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UFC 199 Talking Points

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Well, where to begin? UFC 199 last night was one of the greatest events in recent history, with incredible fights, finishes and moments throughout. Let’s take a look back at some of the talking points from the night’s action.

Why are there so many empty seats at the start of a card?

One thing that always baffles me when it comes to MMA events is the sheer number of empty seats that are clearly visible in the early knockings of fight night. Considering how expensive tickets can be, it makes little sense to not take in all of the action and get your money’s worth. Maybe that is me coming from a European perspective where every fight night is close to full capacity from start to finish, but it still has always been a source of mystery for me. Fans who arrived late to UFC 199 missed the clear Fight of the Night in an event littered with bouts that, on any other night, would have taken that honour themselves. Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim put on an absolute war in one of the craziest fights I can remember. The two lightweights threw everything they had at each other from the opening bell, with both men rocking their opponent on multiple occasions. In the end, Kim could not absorb any more punishment and Reyes left California with his 5th knockout win, but both deservedly walked away $50,000 richer.

Is Jessica Andrade a genuine contender at strawweight?

At just 5’2, Brazil’s Jessica Andrade always appeared to be a little undersized in the women’s bantamweight division, so when she announced late last year that she was dropping down to the women’s strawweight division, it initially seemed to be a good move. Those thoughts were definitively proven to be true at UFC 199, as Andrade put on a phenomenal performance against former women’s strawweight title challenger, Jessica Penne. The California native could not live with the speed and punching power of Andrade and she eventually succumbed to a TKO loss in the second round. The question is: how big a factor is Andrade at 115 pounds? In her brutalisation of Penne, who herself fought for the title last year, the signs point that she very well could be. It is easy to forget, also, that Andrade is just 24-years-old. In her post-fight interview, Andrade called out former UFC women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza and, should that fight be made, the answer to Andrade’s title credentials could lie within the bout.

Was this the perfect way for Dan Henderson to end his competitive MMA career?

What more can be said about Dan Henderson at this stage? “Hendo” will turn 46 later this year and he has been written off time and time again since 2013. However, seemingly every time he is in a fight considered ‘do or die’, Henderson rises to the challenge and overcomes it. At UFC 199, Henderson faced a fighter in Hector Lombard who not only has power, but also the added bonus of a speed advantage over the American. After a tough first round in which a Lombard flurry had him in trouble, Henderson rallied in the second with devastating effect. Sensing that Lombard had slowed down, Henderson uncorked a head kick which was caught by his opponent. With his leg still in the grasp of Lombard, Henderson threw a vicious elbow to the side of Lombard’s head, knocking him out cold. The ensuing ground and pound elbows were academic and UFC 199 had a true feel-good moment. Henderson was non-committal on whether or not it would be the last time we see him inside the octagon, but if it is, this serves as a fitting finale for one of MMA’s all-time greats.

How high up the pound for pound rankings does Dominick Cruz Belong?

Dominick Cruz completed his trilogy with Urijah Faber at UFC 199, coming out on top by unanimous decision. In truth, the fight was never close, with Cruz showcasing his superior striking, enhanced by his expert footwork which surely ranks as the best in MMA. Now 2 – 0 since returning from his second lengthy injury layoff, how far away from being considered the pound for pound best is Cruz? Prior to UFC 199, he was ranked at #4 in those rankings by the UFC, but with the man who occupied #3 on that list, Luke Rockhold, losing (more about that later), Cruz is likely going to move into that spot. That would leave only Demetrious Johnson and Jon Jones above “The Dominator”. Cruz does hold a win over Johnson at bantamweight from 2011, and a potential rematch between the two should Johnson decide to move up in weight for a superfight is a mouth-watering prospect. For now though, Cruz absolutely merits mention alongside those two in the debate of the pound for pound great.

Michael Bisping – UFC champion.

Just 17 days before UFC 199, Chris Weidman was forced to withdraw from the middleweight title shot with Luke Rockhold and in stepped Michael “The Count” Bisping. Based on the previous meeting between the two and the fashion in which Rockhold had been dispatching opponents since 2014, few gave Bisping much of a chance. The fight was seen by many as nothing more than a tune up fight to tide Rockhold over until the Weidman rematch should be made. Bisping had other ideas, claiming that winning the UFC middleweight title was his ‘destiny’. After last night’s events, who could argue with him? At 37-years-old, in his 26th UFC appearance, Bisping knocked Rockhold out cold, thus not only avenging his loss to the now former champion, but capturing UFC gold. Bisping has been one of the most polarising fighters in MMA for years now, but love him or hate him, you have to admire his achievement and give respect where it is due. There were many who doubted whether this moment would ever come for “The Count”, and Bisping said in the post-fight press conference that he envisions “the mother of all hangovers” coming his way and, after what he did last night, who could blame him?

An unfortunate end to an incredible night.

After the main event, the MMA world was on a high with what they had just witnessed, as well as news that broke during the event that Brock Lesnar, yes, The Beast Incarnate himself, was to make his return to MMA at UFC 200 against an as yet un-named opponent. However, news of his potential return was reported by Ariel Helwani before the official announcement by the UFC – which, seemingly, was something that did not sit well with the promotion. Prior to the Rockhold vs Bisping main event, Helwani, along with his long-time colleagues Esther Lin and Casey Leydon, were escorted from The Forum arena and had their credentials revoked. Helwani went on to say that he was informed that he was banned for life from UFC events. Now, personally I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for Helwani and his colleagues and it saddens me that this happened. There is very little that I could say on the matter that has not already been said, but I echo the hopes of Helwani himself, and the entire MMA community, in hoping that “cooler heads prevail” and we see Ariel, Esther and Casey doing what they do best in the very near future.

What are your opinions on the talking points raised here? Get in touch with us @MMALatestNws and let us know.

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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