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State of the UFC’s Flyweight Division

Vinny Craig



Per the usual after a UFC title fight, I discuss the state of the division. This week it’s the Flyweight division following UFC 191 on Saturday. Long-time champion, Demetrius Johnson, showed his dominance with his seventh straight title defense. The division is pretty tight without setting up rematches, but the time is now to set up new contenders.

Champ: Demetrius Johnson

Mighty Mouse showed why he is the champion at UFC 191. He once again out landed John Dodson with 163 total strikes (compared to108 for Dodson) before getting his wrestling game going. You’re looking at rematches immediately if a contender doesn’t show himself soon, with future stars budding up.

Next In Line:

Joseph Benavidez- The only other Flyweight to challenge Johnson twice is making another serious title run. He has won three straight since their UFC on Fox 9 showing in December 2013 and has not lost to an opponent not named Demetrius Johnson while in the UFC. He has a tough match up in Ali Bagautinov at UFC 192 which sets the time table up nicely. If another title challenger appears in the time being, a match up between him and the next guy on my list is certainly going to happen.

Henry Cejudo-The former Olympian is back at 125 and looks primed for a title run. After missing weight in his last fight under Legacy FC, the UFC placed him in the Bantamweight division. He would return to the 125-pound division in his next fight where he has won his last two. He has a fight scheduled with Jussier Formiga at Fight Night Monterrey in November. A win there would put him right in the thick of things, most likely a title shot or title eliminator with Joseph Benavidez if he wins his fight as well.

The Present:

Zach Makovsky: The former Bellator Bantamweight champion starts off the few fighters that could get title shots quickly. Yes, he has lost 2 of his last 3 and is only 2-2 in the UFC, but he could make that run right now. His showing against John Dodson at UFC 187 was pretty good and showed he can compete with the divisions elite. He should look for a top 10 opponent and then a top 5 opponent to fast track him to the title shot.

Ian McCall: Another guy who is coming off a loss on the list? A Johnson-McCall III could be a thing in the future after the sorting of the elite. A win over John Lineker at UFC 183 would have for sure done him good with three straight wins. But now he sits having won 2 of his last 3 and could make a run with an impressive win or two. A match up with Makovsky would be ideal in sorting the bottom-of-the-top.

Jussier Formiga: One of the original Flyweights is finally making his mark. He’s a winner of 3 straight over tough competition and has been rewarded (or reaping the consequences) of a title-eliminator against Henry Cejudo. After this fight, we will see a clear contender between Formiga, Cejudo, Benavidez and Ali Bagautinov. He was in a title-eliminator in 2012 where he lost by TKO to John Dodson. Since that fight, he is 4-1 with the lone loss coming to Benavidez.

John Dodson: Can you see what kind of division this is? All three guys that are future title challengers are coming off a loss. Dodson was a winner of 3 straight before losing his second title fight to the champ. DJ’s supposed ‘toughest test to date’ once again came up short in a decision call and walked off with the loss. It will take at least 4 more wins for the Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner to make another run for his chance at UFC gold.

The Future:

Dustin Ortiz: The division is rich in guys that could potentially fight for a title. Ortiz is one of them being just 26 years old. He is a winner of 3 of his last 4 with the lone loss to Joseph Benavidez. He could be catapulted with a win, just like Chris Cariaso was. An opponent with name value and rankings would be his best bet in getting the title shot as quickly as possible, while the division is still under construction.

Kyoji Horiguchi: Horiguchi just fought for the belt in April and was dominated before finally being finished with one second left. He was a winner of 4 straight in the UFC before that and was given his title shot out of necessity. A win at Fight Night 75 would keep his name right here, but the 24-year-old has almost no name recognition and would need some big wins before stepping into the Octagon for a title fight again.

Ray Borg: The true meaning to the word future comes in play with this 22-year-old. Borg is a winner of 3 straight and looks better each time. He just recently cracked the top 15 and has a ton of name recognition ahead of him to set up with. He would be a great addition to any fight night card and will look to climb the latter ahead of the others.

Paddy Holohan: The Irish sensation is just 27 years old with low mileage on him. After starting out his career 10-0 with 1 draw, a tough Fight of the Night battle with Chris Kelades in Nova Scotia derailed his undefeated record. He has won his last two by decision and looks to make it three straight in Dublin when he faces Louis Smolka. The former Cage Contender fighter is still young in age and in fights with a tremendous up side to him. He is teammates with Interim Featherweight champion Conor McGregor and see first-hand what it’s like to be a champ.

Long Shot:

John Lineker: A talented fighter with three straight wins over ranked opponents, Lineker is very impressive with his hands. He has 7 of his last 8 fights, so why is he a long shot for the title? He is a long shot to ever fight at 125 again after having one of the craziest 2 minutes I’ve ever seen with Francisco Rivera. He missed weight 3 times while in the Flyweight division while racking up win after win. He was a title contender before moving up, but if he ever figures out how to make the weight he would be one of the best Flyweights again.

Ali Bagautinov: The former title challenger has been out over a year for testing positive for PED’s. His last fight was the title loss to Johnson where he was dominated for five rounds. He had 3 straight wins in the UFC before that and 11 overall. He is still a top fighter but has fallen out of contention while others have passed him up. If he wins the fight with Benavidez he has next month, he could be on the quick path to success.

Chris Cariaso: A winner of 3 straight to gain a title fight at UFC 178, the former Bantamweight has fallen to two straight foes in Mighty Mouse and Henry Cejudo. The UFC has taken a step back on the aging Flyweight as they give him Sergio Pettis at UFC 192. He has faced the divisions best and hasn’t fared so well in tough fights going 0-4 against the division’s top 10.

The Breakdown

The dominating win for Johnson over Dodson for his seventh straight title defense makes DJ seem invincible. With only two clear contenders, the division is wide open with a champion who likes to stay busy. We have seen title shots go to guys that no one expected (Cariaso and Bagautinov) and the outcome is the same. Look for the young guys to make strides towards the top, but the original six of Johnson, Benavidez, McCall, Moraga, Formiga and Dodson are all guys they should be facing to get title shots first. The news guys like Cejudo, Borg, Makovsky and Horiguchi are still making names for themselves. Final thought is that Demetrius Johnson is one great fighter, with a very shallow division and two guys that can beat everyone else but him.

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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”.

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.

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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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Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 



Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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