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UFC 195 Debut Introduction – Alex Morono

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Alex Morono vs Valdir Araujo

Headlined by a welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit, UFC 195 takes place Saturday January 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the event might not carry the star power that is attached to a Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey headlined pay-per-view, it is packed with intriguing contests from the Fight Pass prelims all the way up to the main card.

Tucked away neatly on FOX Sports 1 is a welterweight clash between 30 fight veteran Kyle Noke, and promotional newcomer Alex Morono. Noke was originally scheduled to fight Kelvin Gastelum, but when the TUF 17 winner was forced out through injury, Morono was called up in his place.

Fighter: Alex Morono
Division: Welterweight
Nationality: American
Age: 25
Record: 11-3
Team: Gracie Barra Woodlands
Previous Organisation: Legacy Fighting Championship
Notable Victories: Valdir Araujo via knockout – LFC 44 – August 28, 2015

Morono comes to the UFC having made an impression in the Legacy Fighting Championship cage. Legacy has quickly become one of the most prolific feeder organizations into the UFC, and we are only two weeks removed from Valentina Shevchenko making a successful step up from the same promotion. If Morono is half as impressive in his debut as Shevchenko was in defeating Sarah Kaufman, the bout with Noke should be an entertaining one.

At the Gracie Barra Woodlands gym, Morono is more than just a developing fighter, also serving as an Assistant Head Coach and MMA Team Leader. Inside the cage he has now rattled off five straight wins, three under Legacy’s promotional banner, including victories over TUF 21 alumni Valdir Araujo and Bellator vet Derrick Krantz.

Morono has power and is a finisher. All but one of his pro wins have come inside the distance, the result of powerful punching combinations and an aggressive offensive submission game. Noke will be the more refined striker when the two meet on Saturday, but if Morono can find a way to get inside he does have the power and speed to connect in bunches and change the course of the fight.

And that may well be how Morono has to alter the fight if things aren’t going his way. Wrestling is not his forte, and taking Noke down seems like an unlikely scenario. If the fight does hit the mat through other means, Morono is capable off his back and will pose a submission threat as long as Noke tries to pressure from the top.

Beating a more well-rounded and polished fighter on short notice in your UFC debut is a tough ask. Noke is a 13 year pro with 30 professional fights to his name. He is the finished article. Morono is not, yet, but has shown enough improvement in recent fights to suggest he is a worthy prospect. Whether that is enough on Saturday remains to be seen, and he has had little time since his last fight on December 4 to make significant adjustments. On two weeks notice this may be another case of a fighter whose best we see in his second UFC outing. .

And if you want to see some of what Morono will be hoping to do on Saturday night, check out highlights of his come from behind knockout of Valdir Araujo below.

 

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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