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Show the Little Guys Love: Previewing The Two Major Flyweight Fights at UFC 187

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Much of Saturday Night’s focus will be on the two championship matches, but one important thing to note about the card this Saturday is that we should get clarity around the future of the Flyweight division. The 125 landscape should become much clearer as John Dodson looks to emerge as the clear #1 contender to Demetrious Johnson’s throne, Zach Makovsky looks to stake his claim as a top 125er, and two former title contenders in Joseph Benavidez and John Moraga fight to stay in the hunt for the gold.

#1 John Dodson (17-6-0) v. #9 Zach Makovsky (19-5-0)

On the main event of the Fox Sports 1 prelims, the consensus number two Flyweight in the world; John “The Magician” Dodson returns after almost a year away from the octagon to face former Bellator bantamweight champion and #9 UFC ranked Flyweight Zach “Fun Size” Makovsky. Dodson arrived on the scene when he knocked out UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw to win The Ultimate Fighter. He followed the impressive performance with wins over Timothy Elliot and Jussier Formiga and was granted a title shot against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Dodson proved to be Johnson’s toughest challenge of his entire title reign, even dropping the champion in the first, and a couple times in the second. However, Johnson was able to recover and get Dodson against the cage connecting with knees and punches to the body and head winning the final three rounds and a unanimous decision. Following the loss, Dodson secured two dominant knockouts over Darrell Montague and former title contender and UFC 187 competitor John Moraga.

Makovsky had a strong start to his UFC career with wins over Scott Jorgensen and Josh Sampo, but ran into a road bump against Jussier Formiga. The winner of the fight was set to become a serious title contender at 125 and Makovsky came in as a 3 to 1 favorite. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find an answer to Formiga’s grappling till the third round and was upset in a decision. Makovsky redeemed himself against Timothy Elliot in February; he overcame a flurry of unorthodox strikes from the awkward Elliot and countered using his wrestling to keep him grounded in route to a decision.

If Makovsky beats Dodson, the next contender for Mighty Mouse is up in the air, however with Formiga’s decisive win over Makovsky would make it seem he would be in line first. Fight fans are hoping to see Johnson-Dodson II emerge from this fight. Dodson has been doing a great job of promoting himself as the most entertaining Flweight in the world and his rematch with Mighty Mouse would easily make the biggest fight in the divisions’ short history,

#2 Joseph Benavidez (21-4-0) v. #5 John Moraga (16-3-0)

Opening the main card of the pay per view is two former Flyweight title contenders hoping to make another leap towards Mighty Mouse. Team Alpha Male member Joseph Benavidez is arguably one of the best fighters in the UFC without a championship belt, his only losses in his MMA career are to Mighty Mouse and former Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Benavidez put up a great fight against the champ in their first encounter; he came close to finishing the fight and walking away as the first Flyweight champion. After a three fight win streak with wins over Formiga and Ian McCall, Benvidez was granted a rematch with Mighty Mouse on home soil in Sacramento, California. The fight started out with Benavidez looking for power strikes much like the first fight, but Mighty Mouse landed a powerful right of his own that sent him to the floor and followed up with a brutal set of strikes to an unconscious Benavidez. He redeemed himself with a first round submission finish of Timothy Elliot followed by a dominant win over Dustin Ortiz in November.

John Moraga has been able to secure wins over the likes of Ortiz, Justin Scoggins, and Chris Cariaso, but when it comes to facing the Flyweight elite he seems to fall short. In his fights with Dodson and Mighty Mouse, he was outmatched and unable to use his wrestling background. Benavidez has Moraga beat in almost every aspect of the game here, Moraga needs to get Benavidez to the ground and I don’t seem him being able to keep him there. This fight has big implications in the title picture as I see the winner being put against Jussier Formiga in a Flyweight title eliminator.

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut. There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level.

One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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