HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2016 starts off this Saturday night with UFC 195 headlined by a Welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. A card that was initially possible to be an all-female main card headlined by two title fights with the champions at the top. Three straight titles have changed hands, will this be the fourth?
Early Preliminary Card- UFC Fight Pass (6:30 PM EST, 3:30 PST, 11;30 GMT)
Welterweight: Edgar Garcia vs. Sheldon Westcott
Bantamweight: Joe Soto vs. Michinori Tanaka
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Joseph Duffy
Preliminary Card– Fox Sports 1 (8 PM EST, 5 PM PST, 1 AM GMT)
Lightweight: Drew Dober vs. Scott Holtzman
Women’s Strawweight: Justine Kish vs. Nina Ansafroff
Welterweight: Kyle Noke vs. Alex Morono
Bantamweight: Michael McDonald vs. Masanori Kanehara
Main Card- PPV (10 PM EST, 7 PM PST, 3 AM GMT)
Lightweight: Abel Trujillo vs. Tony Sims
Featherweight: Diego Brandao vs. Brian Ortega
Welterweight: Albert Tumenov vs. Lorenz Larkin
Heavyweight: Stipe Miocic vs. Andrei Arlovski
Welterweight: (c)Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit- for the UFC Welterweight Championship
Here’s a look at four fights from the card that you can’t miss!
Dustin Poirier vs. Joseph Duffy
A Lightweight bout between Dustin Poirier (18-4 MMA; 10-3 UFC) and Joseph Duffy (14-1; 2-0) headlines your Fight Pass portion of the event. The two were expected to fight at UFC Fight Night; Dublin in October before Duffy was forced out of the fight during fight week due to concussion symptoms he sustained in training.
Poirier is a former Featherweight contender who made it all the way to the top ten. After losing to now Featherweight champion Conor McGregor, Poirier went back to the Lightweight division. Since then, he has two Performance of the Night bonuses in as many fights with KO/TKO wins over Carlos Diego Ferreira and Yancy Medeiros. That brought Poirier’s finish percentage to 83% with nine by KO/TKO and six by Submission in 18 wins. ‘The Diamond’ is very versatile in all aspects of the game with 4.65 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM), 50% Striking Accuracy and 1.7 Submissions per 15 min.
Duffy will be seeking his third straight win in the UFC. He made his debut at UFC 185 with a body kick TKO win over Jake Lindsey. He followed that up with a triangle choke win in the first round against Ivan Jorge at UFC Fight Night 72. Before joining the UFC, Duffy started out his MMA career at 13-1 with wins over now UFC contenders Norman Parke and Conor McGregor. The Irishman has landed 23 Significant Strikes in just under five minutes of fight time.
Michael McDonald vs. Masanori Kanehara
The preliminary card headliner is a Bantamweight bout between Michael McDonald (16-3; 5-2) and Masanori Kanehara (25-12-5; 1-1).
McDonald makes his return after being out two years with a handful of injuries. He last saw action against Urijah Faber at UFC on Fox 9 where he lost the fight by second round Guillotine. This marked his second loss in three fights after he lost an Interim Bantamweight title shot to Renan Barao at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Before those losses, ‘Mayday’ was on a four fight win streak with two KO wins over Alex Soto and Miguel Torres. McDonald has big power for the division, evident by his nine career KO/TKO wins. He is tied atop the leader boards in Knockdowns Landed with champ TJ Dillashaw and Francisco Rivera with 5.
Kanehara is a long time Japanese fighter. He has spent time in DEEP, ZST, K-1, Sengoku and now the UFC. This will be just his third time fighting in the United States and sixth outside of Japan. He has career wins over Chan Sung Jung, ‘Kid’ Yamamoto and Joe Pearson. He has split his UFC fights with a Unanimous Decision win over Alex Caceres and a Split-Decision loss to Rani Yahya. Under the UFC banner, Kanehara has 56 Significant Strikes landed, two Takedowns and two Submission attempts.
Stipe Miocic vs. Andrei Arlovski
In the co-main event of the PPV, a Heavyweight contender fight has emerged. Stipe Miocic (13-2; 7-2) and former Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (25-10, 1 NC; 14-4) will step in just before the Welterweight title fight.
Miocic was expected to face Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night: Dublin. Miocic had to pull out of the with an injury and was booked for a bigger fight with Arlovski. Miocic is a winner of four of his last five with two finishes. The lone loss came in a close Split-Decision to Junior dos Santos in a headlining bout at UFC on Fox 13. Miocic is currently ranked third in the UFC official rankings. Miocic is one of the better strikers in the division with his 4.81 SLpM and 62% Striking Defense. He also can get the Takedown with 2.16 per 15 min.
Arlovski is the former UFC Heavyweight champion. After leaving the UFC for Affliction, Arlovski would go just 2-4 in his next six fights. He got back on track after that with a 6-1 record with a No-Contest in his next eight. That earned ‘The Pit Bull’ a second chance in the UFC where he has racked up four straight wins over Brendan Schaub, Antonio Silva, Travis Browne and Frank Mir. Arlovski is second all time in the division with 10 Knockdowns and seventh in Significant Strikes Landed (631). He will land less than Miocic (3.14 SLpM) and is less accurate (40% compared to 49%), but the Belorussian has the one punch KO power that Miocic doesn’t have.
(c)Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit
The main event is the type of main event for the hardcore fans. Champ Robbie Lawler (26-10,1 NC; 11-4) goes for his second title defense against former Interim champ Carlos Condit (30-8; 7-4). The fight was originally expected to take place at UFC 193 in Melbourne. However, the champ had a thumb injury that moved the fight back to January.
Lawler won the title at UFC 181 in a rematch with then-champ Johny Hendricks. In another close fight, Lawler came out victorious and was crowned the Welterweight champ. His first defense was expected to be a trilogy fight with Hendricks before the backlash from fans had the UFC changing its mind. Lawler had a Fight of the Year candidate fight with Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 where Lawler defended the belt by fifth round TKO.
The former EliteXC and Strikeforce standout made his way back into the UFC at UFC 157 with a TKO finish over Josh Koscheck. He would earn a title shot with ensuing wins over Bobby Voelker and Rory MacDonald. He would come up just short in the first bout with Hendricks at UFC 171. ‘Ruthless’ wasted no time in getting back into the swing of things as he fought and defeated Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown within four months of his loss to Hendricks. The rematch was set and Lawler was victorious to become the UFC Welterweight champion.
The champ is at his best in title fights with a combined 352 Significant Strikes landed in his three fights for a title. Overall Lawler will bring in 3.49 SLpM, 62% Striking Defense and the best active takedown accuracy in the UFC with 80%.
Condit is the former WEC Welterweight champion and UFC Interim Champion. He beat Nick Diaz at UFC 143 to win the Interim title when former champ Georges St. Pierre tore his ACL. He fought St. Pierre to unify the title at UFC 154 where he lost by decision. That started a spiral of losing three of his last five with losses to St. Pierre, Johny Hendricks and Tyron Woodley. After hurting his knee in the Woodley loss, Condit was out 14 months before returning against Thiago Alves in Brazil. Condit would dominate the fight before the doctor stopped the fight after the second round. ‘The Natural Born Killer’ has one of the highest finish rates in all of the UFC with 93% of his wins coming by way of stoppage. Condit has 5 Knockdowns while in the UFC and has 1173 total strikes, good for third in the active division. His all around game is highlighted by his 3.41 SLpM, 2.28 SApM and 1.3 Submission Attempts per 15 min.
*All records from Sherdog.com
**All stats from FightMetric.com
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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