The Ultimate Fighter has been a staple of the UFC since it was first introduced in 2005 with its first season. 12 years and 23 seasons later, we get our first ever title fight between coaches at the finale. The biggest weekend in MMA continues along with TUF 23 Finale on Friday night July 8 with the Strawweight title fight headlining the event.
This season of TUF saw 8 Women’s Strawweight and 8 Light Heavyweight competitors in the same house. Wrestlers, boxers, Muay-Thai, and submission grapplers alike made the season very enjoyable to watch. The fierce rivalry between coaches Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha as they tried to get into each other’s head made this one of my favourite seasons to watch as a viewer.
Main Card- Fox Sports 1 (10 PM EDT, 7 PM PDT, 3 AM GMT)
Strawweight: (c)Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha- for the UFC Strawweight title
Light Heavyweight: Andrew Sanchez vs. TBD- TUF 23 Light Heavyweight tournament finale
Strawweight: Amanda Cooper vs TBD- TUF 23 Strawweight tournament finale
Lightweight: Ross Pearson vs. Will Brooks
Featherweight: Doo Ho Choi vs. Thiago Tavares
Lightweight: Joachim Silva vs. Andrew Holbrook
Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 1(8 PM EDT, 5 PM PDT, 1 AM GMT)
Featherweight: Gray Maynard vs. Fernando Bruno
Flyweight: John Moraga vs. Mattheus Nicolai
Middleweight: Cezar Ferreira vs. Anthony Smith
Early Preliminary Card- UFC Fight Pass (7 PM EDT, 4 PM PDT, 12 AM GMT)
Lightweight: Jake Matthews vs. Kevin Lee
Welterweight: Li Jianliang vs. Anton Zafir
Jake Matthews vs. Kevin Lee
The UFC Fight Pass feature fight has been a big spot for veterans and prospects alike to get exposure on the UFC’s platform. The feature fight for this card is Australia’s own Jake Matthews (10-1 MMA; 4-1 UFC) against Michigan’s own Kevin Lee (12-2; 5-2).
Matthews was on TUF: Nations as part of the Australia team against the Canadian side in the Welterweight bracket. He made his UFC debut at Lightweight in his home country of Australia where he beat Dashon Johnson by Triangle choke. After a Rear-Naked choke over Vagner Rocha, he suffered the first loss of his career in one of the year’s best cards in Australia when he was finished by James Vick in the first round by a Guillotine choke. He has come back with two straight finishes at UFC 193 and UFC Fight Night 85, both in Australia. Matthews has really rounded out his game with the addition of better striking while in the UFC. He steps in the cage with 3.78 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM), 2.11 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.2 Submission Attempts per 15 min.
Lee steps in on short notice as Stevie Ray pulled out of the fight due to visa issues. The ‘Motown Phenom’ is one of just a handful fighters to be successful in the Octagon from my home state of Michigan where MMA is not as popular as it could be. He joins fellow Michigan native Amanda Cooper on the card to represent our state. He is a winner of five of his last six with the lone loss coming at UFC 194 against Leonardo Santos. He then bounced back in his last fight with a decision win over Efrain Escudero at UFC 197. The stats are very similar as Lee comes in with 3.77 SLpM, 2.77 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.3 Submission Attempts per 15 min.
Ross Pearson vs. Will Brooks
Former Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks (18-1, 0-0) takes on UFC vet Ross Pearson (19-10, 1 NC; 11-7, 1 NC). Brooks replaces James Krause who was pulled from the fight for undisclosed reasons.
Pearson will be making his 20th UFC appearance when he steps into the Octagon. He has alternated wins for losses over his last eight fights with the last one being a win over Chad Laprise in January. The winner of TUF season 9 started out his UFC career 3-0 with wins over Andre Winner, Aaron Riley, and Dennis Siver. Since that start, he is 8-7 with a no-contest against Melvin Guillard when an illegal knee rendered Pearson unable to continue. Pearson is top ten all-time in the Lightweight division in Knockdowns Landed (6), Significant Strikes Landed (693), Significant Strike Defense (68.6%), and Total Fight Time (3:12.37)
We finally get to see Brooks make his long-awaited UFC debut after spending the majority of his career in Bellator. Brooks was unhappy with his contract and wanted to be released from the company despite being the champion. He was granted his release and signed by the UFC to step in against Pearson. ‘Ill Will’ is a winner of his last eight including the interim title belt, the vacant belt and two title defences in Bellator
(c)Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha
Dominant Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0; 5-0) takes on number-one contender Claudia Gadelha (13-1; 2-1) in a rematch of their December 2014 fight. It’s the first time coaches on TUF will fight for the belt on the finale.
Jedrzejczyk joined the newly formed Strawweight division in the second ever UFC Strawweight fight when she beat Julianna Lima by decision. She went on to face Gadelha at UFC on Fox 13 in a closely contested fight. In a controversial decision, Jedrzejczyk was the winner by split-decision to earn a title shot at then-champion Carla Esparza. They fought at UFC 185 in the co-main event where Jedrzejczyk dominated the fight for the round and a half it lasted and finished the fight in the second. After winning the belt, she has defended it twice over Jessica Penne (TKO win at UFC Fight Night 69) and Valerie Letourneau (Unanimous Decision at UFC 193). Joanna is tied for fifth all-time in SLpM with Sean O’Connell (6.14) and second all-time in Striking Differential (+3.89).
Gadelha was a part of the first UFC Strawweight fight when she beat Tina Lahdemaki at UFC Fight Night 45. Her next fight was the fight against Jedrzejczyk at UFC on Fox 13 where a claim that she won that fight can be made. She landed 7 of 16 Takedowns and landed a better percentage of her Significant Strikes in the fight. She was expected to return at UFC Fight Night 64 against Aisling Daly, but an injury was a blessing as she got a number-one contender fight against top Strawweight Jessica Aguilar at UFC 190 in Brazil. She dominated the fight with a better all-around game as she out-struck and out-grappled her opponent.
*WATCH* DaveNoseMMA – Aljamain Sterling Knockout Aftermath
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”.
— UFC (@ufc) December 10, 2017
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.
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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