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
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
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.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
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.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
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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