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UFC 193 Times, Fight Card & Five Fights You Dare Not Miss

Vinny Craig

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The UFC heads back to Australia this Saturday, but will be in the state of Victoria when UFC 193 lands in Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. The event features 13 fights in eight weight classes and TWO title fights. Here’s the time and where to watch (for US only).

Early Prelims- UFC Fight Pass(6:15 PM EST, 3:15 PST, 11:15 BST)

Flyweight: Ben Nguyen vs. Ryan Benoit

Middleweight: Dan Kelly vs. Steve Montgomery

Welterweight: Richard Walsh vs. Steve Kennedy

Welterweight: Anton Zafir vs. James Moontasri

Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 1(8 PM EST, 5 PM EST, 1 AM *BST)

Flyweight: Richie Vaculik vs. Danny Martinez

Light Heavyweight: Anthony Perosh vs. Gian Villante

Welterweight: Kyle Noke vs. Peter Sobotta

Lightweight: Jake Matthews vs. Akbarh Arreola

Main Card- PPV (10 PM EST, 7 PM EST, 3 AM* BST)

Heavyweight: Stefan Struve vs. Jared Rosholt

Middleweight: Robert Whitaker vs. Uriah Hall

Heavyweight: Mark Hunt vs. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva

Women’s Strawweight: (c)Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau

Women’s Bantamweight: (c)Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm

So why do you need to make sure you tune into UFC 193? Well here are 5 fights you simply shouldn’t miss and why …

Stefan Struve vs. Jared Rosholt

The main card starts with a Heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve (26-7 MMA; 10-5 UFC)* and Jared Rosholt (13-2; 5-1). This will be the first time for either guy fighting in Australia.

Struve is the tallest active UFC fighter on the roster. He last fought at UFC 190 where he won a decision over legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. ‘Skyscraper’ has wins over Paul Buentello, Pat Barry, Stipe Miocic and Nogueira in his career. Struve depends on his long reach and grappling to win fights with his 3.59 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM)**, 75% Takedown Accuracy and 2.9 Submission Attempts per 15 min.

Rosholt is a winner of five of his first six UFC fights. His style dictates him to grind other fighters to dominant decision wins. His lone UFC loss came in a first round KO to Oleksiy Oliynik at UFC Fight Night 57. He has wins over Walt Harris, Daniel Omielanczuk, Soa Palelei, Josh Copeland and Timothy Johnson. ‘The Big Show’ dictates the fights with his wrestling as he brings 1.76 Takedowns per 15 min. and 70% Takedown Defense (TDD). Rosholt is tops actively with only 1.14 Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM), which is also good for second all-time behind Pete Spratt with 1.04 SApM.

Robert Whitaker vs. Uriah Hall

In the Middleweight division is a fun scrap between Robert Whitaker (14-4; 5-2) and Uriah Hall (12-5; 5-3). The original fight was expected to be Whitaker against Michael Bisping, but Bisping dropped out of the contest citing an elbow injury and was replaced by Hall.

Whitaker is The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes winner after beating Brad Scott in the finale. Since that fight, he is 4-2 with wins over Colton Smith, Mike Rhodes, Clint Hester and Brad Tavares. Whitaker will fight in his home country for the 11th time. Whitaker is a striker bringing who throws punches in bunches and gets hit as well. He comes into the fights with 4.83 SLpM and 4.29 SApM in addition with 66% Striking Defense. His grappling is catching up as he has 75% Takedown Accuracy and 91% TDD.

Hall is the owner of some of the best kick KO’s in the game. It started when he was on The Ultimate Fighter 17 and he hit a spinning hook kick to knock Adam Cella out cold. Hall rode that high all the way to the finals before losing a Split-Decision to winner Kelvin Gastelum. He is 5-2 since that with four of the wins coming by KO/TKO. His last fight was a TKO due to a spinning back kick, flying knee and punches against top 10 guy Gegard Mousasi. Hall hits the big kick/punch, but also throws strikes effectively evident by his 3.21 SLpM. His wrestling has started to catch up to his striking as he has been able to get up from takedowns.

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva

Another Heavyweight bout headlines your non-title fight portion of the event as Mark Hunt (10-10-1; 5-4-1) and Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva (19-7-1; 3-4-1) are scheduled for a rematch. Their first fight ended in a draw as they headlined UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane. The fight has been given many accolades as the best Heavyweight fight of all time and a 2013 Fight of the Year candidate.

Hunt will fight in his adopted home country of Australia for the fourth time in his career. Hunt had a career resurgence starting at UFC 127 with four straight wins with three coming by KO/TKO. He fought for the Interim title at UFC 180 where he was KO’d in the second round by a flying knee. Hunt has been the owner of many great walk-away KO’s with his wins over Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo and Roy Nelson. ‘The Super Samoan’ does not throw a ton of punches, but lands the big shot when needed.

‘Bigfoot’ is the former EliteXC Heavyweight Championship. He fought for the UFC title at UFC 160 where he was punched for what seemed like an eternity. Silva has struggled after jumping to the UFC, never winning more than two fights in a row. He last fought in his home country of Brazil at UFC 190 where he got back in the W column after 4 straight non-winning performances by beating Soa Palelei by TKO in the second round. Silva has no specific strengths or weaknesses and comes into the fight with 2.90 SLpM, 45% Striking Accuracy and 65% TDD.

(c)Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau

The co-main event of the star-studded night is a Women’s Strawweight title fight between the champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10-0; 4-0) and the challenger Valerie Letourneau (8-3; 3-0). The fight was expected to follow the main event to whatever event it landed on.

Jedrzejczyk was expected to face #1 contender Claudia Gadelha after the champ beat Jessica Penne and Gadelha beat Jessica Aguilar. The fight was pushed back as Gadelha injured her hand in her fight at UFC 190 and the UFC gave the shot to Letourneau. Jedrzejczyk won the belt at UFC 185 with a dominant 2nd round TKO win over then-champion Carla Esparza. She has defended her title once since then with a Fight of the Night third round TKO victory over Jessica Penne. Joanna Champion was also a Muy-Thai champion with an impressive striking arsenal. She landed 126 Significant Strikes in 14 minutes of cage time in her last fight and 179 in 23 minutes in title fights. She boasts 4.90 SLpM and only 1.38 SApM with a 71% Striking Defense. She has shown good TDD as she has only allowed one Takedown in the last 28 attempts.

Letourneau earned her title shot with a dominant decision win over surging prospect Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night 74. She tried out for The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 and lost in the round of 32 to Roxanne Modafferi by Rear-Naked choke in the Bantamweight division. She made her UFC debut at Bantamweight at UFC 174 with a Split-Decision over Elizabeth Phillips. She made her Strawweight debut at UFC 186 in her hometown of Montreal with a win over fellow TUF 18 contestant Jessica Rakoczy. Letourneau lands a lot of strikes as she comes into the bout with 4.69 SLpM and 68% Striking Defense and her grappling has come along with 87% TDD.

(c)Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm

The main event, which is expected to get 55,000 fans to the event, puts the Women’s Bantamweight title on the line. Champion Ronda Rousey (12-0; 6-0) and challenger Holly Holm (9-0; 2-0) completes the all female main and co-main event.

Rousey has been the only Women’s Bantamweight champion in the UFC when she was handed the title before UFC 157. She has defended her title six times equaling a total cage time of 18 minutes and five seconds with the last three coming in just over a minute COMBINED. Rousey’s stats are off the charts as she brings a strong sense of grappling into her game. Her 8.00 Takedowns per 15 min. and 6.2 Submission attempts are tops in the UFC among active fighters.

Holm was very highly touted before joining the UFC and was always looked at as a threat to the current champion. She finally made her debut at UFC 184 as the co-main event against Raquel Pennington where she won a close Split-Decision. She got back in the Octagon five months later with a dominant decision over Marion Reneau. Holm is a former world champion boxer who has put kicks into her game as she has five wins due to kicks. ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ has brought her striking with her to the UFC as she has 3.63 SLpM and 2.20 SApM and has never been taken down inside the Octagon.

 

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Fight Announcements

Aldo vs. Lamas 2 and Ponzinibbio vs. Perry Added to UFC Winnipeg

Harry Davies

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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.

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
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Why the UFC Needs to Introduce 165 and 175-pound Weight Divisions

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  • 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.

Former UFC lightweight Donald Cerrone has looked spectacular since making the move up to 170-pounds.

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.

The UFC’s official website only lists four fighters in the women’s featherweight division.

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.

Could we see the current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley compete at 175-pounds in the future?

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.

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James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury

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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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