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Top 10 European MMA Fighters Today

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Europe has always produced sheer talent in mixed martial arts with greats such as Bas Rutten, Mirko Cro Cop, Alistair Overeem, etc. Now with UFC Fight Night 83 in Rotterdam, Netherlands right around the corner, we will take a look at the top ten European MMA fighters today. Just a friendly reminder this is all opinionated and if yours is different, be sure to share with us what you think! First, some honorable mentions.

 

Honorable Mentions

Gunnar Nelson (Iceland / MMA Record 15-2-1)

Jimi Manuwa (England / MMA Record 15-2)

Daniel Weichel (Germany / MMA Record 36-9)

Maryna Moroz (Ukraine / MMA Record 7-1)

Joe Duffy (Ireland / MMA Record 14-2)

 

10) Tarec Saffiedine

Belgium / MMA Record 16-4

Kicking off this list is none other than the Belgian kickboxer Tarec Saffiedine. Given the nickname “Sponge” because of how quickly he learns, we can be sure to see Saffiedine improve over the course of 2016.

Though inactive for most of his UFC stint so far, Saffiedine is not one that people should sleep on. Tarec Saffiedine is the former and last Strikeforce Welterweight Champion known for his slick stand-up skills. He switches his stance often and utilizes great low kicks punishing his opponents. Saffiedine picked up a unanimous decision victory in his return over Jake Ellenberger back in January and looks to make it two in a row as he fights Rick Story at UFC Fight Night 88 later this month.

Notable Wins: Nate Marquardt, Hyun Gyu Lim, Jake Ellenberger

 

9) Paul Daley

England / MMA Record 38-13-2

Boasting twenty-eight (T)KOs in his win column, Paul Daley is a serious threat to anyone who decides to stand and trade strikes with him. Just search for his jaw-dropping knockout against Scott Smith.

Paul Daley is a former Cage Rage Welterweight Champion who has also competed for the Strikeforce and EliteXC Welterweight titles. Though unsuccessful in his SF and EliteXC championship bouts, Daley has found a home in Bellator holding an undefeated record of 4-0 with stoppages over Dennis Olson and Andy Uhrich . Gone undefeated since the end of 2013, Daley looks to extend his five-fight win streak to six as he faces Josh Koscheck at Bellator 158 in London, England on July 16th to avenge one of his losses.

Notable Wins: Martin Kampmann, Jorge Masvidal, Scott Smith

 

8) Gegard Mousasi

Netherlands / MMA Record 38-6-2

Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion and dual-weight DREAM champion, Gegard Mousasi is one of the most seasoned veterans on this list. He has shared the ring with legendary greats such as Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson, and Jacare Souza just to name a few.

Appearing stoic in the cage, Gegard Mousasi is nothing less than an assassin when it comes to fighting finishing thirty-one of his professional thirty-eight wins. He can knock out opponents on the feet or submit them on the ground. Mousasi has finished the likes of Mark Munoz, Dan Henderson, and Mark Hunt. Gerard Mousasi will be looking to add Derek Bronson to his resume when they collide at UFC 200 on July 9th, 2016.

Notable Wins: Dan Henderson, Jacare Souza, Ovince Saint Preux, Hector Lombard

 

7) Andrei Arlovski

Belarus / MMA Record 25-12 (1 NC)

Andrei Arlovski is a Belarusian knockout artist and former UFC Heavyweight champion. Developing a resurgence in his career, Arlovski was nearly on the doorstep of another title shot after winning six straight before suffering a loss to Stipe Miocic.

This heavy hitter also has seventeen (T)KO victories to his name and is currently tied for the most knockouts in the UFC heavyweight’s division. Arlovski is also the first person to knock out the very durable Roy Nelson. Ranked second for the most wins in the UFC’s heavyweight division, and despite his loss to teammate Alistair Overeem in Rotterdam, he remains one of the best European fighters in the sport.

Notable Wins: Fabricio Werdum, Travis Browne, Frank Mir, Ben Rothwell

 

6) Liam McGeary

England / MMA Record 11-0

Liam McGeary is undefeated and also the current champion of the Bellator’s Light Heavyweight division. Of his eleven victories, McGeary has finished ten of his opponents.

This English light heavyweight giant broke through in the MMA scene in 2014 winning the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament. McGeary then went on to win the Bellator Light Heavyweight crown by dethroning Emanuel Newton in 2015, then, later on, defended his belt by submitting Tito Ortiz in the very first round. Liam McGeary is expected to defend his title against the winner of Phil Davis and Muhammed Lawal.

Notable Wins: Tito Ortiz, Emanuel Newton

 

5) Alexander Gustafsson

Sweden / MMA Record 16-4

Swedish superstar Alexander Gustafsson was a former national amateur boxing champion before making the move to professional MMA. He has competed for and nearly grasped the UFC Light Heavyweight title twice.

Alexander Gustafsson is true a mixed martial artist with ten knockouts and three submissions to his credit. Still young and ever improving, Gustafsson has exceptional footwork and uses his length well with his boxing skills. He is also the only man in MMA history to take down both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Alexander Gustafsson is ranked five in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.

Notable Wins: Shogun Rua, Jimi Manuwa, Thiago Silva

 

4) Alistair Overeem

Netherlands / MMA Record 41-14 (1NC)

Formerly known as the “Demolition Man”, Alistair Overeem has won major titles throughout his career. He has won the Strikeforce Heavyweight title, DREAM Heavyweight title, and K1 Heavyweight title. Overeem is also the only person to hold three championship belts simultaneously.

Alistair Overeem is the most experienced fighter on this list with over forty professional MMA bouts. He is a natural born killer with thirty-six of his forty wins coming by the way of stoppage, seventeen knockouts, and nineteen submissions respectively. His last bout, maybe his most impressive, Overeem knocked out former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and extended his win streak to three. Overeem now has his sights set on the UFC Heavyweight Title after defeating fellow Jackson-Wink fighter Andrei Arlovski in Rotterdam, the first ever UFC card in the Netherlands.

Notable Wins: Fabricio Werdum, Brock Lesnar, Junior dos Santos, Vitor Belfort, Andrei Arlovski

 

3) Michael Bisping

England / MMA Record 28-7

Michael Bisping is the Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner and first non-American to win the show. Bisping has also successfully coached three TUF winners in James Wilks, Ross Pearson, and Diego Brandao.

Brash with his words and brutal with his strikes, Bisping holds the record for the most wins in the UFC’s middleweight division with fourteen. He was also the first British fighter to headline a UFC pay per view. What may be most impressive about this British brawler though is that he amassed a perfect record of 17-0 in his home country of England. Bisping is riding a three-fight win streak and is currently ranked four in the UFC’s middleweight division. Fresh off the biggest win of his career over Anderson Silva, Michael Bisping finally finds himself in that long-awaited title shot, as he will be taking on Luke Rockhold on short notice at UFC 199.

Notable Wins: Anderson Silva, Alan Belcher, Cung Le, Brian Stann

 

2) Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Poland / MMA Record 11-0

Some may call her Joanna Champion but everyone recognizes her as the UFC Female Strawweight Champion. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the first Polish UFC Champion and the first UFC European female champion.

A former six-time world champion in Muay Thai, Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the most devastating strikers the world has ever seen in female MMA. She sets up baits and traps in the octagon then proceeds to punish her opponents with all eight limbs of contact. Jedrzejczyk holds the record for the highest strike differential in UFC championship history and most leg kicks in a UFC bout with 70+. Joanna Jedrzejczyk remains undefeated as she plans to take on Claudia Gadelha in an epic rematch.

Notable Wins: Claudia Gadelha, Carla Esparza, Jessica Penne

 

1) Conor McGregor

Ireland / MMA Record 19-3

This should come as no surprise to anyone, Conor McGregor is arguably the face of the UFC right now. He was right; who has done what he has in the time that he has done it? He is arguably the face of the UFC right now. Within just a couple years, McGregor has become one of the most hyped, talk about and exciting fighters MMA has ever seen. He was briefly linked to a super fight against Dos Anjos and possibly becoming the first dual-weight champion holding the belts simultaneously.

Conor McGregor burst into the UFC in 2013 blasting through his first six opponents before challenging pound for pound king and UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo. When McGregor fought Aldo, he made history by knocking out the champion in a mere thirteen seconds making it the fastest finish in UFC Championship history. McGregor has finished seventeen of his nineteen victories by the way of (T)KO.

With all of the talk of Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather, will the Irishman take on one of the best boxers of all time, for his biggest payday of his career? It’s certainly still very unlikely, but something that seems to intrigue a lot of combat sports, and sports fans in general.

Notable Wins: Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway

 

 

 

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Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims

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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.

Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:

Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)

Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card:

Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)

Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez

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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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