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Tyron Woodley would do well to concentrate on the fight, not the fans

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Tyron Woodley has made it his business to gain the respect of the fans, throughout UFC205 fight week, however, his attempts have seemingly fallen short so far.

During the UFC’s media open workouts the welterweight champion, who is set to defend his strap against Stephen Thompson, on Saturday, attempted to buoy the crowd with a chant.

“Who’s got my back?”

It was a cringe-worthy effort, however, it was an effort nonetheless.

The majority of those in attendance made it abundantly clear that New York, is Wonderboy country. The ploy backfired on Woodley, who continued in his struggle, to make a connection with the fans, who have shunned him since he starched Robbie Lawler in July.

Six weeks ago at the initial press conference to announce and promote UFC205, Woodley was also jeered, as he answered media questions.

The lack of love continued at yesterday evening’s pre-fight press conference in the Garden’s media theater.

When asked a question, Woodley’s introduction was initially greeted with cheers, at which point the champion, looked toward Dana White, in apparent surprise. However, this was short-lived, as the boos rang out, once again, when Tyron answered his first question.

Woodley has done his utmost to sway the crowd at every turn, even inviting them to make a beat to their disapproval.

“Where y’all at? I thought you were booing?  Let’s make a beat to it because that’s all I’m going to do Saturday night, I’m going to make a beat to it, I’m going to beat this boy like a drum, and everyone who is booing will be standing up applauding at the end of the day.”

It is hard to understand why Woodley has failed in his efforts so far. The champion is approachable, accessible to the media, has branched out into movie roles to extend his potential reach to the public and has delivered wonderful content in his own Champ Camp series in the lead up to his last two fights. All of these opportunities are taken and aimed at improving his visibility.

Unfortunately, so far it has failed to click. Opposite him, Wonderboy looms as a surrogate son of New York City, due to his ties to Chris Weidman, and Serra-Longo team. The challenger has a squeaky clean image, and his happy go lucky personality combined with his flashy, exciting style has resonated with the masses. It is assumed he is the heir apparent to the welterweight throne.

One needs only cast their eye back to the UFC’s Unstoppable press conference last March, and we can see how fickle the fans can be. At that event, Daniel Cormier, whom Woodley works alongside as an analyst on Fox, was lambasted at every turn. The fans had sided with Jon Jones, despite his less than clean record and Cormier, did not know what to make of the situation.

The perception of DC changed, as the world saw his despair, after the Jones’ UFC 200 debacle. It then changed dramatically once more, as the crowd booed as Cormier coasted against Anderson Silva in the third round. The fans’ attachment to a fighter can change at the drop of a hat (unless you’re Conor McGregor) and Woodley would do well to remember this.

Instead of working tirelessly to appease the people, the champ should solely focus on solidifying his stance as the undisputed king at 170 pounds.

He is an electrifying athlete with bundles of talent and this should be the angle he uses to promote himself. Clear another elite welterweight off the path and revel in the role of the spoiler.  Eventually, the support will come.

As the man said himself, if he puts on a performance similar to the one he gave against Lawler, the applause will soon follow regardless.

Follow MMALatestNews.com for pre and post- fight content of UFC205 Alvarez vs McGregor, including updates for the weigh- in that takes place this evening at 11PM GMT.

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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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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