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TUF 21: Episode 3 Recap *SPOILERS*

Jordan Killion

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Episode 3 of the newest installation of TUF starts with the conclusion of the after fight scene from last week. To say ATT is feeling a little defeated is an understatement. Ricardo Liborio tries to rally the troops, saying that these first two fights don’t matter. Over at the fighter house we are treated to the Sherlock Holmes like detective skills of “BBMonstro”, as he sleuths his way around the house to find who took his bottle of red wine. Hard to pin point who exactly, but my money is on ATT’s Michael Graves, who is currently drinking at the poker table. Oh yeah, he also admitted to it, so there’s that. We find our way to the ATT brain trust meeting where Lambert and co are discussing who to match up next. They debate Steve Carl and Steve Montgomery. Lambert settles on the former, Steve Carl. Carl, the former WSOF champ, is my preseason choice to make the finale. Carl tells us his story, growing up in rural Iowa, moving to ATT to fight the best. Lambert hopes that Carl’s experience will help land them their first win.  We are then taken to the Blackzilian’s camp where Robinson talks about his teams optimal health, when discussing fighters. Rashad Evans suggests that the Blackzilians apply even more pressure to solidify their lead. The coaches select Valdir “BBMonstro” Araujo, the BJJ and Judo black belt. Araujo is one of the newer members of team Blackzilian, but the coaches feel he is well-rounded enough and experienced enough to beat whomever ATT puts forth. So with that, we have our match up. (ATT) Steve Carl vs. (Blackzilians) Valdir Araujo.

My pick: Steve Carl via TKO.

 

We’re back from commercial and we’re back to the wine. Dear god, the wine. Homasi and Montgomery resent the fact that their teammate Michael Graves is drinking so heavily, when he may be selected to fight again. We catch up with Steve Carl, who is genuinely concerned about the weight cut. As we arrive at the weigh ins both teams seem to have no idea who the other will put forth. Frank Gentile with the FSAC calls the fighters forward, as Araujo makes weight no problem. Carl gets butt nekkid but is still three quarters of a pound over. As then entire ATT team heads to the sauna to try and help Carl make weight, Michael Johnson and the Blackzilian’s start to get upset that Carl is using “their” sauna. As Tyrone Spong and co head to boot Carl and Top Team out of their sauna, many of Carl’s teammates rush to his defense. A petty argument, that starts to escalate, before cutting to commercial. My guess is that this won’t be a big issue. SIDE NOTE – If it came to blows in that scenario, I’m taking Spong over the entirety of ATT’s sauna posse. Back to the show and turns out I was right. The altercation ends as Carl hops out of the sauna and onto the scale where he makes weight. Back at the ATT gym, we follow Din Thomas, Dan Lambert and Steve Carl go over tape on their opponent. They go over holes in Araujo’s takedown game, (although they admit that is his strong suit) and discuss “BBmonstro’s” weak chin. We get some great insight into the preparation for a fight with some high caliber coaches (Liborio, Lambert) and fighters (Robbie Lawler). At the house, we hear Araujo’s approach for the upcoming fight. He is aware of Carl’s slick submission game, and is sure he will win. Fight day finally arrives, and we see both make their way to the octagon.

Steve Carl (22-4) vs. Valdir Araujo (14-5)

 

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

 

RD 1

The fighters meet in the center of the cage and exchange missing punches. Araujo throws wild, hard punches that miss. Valdir shoots for a takedown, but Carl stuffs it. Hard low kick from Araujo, and again. Araujo gets in deep on a takedown, but Carl defends well. The fighters are now against the cage, and Valdir seems to have his hands clasped. Carl goes for a ride, but is quickly back to his feet. Araujo presses Carl up against the fence again, but Steve quickly reverses position and gains double underhooks. A few hard shots to the body land for the American, as he is warned not to grab the cage. Carl keeps the pressure on Araujo as the attempts to secure the single leg takedown, but the Brazilian defends well. Arujo goes for the arm drag, which Carl defends well. The round ends with the fighters against the cage. Fairly uneventful round, that was, in all honesty, extremely close.

 

MMA Latest scored the round 10-9 Araujo

 

RD 2.

Carl’s coaches remind him that all he needs to do is connect, and he can win. Across the cage, Araujo’s corner wants him to throw the high kick. Round starts and Carl lands a good low kick. Araujo misses with a slow high kick. Carl looks tired already, gotta wonder how the weight cut affected him. Araujo throwing hard, but with the technique of an ancient stone man. hard leg kick connects for Araujo but Carl capitalizes and presses the Blackzilian fighter against the cage. Carl is in deep on a double, but he can’t complete it. Araujo looking for a ninja choke, but Carl is out easily. The Brazilian has Carl pushed against the cage, briefly, but Carl reverses position. This fight isn’t going to gain a ton of new fans to MMA. More cage grappling as Araujo goes for a guillotine as Carl is looking for the takedown. Araujo sinks in the guillotine as he pulls guard and rolls to mount. Carl is forced to tap late in round 2.

Winner: Valdir “BBMonstro” Araujo via Submission in round 2.

 

With the win, the Blackzilan’s are now up 3-0, and hold a 75 – 0 lead. With the FIRST incorrect pick of the season, my predictions fall to a respectable 2-1.

 

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Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223

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UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.

 

Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Bellator

Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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