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State of the Bantamweight Division: Cruz-Faber III?

Vinny Craig



With the UFC’s Bantamweight division seeing its former champ Dominick Cruz regain the belt, the divisions young up and comers now get to throw themselves inside an ever growing contender pool. The division is not much different now with Dillashaw essentially only defending his belt against one person in Renan Barao.  With that, the division shakes up like this now


Dominick Cruz

The new/former champion Cruz had a performance like we’re used to seeing from him. He moved and stuck Dillashaw for the entire five rounds en route to the most Significant Strikes he has ever landed with 112, but also got hit the most we’ve ever seen from Cruz (109 Sig. Strikes for Dillashaw). The division is almost as he left it with guys like Faber and Assuncao near the top, but a more solid three through nine guys will make this a great time to be the champ.





Urijah Faber

The two-time title challenger is probably at it again. All signs point to the 36-year-old Team Alpha Male guy fighting the champ next if the times align. Faber has a rib injury and Cruz has a hurt foot, meaning both could be ready at the same time. If the fight does not come to fruition, a title-eliminator with Dillashaw or a Raphael Assuncao in the meantime would put more weight on the future fight. With three straight 135 wins, the title that has eluded him so many times could finally be his.


TJ Dillashaw

We have seen in so many situations that a rematch was not warranted, happen anyway. Dillashaw fought the fight and took the card of one judge and many media members. A rematch is usually not the best situation, but with so many guys just on-the-edge of a title shot a rematch would, at least, make sense at this point. If Cruz is out extensively with a foot injury, a title-eliminator with Faber or a rematch with Assuncao could be in the works.


The Present

Raphael Assuncao

A lot of new fans don’t have a clue who Assuncao guy is. A winner of seven straight with big names, Assuncao has been linked with title fights and title eliminator bouts since being injured after UFC Fight Night 54. Assuncao has been out with a broken ankle and symptoms arising from that since that time and isn’t in the immediate plans. He beat the former champ Dillashaw by Split-Decision at UFC Fight Night 29. Fights with either Faber, Dillashaw or Cruz should be awaiting him when he comes back.

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Bryan Caraway

Despite losing two fights ago, this division needs a guy like Bryan Caraway in the mix. A very talented guy who picked up a win over Eddie Wineland in his last fight, Caraway has seen tough competition since joining the UFC ranks. It may take bigger wins and more of them for Caraway to be considered right there, but he’s definitely in the mix.

Aljamain Sterling

Disclaimer, we don’t even know if this guy is going to be in the UFC. If he is, the young Serra-Longo product has been on a roll with four straight wins with the last three by stoppage. Big fights with guys like Assuncao, Michael McDonald and Thomas Almeida have come up and any of those would be fights of relevance to get him to the title.


The Future

Thomas Almeida

A young prolific striker is always someone the fight game needs. With four straight UFC wins and an undefeated record overall, Almeida is making his way through the division. With no big name wins on his resume yet, it’s hard to justify a higher looking fight. At just 24 years old, the sky is the limit with the talent of this rising star. Fights with anyone in the top 10 would go a long way for Almeida in this relatively light division.

Michael McDonald

It’s crazy to think that McDonald has already fought for an Interim title and eight UFC fights at just 25. He is 6-2 in the UFC with the losses coming at the hands of Renan Barao (for the Interim title) and Urijah Faber. With two years between his last fights, McDonald just needs to be active and win to get back to where he was. Fights with Almeida, Sterling or anyone inside the top 10 would be where he should go next.



Long Shot

Renan Barao

Despite being the Interim and undisputed champ just a year and a half ago, two losses to Dillashaw have put Barao into a state of no return. After his last loss to Dillashaw, a rumored move to 145 has surfaced with no real look at where he is exactly. Despite a unification bout between him and Cruz being scheduled already before, Barao is far removed from that position.


Worth a Mention

*I have made a new category for this guy alone because he needs to be mentioned, but doesn’t fit anywhere else

John Dodson

After his second title loss at Flyweight, John Dodson has decided to move up the 135 where he won The Ultimate Fighter over the former champ Dillashaw. With five Flyweight wins and the only two losses coming to the champ Demetrius Johnson, Dodson is extremely talented and should she a power surge up one division. He’ll be giving up a ton of size and reach, but will have a speed advantage.


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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies



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.

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.

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!


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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures



After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate



Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.

But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.

After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.

The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.

Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.

He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.

In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.

Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.

Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.

This is me and Anderson exchanging respect while being attended to by the doctors.

A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on

The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.

Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.

Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.

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