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The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Time, Lineup, & Five Fights You Can’t Miss

Vinny Craig

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The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 can be summed in one word: distinct. From the rise and fall of Ryan Hall, to Artem Lobov coming back and the story of Chris Gruetzemacher, this season did the typical emotional dive a reality program needs. The difference being this one more about the coaches and less about the fighters in the cage. A season that started six months ago with 32 contestants vying for the chance for a UFC contract will end with the finale between two fighters who made it through the toughest tests. The event surrounding is it part of a three day, three-event swing in which the biggest UFC stars will be on display. We’ll take a look at night two of the UFC’s biggest weekend ever!

Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 1

Lightweight: Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Abner Lloveras

Flyweight: Joby Sanchez vs. Geanne Herrera

Welterweight: Ryan LaFlare vs. Mike Pierce

Featherweight: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jason Knight

Heavyweight: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Konstantin Erokhin

Main Card- Fox Sports 1 (10 PM EST, 7 PM EST, 2 AM GMT)

Lightweight: Julian Erosa vs. Marcin Wrsozek

Featherweight: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jason Knight

Lightweight: Joe Lauzon vs. Evan Dunham

Lightweight: Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson

Lightweight: Artem Lobov vs. Ryan Hall

Featherweight: Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes

Here are the five fights you can’t miss from this card.

Joe Lauzon vs. Evan Dunham

In the Lightweight division is a battle of veterans between Joe Lauzon (25-10; 11-7) and Evan Dunham (16-6; 9-6).

Lauzon has the most post-fight bonuses in UFC history with 13. His last one came in a Fight of the Night honor when he beat Michael Chiesa by TKO in the second round. ‘J-Lau’ last fought at UFC on FOX 16 main card when he beat former Pride legend Takanori Gomi by TKO for his third win his last four fights. The lone loss in that span came to Al Iaquinta at UFC 183 where he lost by TKO in the second round. His game revolves around pressure and grappling. His 2.8 Submission Attempts per 15 min. is good for first actively in the Lightweight division.

Dunham is a winner of two straight after losing four of five fights before that. A win over Nik Lentz warranted a five-fight span of TJ Grant, Gleison Tibau, Rafael dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone, and Edson Barboza. His two wins have come over Rodrigo Damm and Ross Pearson, both by decision. Dunham is a winner of four post-fight bonuses himself (three Fight of the Night and one Submission of the Night) with the last one coming at UFC 152.

Ryan LaFlare vs. Mike Pierce

A lot of good matchups to be made in the Welterweight division like this one. Ryan LaFlare (11-1 MMA; 3-1 UFC) and Mike Pierce (17-6; 9-4) is just one of many great fights in the division.

LaFlare is coming off his first career loss when he headlined UFC Fight Night 62 back in March opposite Damien Maia. LaFlare would come up on the wrong end of a decision as he was dominated from bell to bell. That came after three straight decision wins to start his UFC career off. He picked up wins over Santiago Ponzinibbio, Court McGee and John Howard within a span of six months. LaFlare comes into the contest with 1.87 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM) to go along with his wrestling credentials with 3.35 Takedowns per 15 min. and 59% Takedown Accuracy.

Pierce is a 13 fight UFC veteran. He started at UFC Fight Night 19 with a decision win over Brock Larson. He has an impressive .692 winning percentage since joining the ranks of the UFC with wins over Kenny Robertson, Carlos Eduardo Rocha and Seth Baczysnki. His last fight was a losing effort after four straight wins when he was heel-hooked by Rousimar Palhares. He suffered a sprained MCL and torn ankle ligament after Palhares continued the submission after the tap and after the ref told him to stop. He would suffer a different injury after being booked against Damien Maia and had to pull out of the fight. Pierce will step in with 61% Striking Defense, The two-time All-American wrestler continues with his wrestling prowess at the biggest level with 3.36 Takedowns per 15 min.

Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson

Another Lightweight bout between top ten guys in Edson Barboza (16-3; 10-3) and Tony Ferguson (19-3; 9-1). Barboza is ranked 6th in the official UFC rankings and Ferguson 7th. Ferguson was originally expected to face Khabib Nurmagomedov, but ‘The Eagle’ had to pull out of his second straight high-profile fight.

Barboza has been one of the most exciting strikers in the UFC as of late. He has four wins by TKO/KO since joining the UFC along with a submission due to strikes. He last fought at UFC on Fox 16 when he replaced Myles Jury. He would get the decision after out striking his opponent for three rounds. That was his third win in four straight fights with wins over Evan Dunham, Bobby Green, and Paul Felder.

Artem Lobov vs. Ryan Hall

In a surprising turn of events, we have a finale for The Ultimate Fighter season 22. Irish product Artem Lobov (11-10; 0-0) and jiu-jitsu specialist Ryan Hall (4-1; 0-0) meet for the chance at a guaranteed UFC contract. Saul Rogers initially won his semi-final bout by second-round submission. In between the shows end and the finale, Rogers had visa issues from his native country of England and was not able to get to Las Vegas for the finale.

Lobov is a teammate of his coach on the show Conor McGregor. A Russian-Irish fighter, Lobov is known for using his hands to finish the fights as he did on the show. His career record does not show how talented he is as he’s been matched up with some stiff competition, including a loss to Saul Rogers in 2011.

Hall is a grappler by trade with nine gold medals in Gi and No-Gi tournaments. On the show, he impressed with a heel-hook victory to get into the house and then another heel-hook to get to the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, he ran into a better all-around fighter in Rogers. When the visa issues occurred, the UFC needed a replacement and who better than one of the most exciting fighters from the show in Hall.

Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes

A matchup we’ve all been waiting years for is finally happening. Top Featherweight contenders Frankie Edgar (19-4-1; 13-4-1) and Chad Mendes (17-3; 8-3) meet in the main event of a weekend all about the Featherweight division.

Edgar is the former Lightweight champion after beating BJ Penn at UFC 112 and then again at UFC 118. He had three successful title defenses before losing the belt at UFC 144 to Benson Henderson. Edgar moved to the 145 pound division right into a title shot at UFC 156. He would give the champ a run for his money, but ultimately lose his third straight fight in championship tries. He is a winner of four straight since then with wins over Charles Oliveira, B.J. Penn, Cub Swanson and Urijah Faber. Edgar has championship level stats with 2.08 SApM, 71% Striking Defense, 2.73 Takedowns per 15 min. and 65% Takedown Defense (TDD).

Mendes has been a championship contender since joining the UFC ranks. He would be victorious in his first two fights in the UFC before getting the first crack at champ Jose Aldo. After being KO’d in the first round, ‘Money’ won five straight fights, four by KO/TKO. His second chance at UFC gold went a little better as him and Aldo gave a Fight of the Year performance. The nod went to the champ by unanimous decision. His next fight was a headliner against Ricardo Lamas and he breezed to a 1st round TKO win. Mendes was not slated for a fight before Aldo pulled out of his UFC 189 bout with Conor McGregor and the UFC called on Mendes. The fight was for the interim title and he lost by second round TKO. Mendes is also of the wrestling background with 4.23 Takedowns per 15 min. while never being taken down inside the octagon (13 attempts).

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5 Things We Learned from UFC on Fox 26: Lawler vs Dos Anjos

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The UFC’s return to Winnipeg in over 4 years certainly did not disappoint the fans, as the card delivered just as it was expected with plenty of action packed fights.

Upset was in play often times for this card as on more than one occasion, the fans’ jaws dropped in shock and the predictions going into the fights were completely defied.

There are plenty of things to take away from this card, but what were the 5 biggest lessons learned here?

1. Rafael dos Anjos means business at welterweight

While Vegas odds may not have reflected it, dos Anjos had plenty of doubters coming into this fight on whether he could beat the top fighters in the welterweight division, his new found home. I’ll be the first to say, I didn’t think he’d be able to deal with Lawler’s power and size, considering that ‘Ruthless’ used to compete at middleweight, but he completely changed my perspective on what he brings to this division.

With the mix of powerful leg kicks and crisp boxing, dos Anjos completely neutralized the former welterweight champion and took home a dominant victory, winning all five rounds of the fight.

Yes, Lawler was injured and barely moved for the last three rounds, but that should not discredit the masterful performance that dos Anjos had tonight. This only sets up a fight with the current champion Tyron Woodley now (unless Colby Covington gets it), and while Woodley is a whole different match up, it makes for an entertaining fight.

2. Robbie Lawler is still one of the toughest fighters on the roster

Despite both his legs looking like they were completely destroyed by the third round and him losing the fight, we once again saw the toughness and grit of Lawler to never give up.

While we don’t know how bad his injury was, when you see Lawler not moving much and standing still for three rounds straight, you know something is seriously hurting. He endured an unbelievable amount of punishment tonight but at the end was still standing pumping up the crowd. What a warrior.

3. Josh Emmett… the new force to be reckoned with at 145lbs?

Simply no words. It was easily the biggest shocker of the night and maybe even upset of the year. Stepping in on relatively short notice for Jose Aldo, Emmett was counted out in this fight on paper against the former title challenger Ricardo Lamas, and weighing in at 148.5lbs on the scale didn’t help convincing the fans.

It’s My Time!

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But it definitely didn’t matter as he delivered a left hook from hell, sleeping Lamas at the end of the first round, sending a shock to the entire division and rising as a new threat to everyone in top 10. He said that his goal here was to shock the world, and shock the world he did. With this performance, Emmett immediately rises to a position where he now only needs one or two more significant wins from a possible title shot.

4. Mike Perry needs some time to develop into a title contender

Despite showing an unbelievable toughness in a three-round war against Santiago Ponzinibbio, Perry was unable to back up his words before the fight, losing via unanimous decision.

In a fight against a very tough opponent, Perry was once again exposed in a couple of areas as he was against Alan Jouban on his endurance, as he showed signs of fatigue as the second round came around. At the age of 26, he still has plenty of time, but Perry will need to fill that massive hole in order to continue to rise the ladder in the extremely stacked welterweight division, or else he’ll run into some trouble sooner or later.

5. Glover Teixeira isn’t done just yet

This fight was an excellent example of advantages a veteran brings compared to a young and upcoming fighter. Teixeira, coming off that tough loss in Sweden against Alexander Gustafsson, was also doubted by many as he came in as the underdog against a rising prospect in Misha Cirkunov.

Teixeira was put in immediate trouble in the first round, getting tagged by Cirkunov multiple times and getting backed up against the cage, but was able to outsmart Cirkunov by dragging him down to the ground and eventually pounding him out. Teixeira seemed to have lost all momentum against Anthony Johnson, and even more so against Gustafsson, but this fight proved that he is not done just yet, and showed the difference in level between the top 5 and top 10 of the division.

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*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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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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