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UFC 192 Prelims: Preview

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On the heels of an already impressive UFC Fight Pass card, the action for UFC 192 will continue on Fox Sports 1 with another four fights that look like they could easily be on the main card of any UFC on Fox card.

Angela Hill vs Rose Namajunas

We get the prelims started with a strawweight battle between two relative newcomers to the UFC. Angela “Overkill” Hill has a 2-1 pro record with a 1-1 record inside the UFC. Hill is looking to rebound from a decision loss to Tecia Torres at UFC 188 and start to make a name for herself in women’s MMA. In her relatively limited experience, Hill has shown that she can go the distance with opponents but also that she is capable of finishing a fight with her stand up game.

Rose “Thug” Namajunas is 2-2 as a pro and 0-1 in the UFC. She’s lost her last 2 fights but in those 2 fights she went the distance with Tecia Torres and took Carla Esparza into the 3rd round. Namajunas has shown herself to have a dangerous submission game demonstrating that she’s not afraid to take risks, having won her 2nd pro fight in 12 seconds via a flying armbar. She will be looking to get back to her strengths against Angela Hill hopefully putting her back on the winning path.

Alan Jouban vs Albert Tumenov

A battle of UFC veterans in the welterweight division is up next. Alan Jouban comes into this fight on a 2 fight win streak and a 3-1 record in the UFC. A fairly well rounded fighter, Jouban seems to prefer to keep fights standing and use a combination of punches and elbows to put his opponent out cold. His fights in the UFC so far seem to go 1 of 2 ways, either they go the distance in a back and forth fight or they end in devastating fashion in the 1st round. Jouban will be looking to make sure it’s the latter when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday night.

Albert Tumenov is riding a 3 fight win streak and has a 3-1 UFC record as well. Similar to Jouban, Tumenov’s fights seem to either go the distance or are over quickly and violently. With 10 of his 15 pro wins coming by KO/TKO, and at only 23 years old, “Einstein” has the potential to be a force in the 170 lb division for years to come. But he has to get past a dangerous opponent in Alan Jouban first and from the way these 2 fight, this one could turn into an all-out war that ends with 1 well-aimed strike.

Yair Rodriguez vs Daniel Hooker

Two of the most promising young 145lb fighters in the UFC will square off in a fight that could steal the show if both fighters fight to their potential. 22-year-old Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez is 5-1 as a pro and 2-0 in the UFC. His two UFC fights have both gone the distance and he will be looking to prove that he still has the finishing ability he showed in his earlier pro fights.

Daniel “The Hangman” Hooker is 2-1 in the UFC and is coming off a 2nd round KO of Hatsu Hioki at UFC Fight Night 65. Hooker is a proven finisher, with only one of his twelve pro wins going the distance. He has a versatile  arsenal of submissions as well as technical striking ability that he uses to put his opponent off balance before finding a home for a kick, punch or elbow that decisively ends the fight. Hooker has the experience edge even though he’s only 3 years older than Rodriguez and will be looking to use that to his advantage to put an end to the promising 22-year old’s UFC win streak.

Joseph Benavidez vs Ali Bagautinov

There aren’t many fighters in the flyweight division who have the skill set that Joseph Benavidez possesses. He’s taken Demetrius Johnson the distance and his only 2 losses inside the UFC have come at the hands of the flyweight champion. With a pro record of 22-4, it’s scary to think that the Team Alpha Male fighter seemingly gets better every time he steps foot in the octagon. He’s on a 3 fight win streak and while his last 2 fights have gone to decision, he has looked insanely impressive in both fights. He possesses knockout power in both hands, a wide variety of submissions, and an aggressiveness that puts many of his opponents off balance while never giving them a chance to recover.

Ali Bagautinov has a 3-1 UFC record, with his only loss also coming at the hands of Demetrius Johnson in a fight where he took the champion the distance. While not quite as impressive as his opponent’s record of 22-4, Bagautinov’s 13-3 record is nothing to scoff at. Bagautinov has shown that he is capable of doing damage no matter where the fight ends up. He’s also shown the cardio to keep up with some of the best in the division. This fight may be almost as tough as his fight with the champ, as the pace that Benavidez is sure to set is going to be fast and furious, if Bagautinov doesn’t have a response for that aggression early then it might prove to be a long night for “Puncher”.

Tune in for the prelims at 8pm eastern on Fox Sports 1.

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Announcement

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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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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