Every UFC event I go through and look for fights that are sometimes overlooked but are sure to be exciting. This weekend there is one of the biggest fight cards in UFC history. It is absolutely stacked from top to bottom which made choosing a fight to watch that much more difficult. It is a fight card that has suffered many ups and downs but at the end of the day is still a huge event. This is the MMA LATEST NEWS Fight To Watch.
HONORABLE MENTION 1: Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch
The second fight on the main card is a battle in the Welterweight division between two people who were absolutely surging in the UFC until a recent loss. Gunnar Nelson was 12-0 in MMA and 5-0 in the UFC when he headlined an event and lost to Rick Story in a razor thin split decision. Brandon Thatch (11-2) has only been out of the first round twice in his career and those were his two losses. He lost to Brandon Magana via Split Decision in 2008 in just his second professional fight. After that he went on a 10 fight winning streak which not only got him into the UFC, but got him wins in both his UFC debut and his second fight. He then found himself fighting in his first headliner and after a ton of shuffling around Thatch was matched up against former Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. He was defeated by a Submission in the 4th round and now he finds himself fighting in the biggest event in UFC history (according to Dana White). This is sure to be an absolute war between two men who are looking to get back to their winning ways in the UFC.
HONORABLE MENTION 2: Matt Brown vs. Tim Means
The UFC loves to put big fights on the Fox Sports 1 prelims ahead of a huge event in order to entice the everyday fan to buy the PPV. They did it again for this fight matching up two outstanding Welterweights. Matt Brown’s only two losses in his last nine fights were to Robbie Lawler (current Welterweight champion) and Johny Hendricks (former Welterweight champion). Unfortunately for Brown they came back-to-back and now he has to fight his way back into the dense land of title contention. He is an outstandingly talented fighter and brings a ton of intense energy to the table every single time he fights. He is facing off against “The Dirty Bird” Tim Means. Means is on a 4 fight win streak in the UFC after losing his debut to Neil Magny. Means is looking for a statement win to bring up his name in the conversation of best Welterweights in the world. A win over Brown would definitely do that and would be a huge step for his career. Both men are desperate for a win and this is sure to be an absolute war.
MMA LATEST NEWS FIGHT TO WATCH
Cody Garbrandt vs. Henry Briones
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt steps back into the cage with bad intentions when he faces Henry Briones on Saturday. Garbrandt is 6-0 and won his UFC debut in inspiring fashion when he finished Marcus Brimage via TKO. He is one of the UFC’s biggest prospects and is looking to continue his surge when he takes on Briones. Briones also won his UFC debut when he finished Guido Cannetti at UFC 180. Both fighters are looking for their second straight UFC win. A winning streak in the UFC is one of the hardest things to do and one of these men will walk away at the end of the night on Saturday with that streak in their back pocket. It is sure to be an absolute war as Garbrandt has finished every single one of his professional opponents via KO/TKO and Briones has 14 finishes under his belt, 8 of them knockouts. This is sure to be an incredibly exciting fight and that is why it has won the honor of being the MMA LATEST NEWS Fight To Watch.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans
The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.
For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by Tapology.com). A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.
Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.
Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.
CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash.
Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July
With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event.
It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.
The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.
Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.
The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.
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