RIZIN FF, the combat sports promotion led by former PRIDE FC head Nobuyuki Sakakibara, announced during a press conference today, the return of all-time fan favorite Kazuyuki “Ol’ Ironhead” Fujita (15-10), who will take on recent RIZIN FF Grand Prix tournament runner-up and dangerous knockout artist Jiri “Denisa” Prochazka (16-3-1), in a heavyweight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) contest at the 10,000 capacity Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan on Sunday, April 17.
Also announced today for the “Top Presents RIZIN Fighting Federation I” extravaganza next month, was a flyweight (125 pounds) matchup between submission ace Allan “Puro Osso” Nascimento (14-3) and red-hot championYuki Motoya (15-4, 1 NC).
Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Jiri Prochazka
During his memorable 16-year career in the fight game, the 6-foot, 45-year-old Fujita of Funabashi, Chiba, Japan has collected two major, professional wrestling championships and faced off with nearly every rival force of his era in MMA’s heavyweight division, including former pound-for-pound king Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva and Mark Coleman, while competing under the elite promotional banners of PRIDE FC, K-1 and Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye.
Fujita’s notable victories include a first round (6:46) TKO (corner stoppage) of“The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock, a first round (8:25) KO (punch) of James Thompson and unanimous decisions over Gilbert Yvel and two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tournament winner and NCAA Division I National Wrestling Champion Mark Kerr.
The 6-foot-4, 23-year-old Prochazka of Hosteradice, Czech Republic is coming off a breakthrough performance in which he scored a first round (1:36) TKO (head kick and knee strikes) of Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii in the quarterfinal stage of the RIZIN FF eight-man Grand Prix elimination tournament on December 29, 2015.
Two days later, Prochazka returned to the ring and earned a first round (10:00) TKO (retirement) win over Vadim Nemkov before suffering a first round (5:09) KO (punch) at the hands of superstar “King Mo” Lawal in the championship stage round. Of Prochazka’s 16 career wins, 13 have come by way of (T)KO and 2 by way of submission.
Allan Nascimento vs.Yuki Motoya
Touted as a miniature version of all-time great Anderson Silva, the 24-year-old Nascimento of Sao Paulo, Brazil boasts an astounding 86 percent submission rate, having forced 12 of the 14 opponents he has conquered, to tap out.
At 5-foot-9, Nascimento towers over the majority of his competition in the 125-pound division, and is known for effectively using his reach advantage and high-level Muay Thai skills to frustrate and inflict damage on opponents from a distance, and set up slick submissions.
The 5-foot-7, 26-year-old Motoya of Nagoya is the reigning DEEP flyweight champion and the number one ranked 125-pound fighter in Japan. Motoya is riding a seven-fight win streak, with four of the victories coming by way of TKO or submission.
In his last start on December 29, Motoya faced off with Felipe Efrain at the inaugural RIZIN FF event, outworking Efrain early in the bout before suddenly being floored by a left hand that Efrain followed up on with a series of strikes, prompting the referee to stop the contest. Because Efrain had not made weight for the fight, however, the result was overturned from TKO to no contest.
Priced from 100,000 yen, tickets for “Top Presents RIZIN Fighting Federation I” are on sale and can be purchased online at Ticketbis.com.
In the main event, former PRIDE FC middleweight champion and all-time greatWanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC) will team up with a fighter to be announced soon, in a special grappling “tag match,” and battle a duo consisting of fellow legend, Kazushi Sakuraba, (26-17-1, 2 NC) andHideo Tokoro (33-28-2).
In a 180 pound MMA rules contest, devastating power puncher Hisaki Kato (5-2) will take on fellow prolific finisher Yuta “Andre” Watanabe (19-6-4).
Additional bouts for “Top Presents RIZIN Fighting Federation I” will be announced soon.
UFC Shanghai: Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview
UFC Shanghai is only 2 days away, something that looked unlikely only a few weeks ago after Anderson Silva was pulled from the main event after testing positive for a banned substance. With little options and very few interested, the main event and entire card looked in tatters. Then up stepped the always reliable company man Michael Bisping. Fresh from defeat at UFC 217 no one would have expected Bisping to step up to fight in Shanghai just three weeks later. But here we are, two days out from Bisping vs Gastelum.
Both fighters are coming off difficult losses that must have been hard to swallow. Bisping was doing well against a tired and damaged GSP, and Gastelum had knocked down Weidman at the end of the first round and was moments away from a finish, but both men went on to lose in the third round.
Both fighters will be motivated and desperate for a win to cleanse the demons their respective last fights have brought them.
Gastelum is a fantastic young talent, not many fighters are considered top level guys in two divisions like he is. Gastelum is a good all-rounder in all aspects of MMA, his tenacious boxing and solid wrestling are stand outs in his game. There is no question he has the skills to succeed in the 185lb division. But his biggest struggle is the physical disadvantage he faces in the middleweight division.
Gastelum is 5’9″ with a 71.5 inch reach. Since his return to middleweight he has been the smaller man in every fight. After his loss to Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on FOX 25, Gastelum told reporters “He felt really big, he felt really strong” and “170 is my home” (MMAJunkie). A clear indication that Gastelum knows he is too small at this weight, but perhaps the aura of facing Anderson Silva was too much to turn down.
By now you know what Michael Bisping brings to the table. This is his 29th fight with the UFC. He is the definition of a UFC veteran.
Bisping excels on the feet where he uses his great boxing skills and high work rate to nullify his opponents. Bisping also has underrated wrestling skills and a gritty clinch game to match his own gritty style. Under Jason Parillo, Bisping’s striking has only gotten better and better. Just look at the Rockhold fight as an example. His kicks have vastly improved and so have his hands, especially his killer left hook.
Unsurprisingly, as he is a former light heavyweight, Bisping will be the much larger of the two men in the octagon. Bisping stands at 6’1″ and has a reach of 75.5″.
Two main components of Mixed Martial Arts will come into play in this fight, boxing and cardio.
You have to imagine most of this fight take place on the feet. The only way it goes to the ground is if Gastelum can’t keep up with Bisping’s relentless pressure, and feels it’s the best way to get the victory. But after seeing the way Bisping battered and bloodied GSP from his back, Gastelum should be wary.
Gastelum uses his excellent and aggressive jabbing technique to gauge distance against his opponents. He did an excellent job of keeping Tim Kennedy at bay as he tried to enter the pocket. As Bisping is a fighter who uses movement and feints to put a volume of strikes together inside the pocket, Gastelum must use his jab to nullify Bisping’s main tools and keep him at bay, especially as the rounds progress and Bisping throws more combinations. Gastelum can then hide behind that jab to set up more strikes and find a knock out blow. After all Bisping is a very hittable fighter, who focuses more on offence than defence.
But with all that being said, no jab on earth will stop Bisping marching forward.
Bisping will also use his jab throughout the fight as he looks to set up multiple strikes. However, when Bisping dives in with his jab he leaves himself open to a counter punch. We saw GSP do this perfectly, which ultimately set up his finish. Gastelum may want to fight as a counter puncher rather than the aggressor. Not only will it allow him to conserve his energy, but it also means he may find that knock out punch when Bisping leaves himself open, especially to the left hand.
Gastelum must try to slow Bisping down with hard shots to the body, because if Bisping is fresh after UFC 217, like he said he is, then he can go all night at a pace Gastelum won’t be able to keep up with.
The later the fight goes the more aggressive Bisping can be as his shots get harder to grind you out and put you away. He increases his output, which will make Gastelum have to work even harder as the rounds progress. Even if Gastelum does not gas, he will naturally slow down and that’s when Bisping smells blood. Bisping will close the distance and change his game from jabbing you to death to landing some brutal combinations.
I believe Gastelum will win the early exchanges. Whilst Bisping will land a few pecking jabs, it will be Gastelum who finds success early. Gastelum may even look for an early knock out. But as time goes on and the fight progresses, I feel Bisping will find his groove and take over.
His reach advantage will come into play as he dances around Gastelum and finds a range where he can get off several long strikes at once. And once the fight enters the later rounds Bisping will close the distance to up the tempo and fight his fight.
As much as I can envision a TKO victory for Gastelum, with his experience and composure I believe a fired up Bisping will overcome Gastelum’s boxing skills to right his wrongs at UFC 217.
Official Prediction: Michael Bisping defeats Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision – 48-47
UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF
As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.
Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.
Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.
It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.
This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.
Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?
These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.
Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.
Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.
Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?
I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.
Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?
I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened. They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.
Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?
I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.
It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?
I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.
Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!
- Opinion1 month ago
A list of fighters who fought Michael Bisping – while on steroids
- Interviews4 weeks ago
Sage Northcutt on Moving to Sacramento and Life at Team Alpha Male
- BAMMA2 weeks ago
BAMMA 32: Official Results and Live Stream
- Interviews4 weeks ago
Tim Means on Lawsuit Against Supplement Companies “I’m Going to Shut Them Down”
- Cage Warriors1 month ago
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Inman Talks Cage Warriors 87, His Love For Fighting And Craig White Possibly Tiring Himself Out.
- Bellator1 month ago
Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut
- Bellator3 weeks ago
Exclusive: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane- from beating ‘Soccer Mom’ to potentially making history
- Interviews1 month ago
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”