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UFC 201 Preview

Vinny Craig

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Atlanta, Georgia has not seen a UFC event since UFC 145 in 2012 when Jon Jones beat Rashad Evans for his third title defense. Future stars like Rory MacDonald, Matt Brown, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, and Travis Browne all fought at that event. But UFC 201 is not just a return to Atlanta, but a start of something of new. It’s the first PPV event since the sale of the UFC. It’s the first ‘numbered’ event after the famed UFC 200 where we get to see if the new fans that were brought on by the big event will stick around.

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

Welterweight: (c)Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley- for the UFC Welterweight title

Strawweight: Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Welterweight: Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger

Bantamweight: Frankie Rivera vs. Erick Perez

Flyweight: Ian McCall vs. Justin Scoggins

 

Preliminary Card- Fox Sports 2 (8 PM EDT, 5 PM PDT, 1 AM BST)

Light Heavyweight: Ed Herman vs. Nikita Krylov

Welterweight: Ross Pearson vs. Jorge Masvidal

Heavyweight: Anthony Hamilton vs. Damien Grabowski

Flyweight: Wilson Reis vs. Hector Sandoval

 

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

Welterweight: Michael Graves vs. Bjoan Velickovic

Flyweight: Ryan Benoit vs. Fredy Serano

Lightweight: Cesar Arzemedia vs. Damien Brown

 

Ian McCall vs. Justin Scoggins

Top ten Flyweights Ian McCall (13-5-1 MMA; 2-3-1 UFC) and Justin Scoggins (11-2; 4-2) start off the main card for UFC 201. Scoggins was originally expected to face Ben Nguyen back in March before an injury sidelined him.

McCall hasn’t fought since January of 2015 after being sidelined by a series of nerve related injuries. McCall fought in the inaugural Flyweight tournament to crown their first champion. He went three rounds with current P4P #1 Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FX 2 to a draw. The two rematched in a headliner bout on UFC on FX 3 where Johnson took the decision. ‘Uncle Creepy’ has won two of his last three with wins over Illiarde Santos and Brad Pickett after consecutive losses to Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. He last fought at UFC 183 losing by decision to now Bantamweight contender John Lineker.

Scoggins is a winner of his last two over Josh Sampo and Ray Borg. After defending his Warfare FC title twice, the UFC came calling for a fight at UFC Fight Night 33. He picked up a win over Richie Vaculik and followed that up with a win over Will Campuzano. After two losses to Dustin Ortiz and John Moraga, ‘Tank’ took some time off to rethink his game. He returned at UFC 187 with the win over Sampo and followed that up with the win over Borg. Scoggins is the all-time Flyweight leader in Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM) with 1.48.

Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger

With a Welterweight title main event, two other top Welterweights get a main card slot in Matt Brown (20-14; 13-8) and Jake Ellenberger (30-11; 9-7).

Brown hasn’t been on the sideline long as he just fought in May at UFC 198. After starting off his career as a middle-of-the-pack fighter following TUF, he found his groove starting at UFC 143 with a TKO of Chris Camozzi. That started a streak of seven straight wins with six coming by TKO/KO in that span. A title eliminator bout with now champion Robbie Lawler was set for Fox in the main event slot in July 2014. Lawler beat and battered Brown for five rounds for a decision win, the first loss for Brown in almost three years. Since his streak ended, he is 1-3 with losses to Lawler, Johny Hendricks, and Demain Maia. Brown has had a successful Welterweight career coming in sixth in the active division in Knockdowns (7) and Significant Strikes Landed (734) while being second in Striking Accuracy (54.1%).

Ellenberger had his own run with six straight wins starting in 2010 which included a TKO over Jake Shields and a decision over Diego Sanchez. His hype was slowed down by a TKO loss to Martin Kampmann but came right back with wins over Jay Hieron and Nate Marquardt. After proving himself as a threat to the division’s elite, he has been put through the ringer of opponents with four of his last six coming against top ten guys. He is 0-4 against them and 1-5 in his last six. With his great run and career, Ellenberger checks in at second all-time in the division with nine Knockdowns and fifth in Takedown Defense with 85.7%.

 

Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

With Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s win at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, this Strawweight co-main event between Rose Namajunas (5-2; 3-1) and Karolina Kowalkiewicz (9-0; 2-0) is likely a title-eliminator bout.

Namajunas made her UFC debut on the TUF 20: Finale along with the majority of the Strawweight division. After entering the TUF house on a loss to fellow competitor Tecia Torres, she went on a tear in the house with three consecutive submission wins to meet Carla Esparza in the final. Despite the loss in the final, ‘Thug Rose’ has impressed since the show with three straight wins, two by submission. Rose has used her grappling while in the UFC, despite having great standup credentials to show for. She steps in with 3.49 Takedowns per 15 min. and 1.4 Submission Attempts per 15 min., both rank among the top in her division.

Kowalkiewicz is undefeated in her young career at 9-0. She was the KSW Flyweight champion with one title defence and two non-title bouts with submission finishes in both of her title bouts. She joined the UFC at UFC on Fox 17 with a decision win over Randa Markos. Her next fight was closer to her home country of Poland as she fought Heather Jo Clark at UFC Rotterdam. She showed off her striking skills as a Krav Maga and Muay-Thai practitioner as she landed 119 Significant Strikes in her decision win.

 

(c)Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley

The main event is for the Welterweight belt as champion Robbie Lawler (27-10, 1 NC; 12-4) takes on Tyron Woodley (15-3; 5-2). It will be the 35th UFC Welterweight title bout and fourth straight involving Lawler.

Lawler fought for the title at UFC 171 for the vacant belt when Georges St. Pierre retired. The fight against Johny Hendricks was a five-round back-and-forth battle that ended with Hendricks the winner. Lawler got right back at it, winning two straight fights to earn a rematch against Hendricks at UFC 181 nine months later. Another five-round Fight of the Night decision ensued, but this time, Lawler being the winner. He has since defended his belt twice more in two Fight of the Night, and one  Fight of the Year, victories over Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. ‘Ruthless’ is second all-time in the division with 9 Knockdowns, and combining his time at Welterweight and Middleweight has the highest Takedown Accuracy in UFC history (80%). He has absorbed a lot of punishment in the past two years as he’s absorbed 642 Significant Strikes in his last six fights.

Woodley has not fought in over a year since his Split-decision win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183. The former collegiate wrestler was a standout in Strikeforce, going 8-1 in his three-year tenure. He joined the UFC officially at UFC 156 with a knockout of Jay Hieron just 36 seconds into the fight. ‘T-Wood’ has won four of his last five to earn the title shot with wins over Josh Koscheck, Carlos Condit, Dong Hyun Kim, and then Gastelum. He was scheduled to face Johny Hendricks at UFC 192 in Houston before Hendricks was pulled due to weight cut issues. Woodley has the highest Takedown Defense of anyone in the division (95%) only being taken down once by Rory MacDonald. Despite great wrestling credentials, Woodley doesn’t use his wrestling as a main offensive weapon, instead using his powerful strikes and speed.

 

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

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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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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