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
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity
Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.
Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”
Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”
Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”
Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”
With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”
Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”
Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.
Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:
Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)
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