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Stipe Miocic Wins the Heavyweight Title, Who Will He Defend Against First?

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The UFC and Dana White, in particular, do not like to talk match-making immediately after a fight. But the MMA fans and Media do, so here it goes. Now that the prestigious UFC Heavyweight Championship has changed hands once again, who will be the first to challenge Stipe Miocic for the belt? The following discussion will address the 3 most deserving contenders that will possibly emerge in the coming months.

Alistair Overeem

Bottom line, up front, Alistair Overeem is the most likely to secure the next fight with Miocic, and for good reason. Though he has had a few ups and downs in his UFC tenure, “The Reem” has returned to his winning ways and currently rides a 4-fight win streak.

Among those 4 victories, Overeem has finished the only 2 men to defeat Stipe Miocic: Junior Dos Santos and Stefan Struve. Overeem’s most recent victory was an impressive knockout of former UFC Champion and legend Andre Arlovski. As expected, the Dutch kickboxer used his post-fight win speech to campaign for a title shot and no one made an argument against it.

If someone tries to make one, it should be ignored and dismissed as invalid. Not only does Overeem make a compelling match with the new champ, his track record over the last year and a half earned his rightful position as number one contender.

Junior Dos Santos

As previously mentioned, JDS is one of only 2 people to beat Stipe though it was not without controversy. Many people (who are all wrong), including Miocic himself, thought that the current Champion did enough to earn a decision when he fought Dos Santos in 5-round Fight of the Night war in late 2014.

Certainly that is one loss which Stipe Miocic would like to get back and there is something to prove on his end, especially considering Junior has consistently been far more dominant in the UFC’s Heavyweight division. JDS knocked out Stefan Struve, again the only other man to beat Miocic. Given those circumstances, he makes a compelling match for the title as well.

It is not probable that he will be next in the chute for the title match, however. Most likely he will have to fight another contender and stay on deck as a possible late injury replacement if the UFC does in-fact make a match with Overeem and Miocic. If either goes on the shelf for a long period of time, Junior could find himself fighting for the title, or the interim belt.

Dos Santos’ recent TKO loss to Overeem is the biggest detriment to his case for a rematch with Stipe, but he dominated Ben Rothwell, who KO’d Overeem and that win answered many lingering questions since Junior Dos Santos has not looked in rare form over his last 3 losses.

Winner of Cain Velazquez and Travis Browne

The former Champion, Cain Velazquez handed 2 of those aforementioned losses to JDS in violent fashion and Travis Browne KO’d Alistair Overeem in 2013. So why include JDS and “The Reem” above Velazquez and Browne? Well, for one thing, these 3 title contender positions are all so close that are barely in order of precedence.

But mainly, it is because the UFC takes the Janet Jackson “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” approach when it comes to matchmaking. Velazquez was supposed to fight Werdum for the belt before Stipe Miocic came into the picture, but Velazquez spent more time sidelined with injury than he did training during his tenure as champion.

With Dana White’s highly critical and publicly stated disdain for the infamous overtraining and perhaps too-hard sparring that Cain’s camp is known for (American Kickboxing Academy) it is no secret that the UFC is not too keen on reliving that drama.

As for Travis Browne, check the expiration on that defeat of Alistair Overeem and also refer to the aforementioned Janet Jackson hook. If those two were to fight today it could be a completely different outcome. Or Browne could very well knock him out again. That is the beauty of the Heavyweight Division. And UFC 198’s main event showed everyone once again why it has always been the most prestigious division.

Honorable Mention: Fabricio Werdum

No one can take away what Werdum has accomplished in his recent resurgence, from a submission of the great Fedor Emelianenko to his triumphant UFC return and the 6-fight win streak which culminated in a submission win over Cain Velazquez to become Champion. No one can take away what he accomplished, except for the belt, and Stipe Miocic took that away.

At the post-fight Werdum, did as one would expect and lamented for his lost title, proclaiming himself deserving of an immediate rematch. Getting faceplanted in his home country to lose the title to a foreigner is probably the most bitter pill anyone could ever swallow, especially for the nationalistic and prideful Brazilians.

Werdum’s wish is not likely to be granted. Could he possible wear the UFC title again? Absolutely. Will he have to fight another contender or 2 in order to get the opportunity? Probably. This game is unforgiving. Losing the belt in the 1st round of his 1st title defense is one of the most definitive ways to guarantee that an immediate rematch will not happen.

 

 

 

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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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.

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

Harry Davies

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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

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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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