UFC 195, the first pay-per-view card of 2016, takes place on January 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The card is headlined by a fight which, on paper has the potential to be a Fight of the Year candidate when 170 lb king Robbie Lawler takes on Carlos Condit for the welterweight title. The co-main event of the evening is essentially a #1 contender match-up in the heavyweight division between a resurgent Andrei Arlovski and a focused Stipe Miocic. Either one of those fights could easily be the fight to watch on this card, however, they are both also the obvious reasons why anyone would be ordering or watching this PPV in the first place. So while you should absolutely make sure you’re in your seat for both of those fights, neither is my pick for Fight To Watch.
Fight to Watch
Albert “Einstein” Tumenov vs Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin
Another clash at 170 lbs will be taking place as Albert Tumenov takes on Lorenz Larkin in a battle of rising welterweight prospects.
Albert “Einstein” Tumenov lost his UFC debut against Ildemar Alcantara by split decision back in 2014. Since then, he’s been on a roll, winning 4 straight fights, with 3 of those wins coming by way of 1st round knockouts. His knockout win over Alan Jouban at UFC 192 was impressive as he landed a head kick that looked like it was blocked but obviously stunned Jouban and Tumenov wasted no time in landing a combination of punches that put Jouban face down on the canvass as the ref stepped in. That fight earned him a knockout of the night bonus. He’s an incredibly talented striker who seems to have improved every time he steps foot in the octagon. The 24-year-old Russian will be looking to add another knockout victory to his 16-2 record.
Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin actually started his MMA career as a heavyweight, he has fought at 205 as well before making his UFC debut as a middleweight. He suffered 3 straight losses at middleweight before deciding to once again drop down in weight and he made his UFC welterweight debut at UFC Fight Night 59 in January against John Howard. He won that fight by 1st round knockout and earned a knockout of the night performance bonus. He then went on to knockout Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night 70 in June in a Fight of the Night winning performance. It would appear that the move to 170 was the right choice for Larkin and he’ll be looking to add another performance of the night bonus to his resume on January 2nd.
On January 2nd at UFC 195, in what is arguably the deepest division in the UFC, two knockout artists will step into the cage looking to add another clip to their highlight-reel, make a name for themselves in the welterweight division and make a case to break into the top 15 fighters at 170 lbs. You won’t want to miss this one
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.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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