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UFC 197 Times, Lineups and Preview

Vinny Craig

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The time is here. For over a year, MMA fans have watched the rise and fall of former Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Unexpectedly, it’s not against the current champ Daniel Cormier, but for an Interim title against Ovince St. Preux. With two title fights slated and a full card of fun fights to be, UFC 197 should be a card for the ages.

Main Card- PPV (10 PM EDT, 7 PM PDT, 3 AM GMT)

  • Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux – Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
  • Flyweight: (C) Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo – UFC Flyweight Championship
  • Lightweight: #3 Anthony Pettis vs. #8 Edson Barboza
  • Middleweight: #7 Robert Whittaker vs. #13 Rafael Natal
  • Featherweight: Yair Rodriguez vs. Andre Fili

Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 1 (8 PM EDT, 5 PM PDT, 1 AM GMT)

  • Flyweight: #15 Sergio Pettis vs. Chris Kalades
  • Welterweight: Danny Roberts vs. Dominique Steel
  • Women’s Strawweight: #2 Carla Esparza vs. #14 Juliana Lima
  • Lightweight: Glaico Franca vs. James Vick

 

Early Preliminary Card- UFC Fight Pass (6:30 PM EDT, 3:30 PM PDT, 11:30 PM GMT)

  • Heavyweight: Walt Harris vs. Cody East
  • Light Heavyweight: Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Clint Hester
  • Lightweight: Efrain Escudero vs. Kevin Lee

Yair Rodriguez vs. Andre Fili

The main card opener on a PPV event is one that should not be taken lightly. It doesn’t always have to be a star name, but two fighters that will set the tone for the next three hours. Yair Rodriguez (6-1 MMA; 3-0 UFC) and Andre Fili (15-3; 3-2) is the exact type of fight a main card opener is looking for.

Rodriguez won the first season of TUF: Latin America in the Featherweight division. Rodriguez had two finishes on the way to the finals at UFC 180. Through three fights in the UFC, ‘El Pantera’ has yet to capture the magic and finishing power he had on the show, but has kept the exciting fight style and endless energy. His last fight was a decision win over Daniel Hooker at UFC 192. In that fight, he landed 52 Significant Strikes while landing two takedowns.

Fili is a Team Alpha Male product from Sacramento. Fili has a tough go in the UFC, alternating wins for losses in his first five fights. In his second UFC fight, he was thrown to wolves as he faced Max Holloway in Broomfield. The decision loss to Holloway and the flying triangle to Godofredo Pepey. He picked up a win in his last fight with a Performance of the Night TKO over Gabriel Benitez at TUF Latin America 2 Finale. Fili has really developed his game lately with takedowns, especially in his win over Felipe Arantes when he landed five takedowns. He lands 3.86 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) to go along with 3.66 Takedowns per 15 min.

Robert Whittaker vs. Rafael Natal

A battle of Middleweights as Robert Whittaker (15-4; 6-2) and Rafael Natal (21-6-1; 9-4-1) square off in a classic striker vs. grappler matchup.

Whittaker is a winner of four straight spanning the last two years. His last loss came at the hands of top contender Stephen Thompson at UFC 170. His wins have come over Mike Rhodes, Clint Hester, Brad Tavares and recently Uriah Hall. A great ambassador for Australian fighters, Whittaker has spent the majority of his UFC career in the area of his native land. This will be his first fight in his last four outside of Australia/New Zealand and his third in Las Vegas in his career. Whittaker is a high profile striker with 4.77 SLpM and a 69% Striking Defense.

Natal is the grappling half of this striker vs. grappler match up with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Renzo Gracie. His grappling prowess has translated well to MMA with 8 submission wins in 21 career victories. Like his opponent, he is on a four-fight win streak with the only the last one coming by way of finish. He has picked up wins over Chris Camozzi, Tom Watson, Uriah Hall and Kevin Casey in his last four. The 33-year-old Brazilian has been around the game with 28 career fights, 14 in the UFC. His strength has always been a solid ground game with 2.84 Takedowns per 15 min. and a 78% Takedown Defense.

Anthony Pettis vs. Edson Barboza

Fight Fans get a real treat with this fight as Anthony Pettis (18-4; 5-3) and Edson Barboza (16-4; 10-4) in a striker’s match up in Vegas.

Pettis is the former WEC and UFC Lightweight champion. For both belts, he beat former UFC fighter Benson Henderson, first at WEC 53 and then again in the main event of UFC 164. The promotional works were thrown at Pettis as he was launched into the UFC super boy. After successful ACL surgery, ‘Showtime’ returned to beat Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181 to regain his title. He would be dominated by current champ Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185 to lose the belt he once claimed. In January, he lost a tough decision to current Lightweight title challenger Eddie Alvarez for the first two-fight skid of his career. The flashy older Pettis brother has been one of the most exciting UFC fighters as of recent with his high-level Taekwondo and slick ground skills.

Barboza is one of the best strikers in all of the UFC. Of his 10 UFC wins, 4 have come by spectacular TKO/KO with two of those by leg kicks. His wheel kick KO of Terry Etim is among the most played when talking about best KO’s of all time. Being a high-level fighter, four of his last six fights have come against fighters inside the top 10, with Barboza going 1-3 against those fighters. He lost his last fight by D’Arce choke to Tony Ferguson at TUF 22 Finale in a Fight of the Night. He’ll step in with 3.93 SLpM and 41% Striking Accuracy to go along with 83% Takedown Defense.

(C)Demetrius Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo

For the UFC Flyweight Championship, longtime champion Demetrious Johnson (23-2-1; 11-1-1) will put his belt on the line against Henry Cejudo (10-0; 4-0). This is the third PPV in the last four with a title fight as the co-main event.

Johnson is the current and only Flyweight champion the UFC has ever seen. After a draw against Ian McCall in the semifinals of a Flyweight tournament, a rematch was scheduled. After beating McCall and then Joseph Benavidez for the title, ‘Mighty Mouse’ has defended his belt seven straight times. He has finishes over John Moraga, Benavidez, Chris Cariaso and Kyoji Horiguchi. He successfully defended his belt at UFC 191 with a dominant decision win over John Dodson, his ninth win in a row. In Flyweight history, Johnson is tops in total fight time, significant strikes landed, total strikes landed, and takedowns landed.

Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal wrestler at the 2008 Beijing games. He transitioned to MMA short after and has never looked back. 10 straight wins, four in the UFC, has shown everyone what destruction Cejudo is capable of. After having weight issues early in his career (missed weight twice), Cejudo has yet to miss weight since rejoining the Flyweight division. He beat Jussier Formiga by Split-decision to gain his title shot with a good performance. Despite being a high caliber wrestler, Cejudo has good striking as evident by his 3.78 SLpM and 74% Striking Defense. Obviously, his game is on the ground where he still lands 2.25 Takedowns per 15 min. and has yet to be taken down in five attempts.

Jon Jones vs. Ovince St. Preux

In an odd turn of events, Jon Jones (21-1; 15-1) will face Ovince St. Preux (19-7; 7-2) for the Interim Light Heavyweight title. Jones was expected to face Light Heavyweight champ, Daniel Cormier, before Cormier had to pull out due to injury.

Jones is the former Light Heavyweight champion. He defended the title eight times before being stripped for legal issues in April 2015. Jones is widely considered one of the best P4P fighters currently and all-time. The only loss of his career came in a disqualification against Matt Hamill when he landed 12-6 elbows on the ground. He has won 12 straight fights since then with eight finishes. Jones was expected to face Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 before his title was stripped when Cormier stepped in to win the vacant belt on the line. Jones’ stats back up his greatness with 4.26 SLpM, 1.97 SApM, 2.30 Takedowns per 15 min. and has only been taken down twice in 37 attempts.

St. Preux will fight for his first chance at gold under the Zuffa banner. The former Strikeforce standout went 6-1 in the organization before it was bought by the UFC. ‘OSP’ started right where he left off with four straight wins inside the Octagon. He is 3-2 in his last five including a KO win over former champ Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. He last fought at UFC Fight Night 82 in February, grabbing a decision win over former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champ Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante. OSP stats may not be as eye-popping as his opponents, but they are very good. His 1.82 SApM and 53% Takedown Accuracy are better than his opponents.

*All records from Sherdog.com

**All stats from FightMetric.com

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5 Things We Learned from UFC on Fox 26: Lawler vs Dos Anjos

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The UFC’s return to Winnipeg in over 4 years certainly did not disappoint the fans, as the card delivered just as it was expected with plenty of action packed fights.

Upset was in play often times for this card as on more than one occasion, the fans’ jaws dropped in shock and the predictions going into the fights were completely defied.

There are plenty of things to take away from this card, but what were the 5 biggest lessons learned here?

1. Rafael dos Anjos means business at welterweight

While Vegas odds may not have reflected it, dos Anjos had plenty of doubters coming into this fight on whether he could beat the top fighters in the welterweight division, his new found home. I’ll be the first to say, I didn’t think he’d be able to deal with Lawler’s power and size, considering that ‘Ruthless’ used to compete at middleweight, but he completely changed my perspective on what he brings to this division.

With the mix of powerful leg kicks and crisp boxing, dos Anjos completely neutralized the former welterweight champion and took home a dominant victory, winning all five rounds of the fight.

Yes, Lawler was injured and barely moved for the last three rounds, but that should not discredit the masterful performance that dos Anjos had tonight. This only sets up a fight with the current champion Tyron Woodley now (unless Colby Covington gets it), and while Woodley is a whole different match up, it makes for an entertaining fight.

2. Robbie Lawler is still one of the toughest fighters on the roster

Despite both his legs looking like they were completely destroyed by the third round and him losing the fight, we once again saw the toughness and grit of Lawler to never give up.

While we don’t know how bad his injury was, when you see Lawler not moving much and standing still for three rounds straight, you know something is seriously hurting. He endured an unbelievable amount of punishment tonight but at the end was still standing pumping up the crowd. What a warrior.

3. Josh Emmett… the new force to be reckoned with at 145lbs?

Simply no words. It was easily the biggest shocker of the night and maybe even upset of the year. Stepping in on relatively short notice for Jose Aldo, Emmett was counted out in this fight on paper against the former title challenger Ricardo Lamas, and weighing in at 148.5lbs on the scale didn’t help convincing the fans.

It’s My Time!

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But it definitely didn’t matter as he delivered a left hook from hell, sleeping Lamas at the end of the first round, sending a shock to the entire division and rising as a new threat to everyone in top 10. He said that his goal here was to shock the world, and shock the world he did. With this performance, Emmett immediately rises to a position where he now only needs one or two more significant wins from a possible title shot.

4. Mike Perry needs some time to develop into a title contender

Despite showing an unbelievable toughness in a three-round war against Santiago Ponzinibbio, Perry was unable to back up his words before the fight, losing via unanimous decision.

In a fight against a very tough opponent, Perry was once again exposed in a couple of areas as he was against Alan Jouban on his endurance, as he showed signs of fatigue as the second round came around. At the age of 26, he still has plenty of time, but Perry will need to fill that massive hole in order to continue to rise the ladder in the extremely stacked welterweight division, or else he’ll run into some trouble sooner or later.

5. Glover Teixeira isn’t done just yet

This fight was an excellent example of advantages a veteran brings compared to a young and upcoming fighter. Teixeira, coming off that tough loss in Sweden against Alexander Gustafsson, was also doubted by many as he came in as the underdog against a rising prospect in Misha Cirkunov.

Teixeira was put in immediate trouble in the first round, getting tagged by Cirkunov multiple times and getting backed up against the cage, but was able to outsmart Cirkunov by dragging him down to the ground and eventually pounding him out. Teixeira seemed to have lost all momentum against Anthony Johnson, and even more so against Gustafsson, but this fight proved that he is not done just yet, and showed the difference in level between the top 5 and top 10 of the division.

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*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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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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