and Benito Lopez was by far the most entertaining and exciting fight of the night. The boxing, takedowns and cage control of Peterson were keys to his strategy and almost got the job done, at least according to one judge. However, the elbows in the clinch and effective flying knees from Lopez (including one that opened a nasty cut on the lip of Peterson) seemed to have done more damage overall.
Both men showed incredible heart and kept a very intense pace from bell to bell. The result of the fight was a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in favor of Benito Lopez. Despite failing to earn a stoppage, Lopez earned the only other UFC contract of the night. Dana White always favors those fighters who put it on the line the way that Steven Peterson and Benito Lopez did. In fact, do not be surprised to see Peterson back in the UFC Octagon.
The main event on the other hand, was the opposite of the co-main. And unlike the 1st 3 fights on the card, there was no finish, rather an unusual split decision. Anton Berzin has 2 previous fights at the Ultimate Fighter gym, back on the Ultimate Fighter season 19. His opponent, Kennedy Nzechukwu only came into the bout with 2 professional fights but showed a ton of potential. After being dropped in the 1st, Nzechukwu showed that he had the ability to take Berzin’s best punch.
The display of heart and excellent takedown defense must have gotten into his opponent’s head because Berzin seemed to fade throughout the second. By the third round, Anton Berzin looked as if he wanted out of the fight. Breathing heavily and using the cage to keep himself up, Nzechukwu cornered him and threw a few flurries that seemed to break his opponent completely. 2 judges actually scored a 10-8 for him in the third, though one judge scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Berzin. The result was a very odd score of 28-29, 29-27, 29-27 in favor of Nzechukwu, who is still very green but showed tremendous potential.
*WATCH* DaveNoseMMA – Aljamain Sterling Knockout Aftermath
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220
UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)
Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:
“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.
— UFC (@ufc) December 10, 2017
The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.
If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.
Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.
UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.
Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview
Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.
LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.
Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.
Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)
The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.
In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.
Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.
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