With so much hype around future fight cards, UFC 193 and 194, UFC 192 is flying under the radar as one of the most stacked cards of the year. On paper, this card has the potential to be one of the best PPV events in recent memory and it all starts on the Fight Pass prelims.
Sage Northcutt vs Francisco Trevnio
Rising welterweight contender Sage Northcutt makes his UFC debut at just 19 years old. After posting an impressive undefeated 5-0 professional record Northcutt enters the UFC only having been out of the first round 1 time. Northcutt has an impressive stand-up game and compliments that with some dangerous submission skills should the fight go to the ground. Northcutt will be looking to continue his winning ways and make his UFC debut a memorable one as he starts his the road to the 170lb belt.
Northcutt won’t have an easy time of it in his debut fight as he draws the 12-1 Francisco Trevino. Trevino is coming off of a decision loss to Johnny Case at UFC 188, the first loss of his career. Before that loss however, Trevino had shown himself to be a well rounded fighter, winning 4 fights by TKO/KO, 4 by submission and 4 by decision. His last finish came in 2012 but he has been a part of some strong decision wins since then. Northcutt may be the hot name right now, but Trevino is looking to play the spoiler role to the 19 year olds debut and he is more than capable of coming away with a win.
Derrick Lewis vs Viktor Pesta
The 2nd Fight Pass prelim is a heavyweight battle between UFC veterans. Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis is coming off of a devastating KO loss to Shawn Jordan at UFC Fight Night 68 and is 3-2 in the UFC. All 5 of his fights have ended by KO/TKO in either the 1st or 2nd round. Lewis is a brawler who loves nothing more than to stand and trade with his opponent. He has brutal power in his hands as he showed in his TKO win over Ruan Potts at UFC 184. He’s the kind of fighter who is looking for the knockout with every punch.
Viktor Pesta may not have the same UFC experience that Lewis does, sporting a 1-1 record in the UFC, but he is arguably the more well rounded fighter. In his 10 pro wins, 4 have come by KO/TKO while 3 have come by submission. His 1 UFC win came by decision in a fairly one sided affair at UFC on Fox 14. Pesta will most likely want to take this fight to the ground where he would have the advantage against the heavy handed Lewis but he has shown in the past that he has the ability to put his opponent to sleep with a well placed strike. The heavyweight division is wide open right now so a win by either fighter could go a long way on their quest for the title.
Sergio Pettis vs Chris Cariaso
Sergio Pettis returns to the octagon after an upset TKO loss in brutal fashion to Ryan Benoit at UFC 185. The younger brother of former lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, Sergio has amassed a 3-2 record in the UFC and is looking to “right the ship” against the #10 ranked Flyweight in the UFC. Pettis has shown flashes of his brother’s talent but has yet to be able to put all the pieces together in the UFC. He has looked better in every fight he’s been in – outside of the Benoit loss – and will be looking to show that he is a force to be reckoned with in the flyweight division.
Chris Cariaso is the #10 ranked Flyweight in the UFC with a 7-5 UFC record. He is coming off of back to back losses via the current flyweight champion, and arguably best pound for pound fighter in the world, Demetrius Johnson, and the #5 ranked flyweight Henry Cejudo. The caliber of those opponents speaks for themselves and those losses shouldn’t be held against him. Cariaso is a well-rounded fighter who tends to go the distance in his fights but pushes the pace throughout. If Cariaso can manage to finish the fight against a fighter like Pettis then it could be just the spark he needs to turn his luck around and make another run at the top of the division.
Adriano Martins vs Islam Makhachev
The final fight on the Fight Pass prelims is a showdown in the 155 lb division. Adriano Martins is 3-1 in the UFC and is coming off a split decision victory over Rustam Khabilov at UFC Fight Night 61. Martins has shown that he can win the fight on the feet, on the ground, or if it goes to the judges. He likes to push the pace and keep his opponent off balance with his mix of striking combined with great cardio that lets him keep a rhythm that not everyone can match. He’ll probably be looking to keep the fight standing against his opponent this time around.
Islam Makhachev is an undefeated submission specialist coming off an impressive win by rear naked choke against Leo Kuntz at UFC 187. With 6 of his 12 professional wins coming by way of submission, it’s no secret that Makhachev is incredibly comfortable when the fight goes to the mat. He’s had his share of 3 round fights as well and has shown that his cardio can stack up pretty well against almost anyone. I would guess that Makhachev wants to get this fight to the ground early and use his skills to wear down Martins before going for the submission victory. He won’t have an easy go of it in his 2nd UFC fight against a fighter like Martins but this fight promises to be entertaining from start to finish.
Those 4 fights are already enough to get MMA fans excited about this card, make sure to tune in to Fight Pass at 6:15 on Saturday October 3rd so you don’t miss a second of what’s shaping up to be one of the most underrated cards of the year.
Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg
The UFC has added Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 2, and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry to their UFC Winnipeg card on December 16th.
The two fights were announced as official today on the UFC’s Twitter account.
THIS. CARD. pic.twitter.com/bc4AyNncqy
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2017
Aldo (26-3) last fought at UFC 212 in June, where he lost by third round TKO to Max Holloway. After being promoted to the undisputed 145-pound champion last November, he was looking to make the first defence of the title against Holloway.
Lamas first faced Aldo back in 2014 at UFC 169. Aldo, who was again featherweight champion at the time, defeated Lamas with ease winning by unanimous decision (49-46) on all scorecards. Lamas is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with impressive finishes.
Since his last UFC loss to Lorenz Larkin back in 2015, Ponzinnibio (25-3) has won five consecutive fights. His most recent victory was a upset win over Gunnar Nelson in July at UFC Glasgow. There was some controversy after the fight, as replays seemed to show a short grab and several eyes pokes from Ponzinnibio before knocking out Nelson in the first round.
Mike Perry has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut for the promotion last August. Picking up four wins all by knockout, the only loss ‘Platinum’ suffered was too Alan Jouban by decision. Ranked at #9 in the welterweight division, a win over Ponzinnibio could definitely propel Perry into the top ten at 170-pounds.
With the additon of these two fantastic fights, the lineup for UFC Winnipeg is as follows:
- Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Welterweight bout
- Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov – Light heavyweight bout
- Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier – Light heavyweight bout
- Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins – Flyweight bout
- Chad Laprise vs. Galore Bafondo – Welterweight bout
- Alessio Di Chirico vs. Oluwale Bamgbose – Middleweight bout
- Vitor Miranda vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
- John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo – Lightweight bout
- Nordine Taleb vs. Sultan Aliev – Welterweight bout
Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions
- The debacle that were the UFC 216 weigh-in last Friday further highlighted current weight cutting problems in mixed martial arts.
More specifically in this case it was in the UFC’s lightweight division. A fight between Nik Lentz and Will Brooks was pulled due to Lentz having ‘medical issues’ according to a UFC statement, hours before he was due to weigh-in.
Title challenger Kevin Lee then took to the scale seconds before the deadline and was over the limit by a pound. Fortunately he made weight after being given an extra hour. But these are not isolated cases, especially at 155-pounds.
There isn’t necessarily a solution to this problem but there may be a short term fix in the form of new weight classes approved by the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports) in July 2017. These include 165 and 175-pound divisions.
While not specific to the lightweight division, the problems with weight commonly occur there. In March this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov was rushed to hospital during fight week when cutting down for his title contest with Tony Ferguson. Subsequently the UFC 209 main event was cancelled. Khabib has been regularly discussed as a title challenger but he’s often struggled to make weight and failed on numerous occasions.
With drastic dehydration it is still unknown what health implications may effect him and other mixed martial artists in the future.
Some top ranked fighters such as Donald Cerrone, Jorge Masvidal and Rafael Dos Anjos have moved up to the welterweight division to preserve their health from these strenuous cuts, and have all been relatively successful.
However, many fighters are still reluctant and insist on dropping 10-20% of their bodyweight in the hours and days leading up to a bout. For example, Kevin Lee was rumoured to be 19 pounds over the day before he stepped on the scales.
At 170 pounds, welterweight is fifteen pounds more than lightweight which is a noticeable difference between relatively low weight classes. Especially when you consider that the divisions increase ten pounds from as low as 115 up to 155. There are many fighters who find themselves too big to be a lightweight, yet too small to compete at welterweight.
The incidents last Friday should hopefully be a wakeup call to the UFC, who can also set an example for other organisations such as Bellator, One FC, and Cage Warriors.
So far in 2017 the UFC has lost 14 fights in 48 hours or less before they were due to take place. That is one fight every two cards. While weight cutting is not always to blame, more often than not it plays a big role. These situations leave the UFC at a loss, fighters without opponents and a pay check, and fans disgruntled. Not to mention the health implications for the athlete involved.
The UFC must recognise these common patterns, remove the 170 pound welterweight division and create 165 and 175 pound rosters instead. Some may see an additional weight class as devaluing UFC titles even further but this would not be the case.
Recently the women’s featherweight title was created without having a roster of women to fill it. However, the difference with lightweight and welterweight is that they are comfortably the two deepest, most talent stacked divisions in the organisation.
Admittedly, there is a lot of history attached to the welterweight title since Pat Miletich first won it back in 1998. The likes of Matt Hughes and Georges St Pierre have also added prestige to the belt over the years.
Even so, the sport has changed since then and it’s in a transitional phase. We are in the era of USADA, the era of banned IV drips and certain commissions tightening their regulations on how much they allow fighters to safely cut. Everyone is accountable and aware of the dangers, yet steps still need to be taken.
The athletic commissions and the UFC in particular must act by introducing super lightweight (165lbs) and super welterweight (175lbs) divisions. Perhaps from a fighter’s perspective it seems like a no-brainer that their health should be the main priority.
From a fans point of view there is plenty of talent that could be used in those two divisions. The novelty of fighters blending into these classes would also have the feeling of a superfight. The likes of Nurmagomedov, Lee, Masvidal, Cerrone and Dos Anjos would certainly fit well into a 165 pound division.
Similarly, at 175 pounds, Tyron Woodley could transition from welterweight champion to super welterweight champion. Top talents such as Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Robbie Lawler would be perfect matches for this weight.
If this was a success then super middleweight (195lbs) and cruiserweight (225lbs) divisions could be an option in future too.
As previously mentioned this won’t necessarily fix the issues of weight cutting but it gives martial artists another option and is a positive step towards fighter’s safety. Currently there has been no mention by the UFC about introducing these new divisions.
However, with fighter safety being of upmost importance these new divisions must be given serious consideration.
James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury
Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.
After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.
Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.
Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”
His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.
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